Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brooches, Banners, and Birthdays

I think it finally stopped raining, but it was coming down forTHREE WHOLE DAYS!!  One good thing about that.....I stayed indoors and made a lot of stuff.
I worked on some fabric brooches for my blogoversary giveaway:
I made two birthday cards for the EWV birthday card club:
Both cards use Wendy Vecchi stamps (of course!), some SU stamps, punches and paper, and both SU and Distress inks.
A new banner swap was recently announced.  This time on the EWV group, and these are minis....only 3 1/2" across, and 5" long.  I had so much fun doing the larger banners for the ATT group, I immediately signed up and got busy:
Only one to show you, because this time I did them all the same. The background is in two parts, both WV stamps over Jenni Bowlin mini papers.  The flowers are on grungepaper, and the crown on the face stamp is Ten Seconds Studio metal, embossed, sanded and inked.  The stick pins coming out of the crown are from Maya Road, and the matching dangle on the bottom came from.....?????  Just found it in my stash, and thought it went well with the stick pins.
Not a bad way to spend the bulk of 72 hours of rain.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And The Winners Are.....

I'm back as promised.  I went to and asked for 5 numbers.  I'm feeling very ambitious.  I haven't made five brooches, which is a good thing, because I'm going to ask my winners to contact me, not only with their mailing addresses, but with their favorite color(s) and I'll do my best to make each of you one in your preferred palette.
One of my winners I know very well, one name I definitely recognize from online groups, and the rest I'm not sure about.  But you know, most names, when clicked on, do not lead me to an email address.  So......I'll give you all a week to get back to me, and then I'll have to pick more numbers.  
Enough chit chat.....the names (as given in blogger) are:
  • Janet Walters
  • Debs Doodles & More
  • Erin Glee
  • Lillian M
  • Sherry Goodloe
I hope to hear from you all soon!  (There is a place on my blog to click to send me an email).

My Egg's Not All It's Cracked Up To Be.....

Yesterday I spent an interesting afternoon with four friends learning (allegedly) how to decorate Easter eggs in the Pysanky style of the Ukraine.
We met at The Ukrainian Museum in the East Village of NYC, a beautiful and surprisingly modern building.  We saw the short film Pysanka, which showed an artist creating a masterpiece.  She made it look easy; trust me, it's not.
Do not think for one minute that drawing a straight line on a raw egg with hot wax in a copper stylus is easy!
First you draw your basic design with the wax.  Everything you draw will be white on the finished piece. Then the egg gets dipped in the lightest dye, which for us was yellow.  Then you do more drawing and covering with the wax to preserve whatever parts you want to remain yellow.  Next color is orange.  This continues with red, and finally, black.  The last step is holding the finished egg close to the flame of a candle and wiping off the wax as it melts.  This reveals the completed colorful design.
As difficult as the drawing was, I think just thinking about what should be covered, how the colors would look in the end, was even harder.
But, we had sooooo much fun, and afterwards had a great meal at a nearby Ukrainian restaurant.
Yes, this is me, showing off my finished egg, wobbly lines and all.
Amalia did a great job!
Corris holding her finished egg.
Kahena's design was a very modern take on this traditional craft.
And lastly, Laurel, who began her birthday celebration with egg decorating (doesn't everyone?), looks rightly pleased with her creation.  Happy Birthday, Laurel!
We already decided we're coming back next year, and we just know our lines will be much straighter!

I'll be back later with another post to announce my blogoversary giveaway winners!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Blogoversary To.......!   Two years ago today, I began this blog, not having a clue what I was doing.  Some days I still feel that way, but at least now it doesn't take me all day to upload a photo.

I've also acquired a follower or two along the way, for which I am really grateful, and often surprised.  A little research tells me that the appropriate 2nd year anniversary gift is something made of cotton.   I don't work much with fabric, but I do enjoy making fabric brooches.

So, to celebrate the beginning of my third year of blogging, I am giving away some (haven't decided how many) of these (mostly cotton) brooches.  They have a tie tack on the back, and if you don't want to wear it on your lapel you can attach it to a tote bag, apron, or just stick it on a bulletin board.

Thanks so much for reading my blog, and I LOVE reading your comments, so I'll be picking people randomly to receive a happy blogoversary brooch.  Just leave a comment on this post (and include a way for me to contact you) and I'll pick some winners after the weekend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Dream In Colors

About a year ago the I Dream In Colors collaborative art journal group began.  I've worked in many books with a wide range of color palettes.   This past week I've been creating pages for Sarah's (one of my friends from Australia) journal.  Her colors are red, black, and white.  These are the pages I came up with, and the book will be heading for Jacquie in Florida today:

The pages are 8x8".  I went through my stash, but primarily took elements from scraps.  The elaborate headdress I added to the figure was cut freehand from a scrap of embossed Ten Seconds Studio black metal.  The bird on the second page was punched from the same metal.  The birdcages are die cuts I received with an online order.  Most of the papers I used to create the collaged background were also from the scrap pile.
I did a bit of doodling with my black and white Sakura glaze them!  They add instant shine and dimension and write over virtually every surface.  
The quote, of course, is from the Maya Angelou poem, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pennant Swap Complete!

