Monday, August 20, 2007

Altered Art Fabric Postcard

I have really been having fun creating altered fabric postcards for swapping with my friends in the Fabric in Altered Art Yahoo group. I just tried layering with fusible web, fibers, rubber stamping, net and more on one that went out in today's mail to Jo. (Don't peek Jo, if you don't want to see it before you get it!)

Making these postcards is sorta like eating M&Ms -- You just can't stop! I still have a hard time believing they actually go through the mail -- but they do. The ones I've been receiving in turn have come through with flying colors (literally!). And, just think what fun the postal carriers are getting as each one passes through their hands.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Grandmother's Garden

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers over the past week. They are deeply appreciated.

I just got back from a quick trip to Kansas over the weekend where my family history is as rich as the soil my pioneer forebearers tilled. One of the houses we visited holds very dear memories for me as a girl -- the house of one of my sets of Great Grandparents. My great grandmother had the most wonderful garden out back -- filled with hollyhocks, bachelor's buttons, roses and more. Those memories inspired my latest Ebay offering -- a trio of ACEOs pictured here. They also inspired a column on Grandmother's Garden I wrote a few years ago:

Grandmother’s Garden

“The garden and the garden gate are often prominent objects in the picture of home memories, not for the Mauds who have met their lovers there and plighted their juvenile affections to each other, but because some of the sweetest memories are associated with flowers and fields and shady trees and green velvet lawns.”
from The Hearthstone; or, Life at Home, by Laura C. Holloway, 1889

June 1898

Fondest greetings to you, my dear friends! Do you hear the creak of a porch swing? I am savoring its gentle sway in the soft rose-scented breeze wafting its way around Grandmother Olsen’s porch where I sit writing to you. Memories of my girlhood surround me. . .

On bright June days of long ago, I slipped my hand into Grandmother’s as we walked past the front door propped open by the cast-iron bulldog doorstop I loved to play with, and pushed through the screened door onto the breezy porch. I would clutch her hand more tightly, querying her as to our destination, endeavoring to keep my balance while my short four-year-old legs struggled down the porch steps. At her reply that we were going to cut flowers for bringing into the house, my nose twitched at the thought of the heady fragrances awaiting me in Grandmother’s flower garden.

On one such trip I asked her if she would make me a hollyhock lady; another summer day, a leaf boat. Grandmother always nodded her “yes” and often replied that, if we were quiet, we might even catch a flower fairy making herself a dress of a hollyhock blossom or a tiger lily.
Then, as we pushed through the whitewashed garden gate, startled butterflies taking wing before us testified to the treasures within. On either side of the path, daisies nodded their innocent greeting, bachelor’s buttons beckoned and bright red poppies waved. As Grandmother drew her shears from her apron pocket, the shimmering beauty of nearby buttercups inevitably sparked my query of, “Grandmother, are they made of butter?”

A little farther down the path, the pungent grape-scent of tall purple iris triggered my asking Grandmother if we could have a glass of juice when we went back indoors. Between answers to my chatter-box questions, Grandmother always hummed a tune under her breath as she pinched off dead blossoms and cut fresh blooms to fill her vases. She obviously delighted in her task, savoring each flower she came to in hovering, bumble-bee fashion. Then, in unhurried fashion, as we headed back indoors, arms filled with sweet peas and lavendar, heliotrope and gilly flower, Grandmother quoted some trifling poem her garden brought to mind. I leave you with one of my favorites by Charles Lamb:

“In my poor mind it is most sweet to muse
Upon the days gone by; to act in thought’
Past seasons o’er, and be again a child;
To sit in fancy on the turf-clad slope,
Down which the child would roll; to pluck gay flowers
Make posies in the sun, which the child’s hand (Childhood offended soon, soon reconciled,)
Would throw away, and straight take up again,
Then fling them to the winds, and o’er the lawn
Bound with so playful and so light a foot,
That the press’d daisy scarce declined her head.”

Affectionately yours,
Abigail Bradshaw

Copyright, 2000, 2007, Judi Brandow, all rights reserved
Life is short! Smell the roses every day!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Through the Eyes of a Child

I am struggling with intense grief today as I write this. Three of my youngest son's friends were killed in an accident when the SUV they went off-roading in flipped and rolled yesterday afternoon. The driver had been in my home just the day before eating pizza and joking around with me as we chatted. His last words to me as he left were that he would be seeing me tonight. He ususally came for dinner and a Bible study here on Thursdays.

