Wednesday, January 30, 2008

5 Degrees

Today, I wish I could be one of those eccentric people who put their little puppies in diapers. But no. Instead, 7 am, here we are... 5 degrees, who knows how cold WITH the windchill... hurry up dog!

Off to find some WARM vanilla coffee!

P.S. I know for those on Feedblitz, you're sitting there all comfortable, reading this in your email (AUDREY!) I know, its so much easier that way. However, I miss your chatting, your comments! Come talk to me, I'll visit your blogs too! What are you up to today?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Giveaway - Art - Book Update

So I suck at this giving away stuff! lol It's been a crazy week and a half. Didn't take the time to come post and check in with everyone. I'll choose a winner or two by tomorrow night AND post pics of the packages mailing to the winner/s. So here's your chance to get your name in still (post here and/or sign up for my feedblitz to receive updates on posts.) To name a few things, I have vintage music, book pages, game pieces, bingo cards, ribbon and trim, collage & magazine images, baggie of patterned paper scraps, 2 unfinished handmade wands. I'm sure there's more, can't think of what I've put in the 'get rid of pile' at the moment.

I've had a bit of bad news this last week. Gallbladder surgery is in my future. Coming up on the 6th. So dealing with that, and homeschool paperwork has taken up my time. You all still love me though, right? So if you don't see me around a bit next week, you know where I am.

I've had a whole pile of good news this week though! I was asked to be on the design team for a wonderful Collage Sheets (and more) store! Altered Pages. I'm so excited! I can't wait to start working with Jackie's sheets! Go look at them, you'll not leave the website for quite a while! lol

I did get a bit of time to work this weekend on some items for Etsy again
(I had time for either creating or blog posting/surfing. I chose creating). I felt creative making these, probably because I did straight collage again. I miss doing that. Made several valentines for a swap and some Valentine's mini cards for Etsy too. Pretty little gift tins to use for anything. Fill with cards, jewelry, paper and pen... whatever. What do you think?

Collage Tins - on Etsy

Valentines Swap House Cards

Mini Valentines - on Etsy

Found a fun site today. Listed about 650+ sites with giveaways this week. Can you say YUM?! Starbucks and Amazon gift cards, fabric, aprons, cameras, etc... I signed up for a few today. Some of them were prizes from Etsy stores. You know how I love Etsy! You should sign up too!
Bloggy Giveaways

UPDATE on Books Pile:
** Lucy asked how I liked the Holly Harrison book. It's my favorite of the pile so far. I thought Altered Curiosities would be, but not yet. I think I love that the Mixed Media Collage featured artists I have not heard of before (except Claudine Hellmuth and Teesha Moore.) Wonderful book.
** So Cathie stopped by. Isn't that exciting?! I love her book. Many simple things in there I want to try, especially the dice bracelet. I would look so stylin' in that, don't you think?! Thanks for stopping by Cathie Filian! P.S. Go look at her January 27th post about 'Getting Nailed'. Don't you remember making those wood things with string and nails? I am SO making me one of those soon!
** 8 yr old DD discovered the Chinese Calligraphy Bible book I brought home from the library. She just picked it up and has decided she is going to master it. She spent over an hour on it Sunday and another hour yesterday! I LOVE watching kids learn! Seriously. I love when they get all determined to learn and get smarter. I get all teary! lol
** The girls and I picked up a few sock sets at the thrift store over the weekend so we can play with the Sock and Glove
book. I foresee an adorable animal or monster coming soon! (we bought some rainbow toe socks! Fun!)
** Well, I'm off to bed for some alone time of reading. Not sure if I'm going to start The Yiddish Policemen's Union or a new book I picked up, Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife. It's supposed to be sort of a continuation of Pride & Prejudice only slightly more scandalous. Both sound engrossing. The review for 'Mr. Darcy' haven't been so good, so who knows... I've heard the trilogy series by Pamela Aidan that retells the Pride & Prejudice story through the eyes of Darcy is supposed to be wonderful. I might check it out instead.

Okay, go forth and create! I'll be back soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goals & Books

I really really tried to avoid making New Years Resolutions this year. I never meet them, I feel like I'm setting myself up for failing when I make them. I hate them and they usually involve weight loss and I don't want to even think about that anymore. *sigh* But I keep telling myself in my little brain that there are things I want to accomplish in art this year. I figure, if you don't set something to reach for, you won't get any further than you are right now. So, I'm giving in and setting goals. They're different from resolutions or so I'm telling myself. Now keep on me and make sure I meet something each month! I need the accountability.

