Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Mom’s Side of the Family: A Peek-a-Boo Project

 In my last blog I spoke of my momma’s gardens and flowerbeds. She came by it naturally growing up in the majestic hills of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. Sullivan County is known as the Gem to the Endless Mountains”, it is the second-least populous county in Pennsylvania. 

It is magical and mysterious, with beautiful state parks like World’s End and Ricketts Glen. There are scenic vistas, breathtaking waterfalls, small villages, natural lakes, quaint little shops, a toboggan slide in Eagles Mere, and covered bridges. 

There is an unusual gravity defying, sandstone rock formation which stands at the edge of a steep cliff and resembles an upright hammer, named Ticklish Rock. A beautiful 45-acre spring-fed lake we used to go to with our church youth group, not it is not the famous Crystal Lake of Friday the Thirteenth movies, but we joked that it was. 

Some early industries for the area were a glass factory, mills for wool and flower, foundries, a copper mill, cigar factories, Specht Brewery, Schaad Distillery, a Clothes Pin Factory, and logging and lumberyards. These are the inspirations of this artwork.

Supplies:  GSLC Triptych-Towers Top , Antiquarian Sticker Book: Imaginarium, Thin Cardboard, Pencil, Scissors,Embossing Dabber, Seth Apter Patina Oxide and Emerald Creek Salted Shamrock Enamel Embossing Powders, Heating Tool, Golden Green Gold, Quinacridone Nickel Azo, Quinacridone Magenta, Fluorescent Pink, DecoArt Ultra Violet Neon Acrylic Paints, Paintbrush, Washi Tape, Uhu GlueStick,Ranger Glossy Accent  Dimensional Medium, Small Plastic Pallets Knife, Metal Clamps, Metallic Blue and Gold Stencil Butter

  1. Gather Supplies.
  2. Use a Pencil to Trace the Upper Inner Portion of the GSLC Triptych-Towers Top.
  3. Use Embossing Dabber and paintbrush to AddSeth Apter Patina Oxide and Emerald Creek Salted Shamrock Enamel Embossing Powders to the Top Portion of GSLC Triptych-Towers Top.
  4. Cure With a Heating Tool.
  5. Use a Paintbrush and Golden Green Gold and Quinacridone Nickel Azo Acrylic Paints to Fill in Gaps and Give Patina to the Top Portion of GSLC Triptych-Towers Top.
  6. Paint Bottom Portion of the of GSLC Triptych-Towers Top with a Paintbrush and Quinacridone Magenta and DecoArt Ultra Violet Neon Acrylic Paints. Paint Edges of Thin Cardboard Pieces Also.
  7. Dab with Golden Fluorescent Pink Paint to Add Interest and Depth.
  8. Collect Images from Antiquarian Sticker Book: Imaginarium. I Found Unusual Images of Faces, Birds, Flowers and Feathers. 
  9. I Glued Them Into A Collage Assemblage I Layered Upon Layers to Give a Rich, Deep Enchantment.
  10. I Added Bits of Washi Tape to Unify The Individual Collages with a Vintage Appeal.
  11. To Further Unify the Collages use a Ranger Glossy Accents Dimensional Medium and a Small Plastic Palette Knife.Use UHU GlueStick to Glue Collage to Bottom Portion of Bottom Portion of the of GSLC Triptych-Towers Top.
  12. Hold Secure With Metal Clamps.
  13. Once Fully Dry add Top Portion of the of GSLC Triptych-Towers Top Securing With a UHU GlueStick.
  14. Hold in Place with Metal Clamps.
  15. Once Fully Dry Paint Edges of Joined Frames with Metallic Blue and Gold Stencil Butter.

Final Thoughts

My Momma was one of eight children that lived in a tiny while house nestled on a dirt road who soil was reddened from the iron oxide content found in it. The views from their front porch were illuminated from the accrues of cut fields they tended to in their youth. My family would go visiting on Sundays and we’d always say we are “going Up Home to Visit Jim and the Girls” After my grandparents died there were two aunts and a uncle who never married living there together for many years. They were what would now to called Naturalist or Survivalist, we just knew them as savvy, thrifty resourceful relatives. Uncle hunted and trapped, aunties gardened and canned storing up for the cold winters. Living on the mountain roads they knew when it snowed there were likely going no place. Like my momma they were crafty and creative souls, also perhaps to bring joy to the long cold winter days and nights.  Mom tatted, another aunt would crochet or knit amazing afghans, hot pads, and even toilet paper Cover Dolls. The other aunt made soft sculpt dolls out of used pantyhose  and stockings. The hair was often repurposed wigs and each were clothed with items they also created. One of the most magical ones I can remember was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but there was Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. My Nephew was Given a Native American Chief. One uncle created lawn art by using recycled tools and hardware welded together. I like to think much of my creativity comes form my mom’s side of the family.

