Thursday, January 29, 2009

House ATCs

I made these for a swap at Altered Gypsy. I can't wait to see what I receive in return! They will also be a kit you can make yourself from Altered Pages. Check here soon for when they're available.

Altered Pages Collage Sheets used:
AP-449 Mini Images Collage
AP-444 Mini Images
AP-890 Awesome Archways
AP-1546 This Old House
AP-1616 Adorable
AP-1055 Je T'aime
AP-544 Gene Pressler

Monday, January 26, 2009

One World One Heart Giveaway



Ohhh, you're in for a treat! Since we were out of town the weekend that One World One Heart started I didn't have a chance to get anything posted/put together for the start. Then, I figured I was behind and late so I wouldn't play along this year. However, today Jackie from AlteredPages contacted me. Trisha had suggested that AlteredPages put forth a gift certificate for the One World One Heart giveaway month and thought it could be done from my blog. Jackie thought that was a great idea! I'm so excited! I have the distinct honor of giving away a substantial prize! Yay!

Have you ever used Altered Pages' collage sheets? I am blessed to be on the design team but believe me, if that were not so, I would be buying sheets from her anyway. They're so diverse and I'm partial to pics of women and she has so many!

To win this item, make sure to leave a note on THIS POST ONLY to be eligible. This post will be open to sign ups through 11:59 PM February 11th, Central Standard Time (Midwest time.) Please be sure you leave a way for me to contact you (either through your blog or an email address.)

** To see any of my artwork using the collage sheets, just use the upper left search button and type in 'altered pages'. **

You are in no way obligated to do this, but if interested in keeping up with art that is made & posted on my blog (especially with AlteredPages collage sheets which I use almost exclusively), please feel free to enter your email in the box to the right.

THANKS FOR VISITING! I'm happy to meet you all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Balaboosta & Favorite Poem

Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well. (This is an impossible-goal-to-achieve word!)

I've had a week. A good week. We got back from vacation last Friday and this week was busy. We restarted homeschooling after a long break, we began a new way of eating healthy (no more 'diets' to follow, just healthy foods.) I found the Balaboosta website while looking up recipes today to marinate the Pork Loin. Yes, I was cooking. Let me tell you what happens when you start eating right. You feel better. You feel more awake, less lazy/tired. You feel like you can handle more. At least I have.

This week I cooked almost every night (made other meals too), was more involved with the homeschooling, caught up on some reading, creating art, cleaning & dishes too. I'm involved more. My family may not have noticed, but I did. I noticed a different feeling while cooking, cleaning and during just basic living. I'm happy. Usually I'm so stubborn about not wanting to have to do everything for everyone that I slack off because you know its just going to get messed up after I clean up something right? KWIM?

I think I'm getting the point of my whole 'Live Consciously' challenge for this year. I want to be a better wife, mom, teacher, etc... It's important. There is a certain joy and self satisfaction in putting others first sometimes. I didn't realize how much I had slipped into a me-me or don't-think-about-it phase. This is the year to change some things. How I take care of my family, how I take care of me (hence the new eating.)

I've been tired of us all eating different foods/meals. We had a vegetarian, a lo-fatter, a sometimes lo-carber (that's me) and a self-proclaimed carbetarian (the little one. ha) We never ate the same thing, at the same time, in the same room. I'm planning to change that. The teen and I sat down and planned 1 month of healthy meals that everyone can eat a part of. DH and I are both just eating healthy instead of focusing on some fad diet. The little one is eating more veggies now too.

I'm back to creating things as I said. One of my favorites is for this week's Creative Therapy Catalyst. The prompt should be up today. Go participate! It's a great way to get inspired.

Creative Therapy: 'What is your favorite poem? Why?'

I love the '
How Do I Love Thee?' poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I'm not completely sure why. I remember in Jr. High taking a calligraphy class. We had to choose something to write and I chose this poem. It's so beautiful, rolls off the tongue. As you read the words you can see her clutching his letters in her hands, writing with a feather pen and inkwell, telling him how much he means to her. You can feel her love for him, it's complete, it's whole, it's unconditional. I like to think it represents my love for my husband and my daughters. I don't think I could have expressed my love for them any better than Mrs. Browning did.

