Monday, August 27, 2007

Last Day Before School Starts Tomorrow

And it's a beautiful day. That makes it even harder to head home to the mountains after a summer near the ocean. Oh, well, four more years of teaching then I'll retire.

My Nature Journaling students had to keep a moon journal for a month last spring and I did it along with them. I'd just discovered ATC's so decided to do my journal as a series of ATC's. Here's the first one.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Altered book pages 45 & 46

This is basically the last page. There are a few introductory and ending pages but there isn't much on them.

This picture is the last one taken of all 6 of us together. With half the family living in Florida and half in NH, it was hard to get us all in the same place very often. My dad died of cancer in 1997.

I still have to do the cover and have procrastinated all summer. I just don't know what to do with it. I guess the best thing is just to go for it and if I don't like it, start over again.

Altered book pages 43 & 44

This page was a mistake. I actually did the next page before realizing that there was a blank page inbetween! I still have some repairing to do from sticking.

Altered book pages 41 & 42

This is another transition page. I used tissue paper for the background and really like the wrinkled way it turned out.

Altered book pages 39 & 40

My little sister Sally was born in 1957. Yikes! That means she's going to be 50 this year!
The picture in the right is a composite of two pictures because first my mom took a picture of the 5 of us then she got in the picture and my dad took one with her in it. They were taken at Silver Lake in Maine where we spent many happy vacations.

Altered book pages 37 & 38

My brother Tim was born on Dec. 22 and was quite a nice Christmas present. This is one of those pages that stuck together so I had to gently pry it apart. Unfortunately, there was still lots of damage that even went through to the next page. I ended up putting blue painter's tape down the middle to hide the tears then painted it and many other ripped spots with the navy blue.

Altered book pages 35 & 36

Three and a half years later my sister Nancy was born. I was playing around in photoshop Elements and created these pictures of her from that one photo. I thought they were kind of cool.

The picture on the right was faded so I color-enhanced it and liked the effect so went with it.

Altered book pages 33 & 34

When they were first married, my parents lived in Portsmouth because my dad was going to school there to become an auto mechanic. A week or so before I was due, my mom went back home to stay with her parents so she'd be in Berlin, where her doctor was located, for my arrival. Wouldn't you know, the day she went into labor a huge snow storm hit. They didn't have a car so my dad hopped on the bus and it took him almost all day to get to my mom.
I wrote this villanelle when I gave my poetry-writing students this form to try. I have a book of prompts and randomly picked one. It turned out to be: On the day I was born. (A villanelle is a poem that repeats line one at the end of stanzas 2 and 4 and in the 3rd line of the last stanza. It also repeats line three at the end of stanzas 3, 5, and the last stanza. Besides those repetitions, there are two rhymes: all lines 1 and 3 rhyme and all lines 2 rhyme.)
The picture was taken on my parents' first anniversary.

Altered book pages 31 & 32

I got a kick out of the words on the left.

My mom got pregnant the first month they were married. This picture was taken on the day after my mom's 23rd birthday 6 days before I was born.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Altered Book pages 29 & 30

This is one of those filler pages bridging the time between the honeymoon and "life."

Altered Book pages 27 & 28

Again, the words from the original book just seem to make the page. And I couldn't have planned the position of "Let's go" any more perfectly!

(Sorry about those stupid butterfly wings. I like the idea of the symbolism but I'm just so darn sick of them.)

Altered Book pages 25 & 26

This is the reason I did this book; I wanted to do something to honor my parents' wedding pictures. Ironically, this is the page layout I like the least. I just couldn't seem to make it work. I finally just gave up on it after the pages split and started pulling out. I hate the colors but used the yellow because that's the color my aunt Yolande wore. The green just happened and I hate it. One of these days, I'll paint over that duct tape holding the top of the page in!

Altered Book pages 23 & 24

I got the biggest kick out of this newspaper clipping of my dad's stag party. It all sounds so prim and proper but I'm sure it was anything but!

The pictures going from top to bottom are of my dad; George Monahan (he would marry my dad's sister, Dorothy); Robert Ryan, my dad's brother; and Henry Bergeron, my dad's best friend.

Altered Book pages 21 & 22

I love the words I was able to use from the original book. They so perfectly fit this engagement page.

Altered Book pages 19&20

Sun bathing beauty!

I think this was taken at Old Orchard Beach. My mom said she used to visit every summer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Altered Book pages 17 & 18

Then we get to chapter 3: Them.

It wasn't until I got to this page that I realized that one of the characters in the book was named Jim, also my dad's name. How perfect! I love how the words on this page fit in so well!

Altered Book pages 15&16

Memere was always a very stern woman and I love this picture of her smiling with my mom.

My grandfather, Pepere, was such a handsome man. I feel like I never really knew these grandparents because they spoke mostly French and I didn't.

Last spring there was an article in the local newspaper about how my grandfather had been in an accident and helped save several people. I wrote the following poem about it.


