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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Christmas in April?

A few friends and I got together today to make art. One of the gals brought all the makings for these spun cotton ornaments.  These ornaments were very prevalent in Victorian times, but few have survived as they were given to children to play with. They were made with spun cotton or cotton batting and paper "scraps" (faces) which were popular at that time.

These are the two I made.

We found a 2002 video from Martha Stewart with simple instructions, so we set to work making paper patterns until we got them sized correctly. The body is heavy chipboard and the arms and legs are pipe cleaners covered with strips of black flannel, glued to the body. We sprayed the natural cotton batting with walnut ink to make it look aged and distressed, then wrapped the coat around the chipboard, little rectangles around the arms, and added a cape and a hood.  We found some antique Santa faces online and resized them to fit.  I used a thick baker's twine for the belt on one Santa and glued a tiny tree to his hand. The other has a tinsel belt.  I wiped a light coating of glue on the hood and top of the cape and sprinkled with Distress Glitter to simulate snow.  (These guys are about 5" tall.)

I still need to thread a cord through the top of the hoods for hangers.  So, are we really late for this past Christmas or very early for next Christmas?  It was actually very relaxing to work on a Christmas project "out of season" without the usual stress!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Using my very sophisticated drawing system, I put the names of everyone who commented on my blog this past week in a bowl.

And drew Goldie's name! Congratulations Goldie, you have won the Tim Holtz messenger bag!

Please leave your e-mail or address on this post and I will get the bag to you asap.

Thank you all for visiting and taking the time to leave comments. As always, they are very much appreciated and let me know that at least a few people are reading my posts!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Lovely Day at the Zoo

No art to share today as we've been babysitting our oldest grandson, Carl (age 2) for a few days. Today was a beautiful, low-humidity day in Texas so we decided to take him to the Ft. Worth Zoo.  Of course, today was also the day that most Ft. Worth schools were taking field trips so it was really a "zoo!"  I'm not sure what Carl enjoyed more - looking at the animals or watching the kids!

Taking a break for a little snack

The white tiger was worked up with all the kids in the window, yelling and screaming. Carl and I are at the very end. The tiger paced back and forth and his face was only inches away from Carl. He loved it! I think that's the closest I've ever gotten to one too.

The zoo has these huge metal bug sculptures situated around the grounds.  This one was a big ugly beetle that moves and Carl, who usually loves bugs, was pretty scared, but fascinated too. He was trying to get behind me for protection.

This was minutes after getting in the car. He was pooped! He walked the whole time and was such a trooper. Love this little man!

Last day to comment for a chance to win the giveaway! I'll be picking a winner and posting tomorrow!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Sweet Moments" Layout

"Sweet Moments"

I forgot to post this layout when I created it a few weeks ago. It is currently being taught at the LBH.
I used the Maggie Holmes "Styleboard" sweet paper collection with her fun dies (camera and bow).  I also used some cork paper (the dark "flags") and beautiful gold metallic stripe wash tape.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Ultimate in Recycling

I thought I'd share this link in honor of Earth Day (which was last week and I totally forgot).  This is a team of 6 Syrian artists who collaborated on creating this huge mural made excessively from scraps salvaged from the war-torn streets of Damascus.  

Click this link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/these-artists-in-war-ravaged-damascus-have-broken-a-guinness  to check out the whole story and to see more photos of this fantastic mural! (And I thought I was a recycler!)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mixed Media Mania Altered Triptych

This is the fun project I will be teaching on May 6 for the next Mixed Media Mania class at the LBH. The triptych is a custom 2-pc wood arch with two side panels that students will create from book board. Then the fun will begin with texturizing and coloring the surface with some great new paints and products from Art Anthology, Faber Castell, Viva Decor and Ranger.

This was designed as a frame suitable for a Mother's Day gift, but could be used for many different occasions. I used a photo of my mother as a young married woman in the center and a quote for mothers, but more photos could also be added on the side panels.

Here are some closeups showing more of the texture and color.