Techniques: Nothing real special here. All I can say is scraps, scraps, scraps! I keep several bags & a stuffed drawer of scraps and just start pulling pieces out and slowly a combination of colors seem to start going together. Even the stamped pieces were scraps I had saved. I recommend keeping everything, much to my DH's dismay.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Family Funnies

Funny conversations of the day:

(dd) "Oh goodie! The new phone book came! Now I can look through and find the places I wanna know about! We can recycle the old one right?" (we're studying recycling in homeschool. Note the white tabbed section in the phone book already. It marks Pizza Hut.)

(Him) "Sweetie. Look at this. Wouldn't it make a cool belt buckle and I could just wear it around the house and listen to my music all day."
(Me) "I thought that was what headphones were for. Do you want me to make you a belt for it to go on?"
(Him) "Could you?" (He is wearing his 'cleaning' shirt, long ago used for painting something.)

Yes, this is my wonderful life.

No Excuses - Portals Zine

Recently I was asked to be a part of the 6th issue of Portals Zine. Just the covers of the previous magazines make me drool so it was an honor to even be asked. The issue came out in December (you can purchase it here) and the following journal page of mine was included.

If anyone has a copy and wants to share a picture of the page mine is on, I would love it as I haven't been able to purchase a copy just yet.

By the way, Portals Zine is currently searching for new artwork for their upcoming issue. I think the due date is February 15th and the topic is HOME. See all the info here.

P.S. Not sure if you like giveaways as much as I do but I've found the following today:
MomFuse is giving away a pile of gifts (DVD, lotion care products, kissing cookbook.) Can't go wrong there! Today's the last day for giveaway #2. They are having 14 days of giveaways!
Trisha has joined up with the One World One Heart giveaway project and has several yummy items up for grabs. Just keep your mitts off her book thongs. I want one!

EDITED: Heather, of Portals Zine sent me a copy of the actual page.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Florida, We've Left. Reality Here We Be.

Ahhh, vacation. The easy life of doing nothing if you feel like it or shoving everything you can into a week as we did. Your choice! Sometimes though, a full vacation can lead to you needing a vacation from your vacation when you get back to reality! That's where I'm at. I took the weekend and caught up on my sleep, laying around and TV show watching. Basically being a slug, which we did not do on vacation.

Today I made a bookmark. The Altered Gypsies have decided to return to the Jane Austen Book Club once again. We have just cracked the pages of Pride & Prejudice. You're welcome to play along! Just make a Jane Austen bookmark and read the book. (Let me know if you make a bookmark, I wanna see!)

We're commenting while we read, at the forum boards. There's only a few of us reading it but anytime you can get someone to read a classic, its a grand thing. If you have not read it, I recommend doing so. And then you can reward yourself by watching the movie of the same name with Colin Firth in it (you can't go wrong there!) although my teenager is partial to the version with Keira Knightley. I like both!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Florida, We Have Arrived!

We made it! I lived through another plane ride. I hate them but these were the smoothest ever! With a little music, Sims on the computer and some obsessive velcro opening & closing, I made it (while the guy across from me stared at me with curiosity. Maybe he thought I was going to start rocking and moaning? lol)

So far we're having the best time on our trip. I was able to visit with my friend Janet and do art for hours on Saturday. We worked on doing layering backgrounds. I don't know why she wanted me to teach her, she is just fine at it. We ended up making 2 canvases for her bathroom, in a sea theme. Mine is the first, hers is the second one. Aren't they lovely?

We went to Ikea Saturday night. Had dinner, did some shopping. I bought a pile of fabric for projects and art. The girls picked up the cutest bedcovers (duvets?) for their rooms. Oh, and since I couldn't cart a gorgeous set of mushroom glasses back on the plane for fear of breaking them, I opted for a set of napkins. I can't wait to use them in art soon.

