Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stain Glass Poppies

My wife, Chris, and I, with the help of one of my wife's teaching colleagues, Steve and his wife Cynthia, made a stain glass window for our home. It started as an item on our daughter-in-law Emery's Christmas gift wishlist. She wanted a stain glass window for her kitchen, Steve is a master glass artist, and with Cynthia they have made many beautiful windows and perhaps hundreds of stained glass mandalas with his students over the years.
As we thought about getting a window for our daughter-in-law, Chris asked Steve about costs for his windows. He totally surprised us when he said, "Oh, why don't you come over, and I'll teach you how to make the windows. You can make one for her and one for you. I'll give you the glass, and you can pay for some of the supplies."
Well, we know a great deal when it slaps us in the face, so we took him up on his offer. We found designs that we liked, and Steve made some artistic design improvements. We learned about pattern preparation and looked at a lot of glass. The we started cutting pieces of glass and grinding the edges. Then came foiling all the pieces with copper and soldering them together. When the windows were soldered on both sides, we brushed on a acid that turned the solder black. Steve did most of the work, but he let us think we were doing more than we were.
    The finished window ready to install at the top of the stairs.
 The pieces of glass laid out on the pattern.
Almost finished with the glass cutting before foiling and soldering.
Still have to do some adjusting of the window it fit the casement. It looks different each hour of the day as the sunlight and cloud shadows change.
This is Emery's window.

Steve and Cynthia generously gave us some glass working tools, so we can make some more windows. There are several designs I would like to do. I have now started our next project, which I need to work on quickly if I want some help and advice from Steve. He is retiring at the end of this school year and they are moving to Phoenix. Steve gave us more glass for the new project. He says it makes it less glass he has to move.

Two Pinterest Boards

Well, after several months of perusing Pinterest, I put up two boards; one for my ATCs and one for mail art. We Canyons District middle school librarians have started a board for our combined libraries to encourage reading and library activities throughout the district. So, I decided it was time for me to practice with my own board. I titled my boards, "Enveloping the Word" for mail art and "Big Art: Little Spaces" for ATCs. I hope someone will get some ideas from my pins.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two ATC Posts

My first ATC trade for March was a quick trade Mayan mask theme. I found this Mayan head in an old art text. After trying it out on several backgrounds , I decided this black and white op-art was the best fit. I especially like the way the black and white appeared in the eyes. I sent the card off in the hand made envelope below.

The second trade of March was a pattern card. My trade partner likes kaleidoscopes, so I wanted to use the patterns in the form of a kaleidoscope. Along the way of experimenting, I thought of a Victorian puzzle purse as an extension of the pattern theme. I have never before now made a puzzle purse that did not start with a square piece of paper. Rather than cut of the extra parts under the top folds, I had to adjust the folds so that the purse would open to show the pattern on the inside. After a lot of trial and error, this is what came to be.

I made tight creases on the inside folds so that it easily collapses back into the shape of the card.

I sent this trade in a single sheet folded into an origami envelope. I created the page on the computer. I used this paper, because I felt that the collage fit with the pattern theme of the trade.These envelopes generally make it through the postal machinery, but sometimes they get chewed up. I usually ask the post office to hand stamp these types of envelopes and hand sort them. They will often hand cancel but then throw them into the sorter anyway.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Mail Art and ATCs

Because I have been so busy doing family history/genealogy work and scanning family photos all winter, I have not done any mail art or artist trading cards since last Fall. I started to swap again in February with some Valentine ATCs, a decorated paper trade, and a mail art swap. Here are my little creations:
This is the envelope (front and back) that I decorated for the paper trade. The decorated envelope was not part of the trade, but I like to do mail art whenever I have some time to do it. My wife says it is a little too much to decorate the return envelopes when I send out the bills. I only do that once in a while. I had to ad another 

The theme for the first Valentine ATC trade I did this year was to alter a King, Queen, or Jack of Hearts playing card. Several years ago, I found two movie star (Clark Gable and Greta Garbo) playing cards on the internet. The cards were of diamonds, so I already had to alter them to use them in the trade. I cut out the heads and the bars with their names on them and pasted those pieces on the hearts cards. Only one card was required for the swap, but a king must have a queen, and since I had the two movie stars, I made a pair, and added a couple of heart "jewels" to them. I also made the envelope in which to send them, which was also not required for the swap..

Below is the second Valentine ATC trade and its envelope. I used tagxedo.com to make the word collage heart. My swap partner said on her profile that hot pink was one of her favorite colors, so I colored one of my op-art backgrounds with a high lighter and added a tiny jewel heart at the center of one of the spirals. I tiled the tagxedo heart on an 8½ X 11 piece of copy paper, folded the envelope, and added a few other things.