Interestingly, yesterday I had been hard at work on finishing the artwork I shared with you on my blog my last post, asking for comments. (And thank you all for your very insightful remarks. I appreciate every one. ) I have it finished, and I have titled the piece -- now a triptych -- "Through the Eyes of a Child."
Even though the boys who died were 20, 18, and 15, they were still really just children -- so filled with awe and wonder that they thought it was a lark to go off-roading through a tall field of grass. They had no way of knowing there was a rock in the way that would flip them into the air. Some people have been leaving comments on the website here in Colorado (see the link under links if you wish to read the story) speaking of their stupidity. Did they make a wise choice? No, probably not. But, they were seeing life through the eyes of a child yesterday -- and I personally want to remember them that way so I don't become embittered and lose my own ability to view life with awe and wonder.

I am praying for the families of these lost sons. As a mother of six sons, my heart goes out to them knowing how often my own have taken risks in their pursuit of a thrill. I am posting the finished artwork in their memory and as a reminder that life will always be too short. Even so, may we count every moment precious -- and view it through child-like eyes -- with awe and wonder. Steven L. Sweet, Jacob Pyte and "little brother of K" may you rest in peace and may your joyful child-like laughter fill heaven's fields of grass and echo against the mountain's majesty there. Steven, especially, you were a treasure I look forward to meeting again one day when the Lord calls me home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A new art technique I'm trying. . .

I am working on making more ACEOs this week, and decided to try out a new technique. Instead of my usual "soft" little 2.5" x 3.5" crazy quilt ACEOs (which by the way, stands for "Art Cards, Editions, and Origionals"), I am trying to add a little more firmness so they are more card-like. I would really like some feedback on which people like better. For that reason, you see one of the type I have been doing and selling on Ebay -- the first picture, and the new try -- the second picture. Let me know what you think, please.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vintage Happiness Quote

A wonderful quote in one of my antique books from 1891 is entitled "Happiness." No author is mentioned, and I've seen various renditions of it in more than one of the antique sources I have. It inspired my latest piece of art on Ebay (I've put up a picture here for your viewing pleasure -- and if you are interested in the piece, I have provided a link on the blog under "A little More About my Passion on the left"). I have memorized the quote and used it in one of the dramatic monologue scripts I wrote and enacted over a fourteen year period. It inspires me yet today. Hope you find it valuable!

"The idea has been transmitted from generation to generation that happiness

is one large and beautiful precious stone -- a single gem so rare

that all search after it is in vain, all effort for it hopeless.

It is not so. Happiness is a mosaic, composed of many smaller stones.

Each taken apart and viewed singly, may be of little value,

but when all are grouped together and judiciously combined and set,

they form a pleasing and graceful whole -- a costly jewel.

Trample not under foot, then, the little pleasures

which a gracious God scatters in the daily path, and which,

in eager search after some great and exciting joy, we are apt to overlook.

Why should we keep our eyes fixed on the distant horizon,

while there are so many lovely roses in the garden in which we are permitted to walk?

The very ardor of our chase after happiness

may be the reason she so often eludes our grasp.

We pantingly strain after her, when she has been graciously brought nigh unto us."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Let the Flowers Speak!

I have been busy transferring vintage botanical prints and great poems onto fabric for my newest altered fabric book -- and as often happens to me -- I got sidetracked by one print that just called out to me to be altered on its own. I absolutely adore pansies and have a bunch of them in my garden. Their happy little faces never fail to raise my spirits and I almost think they have personalities! It's no wonder they have such a variety of names. The name "Pansy" is an English way of saying the French "Pensée," meaning "thoughts." These little velvet treasures were bred in Victorian times from wild pansies often known in Shakespeare's time as "Love-in-idleness." I love the name little children of that era gave pansies -- "Tickle-my-fancy!" They do just that, in my opinion.
More than anything, they are a reminder to me that I am in control of my thoughts - I can choose how to think! I combined the simple words of a favorite scripture (Philippians 4:8) with the vintage picture to create my latest 5"x7" altered crazy quilt wall hanging I posted for sale on Ebay. While I work on other artistic endeavors, I have it hanging on a knob of my roll-top desk where it inspires me to "Think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable." It already has a bid on it, so I know I will have say good-bye before long, but I pray it will also bring inspiration to its new owner in a similar way. Hope the picture I'm posting of it here makes you smile too! -- Judi

Monday, July 9, 2007

Altered Mixed Media "Recipe" for Wedded Bliss

I belong to a great online group -- FabricinAlteredArt -- and I just completed a project for a swap of altered mixed media recipe cards based on an article in "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" magazine for May/June. This was a really fun project!

