Monday, June 30, 2008

Catch Up Post - Book Club, Winner, Giveaway

Gosh! I do get sidetracked sometimes! I'm realizing there are several things I never got around to closing up, commenting on or whatever.

I seriously dropped the ball on my impromptu, newly formed 'Virtual Jane Austen Book Club'. I did in fact finish the book but never really came and discussed it with others. If you finished it or just had ideas to share, I'd love to hear them. I will be reading Persuasion over the summer. Care to try joining me again?

Remember this piece I made for my Etsy store (custom orders)? Well, I forgot to come announce the winner and send out the item. I drew a name a long time ago but you know how it is. Life got in the way. Sorry to everyone who was waiting with bated breath. lol
The winner is...

I'll be contacting you for your mailing address and will get the little purse out to you pronto. Oh, and I still have not cracked open the package holding my phone's disk for music. How sad is that! I plan to work on that this summer though. Thanks for all your fabulous suggestions. Some I had never heard before! Oh by the way, where do you get all your music? Do you download, buy all the CDs? I was thinking 'where will I get a lot of these songs? Just wondering.

I'm still accepting ideas for the piece from this post. The right saying or word just will not come to me, so I asked for suggestions from my readers.

So far I've received these:
Three's A Crowd
There's a Time & A Place for Everything and Everyone
Rise & SHine
'I Can't Hear You! La la la'
The Three Sisters
You Can't Make Everyone Happy
Some Will Always Do As They Please
Look For the Good In Everyone, It's There
There's Always Room For One More
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Three Of A Kind

I'm leaning towards a couple but I could use some more ideas. Help! If I pick your saying you'll win a baggie of collage goodies, or pick the corset tags or altered bottle from this post.

In a totally unrelated 'I was right and you were wrong' notion, DH got a ticket over the weekend. I just had to laugh. When you get off of the highway near our house, I've sometimes seen policemen sitting in between the bank and the auto parts store, just waiting for someone who didn't slow down after coming off the highway. I tell my DH this all the time reminding him to slow down. He insists he's never seen a policeman there at all and he comes home that way every day from work. It's gotten to be a joke with us now. We'll be getting off the highway and I'll say 'I don't even need to tell you what I want to tell you, you just know'. Or I'll comment, 'Do we need to have 'the talk'?' and we'll both laugh. DH came home on friday and announced, 'I got a ticket today and you're not going to believe where.' I said, 'NO WAY!' I thought he was pulling my leg. But nope. So I just had to officially say 'I told you so.' I don't get to say that near often enough. ha

Please check out my Etsy stores. I've listed all recent canvases and art there, as well as new supplies and items for sale. Would love to work on a custom item for you if you would like. Let me know.
Collage Contessa (art work store)
Collage Curiosities(art supplies store)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good Girls & Night Owls

(9 days until my beach vacation. Woo hoo!)

Saturday was another good day for art. My neatly cleaned art desk is no longer. But that's okay. I pulled out things I haven't used in awhile; metal letters, number stamps, asian papers, pressed flowers and oil pastels which are my new favorite tool again.

Good Canvas

9" x 12"
Saying is by Longfellow I believe: 'There was a little girl, and she had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid!'

The girl just looked like she was thinking mischievously. Used a variety of acrylic paints, oil pastels, stamps, ink, glitter glue and more. Not sure you can see the depth and layering in the background with tis picture, but I tried. Heading to
Etsy sometime today.

Night Owl Canvas
6" x 6"
This little cutie was inspired by an image I saw in a book once, where a head was collaged out of different papers. I'm into the owls lately so the canvas screamed for an owl instead. This was also a challenge to myself to work with colors I have not put together before. I'm not a fan of purple, as my friends/family will tell you. I have almost an unhealthy dislike for it. I wouldn't let either of my girls be dressed in it nor paint there rooms in any shade. Gag me with a spoon. However, I like how this came out. The colors meld well together.

I used fluid acrylics to achieve the background and layered vintage papers, book pages and asian origami paper. Pressed flowers, rubon letters and 'tattoo' on the right. Oil pastels and white pen. Heading to
Etsy as well.

I would love to hear what you think about the pieces I've made recently. Trying to do things without dwelling on them too much.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

'Day To Myself' Work

(ATC made for the TGIF weekly challenge at Altered Gypsy - Tinkling H2Os, stamps w/stazon, Oil pastels on the edge. All created on watercolor paper, with an Altered Pages image.)

