Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marie Antoinette and her Kindle

What?  You say there were no kindles in Marie's time?  Well, in the world of collaborative art journals, where we make our own rules and set our own themes, that's not exactly the case.

I just received Lori's Marie journal to work on and her sub theme is "Marie's Emails," and she even provided a list of possible topics.  As soon as I saw the one that said, "....found a book...." something went CLICK in my head and I even had a vision of what my finished pages would look like.  And that doesn't happen every day.

So, Marie is young, miserable in France, and getting no respect at Versailles.  She comes upon the greatest book, "French Royalty for Dummies," downloads it onto her kindle, and shoots off an email to her mom in Austria telling her the good news.  The book is just chock full of useful tips for getting along in the French court.

I don't know about you, but this just tickles me to pieces.  Hope it brings a smile to your face as well.

Here are the two pages side by side:

 Marie's email to her mother:

 Marie with the book on her kindle (if you click on the photo it should enlarge enough for you to read the text):

The paper I used for the backgrounds is Webster's Pages, and I added lots of embossing to them. Marie's email was typed on parchment paper in French Script font.  I found the graphic of a hand holding a kindle on google and replaced the text with my own.   Marie is an image courtesy of Val, and I used fabric and paper scraps for her hat and clothing.  Her hair is a combination of several shades of yellow embossing powder.   Her face was colored with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Do Weathered Wood And Childhood Memories Have In Common?

Absolutely nothing, but I'm once again getting a twofer out of one project for this week's challenges.

While Simon Says stamp and show us a childhood memory, Linda says, use Tim's weathered wood grunge technique.  And Eileen (that would be me) says continue using up some of the junk  stuff on and around your table (which includes the floor as well as any other surface that will support a pile).

So, here's what I came up with, and I have to say, I'm liking it.

First of all, let me assure you, I did NOT attend classes in a little red schoolhouse.  But I thought it conveyed a nice old time feeling.  With a little snipping, I converted Tim's Rickety House into a schoolhouse.  I cut it from a bright red tag I had lying around, then ran it through the brick embossing folder, and toned the red down with both black soot and vintage photo distress inks.

Both the background paper and schoolhouse door are leftovers from something.....a salted background technique which came out a bit too dark for the intended purpose.

The weathered wood grunge technique can be seen on the picket fence.  My elementary school (P.S. 213 in Brooklyn, NY, USA) was three stories high, built of light colored brick, and had an iron gate around it.  Let's just call it artistic license and move on.   The fence is one of Tim's dies, it was cut from grungepaper, and without giving away the directions, I used the wood embossing folder, lake mist paint dabber, and walnut stain distress ink.  I hope you can get a close up view of the fence because I think it really does look like weathered wood.

The flying American flag is a salvage sticker (the seasonal pack).  The little girls sitting on the fence (on a part of the fence where the points had broken off, of course) are from a Red Lead stamp, a stamp of an all girls class photo.  I'd stamped it several times for a project and this was one of the rejects.  So I just cut out this section, which had stamped well, and sat the girls down.  I used pop dots, so in person they do appear to be on top of the fence.

So, there you have it.  A weathered wood fence and a childhood memory.

Oh, and completely off topic, I'm very excited to say I just signed up for a stamp carving workshop with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer at The Ink Pad.  I'm going with friends and I can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Resident Artist

There are so many new stamps, embellishments, dies, etc. I've seen previewed for the upcoming CHA, and the problem is (besides the economic problem, that is) that I already have SO MUCH STUFF.  So, I've decided to try to at least use some of the four boxes of "leftovers" I have on and around my work table.  You know, the odd bits of paper, the solo brad, the unused piece of background made for another project.

I recently received this paper, though I don't remember if it was a RAK or an order that was wrapped inside it.  But it went into my "too good to throw out, but not sure what I'll do with it" pile.

So, I used it to cover a cardboard die cut (Stampin' Up's Bigz Top Note die).
Also in my stash are random lengths of ribbon.  All the fabric flowers you'll see were made with them....just pleating them around a circle of super sticky double sided adhesive.
Well, let me show you the finished pieces and then I'll explain some more.

Most of the ribbons were colors I didn't love, so all were sprayed with various colorwashes and perfect pearls mists.  In the center of each is either a brad or (in the one right above) a plastic rose from SU.

The sentiment on top is a Wendy Vecchi stamp, and I love to include it in anything I make for an artist friend (hint at where these are going).  It is stamped on the banner from Tim's Regal Crest die, as are the small leafed vines.  The large satin leaves are by 7 Gypsies.

