Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I've Moved!

Hey everyone, wondering where I have been? I have been working on my new blog home and it's ready for you to see. Please follow me now at my new blog address:

See you there!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here we go again...

Well I am going to try my hand at this again! Sorry I have been missing in action but it's been a crazy few months around here with all kind of time consuming crap happening in my life. I really didn't have much good news to share. The only good thing is that I also moved into a period of new directions with my artwork, I'll share something about that at the bottom of this post. I want to thank all my friends for encouraging me to take this up again, especially Pat Q. and Ursula. 

This is my cat Bailey who lays across me each night as we relax at the end of the day. He is so sweet!

As you can see, we have all been in a funk around here. This is Miss Beezie.

Unfortunately Miss Beezie passed away last week after a long battle with Thyroid disease and Cancer. We miss her.

This is our Super Cat Spencer, able to climb tall cabinets in a single bound. You just never know where you'll find him.

Here is Cutie Pie (this is not his real name, he has a past so he has asked us to use an alias) sleeping away in the lap of his favorite guy.

As promised, here is the first of a new series of collages I am working on. Currently this piece and another one in this series is hanging in a art show called "New Directions" at the Townsend Library. This series depicts scenes from women's lives in the 1950's and 1960's. It is a mixed media collage using vintage wall papers, vintage magazine clippings, old Sears and Roebuck catalogs, and one of my mothers recipes in the background. I have a lot of ideas for this series.

I have started my first e-course this week with Kelly Rae Roberts in an effort to get my creative business up off the ground and start selling some of my art. It is only the beginning but I am enjoying it as well as really enjoying the camaraderie and all the wonderful support that the members are giving. I think there may be some long distance friendships born here. 
My mantra through these last few trying months is: Just keep moving forward. That's all I can do right now.

Next up: My visit to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Chihuly exhibit.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Out Of The Mud, Into The Light: March's Gifts

Here in New England, we are finally thawing out. The snow is melting, little by little. With thawing, comes saturation, which creates mud. My life has felt much of the same way. I have been frozen, blocked creatively, for some time. I have personally been saturated with all kinds of issues and responsibilities in these last few years that have become like mud in my mind. I couldn't seem to make a clean step out of this deep stuff, to make real art that was soul satisfying. However, the last two weeks, I have experienced a shift, a thaw. I picked up the latest issue of Somerset Studio magazine to read on a relaxing Sunday morning. I opened the front cover, and turned to the "Letter from the Editor" page and within a few sentences, there was this quote: "Vision without action is a dream" by Joel Barker. Boy, did this hit home. I have been dreaming about doing more artwork, but if I don't actually DO IT, it will only remain a dream. I then came to the article on the artist Kelly Rae Roberts. I know her work very well, and purchased her book "Taking Flight" when it was published in 2008. After finishing it back then, I put it on my bookshelf with all my other fabulous art books. A few months later I would experience just the beginning of a personal deep freeze, dealing with several personal losses that would last into 2010. 
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I read that article in which she describes her personal journey into art and how she started from point zero in skills and experience and just dove in and painted her way into becoming one of the most sought after mixed media artists today. I was so inspired. I went to my bookshelf and pulled down her book and re-read it in two days. At the top of the introduction page was another quote: "When once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return" by Leonardo Da Vinci. I so wanted to feel that deep satisfaction of "flight" that I have felt before. It happens when you work on something that just feels so right that you know this is what you were born to do. Between those pages of her book, she shares her feelings and her techniques with the reader. It was just what I needed to read at this moment of my life, not back in 2008. I felt inspired to start anew with a seed of an idea. I have been in the studio working on collages again and I am so happy with the results. I will share them with you soon but for now they are tender seedlings that need time.

Out of the cold, into the light

This month I have received so many gifts. First, let me thank Kelly Rae Roberts for sharing her journey, but maybe more importantly, her heart with us. You don't know how much you have helped so many hopeful artists with your thoughtful words. I am also thankful for friends who think of me, and send me things I love. My soul-sister Karen from A Scrapbook of Inspiration blog, brought me some wonderful fabric swatch books this week and Pat from Art 4 Liberty blog gifted me with this...

isn't it fabulous?!

