Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Different Worlds

My Three Moms

Last year I purchased a shadow box at Tuesday Mornings for practically nothing. Now, what to do with it. It had little canals along the bottom where the glass must have at one time or another gone. I decided to paint it and make a memorial for my 3 mom's.

In the shadow box on the left is my natural mom who truly thought more of me than herself when she gave me up for adoption and I was placed privately at 3 months old. My natural mom's name was Irene.

In the middle was Barbara. She had many problems of her own, the least of which she was an alcoholic. She volunteered at the hospital where I was born and slipped a note to Irene that had her phone number. At 2 years of age, my adoptive father, Harry Keller at the age of 50 got full custody of me after Barbara tried to stab him one day after he came home from work.

For the next few years I was raised by my dad's German grandmother, Rosa. She died when I was 5. Then there were housekeepers. After Miss Murray tried to commit suicide, I was shipped off to my Aunt Em's in Chicago to complete my 3rd grade.

Irene, Barbara and Nadine

In the middle of my 4th grade at Holy Family in Glendale, my father announced he was marrying a woman named Nadine. He reminded me that I had met her on New Year's Day when we had all gone to the Rose Parade together.

Nadine was the best thing that every happened to me. In my mind, she is or was, "my Mommy". I have mentioned her before in my posts. She took this unruly, tomboy, hyper-active little girl and transformed her into who I am today. She is the one on the right. She loved Irises and purple. Those are her pearls on the left and the rhinestone pin on the right are hers also. The irises are from a little flower pot Staci (Ernie's daughter) gave me once upon a time since I too love irises and purple. The glove on the top is a very sheer soft pink glove that was Nadine's. Holding the glove to the top of the shadow box is a big tapestry hat pin.

This now sits in the window where I look out to the ocean and try to remember the three different worlds I lived in before I became an adult.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Collage Birthday Cards

Felicia and Rita Fanto

I think one of the things I love to do more than anything is collage using photos of friends and family. Remember, all my art needs a purpose. It appears that I am unable to just do art for art sake. I know know if this is because I came to art late in life - almost 60 when I turned this corner or if its the only motivation I seem to find to do stuff.

The first card I made this week was for a relative of my husband, whom neither of us have ever met. She lives on Tangier Island in Virginia. I feel like I know here because of all the communications she and I exchanged when I was doing my husband's genealogy. She was a tremendous help. This is Rita on the right and her sister "Flea" (Felicia) . They are very close emotionally but live far apart. Rita's computer died and so she sent me a letter after Christmas. Now, I'm not sure I sent her one of my Christmas cards. . . So, I made this card for her which I will send her tomorrow and update her as to how things are out here.

Aunt Adele

The above card is for my second oldest aunt. She will be 91 at the end of January. I used a background I made in a Kelly Kilmer class that is a painted canvas. The "flower body" was created by Gail Russakov who I have taken classes from at Art Unraveled in Phoenix.

I just found a photo of Aunt Adele and sized it in PhotoShop. After printing both the flower body and Aunt Adele's head shot, I literally just pasted her face on the flower. I added very small rhinestones around her neck and then some Stickles for the white centers of the flowers that make up her top. The center of the sun flower is some more black Stickles.

The layout below was created by using a background created in a Chris Cozen class. Then applying the Gail Russakov flower with Aunt Adele's photo. Then scanning it into PhotoShop and adding the swirls with a custom brush created by Rhonna Farrer.

Aunt Adele

All of my natural mom (Irene) sisters have been amazing since I found them (remember I was given up for private adoption). They have told me so much about the Gorszczyk family and provided so many photos and letters and support. When I first found my mom's family mostly living in New Jersey, I made them all necklaces using beads from Taiwan that I gathered in a Chinese knots class that was taught by an incredible Taiwanese National. I wonder if any of my aunts still have theses pieces of jewelry?

The last photo is a collage of Aunt Chris who has been an intregal part of my family since my discovery of all my mom's sisters (remember, 9 girls and 1 boy total). She and her husband were the first to welcome me into the family. She and Aunt Adele's daughter, Arlene, came out for my wedding and helped me so very much. Aunt Chris went with me to take my son, Erik, to West Point and stood beside me as a surrogate mom when Erik and Shannon got married.

Aunt Chris

Butterflies mean a lot to my aunts and angels mean a lot to me. Anyone who knows Aunt Chris, will understand the placement of the telephone on the collage - and she does not have call waiting - so just hang in there. I think she talks to all her sisters almost every day. For sure, once a week.

Aunt Chris' birthday isn't for a while, but I am ready. Her background was created in one of the many Chris Cozen classes that I took at Stamping Details in Poway.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Your having a baby!

A week or so ago, I received an invitation like nothing I have ever received before. It was an invitation from 3 of Jill's girlfriends inviting me to an baby shower via mail. They provided an 8x8 bright yellow scrapbook paper that was going into a memory book for Jill. It was suggested that I could "write some words of advice. . . a wish. . . a poem. . . share a memory. . . draw a picture. . . or use your scrap-booking skill . . . whatever you would like to have added to Jill's book." I had all of January to respond.

I decided to use scrapbooking products and paint and collage techniques to complete the page. I found a Gerber Baby picture on the web, since it represents everyone's generic baby. Even though they know it is going to be a girl, I decided to use pink, blue and yellow/gold for the page.
The little bear is out of metal using a Wizard die and then Ranger's alcohol inks. The crown is a chipboard crown covered with antique chunky glitter.

All I need to do now is get to a book store and purchase one of my children's favorite baby books to help Jill and Jason start a library for their little bundle of joy that will appear in February.

Jill and my cousin Laura's son, Jason, got married in North Carolina more than a couple of years ago. Kari and I flew there so that Kari could meet almost all of her grandmother Irene's sisters. Below is a picture of all the Gorsik (Gorszczyk) sisters and their siblings and spouses who were able to travel and be there for the Jill and Jason's wedding.

The Family. . .

On the far left in a blue dress is Jason's grandma, my Aunt Jean. She will turn 95 years old this weekend! Happy Birthday Aunt Jean.

So, from left to right in the wedding photo is: Aunt Jean, Aunt Adele, Adele's daughter Barbara and Barbara's daughter Christy.

Next to Christy is Aunt Chris, then Aunt Marie, cousin Alan's wife, Adele's other daughter, Arlene, and me with my hair up.

Then there is my cousin, Frankie. This is the only time I have met Aunt Helen's son, Frankie, who is to my right in the photo, then my daughter, Kari, Aunt Helen and "photoshopped", bride, Jill.

In front of all of us is Aunt Marie's son, Jimmy, his wife, Cher and their two twin boys, Tommy and Eric.

In the forefront is Aunt Jean's daughter and my cousin, Laura. And spread out on the carpet is the groom, Laura's son, Jason. Whew.

The sisters who are still alive and were missing were my mom, Irene, Aunt Sonie and Aunt Lee. Already deceased were their sister, Arline (not to be confused with cousin Arlene) and the only boy, Henry.

This is one of my favorite photos of Aunt Jean when she was younger. She is the oldest of the 9 girls and one boy born to Helena and Alois Gorsik. My natural mother, Irene, was the only one of the 10 children to be born in Poland.

Aunt Jean

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I've been tagged

Jlo just "tagged" me. I'm not really sure what that means. Jen has this wonderful blog that she actually writes in every day. I guess the tag means in this case that I am to write 5 things that I am addicted to and then tag 5 persons and ask them to comment in my blog and that they write in their blog 5 things they are addicted to and tag 5 more people. I am thinking this is a way to get people to view your blog and to comment?

My 5 addictions are:

1. Adobe PhotoShop CS3 - I can't imagine living without photoshop. This would include my printer and scanner since all seem necessary and work with each other in creating photos for scrapbooking or pictures to do collages with and work with canvases.

2. Genealogy is probably my first love and addition. I have been all consumed with it in different times of my life. I am jumping back into it again and going to continue with my over 500 pages book about my family with footnotes and everything. (FYI: I use the program Legacy Family Tree for my genealogy).

3. Golden paints and gel mediums. The first to introduce me to this was artists/teacher Kelly Kilmer. I had never worked with paints before. I still have difficulty painting on my own (we are talking about background painting here, folks, not some portrait or landscaped stuff.

4. Classes from great teachers. I am scheduled for my first class(es) with Leslie Altman at Stamping Details. Can't wait to learn all that she has to offer. And then there is Tammie Moore who really opened my eyes to the freedom to play and explore papers and colors.And then there is Georgia Lichon, who is one of the greatest teacher I have ever had...and who freed me up and taught me there are no mistakes in art. Plus, she is one of the prettiest woman I have ever met..."

5. My new Pazzles that I have actually neglected. It is the most amazing machine for cutting anything, any size and out of any paper. I just have to get back to my scrapbooking.

So little time and so many ideas and things to do be fore we die! Thank goodness I have many aunts who are living forever and in relative good health. Like I mentioned in recent blogs, one just turned 95 and the other is turning 91 and there are several in their 80's!

Monday, January 5, 2009

K1 - knit one, p1 - pearl one

One of our many guest during the Christmas/New Year holiday season was Ernie's best friend Richard and his wife Sharon. Sharon is a knitter extraordinaire. There's nothing she can't knit. When they annually come down to celebrate Ernie and my wedding anniversary (married New Year's Eve 1994), I try to knit something also. It's usually a simple scarf or once a wonderful shawl. It's the only time I get out my mother's knitting needles.

This year Sharon taught me to make theses darling little flowers that I can use in my altered art or maybe attach to a scarf? The directions to make the flowers can be found at Head Huggers. The pink flowers were knitted on size 6 needles. The black and the white flowers were knitted on size 8 needles. I have yet to put beads in the center. I'll wait until I decide what I am going to do with the flowers. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it. . .

I think I have mentioned in the past my mom's knitting group. I think there was six of them. They had met as professional women and after retiring continued to met regularly and share their love of knitting.

Here's one example of my mom's knitting. I remember her knitting this sweater with the beautiful butterfly stitch. She would watch TV and never seem to look down at her needles.

Close up of the butterfly stitch.

The other two outfits were knitted by my mom's dear friend,Thelma and passed on to me. When I was much younger and slimmer, I wore the red and blue knit outfit at Christmas time.

That is a gold metallic thread that I think was part of the yarn. Look how beautiful the buttons are!

The Mauve dress I wore at my daughter, Kari's 1st Communion. This was made with the smallest of needles.

The stitches are so close it looks like cloth.