Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Interrupt this Interruption......

......I am home for a few days before family business takes me away again, and as the name of my blog attests, doing art is an absolute necessity, no matter what other drama is going on.  Before I left last week I started work on pages in my friend Lill's Artistic Evolution journal, and finished them yesterday.  This morning I went to the post office and the book is on its way to the next contributor.  Yes, I just love being a part of these collaborative projects.

Lill's only request was that the color turquoise be part of our work, and most of the artists who did pages before me had an aquatic theme.  I continued that, but with a bit of a twist.  Here they are:

There are lots of layers under the blue that wound up being covered, which happens a lot.  But even if you can't see the text, the music sheets, etc., they do add lots of texture.  As for my version of koi fish, I did a rough sketch with pencil and filled that in with.....are you ready?.......scraps of that black and white patterned paper you find on the insides of security envelopes.  They're pretty much covered up in the largest fish on page 1, but you can still see some of the pattern on the second page fish.  I can't even tell you all that went on top of the paper.  I know there I used a blue glaze, wild honey distress stain, gold paint, orange glaze.....until I got a look I was happy with.  

I was most excited though, about the quote I found. 

Speaking of collaborations (I was, wasn't I?), if you're not already a follower of Seth Apter's blog (The Altered Page), you ought to visit.  Seth is a NYC artist who has been widely published, and has been involved in many collaborative projects, some lasting years!  Seth is very dedicated to fostering an online community for all us mixed media peeps, and one way he does this is through something he calls The Pulse, which appears on his blog.  He sent out a list of questions for a variety of artists to answer and the results will be published beginning this weekend.  There will be posts Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and then every Sunday thereafter.  Questions like, what is your go-to technique?  what art supply can't you live without?  if you could take a class with any artist living or dead, who would it be?  And other equally interesting things to ponder.  I've always enjoyed reading the responses of other artists, and this year, my responses will be part of The Pulse.  So please do check it out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life Intrudes

I will be MIA for a bit.  Some family stuff to deal with as well as one joyous occasion:  the wedding of one of my nieces.  I hope to be back in a week or so, but it may be longer.

Everyone, take care and make time for art EVERY DAY!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grungy Monday and Showin' Some Metal

Today's challenges:   Grungy Monday #12 refers back to a technique Tim demoed in April of 2008.  Click HERE to see it from the man himself.  Click HERE to see what Linda L. and her guest designers did for the challenge.   Over at Simon Says Stamp and Show.....the show part is metal.  Click HERE to go to that blog and see all the projects the team did.  The third challenge, a personal one, was to create something that strikes fear in the heart of most card makers.....a masculine card.  I think I've scored a threefer here:

The background, which is the technique from Tim's blog, was done on the vintage license plate paper from Lost and Found.  I used Wendy's houndstooth background stamp and Ranger's hazelnut paint dabber.  

Metal shows up in two places.  First Ten Seconds Studio rock star black metal was embossed with a Cuttlebug folder.....a houndstooth design to echo the background stamp.  It was then cut with Tim's Hanging Sign die.  You'll notice that I trimmed the hanger part to fit this somewhat smaller than standard card.  The metal was lightly sanded and then rubbed with archival ink in sepia.  Some leftover bits of chain connect the sign to the hanger.  The other metal comes from the brads in the four corners....they are actually very glittery, and come from Stampin' Up.

Speaking of SU, I used a punch of theirs that is a very similar shape to the hanging sign to cut the cardstock that the birthday greeting (also from SU) is on.

BTW, the background technique is one of my favorites.  Although I used a really nice looking paper to stamp on, what I love about this technique is how it can totally transform the appearance of patterned paper you don't much care for, turning it into something special.  Try it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Marty's Masterpiece AND My Giveaway

Here is the funky sketch that I've been contemplating for the month of June:

There's a lot going on, but all I could focus on was the vase of flowers.  It's funny, but the eye goes where it wants to go, as does the muse.  Anyway, it's been ages since I've done anything with Flower Soft, so I didn't argue with either the eyes or the muse, and wound up with this birthday card:

The cardstock was embossed with one of Tim's new folders (Floral Frame), cut to size, and the raised areas were lightly dabbed with gold paint.