Yes, I've been a little obsessed with these pennants, and obsession has led to completion!  All ten done, and I'm pleased with them all.  You can click on any picture for a closer view.  Many techniques in these's all about the details.

The "Dream" pennant is mostly dark browns with a few aqua touches:

"Wander" is all about purple:

"Believe" is black and white and silver:

"Inspire" is a favorite combo, pink and green:

And last, "Enjoy" is another all in green:

To summarize the techniques used on these and the previously posted five:  

  • all backgrounds are sheet music paper, swiped with color, stamped with various stamps, covered with versamark and clear embossing powder, then heat embossed.  A distress tool scratched the surface in a few spots, and darker ink was rubbed into the scratches.
  • all the letters are grungeboard, inked then sprayed with a mixture of water, rusty hinge distress reinker, and sunflower sparkle perfect pearls.  Some of the letters (depending on the color palette of the pennant) were re-inked afterwards.
  • all of the pennants have some embossed metal in the center.  Some were double embossed, sanded, and more color added with stazon inks.
  • all of the grungeboard and chipboard embellishments were given the drunken scotch treatment.  
This was a lot of fun for me, and I really like the idea of sticking with one basic design and using the same materials on each pennant, but making them unique by varying the colors, words, and embellishments.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Pennants

I've been busy making the pennants for the ATT swap.  They all have the same design elements as the first one I did (see my last post), but to keep it interesting, I've changed the words, colors and embellishments.
First, the blue:
I'm really liking the drunken scotch technique with bright colors.  Check out the dragonfly:

Yellow/Light Brown:
Since the word on this one is journey, my embellishement is a layer of an arrow (inked chipboard), a grungeboard suitcase (drunken scotch), and a grungeboard jet (walnut stain distress embossing powder).  I even added a tiny luggage tag to the suitcase.
Next up, orange:
The gears were actually die cuts I received in the mail from a friend.  So, now I know the drunken scotch technique works well on cardstock.
So, that's five completed.  I'm in the middle of my purple pennant, so only 4 to go after that.
But right's the early afternoon, the temperature is a mild 65, the sun is shining, and I'm going out for a walk.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pennant Swap

Recently, on Linda Van Vliet's blog, we saw some interesting and creative pennants that had been done as a kind of welcoming to Tim Holtz, who visited a scrapbook store in Linda's home, the Netherlands.  One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I'd signed up for a pennant swap at ATT.
I will be making 10; one to keep and 9 to swap.  They're not due until May, but I have been playing around with design ideas.  This is the one I'm going to keep for myself.  The ones I do for the swap will be similar, but the words and color palettes will change.....just to keep it interesting for me!
I cut the pennant from heavy cardboard and covered it with a music sheet.  Added some distress inks, stamped it with several background stamps, and then covered the whole thing with versamark and clear embossing powder.  Then I used a scratch tool to rough up the surface and swiped brown stazon all over.  It stayed inside the scratch marks and wiped off easily from the rest.
The letters are grungeboard, sprayed with a mist made of rusty hinge reinker, water and sunflower sparkle perfect pearls.  Then they were edged with vintage photo distress ink.

The butterfly is grungepaper, cut with a sizzix die.  The finish is Kat's wonderful "drunken scotch" technique, but instead of using alcohol ink colors to simulate rust (Kat uses ginger and rust), I used lettuce, stream, and juniper.  Pretty cool, huh?
Under the butterfly and the letter L you can see a bit of metal from Ten Seconds Studio, which I double embossed and inked with brown stazon and cut with a sizzix die.

OK, 1 down, 9 to go!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Self Portrait Stencil

The miserable weather the northeast has had this weekend kept me indoors for most of it.  I had the chance to catch up on some favorite blogs and was happy to visit Jennifer's.  She is one of my co-collaborators in the art journals, and I love her art.   Her blog post was all about creating a self portrait stencil.
First, go to this site where you can transform a photograph of yourself into one that can easily become a stencil.   Jennifer used the cartoon feature, but I opted for the one called stencil.  (There are a ton of other options that have nothing to do with making a stencil, but look like a whole lot of fun.  You can change a photo to give it a grunge look, or an impressionistic look, or......well, go there and see for yourself).
I used the photo that you see right here on the blog (though I left out the cosmo in the finished stencil).
This is what the stencilized version looks like:
Take the print and lay it under some acetate.  Color in all the black areas with a sharpie, directly on the acetate.  Then using a craft knife (TIP:  use a brand new VERY sharp blade for the best results), and working on a self healing cutting mat,  cut away all the areas you've blackened.
You're left with a stencil and that's where the fun comes in.  I did just a few samples, but definitely plan to make some more and incorporate them into my art.
This was done with distress ink and a blending tool.  Very easy and neat.