Spring is a time for new beginnings. I went outside today and saw these tiny shoots breaking through the crust of dirt to emerge and grow in the light. 

This is how I feel creatively. Growing.  And eventually with much attention and nourishment, Blooming!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Check This Out

Here's what I am working on this week....
I made some presents for my co-workers for our annual "belated" holiday party the other evening. I really enjoy giving handmade things to these crafty gals because if anyone can appreciate the work put into things like this, they can! This year I made them a "glitter station". While antiquing this past year, I found some diminutive wine glasses, and small apothecary jars to hold glitter. 

I first started decorating the wineglasses with tiny pearls or seed beads individually glued around the rim. I used a variety of adhesives: Super Glue (if it can hold up a construction guy by his helmet, wouldn't you think it would hold a bead on to the edge of the glass???), then I switched to clear Liquid Nails. As I picked up the finished glasses, invariably I would knock loose a couple of beads. Very frustrating. I fixed these with Glossy Accents, dripping the adhesive between adjacent beads to secure them not only to the glass, but to each other.

Unfortunately the super glue made a super mess, dripping down the edge of the glass. But like most mistakes in crafting, the solution I came up with added greatly to the overall design. To hide the drips around the rim, I glued lace, trims, and rick rack from my stash.

I added the words "glitter me" that I typed out using my vintage Royal typewriter, and sponged them with a little matching Distress Ink before cutting apart the individual letters and glueing them to the glass with Glossy Accents. I tried to add details to the individual glasses that I thought fit that person. 

For the apothecary jars, I glued more pearls around the rim of the jar, and added some torn pieces of vintage paper doilies around the sides of the jar, again sponged with some Distress Inks. Finally I tied on some scraps of ribbon, attaching a charm to each that is etched with the word "create". 

I packaged them up in little clear bags, each sitting in a cupcake paper liner and a fluffy bed of shredded paper. I tucked in a small bag of tinsel glitter and a vintage demitasse spoon to sprinkle their glitter with.

I have also been finishing up a project for the annual Altered Art Show at Ink About It this Friday and Saturday, March 4th and 5th.

I started out with this plain paper-mache mannequin, that I passed out to participating members of the Altered Art Club round robin project group. 

This is my finished mannequin (At least I think it's finished). 

I am calling the piece "I Just Found Out That Lady Gaga Is My Half Sister".

I am also including another piece called "Frida's Closet" which is inspired by my favorite artist, Frida Kahlo.

This was a challenging project as each of the ten members brought an embellishment, and from those ten embellishments, we had to use seven of them in our project which was housed in a cigar box. 

Please come and see these and many more fabulous works of art made by our members, at our show this weekend.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sticky Fingers

Hi there. Today I am joining my first blog party which is hosted by my friend Amisha at her blog Gorgeous and Fun Things.

Amisha's theme for the blog party today is "How To Learn". Like Amisha,  I love to learn from books and magazines. I have taught myself many different projects and crafts by reading about it. I flood my brain with as much visual information and articles about what ever topic I am interested in. For me, this is the best way I can learn. I can read those directions over and over again until they sink in, rather than being shown once. I have a vast library of Art and Craft books....

Here's some mixed media books in my studio...

and here's a stack of books and magazines on my nightstand....

and here is a stash of art instruction books...

and some fine art books in the television cabinet and...

a small stack to read in the living room.

So as you can see for yourself, I LOVE BOOKS!

Today I am working on a project I got from the book, "The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide To Fitting Creativity Into Your Life" by Shona Cole. It is a little "glitter station" made from a tiny vintage wine glass that I have embellished with pearls. Glueing those pearls ONE BY ONE on to the edge of the glass was MURDER! My fingers are all sticky with the residue of glue!

