Pulled string painting and altered books

They made it look so easy…

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Finished pulled string art from some other, more talented artist

So I tried it…

 

Um, nope. Let me try thicker string.

 

Well that was a #fail. Let me try less paint, and pull quickly and more smoothly. Also less pressing down.

 

Ah! Getting there! That one looks more like the ones I saw in all the videos. Let me try again, still less paint, less pressure.

Voila! Now I have the trick! I still find it harder than it looks, but then again, I find all art harder than it looks.

I persevere though. Now for my altered art.

Fifteen years ago I learned about making Altered Books. You take a discarded book, preferably one that has a vintage cover, and glue together bunches of pages, and of the remaining pages you collage or pant over the words, leaving exposed the words you want to highlight. Each page can then tell your own story, or be a poem. Here is the title page and preface of my altered book. It’s the story of my journey toward salvation.

 

I had a hard time gluing the bunches of pages together and the book came out bulky. I also had a hard time because it was a big project. My talent is small and so my projects must be small. I kept my completed book but abandoned the process, hesitant to try again.

Recently I figured out that you can alter just ONE page. Duh. So I did a few pages last night . They look childish because I used childish materials, colored pencil and crayon, but it’s a start. It is harder than it looks, too. Writing poetry is difficult. Even looking over a series of words that already exist to patch together a poem is hard. But it’s relaxing and sometimes the stuff comes out pretty, and it’s fun, so that’s all that matters. Who doesn’t like coloring?

 

More books! The Special Store sells hardbacks for $1 and paperbacks for fifty cents. I got the Sherlock Holmes, Unbroken and Huddle of Sheep, plus the McEwan paperback there. I got the Puritan Paperback The Doctrine of Repentance for 2 cents from Amazon. Yes, 2 cents, the rest was paid for by Amazon points I’d accumulated. Score!

 

Summertime is time for trying new things, being leisurely, meditating on different things I’m learning, reading, and just relaxing. I hope that even if you don’t have vacation time coming, that you can find some time to gather your thoughts, have a cup of coffee straight through, or take a nap. It’s the little things.

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Breakfast of Champions!

oatmeal

I have oatmeal with chia seeds and fruit every morning during school. It fills me and staves off hunger until lunch. Which is great because stress eating is huge in school. If I’m full I don’t roam the hallways like a hangry Visigoth looking for any crumb to eat. Oatmeal with chia seeds also feels good while digesting, and my cholesterol has lowered.

After a brief detour last week of eggs or salmon for breakfast, I am back to oatmeal with chia seeds. Here’s the lowdown:

A 1 ounce (2TB) serving of chia seeds contains:

Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

This is particularly impressive when you consider that this is just a single ounce, which supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate!

Information from Healthline.

Oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. And you already know about blueberries and their benefits.

What I do is make one serving of oats according to the package directions, and add the 2T of chia seeds. I turn on the burner to 2. This cooks it long enough to soften the chia seeds. One thing I like about chia seeds is that in their raw state they are crunchy but definitely chewable, unlike many other seeds. But interestingly when chia seeds are put into a liquid, they puff up the item it’s in while softening. Sometimes people make ‘chia pudding’ that way. It increases the volume of oatmeal.

I set it on 2 and walk away. It doesn’t take long for the oatmeal to cook, I make it every day when I school is in. I just leave it for five minutes or so. When it’s cooked to the consistency I like, I add honey and milk, though if you are Vegan you can leave off those last two. I put in a tupperware, and go. Or if I’m home I eat it right then.

Look up chia seeds, all their health benefits and uses. Oatmeal is a good breakfast. I strayed into eggs and salmon for a while, and it was good to have a little variety, but now I’m back! I feel the oaty and chia benefits. Now all I need to do is stop at Kroger and buy a jumbo oatmeal package, and I’ll be all set.

A day out

I am having a ball this summer! I love summer, love, love, love. Who would not love being able to stay home and drink coffee slowly in the morning, laugh at the clock, and take naps? One day I took TWO naps.

I think my favorite thing about summer break is knowing I don’t have to get up (though I rise early every day anyway) and drinking my 2 cups of coffee slowly without hurry. I really love the leisurely coffee part. Of course, I enjoy having the mental chops to read heavier books, and not being so tired all the time.