2008 Artist Goals:

1. Learn to solder with proficiency and make 2 projects
2. Quit being a ninny and make 3 larger canvases (whether collaged, painted, etc...)
3. Find my assemblage style and complete 2 larger pieces (similar to
DeMeng style)
4. Use metal, old books, glass and whatnot and learn to bookbind, make 2 projects
5. Set up a power tool section in the garage and learn how to use all the tools. Make 2 projects.
6. Learn to REALLY use my sewing machine and complete 2 projects on it.
7. Learn to water felt (I already know how to needle felt) and make 2 projects
8. Read books on sketching and drawing & make 2 larger projects

9. Learn how to use all aspects of Adobe Photoshop so I can use it in my art.
10. Move art room to the basement and spread out, organized. Must take pics.
11. Use Beeswax again, do encaustic waxing and make a couple projects

12. Take up my calligraphy again, complete 2 projects to submit to Somerset Studio

That's enough 'goal torture' for one day, don't you think? I believe I have enough to keep me busy for 12 months, don't you?!

I returned books, I picked up, I came home with 5 bags of library books for me and the kids. Here's what I'll be working my way through in the next couple weeks:
Low-Sew Boutique by Cheryl Weiderspahn
Creative Juice (DIY) by Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza
The Chinese Calligraphy Bible by Cathy Wu
What Your Daughter Isnt Telling You by Susie Shellenberger and Kathy Gowler
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker (recommended by apronthriftgirl)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
Altered Curiosities by Jane Ann Wynn
Mixed-Media Collage by Holly Harrison
Simple Sewing with a French Twist by Celine Dupuy
Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori
Mixed Media Mosaics by Laurie Mika
Sewing Simple Slipcovers by Tracy Munn
Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling by Anne Chambers
Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter and Meiko Arquillos

On my list to order from the library today:
Crafts Inc. - Meg Mateo Ilasco
The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo and Anne Ishii
Art from the Heart: Mixed-Media Collage by Catherine Matthews-scanlon
Fabric Art Workshop by Susan Stein
Fabric Leftovers by D'Arcy-Jean Milne
Pretty Little Pincushions by Lark Books
Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol
Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects by Betz White
Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachery

Upcoming books not out yet that I wanna see!
Stitched Collage by Sherrill Kahn (Feb 2008)
Art Making, Collections, and Obsessions by Lynne Perrella (Feb 2008)
Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art by Diane Maurer-Mathison (Feb 2008)
Fusing Fabric by Margaret Beal (March 2008)
Creative Collage by Marie Browning (Mar 2008)
Vintage Collage-Works by Sunny & Mary Jo Koch (Mar 2008)
50 Nifty Collage Cards by Peggy Jo Ackley (Apr 2008)
Three-Dimensional Papercraft by Dawn Allen (Apr 2008)
The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (Apr 2008)
Bent, Bound And Stitched by Giuseppina Cirincione (May 2008)
Artist Trading Cards (Twenty to Make) by Leonie Pujol (June 2008)
Collage: Assembling Contemporary Art by Blanche Craig (Aug 2008)
The Crafter's Resource Book: Christmas by Crafthouse Press (Sept 2008)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Etsy Shop Filling Up!

P1160721, originally uploaded by Collage Contessa.
As I've said, I'm clearing all the extra out of the art room. I would like to walk through the room without killing myself, thank you very much! If you're in need of more crafty items I have lots of interesting things there. Items like stamps & ink pads, embossing gun, vintage linens, cards, etc... I put up several tonight but will continue to list throughout the day tomorrow. Go look, something might be calling to you!
Oh! And you'll be happy to know... a couple people emailed me asking if any of the new Valentine's were for sale. One has made its way to Etsy. It's all yours if you buy it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1 YEAR HERE! & Superfluous Puppy Post...

(dd & her cousin w/pup at Christmas)

That's exactly what this is, a post all about our new puppy. A giveaway will be in order when I'm done chatting about Clemie though (see below).

Isn't she adorable? She likes to sleep upside down, with all her bellyness hanging out (she's in the back of the photo, head to the right, butt to the left). She likes to sleep with her fake-brother/sister we happened to have that looks similar to her. At night she sleeps in a playpen next to my bed (I feel like I have a new baby! lol). It's like putting her in a crate but I had a playpen on hand instead.

She is a lima bean hound. My dd made the mistake of feeding her some. She's gaga for them. She waits by the chair that dd first fed her lima beans from and thinks anytime dd sits there, she's getting lima beans. Her stomach rebelled against them today so they are no longer acceptable.

