Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Red Lead Wintery Goodness Banner

As I am sitting here blogging, I'm looking at snow. Big wet clumps of white fluffiness. I like when the yard is bathed in a blanket of white that seems to create a hush over the trees and buildings. It's like the world has stopped talking so much and is listening, just listening. It's a beautiful thing. We had snow for Christmas, lots of snow. Inches upon inches of snow and it was divine...

I haven't spent much time in my new (still messy) studio. But I did play around with a wintery banner this last week. 'On Skates'.

The image of two children is from Red Lead. I sketched out the skates (by looking at a coloring page online) and painted with watered down acrylics and gesso.

When I was a teenager we lived in New York. Boy oh boy, the winters there were cold and snowy! I had this friend at church whose house I liked to visit. They had their own pond and every year we would get out on it, I would fall a lot, and we would skate. Her father or brother would build a fire in a pit near the pond so we could warm up in between rounds. I'm sure the guys probably played some hockey but I don't remember much of that. I just remember the beauty of the surrounding woods and piled up mounds of snow.
I haven't been skating in years. I have weak ankles so I imagine it wouldn't be a pretty sight.

Mom took the little one skating last year and it seems she is a natural. I can see we need to take her often this year. She loves it.

Have you gone skating lately? Is it snowing where you are?

NOTE: I swear I posted the winner of the ornament giveaway but it was sitting in a blog post draft. No wonder the winner didn't contact me! lol The ornament goes to:
Linda. If you'll email your address to me, I'll mail out this ornament for you! Happy New Year and congrats!

Monday, December 07, 2009

7th Day of Christmas - Altered Pages Winter Blues ATCs

I get all excited around Christmas time. I don't usually have trouble with the winter blues although I know people who do. I tend to hunker down and create. I do know I don't like to get out much. More comfortable at home but that probably has to do with the below freezing temps out here in the midwest...

Being able to just bundle up in my warm house or semi-warm studio and make things makes me happy. I also like to spend time creating with friends more during the winter months as well.

I tend to cook and bake more during the winter as well. (have you been over to my recipe blog? I randomly post things that I'm trying to make.) Soups, breads, anything that can be crock potted is subject to my experimenting with it.

I love these images from Altered Pages. Most of them make me wonder what it was like to live a long time ago as a woman. We have so many freedoms and opportunities now that they didn't have.

Can you imagine having to wear a bustle? And think about all the layering they had to do. Undergarments, pantaloons, slips, hoops sometimes, hose of some sort, corsets, layers of dress and shawls. Ugh. I can't stand to have too many layers on. I would not be able to stand it. I'd be one of those 'inappropriate women' labeled for their inability or unwillingness to conform. Yep, that'd be me. The non-conformist.

I wonder how many women were able to pursue their love of the arts and not have it thought of as their hobby or little dalliance and not an important thing. That would drive me crazy too.

I haven't made ATCs in a long time. Don't know why. I sort of cycle through interests. I'm sure many artists do the same thing. While I go back to things like ATCs and cards, so far I've not returned to my obsession of scrapbooking. Not sure why.

Wow, I've rambled my way through many topics in this post! Just one of those days... I'm wondering, is anyone interested in a one-for-one trade of ATCs? I'm willing to part with a few of these. Tell me your favorite and I'll contact you for address and to trade. Anyone game?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

6th Day of Christmas - Altered Pages New Years Cards

In the back of my head I'm thinking ahead to New Years. Do you have special traditions for this holiday? We have one tradition we stick to every year.

Dh or I will go to the store and buy different 'exotic drinks.' Since we don't drink, and we're home with the kids we want to share in the toasting experience as best we can. The Arizona Co. has those different tea drinks or we'll find SOBE or some new fangled drink on the market to try. Everyone gets a different drink. We'll usually toast the New Year at 11 pm when the ball drops in NYC (they show it in KC at 11 PM) so the little one can go to bed. Then the rest of us will toast the actual bewitching hour when it arrives.

