Thursday, January 31, 2013

Aah One Month Closer to Spring!

  I will admit that thus far it really has not been a bad winter but I am delighted to turn the calendar page.

  This past week I've been working on more valentine's day art, along with preparing my calendar page for Feb. Here we go. First up are six easy peasy retro/vintage Valentine cards I was able to put together quite quickly by using coordinating bits.

  They were all made using patterned notecards from DCWV (La Creme), patterned papers from Canvas Corp (Valentine's Scrap Pack)  and images from a freebie collage sheet download courtesy of Retro Café Art. You can download your own free copy here.

  I also made two (so far)  Valentine canvas ATCs:

  The background on the first one is a napkin and the second is a French dictionary page with some gesso dry brushed over it. For both I added scraps of recycled dryer sheet, images from Retro Café Art. I added printed words, twine, vintage and tiny buttons and some mica flakes from Paper Whimsy.

  Got my Feb. calendar page ready. Here's the background:

  I used a foam brush to to spread around several colors:  Golden's Transparent Pyrole Orange, Americana Bright Yellow and Liquitex Quinacridone Magenta. Black splotches were added with a brush dipped in Dylusions Black Marble Ink Spray, white marks with a scrap of corrugated cardboard and gesso, red dots with Dylusions Dotted Flowers stencil and Golden's Pyrole Red acrylic and bottle caps painted with Golden's Cobalt Teal acrylic -whew!

  Feb.'s all set to go! Cut out heart, added Caran d'Ache watercolor crayon around edges, then drew several lines around it with  black pen and made it into a balloon. The girl is a Dylusions stamp image, and the borders are also Dylusions (Around the Edge set). The quote I used says " Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take ACTION to get it." Jules Renard. I thought it so appropriate as one of my two words for this year is "action".

  Here's Jan. completed:

   You can read the deets on how I created these pages here.

  Linking to: Art Journal Everyday, Creative Every Day, Kate Crane's Calendar Project 2013, Mandarin Orange Monday, Paint Party Friday, Show Me What You Got. Lots of places to visit for inspiration!

  Happy Weekend!

   " We cannot always return an act of kindness to the person who bestowed it, but we can pay back the debt by helping others." Anonymous

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In The Depth Of Winter...

 ... in the depth of the deep freeze this week of single digit and minus temps. I have been taking advantage of staying indoors unless absolutely necessary! I've made a few more Valentine's day inspired projects I will share first.

  By the way, my friend Nancy Maxwell James is hosting a special Valentine event on her blog Sugar Lump Studios  beginning Feb 1 thru Feb. 14 where each day she will delight and inspire with a free project !!! I'll be there-won't you join in too? You won't be disappointed -her artwork is amazing!!! You can also click on the badge on the right sidebar (the "14 hearts" one).

  First up is a very quick and easy tag:

  I started with a decorative tag for K & Company (Que Sera Sera Tag Pad). I added a heart image to the tag after gluing torn mulberry paper behind it and adding a sparkly hearts sticker over the face. Added the words, outlined with Caran D'Ache red crayon. Dots of Tiara glitter glue were applied around the tag's perimeter and a ribbon was added. Images from ARTchix Studio.

 My next set of tags were inspired by a collage sheet from Retro Café Art. You can see what else I made using these images in this post.

   I printed out the tags which were a free download I found last year - (sorry, I don't recall where they came from). Ink was sponged around the edges. I tore a scrap of recycled dryer sheet and glued that along with an image to the tag. Printed words, sponged with ink and glued on along with a scrap of curtain lace, crocheted lace, and/or heart buttons, rick rack, twine. Glitter glue was added to the lace and edges of dryer sheet.

  Here's one of the tags up close:

   I also had to get into my journal and paint. There was a  quote that  kept coming into my head the last few days so I used it as my prompt.

  I started by randomly painting a background using yellow, pink, Cobalt Teal and Olive acrylic paints. See the splotches? That was simply done by splattering some drops of water around, letting it sit a min., then wiping away with a paper towel which removed the paint where the water sat.

  I then repeatedly stamped an alphabet image (Stampers Anonymous-Tim Holtz collection Artful Artifacts set) along with background dots (Dylusions Basic Backgrounds set) with black ink. More mark making was done using white acrylic paint and a foam brush, bottle cap and one of my hand carved stamps. The image at the lower right was torn from a napkin. Thank you Patty- I love this napkin! This quote -another fave of mine-was printed out and added. For now I'm calling it finished-not sure if I want to outline the words.