Other memories we have shooting a muzzle loader, Carbide lanterns,  watch for the albino deer using binoculars from the front porch, Christmas cookie platters, fishing in their small pond, climbing  the large rocks in their yards, Russian Nesting Dolls, hummingbird feeders, and piles and piles of piles. 

The place now resides with a cousin and it has been years since I have been there. I often wished I had spent a summer with them and asked them of their memories and write a historical fiction book to celebrate my heritage. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Fairies in the Flowers: A Peek-a-Boo Project

I am missing the old homestead this time of year, as another Mother’s Day approaches without my sweet momma being with us. Her flower gardens were magical, we had a lilac hedge between the lower lawn and the newly plowed garden. A pathway between the row of lilacs, keep the tulips and the lupins in the designated area. Ancient Old Fashioned yellow roses next to these, with three lavender colored petals Ohio Spiderworts at their base, a remembrance of my grandparents time spent in that state. A narrow bed of Siberian  Irises between, the front yard, driveway and garden had a clump of orange poppies and painted tinted daisies. Gladiolus were planted in rows of the bountiful garden with its bread and butter corn, zucaanni and yellow squash, red beets, string bean, potatoes, kohlrabi and sometimes lama beans and peas. The lower end of the garden had a row of pink, red, and white peonies we were told that ants were needed to help them bloom as their bud were so compacted. The last flower bed at this side of the garden was one of my favorites, as it held the Bearded Iris Collection. 

There is another flower garden that was hidden in the side yard, beyond the black walnut trees, and hickory nut tree, along the old road in the shadow of the woodshed. This was the wildflower garden, perhaps the most magical of all, almost as if fairies could be found frolicking there. These are the inspirations for this artwork.

Supplies:  GSLC Arch Top Houe Silhouettes, Antiquarian Sticker Book: Imaginarium, Printed Woodgrain, Pencil, UHU GlueStick, Sanding Block, Green Markers, DecoArt Matte Gel Medium, Paintbrush, 49 Market Rub Ons, Fern Vine Paper Punch, Old Calendar Pictures, Ranger Glossy Accents Dimensional Medium, Small Plastic Palette Knife, Blending Tool, Brown Archival Inks

  1. Gather Supplies.
  2. Print Wood Grain on Ink Jet Printer.
  3. Spritz with Water Allowing to Patina the Print.
  4. Once Fully Dry Trace using  GSLC Arch Top House Silhouettes  With Pencil  and Cut Out.
  5. Use a UHU GlueStick to Apply Cut Outs to GSLC Arch Top House Silhouettes.
  6. Once Fully Dry Use a Sanding Block to Tidy Up the Edges.
  7. Darken the Edges of GSLC Arch Top House Silhouettes with Green Markers.
  8. Seal it all in with DecoArt Matte Gel Medium and a Paintbrush.
  9. Collect Images from Antiquarian Sticker Book: Imaginarium. I Found Lovely Flower Fairies and Glued Them as Focal Points in Center of GSLC Arch Top House Silhouettes.
  10. Next Add 49 Market Rub Ons of Stamps , Butterflies and Flowers, Creating a Collage Effect.
  11. Use Fern Vine Paper Punch and Old Calendar Pictures to Add to the Collages.
  12. Once Layered and Satisfied With The Content, use a Ranger Glossy Accents Dimensional Medium and a Small Plastic Palette Knife to Unify the Completed Collages.
  13. Darken the Edges with a Blending Tool and Brown Archival Inks.

Final Thoughts

I was fascinated by the Cottingley Fairies Story. Two young cousins, in 1917 convinced their neighbors and eventually the larger world that there were fairies at the bottom of their gardens. Cottingley Beck still flows in English Countryside. They eventually photographed them and presented them to their family and to the Theosophical Society. Eve. Decade laters it would eventually confirmed they were fakes, cut-out figures, copied from “Princess Mary’s Gift Book” published in 1914. Finally in 1983 one of the young girls now much older, confessed to the hoax.

My momma’s wildflower garden was a collection of ones we gathered in the hollows and woodlands near our family homestead. The mosses almost glow with their intense greenery. It is too early for the mysterious India Pipes to appear with their milky translucent stems and solitary nodding flower.  Soon the flowerbed will carpeted with the dainty purple violets, the strange jack-in-the-pulpits, the brown-mottled tiger lilies, the elusive pink lady slippers, the comical Dutchman breeches, the attractive dainty white and pink striped spring beauties, called "piss in the beds" by his normally regal mother. There will be odd red and white trilliums, named "Nose Bleeds" by his inquisitive mother. Spring is truly the time when the world wakes up with an ever-changing landscape.