All of Sunday was filled with the DisneyWorld Marathon (DH ran it, and dad ran half of it. Great job!), naps, playing around and then out to dinner at Red Lobster. As I type this (Sunday night) everyone is in slumberland, preparing themselves for tomorrow's trip to St. Pete Beach. Can't wait!

Marathon pics:
(1 - the waiting is hard, 2 - here he comes! (closeup), 3 - metal, 4 - dad's kiss, 5 - group pic)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Everyday Art

Because of my goal to Live Consciously and another goal to be Creative Every day (as I can); and because I visited EBeck's blog which threw me over to Margaret's blog... I made this:

It's an art log. To keep track of the days I do actual art (no, not when I doodle on the bills while I pay them, but for real painting/collaging/drawing art.) My chart is not as pretty as Margaret's filled ones but it will do for now. Thanks for the inspiration ladies! I'm shooting for a goal of 1/2 filled. Is that too ambitious? I figure if you can dream it, plan it, want it enough; it can come true.

P.S. Now, I know you all will be saying your nighty prayers before you tuck yourself in to bed tonight. Send a prayer up for me and the fam. We're flying out uber early in the morning and i'm not looking forward to it. I'll keep in touch and try to blog while down there. If you have a favorite Orlando place to visit, restaurant to eat at or activity to do, please share as we're still thinking on all we want to do.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sweet Husband Alert & Swaps

My DH did the sweetest thing yesterday. I hate to fly. Utterly abhor it. Can't sit still in my seat (I usually lean forward and read my book outloud under my breath), my whole family refuses to sit by me on the plane. No seriously. No one wants to although I make DH sit with me so I don't faint or die. Anyway, he knows this. Last nght DD and I went out to buy another suitcase since I had purged all ours that were broken or stained or what-have-you. We are down to 1 and that won't work. We picked up a combo set at a thrift store for $5! Steal! Anyway... I digress. I came home to this taped to my monitor.

(Click to see closeup.) He is trying to assure me that there is no bad weather between here and Florida. I thought it was such a sweet thing of him to do. Made me so happy. I may need to save that and put it on the front page of my travel journal if I manage to make one this trip.

I'm trying to look forward to our trip and I'm sure I'll be fine once I'm on the ground and in a car. We're heading to Disneyworld once again. DH is going to run the marathon through all 4 parks. We're so proud of him, it will be his first. We're praying very hard because he injured his hip 2 months ago and hasn't been able to train as much as he would like. I'm sure he is going to succeed with flying colors though.

While we're down there, family is coming with us and we're sharing a house that we rented last time we went there. Wonderful house. If you ever need a place to stay, rent it. Can't go wrong. We're spending the week, going to the beach, Disneyworld, Kennedy Space Center (am I the only one who keeps calling this Cape Canaveral?), Universal Studios and of course we're hitting up the IKEA. Can't leave town without stopping there!

I'm very excited to once again see my friend Janet. I'll also be meeting up with another friend I've never met in person, Lily. We're hopefully going to all get together and do art, work on backgrounds and have lunch. I can't wait!

Okay, onto a little art. I'm bringing several things with me to work on in my downtime in the house. At AlteredGypsy, we're doing a Row House swap (ATC size. Inspired by a previous swap at Oxford Impressions, examples here). Can't wait to get started on those! Also today I found out about a Party Dress Garland Swap. I printed out the template and put together a pile of papers to take with me to play with them. You should join the swap too!

(Click on the dress badge below.) So fun.

In visiting another friend's blog, I found that she is thinking about doing a Crown swap! A crown swap! You know how much I love crowns! I am a Contessa after all (even if its only in my own mind. lol) If you want to play along, just let her know.

