Category Archives: I’m Crafty

Valentine to My Own Dear Heart

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Coyote Sue told me about the contest.

A local coffee shop was holding an art contest with the theme “Sacred Heart” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Oh yeah, I thought. I can collage it up to that theme.

I grew up Catholic, so I was familiar with the imagery of Jesus and his Sacred Heart, but if you’re not, here’s a picture from Two Heart Design (http://www.twoheartsdesign.com):

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Heart) says,

The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart[3] shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

Somehow the teachers at my weekly Catechism classes failed to teach me what the Sacred Heart was all about, and I had to turn to Wikipedia again. The aforementioned article says,

The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ’s physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity.

This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and among some high-churchAnglicans and Lutherans. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity, and its long suffering. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675,[1] and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested, in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.[2]

I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I started the project. I knew I wanted to make a collage, and I knew I wanted to profess the sacredness of my heart. As interesting as a heart pierced by a lance wound and surrounded by a crown of thorns may be, I decided not to go the Jesus route with my project. Yes, in the collage for the contest, I would make the sacred heart in question my own.

Most of my collages are small, usually about 4″ x 6″, postcard size. The minimum size accepted for this contest was 8″ x 10″. OH! This was going to be a big one.

I started gathering materials at my favorite purveyor of inspiration, the thrift store.

I took this photos showing the original wall ornament after I painted about half the border with red fingernail polish.

At the thrift store, I found an inspirational plaque with the saying “Home is Where the Heart Is.” I liked it because the words were written on a piece of heavy cardboard that projected from the frame. I also bought half a bottle of red fingernail polish which I used to paint a copper colored border. Finally, I found a big red cardboard heart to use as the focal point of the project.

After painting the border, I started collaging the areas within and outside the border. I used mostly images I had on hand. I also collaged the big red cardboard heart. I went back and forth between those two parts of the project.

Royalty Free Images Anatomical Heart Vintage

This is the royalty free anatomical heart image I got from http://thegraphicsfairy.com/royalty-free-images-anatomical-heart-vintage/.

I wanted my sacred heart to be somewhat realistic, so I found a royalty free image of an anatomical heart from “a Vintage Circa 1884 Science Book” on http://thegraphicsfairy.com/royalty-free-images-anatomical-heart-vintage/. I used colored pencils to color the body of the heart red and the blood vessels a purply blue. Later, I used purple and red glass beads to accent the parts of the heart and the blood vessels.

My final touch on the anatomical heart was to add words of inspiration and aspiration next to the letters marking the different regions of the heart. For example, the letter H shows the part of my heart where “breathing with joy and ease” occurs. Part C of my heart is “joyous.” The letter I points to the area from where my compassion flows.

In addition to the images I cut from magazines and catalogs, I used real stones on my collage. I added turquoise (which is said to stimulate romantic love), rose quartz (the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace) and quartz crystals (a powerful healer and energy amplifier) I dug up in Arkansas. In the middle of the anatomical heart, I glued on a cubic zirconia a friend sent me last summer. The cubic zirconia and the self-stick “jewels” I bought at Wal-Mart give the whole project a bit of bling.

I pierced the representation of my heart with little skewers which once held tea bags from the shop sponsoring the contest. Those skewers sport little red hearts. I think the skewers evoke the piercing by the lance in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I attached  metal spirals which I painted with glittery nail polish, as well as a large red glass heart which had been crookedly glued to my dash. (I used three different kinds of glue to make this collage! Is that some kind of a record?)

The queen of hearts represents me, and the pink image of Guanyin (or Guan Yin) represents the compassion and mercy I want to offer to myself and others. (For those who may not know, Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanyin] says Guanyin

is an East Asianbodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English.)

Since I’m a word person, I couldn’t let the piece go without a written explanation.

My heart is sacred, fragile, and precious.

I used the definitions from an old dictionary Coyote Sue gave me to explain the meaings of the words “sacred,” “fragile,” and “precious.”

I call this collage “Valentine for My Own Dear Heart.” It’s a reminder to me that my heart needs to be treated with reverence and care. Anyone who gets close to my heart better be prepared to treat it kindly.

My Creative Dream Guidebook

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I’ve adored SARK for years.