They are still a work in progress, as I have more embellishing to do but I did want to share them with you today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Confession About My Obsessions

Graphic Supplied from the Graphic Fairy

Happy Valentines Day! I decided to do a little creative work today using Valentine's Day as my muse, and I needed to make my husband a little something to show him that I care. I first decided to make him a collaged Cake Slice Favor Box (I have the die from my party favor business A Favor's a Favor) to hold some candy. I started gathering materials for my collaged cake slice from my stash. I grabbed some collage papers, some sheet music from an old French book, paper napkins and some of my....

but first a confession.

my Tissue Paper Stash

I confess, I have a compulsion to keep all tissue paper that comes in to my life! I love to collage tissue paper on to a project. I like that it is semi-transparent when glued down, and I love the wrinkly texture. Embrace all wrinkles in your life, I say!
I started my project by cutting the box pieces on my Accucut machine from watercolor paper. I wanted to do a light wash of color on the box, but did not want to add a layer of paint because acrylic paint can make a box cover stick or not slide on properly. I chose to try a new medium that I have never tried before; Liquid Acrylic Ink. 

I had purchased some bottles of this ink on sale when Charette closed it's retail store in Woburn, MA. I squeezed some drops of the pearlescent magenta color, and quickly spread it with a wet brush. I immediately fell in love with it's pearly quality, the surface of my project took on a high sheen. All I could think of was spun cotton candy.

It really dries quick, and doesn't saturate the paper it's applied to. I decided I didn't want a pink top for the cake box, so I painted over the acrylic ink with some gesso. I really like the small jars of gesso that Claudine Hellmuth has with Ranger. They are a lot easier to open than larger jars and don't dry out before you can get to the bottom of the jar.

 I then started composing the top of the box using the French music paper, an Eiffel Tower image from some collage sheets, and roses cut from a gorgeous paper napkin that my friend Lorraine gave me.

After glueing all my collage elements with Golden Soft Gel medium, I added some little punched out hearts to the side of the box cover.

One little heart tried to escape....

Finally, I added gold glitter using the the Quickie Glue pen. I always say, when in doubt, just add a little bling!

I then turned my attention to the box bottom. I didn't want to hide the glossy pink wisps made with the brushed ink on the box, so I decided to stamp some swirls on each of the three sides. I felt like there was a disconnect between the colors represented on the cover and the box bottom, so I collaged a few more roses from the paper napkin to link the pieces together compositionally. Finally, more glitter.

The last step was to add the word "Amore" to the top with gold sticker letters. 

Now you're probably wondering where the tissue paper came in. It turned out to be a misstep. I thought this box needed a more sturdy construction than watercolor paper, so I cut out a box from chipboard that the watercolor paper would then be adhered to. I thought that gold metallic tissue paper would make a dandy lining, so I glued it to the wrong side of the chipboard. After constructing the box with the two layers, I realized it was way too bulky. I was able to tear apart the layers, just in the nick of time. I ended up lining the box with some red mulberry paper infused with gold threads instead.

I also baked my hubby his favorite dessert today; his mother's recipe for Bread Pudding. This is a traditional dessert for him at the holidays, as he and his sibilings joke around each year, checking that the other hasn't gotten a bigger serving.

As far as a card is concerned, I decided to make a large tag to accompany the gifts. Now about my other obsession of the moment....

the "Reindeer Flight" die by Tim Holtz and Ranger. I fell in love with this die last holiday season, while cutting out forty of them for tags that adorned goodie bags for a "Shop Hop" bus trip. Right in the middle of those forty cuts, I fell in love. I decided I needed that die for myself, and sold several of them to staff and customers at Ink About It. Everyone agreed; once you start using it you realize it's charm and value. I used this die to label my Christmas packages this year. 
Last week, I got an idea to use this deer die to make cards for other holidays, not just Christmas. Why only use this beautiful die one month out of the year I ask? 

I started off by making a spring deer card using the die....