Gosh, I love having an organized studio and time to play in it! My dd was gone all day Thursday at a friend's house so I had a day to myself! YAY! I woke up, straightened some of the house and then sat down to create.

My friend Kersten recently mentioned Prima flowers and what was all the 'hype'? They used to be all the rage, especially when I was scrapbooking. I think they still are but after awhile, they are old news as so many products tend to go. There's always some latest and greatest that tends to take the center stage after awhile. Anyway, because she mentioned them, it popped into my head to use a handful when I thought up the TREE piece. It was good to pull them out again and play.

Lovely As A Tree (poem by Joyce Kilmer)
9" x 12" canvas

I've had this magnetic frame around for at least 1 1/2 now. It was a project for a Design Team I was on at the time and I decorated it with the products provided in the kit and have always hated it. The first pic is what it used to look like. Bleck! So I finally ripped all that off of the frame this week and painted it aqua. I got out my Tim Holtz 'Antique Linen' Distress Ink pad REFILL bottle. Put a dab in a paint pan and brushed it over the aqua paint to distress it and the papers I collaged on top. The flower petals are a sticker of an old seed packet. I just cut the petals out of it.

Cherish Magnetic Frame
9" x 11" size (pic opening is 4" x 6")

I completed a third piece you'll see soon. It's for an upcoming Creative Therapy Catalyst. The 2 shown pieces are heading to my Etsy store as well as a necklace I made awhile back with Altered Pages image, and the 'Who Me' owl canvas shown in a previous post. I'm still taking suggestions for the title for the OTHER owl canvas (someone will win a prize) so don't forget to go here and comment.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Studio Organizing Tips

Yeah, so I'm not the best person to make this list, considering I'm always organizing, filling up, messing up, purging and then organizing my studio again. However, I've been organizing yet again and a few things have popped into my head that seem to work. Tell me your favorite tip for organizing, maybe it will help me too!

Studio Organizing Tip #1

The Pen is mightier than the sword. Keep a notepad and pen at hand so you can jot down creative ideas you think of while organizing.
I have this terrible habit. When I think of a good idea, I sweep all the piles I so neatly organized, on the floor, combine them, whatever; just so I can create the idea I came up with. Write the ideas down until a later time.

Studio Organizing Tip #2

The right music can make all the difference!
There is nothing like singing into my scissors; belting out some Def Leppard, Cher or The Beach Boys while I'm organizing. A friend on Twitter turned me on to Top 50 songs of the year of your choice. Just go here and choose your favorite year and get singing and cleaning! (I have it set to 1988 right now.)

Studio Organizing Tip #3
Items organized in clear or tinted containers are used more often. But then you knew that huh? When you see it, you remember you have it and you're more likely to use it. I have beautiful blue glass Ball jars I collect specifically for this purpose. They store all manner of things, thread spools, pompoms, clothes pins, etc... I also bought milky clear drawers & containers for storing everything else (see below.)

Studio Organizing Tip #4

Separate things down to the smallest detail.
Okay, you might be more patient than I am. But when I think of sifting through 3 big containers of mixed buttons looking for the perfect pink button, I'm gonna quit. Or the big apple basket holding all game pieces/items? I never end up searching for the bingo chips I want. My buttons are now separated into 4 clear embroidery thread holders (some shown here w/my bead & flower boxes.) The game pieces are now in 4 containers on my bookshelves.

Studio Organizing Tip #5

A place for everything and everything in its place.
All those clear containers you're now using to store your stuff? I have found if you STORE IT NEAR YOU, you'll do much better. Before I figured this out, I was storing things neat on bookshelves behind my chair where I work and I would pull out drawers and bring them to the table, and soon I'd have an avalanche of drawers, paper, stamps, and ink. My friend Krissi from Twitter says she is a failure at putting things up right away. I am too but at least now I know where everything goes and can put it up quickly. I use ink and paint the most so ink hangs right above my desk. Paint was on a lazy susan on the desk (and in 3 containers) but I've since bought the paint carousel (seen above.) I'm in love with it! Stamps and ephemera are very close seconds as to what I use the most, so ephemera is on my left, stacked high in 12x12 pull out drawers. Stamps are in the same type drawers, right in front of me above my desk on shelves. Buttons, small flowers & beads I use a lot as well and used to keep them in metal containers or baskets or stuffed in a drawer elsewhere. Didn't work. Now they're stacked right in front of me where I can reach them.

