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  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.