The vase was a bit of grungepaper, a scrap from a previous project, and I cut it freehand into the vase shape.  You can't tell from the photo, but I rounded it over the paint bottle to give it some dimension, and glued it down that way.  The flowers actually slide into the vase.

As for the flowers:  I cut lengths of florist wire, dipped the ends in very thick white glue and then kind of rolled them into the Flower Soft.  They were then stuck in a block of styrofoam and set aside to dry, at which point I added some tissue paper leaves and arranged everything inside the vase....with a bit of glue here and there to keep everything in place.

The birthday sentiment is an oldie from Stampin' Up, and one I use a lot.  I think that script is very elegant.

To see how Heidi and the rest of the Gothametttes design team interpreted the sketch, click HERE.

And now, for the giveaway portion of this program.......a couple of posts back, I announced a prize to celebrate my 500th blog post.  So many of the commenters are good friends and I could never choose a winner on my own, so I consulted with my colleague, Mr. Random Dot Org, and he did his magic and picked..........Dorothy!   I am always happy to read comments, and send some love in the mail, and Dorothy is someone I do know from a yahoo group or two.  I'll have your package in the mail this week, Dorothy, and thank you for taking the time to visit and comment. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another Storage Solution

I thought I'd share with you another storage to keep your special ATCs together.  Now, I do have a 7 Gypsies ATC spinner, but it is so crammed full of them I can't even see them any more.  And certainly there is no room for any additional ones.

The ATCs I'm talking about are the ones I received from my cruise mates on last year's Tim cruise. I wanted to put them in a book, but didn't want to use adhesive on their backs.  Gotta be able to flip them over and see who did them.  Let me explain a bit about the book.  Weeks before sailing I decided to make a travel journal.  I altered an existing book for this purpose.....glued some pages together for added strength,  removed some pages,  gessoed all the pages and very lightly decorated them with inks, paints, stains and glazes.  This is the cover, and in case you're wondering why the L in England is off to the side, go ahead and have a good laugh at my expense.  I think it was literally weeks after completing it before I noticed that I had left the L out.  I wasn't about to re-do it, so I just put the L next to the rest of the word. I was so proud that all the letters fit on the cover so nicely.  Hah!  But, I digress.....

And here are a few of the pages after they were decorated, or I should say, prepped for journaling:

Why are they blank, almost a year after the cruise?  Well, the very first project we did with Tim was a travel journal, so I used that for my notes and memorabilia, and decided to use the one I'd made to hold my ATCs.  But I couldn't come up with a satisfactory means of keeping them in the book.  You know I'm a big proponent of using what I have, and what I have is a great big box of 3 1/2 x 5 1/2" coin envelopes.

Just the right size.....first I sealed the flap shut.  Then I cut the envelope down the middle:

I used a 1" circle punch to create a little half circle on the tops....makes putting the ATCs in and removing them so much easier.  

I used a very strong adhesive (with my Scotch ATG) to attach the holders to the pages.  Two fit well on each page in my 5 1/2 x 8 1/2" book.  I did minimal decorating of the envelopes.  I was just anxious to finish this project and get my cruise ATCs in their new home, but naturally you can ink and stamp and emboss as much as you like.   Here are some sample pages:

And you can see that I am still stencil-crazy.  Each and every page and most of the envelopes have some sort of stenciling on them.  Love, love, love those stencils!

If I had more ATCs to store I could have put envelopes on both sides of the pages, but as it is, they all fit well with this layout and any time I want to relive those wonderful memories I have these precious little works of art all in one place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tag Display

I have been making and swapping tags for years.  Some find their way into journals, some on scrapbook layouts, some are pinned to my inspiration boards, and some are currently dangling from the ceiling of my studio.  And yet, with all that, I still literally have hundreds that I have yet to save and display effectively.

Then a very talented ATT member posted a tag tree that she'd constructed and all sorts of lightbulbs went off.  Click HERE to be taken to France's blog to see her beauty.  And to have any clue as to what I'm talking about below, LOL.