Studio Organizing Tip #6 (or 5b)

Convenience is everything.
Let me tell you, I hate taking more than a step or two to do something. I don't want to pull my heat gun out a drawer, unwind the cord, crawl under my desk to plug it in and keep it on a heat resistant tray thingie for when its hot. I now keep this handy dandy long metal cookie tin to the left where I work, plus there is a power strip (on the desk top) next to it where I can easily plug everything in. In the tin I keep essentials I hate searching for: a bucket holds all scissors, wire cutters, pliers and exacto knives. Next to it in the tin are decorative scissors. In the back of the tin is the heat gun, dremel tool, hammer and my trusty clover iron. I also keep my tall tower of jewels and sequins because there just happened to be enough room.

Studio Organizing Tip #7

Be Energy Efficient.
Ef·fi·cient. Pronunciation:\i-ˈfi-shənt\ - productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste. I'm usually doing marathon organizing. I go all day, every waking hour until I fall in bed exhausted. I don't like to piddle around doing bit by bit, seems like a waste. To be efficient with your energy; Set aside the amount of time you want to spend organizing. Only take bathroom & drink breaks (don't play around on the computer. Twitter is my downfall.) When you break for lunch/whatever meal, give yourself a 1/2 hour to rest and surf the net or watch TV. Then back to work. Don't stop and sit to do time consuming things, like tearing articles out of magazines or organizing buttons. Don't do that in the middle of your energy. When I get to the end of my day, I will gather a time consuming/sitting organizing chore and sit on the bed and do it. One night I caught up on my TV shows while I breezed through 30+ mags I've had sitting around to pull out articles and pieces to use in art. At that time, I was tired, so standing and organizing wasn't a good use of my energy. Sitting but still working was.

Best Organizing Tip
Two heads are better than one.
Or three or four, including their hands. To finish off my art room so its ready for consumption, I invited my closest friends over (aka: the friends who won't fault me for my less than perfect house) for a 'Ribbon Organizing Party'. Personally, my ribbon is one of my biggest headaches. I love ribbons, trims and laces of all kinds but I have amassed so much its now shoved into a big garbage bag and another big blanket bag. Can't really use it that way. I promised my friends free lunch/drinks, a looksie through my art room (some had warned me they would be stuffing their bras with stuff they wanted to steal), and plenty of freebies from the stuff I'm getting rid of. This was a great ending to my organizing endeavor (or is a great way to start it if you need help with the whole process.) Plan a party, invite people over. Make it a big deal to finally be done. And give it all the way, the stuff you no longer need. There are others out there who haven't conquered their clutter bugs yet and will gladly take stuff off your hands!

(I only took one pic while they were here, they were sorting through my giveaway boxes. The rest of the pics are: 1-friends, 2-sorting aftermath, 3-some progress made from hours of work, 4-work still left for me to do, 5-some of what I finished last night watching Numb3rs first season on DVD.)

Extra Little Tips:

1 - Keep a bin or box nearby to throw in items that you're tired of. Give or throw away. Or,
address several padded or priority mail envelopes to people you know might like the extras you have to get rid of, or someone who might need a little 'pick me up' this week. Fill with your extras & mail.
2 -Pop on a top. I tend to put big Rubbermaid bins under my desks to hold things like mat board, packing envelopes for order shipping, etc... But I find that having them in large OPEN boxes is bad. When I'm looking for a quick place to shove something, it invariably ends up under the table in the top of one of those open boxes.
3 - Keep a Rolling Cart. I have my most used items in mine:
pens laid flat, paint brushes and adhesives. glitter pens & staples, alcohol inks/rubons, dymo labler, large punches, small xyron & refills, batteries (for camera), wheel stamps & rolling handle. I can wheel it to wherever I'm working at the moment.
4 - (this is still on my list of to-dos.) Make a detailed list of everything you own, feathers, metal stripping, chipboard, fluid acrylics, etc... Alphabetize it and put locations for the items (especially if you have lots of drawers.) This saves you lots of time looking AND reminds you in a glance of what you have to use.