  Linking up to Art Journal Everyday , Creative Every Day, Paint Party Friday, and Show and Tell Saturday. Have a fantastic weekend everyone and stay warm.

  Oh, a big THANK YOU to all my followers!! It won't be a year of having my blog until mid March and I can't believe I'm at 75 posts and 75 followers-woohoo!!! It wouldn't BE,  if it wasn't for your kindnesses, encouragement, comments and inspiration.

    " Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion." Oprah

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keeping The (Creative) Energy Tank Full

  Today is one of the coldest days here in a very long time- 17 F, gusting winds and a wind chill factor of -1 F!! A good day to stay in, create, and blog, along with a nice hot cup of honey chamomile Tulsi tea.

  For week 5 of the 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance online class (link on sidebar) the discussion was about filling our energy tanks and allowing ourselves the time for it despite the everyday business of our lives. I tend to fill my tank with creativity, but sometimes I find it in a few moments of meditation, or listening to music, or just spending a few moments outside, or talking on the phone with a friend. It is so important especially for us women to allow ourselves a bit of time to fill our tanks, because if our tanks are allowed to go empty, the energy is gone too. Think about it. How do you fill your energy tank??

  First up here are some ATCS (this week's theme) I made and am linking to Inspiration Avenue . I began making ATCs (artist trading cards) years ago thru swaps and trades and have hundreds of beautiful art in my collection. I still make them on occasion although not near as much as I used to.

  These cards are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"-the standard size for ATCS. They were made using painted, stamped, or patterned paper backgrounds. I also used ribbon and buttons on some. The images and German scraps are all from ARTchix Studio.

  Now here are photos of my journal for week 4 of my 52 Weeks class:

     My journal spread began with a stencil I recently purchased.It's by TCW and it's called Mini Fence Frame. Of course I couldn't wait to try it out using my Dylusions spray inks! Note the stencil is bordered by some fun duct tape. This idea came from Julie Fei Fan Balzer as a way to extend the edges which are sometimes very narrow. I thought I'd try it and so far I like it!

   Week 4 was about how we can allow ourselves to be fully present in an ordinary task. For me it's dusting. Although it can be a daunting task, having many objects and photographs in a Victorian style home I can't help but be reminded of these special mementos and memories each item holds.

  On to week 5, filling up the energy tank:

  The first way I did it by stopping in the midst of a task, grabbing my camera and going outside to catch this very special beautiful sunset form my yard whilst hundreds of crows were seen and heard above my head. They make this journey across the sky most evenings at this time. It was such a special few moments of awe and gratitude-and tho I wasn't out more than 10 min. or so it filled my tank immensely.

  Then I refilled my tank another day getting lost in the creative expression of making origami flowers  (directions we received in class) and arranging them for a simple presentation:

  I made two flowers using Japanese origami paper I already had on hand. The larger one is made with 6 " x 6" papers. The smaller one is with 4 1/2" x 4 1/2". I glued them to a branch from my yard. I chose a small crystal vase which I added clear pebbles and water to (to add more of the Feng Shui elements). The tag reads "allow the simple joys to be the big ones". It's sitting at my art table as a reminder.

  These are the journal pages I did:

  I wanted to keep this simple so all I did on the right was glue down prints of the photos. On the left I just used a clear alphabet stamp set and my sunset photo.The splotches you see are what seeped thru from week 4's sprayed pages. The top left photo of flowers was a special pic I had to add although it wasn't made by me.

  My hubby made this for me for our anniversary about 4 yrs ago. Things were very tight financially so I asked him to please not spend money on flowers. When I got home later that day I found these on the table(sniff,sniff). He hand cut each flower layer from matboard (he's a carpenter/ woodworker, frames most all of our photos, canes chairs,etc. so he definitely is talented and creative). He used a very heavy gage wire for stems and then added little squares of that shiny black duct-like tape for the stamens. In all honesty I can say that nothing else has touched my heart like this gift. Big joys from  simple things.

       " Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment."     Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Mélange of Arty Inspiration

  First I want to thank Carolyn Dube and Jessica Sporn, along with Artists in Blogland and the fabulous guest artists for hosting the Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge. It was such an inspiring experience. There were also prizes given out at the end of each challenge and I am thrilled to have won challenge # 7's prize which is a $35 gift certificate to LuminArte ! Their products are new to me so it will be great fun to get some new goodies to play with. Anyone have any of their products? What are the "must haves"?

  Here are the final challenge prompts:

Headline prompt:  Radical to Mundane and to Radical Again:  What once seemed new that now feels old and boring?  How can you see it as new again?  How do you "jump charge" creativity when you're feeling stuck?
Color:  black & neons - bold contrasts
Quote:  Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.  Bill Moyers

  I went with all three prompts. When I'm feeling stuck I jump charge my creativity by just playing, taking a blank page or tag and painting and/or spraying backgrounds. Eventually they become a finished product another time. Sometimes it's nice to have a somewhat prepared piece to add to.

Here's my journal page:

  A thin coat of gesso was applied to the page. The center area was sprayed with some Dylusions spray inks, then I did some mark making with bright green and yellow acrylic paints. I sponged Jet Black Staz-On ink around the edges and then overstamped with the same ink and a crackle pattern stamp. The quote was stamped on tissue paper and glued to the page after arranging the words where I wanted them. Lastly I adhered two feathers and a glittery chipboard bird on the side. Generally I don't like working with so much black, but with the added bright colors and that neon pink feather I was pleased with the result.

This week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue is all about valentines and love. Ok, they got me again. Valentine's Day has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember and it will always be since my son coincidentally was born on that holiday. (NO, I did not expedite or hold back the giving birth just for this day - Todd was already two weeks late and a BIG baby so I was more than ready anytime from the beg. of the month!) But how apropos, huh?

  Here's something I did last year (before blog) but I thought I'd share because it's a fun way to repurpose old calendar pages.

  For the hearts I cut heart shapes from cardstock, glued calendar pages to the fronts and trimmed them. I then sewed around them with either red or silver thread. Heart shaped Victorian scraps from ARTchix Studio were glued to the centers and fine silver tinsel hangers were glued in place. The little paper flowers were made from calendar pages also. I used two different sized punches, sponged on some Vintage Photo Distress ink, glued them together and added a chocolate metallic rose to the centers (also ARTchix Studio).
I've also glued torn pieces of calendar pages onto a journal page before painting over it as  in the background of this spread: (sorry you can't really tell in this shot):

  And for one more piece of Valentine inspiration I made a banner.

  I cut 5 flags from white cardstock. Glued French dictionary pages to the fronts and trimmed excess. Gesso was dry brushed on top. I printed out digi sheets DP49 and DP275 which you can find at  Retro Cafe Art .
Once I chose my images I cut them out and sponged Distress Vintage Photo ink along the edges. I also inked the edges of the flags. Images were glued on, bottom corners trimmed away. Stitched around the flags with red thread. Crocheted lace was glued along the tops and Stickles Icicle glitter glue was applied. I stamped and outlined the letters A M O U R (from Hampton Art alpha. set. The flags were embellished with a few flowers and vintage buttons. They were then glued to a length of cream rayon ribbon and to finish it off I tied little red and pink ribbons in between them.

  Here's a close up of one of the flags:

  Are you inspired to make something  for Valentine's Day? Please share if you do-I'd love to see.

  I'm linking up to Art Journal Everyday, Fall Fearless and Fly, Inspiration Avenue and Paint Party Friday.
See you soon :)

  " Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."
                                                                                             Mary Anne Hershey

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's A Gelli Plate Play Day!

  I'm so excited to share with you today some of the yummy prints my friend LuAnn and I made when we got together on Tuesday! First we exchanged Christmas gifts, then we took a quick trip to Hobby Lobby where we picked up some new magazines, along with some new paint and foam stamps. And once we fueled up on lunch at Panera Bread we were ready to head back to LuAnn's and fill her space with printed papers!

  The table is set:

  I brought some supplies along with my plate and LuAnn added supplies and paints and some FAB stencils. This is the first time LuAnn's using her plate!

    It's playtime!!

   My first prints. I had just picked up the green paint- Master's Touch Olive Green and HAD to use it immediately. Golden Cobalt Teal was added too.

