Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Painting with Coffee

A few weeks ago I saw a post on one of the MANY blogs I follow that really caught my attention. You might not know this about me, but I haven't always sewn. I taught myself to do that, but I did take years and years of art classes. Watercolor was my favorite medium. So when I saw this process I had to try it. I became obsessed. When you're done it should look like an aged parchment.

My first obstacle: coffee. I don't drink it. So one morning I went to Cost Plus and poured myself a cup of FREE coffee they have set up at the back of the store.

I filled the cup a little too full. It was quite an adventure driving home---no lid. I only spilled one drop.

You'll need to tape down your paper so it doesn't buckle. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist so I measured a 1/2 inch margin before I taped.

I used packaging tape. That's all I had. I would recommend masking tape. It is less strong and will peel up easier.

Next, paint a wash over the entire surface of the paper. The first time I tried I used TOO MUCH coffee. See the ripples? Too wet.

Sprinkle coarse sea salt. I don't think my salt was coarse enough. I also over salted the first time.

You can kind of see the separation effect, but the first time I used too much coffee and salt.

This is my second attempt. Less coffee, but my salt didn't quite do what I wanted it to do. I think I still used too much.

Be careful when you pull up the tape so you don't rip the paper. And make sure to rub ALL the salt off of the paper. Now you're ready to sketch your painting. I'm still deciding what my subject matter will be.

I just re-read the original post. I didn't alternate brush strokes of coffee and pure water. Maybe that is my problem. I'll try it again. If you try this, post pics and let me know.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Craft Supplies and Hair Color ?

Here at the "Craft Palace" (we don't really live in a palace) we have so many supplies that we can make virtually anything, and in some cases we've tried. For new projects we usually only have to pick up 1 or 2 things, like a cup of coffee (reason for coffee to be revealed in a future post).

We have bins for almost everything. This is the thread bin that has been taken over by embroidery floss.

We have paint---water color, oil & acrylic, stamps, lace, trims, buttons, snaps, beads, patches, jump rings and chains for jewelry, fabric by the yard, scraps of fabric, felt, ribbon, yarn, paper, stickers . . . the list could go on and on. Suffice it to say we like to create. And we're pretty good at doing things.

One thing we're not good at is coloring our hair. That's not to say that we can't, we just hate to do it. One of us is a licensed cosmetologist. The other one of us is not, but I've been doing D.D.'s hair for a good number of years now. I should be over it by now, but HATE is not too strong a word to describe my feelings on the matter. I get anxious and absolutely dread it. But I do a fine job. Just ask my sister. I'm just afraid I'll mess her hair up. Foils, weaving and cotton can be intimidating. As much as I hate doing her hair, she hates getting it done more. So we procrastinate---something we're both very good at doing. It doesn't take us very long, so why do we drag our feet and moan about it? I'm very grateful that we don't have to pay a salon to color our hair. We do it at our convenience and we're always VERY happy after we've done it. 

D.D. with her foils.

So now we both have great hair and no weekend plans. I guess we'll have to go through our craft supplies and make something.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The experiences of the last few months have reminded me how lucky I am to have the family I do. Not just immediate family, but the entire extended family circle. And not just blood relative family---friends. People I've known my whole life, or people I've connected to who I feel I've known my whole life. The level of love and caring has overwhelmed me. D.D. and I have tried to spend as much of our free time in San Diego as we can. Dad's cancer has spread to his other Lymph Nodes. This week he had his second of six chemotherapy treatments. Last week his hair started coming out so he had Steele shave it for him. And then Steele supportively shaved his own head.

I have tried to become better at living in the moment. Some days are good for Dad and some days are bad. Some parts of days are better than others. When Dad feels good we react. We do what he would like to do. When Dad is hungry we fix a meal or go on a food run for something he wants. This has gotten a little bit trickier since his diet is now restricted because of the blood thinners he is taking, and during chemotherapy he can't have any fresh fruits or veggies. If he feels up to playing a game, out come the Liverpool Rummy cards. When he would rather rest, we all quietly find something else to do. We even got Dad to play a little Beatles Rock Band last weekend.

I take each day as it comes. Some are better than others. The other night I completely lost it listening to a Kenny Rodgers song that reminded me of better days with Dad. I cried it out and felt better afterwards. Hope and prayer are sustaining me. And LOTS of ice cream. We've gotten into a bad habit of ALWAYS having ice cream at Mom and Dad's house. Thank goodness we usually come back to LA during the week, otherwise we'd be bigger than houses. Weekends filled with eating pretty much whatever we want followed by a week of more sensible eating and exercise (when it isn't heatstroke inducing HOT outside).

Thank you to all who have shared your love with us during this difficult time. We've not been very good at returning or acknowledging every act of kindness, but just know that we appreciate everything done in our behalf.