Only a few more days to leave comments for a chance to win the "1000" posts giveaway. I will be drawing a name on April 29! If you missed the post, check it out here.  Good luck!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Card Class Next Week

Just a reminder for locals, my "Cards for Dads/Grads" class is next Tuesday, two sessions available at 10am-1pm or 6-9pm.  The samples are for Father's Day, birthday or congratulations cards, but with just a different sentiment, these cards can be used for just about any occasion.  Each card showcases some unique folds. They all fit in a regular A2 envelope too, so no extra costs for mailing!

The card-in-a-box folds flat and then pops up. With a few adjustments of icon and paper choices, this could be used for Mother's Day, birthday, graduation, new baby, thank you - anything!

The gatefold card opens a second time to reveal a secret compartment with even more stamped wishes!  

Call or stop by the LBH (817-431-7930) to sign up before it's too late! Hope to see you in class!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Art Journaling with Gelatos and Fabrics

Here's another art journal page I worked on recently. This was for a sample for the April Art Journaling class last week in which we explored more techniques using gelatos and incorporating fabrics in different ways.  For this page I glued overlapping torn muslin strips with gel medium to the background to form the dress skirt. I also added a small strip of burlap for the waistband. Once everything was dry, I used gelatos on the dress as well as the entire page.  The title was created from some really old alpha stickers and washi tape forms the border to frame the page.

Here you can see a closeup of the great texture from the two fabrics. 

I used one of my favorite gelato techniques on the background. Gelatos in one or more colors are applied to the surface; then you lay down a stencil (here I used a harlequin pattern) and wipe through the stencil with a baby wipe to remove the color from those areas. This looks best when done randomly and adds visual texture.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New "Loved" Layouts

My two new layouts for the LBH are now available, either as kits or buffet classes.  These were created with Mom and Dad in mind - one with a feminine twist and the other more masculine - but they could be used for any women or men in your life.

For her:

For him:

Stop by the LBH or call (817-431-7930) to reserve yours.

Don't forget my giveaway - keep commenting for a chance to win the Tim Holtz messenger bag!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ink Swatches/Organization

I've recently changed my system for keeping track of my inks. Jennifer McGuire is a genius at organization and she posted this system on her blog here. It uses plastic coin holder sheets and 2"x2" swatch squares. Jennifer has even generously created and shared downloads for many ink companies so you don't have to start from scratch and make your own!

I've completed the swatches for all my Distress inks (I have them all). I like her suggestion for making three samples on the swatches for these inks, because most of us don't stamp often with them and it's great to have a sample of an inked edge as well as a sample of using the ink with a water brush for watercoloring.

This was my previous system for my ink swatches. You can see it was getting unwieldy (yes, I have lots of inks!) As Jennifer said, it's nice to have the colors side by side on the same page for comparison. You can add these pages to a three-ring binder or just clip them loose on a ring as I have done.

So far I love this system and am working (slowly) on getting all my other inks updated. As I do this, I think I will also purge some of the older and drier pads.

Do check out Jennifer's post. She has links for the coin holders, the small solid stamp she used for the swatches and the downloads. And, while you're there, check out all her other organizational ideas!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings

Happy Easter to everyone. I hope you all had a blessed and wonderful day with your families!

Here's my Rolodex card for the day, very simple and "cutesy."

You can't see the tiny black eyes here. The bunnies are cut from brown card stock with the Tim Holtz mover and shaper bunny die and then coated with Glossy Accents to look like dark chocolate.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Do you love Washi Tape?

If you love Washi tape (and who doesn't) as much as I do, you will love this blog/store that I found. Check out the Omiyage blog here. She has just listed a ton of new tapes, some of which are below. And these are just the new ones! Scroll down to the bottom of her post to find the link to her store where you will find lots more.  Isn't this just springtime yumminess?

And don't forget to comment for a chance to win the Tim Holtz messenger bag!

Friday, April 18, 2014

1001 Posts and a Giveaway!

I just realized that yesterday's post was post #1001! How can that be? It seems like yesterday that I started this blog, mainly as an "art diary" for myself to keep track of projects I'd made and to share them with my family and a few friends. I had no idea I would keep at it or have enough to say in 1000 posts! Or that I would have almost 150 followers! Who would have thought...

I want to thank everyone who follows this blog and those who occasionally read it but don't follow me! It's knowing that you are there and hearing your comments occasionally that keeps me going! I love your feedback. 