I can’t remember which of her books was the first I read, but I know I knew about her before the 21st century. I remember decorating a post card and writing a fan letter on it and sending it to her in 1999 or 2000, so I certainly knew her work well by then.

If you’ve never heard of SARK, I’m glad I can be the one to tell you about her.

Succulent Wild Woman
SARK is her acronym name; the letters stand for Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. On her website, Planet SARK (http://planetsark.com/about-sark/), she says about herself,

Throughout the course of my life and career as an international expert in personal well-being and transformation, my name has become synonymous with transformation, color, healing, movement & FUN.

I’ve written countless books and created programs that I offer to provide a powerfull [sic], grounded and practical approach to feeling glad more often, transforming what hurts into what helps and living a life of joyfull creative expression. No matter what!

I’ve read a lot of SARK’s books over the years, including Succulent Wild Woman, Eat Mangoes Naked, A Creative Companion: How to Free Your Creative Spirit, The Bodacious Book of Succulence: Daring to Live Your Succulent Wild Life, and Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed: The Ultimate Nap Book.

The books are full of colors and wisdom and love. Even though I live in a van and have little space to hoard books, I own copies of both Succulent Wild Woman and Eat Mangoes Naked. Sometimes when I am sad, I reread one or both of the books for the umpteenth time. I like browsing through the books, skipping around, reading bits and pieces here and there. Reading SARK’s kind and gentle words always lifts my spirits, cheers me up, makes me feel better.

Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day
In 2004, Touchstone books released SARK’s book Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day. (Yes, I WOULD rather sleep all day, as a matter of fact.)

I’ve had my eye on Make Your Creative Dreams Real for a while now, but I was never in the right position to acquire it. I don’t like to spend money on books since there are so many free ones out in the world, but I never found this one in a free pile or offered on BookMooch.

I was house sitting for a friend from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve. She had a $10 voucher at an independent used bookstore that expired on New Year’s Eve. She didn’t have a chance to use the voucher before she left town, and her plane didn’t land until late on December 31. Since she couldn’t use the voucher, she left it for me. (Super big thanks to this generous friend who also left a Chick-fil-A gift card for me!)

Before I went to the bookstore, I didn’t really know what I wanted to get. I wandered around in the store for a while before I thought, OH! SARK!

So I sought out SARK in the store’s self-help section. (SIDE NOTE: I couldn’t find the self-help section, but I was too embarrassed to ask any of the workers to direct me. How silly is that!?! I was too embarrassed to let strangers know I wanted to self-help myself. Sigh.)

The Grapes of Wrath
There were quite a few titles by SARK on the shelf. Then I saw Make Your Creative Dreams Real. Oh, yes, that would do. I checked the price. It only cost $8! Score! (With my remaining $2, I bought a battered copy of The Grapes of Wrath, which I’d decided to revisit.)

Although the word “plan” is clearly in the subtitle, I didn’t realize Make Your Creative Dreams Real is a how-to book. I started reading it and realized it’s a twelve month, week-by-week guide. Every week SARK presents a new project, exercise, game, or suggestion.

I’ve never been good at sticking with how-to books that require weekly exercises, but I figured since I already had the book I should stay the course.

The exercise for the first week was to make a “creative dream guidebook” for myself. I had a visual journal I’d bought with a gift certificate The Lady of the House gave me a couple years ago for Christmas. I’d bought two journals and only used part of one, so I thought the second one would do just fine.

I made collages on both covers. (One of the best features of this particular journal is that you I can open it completely and lay it flat.) I went for a blue theme, which I thought gave everything a dreamy feeling. Coyote Sue had just given me an old children’s dictionary she’d bought at a thrift store, so I cut out and pasted on the definitions for “create/creation/creator” (since there was no entry for “creative”), “dream,” “guidebook,” “blaze” (because, you know, the dictionary doesn’t include “Blaize”), and “sun.” I think it turned out great.

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I took the photo of my Creative Dream Guidebook collage. The other images are links to Amazon.com. If you click any of those images, they will take you to Amazon, and I will get an advertising fee from anything you purchase.

Yarn

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I thought I was done with the business of making hats. That’s what I told the world on December 1.

I’m not making any more hats for a long time…Yarn takes up storage space…The completed hats take up up space too…Yarn cost money…I’m not really selling enough hats to make creating them worth the effort.

(Read all about it here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/12/01/the-last-of-the-hats/.)