   And these are Luann's first prints ever! Aren't they fab??

  My prints. You can see remnants of bronze and copper  showing thru. I tried printing using only Goldens bronze and copper but the print was awful and of course the metallic would have been too difficult to photo or I would have shared. I wiped off the plate and brayer and even so, several prints after revealed some of the paint.Lesson learned-use only a drop or two of metallic paints :)

Another of LuAnn's. Here she used Julie Fei Fan Balzer's cloud stencil. Just beautiful!

  More of LuAnn's. First print,then ghost print. The intense colors she used-it was a red and an orange were amazing!!
(sorry,can't remember every little thing-you should have seen us painting,, grabbing, printing, rinsing etc.-we were MOOVING!)

Another of my prints and ghost print. See the bronze and copper?

  You can see my first printing experience in this post  and you can see a few cards I recently made with some prints in this post .

  There were some more papers before cleaning up and heading home. What a great stack of prints we each have to further embellish and use! What a really FUN day!! It's nice to have a friend to art with. Thank you LuAnn!!

  Next I need to see my friend Betsy-we're long overdue for a play date and I know she recently got the Gelli plate too :)

  Linking up to Art Journal Everyday and Paint Party Friday. I look forward each week to checking out the links. Go see for yourself!

            "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Maya Angelou

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Inspiration (Avenue) Strikes!

  Yesterday I was visiting a few blogs and among them Jessica Sporn and Jan Debellis posted their poppy art which they were sharing on Inspiration Avenue for the poppy challenge. If you know me well then you know by now how much I LOVE poppies so I just had to check it out. Before I even thought about the art a haiku came to me:

                                                                   beautiful poppies
                                                              delicate, crepe like petals
                                                                     intoxicate me.

   I took the photo of my neighbor's poppies last spring.

  Here are two poppy projects I created, first up is a card:

  Without going into every little detail, the poppy is a photo I took and transferred to fabric. The script background is a piece of vellum. I printed a poppy quote and layered it to fabric bits.

  This is a 5 x 7 canvas:

   The background is printed tissue paper. That beautiful image is from Paper Whimsy. Again, I used a poppy quote added some lace and a silk poppy and leaf at the bottom.

   I'm linking this up to my first visit at Inspiration Avenue.Thanks to Jan and Jessica for steering me there. Also linking up to Artists in Blogland Show and Tell Saturday #33.

  Now for my latest projects for the online class 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance. You can read more about it by clicking on the badge at the top right sidebar. Or you can read about it and see where I began in this post.

  For our second week we were prompted to use the word " allow". I immediately decided to allow myself to just say no. Here's the simple page I made for it:

  Nothing fancy-just a scrap of paper I wrote on, added a stamped image and taped it to the page with masking tape.

  And here's the tag I made as per Christi's suggestion to make a creative reminder using mostly white:

  I stamped words in grey ink on the tag then sewed around the edges with silver thread. The dancing goddess was cut from white cardstock and embellished with silver glitter glue swirls and white feathers for wings. I used letter stickers to spell "allow" and a circle garland from Studio Calico and embellished it with a white pen. I glued my goddess to the tag, then onto the page which was covered with some torn gold thread embedded mulberry paper.(sorry, it's not a good photo-much prettier in person)

  For week three we were prompted to quickly think about and list our wishes and then allow ourselves to take steps to move towards the fulfillment of at least one of our desires.

  I used my gelli plate to make the background for this spread.

  On the left side I doodled the words along with tiny painted flowers. Tiny stickers were added around the page for sparkle. The pocket front was made with a decorative napkin (one of many) I received from my friend Patty (thank you!) along with that gorgeous bit of hand dyed ribbon. The napkin says " How do you do it? I use a magic wand of course!" Perfectly suited for this exercise. I tucked in my tag with my list of wishes after embellishing with gold Stickles glitter glue.

  There is so much more to these wonderful lessons; I'm only touching on parts of them. I am so grateful to be a part of this beautiful community of women, along with the very empowering words and lessons from our instructor Christi.