With two sons getting married in the last couple of months, I had provided each bride with a recipe book of family favorites and included a pithy page of marriage advice for husbands and wives from one of my 1883 books, "Our Home."
It was perfect for this project! I took the quotes, copied a graphic from another vintage advice book and, along with antique lace, ribbon, and confetti, made the cards, front and back to the 4"x6" dimensions of a recipe card. I also transferred a ghostly image of a turn-of-the-century wedding onto Lutrador and glued it down over some fancy white brocade fabric. Then I stitched the front and back together, encasing them in vinyl with a fun fiber edge. I'm pleased with how they turned out. Now, of course, both my daughters-in-law want a copy of this version as well. I'm including a picture here. The advice I'll save for another blogging day as I got inspired for another mini book! -- Judi

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wildflower Garden Inspiration

I've been grooming the back yard for some time now in preparation for my son's wedding rehearsal dinner this Thursday evening. I am so amazed at how well my wildflower garden is doing. I took a picture of it yesterday I thought I would share with you. I am going to cut a few of the "bachelors buttons" (otherwise known as cornflowers) for arrangements on the tables. In the midst of mulling over how fun it would be to include the Victorian history on their love of the flower, I pulled out my vintage book, "The Bouquet" by "A Lady" -- which is a pocket volume on the poetry and language of flowers from 1846. Inspiration struck!! Now I know what my next little altered fabric book will be about! I am really excited to get a start after the wedding. I think I will share it in stages as I begin working on it. Now, that's all I'm going to share for now -- to tantalize you! But, with all these lovely poems and meanings of flowers, won't it be fun?! I'll get started on it next week after the wedding.

Here is the little saying I am going to print off as favors for all the guests at the rehearsal dinner (50 of them!) on the cornflower I thought you might enjoy.

"Tonight we celebrate the groom's dinner -- or rehearsal dinner. In the little vases on your table there are some lovely cornflowers.

In the Victorian era, if a girl wore a cornflower (otherwise called a bachelor's button), it meant she was available for marriage.

If a young man placed a bachelor's button in his pocket, he was letting the world know he was in love.

Via superstition of the day, if that flower lived while in his pocket, it was an indication he should marry; if, on the other hand, it died, he must find another sweetheart.

According to other lore, if a girl hid a cornflower under her apron, she would have the bachelor of her choice -- which is where the name "Bachelor's Buttons" came from."


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Poetry in Spring!

I promised I would share the vintage poem I have incorporated in my latest miniature altered crazy quilt book. The book is now finished! I am really pleased with how it turned out. I wish I was better at this blogging business so I could post all the pictures I took, but I am just going to share the one that shows best how the little book looks with all it's fringe and ties. I have decided to go ahead and put it on Ebay -- which I will do later in the day today. You can see 14 different views of the book there, if you want to check it out in detail. (Just follow the link to my Ebay items under the section "A little More About My Passion" on the left side of the blog.) I plan to post it there soon!

Here's the poem (author unknown, but in my 1899 book, Excelsior Writer and Speaker, listed under the children's recitations section).

The Bird's Picnic

"The birds gave a picnic, the morning was fine,

They all came in couples, to chat and to dine;

Miss Robin, Miss Wren and the two Misses Jay,

Were dressed in a manner decidedly gay.

"And Bluebird, who looks like a handful of sky,

Dropped in with her spouse as the morning wore by;

The yellow-birds, too, wee bundles of sun,

With brave chickadees, came along for the fun.

Miss Phoebe was there, in her prim suit of brown;

In fact, all the birds in the fair leafy town.

The neighbors, of course, were politely invited;

Not even the ants and the crickets were slighted.

The grasshoppers came, some in gray, some in green,

And covered with dust, hardly fit to be seen:

Miss Miller flew in, with her gown white as milk;

And Lady Bug flourished a new crimson silk.

The bees turned out lively, the young and the old,

And proud as could be, in their spencers of gold;

But Miss Caterpillar, how funny of her,

She hurried along in her mantle of fur.

