Monday, March 25, 2013

The Wind Blowing Backwards (A Poem)

You speak to me
In a language incomprehensible,
Each word a quick-hushed silence,
Every syllable pause a breeze
That blows my eyes shut to voice and tears.
You explain the righteous woe
Of all your elaborate centerpieces and
The vacant echoes in the corners of each room
Where once someone found love.
Always with your shoulder against me,
That black curtain of lost inhibition
And the tweed of your jacket a maze
Of thrift left to catch everything my lyrics
Might have to say before they are fully said.
You sing in tongues behind my back
Of strange, exotic women
In their tanned thighs and tickling eyelashes,
Bewitchers of the Nile and tide,
How they can roll our future around in their fingers
Like something happenstance,
As if I were merely a mirage of make-believe.
You, in your black tie in corduroys,
Your leather-bound copies of Neruda and Hughes,
Were always hungry for an entrance
Half-draped in Shakespeare and make-believe,
One I could not make in my pale skin,
All meek and butterfly tender
Unequipped to bear witness to your
Fairytale finale, all theatrical
And watered down of depth.
And like something strange and feeble
Walking in a wind blowing backwards,
You always touched me
With one eye looking past me
And the other swimming toward the horizon.

**Written from a prompt at Magpie Tales.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Favorite Art Books: Artist Trading Cards Techniques

By Lisa Vollrath, Michele Charles & Tim Holtz
This little book was only 19 pages long, which made the price a bit steep but it's still a nice little demonstration and overview of ATC's and includes some step by step techniques for making cards with fabric, playing cards, wire, folding cards as well as a cute little accordion book.  

By Bernie Berlin
I absolutely LOVE this book...approximately 127 pages long full on with history of atc's, a nice introduction, and many, many techniques (too many to count) with in-depth step-by-step demonstrations.  Rather you've been making cards for a while are are just learning, this book is a real gem.  Includes a gallery of cards in the back as well as some other uses to incorporate the use/creation of ATC's such as:  journal cards, digital cards and cards for children, etc.

A TweetyJill Publication
I adore this book and it's full of wonderful eye candy that will definitely inspire any atc artist.  The main element of this book concentrates on act's created primarily with rubber stamps.  But this book is so much more than that!  There are literally hundreds of beautiful atc's to feast your eyes upon in this, and many come with instructions as well as references to where you can buy/find the exact materials used for each card.  The book includes the use of many materials like gesso, watercolors, paint, ink, and so on.  This book is a must have for anyone interested in creating atc's with rubber stamps.

By Barbara Finwall, Nancy Javier & Jerilyn Clements
I loved this little book and it was quite a bargain for it's price and the content available.  The authors not only cover the basics with directions on making over 55 atc's but also include a variety of selection of crafts involving the use of atc's not merely as art, themselves, but as elements on journal covers, picture albums, frames, boxes, greeting cards and so on.  You will love this book for it's creating, refreshing ideas as much as for the eye candy eat atc offers!

By Patricia Bolton
This is, by far, one of my favorite atc books for the eye candy, alone.  The book offers illustrations over literally over 1,000 atc's and depicts so much variety in the creation of each:  magazines, collage, fabric, drawing, painting, 3d, flat, and so on.  Just merely looking at this book is sure to get your creative juices flowing and your fingers itching to create.  The author also offers some demonstration and step by step directions in creating atc's with fabric as well as a few other useful techniques.  The only downfall I find with this book is in the demonstrations shared.  So few people use fabric for atc's and it's really only one of hundreds of elements used to create.  I felt that the author should have offered more variety on these demonstrations and step by step directions for creating with some other mediums.

By Leonie Pujol
This is another book for which I felt the price was a bit steep as it's only 48 pages long and depicts the process of creating only 20 atc's.  With that being said, I did enjoy this book and feel it is a great learning and inspirational asset for any atc beginner as the directions, materials, ad mediums used in the creation of each atc are fairly simple and easy to understand.  Skimming the pages of this book gave me some fresh ideas and insights into some new ways of creating cards.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"The New Notebook" by Maria Banus

Full of superstition
I begin a new notebook,
white leaves--sea foam.
I close my eyes and wait
for the first day of the world,
for Aphrodite with wet lips,
red curls of flame
an open shell,
shy and sure,
to rise from the salt foam,
out of the primordial algae.
I wait under closed eyelids.
One can hear the grey rustle of sea gulls
under the low sky
and the monotonous thunder of waves
only of waves
which come and go.

**I can't help but recognize the parallels the poet draws between the roaring ocean, the world being born, a glowing Goddess, to the mere act of poetry writing, or merely any writing at all.  I appreciate the mutual feeling that writing a new piece is somewhat like giving birth, a metamorphosis, of something ancient and roaring inside me, awaiting my paper to breathe the shadow of some spirit back to life.

