Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poetry ATC Mini Book

I created this lively and colorful mini book made with ATC sized pieces of art. It didn't start out as an 'ATC book'. I was just too lazy to cut other sized papers and have hundreds of ATC backs already cut. It's called a 'Poetry' book because the backs of each page are blank to include a person's favorite poems. This is now a sweet kit over at Altered Pages. Did you see my House ATCs made it into a kit as well?

My favorite part of the book was stitching this velvet ribbon interlaced with rock beads.

It's sort of a freeform book with no discernible edges or shapes, although it is near an ATC size.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's In Your Workstation?

I've been setting up my workstation (ie: the still ugly workbench with 40 years of dirt on it.) with things I use the most and things I want to use more. It's so nice to have everything in one place! So far it contains:

Watercolor crayons
Faber-Castell Soft Pastels
Koh-I-Noor pencils
Liquid Watercolors (concentrate)
Oil Pastels
Sketching pencils
Alcohol Inks
Fluid Acrylics
Shiva Paintstiks
Acrylics (on a spinner rack)
Heat gun
Mini Iron
Dremel tool
Jar of paint brushes
Jar of tools (ie: pliers, screwdrivers, tin snips, hammer, brayers)
Paint palettes
Cutting mat w/exacto knives & rulers
New screenprinting kit haven't used yet

EBeck was telling me how she uses her fluid acrylics with matte medium to accomplish layers of washes on her art. I just bought some of it by mistake so a jar is now on my table.

I also have this little pile of unusual texture makers: cheesecloth, sinamay, metal screening, large & small letter stencils, plastic dish scrub thingie, stencils from RetroCafeArt, string, wire in a caddy there too.

I'm all set up for a life of altering aren't I?! You'd think I'd do more than just small paper projects wouldn't you? It's the goal to work with all these items in different ways than I'm used to doing.

What's in your workstation? What do you use the most? What do you have that you need to use more often?

** I found this interesting paint carrier while finding my links. **

New art created over the weekend. Listed on Etsy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Serenity - Creative Therapy

For this week's therapy session. *wink*

Quiet. Solitude. Serenity. Those are what I crave when I’m in a bad mood. I’m not one to sulk for very long. I have to get through whatever is bugging me and in order to do that, I need calm. I need to be alone. With kids being homeschooled during the day and everyone being home in the evenings, I find I get in bad moods when I don’t have quiet time. I need it. My brain begs for it. If I have that calm I’m able to think over problems, plan what to do next and how to go about it. I need serenity.

What I Did:
I started with an old white tablecloth and cut a piece. Spritzed with Glimmer Mist (pink). Added layers of papers/stamps. Stenciled ‘S’ w/Shiva Paintstiks & rubon letters for the word (outlined all in gel pen.) Image is from AlteredPages. I sewed, strung beads and gathered the fabric strip. Used a broken piece of trim from an old bed on the top as well as a flower from a 1930’s hat and button from my great grandma. I swiped glue around the edges and sprinkled pink glitter. Sewed on flowers & beads and glittered them as well. Sewed jeweled necklace piece on the to as a hanger. I then glued the whole piece to mat board for support. It hangs in my art room wall to remind me to take time to be calm.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I've Moved...

I have to tell you what I've been up to! 2 weeks ago we took several days and lots of man hours and moved my cramped - busting at the seams art room from the small dining room...

... to the unfinished basement (after lots of cleaning/hauling out of course.) I painted a wall red, doubled the amount of space I had and went from 3 bookshelves to 9. I am a happy camper!

The previous owner had cobbled together a horribly heavy and now old and ugly workbench. It must be 40 years old! I plan to give it a wash and a bright coat of paint. I'll have to share after it's been altered. I find that I'm now standing as I do art, at the workbench. DH installed a hanging light so I can see what I'm doing.

I have so much more to do but the shelves are partially organized. I have way too many embellishments so that is a whole weekend of organizing I can foresee, but paper, mags and other stuff are almost complete. (My fabric is a whole other story and I have yet to move it down from my bedroom closet...)

