Friday, October 30, 2009

Sugar and Spice

I've been enjoying an usual anticipation for Halloween this year. Buying carmels and granny smith apples for some weekend confections. Reading Sleepy Hollow instead of textbooks. And - on a weekend visiting home - driving out to the farm off of Woods Valley Road for its annual pumpkin patch. From the road you can see the distant pumpkin pickers, wandering past great clusters of orange orbs. To the east a fine dust coats the white barn on the neighboring land and to the west giant pumpkins dot the dried fields, their burnt red hide decaying sweetly in the heat of California autumn. Back at school, these miniature pumpkins were sensible. Since I didn't have the array of glitter colors to make these, I "adjusted" the natural pumpkin colors by giving each a coat of acrylic craft paint before covering them in sugary, iridescent white glitter.With all this talk of pumpkins and November just around the corner, I'm already awaiting Thanksgiving. The scent of cloves and allspice, the warmth that emanates from the oven, and to borrow a phrase from Washington Irving, "the most luxurious of pies."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Spied October

Color, lovely dark and deep is how I think of October. Golds and red and umber. And warm nostalgia for autumns past - maple trees and east coast vacations, brown suede shoes and school years not yet devoid of their newness. I photographed a collection of papers and trifles that seem to capture the month and they rather reminded me of the "I, Spy" books my brother and I had as children. For some reason those slight hardcovers only came down from the shelves in winter; we'd sit on either side of my mother and see who could first spot the be-riddled objects each time she turned the page. So in the spirit of colder evenings and old fashioned indoor pastimes, I created a handmade "I Spied October" booklet.
After taking the picture, I wrote a riddle to include all the objects. For the book I printed it in dark brown ink on kraft paper.Bay leaves in bronze, a spool of gold thread.
Deep olive velvet and words to be read.
A farmhouse facade, a still life emblazoned,
Floral and fiery, luxurious and brazen.
In chestnut and ivory, two bits of down,
Five pins and a ribbon in taffeta brown.
Tiny bouquet of glass petal and wire,
Sepia valley with lonesome white spire.
Lady in linen and black satin brim,
Antique brass button, tarnished and dim.
Papers, a snapshot, a glittering four,
In a deep maple orange, one button more.
A gentle winged beauty called to watch over,
And the muse of this poem, a gilded October.The front cover is printed on vellum. The back cover is a pocket created by sewing the short sides of the last two pages together - inside the pocket I tucked a mini craft envelope with a tiny magnifying glass enclosed (from an eye glass repair kit - I added gold paint to the rim and a seam binding bow to the handle).Beneath the vellum front cover is a thin layer of sewing pattern paper. You can just see through to the "I, Spy" photograph beneath.A page instructs the reader on "How to Play."And of course no game is complete without a solution.A page printed on vellum breaks the riddle down into numbered objects. Then the following page shows the original photo with corresponding numbers on each of the objects.You can commemorate October by making a book of your own. Find the download and instructions below.

Click the button above to download the printable pages of the book. Pages are 4 inches by 6 inches - you can cut papers to size and print on a photo printer. For the look above, print pages one and five on vellum. Pages two and six are best printed on photo-friendly papers. Print the remaining pages on papers of your choice (card stock or even kraft paper!). You can also add additional papers to customize your book - I added a page cut from an old sewing pattern between pages one and two. If you'd like to have a pocket in the back cover of your book, place pages six and seven back to back and sew short edges together using a zigzag stitch. Now align all the pages of your book together and sew with a zigzag stitch along the spine. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Five in Gold

Above, figures one through five in gold. Gold frames, that is. An old and mismatched assortment, all of them somewhere between gilt and tarnish. Inside them, crystalline windows of convex glass, numbers painted bronze. And the papers - the florals seem as though they could have covered antiquated walls, peeling down through centuries, in graceful sloth. This arrangement is for Project Wedding, made from vintage frames and store bought scrapbook papers. Get the how-to and lots more photos at Project Wedding!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet Me at the Fair

In my home county, the fair came in early June. Just after the weather warmed and just before the horses ran at Del Mar. The time suited it. The Ferris wheel was at the far western edge; from its height you could look down on a ribbon of two lane highway or out beyond, where two low, tawny hills gave way to beach and sea. It was place wrapped in the promise of summer.I suppose that's why I'd rather forgotten that the fairs of storybooks are autumn affairs. Places for prize pigs and blue ribbon pies. Calico dresses, golden hay bales and cloud streaked harvest skies. Where storybook children run through carnival light in in the briskness of late September air, leaping from carousel horses to spend their nickels on gluttonously dipped apples, bright red and caramel. Such things are best in fall, so I'm quite glad the early days of October brought us to a new county fair and its amusements. Lanky-legged lambs, rambunctious pigs and brown spotted calves. The dust kicked up by hooves in paddocks. The slow spin of the Ferris wheel overhead. The midway lights by night. Folded quilts. Jars of honey. Corndogs from stands. And a three minute wait for photobooth prints."Don't tell me the lights are shining any place but there."