2am Latte (A Poem)

Nothing else tastes good
Since I met you,
No other delicacy fits
The curve of my tongue
The way the contour
Of all your shape shifts
into even the animal parts of me.
The fold of your bottom lip,
The tip of your tongue,
The thighs of my midnight eye
That rolls across you
Like a serpents tongue,
The feral lap of my bones
That dip the caves of their stars
Into the galaxy of your open
Mouth, the void
Of your watchful right iris.
You are the taste of latte at 2am,
And my two dollars well spent,
The quick-flowing highway
And gas station road stops
That litter the wheels and kisses
Of all our cheek-stroked late nights.
We speed across each other
And into the air like
Invisible rockets or windblown kisses
Until the clock hands push our breaths
Into exhales too labored
For a sleep so deep,
And dreams that can no longer
Touch the honey-dewed lips
Of our awakening.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Blue Specks" by Nurunnessa Choudhury

In the clear world
I blew a cage of glass
and hid myself inside.
Like a lonely child
I played with words-
special thoughts,
which I would
make, then break,
no- not now- not yet.
The fire of spring
scorched my heart and body.
I achieved awareness
of life's bass and treble notes:
I trapped wonder
and asked:
What is it?
no- not now- not yet.
Then, in darkness,
stormswept, you came.
Next day
I took apart the cage
smashed the glass
and gave it to the sky:
This was your gift.
I picked up
my faithless heart,
and met the world
with direct gaze.

**This poem is reminiscent of one who wishes to create, yet feels compelled to hide from the muse for whatever reason.  I can relate to the everyday responsibilities that steal the time from our clocks before it's even born, how when something must be sacrificed, our hobbies (rather it be writing, art, film, reading, etc.) are the things most pushed towards the backburner, yet those very things are activities that bring us the most simplistic pleasures in life.  For me, the poem depicts that perhaps someone has opened the writer's eyes to the fact that there is reason and cause to smash the glass that binds her, to free her muse, to allow herself the time and desire and the freedom to create.  

"Dark Orchard" by William Wright

I am an avid reader of poetry.  I read for pleasure as much as for an intellectual curiosity, and more often than not when reading a new volume of poetry, I turn the last page feeling as if I've just stepped back into my own universe.  This haunting recollection of a boy and his childhood, relationships, prominent memories, dreams, and vivid accounts of the everyday, ordinary turned enchanting, was no exception.  

Excerpt from Book:

"Dark Orchard"

I dreamed again about the field
and for once I knew that what I miss
is not the aqueous heaven of twilit blooms
leaving the peach trees in Spring,

some roseate notion of a night-orchard's metaphor,
nocturnal paintings for a romantic farmer,
but a message whispered
through that desolate kingdom, when winter

smelled like copper.  It was knowing
the moment when I edged to the creek one evening,
the water wearing a thin veil of ice, blood in my ears
so loud I had to listen.  When just for a second,

before the sky turned a swift gray-to-plum,
the sunlight opened me like a blossom, pressing
all those long days, months, the quick story
of things to my brain as leaves to antique paper:

a grandfather gasping his last hope,
brutal girls, entire towns, a blind man
gather pecans, and a family scattering
like leaves across a starless road, the coldest

words.  My father's voice:  This can't be
a wasted thing.  Something should come
of this.  No fruit came:  No matter the dapples
of late winter light through the trees,

 the peaches dropped that summer
as he measured whether family roots
were worth a darker shame.  My mother's parting
left him withered, urged me to abandon

a house crumbling to a heap of flowers.
Like any son I stalked a claim despite the fields
mixed messages:  I would have to keep a finger
on the pulse of the world to know it's spinning

lies, eat a father's bitterness as knowledge,
sour pit toughening my tongue to stone.
Somewhere beyond those Caroline roads
another light headed straight for me,

gaining momentum, but the future clouded
in winter's dregs, the tincture of wood-smoke
and what remnant sun I caught
between the frozen wood,

corridors of empty hands
unraveling to plant a germ
in the heart of an aching child.

"Alma Rose" by Edith Forbes

This is easily one of my favorite books to date.  Pat Lloyd is a rather reclusive thirty-something who lives in a very small (and struggling) town of Kilgore where she helps her father run a supermarket.  She long abandoned her dreams of college so she could take care of her father after the death of her mother.  Pat is content to spend her time with books, her dogs and her daydreams.  However, when Alma Rose (a vivacious, inquiring trucker) pulls into town, everything in Pat's life seemingly begins to change.  Not only does she fall in love for the first time (and with a woman), she begins to unravel the person that she is as well as partake into her own journey out of the void.  

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a literary love story with a small town twist and a very real, ordinary cast.

Some Favorite Quotes:

 "...The world has so many people in it nowadays, you can't do much of anything without making somebody mad.  If you start worrying about what every single person thinks, you had just as well be a soccer ball that everybody is trying to kick in a different direction."

"I thought, maybe for some people the puzzle of mortality was fully answered by Christian theology.  They could bury their love under a granite marker and feel sure that it would someday come back to life in an unseen realm.  For other people, the ones who still bothered by a doubt or two, some more immediate and human solution was needed, so they kept a piece of their love unburied and grafted onto the new young things coming into the world."