The background paper has been inked and bits of it were highlighted with glaze pens and sepia accents.  The curly vine in the last one was leftover from an old project.  It was made by wrapping florist wire with Tim's tissue tape, then twisting it into whatever shape you like.

I think these would look great hanging on a wall in a studio.  What do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Artistic Evolution Begins

We're getting ready to embark on yet another collaborative art journal project.  And by we, I mean the usual suspects, who gladly hop on board any and every artistic adventure that our friend and ringleader Elena dreams up.

This one is called Artistic Evolution, and each of us starts with a chipboard journal that looks like this (these three photos courtesy of Val):

You can see that the pages look like steps, each an inch larger than the one that came before. (All are 6" high and the longest is just under 11" long).  There are 3 sets of these steps, so that each of the 15 participants will get a two page spread in everyone else's book, plus two single pages in their own.  Here's a top view:

And in this shot, you can really see the size progression.  You can also see Val's hand with the colorful fingernails.  Val, in her usual generous way, cut and assembled the books for all of us!

We each had the option to pick a color theme, which I did.  Here's why.....because of the nature of the differently sized pages, parts of artist #1's work will peek through when you're looking at artist #2's pages, and so on.  I figured though the content and style would evolve (evolve....evolution....get it?  understand the name now?) at least the colors would remain the same and give the book a cohesive look.  Having said that, a few brave souls have opted to allow everyone to use any and all colors, and you know what?  I'll bet those books will be spectacular.  But in all cases, the evolution from artist to artist is key, and everyone will have to be mindful of what came before. 

I'm really looking forward to the February launch, and have completed my covers, my opening page and sign in page.  I selected turquoise, olive green, and chocolate brown for my color scheme, and once I started I realized I'd made the right decision for myself.  I LOVE how these colors work together.

So, without further blah blah blah, here is my contribution to Eileen's Artistic Evolution:

                                                                          Front Cover

The Inside of the Front Cover

My Art Page (right after the front cover)

View of the inside front cover along side my art page. You can
see a bit of the blank page behind my art page.  The next artist will
have to keep that in mind while creating.  Fun!

These are the two blank pages the next artist will work on. You
can see a bit of my inside front cover on the left.  The artist will
have to incorporate that into her work.  Cool!

This is the very last page in the book, and I'm using it as my artist sign in page.

The inside back cover

The outside back cover (don't know why this came out so blurry, and I retook it
several times with the same result).

I incorporated lots and lots of techniques in my covers and pages.  I inked, painted, embossed and otherwise altered plain and patterned paper.  Colored paper towels were used, as were scraps from previous projects.  There is colorwash and perfect pearls mists, rubber stamping (I'm sure you die hards recognize some of Tim's and Wendy's stamps), die cutting, rub-ons, ribbons, machine stitching, doodling, stenciling, masking.........

When I started, I did not have a theme (besides the colors) in mind, but suddenly there were birds everywhere.  I can't wait to see what evolves.  Maybe my birds will become horses or houses or people or flowers or........whatever my wonderful artist friends want.  Doesn't this sound like the best journey????!!!!!!  Can you tell I'm excited? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seeing Spots and Colorful Fragments

Ahhh, so happy to be back home, crappy weather and all, in the land of fast free food delivery and never ending art supplies.

This week (we're up to #28!) the Compendium of Curiosities challenge is colorful layered fragments, and the Simon Says Stamp and Show theme is polka dots.  Not related?  I can make it work!

I took a break from my current tag mania, and did a little (4x4) wall hanging on a coaster:

You know the rules of the CCC are that I can't give you the directions for the colorful layered fragment (you really need Tim's book anyway, so if you don't already have it.....get it!)   But I do want to say this:  if you do not have the tool mentioned to do the coloring, there is another way, and it can be found on Tim's blog here.  It's what I did, and it works really well.

I used broken china and shabby shutters distress ink on the background, then stamped over it, first with gesso, then with olive archival ink, using a Wendy Vecchi polka dot stamp.

The image on the fragment is, of course, my all time favorite Wendy stamp, the art chick, and though the text is a bit tongue in cheek, I really do think she's gorgeous.  But, some find her strange or even creepy.  Go figure.