The girls joined me last evening to do art in the art room. The little one made a quick painting to hang on her wall and then she was off to read. The teen is taking watercolor classes for homeschool and wanted to practice. She chose a postcard to attempt to paint. I think she did a beautiful job. Much better than anything I could ever paint with watercolors.

Seeing as this post is so long and I have the gift of gab today apparently, I'll share what I made last night, in the next post! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vintage Cupcake Toppers

I wanted to share one of my favorite finds of the last year. Vintage cake & cupcake toppers. They were part of a salesman's stock and were never used on actual cakes.

I found a huge bag of them in different themes and they looked so lonely there going unused that I had to buy them!

Most are marked from the 1960's, some have discoloration but that just adds to their charm.

I've kept my very favorites but have listed some on Etsy. They need new homes.

A lady just bought this adorable set from me. I love the little bunny heads with the faux-velvet ears!

As I clean up more of the basement boxes, I'll share other finds. I'm a sucker for a good garage/antique sale or thrift store! (To purchase any of these, just go to Etsy. If you don't have an account there and want something, holler and I can just send you a PayPal invoice.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Call You... Friend

Over the weekend I made quite a few things. I decided to put a smile on several friends faces this week. I made little 4" x 5" notebooks and used all scraps & vintage accounting papers for the inside. (images are by Altered Pages)


"Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great." -- Mark Twain

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer

"Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honouring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities."

"One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention." -- Clifton Fadiman

"It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...

This is so exciting! For those of you who participated in One World One Heart extravaganza, wasn't it so much fun?! I had this unhealthy obsession (given that my internet connection is so slow) with entering all the drawings that I could. I did not make it through them all and had to randomly pick and choose once I got down to the last 300 websites. But I plan to visit each and every one over the course of the next month. I did add at least 50 websites to the favorite blogs list in my Delicious links account. Now I have a whole list of new friends to make!

Anyway, I'm sure you're not here to hear me ramble. I'll get to the winner straight away. I had 306 posts to my giveaway of the Altered Pages gift Certificate. If you get a chance, stop by AP's website and shop around. If you talk with the owner, make sure to thank her for her generosity. I just received a envelope with new collage sheets that are so yummy, my fingers are itching to create!

I used the Random generator to pick the winner and it seems, last minute is best this time. The winner is...
#302 Kathy L said...Please enter me in your give away. And thank you for entering mine and leaving a comment. I love your blog, by the way!

I'll be contacting you for your information.

I hope everyone will please check back on my blog (or sign up to receive alerts) because I'm in the middle of a big studio overhaul and free stuff is going to be flying out of here soon! You might be the lucky recipient!

As a thank you to everyone who participated, I'm offering 25% off anything in both my etsy stores (except the custom painting); Collage Contessa and Collage Curiosities. Just convo me after you purchase and tell me you read about the discount here and I'll send you a revised purchase order through paypal. Thanks to all who visited.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentines Day, Art & Giveaways

Speaking of Valentine's Day... Okay. Actually we weren't, I just like to start a sentence that way and people go, 'Oh. We were? How did I miss that?' hehe It's on my mind. I'm sure it's on most people's minds in the US since it's coming up Saturday. I have no idea what I'm doing for Valentine's Day personally. The teen wants to be ferried around to a sleep over or some such teenage activity. I was hoping to tie her down as a babysitter. It's not like we ever do that. Let me think about the last time we did, I probably blogged it... Maybe our anniversary? In July. Of 2007. Yeah. We don't get out much. Shoot! This is becoming another ramble. Oh well. Call me Ramblina.

** If you're my DH, stop reading. **

I haven't made a card for him, I really should get on that. I'm in the middle of a serious art room overhaul. More about that in another post but Valentine's Day is coming soon. I wanna be ready!

** Okay, DH. You can start reading again. (He's a blog subscriber of mine you know, keeping tabs I'm sure. Remind me never to talk about how much I buy at the art store again. ha) **

I finished up a few house ATCs for a swap I'm in and late for.

The teen has a friend having appendicitis surgery on Thursday so she dragged out all my stamps and made a card to send.

I was visiting Trisha's blog this evening and saw that she had a whole list of blog candy links she had found. I thought I'd share a few that I liked and that you might like too. Blog candy is always yum...