Now, France used a piece of wood and I'm an apartment dweller without access to a wood pile.  I'm also impatient and of the "use-what-you-have" school of thought.  Also, attaching the tags to the binder rings on their vertical side means the additional step of putting some plastic material on the backs of the tags.  Remember, I said my tags number in the HUNDREDS.  I wanted a way to display them using the one hole on the top without having to do anything else to them.  And I LOVE France's idea of using Tim's 2-ring binder.   I looked around, and here are the basic supplies I pulled out to use:

I have an 8x8 piece of sturdy chipboard, one of the large 2-ring binders (they attach with two brads), and one of those little wooden display easels.  I'm skipping over the step where I covered the chipboard with decorative paper.  (I used Tim's and covered both sides.  Honestly, I could have left it plain as the tags pretty much cover the chip, but I wanted it to look finished.)  Then I simply poked holes on the top and attached the binder with the brads it comes with.  The binder rings are spaced perfectly apart to hold two stacks of tags.

And here are some (too dark....sorry!) pictures of the completed project, with the chipboard on the easel:

See how easily the tags flip over so you can view them one by one:

This is kind of a prototype.  I'm only sorry the rings on Tim's binder aren't larger, so I could fit even more tags on the display.  I am now thinking of taking one of my old school looseleafs apart and making a really big display that just might hold ALL of my wonderful tags.  I also haven't glued the chipboard onto the easel, and I think I should so it's more stable.  But right now I have it on a table and it doesn't take up much space and shows off my tags just wonderfully.  For those without table space, I think it could also be hung from a wall (minus the easel, of course) and taken down for better viewing.

Many thanks to France for inspiring me.  My tag solution doesn't resemble hers at all, but I wouldn't have come up with mine without first seeing what she did.  Right here, this is one of the main reasons I love to blog and to visit blogs.....the sharing of ideas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two Challenges, A Book Cover And A Collage

But first, an update on my 500th post giveaway.  I'll be choosing (well, not me, Mr. Random Dot Org will do it) the winner this weekend.  Stay tuned.

Now, on to new art.  Here are the challenges:

     Grungy Monday:  Do the faux batik Tim demonstrated in his January 2008 technique challenge

     Simon Says Stamp and Show:  distressed and/or torn edges

I also needed a cover for a travel journal, so I combined the two challenges with my own project and came up with this:

First I stamped a collage (using masking) on paper from Tim's Crowded Attic stash, and followed the steps to create the faux batik look.  Most of the stamps I used are from Air Travel and French Market.  There is some accent stamping as well.  The only non Tim stamp I used is the Hero Arts Statue of Liberty stamp in the corner.  The edges are covered with tissue tape.  For the distressed/torn edges, you see that on the little passport and the rolled up map, both attached to the bottom with a hinge clip.  A mini compass completes the embellishing.

Last Friday I got together with some friends and we worked on 12x12 wrapped canvases, using paints, stains, inks, every Golden medium in creation, sprays, all sorts of papers,  and lots and lots of stencils.  I am very pleased with what I did.  I tweaked it a bit when I got home, which brings me to my tip of the day.  Which sounds very official and like I've been giving out daily tips all along.  Which I haven't.  Anyway,  here it is:  when you are finished with a piece, take it off your work table and put it someplace else.  In my case, I put the canvas on a shelf in my living room where I'd be looking at it in a new context.  If you are really finished, I think you'll know that.  But if you aren't, before too long you'll know what to do.  I had lots of black circles on the left, done with paint and sequin waste, and though I liked them well enough when I was working on the piece, staring at it in my living room, I realized they were too dominant in the design.  So I covered some of them and repeated the harlequin design (in a smaller scale) instead.  I'm back to staring at it in the living room, but after two full days it still looks finished to me, so I'm calling this one complete, and I'm off to sign my name.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My 500th Blog Post!!!!

This is the 500th blog post since I began this whole sharing thing back in March of 2008.  It's hard to believe that I thought I had something important to say 500 times in three years.  LOL.  Seriously, I think what is important to me is the sharing.  I am fortunate in that I not only have forged relationships with wonderful artists in the online world, but I am  in a community of like minded souls in the "real" world as well.  I know there are many whose only connection to people who share their passion is through online groups, classes and blogs.  Even though I am blessed to have artsy peeps I get to see and share ideas with and create with, there are days when I wake up feeling alone, and when I write here I feel like I'm talking to friends.  And when these friends pause for a moment to leave a comment, it feels like a real conversation, and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

Well, that is way more than enough seriousness for me!  Now, on to something fun.  Speaking of my community of art pals, I recently hosted a page swap, and the other night we met so I could give everyone their completed books.  I did covers for everyone and bound the books with my mighty Cinch.  We also had some good food and drink.  Our theme was Spring/Nature and these pages are just packed with flowers, birds, and  butterflies.  I think the books are wonderful, even more so because my friends worked in them.