Finally, if you're looking for more swapping fun and you own Oxford Impressions products (stamps, collage sheets), they are doing a Valentines ATC Swap. I don't own any products as of yet. I might try to buy some soon though. I love everything they make. Especially their new Fairy Sweets stamps. And the Birds Nest, and April In Paris and the... well. You get the idea. I can see where the money I received as a Christmas gift is going to go soon! lol

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Weighty Thoughts & Valentines

Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I get weight weighing heavy on my mind, Oprah makes a whole show about it! Mind you, I don't watch Oprah all the time but she's been leading up to this new 'Best Life' week for weeks. I had to watch to see what she was talking about. The program yesterday with Bob Greene really had me thinking about weight issues and why I really fail at losing it. It's not about the food at all, but then I guess we knew that didn't we? Just haven't wanted to figure out why I eat what I eat when I eat it, and what I'm really looking for instead. Boy! Deep blogging today huh! lol Anyway, after doing the catalyst for Creative Therapy yesterday, it's been on my mind. I don't like to make resolutions really but I can see I'm thinking about some changes I want to make this year. Just for me.

I think we get caught up in whatever else we should be doing (in my case; mothering, wife-ing, teaching homeschool, sometimes chores) that we forget to take care of US. I know, I do art when I can but I'm not much of a girlie girl so I let the other things slide like haircuts, painting my nails, coloring my hair, buying new clothes, exercising/eating right, using lotion so my skin is soft. Stuff like that. Things that make me feel better but feel like a hassle until I do them. I need to learn to take care of ME this year. I tell my husband he is so lucky. I am so lo-maintenance compared to some other women. I hardly wear makeup, cut my hair every 2 years, dye it every 6 months. I just bought a pile of clothes after probably 3 years of the same old clothes. I only wear one pair of shoes until they die and I don't wear much jewelry. He is so lucky. I could be so much MORE expensive, I say. lol He says I make up for it in art supplies but even then, I don't buy anything very often.

Wow, my own personal diary today is what this blog is. Okay, on to a little art. In between moments of coughing and planning for our Florida trip Friday (more on that later), I had some time to make a canvas for an upcoming Valentine swap. Also made a pretty valentine card. I just love crepe paper! What do you think? I think I want to make a few more since I'm in 2 swaps.

6x6" canvas: (Rhonda, I finally used my Stampin Up stamps, are you proud?!), fabric letters, AlteredPages image of lady, watercolor bkground w/writing in Koh-i-noor pencils. Hand stitches, lots of glitter glue of course.

Valentine Card: French script stamp from Stampin Up. Pink crepe (I folded it so one side was shorter than the other side and then ruffle glued it to the heart.) Heart made of collaged papers. Image by AlteredPages.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dream Big - Creative Therapy

This was a harder one for me. Be sure to drop by Creative Therapy for everyone's Big Dream posts. Always inspiring!

About the piece:
I'm sure losing weight has been on everyone's New Years Resolutions list at one time or another. I don't tend to put it on mine anymore because I just don't stick with it. But I was reflecting on this last year. I went from diet to diet, only lasting a couple weeks depending on when the next sweets showed up and I broke my diet. I realize I'm floundering. What do I really want? For over 22 years I've struggled consciously with my weight. We even have trouble having children and the only way we were blessed with 2 was when I had stuck to losing some weight. So when I thought about this week's catalyst my dream would be lose a large amount of weight. I'm happy where I'm at. But I know within the last 20 years I've lost that confident, self assured persona I used to have. I don't put myself out there into the world as much and I want that freedom back. I feel trapped. I don't want to be trapped anymore. I'm sure there is some psychological mumbo jumbo to explain why I let myself fail at every diet I've ever tried. I don't want to do that anymore. That is the big dream I want to achieve. I want ME back.

Techniques: Watercolor paper with alcohol inks (red/gold) swiped in random areas (the background is a bit chaotic, kind of like I feel.) White colored pencil circles and drawing. Use painted paper to cut out a house shape (leftover from a kids class Trisha taught.) Images by Vintage fabric flower from a hat. Gutter guard used for gate. Hand stitches around the house and on the fence. Oil pastels used to write 'dream', pen and rubons used for numbers and the rest of the words. Inked the edges. Painted the edges of a canvas and attached the watercolor.

