Auntie Hangers

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The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.  ~Pierre Corneille

I am absolutely thrilled to have a short essay and picture published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  This call for submissions was for all artists who revel in the use of scraps, bits, pieces and left-overs!  I knew right away that I would submit my “Auntie Hangers” to share.  I use every last bit of scrap yarn I have, and these are the perfect stash busters.  I call them Auntie Hangers because I received my first crocheted hangers as an unexpected gift from my great-aunt, Helen.  In fact, you can read the whole story if you hurry and order your copy of Uppercase today!  It is hands-down my favorite magazine full of inspiration for anyone who loves to live a creative life.

In fact, making these hangers is also one of my favorite gift ideas.  Who doesn’t love a pretty, soft hanger on which to hang a special dress or blouse?


I am in love with this latest issue because it features the beauty of feed-sack cloth its many uses “once upon a time.”  Each issue of the magazine has a small square of actual feed- sack cloth attached to the front.  It’s these extra-special details that make this magazine such a treasure!

Happy scrapping and Happy Crafting!

Calligraphy Revisited

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“Certainly the art of writing is the most miraculous of all things man has devised.” –Carlyle

It’s true, I have a hard time throwing anything away, which sometimes makes me very happy.  For instance, when I decide that I want to dabble with calligraphy after about, oh say, 25 years!  Needless to say, I was ecstatic to find a folder with all of the old handouts given to me by the elementary teacher who taught me calligraphy in the sixth grade.  I’m one-hundred percent sure that she ran these pages off on one of those machines that she had to crank the handle!  I shared some of my thoughts about learning to write calligraphy with Janine Vangool at Uppercase Magazine, and she featured my short essay in her online newsletter here.

blog2I also found some of my calligraphy practice sheets.  I can still remember sitting at my old wooden desk – the one with the sloped top and a groove to hold my pencil – and making these letters over and over.  There was always a black ink stain on my middle finger for the rest of the day.

blogI was truly inspired, so I treated myself to some fun new ink colors, but I remained faithful to my old pen and nibs. Over the years, I have enjoyed using my calligraphy skills for certain projects, but I’ve been using the marker-style pens that make things so much quicker and easier.  However, when I decided to go “old school,” I was amazed at how quickly the movements came back to me after all of these years.

This is what I came up with….

calligraphyThere’s something extra-special about writing something that takes a little extra time and care.  Hopefully it won’t be another 25 years before I get out my pen and ink to do some “dipping and swirling.”

Happy Writing!

What Color Means to Me

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“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?  Can one really explain this? No.” ~Pablo Picasso

I am proud to have a short essay and photograph published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  Issue 22 was entirely devoted to COLOR, and what a beautiful publication it turned out to be!  The Uppercase website  has a beautiful feature of the issue along with a video that you can enjoy.  The prompt:  What Color Means to Me… inspired me to write about learning to crochet as a young girl.  Crochet continues to be one of my favorite artistic mediums and choosing yarn for a project is such a happy, colorful process.

issue22-heldIf you haven’t had the pleasure of savoring an issue of Uppercase, you absolutely must treat yourself to a copy of this creative, and visually stimulating, publication.  Seriously, head over to the website and start your subscription.  It’s a gift to yourself.  Really. (You can even take advantage of the discount code “roygbiv” for $15.00 off the subscription price.)

U22-colourmeans-spread3That’s my piece in the lower left-hand corner.  (I never get tired of seeing my work in print!)

Best wishes for a colorful day!

Office Work

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Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.  ~Confucius

Seriously, have you gotten your subscription to Uppercase! Magazine, yet?  It’s one of my favorite things to discover in my mailbox!  This graphically rich, whimsical, and all-around cornucopia of all things art-related never fails to make me smile.  I’ve had such a blast responding to their calls for submission.  In issue #18, I was lucky enough to have a piece published in their Handsome Ransom feature. That one was so much fun to create!

This time, the challenge was a call for letterforms and alphabets made with office supplies.  I went out onto my back deck and took some photos of my three vintage staplers in configurations no one had ever imagined before!  The result was unique, and my submission was printed right up-front in the feature.  I love the challenges – they give me an excuse to flex my creative skills.  Thanks Uppercase!

notion004This recent issue is another visual feast. I love the artist profiles, the interesting feature stories, and of course, the snippets of creative and curious things to look at.

#19 cover previewHappy Reading and Happy Working!

