Getting Limber with Timber


I live by the beach.

That means I beachcomb!

But beachcombing can add up if you don’t find ways to use it.


After Hurricane Sandy I made myself a 5 foot mirror. But let me tell you, that wasn’t even half of what I collected!

So it’s time to put all this driftwood to good use.



Strewn all over the floor, I can begin to look for shapes in the abyss.


More to construct…nailing, painting and assembling to do…

I shall record the progress… not getting much done today though! :)




I totally asked for it.  Tonight, as we were sitting down to dinner, I asked the kids what they thought I should title my post for today. I asked if they had any good names for my dog I created out of driftwood.

“Dog?” asked my daughter.  “That doesn’t look like a dog. That looks like a fox!” and from there my kids circled the dinner table singing “What Does a Fox Say?”


Does everyone know this video by now?  The kids are going wild for it.  It is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen or heard, but just like a car accident, I just can’t help but peak and maybe sing a little!

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So that is it. Even though I designed it to be a chevron dog it is now 100% fox.

Funny how that works.

Moving on…

Last night I posted my Granny Chic winter head wrap. It was too dark to get a photo of it on, so I took one this morning.

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This was wild.  My mother has my self-portrait from day #1 of my creativity challenge.  I didn’t put two and two together, but as I was walking out of her house I saw it and thought to myself “this is totally freaky.”  I inadvertently created the same wreath for my head as I had in my painting over 300 days ago.  I had no intentions.  The wreath in the painting was a floral wreath I wanted to wear to my first holy communion.  My mother, still in shock that I didn’t want to wear the veil like all the other little girls allowed me to wear a crown of baby’s breath.  Totally not what I wanted.  I wanted red roses, mums and sunflowers just like I had seen at a hippy wedding back then.

Hey the heart wants what the heart wants. Now I have my wreath!

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On my car ride home today I created a more tame version of a head wrap.  This prefab was still a little to simple for my taste, so I added some yarn and sequins.

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I also had enough time to make two other large flowers. I was going to add them to my scarf, but then I remembered some of these hats I had at home.  Now I have some overly-bedazzeled  head-gear.

I am ready to take on the cold!

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I finished my “Wild Goose” sculpture made from driftwood found at the beaches here in Rhode Island.

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This is how the raw pieces of driftwood looked.  When I found that top piece of driftwood on the beach and I saw the natural eyes that could be created from the wood knots, I instantly thought bird head.  I just love creating things out of what you find.  It reminds me of looking for images in the clouds.  If you stare long enough, things begin to emerge.

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This is as far as I got the other day.  Today I decided to add a back fin or a hump.  I also added color to the head and details to the feather patterns. I also began to paint four lengths of driftwood in black and white stripes.  I was going to make legs for my creature.  It then occurred to me that geese have two legs not four.  Two would not balance this heavy wood structure, so I abandoned the idea.  It has been good and windy the past two days.  I am going to try again to head down to the beach and see if I can find suitable legs.  I think black and white striped legs would be a fun addition.


For now my silly goose is hanging with some of my black and white decor in the living room.  It’s cool painting your own sculptures.  Magically they tie in to my personal style.  Fancy that!

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving.  I will be hanging with my family and playing with my niece, nephew and our kids.  We usually have a game of capture the flag and assassin (you murder people throughout the day with a wink or handshake, if you’re killed you need to drop to the ground and act out a dramatic death, then everyone has to figure out who is the assassin). I know. I know. It doesn’t sound all that festive and Thanksgiving-y, but the kids love it, so thus it shall be our family tradition!

I have a bit of traveling to do over the Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas holiday.  I only have 36 days left to my creativity challenge, but the upcoming month may be the most difficult yet!  It’s a super busy time of year.  The only way I have figured out how to make it through the past 331 days is not to worry about tomorrow.  So that’s my plan.  36 days of not worrying about it.  On days I have time I will push myself as far as I can go.  On days where I spend 5 hours in the car with whining children, I shall go easy on myself.  Either way, creative opportunities always seem to present themselves.  The unexpected always seems to go better than the over-planned. 

It shall work itself out.

After this I have a whole new something to worry about…what do I do when I’m done?

The answer is I have no idea.  I’m hoping my near future will unfold in some perfect design.  I hope this, because I really don’t know what comes next.  It’s been nice knowing my objective for a year now.  I’ve always felt like I don’t know what I’m doing.  It’s never very concrete. This challenge was a great way to put a label on my life.  To have some way to answer when people ask what I’m up to. I’m done though.  It’s served its purpose and run its course.  It’s time for me to reassess and pick another direction or simply rest.

Rest. Now that sounds very good :)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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I thought for sure I’d finish this goose in one day, but it wasn’t to be.

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I started bright and early 8am.

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I created a feather template from my recycle bin. I assure you, when I am through, they will look a lot more like a feather motif!

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By 3pm I had mostly only completed the under-painting.  I’m not sure if this is due to my driftwood goose’s size, which is around 2 ft high or the fact that the dried out wood sucked up so much paint I had to go over every area 2-3 times.

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Whatever the reason, I’m only half way there on this creature.

I still haven’t figured out what I want to do for designs on the head.

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I also plan on adding some of these corks too.

Either way, I love having these brightly colored 3-D objects around the house!

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the week, pottery day.  Maybe I will try to be disciplined enough to leave the pottery studio when I’m supposed to.  I generally stay an extra two hours.  I will try to leave early and finish this goose. I better. I still have five other driftwood sculptures waiting to be transformed!

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Today I was a glutton for punishment.

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I still need some key pieces of driftwood to complete some of my sculptures, so I decided to hit the beach.  If you are not from New England, then let me fill you in on the weather.  It was about 20 degrees today but with the wind chill, it was estimated to feel about 9.  Great day to go to the windy beach!

