Monday, October 12, 2015

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel is not to Mimi"s liking but it is to NaiEva

The Southern Festival of Books is in its 27th year, Nashville Tennessee.  It's my favorite time of year, the weather is perfectly orange and yellow and there's always a colorful moment that happens like sipping lemonade and chatting with Garrison Keillor.
This year, Mimi insisted on seeing Kenneth Oppel and hearing about the Nest. I already have a stack of his dragon books, plus, we're always looking for our next Pen Pal author for the Linebaugh library, so I was affirmatory!  Oppel is our age group - 4,5 and 6th graders.
You never know what you'll learn at these sessions that are held in state room around the and underneath the plaza.
This is what we learned:
Issshh, that's a bit creepy.
Someone asked Oppel how much creepiness do you put in a novel?
The Creepometer, if you will.
Well, he didn't see this as particularly creepy. And besides kids think on a whole different level than adults. But, he did put in some of the anxieties that he had as a child.
Someone asked about the importance of writing "an issues" book.
He said, "I didn't set out to write this book as an issues book, I wrote it as a
baby being born in a wasp-nest book." 
ha ha. Okay, that's funny.
Mimi was no longer amused.
Where's the nest? Where's the baby-bird lunch? Hmmm.
She wanted to go to another session.
Yet, I was intriqued! Plus, Oppel is cute. Not Mimi's type.

He read a few passages from the book., and saying it is really a story about temptation and a strive for perfection that may not be a good thing. I felt it could also be a story of dealing with the experience and fears of another baby in the house that may replace you in the family.

The human baby brother is sick. The kid telling the story has anxieties, so Oppel coined a new genre: Sick Lit, which is also apparent in a lot of new fiction. Plus, this may be aliens instead.

So, of course, I got the book, got all my dragon books signed and can't wait to find out what happens to that kid and the baby and the sick baby and the aliens or maybe not aliens. And wasps are really creepy, we have those giant nests in Cheboygan that looked like they will collectively eat you. The creepometer is at an 8.6.

Mimi not really interested, so she went and saw Lauren Groff and appreciated the Delicate Edible Birds instead.
The beauty of the festival is that this is something for everyone.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Laguna Teal Somerset Studios Challenge

Brother graduated from high school and there has been all kind of commotion to do with that, but we've still been busy making art and reading and re-reading Somerset Studios magazines.
When we saw the Laguna Teal color challenge in the back of the magazine, we thought well why not do a piece in that color since we've been channeling Monet's paintings for the Paris challenge. For that one, we used Monet's most famous Water Lily series. Monet was born in Paris. Monet also used a lot of Laguna Teal. We sorted through copies to find the one that uses the most, and we chose: Rough Sea at Etretat.
We love scouring yard sales, the Goodwill and second-hand shops for Mixed-Media treasures, and that's where we found a bunch of inexpensive prints to decoupage, copy or use in journals.
We glued it on a journal from Michael's craft store (We also wait for a sale or use a 40-percent off coupon to save on costs). Glues are important and we prefer The Ultimate. The Ultimate makes sure that it's stuck forever without being stuck on your skin.
 We buy up old leather coats and skirts and cut them into usable pieces and store them in the studio like you would fabric scraps. These painting journals takes lots of tiny strips of leather, so save all the bits in large plastic Ziplocs.
Now for the challenge! You know I'm up for it.
This piece of leather from an old coat looks like a great match. The cork of the journal mimics the sand in the painting,  so we'll let some of it peak through.
Who knew we could find leather to match - this makes the whole thing just right.
I cut and then glue down each strip of leather with corresponding colors needed on the painting. Not tough at all, just tedious. It's essentially painting with glue. I use a paintbrush for the glue, put it on the leather and then pat it down. Leather is easy to work with in this format and will stretch or shorten as you wish. Cut, strip, glue, cut strip, clue for at least an entire day, and Oui, we have our own masterpiece.

So does Mimi like it?
She thinks it's okay.
Ah, what does she know she's a genuine Grumpy Cat.

It turned out kind of nice with lots of textures and plenty of Laguna Teal, probably because these folks are at a lagoon.

Anyone out there?




Friday, January 30, 2015

Friends Luncheon Book Art Decorations


The Friends of the Linebaugh held their Annual Membership Luncheon in January at the Women's Club in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
 Susan Gregg Gilmore spoke about her latest book Funeral Dress, which is becoming a best-seller. Set in Dunlop Tennessee, she examines the lives of the courageous women in the seamstress factory. Gilmore also discussed how she got to this publishing point with funny and poignant stories. For example, when she lived near Ann Patchett, she tried hard not to stalk her, but it was always so tempting to peak in the window and see what the creative author was doing. Some of Gilmore's other works are Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen and The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove.

Gilmore answers questions.

For fun, the Friends board created book-art decorations, filling the tables with book flowers,
leather-bound novels, and decoupaged board books.
There were even a few decoupaged cats and vases.

Some have asked how we made the book flowers.
Well, here it is.

Make a cardboard template in this shape.

Take discarded books and rip out the pages (or significant words and books that hold special meaning to you and your event) and trace the design on the pages and cut. To speed up the process, you can also can hold the template up to the paper and cut out the shape (avoid cutting into the template).

Roll the page and then dab a spot of liquid-cement  to the end section (you can put a dab in the beginning section too to hold the flower together). Let dry, and it's done.

Now, do that one-thousand more times.

"I'm guessing he expects me to do the other 999!"


Thanks to Board members: Shelly Graham, Buffy Oneal, Kris Delene, Sandra Pineault, Melanie Howell for their work on this project.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Cassius Christmas

It's time to put down the research for our latest children's book: Finding Cassius
and have a bit of Christmas cheer.