There were big bugs in plenty, and gnats great and small --

A very hard matter to mention them all.

And what did they do? Why, they sported and sang,

Till all the green wood with their melody rang.

Whoe'er gave a picnic to grand and so gay?

They hadn't a shower, I'm happy to say.

And when the sun fell, like a cherry-ripe red,

The fire-flies lighted them all home to bed."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Bird's Picnic

We have two bird feeders in our yard. I think all the birds for miles around have been talking to one another, shouting the news that they can have a picnic here. If I fill both feeders, they are totally empty in less than 24 hours! One delight is that I have been able to observe a number of varieties of birds in my yard, from tiniest finches to a Blue Jay couple teaching their tiny new son to fly. They reminded me of a terrific poem from one of my vintage books from the 1890s (author of the poem unknown) -- entitled "The Bird's Picnic." I dug it out and began hunting for pictures of birds I could use in creating a miniature altered crazy quilt book. I have been having such fun creating it! In the post I did on June 11th, I shared the front cover in progress. It now has beadwork fringe. I'll wait to share it when the entire book is completed (soon, I promise). But, here are a few of the pages in this tiny 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" book that are already completed. I'm still debating on whether to put it up for sale on Ebay or wait for a bit. I'd love your opinions. The whole book has 16 heavily embellished surfaces (or a total of 8 fat double-sided pages). When tied shut with it's velvet ribbons, it's over 2 inches thick!
I'll share the poem tomorrow. . . Please come back for more fun! -- Judi

Monday, June 11, 2007

Busy, Busy!!

I have been very busy creating this month. My 5th son (of 6 sons) gets married at the end of June (the 29th), and I have been making the two flower girl dresses as well as ring bearer pillow(s). Yes, there are two of each! However, just this weekend we decided one of the ring bearer pillows will be a "bride's pillow" and the other a "groom's pillow." I have completed the one for the bride (to carry the groom's ring).

The groom's pillow will be black with black lace (no flowers) and the same silver embroidery with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date. They decided just this week to add a ring bearer (to involve a nephew). I have that one to make still. I'm glad we decided no flowers! I think I am getting just a little tired of making so many! I have made 100 others to go on the flower girl dresses. (See the closeup -- the littlest flowers are the ones I have made so many of).

It is such a joy that this daughter-in-law-to-be also loves "old stuff." She was thrilled I would use vintage lace. I also made her bridal corset, utilizing a victorian-era pattern and improvising. She is just a little thing, but "blessed" and would otherwise have needed to pay premium dollars to have one custom made for her from Great Britain. (For the sake of the blushing bride, I am not including a picture of that piece.)

Today is my birthday so I am taking a wee break and doing more stitching on a little ACEO size crazy quilt book with a vintage poem, "The Bird's Picnic," incorporated within. I still have beadwork, binding and the closure to do. It has 16 embellished surfaces! Here is the cover so far so you can see the work in progress. I'll be posting the finished book in the next day or two so you can enjoy seeing it. I am struggling with whether or not to sell it! I'm having a lot of fun -- in the midst of busy!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sewing Room

For well over seven years I wrote a column in the voice of a woman from 1898 by the name of "Abigail Bradshaw" for newspapers that ran in syndication throughout 23 states of the USA and in Canada. I thought I would begin to share some of those rather nostalgic columns here in my blog for fun. One came to mind the other day as I finished an ACEO with a vintage sewing theme. (I've posted a picture of it here -- it's up on Ebay for sale right now -- Ebay ID: judiwithani2.) Here's that column in its entirety copyright, Judi Brandow 1999-2007, all rights reserved.

"The Sewing Room"

'No Female Suffrage Yet. -- But something far better and more valuable, a Wilson Sewing-Machine for every wife and mother in the Union, and at the low price of $50 each of the full finished machine. People ask why the Wilson, a leading machine in all respects, can be sold for $50. The answer is easy and direct -- because its proprietors do not belong to a great "ring," whose purpose it is to keep up the price of sewing-machines.' -- ad from Peterson's Magazine, December 1878

February 1898

Greetings from my home to yours. I am sitting at the table in my sewing room, sunlight dancing a step over my shoulder and across the bright patches of the 'Chimney Sweep' quilt top I just finished piecing. I am surrounded by a delightful disarray of crimson, saffron and muted green calico prints, waste threads and cuttings -- a testament to my absorption in the project at hand.