Last night I sat outside at dark and watched the fireflies and the stars come out. It was a soft evening, like wearing a velvet cape, and some happy birds sang in the dark.

Today I had to go to Athens and retrieve my new glasses I’d ordered. I like them! I never got used to the bifocal line, so I got progressive lenses this time. Insurance covered it, yay.

I stopped at the car wash, got a hot tea and breakfast sandwich at Starbucks thanks to a gift certificate, and went to The Special Store for books. Here is the photographic rundown.

The entire haul: (except the painting)

Books: Hardcover a dollar, soft cover 50 cents

  • The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1975, hardcover
  • Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken, hardcover
  • Ian McEwan, Saturday, paperback
  • A Huddle of Sheep: Poems and Quotes
  • Pictures and Stories of Animals, McLoughlin

Colorful small dish, to be used at the kitchen sink for steel wool pads. $1,

Note cards! One set is Thank You, another is an Autumn motif, blank inside, the black and white set is also blank inside, and the longer ones with the sweet cardinal at the end are just letter sized envelopes. They were all just 50 cents each.

Small drawing, framed, $2.

Antique book, Hand sewn binding. Color plates.
Apparently McLoughlin books were pioneers in color illustrations in children’s books in the 1800s and early 1900s. This is from 1902. They are highly collectible.

I had a nice ride with no vehicular issues or mechanical break downs. It was a nice couple of hours, and returning home was also nice. The last few days have been cooler with low humidity, but today the humidity came swimming back and the temps are in the 90s. It was HOT standing on the pavement going thru the boxes of books. I am glad I did my errands early.

I’ve been using a charcoal scrub on my face, and it feels great! My skin is so soft. And at the Dollar Store they had lavender scented Epsom salts, I’ve been soaking my feet a few times per week. Nice! I have a pitcher of lime or lemon water in the fridge at all times, which I pour into and sip from a crustal-etched glass. It’s like a spa around here.

I hope everyone has a nice day!

 

Heading out, then I’ll be glad to get back in

I possess:

407 hard copy books
84 digital books
4 magazines

Yet, it might not be enough…

Abibliophobia – Fear of running out of things to read.

books

Fortunately I am on Summer Break so I do get to read a lot.

Summer Break throws me into a time vertigo, though. I have 9 weeks at home. I lose track of what day it is. I started a visual journal of my days so I can sort of keep up. Here are the first three days-

collage day 1

 

collage day 2

 

collage day 3

It is also supposed to challenge me to be creative with photography. In truth, every single day could be a photo of the cats and books. That’s it. I’m a routine person. I’m not an outdoors person and I’m not a people person and I’m not a social person. Gee, looking at that list I think I am Boring Person!

How can I present the minutiae of my life, and make it interesting? How can I capture one photo of a moment and if I look back on it next year or five years from now, will I remember that I was doing or what that was about? That is the question.

I started an EB White biography and it’s charming. I also downloaded an autobiography of Amelia E. Barr who lived through the 1800s and died in 1919. I wish there was a hard copy book because I prefer to hold a book in my hand but hard copy of her books are hard to come by, so I’ll be happy reading about this remarkable woman on my Kindle. She was amazing! You know the movie Remember The Alamo? She wrote the book of the same title the movie was based on.

I am thinking I’ll go 15 miles south on a little expedition this morning. A General Store/Tea Room/Gift Shop is a few miles below me. It is old, has wide plank floors, art, homemade treats, is a hub in that little village, and all the things you’d think a little out of the way place in a little village like that would be. It’s in a direction I never go. I always head west to Athens, since that is where Kroger grocery store is and my church and doctors and friends. Isn’t it funny that we get into these habits and usually just take the same road? I am reminded of a Jimmy Buffett Song Take Another Road. Today I think I will. Photos to come.

I do have important errands to accomplish so it’s a given I will go out today.

Sunday is my next scheduled outing. Between the outing times, what do I do all day in my tiny apartment? Read, write, study, think, pray, and explore the world, virtually. I remember before internet. After internet is better.

Have a good day everyone!

 

I published this post on May 26, 2013. Today I added the photo just below.