Sending out the Christmas presents.
Matching our leather journals to the right purse.

Then there is all that wrapping.

Which leaves me to do the real work - design the Christmas cards!

Perhaps get out the supplies.
And take a family portrait.
That's a Very Merry Good Old Fashioned Cassius Christmas!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Art with Abandon

Spring time. Sprinting up the stairs, late for class at the art retreat, I noticed art lying there on the steps. Not wanting to steal, thinking someone lost it, I set it on the table and figured the owner would return for it. Later that day a fellow artist came into class squealing that she found the Art Abandon Project book by the deMengs in the bathroom. Well, shouldn't she return it? Apparently not, this is the Art Abandonment mission, to leave art for free to the lucky person who discovers it. There is a note attached saying you can keep it.
Well, I'd blown my one chance because I didn't stop to read the note.
I did sell a suitcase full of leather journals that I re-purpose from vintage coats at the retreat. With all this art abandon, whose to say there couldn't be an art swap? I'd taken every bit of money that I didn't have just to attend the retreat, so this would be the only way to take home some goodies. Quite nervous to ask, but what the heck?  I traded a leather journal for Pam Carriker's mixed media adhesive. That's seemed kind of amazing.
 The Art Abandon book was never far from my thoughts. Would Andrea Matus deMeng want a couple leather journals in trade for her book? She did purposely leave one in the bathroom so there is a chance. My heart racing, hoping not to make a fool of myself.
Near the end of the day, I crept into her class and sheepishly asked, and she said, "Yes!" 
Every artist can use a leather journal. Andrea deMeng showing her clean hands at lunch.
Mid Summer. Every year, we attend the Western and Southern Open Tennis tournament in Ohio.
I make Tennis Art Journals with photograph/paintings of the players and have them sign their pages.
What if, this year, I randomly hand out leather tennis journals to the players?
Tennis players keep journals in their bags, keeping track of their progress and points to remember, tendences, coach tips not to forget, that sort of thing.
Plus, the public is usually taking something from the players such as an autographs, selfies, a towel, headbands and sometimes even their racquets. It might be nice to gift them something instead.

In the beginnings stages of the tournament we can get this close to the players as they are pacticing. Ernest Gulbis. Fernando Verdasco. Elise Cornet

Sometimes we can get even closer!
 It's complete abandonment of tennis journals with tennis ball designs on the covers.
First, I handed Jelena Jankovic a couple. She smiled.
Walking down the corridor, I notice Francesca Schiavone being very nice to some kids wanting selfies with her. So, why not. I hand her two of them and wasn't prepared from the response.
She held them to her chest and said, "no, no, this is too nice. No, I can't take this. Yes, I will take only one. This is much too nice." I thanked her and took one back. Then she grabbed me and did the Italian kisses on one side of my cheek and then the other. I was to reciprocate, but being American and we don't normally do this in America, rusty, I did kiss her on the cheek and say, "I'm glad you like it." She continued, "You just don't know, I write in journals all the time!"
Once I walked away, some guy came up to me and asked, "What did you give her?"
I told him and he said, "That looked really nice."
This was going better than expected. I passed out one to Wimbeldon Champion Petra Kvitova. She got one with parts from a Coach purse. Elise Cornet liked hers and thanked me very much in her French accent.
One of my favorite players on tour is Fabio Fognini, but you never know which Fabio will show up - he's a little wacky. I had two journals left that looked manly, plus I was tired of toting them around, so I told my family I was going to give the last two to Fabio. They told me not too because he probably wouldn't appreciate it. Well, I wasn't looking for appreciation, just fun.
You never know how this is going to go? So which Fabio will show up when handed the journals?
The really nice one!
My son took this photo and he looks pretty happy about his tennis journals.
Once home, I checked in to  Facebook to  post photos of tennis players, and I get a message that I WON for the submission of a Book Review Contest -
A boxload of art supplies from Pam Carriker!
How cool is all this stuff - and even Pam Carriker art!
Hmmm,  Karma. I spent the weekend giving away art to come home and find that I've been gifted art.
Our preacher once said, "Try to give something away. You can't. It will just come back."

So, we'll have to get busy making some more art with all these cool supplies.
Thank you so much Pam Carriker. I love it!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

UnMatched Book Artistry

Soman Chainani author of the best-selling YA series The School for Good and Evil will be visiting Murfreesboro schools September, 2014. For Literacy Day on August 2nd, we've designed miniature versions of his books for every age to craft together at the Friends booth. We will provide the supplies, and even some to-go bags if you can't stick around (literally). 

Here's what we'll be doing.

Supply List:
Leather Square
Ultimate Glue
Glue brushes
Crayons, colored pencils, etc.
Photo of book cover printed to size of matchbook

1. Empty the matches out of the matchbox (we found our matchboxes at an estate sale).

2. Photograph the book cover and then print it out to the size of the matchbox.
3. Gesso the entire matchbox and let dry (this is like a primer to give the box a gritty coating).
You can paint the inside of the box, glue book pages down, add secret messages, etc.
4. Once dry, glue the photograph to the front
5. Glue a leather square to the back and side of the matchbox.
You can carry the leather over to the front if you like that look.
We found old leather coats cheap at yard sales and cut them up into matchbox size squares.
Tip: Take a nap on one of the coats.
I accidentally made some copies in black and white, but no matter, watercolor pencils and crayons can enhance them.
6. Draw pencil lines on the ends and sides to look like pages of a book.
Tip: Use a ruler to make the lines.
There you have it - the Cutest Little Book that is UnMatched anywhere!
So, go ahead and make a miniature library of all your favorite books.
It doesn't take up a lot of room.