Re-framing: Thoughts and Pictures

You can re-frame your thoughts and you can re-frame a picture. I’ve done a little of both.

Thoughts, Re-Framed

Last August, on the anniversary of my father’s death, I was finally able to re-frame my feelings about his stamp collection. I once viewed his stamp albums as a life interrupted. They reminded me of my loss instead of the joyful hours he spent pursuing this hobby. The stamp albums sat in a cupboard, revered. Now I see them as a gift to be shared, and as a way to celebrate my father’s kind and curious nature. I hosted a blog giveaway, and sent many of Dad’s stamps to friends and acquaintances around the world. It was an extraordinary exercise in letting go. If you would like to read the post in its entirety, you’ll find it here: Vintage Postage: A Daughter’s Love Letter and a Blogging Giveaway.

You’ll never guess what happened next? A handful of those stamps flew all the way back from New Zealand, but not for insufficient postage. This time they we’re intricately woven into a multi-layered, lovingly detailed mixed-media original by Pauline King. She named it The Wonderland of Alys. I wish you could see it in person.

Pauline King mixed media stamps

Can you spot all the stamps? Take a close look. (Copyright Pauline King)

Pauline King's Wonderland of Alys-004

The Wonderland of Alys floats in her frame (Copyright Pauline King)

Pauline King's Wonderland of Alys-003

The Wonderland of Alys (original mixed media) Butterfly Sprite (art print) (Copyright Pauline King)

Pauline King's Wonderland of Alys

The Long View: Both pieces hang together in the dining area. (Copyright Pauline King)

Re-Framing Art

Early last year Pauline hosted her own giveaway and guess who won? Can you believe my luck? I chose this beautiful art print of the Butterfly Sprite.  I headed straight to the framers, picked out a standard frame and ordered custom mats to go with it. I loved looking at her smiling from the wall, but the white frame was never quite right. Once I had the second piece framed I knew what I had to do. Both pieces are now framed on a silk background with a dark frame. The Wonderland piece ‘floats’ on a piece of whisper-thin acrylic so that you can see right up to the edges.

Table Top Mosaic

Can you guess what I did with the rest of the stamps? Please pop on over tomorrow for the ‘reveal’. Here’s a little teaser until then:

postage stamp table project-007

Blogging 101: Colors and Headers

Today’s Blogging 101 assignment has us exploring new headers, backgrounds and colors. I’m pleased with my current choices, so plan to keep the current greenery in place.

Getting My Groove Back

I had my groove a few weeks ago but it seems to have gone on a walkabout. Have you seen it?

With the holidays over, it felt good putting our decorations away and tidying up. My husband feels a bit melancholy when they’re over, whereas I’m ready to move on. We strike a balance. I’m trying to find my post-holiday groove. A couple of things remain: a beautiful Christmas bunting and my holiday card selfie.

Christmas bunting

Beautiful Christmas bunting, hand-crocheted and mailed all the way from Australia Thank you, Dani!

My selfie of cards

My cards are still hanging out with my Selfie

Once the boys were back in school and Mike back to work, I embarked on a full-house overhaul. Though I organize for a living, things manage to creep in when I turn my back. I’ve decided to keep a tally this year of everything that comes through the front door unless it’s perishable (plants and flowers) or edible. Even though Mouse-the-Cat thinks that rats are edible, they didn’t make it to my list.

I emptied the book shelf in our living room, put back the essentials and took the rest of the books to a nearby Little Free Library. Our LFL is currently full and enjoying a robust ‘business’ on a daily basis. Once I cleared the shelves, I stacked my favorite gardening books, part practical, part sentimental, on one of the shelves. Now I had room for a  new piece of art. I’ll write more about that in another post.

cherished garden books

Cherished garden books

I emptied the drawer near my laundry room of random bits and bobs*, then gathered the loose buttons into a jam jar. No sense hiding beautiful buttons in a drawer, when I can enjoy them on display while folding laundry.

Throughout the week I avoided my computer and spent my energy cleaning, sorting, dusting, recycling, donating and throwing away.  The process is therapeutic as well as practical. There really is value in a place for everything, and everything in its place.

living room

Living room cleaned and sorted. Wall mural by Donna Pierre

kitchen counter

Clutter-free counters, lemons from the garden, succulents from Laura

lindy

Lindy wants to know if I’m *ever* going to sit down

Having said that, all this sorting and cleaning felt a bit obsessive. Was I avoiding something instead? I’m still trying to sort that out. Does this happen to you?

My blog got the cold shoulder last week. It wasn’t planned. I slipped my groove and filled the time with other things. Am I in a rut? Is a rut the same as a groove?

Saturday morning I awoke with vertigo. My heart pounded in my chest and I convinced myself that it would pass. After a long, restless hour I went back to sleep, but awoke hours later too dizzy to remain sitting upright. This turn of events was not helping me get my groove back. Instead it played on an old and deep-seated fear: that I would die before raising my boys. I’m not dying of course, but who said fears are rational? I was just a girl when my dad died, and these fears flare up from time to time.

I saw a doctor today who diagnosed a viral infection of the inner ear. There’s nothing to be done for it but wait for it to gradually improve. Groovy.

What do you do when you slip a groove? How do you get it back?

*bits and bobs. I love that expression, and borrow it liberally from Pauline.

 

Pictured above:

Beautiful bunting and knee blanket courtesy of Teddy and Tottie

On the book shelf: The Good Life by Sarah O’Neil. Sarah blogs at Sarah the Gardener.