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I wised up this time and brought a wagon.  My arms are still sore from lugging driftwood.#328- Lucky Duck (5)

The beach I went to was an absolute disappointment.  I came home with a headache and an ear ache from the wind and only about 6 small pieces of driftwood.  None of which were what I needed to complete my pieces.  It was so windy I thought I was going to blow over.  I love having the beach to myself, but there was a reason I had it to myself today, it was nasty!

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I came back home and it seemed like all my wooden sculptures were waiting for me.

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We got back down to work, my daughter and I, we had wood shavings, nails, wood and saw dust all over the place.  There was absolutely no way we could work outside in this weather, so we moved it all inside.

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I have to say my 9-year-old daughter was way more productive today than I was.  She tells me all the time how much she doesn’t like art and how she has no interest, what a liar!  On her own, she decided to create some Christmas decorations.  I just love this snowman see-saw.  The snowmen are corks.  She nailed them all together and created a functional lever and fulcrum….show off!

I, myself, was all over the place today.  I couldn’t figure out what I wanted.  I started with painting the block orange and the duck magenta, but from there, I didn’t know where to go.  This is what I started with:

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I wound up adding a log for visual interest and I’m glad I did.  The faux-bois log is my favorite part!

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I had also found this rusty wheel shaft on the beach.  I thought it would be great for an eye. Unfortunately, I thought I could drill two small holes in it which I couldn’t, I wound up cracking about 3/4″ inch off the side of it.  That stunk. It was absolutely perfect, but I went with what was left and it still adds some visual interest.

You know, originally I was thinking of painting this bird to look like a seagull, but then I thought about how many people in the world have painting a seagull out of driftwood.  My second thought was to go with something wild from my imagination which I think was a good call.  My driftwood duck is wild, over-the-top and oh-so very colorful.  It ties in with all my art kicking around the house.   I have to say I am truly digging the 3-D element to these pieces as well.  With all of the paintings I’ve been creating, everything winds up being some form of a rectangle.  These pieces are adding some dimension to the room.  Who knows, some of these creatures might wind up permanent dwellings in this place.

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I plan on tackling my goose tomorrow.  I’ll have to dream up some crazy color combinations tonight.  I already have a fun idea for the neck.  It’s going to be crazy!

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After hunting and dragging half of South County’s driftwood back to my patio, I am getting to the fun part.  Painting the driftwood to bring my creations to life.

Weekends are always a different can of worms.  If you have a patio full of wood, power tools, saws, hammers and nails, the children will come and like a moth to a flame, they did.#327- somethings fishy (5)b

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My son decided he wanted to make a giant catapult.  He’s painting it red.


Any guesses on this one?  My daughter’s favorite animal, the platypus.IMG_8072

Here’s another little detail.  I used a bottle cap and gun shell casing  I found on the beach.

I plan on heading back to the beach to find a few more pieces of driftwood.  Now that I’ve started this project, I know what I need. I’m looking for some head shaped pieces of driftwood and stumps if I can find any.  I hate to say I’m disappointed we didn’t have any hurricanes this autumn, but there’s slim pickings on the beach!

My dining room is beginning to look like a wooden zoo.  What on earth will I do with all of these sculptures when I’m finished?

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Yesterday’s post was all about the hunt for driftwood, today is all about figuring out what to do with it now that I found it!

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Of course because I needed to sit down and inspect every single piece of driftwood, it rained.  Murphy’s Law.  I manned up, grabbed a hat and scarf and sat out in the rain trying to find figures amongst the debris. This added an extra step to my day since I now had to bring my desired pieces of wood inside and place them by the fire to dry out, but hey, got it done!

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While the wood was drying, I got out all the tools I’d need to assemble wooden sculptures.

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A little hammering, a little drilling, a little sanding and from the wood came life.

There are a few pieces where the knots in the wood lined up perfectly to create eyes and other poignant details.

I’m going to add color of course.

You didn’t think I could possibly leave them natural did you?

First things first. Tomorrow I will create pedestals and posts for some of these pieces. I may even hit up another beach.  I need some better “head” shapes.

…we’ll see where the day takes me!

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I had the most peaceful & glorious day.

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I went to a favorite old hunting ground looking for driftwood.  I plan on making some sculptures in the next few days.#325 - THE SCAVENGER (8)

I spent 4 hours today hunting, scavenging, hauling logs, filling my car with at least 300 pieces of wood, shells and beach debris.

And then I went home and organized it all.

These were my categories( The top photo going clockwise).  Human trash, tree bark, squiggly roots, shimmer shells, stumps, small and medium driftwood, sea glass and an awesome brick I couldn’t pass up.

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It’s too bad I don’t live in NYC.  This found-object industrial wire sculpture is straight out of MOMA.

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I title this work of art “Sea Legs”.

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And this one, “The Serpent of Green Hill”.

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This one “Nesting”.

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And this one “Peak-a-boo”.

I had these beaches all to myself today.  In four hours I only saw one other human being.  A fellow artist I enjoyed speaking to.

Every day I am more certain than ever, just how much I enjoy being a hermit.  I LOVE being alone.  It is the most quiet and focused part of my day.

Of course it’s great to have friends and family to reunite with at the end of my day, but I’ve really learned a lot about myself this year.  I don’t want to work in an office, classroom or storefront.  I want to work alone.  I love it.

My husband is going to be just thrilled with what I’ve done with the patio.  There’s about a 20 foot long pile of beach debris for him to navigate through.  I’ll have to keep the neighbors dogs away too!

OK.  I’ve collected my materials, now let’s see what I can create with them… stay tuned.

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