How fortunate I am to possess a room set apart soley as a sewing room. I can make a great creative mess here without affecting the rest of the house. When my darling Edward first suggested turning part of the attic into a sewing room, I balked. It seemed such a dingy, out-ot-the-way hole. But when the windows were cleaned of film, a cozy rag rug laid on the floor, and shelves built to hold my collection of boxes, I settled right in to my lovely little nook.

How carefully I arranged all the hundred-and-one things employed in sewing. Hat and shoe boxes were labeled for such articles as rolls of bias tape, hooks and eyes, laces, stays, and threads. I carefully separated out different colored buttons and strung them onto cords placing them in my button box to enable me to find just the button needed without trouble. An old bureau's drawers were each labeled with the names of family members to provide each with a 'piece drawer' for all that person's mending and sewing needs. Another bureau was hauled into my space with drawers for al the folds of fabric waiting to be cut. One drawer holds bags of all my different colored scraps for quilts.

Because I am forever losing track of where I have placed various sewing accessories, I have found it most useful to employ the old-fashioned 'housewife' my grandmother espouses. It is a charming work-case equipped with pockets for scissors, buttons, thread and thimbles, with cushions attached for needles and pins. Grandmother encouraged me to stuff the cushions with hair saved from my hairbrush. She swears the oils in the hair help to keep needles and pins from rusting, and to this day, my pins have never suffered the complaint.

To save myself from eye strain, my sewing machine is positioned where the light is best in the room. The window over my left shoulder allows just the right amount of light to fall on the machine as I work. Mine is a Singer Treadle. I love polishing the beautiful red, green and gilt scrolled flourishes and lettering on its black cast iron body. Keeping it well-oiled and cleaned assures me it will work when I am ready to sit and sew. There are some who say the sewing machine manufacturers are working on electric models. I say, 'Give me the slow, steady whir of my treadle, the warmth of sunlight on my back the feel of crisp fabric through my fingers and a song to hum in the serenity of my sewing room, and I am content.'

Until next time, believe me to be sincerely yours, Abigail Bradshaw."

And, might I add, I am off to my own sewing room, busy on a tiny altered crazy quilt ACEO size (2.5"x3.5") book! In my next blog post, I'll show some pictures. -- Judi

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How do you display ACEOs?

As an artist and creator of fiber art altered ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals), I know there are a number of collectors of these miniature works of art measuring just 2.5" x 3.5". Some collectors display one piece at a time on a tiny easel. Others use clear plastic boxes or albums with sleeves to display their collections. You can frame each tiny piece in a small frame, or matte and frame in a larger frame.

If you love altered art, why not do groupings in a shadow box or display case? There are a variety available in the hobby stores. The picture I am including with today's blog shows three of my crazy quilt ACEOs in an 8" x 10" display case with a piece of vintage lace in the background.

I create my ACEOs in series -- each one-of-a-kind, but with themes such as my "Heirloom Flower Series," "Vintage Birds Series," "Heirloom Pet Series," etc. with the collector in mind. Shadow boxes or display cases can be purchased in a variety of sizes that will enable a number of ACEOs to be grouped together in an artistic way. I hope this gives my readers new ideas!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Flower Day!

I ran across something in my 1899 book, Excelsior Writer and Speaker, I thought was intriguing. There is a section in the book entitled, "Promgrammes for Special Occasions" with a special heading of "Programmed for Flower Day." Wow! I never knew that, as a nation, the USA at one time celebrated Flower Day, did you? Reading through that little section was fun -- and it inspired my latest art offerings on Ebay as well. The newest one is titled, "Sing, Sing, it's Spring!" with a little bluebird singing it's heart out in the midst of roses and lace. I thought I would share one of the songs listed for Flower Day (supposed to be sung to the tune of "My Country Tis of Thee"). Then, we can all sing along with the birds. (I am in a singing mood this morning.)

"Let us with nature sing,
And floral tributes bring,
On this glad day;
Violets white and blue,
Daisies and lilies too,
Pansies of purple hue,
And roses gay.

O'er this fair land of ours,
Blossom the golden flowers
In loveliness;
From Maine to Washington,
Wherever smiles the sun,
Their fairy footsteps run
To cheer and bless.

When winter's curtains gray,
From skies are pushed away
By nature's hand;
We gladly welcome you,
Blossoms of red and blue,
Blossoms of every hue,
To our fair land."