They came home. So many others, didn’t.

Thank you to the men and women who served with honor. Since the Revolutionary War, you have set aside your life, and in some cases, given your life, to serve a greater cause. The liberties I enjoy are attributable to you. Thank you.

Thank you to Americo V. Bernardoni, (Great Uncle) who served in WWII from enlistment date of June 1942 through to the end of the war, plus 6 months. He was a Private in the Branch Immaterial Warrant Officers, USA.

Thank you to my grandfather, (below, front row, 2nd from right) who served in the the First World War in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. This regiment was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, with a history going back to 1688. It saw service for three centuries, and during WWI, the regiment increased from five to nineteen battalions which served in France and Flanders, Mesopotamia and Palestine. The regiment lost approximately 6,000 dead in the four years of war.

Thank you to John Prata, (father) who served in the US Navy in the 1950s. He graduated from Officers Candidate School in Newport RI and Athens Supply Corps school in Georgia. He served as Ship’s Bursar, and in the theater of the Pacific at Bikini. He was on the ships that were testing Hydrogen bombs.

Thank you to Raymond Tortolani, (uncle) who also graduated from Newport’s OCS and served in the US Navy.

Thank you to William Keogh, (uncle) who served in the United States Coast Guard.

Though my family members did not lose their life to war, (though many of my father’s shipmates came down with various cancers due to the radiation fallout from the hydrogen bombs), I thank you for serving our nation.

To the ones who are grieving, your grief is noticed and the sacrifice of your loved one is honored.

The Final Teapot

Several years ago I began browsing in a small shop in my small town, a shop called The Shabby Chic Cottage. The ladies who owned it would acquire items from yard sales or estate sales, refinish them if they needed it, and then resell in their store. They had gorgeous items, everything from art to furniture to ceramic items, rugs linens, and everything in between.

I bought my first vintage bone china teacup there. The pattern from manufacturer Tuscan in Duchess pattern is described at Replacements.com says “Roses, Gray & Cream Bands, Gold Trim”. It’s fine English bone china, it’s delicate, and it’s pretty. I was hooked. I wrote about its acquisition here.

That was two years ago and sadly, shortly after, the shop closed. I was sad for the ladies but sad for me too. I had been bitten by a bug and no way to salve it. Then a friend told me of another shop, not as nicely arranged but prices were even better, and it wasn’t far from me. I began haunting it and soon acquired over the last two years, 8 more china teacups and 3 more teapots.

As I went along in this quest, I had in mind THE teapot I wanted. I acquired the other three only because I was looking for THE one and they charmed me in the meantime. But in my mind, if you’re sipping tea from a fine English bone china teacup, there should be a fine English bone china teapot it came from. And to me, an iconic English teapot is round, white background, with some kind of flowers as a motif. As you can see from my collection, I’m not married to the notion that this kind of teapot is the only kind of pot, as I’ve collected American and Japanese pots too. But a collection in my opinion would have the iconic English pot.

And it was that very one that escaped me for so long. Here are my teapots so far:

Tetsubin:

Tetsubin, which Wikipedia explains are “Japanese cast-iron kettles with a pouring spout, a lid, and a handle crossing over the top, used for boiling and pouring hot water for drinking purposes, such as for making tea.” They are traditionally used to heat water or tea over a charcoal brazier.

Kutani:

The folks at My Tea Ware say, “Kutani is a regional brand known for vibrant colors and intricate patterns of painting on porcelain. Kutani kilns are located in rural part of Ishikawa prefecture by the Japan sea.”

This Japanese Kutani crackle porcelain teapot has all-over crazing under the clear glaze for a crackle design. The transfer design is an iris and bird motif with gold leaf on both sides and on the lid, with a bamboo or rattan handle. The color is an ivory or cream color. Kutani porcelains are characterized by their elaborate picture decorations in thick gold, red, blue and some other colors. In latter years I understand that these decorations were no longer hand painted but usually transferred by decal.

I am unsure of the date of the piece but it’s likely late 1970s, early 1980s. This teapot and cup are not vintage but are extremely functional. The pot is the perfect size for three or four cups, it keeps the tea hot, and the design is growing on me more and more. It’s the most useful and functional of all the teapots I own.