Less than a month later (less than two weeks later, actually), I went to the Las Vegas Goodwill Clearance Center on what must have been yarn clearance day. I found so much yarn, in many great colors. Yarn doesn’t weigh much, right? So yarn sold by the pound is cheap. I couldn’t pass up cheap yarn in good colors. I threw all the yarn I found into my basket. Some of it was all tangled up in other items, and I had to cut the yarn to get it in my basket. (Good thing I found some scissors being sold off by the pound.)

This photo shows the yarn I got at the Goodwill Clearance Center in Las Vegas, NV.

This photo shows some of the yarn I got at the Goodwill Clearance Center in Las Vegas, NV.

I actually didn’t buy all the yarn I found that day. I went through the yarn before I took my selections to the register for purchase and put back the colors I didn’t like so much. I got rid of a couple skeins of a dark green that made my head hurt. I left behind some dingy looking white. I only kept the yarn I thought would make really nice hats.

Why do I have such a hard time walking away from yarn? I guess I’m going to have to face it: I’m addicted to yarn.

Also, I just like making hats. I like the ways the colors come together…or how they don’t come together when I make poor color combo choices. I like starting from a couple balls of yarn and ending up with a hat. I get great satisfaction from creating.

As soon as I bought the yarn, I could barely wait to start making hats again. I’ve already made several, and yesterday I loaded up my phone with podcasts to listen to while I work with my new yarn.

I guess I’m back in the hat business. Let me know if you want to buy one. I’ve got plenty.

These large hats were made from yarn bought by the pound at the Goodwill Clearance Center. All three have rolled edges and cost $13 each, including postage.

These large hats were made from yarn bought by the pound at the Goodwill Clearance Center. All three have rolled edges and cost $13 each, including postage.

 

These are two more hats I made from yarn I got at the Goodwill Clearance Center. Both are large, both have a finished edge, both have sparkle white yarn in them, and both cost $13 each, including postage.

These are two more hats I made from yarn I got at the Goodwill Clearance Center. Both are large, both have a finished edge, both have sparkle white yarn in them, and both cost $13 each, including postage.

 

This green and grey hat is extra large. It has a rolled edge and costs $13, including shipping. The yarn came from the Goodwill Clearance Center windfall.

This green and grey hat is extra large. It has a rolled edge and costs $13, including shipping. The yarn came from the Goodwill Clearance Center windfall.

 

I made this hat before I left the forest in October, but it just resurfaced when I cleaned the van. It is an extra large and has a rolled edge. It costs $13, including postage.

I made this hat before I left the forest in October, but it just resurfaced when I cleaned the van. It is an extra large and has a rolled edge. It costs $13, including postage.

I took all the photos in this post.

 

You’ll Always Have Paris

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One of my oldest friends is a Francophile. She’s been fluent in French for as long as I’ve known her (and now that I’ve done the math, I see we’ve been friends for 30 years.) I don’t even know how many times she’s been to France, to Paris. She’s studied in France, worked in France. When I think about France, I think about this friend.

Whenever I’m cutting up catalogs and magazines for collage fodder, every time I see an image of the Eiffel Tower, I think about my friend. I’ve been hording little images of the Eiffel Tower for quiet a while now, waiting until I had enough to use them in a collage for my friend. Finally, I realized I had enough images, so I made the collage.

Today I present You’ll Always Have Paris.

youll-always-have-paris

Even More New Collages

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I’ve been making so many collages during my current house sitting gig. It helps that I have a lot of time on my hands and not so many obligations. Finding all those catalogs at the post office and cutting out so many new colors and images and designs has really gotten me excited about making collages too. I especially like to work on collages while I’m watching food shows on TV. Oh, Food Network and Cooking Channel, how delicious you are!

Here are my latest little pieces of art, all available for purchase.

This collage is called It Is What It Is. It is 4" x 6" and is made from a postcard about to go in the recycling bin and little bits of paper. The price is $20, including shipping.

This collage is called It Is What It Is. The dimensions are 4″ x 6″ and is made from a postcard about to go in the recycling bin and little bits of paper. The price is $20, including shipping.

 

This collage is called Start Loving Yourself. The dimensions are 4" x 6," and the cost is $20, including postage. It is made from little bits of paper glued to a postcard headed to the recycling bin.