Don't you just love sneak peeks? I have a little one for you of some projects I'm working on. Can you guess what they might become?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Week of Thoughts

Random thoughts rolling around in my wide open head...

1. Why does my dog lay around looking like a rotisserie chicken with her legs all stuck out?

2. Is it bad to want Lime Sherbet for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

3. I wanna take the fam to France, Italy & possibly Spain, maybe in April 2010. I wonder how long it would take to save $10,000?

4. Why does the manufacturer make the kid's sewing machine harder to use than an adults? Are they trying to torture us further?

5. I don't think I wore a bra all week. It pays to be sick. Pajamas all day, baby!

6. If I surround myself with art supplies and keep messy art desks but never do any art, am I still considered an artist?

7. I wonder how long I can get away with leaving the Christmas tree up? It makes a great nightlight.

8. Why do I have a jar of googlie eyes on my desk? When was the last time I used those? Have I ever?

9. Am I too old to put colored stripes in my hair? I bought pink for the teen and blue for me.

10. Why do we own clothing for the dog? Are we insane?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My New Toys

I was very blessed this year in the Christmas gift department. A whole mess of new art supplies came my way!

Santa brought me some coveted Moleskines (plain & a watercolour one). I'm afraid to touch them, let alone work in them. Help! lol

My DH bought this much coveted kit. I can't wait to play!
Speedball Screen Printing Kit
Cheap/Easy Screen Printing
Screenprinting with Paper Stencils
Screenprinting w/a Thermofax Machine
Make Your Own Screenprinting Kit

Ohhh, I've been dying to try these! I have so much fabric that wants to be painted!
Shiva Paintstiks
Shiva Paintstiks Tuturial
Shiva Tutorial PDF file
Beautiful Project
More Projects
How To You Tube Video

Faber-Castel Soft Pastels (from Barb)
These have that wonderful chalky creamy feel that makes you wish to see your fingers covered in many different shades. Smear, draw, coloring to my heart's desire!

I've wanted one of these for so long. I have visions of painting everything in sight with drippy wax; cover of a book, canvas, a vintage inspired sculpture?

Ranger Melting Pot (also from Barb)

I also bought myself a set of Koh-I-Noor Colored Pencils, blending stumps and Mineral Spirits to use with them. They're so yum!

Remember all the canvases I bought this fall? My fingers are itching to get creating! Got-To-Get-My-Art-Room-Cleaned so I can play before we leave for vacation next week. Maybe I should take a Moleskine with me? Am I brave enough?

What did Santa bring you?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Creative Everyday

In keeping with my goal to live more consciously, I looked around me to see what was needed. Unfortunately it was cleaning. Doesn't that just suck? I think God is poking his finger in my back and saying 'look alive!' Ugh. I hate cleaning. Okay, I don't mind it once I get going but its the starting and all the thinking of how it will be a mess again within a day, that really deters me.

So I worked on some things yesterday, resting in between since the cough-monster still has ahold of me. The bathroom now sparkles (well, it has a dull sheen, lets say that), and the art room is started. 2 things happened while cleaning my art room. I found all these packages for people who won my birthday giveaways. So if you never received a package from me, I'm a dweeb. I know I sent a ton out but I have about 7 here. I'll get them out before we go on vacation next week. The 2nd thing that happened during my cleaning, I made new art. I had a project due for Creative Therapy but I've had no gumption or creative fairy dust to help me. I decided to start with stuff found on my desk (and believe me, there is ALOT on my desk. lol) I'm starting to like what I made so be on the lookout for it on Monday's post. Here's a sneak peek...

Today while checking out some blogs, I found that several people are a part of the Creative Everyday 2009 challenge. I'm thinking I'll at least put the badge up on my blog to remind me to be creative everyday. I think she is even going to have monthly themes if people choose to follow them. I think its good to be creative everyday whether its in art, words, cooking, decorating or what have you. How are you creative today?

P.S. I was thinking today that its about time for another round of studio organizing tips. Last year's tips were so popular and while I followed every one, I still have some problems. I need new/more solutions. If you have any to share, let me know. So stay tuned...