"I moved to Chicago.  I lasted six months.  The first month I spent in a state of nervous confusion.  The last five I spent in a downward spiral of loneliness and torpor.  All my normal thought processes were rattled by the noise, the constant motion, the everpresence of humanity.  Surrounded by walls, cars, billboards and people, I could not daydream.  Without my daydreams, I was lost.   Without my daydreams I was left with outside reality.  Outside reality was a mindless job, solitary evenings in a tiny, anonymously modern apartment, and boredom, endless, unrelieved, mind-numbing boredom."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Smash Book Pages (a work in progress)

I've been working on a smash book I originally began back in August...I know, that's quite a long time, right?  I have some good excuses for my little hiatus in Arianna (aka my six year old daughter) just began school this year.  Between the erratic sleep schedule (I'm an up-all-night kinda gal and well, school starts at 8am everyday!) and my never-ending search for the dream job (I"m sure eventually you'll hear more about my job-hunting endeavors in the near future) there's not been much time and focus for art.  But, alas, I am back and feeling a bit creatively refreshed, so we'll see what the muse brings in the weeks and months to come!

Currently, all these pages are unfinished.  I have quite a number of embellishments, stickers, and stamps I plan to apply to each page.  I will be posting updated pics at a later time.

 Past relationship...

Clothing and Fashion tags...did I mention I love clothes and shopping?!

A life that was once mine...not entirely sad to see it go, but it's still okay to remember, eh?

My Arianna's page...

A page of my own...notice the girlie video game addiction? I guess to each their own.  :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Banana Pudding! (Recipe)


7.5 cups of milk
2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1 8oz cup of whipped cream cheese spread
1 box of vanilla wafers
1 16 oz cup of cool whip/whip cream
5 bananas


1.  whip 1 cup of milk in cream cheese spread and set aside
2.   whip 6 cups of milk into instant pudding and set aside
3.  whip cream cheese spread into instant pudding evening
4.  layer pudding mix, sliced bananas and vanilla wafers one at a time, set aside 6 cookies to crush for topping
5.  spread cool whip on top and sprinkle the crushed vanilla wafers over the cool whip for a nice finishing touch

We tried this recipe earlier this week and it was AMAZING!  Enjoy!  :)

**Please note that different instant pudding brands vary in the amounts of milk they require. 

The Undercurrents (A Poem)

The feel of my life was an ocean pulse,
The calm rolling fear all foam-washed
And waterlogged to the same pin-wheel trap
Of memories vague in skin-enmeshed organs,
The vile hush-beat of something strumming
The core of my torso like a light-weight taking flight.
This dumb awakening a mere undercurrent
Beneath the lolling pulse-curse
Of my bird-winged heart all wet
With the sap of love gown old.
The dead poets all spoke
Of this awkward place of desolation,
A wilderness that webs it’s strumming veins
Throughout our limbs like some awful revelation
Until one day in old age we awaken
To our sagging earlobes and faded tattoos,
To the times on our boxed TV windows
Too out of date for cylindric measurement.
The hanging skin of our eyes
Pushing back lashes and away from memories
As if our half-forgotten pasts were something
We might accidently slip back into.

The Candleburn (Prose)

She was the first girl who ever brought me candles, the breaths of their wicks caught short by the dressing of our voices across a humid bath drawn for two.  Where once our words were all finger-nudged and cramped still by shy seconds spent in department store parking lots well past 3am, we now fold easily into each other, an undercurrent of thumping heartbeats and the native feel of another woman’s hands polishing promises onto the lotioned backs of each other.

Her body was the first I’d ever kissed in forbidden ways, and once bitten by the soft feel of her sin, I would dive into our nights alone, a whirlwind of coffee lips and the pinched knees of nervousness gone awry.  I was amazed at how close one person could become to the spiritual matter of another, flesh paving the roadway into the barren caverns of all her secret places no one had ever touched.

Some nights were so overwhelming that my emotions would spin me into a frenzy of clamp-jawed lyricism and the frozen kisses that caught my tears in their mouths like open wounds struggling to bloom.  For weeks before the full surrender of loves numb-tongued confession, we would struggle to capture late nights into plastic latte cups and public bathrooms where tiny touches would tug the pull-strings of what we both wanted, yet feared, in the final orchestration of folding skin, dangling promise-ringed fingers.  The shaking voices of love that would finally inhabit us as foreign entity, a pale-faced creature with soft hands, cold to the touch of later winter, this God of Appalachian night air who’d force our touches into a road towards dawn, a tiny stretched finger of heaven my lover would roll her car across as if we had always been this way, as if this weren’t the grand beginning but an extension of something born into the light of the universe eons ago to spin out dust into the void, allowing us to dance back into bright new bodies, into the irresistible fire the flesh would spin of us two into each other.  Our love igniting the fuel of flesh like the starburst shine of a supernova across the dark-hilled corner of a Kentuckian-nowhere.