Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I really, really should be doing anything but surfing the web this morning...I'm not even sure how I got here but wanted to share an intriguing artist's site with you.
Bonnie Ferrill Roman creates the most amazing works of art out of handmade paper, branches, leaves, seedpods, etc.

In her artist statement, she shares. "...it is my hope that viewers will discover with in these abstracts something resonates with a remembered experience or inspires an insight. They are intended to communicate at a deeper level than what is possible with language."

Wow. That's exactly what her work did - in me. Check out her site, and see what you think. She is definitely someone I would like to learn more about.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Giving Thanks

Years ago when I was of a more cynical mind, I got so tired of the syrupy talk of gratitude around Thanksgiving time… but now I have a very different attitude. If you are a believer in God and His Word (the Bible) like I am, we are commanded to be thankful in each and every circumstance. It’s mandatory.

Thankfully, being thankful just happens to be beneficial, both psychologically and physically. WebMD says so, and if you have some spare time you can check out the 1,880,000 entries listed under “benefits of gratitude” according to Google.

How can one cultivate a grateful heart? I’m still working on this myself, but I think one of the keys lies in the words Viktor Frankel. Back in college I had the privilege of hearing him speak. He was a Jewish Austrian existentialist who was a prisoner for three years in concentration camps (mostly in Auschwitz).

His wife and mother died. But in the midst of his suffering he came to the conclusion that a person can choose his attitude in each and every situation. According to Frankel, everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

So we can choose to be thankful in every situation - we can make it a habit. It can be our default attitude, if we choose to make it so. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving - it reminds me to keep working on this! Happy Giving Thanks to you.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ocean Art

Today's post has nothing to do with plants, for once!
My friend Bonnie from the Antioch Fine Arts Foundation
(the gallery I belong to) has been accepted into the prestigious Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 Holiday Art Show to be held this coming weekend.

Bonnie loves diving (even with sharks, which concerns me) and her passion for the hidden beauty under the surface of the sea really shines through in her ocean art.

Bonnie and I are both trying to find our way in the world of marketing our art, and we enjoy bouncing our ideas off of each other. Lately we've been discussing a very interesting CD called "Dynamic Sales and Customer Service Techniques - for Artists" by Bruce Baker. Some of his ideas are very basic, but as an artist who has sold his work for many years, he shares some very valuable and even surprising insights. I'm looking forward to hearing how Bonnie puts some of these techniques into practice at her show this weekend. Good luck Bonnie!

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Windy Day

This is one of my favorite recent pictures, and it will be on its way to the South Carolina coast tomorrow morning. I sometimes get attached to my pictures, and I'm a bit sorry to see this one go. Wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit in the Bible, and I love how this picture reminds me of how the H.S. actually moves us and has a true spiritual impact on our lives. I really hope this picture graces the walls of the new home it hangs in.

The kids are finally off to school today (after two days off for teacher's conferences) and I'm off to spend the day in my studio - I know that may sound glamorous, but it's actually just my basement. I'm down to only two pieces of unsold pressed flower art on my website, and really need to build up my portfolio for some upcoming shows.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

leaf casting with recycled paper pulp

Several weeks ago I made a paper casting of one of my 36 inch elephant ear leaves, and I am so thrilled with how it turned out. (Unlike the elephant ear I tried to press!) Using recycled paper pulp (discarded printer paper paper I shredded, soaked, and blended), I placed the leaf vein side up on a mound of sand in our sandbox, and carefully applied about a 1/2 layer of the pulp.
I mixed some sand into the pulp to enhance the texture, and in order to make the paper casting rigid, I added several tablespoons of carboxymethylcellulose. "CMC", which reportedly "promotes fiber to fiber bonding and gives needed strength to paper castings", and I'm happy to say it worked! My leaf turned out extremely strong and rigid, and my kids insist that I've created a fossil.
I haven't painted it yet - I'm almost afraid to, because I'm afraid of ruining it. Maybe one of these days I'll get brave.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

How to make pressed flower cards

I frequently get asked by readers and customers how I make my pressed flower cards, and I’ve always been happy to share about my techniques on my l blog, or via personal emails.

But, after making my cards the same way for years and years, I recently completely changed my technique.

I’ve told many of you that I have tried a number of adhesives, and that I swear by Elmer’s Glue. Well, not any more. Now only use Perfect Paper Adhesive.

Also, I never protected the pressed flowers on my cards. I assumed the handmade paper I mounted my flowers on would be sturdy enough to get them through the mail.

I’ve changed my mind. Now, I always protect my pressed flower cards with a thin application of a tough, flexible, UV resistant and acid free sealant. It’s barely perceptible and it makes me pressed flower cards as tough as nails. Conveniently, the sealant I use just happens to be the adhesive I use: Perfect Paper Adhesive.

I wrote about my discovery of Perfect Paper Adhesive(PPA) just a few weeks ago, and soon after I was contacted by the maker of PPA, and invited to sell it on my website. I was thrilled! So now, you can purchase Perfect Paper Adhesive at Elizabeth's Flowers, if you’re interested. And, if you’d like to check it out, I’ve re-written my tutorial on “How to Make Pressed Flower Cards”.

Happy creating!

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Pesto time

The kids and I went to what we call "the mushroom store" yesterday - it's a cute little store down the road featuring Wisconsin grown produce, specialty cheeses, and their own delectable mushrooms, and pasta sauces.
We like going because the store is known for its generosity in providing free samples. Yum! One of the samples we had was pesto butter on a small chunk of french bread...out of this world! I made quite a few batches of pesto this year, but not any pesto butter. Why don't we do that this afternoon? If you have a few scraggly bushes of basil still hanging around in your garden, why don't you join me. Here's a recipe:
Basil Butter
  • 4.5 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter


In a food processor: use the steel blade to finely mince garlic. Add basil and process until finely chopped. Add pine nuts and Parmesan; process until coarsely chopped. Blend in butter. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week; freeze for longer storage. Serve at room temperature.

By the way, the mushroom store charged $4.25 for only 4 ounces of pesto butter. This recipe makes $8.50 worth of pesto butter!
Here's an interesting recipe that uses pesto butter.

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