To continue the dotty theme, I made a hanger for the coaster with some spotted ribbon from Stampin' Up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Masking Triple Challenge

Oh, lucky me....this week both Simon and Linda say:  show me some masking.  Well, Linda actually says to do the distress misting masks technique, but you see my point.  Two challenges, one technique.  Hence, the oh lucky me comment.  And what does the word triple refer to in my blog title?  Both challenges are posted by 8am my time, and at 10 I have to leave for the airport.  So, the third challenge is a personal one.  Create something and blog about it in time to finish packing and get out of town.

I had fun with this one, because a) I love masking and b) I love spraying and c) I love greens and blues, my chosen colors and d) I love embossing, not that anyone told me to emboss, but I threw that in anyway.

If it looks a bit unfinished, two reasons for that....I just didn't want to cover up the masking on the bottom.  I think it looks too cool to hide.  Also, at some point I plan to add a small sentiment down there and send this off as a card.  It has NOTHING to do with my time constraints.  NOTHING.

What did I do?   First I put some color (wild honey and broken china) on a piece of cardstock.  Then, I placed a Heidi Swapp mask down and followed Tim's technique.   A bit more color was added with the blending tool, then another mask (Tim's flourish) went down, and more misting (with different colors). 

When all that goodness dried (OK, I rushed that along with my heat tool), I cut the tag shape and then ran it through the regal flourishes embossing folder.  Last step on the background.....highlighting the raised area with some forest moss.

I went through my box of semi-finished projects and found the rosette and grungepaper flower (made with some of Wendy Vecchi's stamps) and added those to the top, since the colors went well with the tag.  (There are some scallops behind the rosette). I can enjoy my visit with my mom without wondering if I'll be able to do this week's challenges.  I know what you're thinking, but I admit it....I'm addicted to these challenges and hate the thought of missing any.

See ya in about a week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

All (Well, Some) About Me, and a Sketchbook Project Request

It's snowing again.  As much as I love to look at the stuff, living with it in NY is not for the weak.  I have no idea why we have so much trouble with it; it's not like we don't know we'll get some every winter.  Our mayor is in trouble with the public after last week's blizzard, and he promises to be out there with his shovel today.   But, I digress.....

I'm in a tag swap where I'm to create a tag that showcases me, who I am, my personality.  Tall order.  My problem wasn't what to include, but more, what to omit.  Don't want the tag to be too busy now, do we?  Anyway......what I decided on, was to include some photos that tell a bit about me, (BIG thanks to Lori who helped me out with this idea) to include some embossing, since I love the look, and most definitely to include a bit of machine stitching, since I am very proud of my new found ability to thread and then actually use, a sewing machine.  Because of my recent eye surgeries, I also needed to say something about that (without actually saying anything about it at all), and I'm pretty sure I managed to do so.  And no work about me would be complete if I didn't include Tim. I'm quite sure he can talk about himself without a nod to me, but the reverse is not true.  So, before I put you to sleep with all this blah blah blah......

The embossing folder is Clockworks from Cuttlebug.  First I sprayed the tag with lettuce color wash and heirloom gold perfect pearls mist, blotted it with a paper towel, and when dry, highlighted the raised areas with  walnut stain distress ink. 

The eyeglasses are a rub-on recently snagged in the 50c bin at Michael's.  I cut the filmstrip with Tim's die, just using some random pieces of scrapbook paper.  In the strips:  Tim and I on the Mexico cruise, me on a boat approaching the Statue of Liberty (which didn't fit in the frame),  me, all dressed up with my finest devil horns, Halloween '09, at my friend Heidi's place, and finally, Pat and I, artfully sketched by Pat herself,  from the sign adorning our cabin door on last year's cruise to Canada and New England.  (And notice the near perfect zig zag stitching on the left.  Gratuitious, I admit, but I needed to showcase my enviable sewing skills).

I used a fragment charm for the ribbon embellishment.  That's a Red Lead stamp on a scrap of Tim's paper.   As for the tickets on the bottom.....the top one is from the Lost and Found salvage stickers pack.  The bottom one I did on the computer (with the fabulous bleeding cowboys font), then cut out and distressed.  Both are stapled with Tim's tiny attacher.