I never knew

my grandfather

was a hero.

I remember him

as just being there

smiling at me

like a photograph

caught in the gauze

of my memory.

I never thought

of him as a man

going to work,

playing with his kids,

telling a joke,

listening to music.

What foods did he like?

What made him laugh?

What were his dreams?

The picture I have

of him is one-dimentional,

flat, gray.

I don't know

what color shirt

he was wearing

when his car

went into the water.

I can't see the weather.

Did he scream

as he helped the women

out of the water?

Did they hug him

in thanks? Pepere,

who were you?

Altered Book pages 13 & 14

This is my mom and her siblings. I asked my mom about Yvonette Laflamme and she doesn't even remember being in that wedding. Looks like she was a flowergirl.
In the top right picture, my Aunt Yolande is on the right amd my uncle Paul (Leopold) has his hands over her ears.
You'll notice that my mom sometimes spelled her name Florette and at other time Fleurette. This is her handwriting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Altered Book pages 11&12

Another transition page on the left then the beginning of chapter two titled "Her."
This is a pciture of my mom's mother. We called her Memere.

Altered Book pages 9&10

I was ready to start the next chapter but had an extra page inbetween so just used the words from the book and some paint and stickers to show the transition.

Altered Book pages 7&8

Growing up!
I used burlap for the background on the left. The little pumpkin is a miniaturization of a picture my dad colored when he was in first grade.
I hate butterfly! When I did this page, however, I thought putting them behind people was pretty cool. Since then, I've seen this done a million times and am totally sick of it.

Altered Book pages 5&6

More scrapbook-influenced pages, I'm afraid. I really enjoyed reading the pages ahead of time and choosing certain words to incorporate into my design.

The handwriting about the pets is my grandfather's. His penmanship was so beautiful and he's the one who wrote most often in my dad's baby book.

Poking out of the envelope with my dad's name on it is an invitation to a birthday party that he received when he was a youngster.

Wed. 8/22/07 Altered Book pages 3&4

This layout (which has a dark background because I had to paint over my first attempt!) shows my dad as a baby with his mother.

The envelope holds a tuft of his blond curls that were cut about 86 years ago.

Since this was my first attempt at book altering, I approached it more like scrapbooking as you can tell from this page. It took awhile to veer from that mindset.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Altered Book-pages 1&2

This is an altered book I made for my mom called In the Stars. The first chapter is called "Him" and shows my dad and his family. This picture is of his mother, my grandmother. We called her Nonie.

The last page---finally!

This one speaks for itself.

Accordion book-Almost done

I make my students journal write twice a week. I give them a prompt, put some instrumental music on, and let them create for about 10 minutes. One day I was feeling especially blah and the prompt wasn't doing it for me. As I sat there on my stool behind my podium I decided to just write about what was in front of me and a poem emerged.

Tues. Aug. 21, 2007 More accordion book

I am lucky enough to live near the beach for the summer months. Almost every day, I hop on my red bicycle and pedal to the beach which is about a mile away. I'm not much of a sunbather, though; I just sit in my nifty folding seat and read and write poetry and just enjoy the scenery.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Accordion book continued

I was priviledged to be at the hospital the night my granddaughter was born and wrote this poem about it.

Monday August 20, 2007 Accordion book continued

My daughter's name is Erin but we call her Tuts. It's a shortened version of TaTa. She got that name at the babysitters when she was younger because she was always such a tata. Whatever that means!

I think I'll add an updated picture of her taken at her wedding on June 8, 2007.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More Accordion book

I have two kids: Nathan who is almost 33 and Erin who just turned 29. This is my son's page.

Accordion Book continued 8/19/07

The title of this page is "I Come From." The ribbon covers part of it.

This is my family background. We didn't have much money but made up for it with love and respect and laughter.

The picture of my mom in the heart charm is blurry because the bead just above it let some light in.

Accordion Book continued 8/19/07

We spend the whole summer at a campground in Maine and love to make fires at night. This page shows the simplicity of our lives and how it takes very little to make us happy. The journaling reads:
You build a fire
no paper scraps and kindling, though
split logs
drenched in charcoal lighter fluid
a click of the Cricket
instantaneous inferno
flames paint our faces
Your hand reaches for mine
I reach for yours.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Accordion book continued

This is one dream I have. The poem reads:

I want a small house
near the ocean
with walls as white as foam

with curtains that dance
in the breeze
like sheets on a clothesline

I want to live there
surrounded by books
tending my flower garden

biking to the beach
and writing poedms
that blossom.

Sat. August 18, 2007

Thought I'd share an accordion book I created last year. This was an assignment I gave my poetry writing students and I did it along with them. It had to have a theme and mine was all the things that make me smile.
The number one rule of poetry is to show and not tell so instead of telling about myself, I'll show what I'm like through these pages.
This is the cover.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007

Babysat our granddaughter last week. So much fun to play with her. I so enjoy watching her discover language. She's 20 months old already!