As a real thank you, I am going to do a giveaway. I have this great Tim Holtz messenger bag that was a Ranger exclusive at CHA 2013. I've been saving it for something special and that time is now. 

To be entered to win, please follow my blog if you are not already a follower and leave a comment on this post (or any post in the next ten days). Let me know what you like about the blog or what you would like to see more of. On April 29 I will put all the names into a "hat" (I'm not techie enough to know how to do that computerized selection!) and draw a winner!

Thanks again and here's to another 1000 posts!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gelli Printing

The new Gelli Plate is very popular in the art community right now. What is it? Artists have been mono printing forever with gelatin plates that they make by hand. Yes, they are made with gelatin (the uncolored, unflavored kind, not Jello!). In a nutshell, paint or ink is spread over the plate and then designs are added by using all kinds of texture tools and stencils. Then paper is placed over the plate and rubbed to "pull" a print. Unfortunately, the gelatin melts after awhile and needs to be refrigerated. It also only lasts a short while and another has to be made.

The Gelli Plate is revolutionary. It is made from a unique plastic that simulates gelatin but does not have to be refrigerated and does not disintegrate with time. With care, it lasts forever. So now, it takes just minutes to set up your materials and start pulling prints.  A word of warning - it's highly addictive!

I bought mine sometime before Christmas but have only had time to play with it a few times since then. Since I had a "free" weekend, I decided to pull it out and do a marathon printing session. What fun it was! Paints and colors everywhere. Papers in different stages of drying littering the tables, floor and any possible horizontal surface! Did I say it was addictive? It's also a fast way to use up a ream of paper! I printed on book pages, copy paper, card stock, deli paper and even the white backs of old, thin scrapbook papers.  Here is the result of my fun playtime (for reference, this is a 6-foot table).

Love, love, love it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Card Keepers Workshop at LBH

I'll be teaching the April Card Keepers Specialty Workshop at LBH on April 29 (10am-1pm or 6-9pm).  You will be create three fun cards for the men in your life while learning some unique, fun folding techniques.   These cards are so versatile - they can be used for birthdays, Father's Day, graduation/congratulations, thinking of you or just because! Best of all, they fit in a regular A2 envelope for easy mailing.

Here are some closer views:
Folded button-down shirt card


collapsed for mailing

Secret compartment card


And again

If interested in coming to the class, contact the Little Blue House at 817-431-7930 to reserve a seat. The cost of class is $25. More information and supply list on the LBH blog here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Carrots

It's been over a week since I last posted!  I've been in the "throes" of designing for the LBH and when that happens, everything else goes by the wayside. However I am finished for the time being and have a few days off with no LBH designing, teaching or prepping on the schedule. So I've been catching up on some personal things.

Easter is coming soon and I needed to get the grand boys' baskets in the mail. Since the boys are just getting into Playdoh, I cooked up some (which I used to make for my own kids years ago) and colored it orange. If you make it yourself, you know it's nontoxic in case they try to eat it.  I placed it into two disposable pastry bags, closed them tightly and wrapped a piece of green card stock around the top which I cut with shredding scissors.  They looked pretty cute inside the baskets along with a little bunny and some other goodies, but I forgot to take pictures before sending them off.

There are probably DIY Playdoh recipes online, but this is the "ancient" one I used.

Mix together in a saucepan: 1 c. flour, 1/2 c. salt, 1 c. water, 1 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 Tbsp. cooking oil and food coloring if desired. (The recipe calls for clove scent, but I've never used it.)
Cook over low heat stirring constantly until it thickens and pulls together away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from pan and knead until smooth.
Store in airtight container.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

More March RCADs

And here are the others.
leftovers from St. Pat's cards

palette knife painting on embossed manilla folder

new Maggie Holmes embossing folder with Distress Ink

tissue wrap, spray ink, gesso and stencil, Inktense blocks to color stars

very old self-adhesive fabric sample and little banner

circles extreme doodling, watercolors, black and white pens

guess who was 2 today! modeling paste for frosting

scrap paper

new TH stencil, Distress Inks applied with new mini blending tool

embossed with images from T. Collins catalog

scrap paper and collage image

leftover sprayed paper with stamped and detailed copper

You can see in the last photo that I have made monthly dividers for the Rolodex using large paint samples from the home improvement store.  Now on to April!