"Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride together." Ron Wickersham

Saturday, December 14, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Swap

I'm participating again this year in my online group's annual "12 Days of Christmas" Swap. Twelve people sign up and then make 12 gifts (one per person) for the day they are assigned. We mail them out and then starting on the 13th of December we open one gift per day until Christmas. This is always a fun swap and one I look forward to every year. It's amazing the unique and diverse gifts we receive.

This year I was assigned Day 1.  Since all my gifts should be opened by now, I can reveal what I made.

These are little heart ornaments or hangings made from a base of corrugated cardboard. I lightly swiped the cardboard with modeling paste, then collaged on a piece of lace, music paper, a large snowflake and some wide gold mesh ribbon. I sewed a copy of a cute vintage image onto a piece of muslin and stamped the word believe on another piece of muslin. Once these were adhered to the hanging, I added a small ribbon flower and used pink silk ribbon for the hanger.

 They look even better all together!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December Daily - Days 5-11

First of all, this happened yesterday. Isn't he a cutie? He's seven and losing his teeth late. He had only lost two until a few weeks ago when he lost one of the top teeth. We teased him that he needed to lose one more so he could sing the Christmas song. Well, yesterday the other one came out and he was so happy!

(with little brother's accompaniment in the background)

Now that we're over the cuteness factor, here is Day 5 in my December Daily.
I used some very old paper (from Recollections!) and other bits I've been saving. I love that I can use up lots of these little pieces - I'm trying not to buy anything new for this book!

Day 6 

The background of this page is from a gift bag. The stripes are from the gusseted edges. I cut out the truck at the top from a gift tag and used washi tape at the bottom. (Not much happened this day so I just wrote on the margin about how popular the red truck is this season. I love it.)

Day 7

Again, I've used many OLD bits and pieces. The tree is an extra from a class I taught years ago; the little green pocket is left over from when I made the grand boys their advent calendar boxes a few years ago; the Christmas embellishment is really old! I did buy a pack of the poinsettia doilies this year from Dollar Tree. It makes a nice "tip in."

Day 8

Again I used some old scrapbook paper for the background and the banner. The piece didn't quite fit, so I made a ruffle from tissue paper for a border. The little pocket came in a card from a friend which held an ATCoin for a swap. It's perfect for a tag I made from scraps and used to journal on the back.
On the right is a folded page making a tuck spot for a journal card I made (I will do a future post about those).

Day 9

At the left you can see the back of the folded page. I used a border that came off a card I received and some gold washi tape. 

 Page 9 has a scalloped-edge border pocket with another handmade journal card tucked in. The little bird embellishment is a gift tag attached with a paper clip.

Day 10

This page has a bottom pocket as well as a "belly band" of a burlap ribbon. This day we met up with friends for a holiday dinner and I used a blank Christmas card for journaling, tucked into the pocket.
There's a clear tip-in "shaker" between this page and the next. I used a piece of page protector, sewed around the edges and filled with some Christmas confetti and sequins.

Day 11

I received photos from my daughters of the grand boys' letters to Santa, so I copied them and attached them inside this little striped file folder. It's held shut with a little Christmas owl clothespin. When I took this picture, I hadn't received the photos of Drew without his teeth, so I added that inside the folder later.

For those of you who think you lead a boring life and wouldn't have anything to journal about, think again. The joy is in the making of the journal as well as documenting even everyday things.  It can be as simple as "I went to the PO" or "had a haircut." Years from now it will be fun to look through these!

I'm leaving tomorrow for a weekend with a few art friends. One friend is hosting a "craft tea" on Saturday and several of us are spending a few days with her working on art projects. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

December Daily - let's begin

After a busy Thanksgiving weekend of travel and spending time with lots of family, I have been working on creating the foundation pages for my annual December Daily journal. 

I decided to switch it up a bit this year and change from a traveler's notebook style to a gutted hardcover book. I found a red book with a black spine at the dollar store to use.  I gathered different pieces of Christmas scrapbook paper and white mixed-media paper, folded them and sewed three signatures into the book spine using an easy three-hole pamphlet stitch. Here's the cover - I plan on keeping the red and black and will lightly decorate it when I'm finished so it won't get ruined.

This is the inside front cover. I  used scrapbook paper, acrylic words I bought last year at Tuesday Morning and some alpha stickers.

On the right is the first page. I used very old scrapbook paper for the background, a red doily and a tag pocket that I think I received in a swap a few years ago.

I made a slanted pocket on the left page using scrapbook papers (I'm trying to use up lots of old stash). I added a few handmade tags to the pocket, one listing my goals for December.

The right page is for the first day of December. I used a journaling card attached on the left with a washi tape hinge to document our Thanksgiving weekend, even though that was at the end of Nov.

These are the two tags I made for the pocket. The one on the left is an old receipt with washi tape across the top with a fabric flower and part of a napkin collaged on the bottom. The goals tag is cut from a piece of scrapbook paper that already had the lines and the design. I used alpha stickers for the title.

For Day 2 I made a side pocket on the left with two tags and a postcard I used for journaling. Between the pages is a poinsettia napkin.

On Day 3 not much was going on so I typed out an old German legend about the Christmas tree.  The tree embellishment at the bottom is 3D and was from a swap awhile ago. (I love being able to use old bits and pieces in this journal!) The number is on a little tag that dangles from the flower at the top of the tree.

