Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lotta Fabric Stenciling

Our homeschool days consist of 4 good days of schooling and then only 3 1/2 hours of school on Fridays (which includes 2 hours of art.) This is so I can do projects with the kids that I want to do, not just lessons out of their art books (see my homeschool blog for more on our homeschool curriculum used.)

This past Friday we stencil painted on fabric. Lotta Jansdotter's book Lotta Prints showed up at the library for me finally and I love it all!
(By the way, she has a few youtube videos. I found out about her when someone twittered about the yam video.)
Stencils & Yams
Studio Tour
more of her books
We copied and cut out a couple of the patterns she provides in the back of the book and got to work. The fabric paints were made using acrylic paints and a textile medium. After the projects were complete, we heat set them using an iron.

I used the tree leafy stencil.

I sewed into a pillow for my bed with some brown fringe.

DD used the tree branch stencil.

She sewed it up into a pillow as well, adding ribbon from my massive stash. Isn't it cute?! Doesn't match a thing in her room but oh well.

Little dd made dollhouse furniture instead.

After our project time was over, I couldn't stop. I sat down and made several stencils of my own. I'm also coming up with a few ideas for Christmas gifts and things to sell in the Etsy shop. The Christmas trees are patterned after 1950's Christmas cards.

Here you can see closeups of the details. After the stenciled pieces and scraps were dry, I added detail with sharpies. (sorry about the inside pics, they were taken at night.)

We had the best time with this project. I anticipate much more of this type of play.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Creative Therapy - Inspiration

This week's Creative Therapy challenge is all about what inspires you. I tried to narrow it down to one thing but had no luck at that. I created this piece and the info is below:

Wallhanging says:
Inspiration can come in many forms. One day you’re taken in by the sights of something. The next day it might be a smell. I am energized by several things:
1. Color
2. Texture
3. Magazines
4. Seeing other people’s work
5. The little pile of odds and ends on my desk
6. New tools and supplies
7. Vintage anything
8. Artsy blogs
9. A nice juicy new colorful pen
10. 80’s music
I’m inspired to create!

Technique Highlight:
Background is a layering process. Fluid acrylics to swipe all over the watercolor paper, mostly swirly strokes. Liquid watercolors mixed for the aqua and painted over the whole thing. Stamped shaped & star with white gesso and fluid acrylics. Took a brayer, rolled it through black paint, rolled it over a 1-10 numbers stamp, rolled off some of the ink and then rolled onto the background. It transfers some of the paint, plus the negative of the letter stamps. It’s hard to see all that since I covered it up with the list and ‘Create’ letters but it makes for a great background.

You can still enter at the Creative Therapy site to win a whole mess of art supplies (by Sunday for this week, but each week as well.) Would love to hear what inspires you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Feature Friday!

ARTSY is an Etsy seller I secretly want to be when I grow up. Her work has been featured in Craft Magazine and on many websites.

From her Etsy bio:
"Cat Bishop's work explores the disconnect between the self each of us harbors inside and the self we present to the world. If our outward appearances were to accurately reflect the incongruity we feel inside, on a daily basis, we'd look like these people--eyes asymetrical, faces askew, legs off at uncomfortable angles, ill matched jello molds for boobs. The work is about the ways we assemble ourselves, the cobbling together of a self more presentable than the one we know. In this way what Bishop creates are also masks and disguises. So while the work is, in a deep way, about self-perception, self-scrutiny and self-flaggelation, the artist clearly has fun with it. The faces and figures come across as comical and entertaining, not dark or menacing."

Every time I see a piece of Artsy's assemblages it makes me smile. I have a thing for dishware, especially from older eras (50s-60s). The colors call to me, the combinations of mismatched pieces are poetry in metal motion. If I started to use up all the older dishes and containers I own (and am supposed to be selling on Ebay) my husband would be thrilled.

One thing I've very excited about are her art prints. She has a variety of unique pieces that have already sold but we don't have to suffer because it may not have been sold to us. We can have a print of the piece. Can you just see a display of several of her pieces framed in black frames? How very retro! It's almost as good as the real thing!
Art Prints

Artsy's pieces have such built in character you want to buy them up, bring them home and introduce them to everyone as 'my new friend.' They seem to come alive.

After seeing Artsy's mixed media artwork, you'll never look at junk on the street and broken appliances again! Think of what your garage sale and thrift store shopping will be like now! I'm in love with her use of ordinary game pieces for feet and eyes and such.

And to top it all off, she now sells jewelry she has cobbled together from vintage beads and chain.
WannaBead Etsy Shop

Let me know if you buy something from her. I want to see what you chose as your favorite!
Artsy Etsy Shop

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm a Widgetketeer!