Little dd made Clemie her own crown (everyone in the house received such loveliness today)... We'd call her name and she would tip her head to the side to try to figure out what we were saying. Nothing. We just wanted to take her picture! lol

Big dd gave her a bow for her fast growing hair, and let her play with dd's barking dalmatian. At first she didn't know what to make of a barking dog so she barked back. But she soon realized it wasn't real and attacked it. She dragged the dog around by its tail. I think she secretly hopes it fights back. She desperately wants a playmate. Our 2 cats think she is an annoyance at best. The tort will 'mother' her by licking and occasionally sleeping with her. The grey one won't give her the time of day. Now the bunny is a different story. He loves her. But he's a he and isn't fixed so anything that moves, he 'wants'. lol I need to fix him.

Clemie is 10 weeks old tomorrow. *sniff sniff* They grow so fast!

Okay, a reward for sitting through my gushing over our new puppy for a whole 4 paragraphs. I just realized today that in exactly 1 MONTH I will have been in blogland for a whole YEAR! That's exciting to me, because I never stick with anything! lol In honor of this momentous occasion, I am giving away a package of goodies once a week until my blogland-anniversary, culled from my newly organized/semi-organized art room. I'll get a sneak peek of the items posted soon!

You'll love it. You just might see some of my artwork sneaking into the packets as well. Just reply to this post by next Wednesday night (Jan 23rd) and I'll draw a winner on Thursday. Then we'll start all over again! Post with some info about your pet (or one you would like to own) and one of your favorite books to read. I need a list of new books to peruse. Tell your friends to come play to win as well! Have a creative day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

HodgePodge of a Post

The New Year brings thoughts of 'out with the old, in with the new' kind of thinking. Except for all of us packrats (and you know who you are), the 'in with the new' is not something we should be doing! I have so much stuff. My husband calls it junk. I can't part with stuff very well, that 'might' be used in my art 'someday'. If someday ever comes.

My art room has again become the catch all for everything. Its a high traffic area (dining room that leads into the living room kitchen, out to the garage/basement and outside.) So I 'catch' everything that doesn't have a home. Like the impulsive buy of 3 new boxes (of 2000 in each bx) forks and spoons. Hey, they were $1 at a daycare garage sale! So this weekend I sucked it up and cleaned. (watch future posts, I plan to give away and/or trade some of this stuff I don't need.- Won't my DH be so proud! All you packrats out there, you KNOW you need more stuff!)

I tried to refrain from doing art as long as I could. But you know how it is, you start cleaning and find things 'hey, I forgot I had that!' and 'I don't remember ever buying that!' so you get the urge to create. I worked on necklaces over the weekend (see previous post) and Monday and today it was Valentines again. I had the most fun working with trims and fabrics and doilies I didn't know I owned!
And I made my own crepe ruffled trim. I joined a couple Valentines swaps (over on the right) through various flicker groups.

I know, Christmas is over and its probably the furthest thing from your mind (11 months in fact) but I thought I would still post a list of the books I looked at over the holidays. All having to do with Christmas and/or toys. At least now, no one else wants them at the library and you might get to see them quickly! There's a couple books at the end of the list that weren't Christmas.

Celebrating Christmas Ornaments - N. Chertoff

The Craftster Guide to Nifty, Thrifty and Kitschy Crafts - L. Kramer

Vintage Christmas Crafts - S. Toliver

Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30's, 40's and 50's - C. Dianne Zweig

Kitschmasland!, Christmas Decor from the 1950s to the 1960s - T. Smith

Kid Stuff - D. Hoffman

An Irish Christmas - M. Carlson (novel)

It's a Wonderful Christmas, the best of the holidays 1940-1965 - S. Waggoner

Timeless toys : classic toys and the playmakers who created them - T. Walsh

Toys A to Z : a guide and dictionary for collectors, antique dealers and enthusiasts - M. Rich

True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals (again)

Vintage toys : robots and space toys - J. Bunte

The Ultimate Marbling Handbook - D. Maurer-Mathison

Creative Embellishments for Paper, Jewelry, Fabric & more - S. Kahn

Metal Clay and Mixed Media Jewelry - S. Haab

P.S. I really don't think my DH can complain about my 'junk'. I told him the other day about this art I saw online made of circuit boards and little tube thingies and how cool it was. He said 'oh we throw those away all the time!' I about hyperventilated. He brought me a board today and I was enthralled I don't know what I'm going to make with it, but I was enthralled! lol Have you seen art made with circuit boards and resisters (DH just told me what the tube thingies are called)? I wanna see! Link me.