Even using the largest coil available, the books don't close flat....lots of embellishments inside!

the cover:

my page:









Now, what to do as a 500th post celebration.......if there was something I showed you on this blog that you really liked, leave a comment here and whoever Mr. Random.Org picks will get something I'll make especially for them, inspired by the piece they mention.  Or maybe, if I haven't already given it away, they'll get the original piece.  And yes, even if you live ten time zones away, if you are picked, I'll send it to you.

Again, thanks everyone for stopping by, leaving a comment when you can, and helping me feel like I'm part of a much larger community that "gets" me. 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Making Art! Challenge 16

The latest Making Art! challenge at the EverythingWendyVecchi yahoo group is based on a piece in her first book (page 34 to be exact), but all members can participate even if they don't have the book.  Lori (our fab list mom) says, just be sure to include at least one of Wendy's stamps, and the following elements from the original piece:  ric rac, ball chain, and a circle in a square.  Okie dokie.

As I've mentioned before, I'm in a birthday card club and we decided that this year instead of sending traditional cards we'd send 4x4 pieces.  Each person could then assemble their "cards" into a little book.....something that will be a lasting memento.  So, whenever possible, I'm doing my challenges on coasters so I'll have a supply of cards to send out for the coming months. 

First I scraped some aqua and purple metallic paint (one of my current favorite things to do) on the coaster.  When dry, I used Wendy's houndstooth background stamp over top, in black archival ink.  The smaller square on the coaster was inked with dusty concord and chipped sapphire, then overstamped (in sepia archival ink) with Wendy's number background stamp.  The flower, from Wendy's It's More Flower Art set was colored with broken china and faded jeans, and highlighted with faded jeans distress stickles.  The leaves are from Dimensional Rose Art, and were inked with peeled paint and crushed olive.  You probably can't see it clearly, but I used the distressed lines background stamp, also from It's More Flower Art on the leaves (in olive archival ink).

For the circle part of the circle on a square, I used a large bottlecap that comes with those flowery scallops.  The birthday sentiment is an old Stampin' Up stamp.  Instead of using the ball chain as a hanger, which is what I probably would have ordinarily done, I used it an an embellishment for the bottlecap, glueing it in place with Glossy Accents.  Then more GA was applied over the birthday greeting.

The ric rac speaks for itself, but I did add a few silver brads to repeat the metal in the bottlecap.  I was going to end it there, but decided the piece needed one more touch of bright green, which you can see in the flourish, embossed with Zing's leaf embossing powder.

To change the topic, I totally missed my three year blogoversary back in March, so have been looking for some other blog related milestone to celebrate.  Well, the next time I blog, it will be my 500th post!  Don't know when that will be, or what I'll do, but some sort of giveaway will be involved.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm In Love.......With Stencils

As I've mentioned before, I returned from that Lynne Perrella workshop obsessed with stencils and I even noted on this blog:  buy more stencils.  Hah!  Did I ever!  I now just might have every Crafter's Workshop stencil out there.  Well, if not all, then surely most.  Thank you Lynne for opening my eyes to all the ways that stencils can enhance and freshen up the look of a collage.

The other day, after some whining and complaining, I FINALLY received another Artistic Evolution journal to work on.....Tracy's.  Remember, this is the journal with pages that vary in size so that you can see the edges of some pages behind others.  Easier to show than explain.  Here is a picture of the edges done so far in Tracy's book:

Mine is the last one, the pinkish roses.  Pretty cool, huh?  After my page, there is a repetition of these sizes, and then another.  Math gives me a headache, but Val, who designed the books (and assembled them for us) worked it out just perfectly for the number of artists in this group.

I didn't pick up on the theme of the pages that came before mine, but took a cue from some of the colors.  OK, honestly, I have no idea how my pages evolved from those that preceded them.  I just followed my muse.  And came up with these, chock full of layers, collage elements, and yes.....lots and lots of stenciling.