Handsome Ransom

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“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
Muriel Rukeyser

One of my favorite magazines is UPPERCASE Magazine, a quarterly publication printed in Calgary.  I had the opportunity to meet editor / publisher / designer, Janine Vangool when I attended a conference in St. Paul two  years ago.  I fell in love with the eclectic mix of articles and photography, and I wait anxiously for it to arrive in my mailbox each season. It’s such a work of art, that I can’t bear to part with any of my issues, and I can’t imagine it not being on paper.  It just wouldn’t be the same in a digital format.  (There’s the traditionalist in me coming forward!)  Here is a brief description of UPPERCASE from their website:

UPPERCASE publishes books and magazines for the creative and curious: products that spark the imagination and inspire creativity…Our books profile up-and-coming artists or explore emerging trends in design and creativity….A playful exploration of creativity, an affinity for vintage ephemera, and a love of typography are some elements common to many of our publications.”
Last spring, I noticed a “call for participation”  – a challenge if you will- to submit something for their collage-themed issue.  They called it the “Handsome Ransom” project, and they wanted readers to come up with a creation using cut-up words and letters in a “ransom note” style.  I just couldn’t resist trying my hand at something fun like this.  After all, I’ve been a huge fan of collage over the years and have made a few found poems using cut words from magazines.  I’ve always found it very enjoyable, as it combines my love of words with visual creativity. (I also can’t resist a good challenge!)  So, I spent my spring break this year working on my “masterpiece.”  Imagine my surprise when I returned from vacation yesterday to find my issue of UPPERCASE waiting for me.  I eagerly thumbed through it and voila’, there it was, my version of a “Handsome Ransom.”  I used a page from a falling apart novel, and words from a vintage copy of the Saturday Evening Post to spread a message that I hold dear to my heart…  I hope you like it!
2013-07-22_0758A big thank you to Janine Vangool and UPPERCASE Magazine for printing my creation.  It was a ton of fun to make, and I hope others will enjoy it!  In the meantime, head over to the website at UPPERCASE, and subscribe to this inspiring and visually stimulating publication.  If you appreciate art, words, photography and interesting bits-and-pieces of this-and-that…. if you have an affinity for nostalgia and appreciate traditional ways of doing things… you will love UPPERCASE!

Summer Reading List, Oh How I Love Thee!

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“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”  –Maud Casey

Okay, I’ll admit it…. I’m spoiled.  I have an amazing job in public education, and while teachers don’t go into education for the money, we do get some other enormous perks = SUMMER!  The two months that I have off are filled with many activities which include a lot of “catching-up” with home tasks, chores and the little things that I neglect during the school year.  However, it is a huge priority for me to sit down and read as often as possible during my time off.  As an avid list-maker, I have made several summer lists, but the most important one is my reading list.  Here it is!  I would love to hear your feedback on my choices!

First of all, I LOVE magazines!  I will be reading many!  My favorites:

Of course, I have more books to read than I can count, but these have risen to the top of my stack!

Wicked by Gregory Maguire has been highly recommended on a couple different posts from “The Art of Reading” series that  I publish on this blog (Katie and Jennifer), and it’s time to see what the buzz is all about!  I have not seen the play version, so I am going in completely “blind.”

I can’t believe how long I have been meaning to read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski!  It has literally been “on the stack” for years.  A few of my good friend really loved it, and I hear it is a dog story, so I’m anxious to finally enjoy it!  The time has come!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley was a thrift-store find, and the title is so enticing! I don’t always read mysteries, but every once in awhile I really crave a good one! This is apparently the first in a series of mysteries featuring a young sleuth named Flavia de Luce.  I’m hoping that I love it, so I can get lost in the rest of the series.

It’s won several accolades and has turned up on recommended lists for both adults and teenagers, so I want to read Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward for its potential for my high-school library.

A fellow co-worker told me that The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff was one of her best reads last year, and I love Meg Rosoff.  I see on her blog that there may be movie-rights in the future…  I love to read books and “cast” them in my mind with the actors I would see in the roles!

I have a new puppy!  In my mind, this should probably be the first book I read!  I have never read a Cesar Millan book, but I figure, he must know what he’s doing!  I have high hopes that after reading this book, my little Arlo will be sitting-up, rolling over, and sleeping through the night!

I am going to be taking a stitching class via Big Picture Classes from the talented Amy Powers, and I spotted these two books at my local library the other day.  The class is called “Happy-Go-Lucky Stitchalong.”  Doesn’t that sound fun?  These books are full of inspiration and published by my favorite craft book publisher Lark Books!  I have already found some great inspiration for my project with Amy!

Have you made your summer reading list, yet?   What was the best “summer book” you can remember reading?  I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by… happy summer, and happy reading!