Kristen's blog candy has my name written all over it. I've been wanting several of those things. Crossing my fingers to win. Ends 2/14.

Maria has yum papers & ribbons & stamps. Ends 2/21.

Jennie has a wonderful pile of giveaways! Ends 2/14.

Inka has weekly giveaways. I've even won a few!

Ally is letting you choose your favorite stamp set to win! Ends 2/28.

*U.K. Only* A great set of stamps and accessories can be had at Sarah-Janes.

Gauche Alchemy (see blinkie linkie in right column too) has a wonderful giveaway.

Amy is doing something crazy for her giveaway (at least in my book. You know how I am about ribbon...) Ends 2/11.

2Sketches4U is hosting a unique giveaway. Eye Candy for Blog Candy. Show them some eye candy in the form of your hunny and they will choose random winners. Here's my hunny.

The top one is why I married him. No, not because he likes to be electrocuted, but because he makes me laugh. The bottom one is him with our youngest dd. See those wrinkles between his eyes? I gave him those. See the squint of the eyes and the slight smirk of the lips? I love that look. He's getting ready to say something wacky to me and is pondering, 'what was she thinking?'

Have fun blog hopping!

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Secret - Creative Therapy

Whoo-doggy. I don't know why I even agreed to do an art piece about a secret. That means either admitting I have one and sharing it; or saying I don't and keeping my secrets hidden. It's a lose lose situation. I do think this Creative Therapy catalyst came at the right time for me. Isn't it wonderful/scary how that can happen? I was struggling with some issues last week. And somehow, all this came pouring out...

(This week's catalyst: 'Create art around a secret you’ve been keeping')

Fear. I don’t even like the word. If you knew my personality you wouldn’t think ‘there goes a fearful person.’ I like to be the strong one. When friends and family look at me I don’t think they see a crying sniveling fearful person balled up in a corner somewhere. But I feel that way inside sometimes. It’s my little secret, I think I keep it hidden pretty well. I usually get the better of these feelings but I don’t like having them at all. The ones that linger are the thoughts I can’t change. Things I have no control over. Maybe its a control issue. What if the plane crashes, the kids grow up to hate me, the boogie man gets me, what if I end up alone in my old age? These are things I can’t fix. I was expressing some of this fear to a
homeschool friend this week about teaching my kids. She is always good with the straight talk and positive attitude. She sent me this verse: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7. Now I don’t know about the sound mind but the rest I think I can embrace. (To read journaling, click for closeup.)

Technique Highlight:This was a lesson in layering. Paint. Papers, stamps, more paint. I swiped paint on paper and then quickly pressed it to the background to give it more texture. Circles, cut out letters, lots of scribbling with my trusty drafting pencil. It’s supposed to look a little chaotic since that is how fear makes me feel.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Handmade Stencils

Remember a while back when we did the stenciling using Lotta's book? I keep wanting to do that again. Or the screenprinting kit that I received for Christmas? Still haven't broken it out of the box other than to look at. It would be wise to have a clean art room first or I'll be slinging paint everywhere!
Last night I was reading an email from Mary. We were discussing her use of stencils in her art. I told her I've been wanting to make a peacock feather stencil. I think because someone whose blog I stalk (can't remember who, if it's YOU, let me know) had used one in their art and now I must have one of course. After our emails I started thinking. Do I draw one? Print a picture of a peacock feather and then trace it somewhere onto acetate? I had no clue. Then, I happened upon this site. Imagine that! I can use the technology AVAILABLE to me to make stencils! Adobe Photoshop or even just Word. Why didn't I think of that? So last night I was a bit busy making a few stencils, some from images we took on our trip (seagull, pelicans, etc...) and thought I'd share them.

Just save the image to your computer (they will print 8.5" x 11"), pull it up in the program you print through, as an image and print on acetate. Or print on paper, trace on acetate/transparency with a sharpie, and then cut with an exacto knife. Wouldn't it be cool to have one of those laser machines that cuts them for you via computer?! ha

To add a picture to Microsoft WORD (if that is where you're going to print from...): Open a blank document in WORD. Click the INSERT tab. Choose IMAGE, then PICTURE, then FROM FILE. Go to where you have the above images saved on your computer and choose the image you want. It should fill the blank document. If not, just stretch the image from the corner marker.