  I will say that at first when looking at my list I thought-how is any of this going to happen?-but I erased that thought when something Dr Wayne Dyer says often replaced it. This is not a direct quote but it's basically the thoughts from his book Wishes Fulfilled. He says that no matter how big the desire may be or how impossible it may seem, ANYTHING is truly possible because the universe is always working in your favor. It is not for you to worry about the "hows" of wishes being fulfilled. Just keep putting them out there and affirming you already have them. Then you can start to take steps of action to bring you closer to achieving your desires.

  Next post will be about my play date with my friend LuAnn.There will be lots of gelli papers involved:) See you soon.

                "If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place."  Eckhart Tolle

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bring On The New Year!

  Happy 2013! I hope you've had the time to catch your breath after all the festivities and are ready for a new and exciting year. Anyone make resolutions? I don't really, although I may set a few new goals for myself. I've already found very quickly that my main words for this year are "action" and "empowerment". The words have appeared to me and came into my thoughts enough that I needed to listen. Have you chosen a word for yourself for this year?

  My new year has begun on a very exciting note and I sure hope that's a good omen. First I received a complimentary issue of Just Cards! Winter 2013 in which one of my cards was published. The next mail day I received a complimentary issue of Somerset Studio Jan./Feb. 2013. They not only published the envie I sent but gave me a whole page showing the cards I submitted for the aqua theme!!! And it's Somerset Studio- a magazine I discovered in about 1989 and have  admired it
ever since, never with the thought that one day I'd be submitting and that something of mine would be in it. This was the first time in many years I actually sent something in for a theme, and there's definitely something to be said for a "feeling" you get when  you're really in the zone of creating  and just knowing it's "right".  I have the recent magazine covers on the sidebar and under the publications title at the top is a list of everything I've been published in. I may not submit often but it still brings me that same joy as the first time I saw something of mine in print. And after all these years I get the same kick out of seeing the names of the many talents I have come to know thru art too-way too many to mention individually!!
Here are the cards that were published:

  On to some gelli plate fun! It's been awhile since I took time to play with my plate and what a better time than now with Carolyn Dube and her wonderful series "A Colorful Gelli Print Party"! Carolyn shares videos and techniques and then allows anyone to link up their gelli print art. It's only a week long celebration but it is loaded with color and fun! Click on the badge on the lower end of the sidebar and check it out!

  You can find my first gelli prints on this post along with some very inspiring links. I chose to combine my gelli print play with the Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge #7. Here are this week's challenge prompts:

Headline Prompt: Future Imperfect: What is different about your life now than what you once expected it to be? How is the way it turned out perfect or imperfect. If your future turns out differently than you imagined in the first prompt, could it still be perfect?
Color Prompt: Yellow
Quote Prompt: "Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present." Friedrich Nietsche

  I went with the color prompt and decided to create some cards similar to those above. I started with a gelli print I made awhile back and added to it to make this background page:

   I stamped my hand carved stripes stamp and Dylusions Basic Backgrounds alphabet stamp  in black. A scrap of corrugated cardboard and red acrylic paint was then added. I used another Dylusions stamp form the Bordering on the Edge set with white acrylic paint. I then took another print and added to it:

  I used Balzer Designs Pomegranate stencil with Golden's Fluid Acrylic in Diarylide Yellow.
I then photographed both papers then printed them in various sizes. Here are two cards I made with these papers:

 I used one of the prints for the background, stitching around the border with black thread. I drew and cut out some hearts from the other paper, stitched around them and glued them down. Lastly I stamped, cut apart and added the quotes (also from a Dylusions stamp set). I love how these turned out! I definitely want to play with my gelli plate and fabric next!

 Hopefully I'm not late in linking up to these wonderful challenges: Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge #7, Art Journal Everyday, Paint Party Friday, and A Colorful Gelli Print Party. Blogger wouldn't let me upload pics for the last several days thru IE.It wouldn't work thru Firefox either-until today :) If any of these links don't work you can find links via badges on the sidebar.

 I'm happily off to link up and visit some other artists. I hope you'll join  me.

 On a final note I'd like to mention that if you love hearts and Valentine's Day as much as I do, please consider joining Nancy M. James at Sugarlump Studios who will be hosting and sharing a sweet project each day from Feb. 1st thru Feb. 14, 2013. If you have not seen Nancy's art, please check out her beautiful blog. These projects are free and you can be sure you will be completely inspired! See you there :)

"Those who say a thing cannot be done should not stand in the way of those who are doing it". Anonymous