Watch this!

TA-DA! Now I'm a Widgetketeer (is that a word yet?) I discovered this cool Widget program that allows you to find widgets to include on your sites as well as make your own! I even found a homeschool and a word of the day widget to add over on my homeschool blog as well! The widget is automatically updated when I post so you'll never miss a second of creative art.

Anyway, if you're just dying to know what is happening over here at all times (lol), feel free to add this widget.

  • Click 'Get Widget'
  • Click 'Embed Code'
  • Copy the HTML code
  • Paste into your sidebar
  • Enjoy!
I would love to hear where the widget lives. If you add it to your blog, let me know so I can visit!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What I Collect & Hoard

This last week was full of sick coughies and homeschool planning. (Our day starts tomorrow and I think we're ready for the structure.) So art time has been severely limited but I did manage to eek out an art journal page. It's for this week's Creative Therapy challenge. I hope you're playing along on the challenges. Each week has a fabulous prize of artsy supplies. You don't want to miss out on those, and a chance to do a little Creative Therapy art. Let me know if you do a piece for a week so I can come see!

Here's mine. The theme is 'What do you collect or hoard?'

I think there is no question what I collect. Ask any of my art friends and they’ll tell you immediately. ‘Kris has way too much ribbon, lace and fiber.’ Now personally, I don’t think its too much but they should know. 1 1/2 thirty-five gallon trash bags full of ribbon & lace. Yeah. It had taken over so much space I quit trying to organize it and just shoved in it the bags. Whenever I wanted to use some, I pulled rolls & handfuls out until I found what I needed. When organizing my studio a couple months ago, I decided to host a Ribbon Bee. I invited all my friends over for food, fun and work. We wrapped, taped, & pinned over 850+ types of ribbons, laces, fibers and embroidery floss. I’m eternally grateful to my friends for getting me out of the ‘bag’. It took us several get-togethers to finish it all. Yes, I tend to hoard my ribbon & vintage laces. And yes, I can’t resist buying more. It’s a sickness I tell you. But I’d rather be sick, than ribbonless.

What do you collect or hoard?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feature Friday!

I've been finding all sorts of Etsy sellers I'm in love with lately and I can't keep the information to myself anymore. So I'm going to try to keep up with a designated 'Feature Friday' every week. Won't that be fun?!

I have to tell you about this lady from Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. FANCY PICNIC. She found me through blog catalog a couple weeks back and I'd visited her blog and such. She makes beautiful things. This week I went to her Etsy store and I had to pick myself up on the floor. I'm in heaven. No seriously. She is making things I WISH I could make. Think of all the fabric I could use up if I was as brave as her. Her latest piece includes experimental machine embroidery. I haven't seen it end up in her store yet but we could beg her yeah?! (Its the one to the left w/the heart seen on her blog.)

Her Etsy store is so bright and colorful, really inspiring. I think my favorites have to be the pieces below (available in her store.) I think what attracts me the most are the color combinations, the use of exquisite beads and buttons, vintage laces and what looks like velvets. So yum. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next, especially now that she is using the embroidery. It adds that final touch. Go buy some. Seriously. You won't be sorry.

If you're a family member of mine, I adore the red earrings below. My birthday is in 7 weeks! lol

Do you have any favorite Etsy stores to share or have one of your own? I'd love to take a gander. You never know I might feature you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Color Psychology Challenge

There is a certain psychology about color and how it attracts the eyes. Studies show that colors provoke specific feelings. For example:

Red - makes you feel romantic, in love, powerful
Pink - is playful, delicate & sweet
Yellow - is a happy color, joyful, makes you smile
Blue - makes you feel strong, peaceful, intelligent
Green - is the color of health, harmony, growth
Orange - has energy, a feeling for change
Purple - is royal, sacred
Turquoise - is very feminine, sophisticated and retro
Black - is more formal, bold, associated with mystery & death
Brown - is wholesome, friendly, earthy
White - feels innocent and pure, soft

Women tend to like blue, green turquoise, purple, pink and lavender.
Men lean towards blue, green and black.

Have you ever seen an art journal, scrapbook page or painting that just 'called' to you? Unique color combinations can send you to the studio to create with a frenzy. I was cutting pages out of an old Reader's Digest that I'm altering for an Altered Pages kit and several of the color combos make me want to mix paints and play.

So this got me to thinking. What's my favorite color combo? What's yours? My favorite color is green. But I think lately I'm stuck on an aqua, burnt orange and cranberry combo. I tend to play with those a lot. But then aqua, olive green and chocolate call to me too. Really I'll use whatever colors, I'm just happy to feel inspired again.