Celebrate spring with me and all the terrific flowers it brings!

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Answer for Discontentment

I love pansies . . . and I love their little-known name, "Heartsease." There is a wonderful poetic fable by M.R.P. I discovered in my vintage 1891 book, "Sunday Chat" all about a heart's-ease. . .as a means to answer discontentment so often prevalent in our lives and the secret for happy living. It was the creative spark behind my latest artistic offering on ebay, my small mini quilt shown here. I hope it will lift your spirits today as it has my own in its review.

"Sought the king his garden

When the air was ringing

With the joyous music

That the birds were singing.

When the sun threw westward

Long bright beams of gold,

And the dew was sparkling

On the wold.

Found his plants all drooping

Sullenly and sadly;

Buds and blossoms hung their heads,

Born to bloom so gladly.

When the king demanded

Why in sorrow bent,

There was but one answer --


For the graceful willow

By the fountain weeping,

And the lovely jasmine,

All her perfume keeping,

Answered when he questioned --

Each with envy spoke --

'Ah, because I cannot

Be an oak.'

E'en the elm-tree answered,

Sadly and complaining,

'Ah, because I am not

Bloom and fruitage gaining.

And the vine, down drooping,

Lamentation made

Just because it could not

Cast a shade.

Rose would be a dahlia,

Ferns the flowers copy,

Daisy grow a sunflower,

Heliotrope, a poppy.

Only little Heart's-ease

Looked all glad and bright,

And the king said, wond'ring

At the sight,

'Wherefore, little Heart's-ease,

Art thou not repining?'

And the Heart's-ease answered,

All her gold heart shining,

'Why, when me you planted

'Mong your garden store,

You wanted just a heart's-ease,

Nothing more.'

Do you know the lesson

That the fable's giving?

'Tis the very secret

Of all happy living.

In whatever station

God for you deems best,

Yours to grow and brighten,

His the rest."

Blessings! -- Judi

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard

My maternal grandmother was a jewel. She was an artist -- and I know I owe a lot of my artistic/creative genes to her. I'm posting a small picture of her here when she was probably in her 30s. One of my fondest memories of my childhood are of her many quotes and songs she shared with me. One favorite was the 1894 song, "I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard" often sung when I was put out with one of my siblings or cousins for a perceived wrong. Off Grandmother would go. . .

"Once there lived side-by-side, two little maids,
Used to dress just alike, hair down in braids,
Blue gingham pinafores, stockings of red,
Little sunbonnets tied, on each pretty head.

When school was over, secrets they'd tell,
Whispering arm-in-arm, down by the well.
One day a quarrel came, hot tears were shed,
'You can't play in our yard!'
But the other said,

"I don't want to play in your yard,
I don't like you anymore!
You'll be sorry when you see me,
Sliding down our cellar door.
You can't holler down our rain barrel,
You can't climb our apple tree!
I don't want to play in your yard,
If you won't be good to me!'"

That little song came to mind when I discovered a vintage photograph of a little boy playing in a rain barrel. I couldn't help myself! I set right to work and created one of my latest altered mini art crazy quilts. It's up on Ebay right now -- but I thought you might enjoy seeing it and perhaps taking a trip down memory lane to a simpler spring or summer day.

Blessings! Judi

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Fairy Bubbles

My little granddaughter, Chloe, was the flowergirl for my son's wedding this last week. A typical 3-year-old, Chloe is constantly using her imagination.

About a week before the wedding, her mother called with Chloe on the other phone and said, "Chloe, tell your Grandma what you did!" With sobs jerking her little voice, she plaintively answered, "I cutted my hair and my mommy is berry angwy with me."

A hairdresser used a pretty elaborate upsweep of the chopped bangs to hide the "uh-oh" and Chloe looked just like a fairy princess coming down the aisle, dropping petals.

When I saw the image of two fairies riding a bubble carriage drawn by two butterflies, I couldn't help myself. I got right to work on creating my latest ACEO entitled, "Harnessing Bubbles." I included a snippet of one of my favorite poems from 1869, "Bubbles" that I plan to copy and send along with the ACEO to the winning bidder on Ebay.

Monday, May 7, 2007


• Start with 7 random facts/habits about yourself• People who are tagged have to write their 7 things on their blog• Then choose another 7 people to get tagged and list their names• Don't forget to leave them a comment to tell them they have been tagged and to read your blog.

