Wednesday, February 28, 2024

It's 2024 and Spring is still Elusive and Angry here in Chicago

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Chicago is stubborn and holding on to winter...in temps and weather, TODAY!

YESTERDAY in FEBRUARY we had 70's and then a sweep of tornados barreled through Chicagoland. One passed to the east of us, less than 4 miles, then landed on an apartment complex in Mundelein, Illinois. Thankfully there were no injuries in all the 5-6( correction 11 tornados in Chicago area after assessing) tornadoes and high winds everywhere...thanks to the TV News teams keeping us posted on the fast moving mess that went through. 

Today our front porch is covered in ice, sleet, and misery. I had cleaned out the greenhouse yesterday, and knowing we were going to have rain...I put a lot of trays and starting trays outside to get washed. They got tossed around a bit, so I'm letting most thaw until tomorrow and I'm just starting the bulbs I had soaking today. Peppers were already started 2 weeks ago. 


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I'm Wishing for Eggs, tulips, pansies, bunnies and more!


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Love all these old pieces with tulips on them.
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With Easter being early, our kitchen will be decorated with planting trays and seedlings instead of bunnies.

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Can we say PEEPS PLEASE!? My favorite Grandma's jar filled with peeps.

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My mom's favorite face, filled with Daffy's, not now, they are barely peeking out of the ground now.


But, I love Daffodils!
 From the Chicago flower show-years ago.

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Flower shows are a God send in winter!
This one is usually in March! 



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And Tulips....

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I think I will skip the bunnies this year,
and just do Birds! 

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Casual Easter Dinner!

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Antique French Fish poacher, a purchase my mom made, winking at me and saying it will be yours, soon. I think this was the last antique
she purchased before she passed!

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Aren't these gorgeous---I planted them somewhere out in the garden last year---can't wait???

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Carrot cake....for Easter! I so screwed with the recipe---I can't even find what I started with!
I know I added raisins, coconut, oatmeal, carrots and chopped apples-- (no nuts) 

I can't wait to get out onto our porch---it will be probably a month or more though and then I have to deal with the 50 some totes stored there from our basement debacle, last year!

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The entire family loves to lounge and relax out here!

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My porch is filled with garden accessories.

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Old tablecloths made into cushions!


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Another bird! 


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Currently the Ivy tree is in my bedroom...too early to go outside.

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Easter is so early this year....? 

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Table cloth, Danish made by my two spinster great-aunts, Moster and Dagne.

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Crispy bunnies---for everyone! I'm forced at this point to make these each year, for everyone---

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Pansies were my Great Grandmother's favorites.

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Pansies are the first plants I buy in April! 

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This arrangement was in late April, everything from the yard. 

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Pansies are so gorgeous paired with  Coleus

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Love this color!

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I still haven't polished this teapot...it's just too cool!


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We start plants every year, beginning with tomatoes, peppers, coleus, and some bulbs this year.

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This is what will be in a month---hubby is heavy handed with the seed...lol.

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Love this wreath but it blows off the door, so now resides inside!

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One of my favorite thrift finds...even though I'm not fond of pink, so elegant in shape!


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All family favorites. Coffeepot is Danish, the salt&pepper are Dutch, the bell is German, the shoe to the left Holland Michigan, and the planter is unmarked.


I pick up tiles...all the time!  

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Cream and sugar is Japan...probably from the 50-60's.
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Teapot purchased on Etsy, probably from the 70's, thick and porcelain, holds heat very well.


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It may be 'Tulip Time' on my platter, but outside it's still barren, cold, and wet.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Mather Printmaking-Week 2: CREATE Sticky foam prints called Collagraphs

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Number 2 in a series of Mather Printmaking Kits for Illinois for Seniors.

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Collagraphs, this was pretty straight forward and simple. We were given a 4"x6" piece of sticky kids' craft foam. This technique is perfect for kids or short runs of prints. This is a learning project, not necessarily creating GREAT ART...LOL. 

Materials: 
Sketchbook paper
1 sticky foam sheet (adhesive on the back)
scissors
Marker or pencil to make your design on the back before cutting.
Acrylic paint
Tinfoil surface for paint
extender/blending medium
brayer (rolling surface to ink)
piece of cardboard or plastic to stick your foam design on
washable work surfaces

I was a bit late in getting organized and I skipped drawing the pattern on the backside of the sticky foam...and just began cutting. I had in my mind a sort of Paisley idea.
The idea was to make something fairly simple that you could print multiple images of, ie. for wallpaper or fabric, or just to make a larger print.

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And, I didn't take photos of my pieces gluing on the cardboard. Simply cutout your shapes and then protective layer strip off the back and glue the pieces  on your cardboard or plastic surface to make your printing plate. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want. You can cut up your plate and make smaller independent images. 

Many people did this to make flowers, hands, hearts, images for multiple colors.
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My first print was this blue on the small piece of sketchbook paper. Paper that is heavier with a smooth surface takes the acrylic paint prints well.

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Like last week the paint was quickly drying. I had tried to emboss textures on the surface of my foam...but it only showed up as a hint, and the crevices immediately filled with paint. No biggie.

Cleaning off the plate with wet paper towel, I printed another blue one.

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I then did 4 images on a yellow piece of  yellow card stock sized 8 1/2" x 11". I did have trouble with the surface of the card stock getting stuck to the quick drying paint. Adding blending medium to my paint to slow the drying process helped and I had no more sticking. I think I will just automatically start adding gel to my inks and paints for better results.

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The red prints. My first red print I did was full strength red acrylic paint that was included with the kit. It was very dark and heavy looking on the white paper.

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Pure red paint on my second layer.

 Knowing that the blending gel would make the red more transparent, I added almost a glob of maybe 30-40% as much gel as paint. Mixing well, I made four print new impressions off center of my blue images on the yellow card stock. 

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I also reversed the up/down of each blue print to make it more interesting and then off set the red images a little to the left and down.


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I found my imagination really cranking.

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I could see alternating the vertical images with the  horizontals images in long stripes on fabric. Maybe with different top colors...this could be fun! 

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Here I have repeated my images...done on the computer...but you can see the possibilities for printing Fabrics or Paper items. These were just screenshot photos, but scanned images would be even better.

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The Collagraph Technique is simple and inexpensive...definitely something to try again.

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Mather has a facebook page where we get to share all our experiences, good and bad, but it is a great 

Creative LEARNING EXPERIENCE! 

Something I tried on my own this week was a found tool---to make my prints more consistent. Pressing on the back of the paper with your fingers to get your prints is pretty uneven and tools tend to tear up the dampened paper.  Desiring better prints, I pulled this little metal pitcher out of my kitchen drawer. It has a rounded bottom and clean flat surface to rub on the back of my damp paper. Any object with smooth edges and a flat surface would help to rub prints.

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Getting ready to press a print.


Short mini-video showing how a found objects-
 pressing makes prints! 

Hope you enjoyed this simple project...have fun...

AND CREATE!

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Sandi