Usually we'll stick our heads out the front door to hear the illegal fireworks being shot off, and duck when we hear things that sound like gunshots. Yes, there are crazies out there that shoot them in the air.

Last year or the year before we watched that guy do the motorcycle jump over the casino or something in Las Vegas. I think the year before they exploded an old casino? I wonder what they'll come with next.

What do you do for New Years?

Note: Cards made with Altered Pages images.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

5th Day of Christmas - Shopping Day!

I'll be the first to tell you, I hate shopping. No really. I loath getting out to go shopping unless its to an art or fabric store. Don't make me shop for Christmas stuff in a mall with thousands of other frantic crazy people. Not happening.

Except... on girls day out. Mom started this new tradition. The sisters-in-law, mom, the teen and I get together at the local mall. We have lunch, and group up and shop for certain things. Usually kids presents. The reason I love this shopping is I'm with family. It doesn't matter that I'm in a stupid store, I'm with family. I'm sure there are others out there who feel as I do.

I prefer to do all my Christmas shopping in a comfy chair with the laptop, online at Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and Half.com. Nothing finer than hearing the click, click, click of things popping in my cart.

(altered gift bags made with Red Lead products)

Speaking of Etsy, I have several things in my Etsy stores (Art and Supplies) that just might help you cross someone off your list. I've restocked with new and repeat items too! (continue to check back as I will list new items daily.)

(Sample of items for sale)

Purchase from now until December 15th,
Buy 1 item - get 10% off
Buy 2 items - 2nd item is 20% off
Buy 3 items - 3rd item is 30% off
Tell a friend about the sale, they purchase too and you get 40% off one item.
(Discounts will be refunded through Paypal when I receive your payment/order and calculate the savings for you.)

So whether you get out and join the throngs of shoppers or you grab your coffee and plop your bunny slippers up on the computer and shop, I hope you have a wonderful Christmasy kind of day. I know I will. I might even sit on Santa's lap!

P.S. I saw today a couple of the kits I'd made for Altered Pages in the last year have gone on sale. If you were wanting a kit but didn't get it before, now is your final chance!
Poetry ATC Mini Book was $14.99, now $9.99
Artified Blocks Kit - was $23.99 - now $16.29

For all the Altered Pages kits on sale, go here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

4th Day of Christmas - Dear Deer are Here...

My parents used to live on the last street in town before a wide open field and then a lake. I always enjoyed visiting them and watching the deer nibbling on hay bales out in the field. It was a natural place for them to play. No one could come there and hunt them so it was a normal occasion to see a mother and her babies eating their fill.


We frequently drive the back way from church to home, through housing that is set in a wooded area. I'm always cautioning the driving teen to make sure to use her high beams because you will often have deer dashing across the road. That would not be fun to crumple the car and hurt a beautiful deer.

Red Lead has the most beautiful Christmas collage sheets, and last time I was at the store I picked up these adorable little plastic deer and teeny bottlebrush trees I've been waiting to play with!

The images used on the front and inside are from the Merry Christmas 37 collage sheet from Red Lead. I love the vintage pictures. The final touch was using the tinsel trim on the edge. It's all ready for packing up in a secret sister package going out this week. Do you think she'll like it?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

3rd Day of Christmas - Royal Bird & Tree Flowers

I have this beautiful wire bird I picked up while in the Red Lead store. I saw it and just knew it was needed to grace my studio. However, she has been unadorned for too too long. The little one thought so too. She added a handmade crown and necklace and we popped the bird onto the studio Christmas tree. I think Calliope the bird looks quite sweet in her queenly crown!

Did you see the leaf ornaments I posted this week? Well, the big circles in this new ornament were supposed to be instead of the leaf (before I thought of using leaves.) It's handpainted paper. Actually its the scrap paper I put on my worktable when I paint ATCs and it gets all the extra paints on it. Anyway, it was the wrong color for the leaf ornaments so it became its own creation.

I went to this sale last year of a company that was moving its headquarters and was selling off all the extras. They had a whole roll (at least 20 yards) of that white netting fabric. For a $1.00. You know I bought it! And its been sitting there waiting to be used. I'm thinking I want to experiment with painting and or dyeing some of it.