Here are some random facts about me!

1. I sang my first solo at the age of 3.

2. I have brown hair and so does my husband, but 4 of our six sons have red hair.

3. I wrote and published a newspaper column on a nostalgic theme that ran in syndication for 7 years.

4. I once received a $10,000 advance on a series of gift books I wrote that were never published, but I was allowed to keep the advance.

5. I got married at the age of 18, and am still married to the same wonderful man 37 years later (anniversary this month).

6. My great great grandmother had an unusual name, and we still own her "primative" portrait -- the portrait of Silence Luna Day.

7. I can trace my family heritage to George Soule -- the 35th signer of the Mayflower Compact after he reached the shores of what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1620.

I tag:

Kathryn at:
Crystal at:
Chrysti at:
Kathi at:
Jeannine at:
Kelly at:
Sherre at:

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Bicycle Etiquette from 1896

Along with posting my newest artwork -- a miniature 2.5" x 3.5" piece of altered Crazy Quilt Vintage Advertising Art entitled "Cycling -- a Promoter of Health," I offer the following "Few Don'ts for Cyclers" from my 1896 book, Social Etiquette. Enjoy (I'm sure you'll get a laugh or two)!

"Don't try to raise your hat to the passing 'bloomer' until you become an expert in guiding your wheel.

Don't buy a bicycle with down-curve handles. It is impossible to sit erect and hold that kind of handle.

Don't go out on a bicycle wearing a tail coat unless you enjoy making a ridiculous show of yourself.

Don't travel without a jacket or loose wrap, to be worn while resting. A summer cold is a stubborn thing.

Don't allow a taste for a bit of color in your makeup to tempt you to wearing a red or other gay-colored cap.

Don't get off the old gag about 'that tired feeling' every time you stop by the roadside for a little breathing spell.

Don't absent yourself from church to go wheeling, as you and your bicycle are welcome at most houses of worship.

Don't leave your bicycle in the lower hallway of your flat-house for the other tenants to fall over in the dark.

Don't believe the farmer boy who says that it is 'two miles to the next town.' It may be two, four, six or twelve.

Don't be more than an hour passing a given point, although wheeling on a dusty road is honestly conducive to thirst.

Don't smile at the figure others cut astride their wheels, as it is not given you to see yourself as others see you.

Don't coast down a strange hill with a curve at its bottom. There is no telling what you will meet when it is too late.

Don't ride ten miles at a scorching pace, then drink cold water and lie around on the grass, unless you are tired of life.

Don't try to carry your bike downstairs under your arm. Put it on your shoulder, or you will come to distress.

Don't laugh the watchful copper to scorn because your lamp is burning brightly. He can afford to wait his time to laugh.

Don't dress immodestly or in the costume of a track sprinter. Sweaters worn like a Chinaman's blouse are almost indecent.

Don't forget that the modern law of the road requires you to turn out to the right in passing another bicycle or other vehicle."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Mother's Legacy

I'm a mother of 6 sons. Tell me where they give out awards for perseverance as a mother? I would love to apply! Actually, I do believe I will get rewarded one day -- by my heavenly Father -- for the job I have done and am continuing to do. But, in the meantime, where are all the odes to motherhood there once were in previous generations? I have over 200 vintage books and magazines from the 1800s in my collection. One of the most profound things I see there is the celebration of mothers. In fact, I have an entire book -- three inches thick -- just filled with poetry, prose and pictures celebrating motherhood. They have truly inspired me. Just this week, I completed a fabrid crazy quilt mini book (ACEO size - 2.5" x 3.5") celebrating motherhood. I wish there was a way to duplicate the effort -- but this one is truly one of a kind. I just put it up for bid on ebay today. I am really excited about how it turned out. There are 8 pages, not including the cover front and back. My ebay ad shows all the pages, but here is the front of the book. Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don't you just wish sometimes. . .

. . .You could climb into your mother or grandmother's lap and be rocked to sleep again as you were in your childhood? You know, on those particularly stressful nights when sleep just won't come and you find yourself doing things like stitching on a project? I have two sons getting married in the next two months, and there is just SO much to get done I sometimes have trouble sleeping!