This collage is called Start Loving Yourself. The dimensions are 4″ x 6,” and the cost is $20, including postage. It is made from little bits of paper glued to a postcard intercepted from the recycling bin.

 

This collage is called Keep Growing and is made from paper on reclaimed postcard. The size is 4" x 6," and the cost is $20. including postage.

This collage is called Keep Growing and is made from paper on reclaimed postcard. The size is 4″ x 6,” and the cost is $20. including postage.

 

This collage is called Find Your True Nature. The dimensions are 4" x 6," and it's made from paper on a salvaged postcard. The cost is $20, including shipping.

This collage is called Find Your True Nature. The dimensions are 4″ x 6,” and it’s made from paper on a salvaged postcard. The cost is $20, including shipping.

 

This collage is called Peace. It was made on a salvaged postcard and is 4" x 6." The cost is $20, including postage.

This collage is called Peace. It was made on a salvaged postcard and is 4″ x 6.” The cost is $20, including postage.

The Last of the Hats

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These two large hats are for sale. Both have rolled edges, and both are suitable for adults. Each costs $13, including postage.

These two large hats are for sale. Both have rolled edges, and both are suitable for people over the age of five (depending on head size). Each costs $13, including postage.

I’m not making any more hats for a long time. I’ve reached this decision for a number of reasons.

#1 Yarn takes up storage space. While yarn doesn’t weigh much, it does take up space. Of course, living in a van, my storage space is limited. I’ve decided drawers or bags full of yarn is not space well used.

#2 The completed hats take up up space too. I have a bag intended to store a sleeping bag stuffed with handmade hats. It’s shoved in my passenger seat area. I could probably do something better with the space.

These two extra large hats have rolled edges and are suitable for adults with a large head or lots of hear. Each has a rolled edge and costs $13, including postage.

These two extra-large hats have rolled edges and are suitable for people with a large head or lots of hair. Each costs $13, including postage.

#3 Yarn cost money. Sure, I buy most of my yarn at thrift stores, so I’m getting bargains. However, a bargain is not really a bargain when I’m buying something I don’t need.

#4 I’m not really selling enough hats to make creating them worth the effort. Yes, I sell a hat every now and again, and that’s awesome. But months go by between hat sales and the hats just sit in their bag and take up precious space.

#5 A friend in New Mexico sells my hats while she is out selling the jewelry she makes, but frankly, it’s not worth the cost of sending the hats to her. It costs me about $1 per hat to mail them to my friend. She sells the hats for $10 each, keeps $5 for herself and sends $5 to me. Making $4 per hat means I’m earning around $2 per hour to make the hats. The amount of money is just not worth my effort.

These two extra large hats have rolled edges and are suitable for people with large heads or a lot of hair. Each costs $13, including postage. The hat on the right has a whimsical pompom on the front.

These two extra-large hats have rolled edges and are suitable for people with large heads or a lot of hair. Each costs $13, including postage. The hat on the right has a whimsical pompom on the front.

Of course, I enjoy making the hats. I enjoy making the hats so much, I’ve given similar handmade hats to friends. I have given my handmade hats to friends I suspect will never wear them. The joy I get from making the hats is simply not greater than the money I spend to make them and the space I lose hauling them (or the yarn they’re made from) around.

I currently have 43 hats for big people available, including the six featured in this post. I also have six hats available for small children. The six featured here are the last I am going to make for a long while, unless I take on custom orders. Get ’em while you still can.

Peace Collage

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My friend’s birthday was approaching, and I wanted to make something special for her. I sent her a hat a while back, and now she lives in the desert, so she didn’t really need another one or an infinity scarf either. I made a hemp necklace for one of her pendants two visits ago, and I didn’t know if she would like any of the necklaces I already had made. And oh, yeah, I’d traded her some bracelets for a copy of her zine a couple of years ago. She probably didn’t need any more bracelets. My last option was a collage. Yes, yes, a collage!

I wanted to make a collage with an inspiring quote on it. My friend is a peace activist, so when I found a good quote about peace from Jimi Hendrix, I decided to build the gift around his words.

lauramarie-collage

My friend took this photo of the collage I made for her. I forgot to take a photo of it before I put it in the mail.

Since I love my friend, I used many hearts in the piece. I hope this work of art conveys to her how much she means to me.

Happy birthday, my friend, happy birthday to you.