Tips shared with me by Twitterpals:
CollageArtist (Claudine Hellmuth) - "
I organize all my papers in the 2 gallon ziploc bags, divide them up by color and then throw all the bags into a giant bin!"
Tsoniki - "Use what you have! Use baskets, containers, shelving units. Group like with like of course."
Little Pies -
"My 'studio' is a kitchen. I vacuum my kitchen counters frequently.. because I have a constant haze of flour everywhere." ** Vacuuming sounds like a good idea to me! **
brendapinnick - "I keep my paints organized by color in galvanized steel, long oval planters from IKEA."

More info:
100 Thing Challenge - can you do it?
Organization blog: Cool Organizing
Art Room Organization
Organizing Your Artist Space Book

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist Oh My! Coupon Too!

** COUPON: Mention this blog post or my bulletin post about my recent Etsy, Ebay & Craigslists listings and I'll give you 20% off anything you buy (excluding custom items.) Mention my listings on your blog and I'll make it a 25% discount! **

Kansas City Night Skyline Canvas-DreamTheJourney

(all canvases show are available in my CollageContessa Etsy store.)

Summer is a busy time and as such, I don’t tend to post a lot of items for sale. However, we’re going on vacation in a few weeks so I thought it time to get some items up and on to new homes! Take a look if you have a moment.

Collage Contessa Etsy Shop (vintage items listed, jewelry, new custom collage work available.)
Collage Curiosities Etsy Shop (new ephemera collections, collage sheet special still going on, new supplies listed.)


I’ve also listed items on Ebay and will continue to do so all week. Some art work going up further in the week.

Right now its items that need new homes: (ebay seller acct: homeschool-of-fish)
Homeschool-Of-Fish Ebay Store

And, if you’re in the Kansas City area and like to shop on Craigslist, you can find my items right here:
http://kansascity. craigslist. org/search/sss?query=kcny2

I have a few painting/collages I’m willing to do custom pieces around.

One is listed on Etsy:
Custom Southern Belle Canvas

Paper Scraps Canvas

The other is seen below and would be priced similar to the one above. Contact me for further information.

Revolve Canvas

Monday, June 16, 2008

Creative Therapy Catalyst

I'm loving my stint as a Creative Therapy Designer. It 'forces' me to create, even when I feel my muse is gone, that I have no talent or that I just have nothing to contribute. Thanks to all those who commented on my posts when I was feeling down and out, and slightly depressed. I've had suggestions to just walk away and do something else, or read art mags to get me going again. But I think I've realized that art is a part of me. I can't just turn it off. However, I can and have let all the stresses of other things in life get in the way and steal my joy. I'm feeling better now. I'm taking my time, doing some things that 'need' doing so they can get out of my psyche and I can concentrate on art again. It feels so good to not be 'forcing' the creating right now.

This week's catalyst is: '1 Lesson To Teach My Children'

There are so many lessons to teach my girls; God is your rock and your answer, Make sure others treat you well, Money isn't everything, Don't talk to strangers. Yet I think the one I talk about the most with them is: Be Happy where you are. Here. There. Wherever you are, whatever job you're in, situation, life, church, etc... be happy. Be happy with what you have. Now I know I'm not the best example of this, I have times that I'm just not happy. But I think if you're always waiting for what is around the corner, the next job, next pay raise, the next sale of your art, the next time you lose weight, the next boyfriend, the next thing you can buy, the next place you'll live - to be happy, you're never gonna even come close to being happy. All I can do is teach them this, and pray for them every day.

While I was creating my Creative Therapy catalyst, I played around with a matching canvas to hang on the wall. The sentiment says, "Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature." (6"x6" canvas)

Canvases were painted with fluid acrylics. When I was working on my last piece for Creative Therapy, I used a canvas to wipe off my excess Golden fluid acrylics. That gave me a lovely background which I used for the 'Be Happy' canvas. Then I used the same liquids and painted the second canvas. I also added strips of paper scraps, spanish book pages, stickers and more. The saying and words on both are either stickers and/or rubons.

Did you enter the drawing from Saturday's post? No? Go enter!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Recycling Project #1

As some people know, I hate to throw things away (I'm trying DH, really I am! Yes, Rhonda & Trisha, I know you'll GLADLY come raid my art room and take things off my hands.) On Saturday, I was changing my art room trash like a good little girl (as opposed to letting it overflow and the dog chewing it up.) Sitting on the table was my dd's Sobe bottle and I went to throw it in the trash but then thought 'Hey, I wonder what I can do with that?!'