The following envelope was for a thank you note. I made the stamp, showing my grandson, at zazzel.com. Each stamp costs twice as much as a regular first class stamp, but it is worth it for a special letter when the recipient knows "my" baby.

The purple dots look a little like Mickey Mouse ears. By the way, if you happen to see this young lady at Disneyland, beware. She is one of the pick-pockets from the 1630 French painting, The Fortune Teller, by Georges de La Tour. I have used her as a decoration many times. Thanks, Georges.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tempus Fugit

Wow, I haven't blogged anything since last October. There was just too much to do in the last five months, I suppose, to have time to compose something that is half way intelligent. That's not to say that this blog will have any semblance of intelligence either. But one may always hope for a good out come. I have spent many hours working on genealogy/family history this winter, staying up way too late each night at the computer prowling through the records on Ancestry.com, et al. I have been able to reconnect with long lost, to me, cousins throughout the U.S. I was not able to attend Roots Tech in Salt Lake City this year because of, ironically, concurrent, important family events.

My father passed away on January 29, at the age of 91. His coaching buddies wanted to get together for a memorial service to remember his life and career.. So very early in the morning on Sunday, the 15th of February, my wife and I flew out to Long Beach, California, Julian Smilowitz, one of my father's former football players who had also become a fellow coach with him, picked us up at the airport, took us to church, fed us lunch and got us to the event center behind the La Mirada City Hall in time to help set up the room for the memorial service. At 3:00 p.m., about sixty former students and coaching buddies arrived at the memorial service. My sister, Jill, and brother, Mark, drove in from San Diego and Riverside, and were among the last to leave. The last of the crowd didn't depart until after six. There was a lot of visiting among old friends, many of whom had not seen each other for years. Monday morning we flew back to Salt Lake City. We were gone for about 30 hours.

We are having another memorial in March at the assisted living facility where my father was living. All my children and grandchildren are driving down with us to San Diego from Utah, and all the rest of the family from Southern California will be there as well. It will be the first time everyone has been together at one place since my mother's memorial service twelve years ago.

I had hoped to inter their ashes in one of the wall niches at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma, but it is full. The last place was claimed in May of 2014. I suppose we could have them at Miramar National Cemetery on the north end of San Diego. But Rosecrans is such a beautiful place overlooking the bay.
Senior photo, Withrow High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942

Army Air Corps, Air Supply Command, China, Burma, and India, 1943-45

Coach "Goody"
The last photo of my parents together, October 2001.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Few Random Thoughts before My Birthday

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I catch a glimpse of my father peeking out at me.

Lately, when my picture is being taken, some old man keeps standing in front of me. I wish he would get out of the way.

One would think that after spending over 50,000 dollars on a new knee, I would have a better knee than the one I replaced. It's only been 3 1/2 months, but I don't think I am being too impatient.

After losing 45 pounds, I have noticed a lot more wrinkles. I suppose the fat used to keep the wrinkles smoothed out.

I don't feel old, but it is shocking to think that I have been teaching longer than most of the teachers at my school have been alive.

When I retire at the end of next year, after 43 years of teaching, it is sobering to think that in no time at all I will be totally forgotten.

I hope I have done some good in the lives of the multiple thousands of students I have had over the years. I did get a thank you letter a few years ago from a former student who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah. So that is one who made it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oops! Forgot Again.

Yesterday evening in the drizzling rain, my wife Chris and I went to the Texas Roadhouse to celebrate our 42nd anniversary. Our actual date is the 19th of August, but with school all day and my physical therapy in the afternoon the significance of the day was pushed out of our heads. Who says two heads are better than one? About ten o'clock that night, my son Hyrum and his wife Emery called and sang us the "Happy Anniversary" song. (For you old folks who at an early time in your lives watched the Flintstones, it is the song to the tune of the Lone Ranger theme which was actually the William Tell Overture.) We both laughed and said, "Oh yeah, it is our anniversary."

We have forgotten our anniversary more than once over the years. It is really a bad sign of something when you have talked about it the week before and still forget on the day.

Many years ago when our children were little, my wife and I had a part time job on weekday evenings working at Our Mom's Pies, a small pie factory owned by some friends of ours who lived down the street from us. My wife made and baked the pie shells while I mixed all the cream fillings and whipped cream and measured the fruit fillings. The work of the evening was dictated by the number of orders from restaurants in the area. One evening, after preparing a large order of pies, we were in the car driving home, too exhausted to talk and trying to reserve a little strength to take the babysitter home and put the kids to bed. I turned to Chris and asked, "Do you know what today is?" "It's the nineteenth." "Yep, the nineteenth of August, our anniversary." We both looked at each other and burst out laughing.
The dating couple ready for the BYU Fine Arts Ball 1971.