I used to belong to a wonderful group of gals who got together for a monthly Stampin Up party. Now we all know I didn't need a new thing every month. I mainly went to be with friends. However, I did pick up these adorable corduroy covered buttons and brads. I thought they would be the perfect finishing touch for these flowers I'm adding to my studio tree.

The little one has been visiting my studio quite a bit now that its getting fixed up. She loves making ornaments as well. Aren't they cute?! The right one is made with washes of fluid acrylics.

What are you making today?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

2nd Day of Christmas - Altered Pages Ornaments

Can you believe I almost threw these leaves away? I have a whole box and while organizing I thought 'I have never used these, nor will I ever. I should just get rid of them.' Actually I was going to throw them in my giveaway box my friends dig through when they come to visit my art room.

I used pictures from Altered Pages. They have several sheets with mini images. I feel guilty cutting up a big image for a small part of it. I have been known to cut people out for their torso/head and then save the legs. I'm sure I'm going to come up with a project just for those darn legs! ha

Slide mounts (you know, those old fangled things that negatives came in that you put in a slide projector to show off the 2000 vacation pictures you had...) They're another thing I never use. But I have a box STUFFED with them. I love having an organized art room. I can now find things like these. I brayered them with alcohol inks in cranberry, lettuce and gold and ink'd the edges with brown stazon ink.

The ornaments are finished off with string for hanging, glitter glue, ric rak and a jewel. They bring a little brightness to any tree. My studio tree is sure enjoying them!

GIVEAWAY: Don't forget about yesterday's giveaway (ending Dec. 7th). I would hope someone would want to take home a free ornament. I had fun making them.

I've been thinking of Christmas and all the traditions people practice. I'd like for my family to have more than we do now. We have this advent calendar, Littlest Pet Shop I think, that I bought last year after Christmas. We've been waiting all year to open it. I told dd yesterday it was the 1st and she could open the first window (she has the calendar in her room.) She told me 'nah, I'll just wait until the 24th and open them all then.' I was shocked! We've been waiting forever. Come to find out today, that she couldn't handle it and had already opened every window one day in November. She didn't take anything out, just peeked. Darn child! lol

Some of my favorite traditions:
Christmas Carols Candlelight Service at church, decorating the Christmas tree, driving around to see neighborhood Christmas lights displays, baking yummy gingerbread cookies (or my dd's gingersnap recipe.)

Do you have favorite traditions? I'd like to hear yours.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1st Day of Christmas Giveaway - Red Lead Ornaments

Quick update. The studio overhaul is almost done (it even has its own Christmas Tree!) Pictures will follow soon although they won't be real pretty since its an unfinished basement with glaringly ugly concrete floors. But you'll get the idea of where it was and where it is now.

In the midst of the organizing, my fingers can't seem to keep off the newly accessible supplies! I've created several new things I'll be sharing in the coming days.

These ornaments are made with Red Lead images. I love images of people that have legs. I know that may seem weird but I like people to be 'fully there' when I'm using them in my art. You can add wings to them, shoes if you feel like it. You know what I mean. So these Red lead angels were perfect!

For the background I used the inside of plain ole' cardboard and painted with acrrylics and alcohol inks. (I was reminded about the inks this week when visiting Tim Holtz' blog to see his 12 Tags of Christmas posts. Every time I'm on his blog I remember I have alcohol inks languishing somewhere needing to be used.

I can now find things like floral wire (already wrapped in green), plastic lightbulbs, beads and crepe paper; all that I used on this project! Oh, can't forget the glitter glue of course!

GIVEAWAY: Just for fun and since it's the first of December, my favorite month, I'm going to give away one of the ornaments to a lucky respondent. Please post with a link to an Ornament making or Christmas gift project that you particularly enjoy, just found or have made (whether your design or someone elses)! I'll give you an additional entry for posting to your blog about this giveaway (please come back and tell me so I know.) Make sure you leave your email address if your post doesn't link to your blog. Good luck! I'll close this next Monday the 7th. (check back I might be inclined to give away more things for Christmas!)