The next one was done by spraying with Adirondack Color Wash.  Not as crisp, maybe, but I like it.
The last one I did today was with acrylic paints...I used two colors and just dabbed them over the stencil with a stiff brush.
Next I'll try combining some materials and see how that works.  I'm thinking about dabbing versamark over the stencil, removing it, and then sprinkling embossing powder and heat setting it.  I also think ink and perfect pearls would be nice.
Well, thanks Jennifer for the inspiration!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Through The Eyes of an Artist

That is the name of the very first collaborative art journal I participated in, and it is almost at an end.  We all shipped out our journals last March and they should be finished soon.   Today I worked on Gina's.
The vivid colors of the background were done with Ranger color wash sprays on watercolor paper.  I'd never used this product before, but admired it in the work of others.   I found a place online that had them for a good price and bought a bunch.  Love them!  
I also glued a few little tufts of dryer sheets sprayed with mica spray in random spots for a little shimmer.  The black flourishes were die cut, and just about all the other elements are Wendy Vecchi stamps on grungeboard colored with distress inks.
The phrase about flying I also took from a Wendy stamp, but I wanted it much larger so used the computer for that, with one of my favorite fonts, "bleeding cowboy."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Will They Think of Next?

If you're into mixed media and altered arts (and if you're reading this blog, you most likely are), I'll bet you think you've seen it all.....altered books, tins, crushed bottlecaps, shrines made of box tops, button fairies, tags, chunky ATCs, moos, inchies, get the idea.  I wonder sometimes, who thinks of these things?

Anyway, when I saw this swap posted at PID, I initially wasn't interested, until I saw some samples.  And then I just had to do some too.   What am I talking about?  Playing card dolls, that's what.  A playing card becomes the torso, you add tops and bottoms and whatever embellishments you want and voila....a paper doll.

They just tickle me.  Here is Mona after a day in the garden:

And a lovely gypsy girl:

All images from Paper Imagery Designs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Wendy Vecchi Inspired Challenge

A new challenge was posted today on the EVW (Everything Wendy Vecchi for anyone who doesn't know) yahoo group:  make something inspired by anything in Wendy's new book.
Easy.....there is one project that I keep going back to look at.  In case you have the book, it is the one on page 39, called it's all about style, and it features some stamps from my favorite new set.  Love the little skirt and blouse!
This is what I did:
I had a lot of fun with the details here.  I put the skirt and blouse together and "hung" them on a mini wire hanger.  Some grosgrain ribbon and one of Tim's snaps belts the outfit.
Those little scissors started off very differently.  They were bright orange plastic.  Call the Good Taste Police!  I fixed them up with some black and silver alcohol inks.  The thimble is a genuine one, but since I don't sew, it was easy to sacrifice it for the sake of art.
The buttons are also all from my stash.
Don't know where the little spools I put on the hanger came from.  I know someone sent them to me, probably along with a swap, but I can't remember who.  I thought they were perfect for this piece.
I put the words  celebrate with style  on my hanging, thinking I could use it as a birthday card, or really any sort of occasion where celebrating is OK.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Artful Weekend

This weekend was the perfect balance between me being my usual hermit self, spending hours alone making some creative messes, and getting out to a) breathe some fresh and much warmer air and b) spend a few hours with two of my dearest friends in art.
Saturday was hermit day, and I worked on another Journal of Dreams....Sarah's, which arrived on Thursday after making several stops in North America after leaving home in Australia.
As usual with me, I sat down not knowing where I was headed, but looked around at what was on my work table.  I made good use of my new Tim Holtz stamps and some of the new distress ink colors.
I start out with a collage of many papers, some music, some text, some leftovers from other projects.  I bring them all together as a background with color.  This time some oil pastels and distress inks in blues and greens.
Then stamping, more color, more stamping, and the addition of the Eiffel Tower....cut from a die on grungeboard,  and embellished with KAT's awesome drunken scotch technique, which I also used on the real key sitting atop the tower (more about drunken scotch later).
We're only doing one page in this journal group, so I did minimal work on the back:

More Tim Holtz stamps, and I used the grungeboard from which I cut the Eiffel Tower as a stencil to make the tower shadows on the right.
Sunday was my day to share art with friends.  Once a month I get together with whoever is available, usually Heidi and Pat, and we each bring a project or two to share with the others, and all the supplies needed for them to make their own.  

I brought this card:

And I showed Heidi and Pat how to do KAT's fabulous drunken scotch technique.   These keys are grungeboard, but don't they look like real rusted metal?   Thanks, KAT!

These are the cards I made from Heidi's designs:

Pat, also sometimes known as the Queen of Tools or the Guru of Gadgets, is not only a wonderful artist, but a woman with a wicked sense of humor.  She claims she bought the Stampin' Up chocolate bunny stamp with the thought in mind of creating this card:

When we were finished laughing, we tried our hands at decorating some actual eggs that Pat brought (empty and cleaned out, of course) with paint, ink, rubons, etc.  I have not finished mine, but wanted to show you the cute little holders Pat fashioned for us out of pieces of toilet paper rolls.

Pretty good weekend, huh?