And now, for my request....many of you are participating in The Sketchbook Project, (the link is one my sidebar if you'd like more information) and I've read several comments on blogs and in groups, that some of you are sad that you won't be able to see any of the books in person.  Well, I'd like to be your representative in NYC.  I plan to visit the library in Brooklyn when the tour begins, and I'd love to pick up your book, hold it in my hands and enjoy each and every page.  If photography is allowed, I'll take pictures too.  So, if you're reading this, and you're in the project, please email me with whatever information will help be locate your book amongst the 28,000+ others that will be on display.  I'm thinking, your name, the name of your theme, and the ID number we were given will be all I'll need.   Please click on the "email me" logo on my sidebar and send this information so I don't miss your book.  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Of Rusted Grunge and New Stamps

The holidays are over, and we're back to weekly challenges.  The latest Compendium of Curiosities challenge (week 26 already), can be found by clicking HERE, and it's called rusted grunge.

Over at Simon Says Stamp and Show, we're to do a project that includes our newest stamp, or even an older one, but one that we've never used before.

The rusted grunge technique was done on the bird (from the Nature grungeboard pack....which I heard was no longer available, but which I found....yippee!).  Tim specifies the color to use for this one, which I did, but then I did the same technique on the weeds, or are they flowers?  What I don't know about plants could fill a book. (They are also from the Nature pack....isn't it wonderful?!) but with different colors.  Guess it can't be called rusted grunge since it doesn't look like rust, but hey, I like it anyway.

As for the newest stamp.  I was fortunate enough to win three sets of Tim's clear stamps on the cruise, and they have never been used.  The little flowers (or are they also weeds???) in the background are from the Flights of Fancy set.  First I sprayed the tag with lettuce color wash and heirloom gold perfect pearls mist, and blotted it with a paper towel.  After it dried totally, I stamped that flower/weed randomly on the tag with embossing ink, covered it with clear embossing powder and heat set it.  I then inked over the whole thing with dried marigold distress ink, which really made the embossed flowers/weeds pop.  I thought it needed a little brown, so I then used the same stamp, but this time inked with coffee archival ink.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Have A Heart (Or Not...)

I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day or heart images (unless they're altered, twisted, or otherwise distressed) or the color pink.  And yet, I signed up for some swaps involving just those things.  Go figure.

One was an easel card, which, believe it or not, after all my years of card making, I've never done.  Turns out, it's not so hard and I love the look.  I also made it so it doesn't necessarily have to be a Valentine.  Could be a thank you card too.

Next, an altered cabinet card.  I had this one of what I'm calling, for lack of a better description, a ballerina clown.  I added the red accents and writing with a glaze pen and trimmed it with black velvet ribbon and some puffy hearts.  It's weird enough to appeal to me and doesn't scream "be mine!"

Last project, a hanging thingie, which I mainly enjoyed because it involved beads.  I did three, but they are a bear to photograph, so only one came out even remotely clear:

OK, now I can go back to my browns and blues and greens and grunge!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011

I'm greeting the new year with some photos from a journal I signed up for back in the fall.  It's the Sketchbook Project (see the logo link on my sidebar), and I have to have it postmarked and in the mail by January 15.  I'm just about finished, and as journaling more often is one of my goals for the new year, I thought this was a good way to start 2011 off.

Everyone who signed up received a blank journal and a theme.  Mine is Dirigibles and Submersibles.  I didn't select it (though I could have); instead I let the organizers give me a theme, and I was very pleased with the one I was given.  It seems very steampunky to me, and that's more than OK.

I created a fictional character, one Harrison Maxwell Adams (known to his friends as Max), inventor, explorer, and all around great guy.

My pages are meant to be the ramblings and random notes and pictures of Max's would be biographer (in other words, me). 
I've done some drawing, lots of collage work, rubber stamping, and different backgrounds.  Graphic 45 lovers will recognize papers from their Steampunk Debutante collection, and my fellow Tim fans will notice I've used some of his idea-ology pieces.  Most of the rubber stamps I used are from Oxford Impressions.  (Though I did manage to get my favorite Wendy Vecchi stamp -- the art chick -- in there, as well as a Tim stamp or two).  None of the pages have a really finished look, and I used my own handwriting much more than I normally do.  I took the word "sketchbook" to heart, and wanted my book to feel like quickly done sketches of a life, even if the pages actually weren't all that quickly done.

For shipping and storage reasons,  all journals had to retain their original outside measurements, so I had to resist the temptation of having any doo dads dangling off the sides.

My journal, and the journals of the some 28,000 others who signed up, will be traveling around the country, with a starting point in my "home town" of Brooklyn, NY.  Just click on the sidebar logo for more information and to see if the sketchbooks will be visiting your home town.

It feels good to start the new year with a project I committed to, and saw through to completion.  Here we go: