Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What constitutes an "art journal?"

I've been pondering this subject for quite some time now.

For several months I have been visiting blogs and web sites of those gifted artists who make beautiful art journal pages and I've just been drooling all over myself. I've purchased a couple of Stampington publications devoted to art journaling and the images within those pages are a huge source of inspiration.

I've begun tinkering, so to speak, and I decided today was the day. To share, that is.

Here are a couple of my journal pages, although I'm not exactly sure you'd call them "art."

I have a cabinet full of spiral bound notebooks dating back to the 1990s. I have used them to keep up at work and in life. There are always lists. Memos to myself so I don't forget something important. Tags and scraps from throughout my day or week that I want to keep for whatever reasons. Little drawings and doodles that often appear during phone conversations. Song titles, book titles, web sites ... things I want to remember ... writing them down helps me to remember. Sometimes it helps transfer the information from short term memory to long term memory. Other times, I'll remember where on the page I wrote it down, making it easier to find later.

So, there you are. My first "public" art journal pages.

I like doing this a lot these days. It took over a week to fill these two pages, I think because summer is a slow time in my neighborhood. Other times I've filled a page in one or two days. I think as I do this more and see what other artists are doing, I'll become more adventurous. In the meantime, I'm having fun and I'm sure that's the most important thing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reclaimed Wood Plant Hanger

One day in July, I stumbled across Under The Table Dreaming, a really cool blog with all kinds of how-to's for stuff around the house.  I was charmed by the reclaimed wood plant hanger/birdfeeder and considered how one might fit in my backyard. I liked it so much, as a matter of fact, that I sent the link to my darling husband, who happens to be very handy with anything wood.

His response: "Okay. When?"

We made a trip to Home Depot and picked up Gorilla Glue and two small plants. We spent a lot of time discussing the design and exploring how we could adapt it for longevity in the south Florida sub-tropical environment. With high humidity through much of the year, it's always a factor for consideration whenever working with wood or textiles. DH (being an engineer educated in Germany) added biscuits to the joints before gluing for added stability.

He said he'd never used Gorilla Glue before, so it was a guess how it would perform. Glue's a funny thing, you know ... and, one thing that affects it a lot is the amount of water in the air ... that humidity thing. Which we have in abundance here in sunny south Florida.

I was pretty useless during this part of the process, so I took pictures while dh worked. Once he had it all glued together, he put these clamps on it and we had to wait for it to dry. Don't the clamps look like torture devices? I can imagine someone being ... oh, well ... never mind.

I have lived in my house for 23 years and all the trees in my yard were planted by me. The live oak that hosts one of the plant hangers (dh made two!) was planted when my youngest daughter was four years old.

She's 23 today. (We moved in five days before she was born.)

It was a little, skinny, sapling tree, given away by the city to promote planting native trees on private property.  I think it was the beginning of the local NatureScape movement.  Today, it's quite majestic for a young tree, offering shade, habitat for cardinals to nest, and a place for this cool hanger to keep company with a flourishing young staghorn fern.

You may notice that this planter doesn't use the wire for hanging as Stephanie does on Under The Table Dreaming.  DH drilled two holes in the top of the frame and used nautical rope in lieu of wire, again for added stability.  The second plant hanger is suspended from the roof truss of my little, pink, gardening shed.  I planted moss rose in the pot to bring some color to the area. It's shaded by an orchid tree and will be keeping company with an abundance of tropical plants. 

It wasn't a difficult project at all. You have to wait for the glue to dry, and there was some wood cutting involved, but, aside from those two things, it was a really simple project. Simple to me, of course, because dh did all the hard work!  Thanks, honey!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great Room!


When my darling husband and I married in 2005, each of us had a home with lots of stuff. He had lived on his own for 13 years and I had been living on my own for nine years. We had known each other for six years, through mutual friends, but it wasn't until we started taking ballroom dancing classes that we really got to know each other and fell in love.

When we married, it took about six months to decide which house we were going to live in together. Once that decision was made, it became a process of merging all our "stuff" and doing it with style and authenticity. I'm posting photos of the room where we spend the most time together ... the "Great Room."  I've lived in this house since 1987 and love that it has a fireplace made of stones from North Carolina and a vaulted ceiling. There are also a lot of trees on my street which provides habitat for native wildlife.

The one thing that neither of us had was a nice sofa. Mine was ratty and worn. So was his. So, when we had the new tile floors laid, we decided to ditch the sofas and shop. So, we shopped. And, shopped. And, shopped. In April of 2007 we attended a theatre in Delray Beach and there we saw the sofa we wanted. But, of course, it was an antique and not for sale. So, the search continued.

Finally, over Labor Day weekend in 2008, we were shopping in furniture stores looking for a new mattress (we settled on a Tempurpedic, which we love!) and guess what? We found our sofa! From the Tommy Bahama furniture line, it was solid wood with beautiful details and we had a terrific selection of upholstery materials to choose from ...

It was a wait of nearly two months, but, finally, one day in late October, the furniture store called to schedule delivery of our sofa. It was still another two weeks of toe tapping and finger drumming, but finally ... it arrived. Since then, there hasn't been a single day when I haven't admired it and said to dh how glad I am we bought it. I am absolutely certain I can live with it forever! Yes. I know ... I may have to reupholster or replace the cushions at some point down the road. But, the sofa? It's destined to become an antique on its own some day!

Below is our new storm resistent door. We've had it for nearly a year now, and it took six months to get used to all the extra light coming in. We kept looking to see who left the door open!

The pendulum clock next to the door belonged to my mother and was a gift from my aunt last summer. I love the quiet of the house, with just the sound of the pendulum ticking back and forth. It's soothing and very peaceful.
More recently, we created an art gallery. He had art. I had art. It was stacked here and there because we couldn't seem to make up our minds what to do with it. Then, one Saturday afternoon not too long ago, I said, let's hang it and, together, we created our very own little art gallery. I enjoy it every day and I think dh does too!
It has taken quite a lot of time to merge our lives and possessions together, but as the room takes on its new style, it is emerging to be a room filled with beautiful woods (dh's cabinets are from Italy), Persian carpeting and artistic details that we brought with us or acquired since we joined forces.
I don't know if the Great Room will every be finished. We're working on the kitchen now. DH has built custom cabinets for the kitchen area and we've selected the stone for the counter top. But, one thing is certain ... it is a great room, furnished with love and affection and the shared joy of coming home every day to our artful life!