Thank you flowers from Boomdee

 

Happy Mail Times Two

Mailbox full of mailVal over at Nikitiland published a post of a similar name yesterday and included free, downloadable labels that say Happy Mail.  She went on to ask:

When was the last time you got something in the mail that wasn’t a bill?

Well. The funniest thing happened when I joined the world of blogging: My Happy Mail started to overflow. Treasures arrived from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the US. I’ve managed to surround myself with thoughtful, creative, talented people who share their talents with generosity.

I relish the irony of the fact that we’ve all met online, but were quick to broaden and deepen our connections via snail mail. For as long as I can remember, I always loved ‘checking the mail.’ When I traveled to Europe in 1989, I obtained an American Express mailbox in Paris. After traveling for a month I arrived in Paris and took a subway to the AMEX office. Imagine my joy to receive six letters from family and friends back home. I ♥ mail!

She’s Here!

It’s true: one slim white envelope on your doormat can send your heart racing. Squee!

Earlier this week I re-blogged Pauline King’s post A Painting for Alys. Pauline blends paper and paint, and in this case, some of my father’s stamps, and gathers them into beautiful works of mixed media art.

The Wonderland of Alys

The Wonderland of Alys ©Pauline King

Rich color and texture

Rich color and texture

Flowers, hearts and postage stamps

Flowers, hearts and postage stamps

I knew she was working on something, but by the time she posted her blog, the beautiful painting was already making its way from New Zealand to California. It arrived yesterday. Thank you, Pauline!

Amber Leaf, Heart of Gold

I received this second precious gift from a regular follower. Mary Elizabeth’s life is full taking care of her disabled son. She faces challenging days, but does so with grace and love and heart. Thank you, ME. You’re an inspiration.

autumn leaf pin

Autumn Gold

To read more about Pauline’s process, check out her blog at The Contented Crafter.

Pauline offers some of her treasures through her Etsy shop at The Contented Crafter: Whimsical Art, Hand-Crafted Cards and Sparkly Things

You can also find her on Facebook

Art and Serendipity

My word of the year is serendipity,

the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it.

So joyous is this word in both sound and deed, that I may choose it again for next year.

2014 is also turning into my year of art. In January I won (yes, won!) this gorgeous Butterfly Sprite. The mixed media piece, created by the generous and talented Pauline of The Contented Crafter.  I smile at this carefree sprite every day, and every day she smiles back. Butterfly Sprite lives among soothing greens and flowers and texture that lifts my spirit. Art does that.

butterfly sprite

Butterfly Sprite by artist Pauline King

Also in January, I took a mixed media art class at A Work of Heart in Willow Glen and dabbled in my own little art project. I thought about Pauline the whole time.

Remarkably, I won another beautiful piece of art, a Bavarian textile knee blanket lovingly crafted by Dani of Teddy and Tottie. I guess this sort of thing happens when you choose a word like Serendipity.

Bavarian Knee Rug by Dani

Bavarian Knee Rug by Dani

I discovered another blogger via Dani and Pauline, and because you can’t make this stuff up, Fran blogs at The Road to Serendipity.

Last week my friend Whitney shared an album of photos for her upcoming art show in Gilroy, California. Whitney is a creative arts graduate of San Jose State. We met on Facebook via mutual friends. As I virtually thumbed my way through her online album, this sunflower rainbow stopped me in my lurking tracks. The piece celebrates three of my loves: old windows, brilliant colors and sunflowers. Seren-dipity-do-da!!!

whitney with painting

Artist Whitney Pintello

I asked if it was still available, she said yes, and now it’s hanging in one of my garden seating areas.

Sunflower room

We like to sit here in the evening to escape the heat

sunflower window front and back

Window painting, front and back

Whitney creates and sells vintage window paintings at a couple of local festivals each year. From her website:

Painting old windows is Whitney’s favorite medium, and came from exploring how to reuse old architectural elements. The process involves reverse painting: starting with the details of the painting first, then the subject, then the background, all on the back of the glass. Patrons like the casual, rustic quality the paintings have and the “found art” reuse of the vintage windows.

Who knew there was magic in a carefully chosen word?

And the winner is…

butterfly sprite

Butterfly Sprite
Mixed Media on Canvas by Pauline King of The Contented Crafter

Me!

Oh my gosh. I’ve been dutifully buying raffle tickets from school children, the scouts and pretty much anyone that asks for years.  I’ve  never won a thing.

Blogging completely changed my luck.

I won the drawing for an art print of my choosing at The Contented Crafter.  All I had to do was leave a comment on her blog (which is so delightful that I do that anyway.)  She drew names from a teacup (my favorite beverage, by the way), and I won. Serendipity!

Pauline is a mixed-media artist, photographer, and all around talent, blogging from New Zealand. She shares her art and artful process with her readers. We’re treated to the occasional  story about her charming cat, Orlando.

Pauline leaves fun and funny comments on various blogs and gems of wisdom along the way. I hope to meet her on future travels.

I picked out a print of the Butterfly Sprite. It arrived yesterday, along with a lovely note and one of her greeting cards. I’m feeling as cheerful as the lovely sprite.

Coincidentally (more serendipity) I’m working on a framing project for one of my clients, so I took my new print to the shop and had it framed just a day after receiving it the mail. I promise to share a picture when it’s framed and hanging on my wall. I’m currently scouting for the perfect spot. Stay tuned.

Thanks so much, Pauline for bringing art and cheer into our home.

The Contented Crafter sells her work on Etsy.  You can read more about her process on her blog or on Facebook