 

American: Hall

t hall teapot

Due to the style of backstamp, the teapot was likely made in between 1915-1929. I think. It’s so cool to think this pot is a hundred years old. There’s a reason it looks so good for its age. According to eBay Hall teapot collecting tips,

“The innovative heir to The Hall China Company, Robert Taggart Hall, sought to devise a way to bring back the single-fire method, which was prominent during the Ming Dynasty. At the time, pottery producers used a two-step firing process, with the first to harden the piece and second to set the glaze. Working with the company’s ceramic engineers and chemists, Hall and his team created a new glaze recipe for the single-fire process. The new process allowed for many vivid new colors, which were previously unseen, in United States pottery manufacture.”

This firing process keeps the pot looking new, it doesn’t craze.

Whittard: English

Here is the Whittard Clipper I received as a gift. It’s an English pot. The ridge along the bottom is so that the pot would nest into a specially made pairing of a teacup. I broke the cup. The little 2-cup pot stands alone now. Whittard is an English company founded in 1886. My pot, however, is new.

At The Special Store the other day I found another iconic teapot, this one is American. It’s a Homer Laughlin, maker of the famous Fiesta ware and Riviera ware. This line is called Eggshell, and being thinner, it was a departure from the thicker and sturdier ware like the Fiesta introduced in the late 1920s.

The teapot I found was a mid-century style pot in Eggshell, Cavalier style and Spring Song pattern. It was actively sold between 1952-1959. SO mid-century! It’s large, the largest pot I own. I really like mid-century modern styles, as long as the motifs aren’t overdone with the outer space patterns of galaxies and stars and stuff.

cute decoration atop the finial

So I needed one more English pot, the iconic one I’d had in mind as the ideal. It would be made by a good manufacturer, white background, flower motif. Then I saw the photo the store had posted, I thought, ‘Wow! PERFECT!’

When I got to the store it was perfect, with one issue. It is a mini-teapot, a 1-cup. It holds 8 ounces. It’s cute and lovely and charming and I bought it immediately. It is a Sadler mini-pot, Rosebud swirl pattern, gold edging. I had not known that Sadler teapots are highly collectible, and highly thought of in the china world. I just thought it was cute.

This completes the teapot collecting, and the teacup collecting too. I now have two American teapots, two English, and two Japanese pots. For cups, I have 9.

–Limoges C. Ahrenfeldt, (French) consomme cup, 1894-1930
–Made in Occupied Japan, (Japanese) Rose pattern, 1945-1952,
–Tuscan, (British) Duchess pattern, 1947-1965,
–Syracuse China (American) Federal Shape, pattern, 1949-1970,
–Vernonware, (American) Raffia pattern, made in 1953-54,
–Noritake, (Japanese) Stanton pattern, made between 1953-1961,
–Noritake, (Japanese) Glenrose, 1951-1957,
–Fine China of Japan, Platinum Wheat pattern, dates unknown but sometime mid-century,
–Aynsley, Louis XV pattern, post 1960.

 

Winterville Marigold Festival

Each town has their “thing” for which they want to be known. In Maine, where I lived for a long time, the nearby town of Yarmouth is known for its Clam Festival. Here in Georgia, the town of Helen in the mountains is known for its Oktoberfest. Also in Georgia, 45 years ago, the Town of Winterville decided it needed sprucing up and planned a fundraiser and morale-booster. The planning committee chose the marigold to be their town symbol. The marigold stands for “hardiness, versatility, and vigor, and because it is a symbol of friendship all over the world.” Funds from the festival are funneled back into the community to maintain buildings and beautify the area.

The town is small with population 1200 at last census. Strangely, it’s its own municipality contained wholly within Athens GA. It’s quaint, really quaint. Large, two story homes with wrap-around porches line the streets, a nice looking Baptist Church is front and center, an original train depot stands historically and heroically, and Pittard Park is the locale for many community doings, including this festival.

In my opinion, this festival is the perfect size. It is long-standing and reputable enough to attract a variety of vendors, but not so large that it’s difficult to get around. My friend and I had a nice time for a few hours walking around and listening to music. Here are my photos of the day.

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