While making this card, I got an idea for another one. I love silhouettes, so I decided to make some silhouetted deer in front of a forest at twilight using a Hero Arts Birch Tree stamp...

Check out the blog post on blogaboutit.typepad.com  referencing the store owners"concern" about my obsession over this die.

If you've done anything "non-Christmas" with this die, send along a photo in your comment to this post. Be a "Deer" and send it along, won't you?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting Back to Some Kind of Normal

Does this look familiar to any of you? This picture of my studio workspace was taken just a few days before Christmas. Especially at Christmas time, my studio gets really trashed. All surfaces, including the floor are covered in last minute projects and unwrapped Christmas presents. Glitter is found everywhere (you don't want to know where - you know what I mean). Drawers left open with contents spilling out, not to mention some small pieces of furniture that must be moved out of our living room to make way for the Christmas tree. I really don't enjoy my space when it gets like this, and even worse is the post-Christmas clean up!

It was an especially hectic holiday season this year as our youngest son got married on New Years Eve. Here are photos of some of the projects that were created for that special event:

This was the rehearsal dinner invite that I created using a Memory Box snowflake rubber stamp (you may remember this image was also used on the wedding invite I did). I lined the envelopes with my new favorite paper: Glitter Wrapping Paper by Paper Source. It is a paper weight instead of a card stock weight, therefore it is less bulky, especially for lining envelopes. I wanted a real "wow factor" when the recipient opened their invitation. I also punched out some glitter-paper snowflakes and glued them as a seal on the back of the envelope with my trusty zebra-stripe Xyron sticker machine.

I also created some die cut snowflake place cards with my Cricut machine, and snowflake-topped favor boxes for the rehearsal dinner table.

Here's a photo of the rehearsal dinner:

I also made menus for each person with more embossed snowflakes, and the edges of the menu pages punched with a Martha Stewart snowflake "Punch Around The Page" punch set. 

I was also able to finish a family cookbook project for my sons that I have been working on for the last 2 1/2 years. I have been scrapbooking photos with favorite family recipes and stories and I was able to finish covering the album just days before Christmas. 

Because I was so busy with the wedding plans and the holidays, I was not able to squeeze in some blogging time. Here are some favorite photos from this past holiday season that I would like to share with you now:

The path to heaven on earth.....

I look forward each year to visit the West Family Tree Farm to tag our Christmas tree.

Here's where we put a $2.00 deposit and mark our name with a crayon to register. Mr. and Mrs. West come out of their quaint farmhouse upon our arrival, to chat about the year we have had. 

Remember when the ground was this color?

We found a beautiful tree to tag. While walking the property looking for the perfect tree, we saw a tree that was not only tagged by it's family, but decorated by the child of the family. We thought this was such a charming idea that we returned the following weekend with an ornament to put on our tree.

We also left a note on the tree that so inspired us....

Our cutie pie is anxiously waiting for Santa to come.

While visions of field mice danced in their heads...

Santa stuffed our stockings...

...and brought us new toys! Boy, do I love to party with my family! 

December 26, 2010

Now that the holidays are past, and a new year has begun without the pressures of long term projects ahead of me, I find my attention turning to some new exciting projects.

I started a small quilting project

I made some altered art emergency kits for my Altered Art Group. They were made from toilet tissue cardboard rolls and were inspired from a project in a past issue of "Green Craft" magazine.

I altered a plain white plaster angel Christmas ornament into a Frida ornament for our Altered Ornament Swap.

Kyle and Jason

Recently I met Sue Bleiweiss who hosts "The Sketchbook Challenge" blog at a Jane Davies workshop at Ink About It and was interested in pushing myself to pick up my pencils and draw again. The first theme for the challenge was "Highly Prized". I couldn't think of a more prized subject matter than my two sons. I must admit, I am a little rusty to say the least;  my apologies to my more handsomer sons. 

I have set a goal for 2011 to push my limits, and do the artwork I was born to do. This is a good start for January. But I can do better.