I thought I might pull the stickers off the Sobe bottle and try to do something with it. I altered a bottle recently and liked how it came out. Have you ever used alcohol inks on glass? I'm sure I have at one point or another but not on a bottle. I found this article on the subject and liked it. Kelli Perkins did a fabulous job on a glass bottle project for Cloth Paper Scissors. Craft-Dabbler (on flickr) made these bottles with alcohol inks outside, and acrylic paints inside. Not sure how the paint will fare inside when you use it as a vase with water but maybe I can put a varnish in there? Who knows.

1. I pulled stickers off the bottle and washed it.

2. I was going to take a pic of the first layer of alcohol inks but since it was so faint and hard to see, I waited until I swirled aqua paint inside. I suggest thinning the paint down in a cup (I used an empty pill bottle) and pouring it all in and swirling the bottle around. I let the excess paint drip out into a cup that had water in the bottom so the paint wouldn't stick to the cup. After it was pretty dry inside, I sat down to play with the outside. Layered on more cranberry, stream and red pepper inks. However, after playing a bit, I didn't like how light it was so I dripped stream on it.

3. Still needed something more so I added cranberry & red pepper inks. Now its brighter, like my personality. I also swabbed a bit of gold alcohol ink on parts of the bottle.

4. Another fun thing to do with glass is to stamp it (make sure to use a permanent ink pad like Stazon.) Here I used an unmounted French script rubber stamp. See how having stamps unmounted comes in handy? I was able to wrap it around the bottle easily (although it does smear a bit, being words.) Also used a diamond stamp around the neck.

5. Here is where you find out we all have missteps. I originally stamped a set of wings on the bottle. Looked okay. I tried to find an image of a girl I liked but none went well enough with the wings. And since I used Stazon, it wasn't coming off of course. So, I improvised. I grabbed a leftover piece from last week's bottle project, stamped some dots, added rubons, stamped words, added an Altered Pages image, then glued it on OVER the wings. You would never have known they were there if I hadn't told you huh!

6. Final touch; initially I was going to add ribbons, fibers and vintage lace to the neck of the bottle to give it some 'flair'. But just tying that stuff around the neck looked blahhh. I tried out this wire flower type garland I have. I 'think' I like it. It's a different blue so maybe I need to dab it with aqua paint? Not sure yet. Not sure it doesn't look too (french?) italian-circusesque for my taste. But it might grow on me. I think it will make a great flower vase on my mantel to go with the big painting I'm working on, for above the fireplace. Before I use the vase though, I'll get some varnish or whatever you use for paint to make it waterproof. Does something like that exist?! lol

** Found another giveaway today, ends June 30th. Win gorgeous print/s of shoes drawings! The Cookie Sheet **

Did you enter yesterday's giveaway?! You're missing out!
Go enter!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the fathers out there! My DH and father included.

Tomorrow: Creative Therapy piece. Hint: its bright!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Overactive Imagination, Giveaways & WIN!

I'm posting this later than I wrote it (which was Thursday evening.) As I write, I'm sitting here waiting out the Tornado Watch for our area, the loud lightning booms that make me jump out of my seat and look for my shoes, thinking it might be time to take cover in the basement. All while my family sleeps the night away. Leaving me to my overactive imagination. So I'm surfing and finding giveaways. I love giveaways.

Art Prints - ends June 14th
Patterns & a Ruffler Foot - ends June 14th
Pottery Pendant - ends June 15th
Miss Lolly Doll - ends June 15th
Lost Button Studio Jewelry - ends June 16th
Swamp Collage - ends June 18th
Glass Jewelry - ends June 19th
Pick Your Gift! - ends June 21st
Crafty Crow Food Contest - due by June 22nd
Birthday Giveaway (many givers) - ends June 28th
Qumaira Patterns - ends June 29th


Okay, I'm tired of trying to figure out what sentiment, saying or word/s to put on this piece and I would like to put it in my 'completed' pile or hang it on the wall. Tell me what I should put on it, and if I choose your saying, I'll send you a baggie of collaging goodies (or choose the corset tags, or altered bottle from this post.) Simple as that! (Make sure to include your email address, which is hidden from the general public, so I can get in touch with you if you should win.)

Contest is open until I find a saying I like.

(See the middle owl? I think she's a little upset the right one is going to sleep! lol)

Blogs of Interest:
Art Ruckus
Sacred Snatch
Brenda Pinnick
Moose & Bear
Paulette Insall
Art By Chrysti
Chel In the Land of ZNE