Here's a couple of my favorite projects I've found: Ornaments, Topper, Garland, Tree Skirt.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flash and Dance

Last night I had a troubling sleep. I dreamt DH was looking for a job again. He went to (for some reason in my dream) a car dealership to get hired to sell... real estate. Don't ask. Didn't make sense to me either. Must be all The Property Shop episodes I've been watching. They wined and dined him. Showed that he would get for joining their firm; his own office with all windows, products to give away such as shampoo, soap, lotion; with his face on it (I laughed at that in my dream.) I remember feeling all excited for him. When he shook hands with the new employers we hopped in the car and went home. Then the reality of what this meant hit us. He has a good (new since September) job with people he loves and who love him. He hates selling stuff, and hates dealing directly with people. We had an overwhelming feeling of dread about what he had committed to. He would have to tell his new employers that he was leaving to take another job. We realized that the flash and dance of the prospective job wasn't worth giving up the comfortable job he had just thankfully gotten in September after years at a place he hated and that drained the life out of him. I don't know what happened next because I woke up; with a migraine. The stressful dreams do that to me all the time.

Because of this dream, I started thinking of all the things I'm thankful for. The top of my list has to be Dh and his new job that makes him very happy. In September life was up in the air. DH's old work had cut his pay drastically and we were scrambling. We cut out everything that cost extra in our lives. Then the Lord dropped this opportunity in DH's lap. A less paying job but with wonderful christian people who he was already comfortable with. A company where people actually work hard and are committed to product/service excellence. Insurance that covers just about everything and we don't have to pay for it. Such a blessing.

I think as humans, we're wont to run to the latest, biggest, greatest flash and dance dangled in front of us. We have to remember what is really important and weigh that against what the new dance has in store. Just because its new, doesn't mean it will be better.

These are my lofty thoughts today. Don't know where they're leading me, I'm just thankful for where we're at, at this time in our lives. I thought I'd list my top 10 things I'm thankful for this year. I challenge you to do the same (I'd love to read your lists, so let me know if you make one.)

1. A God who loves and forgives me despite my many many faults.
2. A family who loves and forgives me despite my many many faults.
3. The opportunity to teach my children at home.
4. The wealth of friends in person and online that bolster my confidence and enrich my life daily.
5. DH's great job that still affords me to stay home with my children.
6. Working cars, working appliances, working water, electricity and non-leaking roofs.
7. A future that still seems bright and attainable.
8. A love of art that inspires me and fills me with joy.
9. The wrinkles that are just starting to appear. I earned every one of them, and don't mind.
10. The ability to start the day all over when we wake up. Clean slate, a day to try again.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, happy weekend to the rest. May you eat lots of fabulous food this week, may you not get swallowed up in the shopping abyss if you venture out on Black Friday (you couldn't shove me out there with a 10 foot pole. I'm an online Christmas shopper. My kids know its Christmas time when the Amazon and Ebay packages start arriving. :) )

Blessings to all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dreaming of Organization

Dd and I spent some time on Saturday morning redesigning the basement. On paper. Granted, its an unfinished basement and will stay that way for now but I moved my art room down there the beginning of this year. Since then, despite it being pretty organized, I find it gets so messy. Mostly because I'm trying to do so many different things in one space (and we've been dragging down all the homeschool stuff I need to sell off, and dropping it in the studio.) I don't know why I made an art room utilizing only a 1/4th of the basement. There is so much more room I could claim! Since it's a wreck right now, I haven't wanted to work in it for the last month. Now armed with a new plan, I have been down there every night doing a little organizing, moving 'walls' (old doors and shelves), going through boxes of discarded stuff from the dds' rooms and throwing neglected laundry in the washer while I'm at it.

(As the basement is now.)