So today, I'm in the mood to create AND give a few things away. Are you game? I have a challenge for you. Create a piece using one of the color combos in these pictures (or use one of my 2 favorite combos) to create a piece of art. If none of these combos speak to you, pick 3 colors and create something unique!
1 -Put the challenge button below on your blog (right click, save pic as)
2 - Share your creation on your blog & link to my site
3 - Come back and tell me you've completed the challenge
Complete these steps and your name will go in the drawing 3x for one of the prizes shown.

I'll draw winners on September 3rd from those who participate (to give you time to create thru the USA Labor day holiday.) It's a fun challenge, a random drawing, you can't go wrong!

** A huge pile of sticker sheets, some sticker separates, unopened packages (I have 2 of these available.) Probably about 20 sheets in each prize. Not all have all their letters or stickers but most do. I just have so many, its time to weed out.

** 2 bottles of Tim Holtz Crackle paint in Aqua and Green. I think I opened them, looked at them but never used them. They have built in brushes inside. I'll include some foam brushes as well.

** I'm giving away 3 downloadable collage sheets from my Etsy Supplies Store, your choice.

** If we have lots of participants, I will give away a piece of jewelry from my Etsy Store. What would you like to wear?

** If we have tons of participants, I just might give away the project I'm working on for Altered Pages. You'll like it, I swear.

Some color links:
Color Theory
Colors Rules of Thumb
Color Psychology
Colors and Feelings
Art Journal & Feelings

I hope you'll share this challenge with your friends! The more the merrier!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Won I Won I Won

I'm very blessed this week. I've won not one but 2 drawings! How exciting is that?!

Sandra Evertson had a 'One Year Anniversary' drawing and I won the big pretty prize! Isn't she gorgeous! I can't wait until she arrives and sits on my mantel in a place of honor. Visit Sandra's blog. She make exquisite things!

And to add blessing to blessing, I won a set of stamps on Inka's blog. Every week she has a new drawing. You should enter!

If you're interested in an art trade, Trisha has a few Twinchies left to swap. Head on over to her blog to contact her.

My new friend Suzy has a Pay it Forward giveaway if anyone is game... I know I am!

If you're a homeschooler, I have a new blog. Very new so content is minimal. I'm looking to trade links with other homeschoolers who have blogs. Comment on my homeschool blog to trade (link is also in the top right corner of this blog.) I'll be updating frequently with family goings on, homeschool shenanigans and occasional articles on homeschooling. Yes, I'm a one woman busy bee.

Stay tuned. Big long winded post with PRIZES coming up!

P.S. Yes, I know some of you were getting cabin sickness from the polka dot background (Trisha!) so they have gone away. I'm experimenting with colors now. We're trying out a peuse-ish green or Grey Poupon mustard? lol

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bird Garden Angel

A couple months ago The Crafty Chica contacted me about altered a piece from her upcoming line of products due out in August. (I've been following - not stalking - her on Twitter for awhile now.) I was super excited by the opportunity. Not sure why she picked me, but I'm so glad she did!

In the mail I received this Crafty Chica Empowerment Guardian. I managed to score a QUEEN! You know how I love queens & crowns. I am a Contessa after all. lol After it arrived in the mail I got a little intimidated. I had no ideas jumping to mind for a long time. Then several flying at my brain at the same time. I managed to rein them all in and finished it up this week.

What I did:
I collaged the whole dress body with tissue paper words and poems (You can see it more in the pic of the back.) I also used some old book pages. I painted everything with acrylic paints. It was too bright when I was done so I sponged brushed on Tim Holtz Antique Linen Ink refill. Worked like a charm to 'age' it. I used present packing grass, a couple birds and a plastic egg in the crown. The necklace is made of the packing stuff & a star type earring, back removed.

The skirt is made of plastic fencing (similar to chicken wire) and the top of the skirt is black window screening. I knew I had been saving that small roll for a reason (about 3 years! lol) I wired the screening to the fencing and attached in the back with a safety pin. Before I put it on the body I glued on velvet ribbons and vintage laces. I also sewed on glow in the dark light aqua pom poms. I added glitter glue to all exposed parts of the fencing and screening. I attached it to her body and then added clip on earrings to 'attract the birds'. You know how they like they're shiny things. lol

I love the wings. I bought all they had left in Christmas clearance last year. Gaudy silver wings, didn't know what I would do with them. But I realized if you lightly brush acrylic paint over them it doesn't go in the crevices and you can change their color. She's now the Bird Garden Angel.

You can buy these Guardian statues on Amazon now. Crafty Chica's products are fabulous. They're in select Michaels right now, not mine, so I'll be buying online.