Here's Day 4. It was my son-in-law's birthday so I used a journal card flip and underneath added photos of his little family celebration.  The horizontal strip is actually printed twill ribbon I found last year.

I'll be back with more in a few days!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

November swaps

The theme for the November altered trading coins swap was "Christmas." I made these two coins to send off.

And I received these.

I also hosted an "Old is New Again Technique Tag" swap. The theme for this was to use a Tim Holtz Christmas Tag from any year as inspiration.  Mine was inspired by his tag #3 from 2007. I haven't received one back yet.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and/or friends. We are traveling to Kansas City to be with my sister-ini-law and her husband. Two of our daughters, their husbands, and the four grand boys will be there too.

May your turkey be tender, juicy and delicious! (My husband smoked a turkey last weekend for our own early holiday meal.)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

More retreat projects

This project was created on a large 12"x16" canvas board using Dyan Reaveley stamps for the outfits and borders, a brick stencil and paint for the background, and copies of photos of each of our heads. I used colored pencils and Zig markers for the coloring. This was fun and a great memento of our week.

We used two different-sized embroidery hoops to create this wall hanging in pinks and greens. The hoops were painted and covered with painted lace and canvas, then embellished with lots of flowers. This photo doesn't show the real-life colors and dimension of this pretty project.

And here is one other book we made. This is a Traveler's Notebook made with the Eileen Hull TN die from Sizzix.  The cover was cut from Spellbinder's chipboard and is very sturdy. The papers used are from Stamperia - gorgeous and vintage.  There are many pockets and tags on the three folders making up the signatures of the book. I love this size of book.


Inside front cover and cover of first folder

Inside front cover of first folder (this folder has dotted-grid paper for journaling)

Inside back cover of first folder

Cover of second folder

Inside of second pocket folder

Back of pocket folder and front cover of third folder

Inside front cover of third folder (this folder contains plain paper for journaling)

Back cover of third folder and inside back cover of notebook

This notebook will be fun to fill with notes or sketches and the folders can be removed or replaced.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Back from annual retreat

Every year I attend a week-long retreat with 9 other artsy friends. This year we rented a large house in Blanco in the hill country of Texas. The attendees were from Washington state, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. Five of us presented day-long art projects and the remaining four brought kits for creating five or more cards. WE had a fantastic time, as always, and it certainly sparked my creative mojo!

This was my project - a Christmas-themed "shadowbox" using a six-cup muffin pan. I used a dark green paint for the first coat, then crackle and a top coat of ivory paint.  The openings have different backgrounds of Christmas papers along with various embellishments.

Another project was this great book project. We first created the book foundation using black cardstock and the "Stack the Deck" hinge system (Laura Denison). The kit included lots of these pretty papers, Tim Holtz "paper dolls", die cuts, metal embellishments, ribbons and stickers.  We all added many of our own embellishments as well. I love the vintage feel of this little book!


First two pages

Pages 3 and 4

Pages 5 and 6

Pages 7 and 8

Pages 9 and 10

Pages 11 and 12

Pages 13 and 14

Pages 15 and 16

Page 17 and back inside cover

I will share more of our projects in my next post.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Finally, an update

It's been a crazy month! As I wrote in my last post, I started a huge purge of my craft room and guest room (which holds the overflow). I've taken several boxes of supplies to Scrap Denton (which is like a craft thrift shop in nearby Denton, TX) and several boxes to Goodwill. I have two boxes of needlework books and two huge boxes of needlework supplies that I will donate to a local embroidery guild once my contact and I can schedule a time to meet.

All of this work keeps getting interrupted by "life." I just returned from ten days' of babysitting with my two Albuquerque grand boys. Their parents went to Spain for a week and while they were away, the demo and remodel of their home commenced. Luckily, my daughter rented a house for the boys and me for part of the time so we could escape the noise, dust and lack of kitchen!  It was a busy week filled with soccer games, practices, school activities, a second grade field trip to the pumpkin patch that I volunteered on, birthday party, music lessons, book fair and a neighborhood party. I had forgotten how busy life is with children! Enjoying the quiet of home now!

And in a few days we will go down to Austin to be with our other two grand boys for Halloween and then bring the four-year old home with us for several days as a special trip since his brother and Mom are leaving for Hong Kong on Friday. So I don't expect much crafting to get done in the near future.

I did, however, do a project for my grandson when I was in Albuquerque. I had found the supplies to make little felt mice for Christmas while cleaning out my rooms (I had made these for my kids to take to school parties years ago) and had just enough to make 22 for the 7-year old's Christmas party. They just need the candy canes inserted for the tails as shown in the one mouse in the foreground.

While I was there I also finished their Halloween costumes since they wanted to wear them to the school Halloween carnival before their parents returned.  Grant is Flash - I glued the white felt circle and yellow felt lightning bolts to his red sweat suit.  He already had the mask.

Drew wanted to go as a football player, specifically Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. We had given him the shirt for his birthday this summer and his parents added gold duct tape to black pants. They also started his helmet by cutting and painting a pumpkin. I painted on two fleur de lys and added the gold duct tape face guard. I also made a foam "vest" and shoulder pads for under his shirt. He loved it, especially the black makeup under his eyes.

So that's about all I've been doing creatively for awhile!