I think I have a constant need to try something new. To change things. But when you see that things are not working one way, I don't see the reasoning of just leaving it that way and 'making do'. If its not the studio of my liking, why not change it. I want a wet area. A place to use that screenprinting set and Shiva Paintstiks I received for Christmas last year and have yet to use. A place to dye fabrics, get messy, etc... We have an old open shower down there that the previous owner must have used in some way. I want to take it out and buy a double stainless steel sink and have it installed. I've already started looking on Craigslist for a used restaurant one.

(The new plan. DD thought a TV and game system should be included.)

I want a sewing area. I want to see my fabrics out in the open, not on shelves in the storage area. I want to be able to pet them daily. I want a permanent place for my sewing machine with all my little bits, bobbles and bobbins lined up in a row as well as my thread racks accessible. I want to be able to lay out quilt pieces if I feel like being quilty, and have the room to do that!

I want a larger collage and painting area. I'm thinking 2 tables, one for working and the other one for projects in progress, where they can dry. I can also clean them off and have friends over to artify with me, as long as they don't mind an unfinished basement. The workbench will be where I can work standing up, work with tools (heatgun, melting wax, etc...) It's an old table that has the holes/makings for a saw, if I ever want to get more into wood play.

Finally, I want to be able to find my shipping supplies without killing myself climbing through the storage area to find them in the semi-dark. The new storage area will have all my ebay, half.com, etsy and homeschool items ready for sale, in labeled rubbermaid boxes. That way I can just grab a box when I have a minute, list the items and then put it back in storage with a note that I've already listed it.

Organization. I can dream, can't I?!

(pics to be posted when complete, local friends to be invited over for art and food soon after.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has the best Halloween with lots of candy! (pic of my girls above.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Numbers Altered Journal Pages

Perfect numbers like perfect men, are very rare. ~ Rene Descartes

I'm back in the Altered journal racket again. The ladies from Altered Gypsy are having a swap. You can see the start of my journal here (pardon the bare accessories). I received my first book to work on, a few weeks ago. Yesterday I brought a pile-o-supplies upstairs to play with while the kids worked on homeschool work. This worked out quite well. I'll have to do this again.

Barb's book theme is Numbers. Her book pages were already made of gorgeously designed paper (can't remember the company) and I just enhanced them. I used the quote above on one of the front pages. (The right side folds out to reveal the other spread.)

I'm close to thinking its done. For now. I may set it aside for a few days and then take a final look at it to see if it needs improvement. Any suggestions?

I was contacted by my local Etsy group to see if they could use my Halloween Banner Tutorial to put up on their KCEtsy blog. Of course I was happy about that! You can see it shown on their blog, and in the meantime take advantage of entering their drawing for this week's free prize from a talented Etsy artist. I love buying from other artists. I usually do a big chunk of my Christmas shopping at Etsy. I'm slowly adding to my supplies store and arts store found on Etsy as well. I'm looking forward to a wonderful Christmas season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween House

This is the final project from last year. It's a spooky Haunted Halloween house. Make one of your own! Let me know if you do, I wanna see!

This week's Halloween project was a fun one. Like I've said before, I'm not much of a Halloween decorator. So I thought, if I'm making things for Terrorific Tuesdays, I'd like items that I'll use over and over and fit my style. I don't like to have stuff around that doesn't have a purpose (DH, stop laughing. I meant stuff I make.) This is a house frame for my dd's Halloween costume picture. I'll just need to print it and slip it in the frame!

I found the cutest paper mache' house shape at Michaels (it's about 8" tall) last week. I could just see it as a haunted house! My friend Barb mailed me the adorable skeleton and my new favorite tool (the glue pen) and I put them to good use here. The circles on the sides and around the diamond paper, I glittered with the pen and a jar of shinies. The pretty purple paper (YES Rhonda, its purple, are you shocked?) is wrapping paper from Borders that you can buy in sheets. My dd frowned at me when I pulled out the white fencing. She said 'that's the fencing you won't let me use outside for my fairy houses!' Yes, I'm that mean a mother. I've been hoarding it. But just to show there were no hard feelings, she made the pumpkin for me to add to my house. I consider it the perfect touch.

What's your favorite part of Halloween?
I love carving the pumpkins, cooking the seeds and eating pumpkin candies too.