Of course you could always just go buy stencils or Tim Holtz masks from Retro Art Cafe too (I know I did!) Either way is fun!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Valentine Gift Boxes

Yes, I'm still on the valentine kick.

Over the weekend DH and I went on a sorta-date. We really need to work on our definition of a date. We didn't want to spend money on a movie and just be staring at a screen 'together'. What kind of date is that? Then we messed up the 'going to dinner' thing by snacking on leftover veggie chili while getting ready. So we didn't do dinner. We decided to go to Borders to sit and read, drink lattes, talk and be together. Sounded like a good idea right? Have you ever tried to talk to a guy who is reading something? I swear I waited about 30 seconds after every question I asked him or comment I made, for the words to register in his head. He'd look up and say 'what?' Then I'd have to start all over again! ha To be fair, at least he came in the bookstore with me. He thinks sitting in them is a waste of time. He gets bored after he's checked out the music section. But now that he has been running and marathoning, he has found several books to read while there. Where am I going with this? I don't know. I was going to tell you about these valentines I saw while out with him and that whole paragraph just poured out. ha

Anyway, in the latest Somerset Life I saw the most adorable valentines! Cut in a circle with decorative scissors, they had hearts in the middle, flowers, etc... I thought they were so cute! Also in either that mag or Somerset In Love I saw this sweetest little jewelry box that had been decorated and filled with little things; ephemera, ribbon, a small vial of glitter. Both those ideas came together in my head when I sat down to create this week.

And the thoughts produced these little valentine boxes. I took larger jewelry gift boxes (yes, DH, the frivolous purchase of that big bag of jewelry gift boxes from the garage sale up the street finally paid off! I'm using them!); painted, stamped and stained them inside and out. I added a bit of gold rub to the lids as well. I cut hearts out of vintage french book or music and attached them to the fronts with pretty Prima flowers and decorative brads. I have not filled them yet but that is next. I'm looking forward to that process. I wonder what will fit in these babies and to whom I might give them???

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Destiny Assemblage

My mother in law kindly sent us some money for Christmas and we split it between DH and I (the kids rec'd separate money.) I've been hoarding mine. This past weekend I finally spent it. I had fun shopping at Retro Cafe Art. Kristin has the nicest altered art supplies and collage sheets. Hurry over there. She was just getting ready to load the store with German scrap wings! In many colors. I picked up several packs.

My favorite purchase of the weekend is winging its way to my house as we speak. I stopped by Suzan Buckner's blog this weekend because I had seen some of her journal pages in the premier issue of Somerset Art Journal magazine. I visit her site often but just thought to check in on Saturday. It was my lucky day. She had just posted a new doll assemblage. It perfectly matched my living room (browns, aqua and cranberry) so I snapped it up! I can't wait for her to get here. She's named Destiny. (images below totally stolen from Suzan's blog.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Valentine Flare Canvas

In my mind this is sort of a valentine canvas, only probably because I'm giving it as a gift in a valentine swap. I'm not sure on the penciled circles, should I keep them or not, but they're growing on me. This 'Flare' means something different then Flair. (see definition at the bottom of the canvas.)

Size is: 6x6".
Image is from

P.S. The glittery parts are not evident in my pic. I really really need to make myself a lightbox for taking pictures. It's about time. I'm tired of cruddy pics, probably because I take all of them late at night.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Valentine Cards

I've found that loving feeling this week and have been working on little valentine things for swaps. Here's a few cards. (the door image on the 2nd card is from

THIS WEEK'S GOAL: Do you make weekly goals? I have made one for this week. I will pull out a canvas and give myself permission to waste it. I want to experiment on it. If it turns out horrible, no problem. I'm wasting it. If it turns out great, even better. I keep NOT using my new pretty canvases because I'm afraid of messing them up. So, that is my goal. (It won't be the canvas you see tomorrow. I started that one over the weekend.)

What's your goal this week?