I started with texture by gluing some handmade papers randomly on my base.  Over this, squares of asian newspapers.  Then I applied some metallic paint by scraping it over everything with an old credit card.  When all this was dry, I covered the page with one of my new stencils and dabbed black acrylic paint over the whole thing.  That's how the metallic flowers with the black background came to be.  You really have to look at it closely to see the layers that lie beneath, but they are there.  On top of all this, I laid some sequin waste (squares instead of round holes) and dabbed some gold paint through it.

As for the images......again, I have to credit Lynne for sharing so many ways for me to take an available image and make it my own.  I found the black and white pictures on the internet, printed them out, resized them, and then made toner copies (so there's no ink to smear later on).  These are colored with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels, and enhanced with stamping, even more stenciling, and in the case of the woman, a whole lot of bling (in the form of micro beads and stickles).  I also did some doodling with glaze pens.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Distressing Over Tags

No, that's not a description of my current mental state, just a shortcut title combining the Grungy Monday and Simon Says challenges this week.  For GM, Linda L. says go at it with your distress inks, and at SS, Linda E. says stamp and show a tag.  Actually, this is going to be a threefer, because I need some tags for a swap that showcases masking.  So I threw some of that in too.  LOTS of distress inks found their way onto my tags, my fingers, my clothes, and probably some other places I haven't looked at yet.

I started with one of Tim's most basic distress ink techniques.....wrinkle free distressing, and used dusty concord, milled lavender, worn lipstick and tattered rose.  I then stamped the dress (I won that Impression Obsession stamp in a raffle on the Ink Pad bus trip to the W. Springfield stamp expo last Saturday.  Yea!), covered it with a mask I made of it, and restamped it so it looks like one is behind the other.  I used black archival ink for that.

Next, I covered both dresses with masks and stamped over the whole tag with a Wendy Vecchi background stamp, using one of the newest archival ink colors.....sepia.  Which is one of the (many) things I purchased at that stamp show.   To continue with the masking theme, I put two Heidi Swapp mini butterfly masks on the piece (with the dress masks still in place), and using the blending tool, covered everything with some dusty concord.  After removing the masks I decided there was too much contrast and went over the lighter areas with a little broken china.

A little rose just under the waistline was part of the stamp, and I covered it with a tiny Prima flower to add a bit of dimension.  The sentiment is another Wendy stamp and it was cut with a Stampin' Up punch.  The final touch was the beaded trim, a ton of which I scored at a very good price at the stamp show.  Thanks to my friend Heidi for pointing me in the right direction or I would have missed it.

You know, if I had one ounce of patience I would have waited until Wednesday to see what Lori's Making Art challenge theme is going to be at Everything Wendy Vecchi this week.  Maybe I could have had a fourfer.  Or should we call that a quadfer?  No matter.  I lack patience.  I couldn't wait.  So I guess I'll be making something else on Wednesday.  Hey, another excuse to ignore the growing mountain that is my laundry basket.  A good thing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bling It On

Yesterday, Lori (intrepid leader of the group of Wendy Vecchians known as EWV, or....Everything Wendy Vecchi) announced this week's MakingArt! challenge.  It is based on the card on page 14 of Wendy's second book, and besides using a Wendy stamp, the only requirement is that you add some bling. 

Well, artsy chick was still on my work table, so I thought I'd use her yet again.  I also went with a card and blinging it up was no hardship.

I had a few drops of paint on my palette from another project, and rather than waste them, I sponged them on a piece of white cardstock, and this became my background. 

Using some tape right on the stamp, I masked off the flower that is usually on her head before inking it. (Don't forget to remove the inky tape before stamping.  Sounds obvious, but oh so easy to skip this crucial step).  Black archival ink was used.

The crown was done with a Cuttlebug die/embossing folder duo on a piece of paper with a metallic finish.  Some crystals finished the bling portion of the crown.  I mounted this piece on black cardstock for the card base, then added the sentiment (from Wendy's Regal Art set).  When it comes to bling, sometimes less is more and sometimes more is FABULOUS.  So I continued with some gold German scrap around the perimeter of the card.

I'm thinking this may be a birthday card, and inside it will say something like,  "may you be treated royally on your special day."  Unless something more clever hits me.