Creating Postcards

Dear Liza,

Since so many of my friends and family are far away and travel is difficult, I have started making cards and postcards to send to folks. There are many things I like about this type of art.

First, it is super cheap. The materials (old postcards, stationary, and magazines) can be found in free libraries and garage sales for next to nothing. The biggest expense in Mod Podge, and one $5 jar lasts a really long time. I also sometimes use acrylic paints as a background.

Next, it doesn’t require great artistic skill. You just paint, snip, place and layer until you like the way the card looks, then glue it down.

Third, each piece is small! You don’t spend a lot of time filling big spaces, and you can do several in a busy afternoon.

Fourth, it is easy to share your art with friends! After pressing it flat under books and protecting it with a spray of Kamar varnish (another expense, but one can lasts practically forever), just put a postcard stamp and a cheery note on your masterpiece and send it off.

Since the back of the postcard won’t match whatever you put on the front, you can glue plain paper to the back. I re-use the insides of envelopes, seen here being glued onto the back of the postcard. It gets trimmed to fit afterward.

And the best thing about this portable, inexpensive art form is that it can be made especially for the friend it is going to. Sweet flowers for Mae, a giraffe for Ruthie, or a beautiful butterfly mutant for Richard. It’s all for you to decide.

Have fun and send me a card!


Grandma Judy

Paper Mosaic Reprise

Dear Liza,

I have been bitten by the mosaic bug again, and I looked online for some inspiration. I found this is 1,600 years old mosaic, and I chose it because I love the eyes.

I know mosaics are labor intensive and wanted to start small, so I focused on just “the windows of the soul”, using a piece of backing paper about 5 x 8.

I sketched the basic shape in yellow pencil on dark paper about 5 by 8 inches. The dark background would mimic the grout usually used between tiles.

Since I loved the irregularity of the skin tones, I decided to paint a bunch to play with. Painting these swatches on heavy watercolor paper makes for bits that are easy to handle.

Then came the slow part, trimming and fitting and gluing. They should be small enough, but not too small, close enough, but not too close. It is intense work and I can only do it for about half an hour at a time.

There is a lot of second-guessing and talking to the bits as I work, lots of squinty work.

I was hoping to get this piece done today, because summer weather is predicted to start this weekend and I will (with any luck) be busy with planting and such.
But I didn’t. Here’s what have for now.


Grandma Judy

A Paper Mosaic

Dear Liza,

You know I love mosaics. I am fascinated by how the tiny bits fit and flow together to create larger images. I have taken hundreds of pictures of mosaics over the years.

I have even made some! The side table we use everyday is made from upcycled plates, a big broken bowl, and floor tiles from a building that was torn down, years ago, in Salinas.

But mosaics made from tile or plates are very heavy, and tend to be large. Good for a garden, maybe. But that’s an idea for later.

But mosaics made of paper could be smaller and lighter. And since one of the things I like best about mosaics is using ’damaged goods’ to another purpose, why not recycle some of my less-than-successful pictures into one?

I also had scraps from trimming a large piece down for cards…

Maybe they could work together? Because of the hot orange, I started with a starburst idea.

Could it look even better with the blue and black? I tried. Oh, yeah.

Continuing with the blue and into the green, I like it better and better.

And though I can see ways I could have done it better, I like this a lot. I think I will be playing with this some more.


Grandma Judy

New Year’s Eve

Dear Liza,

It started with paper plates…

We had a fun New Year’s Eve at home this year. It was wonderful.

This one became a top hat!

During the day, Auntie Bridgett worked for a few hours at the SideStreet Arts Gallery, and I wrote a little and practiced French. Grandpa Nelson started researching what looks like our next European trip: Ireland and France!

This is one of the things I love about our trips, is the planning and discussing, the research and the antici…..pation.

But the most fun was the hats!

And this bunch of crumples…..
became my girly hat!
Silly Grandma Judy

Auntie Bridgett had a really good idea, to make funny New Year’s Eve hats out of the bags of used Christmas paper that were waiting to be thrown out. We started snipping and trying ideas, making it up as we went along.

While the glue was drying, Auntie Bridgett and I went out for some bowls from Laughing Planet to take home. We opened some Columbia Crest Merlot, which went very well with the spicy food.

The hats were so much fun! Auntie Bridgett’s stayed on her head better… mine needed a little rubber band strap. I think mine looked better on the bear, anyway.

Cute Auntie Bridgett

We played a game of Brain Spin, which plays with how we see things, and our favorite, Scrabble, which I won!! This is a rare thing and I enjoyed it very much.

Cute Bear

We nibbled and sipped and watched some Baking Show, then counted down to midnight, feeling sleepy but happy.
See you next year!


Grandma Judy