There is a fabulous vintage poem about just that I wove into one of my latest art projects up for bid on Ebay -- Rock Me to Sleep -- by Mrs. Elizabeth Akers Allen. (See the entire poem below!)I am really excited about how this project turned out. I used vintage laces, fabrics and beads and incorporated a section of that wonderful poem, along with a vintage (1898) picture transferred onto soft silk. It is heavily embellished, including a spider web for good luck and is perfect for framing or hanging as it is in its 5x7 miniature size. I put hours into each hand-stitched piece I create and they are treasures I sometimes wish I could hang onto for just a bit longer! This one especially. Hope you enjoy looking at it (I included a picture here) -- and may it bring back fond memories of your own childhood times rocking with Mother or Grandmother. -- Judi

"Backward, turn backward, O Time! in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your arms as of yore,
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep --
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!
Backward, fly backward, O swift tide of years!
I am weary of toil, I am weary of tears!
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,
Take them and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away,
Weary of sowing for others to reap;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!
Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed, and faded our faces between!
Yet with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I to-night for your presence again!
Come from the slience so long and so deep, --
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!
Over my heart in days that are flown,
No love like mother love ever has shone,
No other worship abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours;
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sorrowing soul and the world-weary brain,,
Slumber's soft calm o'er my heavy lids creep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!
Come let your brown hair just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it fall over my forehead to-night,
Shielding my eyes from the flickering light:
For oh! with its sunngy-edged shadows once more,
Happy will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly its bright billows sweep--
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!
Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since last I was hushed by your lullaby song,
Since then again, -- to my soul it shall seem
Womanhood's years have been only a dream;
Clasped to your arms in a loving embrace,
With your soft light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring Creativity

I have been thoroughly inspired watching all the new creation of Spring around me here in the country. Watching birds building their nests and calves frolicking in the pasture prompted some springtime designing of my own. I have three new pieces of fiber art up (two ACEOs or ATCs, which stand for Art Cards, Editions and Originals, or Art Trading Cards) and one 5"x7" miniature crazy quilt with the theme of "Mother Love" for bid on Ebay and several more to post next week. Take a look! -- Scroll down and see "Comfort is a Soft Kitten" and you can find it on Ebay by searching for the following item number in the Ebay search engine:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Poem for Spring

Among my collection of vintage books is one very tiny one from 1844 entitled The Bouquet of Flowers. I am so very anxious for Spring to arrive! I long to see the little crocus bloom and watch the birds building their nests. In my pondering, I pulled this little book out today and thumbed through it's pages. In the introduction, there is the loveliest poem and I thought you might enjoy it with me.

Are not flowers the earliest gift of love?
Do they not, mutely eloquent, oft speak
For absent or for trembling hearts, and bear
Kisses and sighs on their perfumed lips,
And worlds of thoughts and fancies in their tears,
Touched by the rainbow's dyes? Have ye ne'er
Soe token flower -- and early rose -- a bunch
Of young Spring's first and sweetest violets,
And given into yours by hands so dear,
That all flowers seemed grown holier from that time?
Have you ne'er hoarded such a simple gift,
Ay, through long years, e'en when each shrunken
Bore not a semblance to the thing it was,
And the soft fragrance, that had once been there,
Had changed from sweet to noisome, -- and e'en
For very fondness, could not fling away
Those dim and faded records of the past,
But laid the frail things in their wonted place,
To gaze, and dream, and weep upon again?
(by L.A. Twamler)
Til Spring starts popping up all over. . . . . .Judi

Friday, March 9, 2007

What could be great about today?

I love waking up in the morning with that question on my mind! It sets my thoughts in a positive direction and awakens my creativity. I am one of those people Margaret Lobenstine calls a "Renaissance Soul." I DO "have way too many passions to pick just one!"

I have several business pursuits that relate to passions -- and passions with no business ambition whatsoever. I just pursue them for the sheer joy of variety and sponteneity! I LOVE being a life-long learner and finding new things to learn about every day.

Most recently I was rummaging around in my antique magazines (I have amassed a collection of over 200 vintage books and magazines since girlhood), and found myself mesmerized with all the old ads there. I decided to reproduce some on fabric and do a little crazy quilting in miniature. The result are several fun ATC size (2.5" x 3.5") fabric cards I posted on Ebay yesterday. If you want to see them, here's the Ebay item number for the first in the series: 330096894164. (I'm still learning about Blogger, and for some reason, I get an error when I try to load the picture!)

Anyway, I am really having fun with this! Anybody else enjoying something similar?



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