See this? ----------->
Just wait. Something fun is coming soon!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Jewelry...

I made additional necklaces this evening. More time consuming pieces but I love them. And I have the blisters growing to prove it! The darn pliers are not my friend. Both pieces will head to Etsy in the morning. I'm too tired now.

Stay tuned for a possible trade. While looking for items to use with the necklaces I found about 7-8 ATCs I still haven't traded or sold. 3 will head to Etsy tomorrow and the other 4 I will post and trade with others.

Also, my dad, who collects vintage coffee postcards, bought me some coffee postcards for Christmas that have beautiful ladies images on them. I'm going to work on scanning those and my cabinet cards I have in the house this weekend. Then I'll be sharing them through the next couple weeks. If you use vintage images in your art, then these will be a nice addition!

Off to bed. Gotta take the cow of a puppy to the veterinarian in the morning for her checkup. I'm not her biggest fan right now (just kidding really)... She got ahold of my favorite art eraser and made it look like swiss cheese! Plus her new favorite chew toys are crayons! Ugh. Can puppies die from eating wax? *sigh*

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jewelry Day!

So, another good/relaxed day of homeschooling today. DH was home, puttering around the house. I helped little DD with her english and math. She read science and other books for school and listened to big DD read Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures (by Walter Moers) outloud. Interesting book. The bad guys say shut up and they're all traveling to the city of HEL which is a little too 'bad' for my taste in terms of being read out loud to an 8 year old. But I heard bits and pieces of it and it sounds like an interesting book. It's a 2nd book to 13 1/2 lives of Captain Blue Bear, a 700+ page book for kids and adults alike (all the books are huge!) The 3rd book is The City of Dreaming Books. I don't think they're sequels per se, but based in the same land, as it were. Look em' up next time you're at the book store. Oh, for other book news, if you haven't read City of Ember, another kid's book, read it. I loved it. It has sequels & prequels too and I hear they're making a movie of it this year! YAY!
So, today while they were otherwise occupied and finishing up school, I worked in my art room. When the room gets some doors, I'll start calling it a studio (never will happen *eyeroll*). Experimented with my neglected Dremel tool. Made holes in dominoes and had fun making necklaces. I think a couple might make their way to Etsy in a bit so look there if you're interested. I can always change out the 'chain'. I'm wanting to purchase some black cording anyway. The fairy one might land in the hands of a friend who loves fairies. *wink* More jewelry to come!

Really need to work on my chicken wire crown but the inspiration for that alludes me at the moment... What are you up to? Ohhh! I found a lady who is doing a weekly challenge. This week's is 'open an art book/mag to any page and do that project'. Something like that. Go see and participate! I'm going to try to as well!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Magic Wands

Ever have one of those days that starts out weird or wrong, or just too early? That was today. I was up mondo-early for some testing I had to take and I'm just not a morning person. But it turned into a satisfying day. One of the girls is sick so we had a relaxed homeschool time. They watched Miss Potter and then read books and my youngest started drawing a book of her own. She was inspired by Miss Potter and all her Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck sketches. I just love to see them learn without textbooks. It's like you can see the wheels turning, the ideas forming, the knowledge growing. DD then proceeded to 'invent'. She had string, a sock, salt shaker, pencil, clothes pin and a box. She was making what looked like a chain reaction. She started keeping notes in her 'journal' with hypotheses of what might happen. We started discussing (with what limited knowledge I have) of Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. It was really quite amazing. Now she has drawn plans that involve a spool, a wooden car, cotton, wire and a plug? And she says it somehow has to be attached to the roof before a storm happens. I'm a little scared! lol

Anyway, I worked on things while they were watching the movie. On Altered Gypsy we're doing a Magic Wand swap. I had fun making unorthodox shaped wands in various topics with tongue depressers, chopsticks and again, I used images from Piddix' Etsy Shop. I hope the recipients enjoy them.

The puppy has a new friend. The fridge. Someone made the mistake (ie: ME) of grabbing a small piece of ham out of the bowl on the bottom shelf to give her, now everytime she is near the fridge she is sitting staring at it. Sometimes she barks. She attempts to crawl into the fridge anytime you open it. I think I've created a monster. Or a pig, one of the two! ha Right now she is rolling in and tearing through a roll of Sinamay. Don't know where she got that!

P.S. I ran out of foam brushes today. That should be a crime in many states. I usually buy them 100-200 at a time when they're on sale. I guess its time to shop!