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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Art Marks 30-Day Challenge #3 - Summer 2017

Rae Missigman started a phenomenon with her first 30-day Art Marks Challenge back in January.  The idea is to make marks in a small journal daily, using the given prompts. I participated in both previous challenges and when she announced a third one this summer, I jumped on the bandwagon once again. 

This time I made a tiny "junk" journal, literally made from small pieces of scraps, junk mail, tags etc. The largest page is 3.5" x 5" and the smallest is 2" x 3." The cover is a canvas-type 4" x 6" sample I received for printing photos. I simply folded the pages in half, stacked them and used a simple pamphlet stitch to bind them together.  I added scraps of gelli-printed pages to many of the pages for a starting point.

I started a few days later than the actual project, but this is a do-your-own-thing anyway so the start date didn't matter. The challenge is to continue it for 30 days. If you are interested in playing along, click here to find out the details of this summer challenge. Rae also has an online class for making your own "pocket journals" if you would like some help and inspiration in making one yourself.

Art Marks Summer Challenge - Days 1-6


Inside front cover and Day 1 - Dense

Days 2 and 3 - Scrawled and Curved

Days 4 and 5 - Geometric and Ruled

Day 6 - Wide
Closed journal

I'm looking forward to doing a bit of daily art in this tiny journal.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"True Colors" Round Robin - White/creams, Aqua and Green

I've finished the third book in my small group's "True Colors" round robin. Each of us chose a color scheme and we are mailing the books around so everyone gets to work in each book.

The color scheme for this book is whites, creams, aqua and green. The book was handmade with 7" x 9" watercolor paper signatures. Each participant is to do a double spread, plus the front of the signature as a sign-in and the back of the signature. That equals four pages!  The good thing is that this was designed so each signature could be removed from the book to work on.

These are my pages. I will be mailing them out to the next on the 
list by the deadline, Aug. 1.

My double-page spread

"Front" page sign-in

"Back" page

There are many layers on these pages: collaged papers; TH tissue tape; stamping; texture paste,  crackle paste and Distress ink through stencils; Distress stains and spray ink; layered papers, doily and images; lace and cheesecloth; buttons, crocheted flowers and butterflies; clear sequins.  The photo is me when I was three years old.

I hope she likes it! I'm looking forward to my next book!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Life Documented 2017 - Third Week of July

I finished this week's spread a few days ago. For the right page, I used many of my left over pieces from the retreat rather than throw them away.

I love Frida Kahlo and had this one image left, as well as the little papel picado banner. The green rick rack was the final piece of a spool and I thought it worked perfectly on the edge.

I kept track of the steps I used in making the background.

1. Yellow and pink acrylic paints spread with gift card (like left page)
2. Loose, scribbly writing in pencil (almost totally obscured by end)
3. White paint applied with finger
4. Stamped circles and flowers with red Archival ink
5. Numbers stamped with black Archival ink
6. Texture paste through punchinella
7. Watercolor crayons (red and orange) scribbled here and there
8. Yellow and black paint splatters
9. Black paint marks with paintbrush
10. Collaged paper pieces
11. Adhered rick rack, banner and letter stickers

I really enjoyed doing this page. I love that I was able to use up some scraps.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Retreat (Part 2) - The Book

Every year since the retreat started 12 years ago, we have created a book according to that retreat's theme. At first Jeri (the organizer and leader) designed and created the book and made kits for everyone to recreate it. After several years, due to her health issues, she started assigning pages to a few members for a collaborative book. The past three years, we are now creating our own book, still keeping to the retreat theme. Everyone brings way more supplies than they need and there's a whole lot of sharing going on!

As soon as the "Viva Mexico" theme was announced I knew I wanted to make a book within a box, using one side for a Day of the Dead shrine/altar.  I found the perfect box at the Target $ Spot - it's about 6" square and was painted pink on top and white on the bottom. I repainted the bottom turquoise and covered the inside with floral paper. I painted the lips of the box with black and white squares and pink, orange and white paint dots. For the outer sides I embossed Ten Seconds black metal in a Cuttlebug border folder and glued on multi-colored flower jewels.   (Sorry, didn't get a photo of this.)

The front of the box has a metal heart which I bought in Mexico when we were there last Christmas, layered over a saffron-colored doily. The rolled rose is a metal diecut. The border is a gold Dresden trim from probably 15 years ago and I glued on red sequins. (After uploading the photo I noticed that one is missing so will need to fix that!)  I painted 4 wooden balls white with black polka dots for feet.

 Here is the box opened without the book which goes in the right side.  

And here's the book in place. Originally I was going to use a ring binder mechanism attached inside the box for the book but it was much easier to work on by making it completely separate. It just lifts in and out.

Here is a closeup of the shrine. I painted the inside of the box black and used a heavy turquoise glitter paper and Tim Holtz edge die for the top of the shrine. Turquoise corrugated paper is on the sides.  I had made my friend and I Day of the Dead aprons for the retreat and cut out some of the images from the fabric for the center of the shrine. They are layered on chipboard and popped up.  The large flowers also came from Mexico as well as some of the little trinkets in front of the shrine.  The"rug" at the base is actually a woven belt I'd saved from when we lived in Albuquerque (over 20 years ago!).  This was fun to decorate as I used lots of old rick rack and mismatched jewels.

Now on to the book.  I used watercolor paper for the pages, 6" x 12" folded over a "hidden spine." Once these were decorated, they are very sturdy pages.  On the cover I stitched a square of colorful striped fabric and a heart-shaped printout. I added Stickles over the sticker letters and glued on three fabric flowers.  The spine is sticky-back canvas painted orange and then painted hot pink through a diamond stencil. I made the "bead" string with a cut-up straw and plastic beads between.

 First spread is a generic Mexico page. I used a map for the background on the right page and a napkin for the left page. The rick rack is very old! Most of the items added to the page are from the "share" table at retreat - the flag, fiber, candy wrapper, little rug, flowers cut from soda can metal, doily, stamped cactus.

Second spread showcases the arts of Mexico. The background pages are painted. Most of the images were printed from the Internet. The yellow cut-paper banner and library card were shared by others and the red striped "rug" in lower left of left page is actually a piece from yet another belt of mine from Albuquerque! I cut it up and shared with everyone so now it's gone...

The third spread might be my favorite. It's theme is "fiesta." I hand-cut all the strips of tissue paper to make the "piñata-like" background.  The circular patterns were cut from the packaging of some of the decorations we used.  The paper banner (papel picado) is stamped and diecut from a Stamping Up set which I borrowed from one of the gals. 

This spread is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The left page has a colorful floral paper for a background with a doily and image layered over it. I added tons of micro beads around the image. I made the flowers by punching the Tim Holtz floral punch through several layers of tissue paper and securing the layers with a tiny brad. When fluffed up they look like the giant tissue paper flowers all over Mexico.

The right page is in honor of Mexican milagros. I used just cross charms.  The fabric ruffle is from the next page.

I love this spread too. This is dedicated to Frida Kahlo. On the left page is a postcard on a tip-in which opens to reveal another postcard on the back. I also made the tip-in into a pocket to hold more photos and a tag with information about Frida. The bottle caps were given to each of us by one of our members.

The background of the right page is a photocopy of a bright textile. The tin frame is a sample I made for an art lesson I taught my youngest daughter's 3rd grade class (1995). I saved it all these years and it is perfect for this page!

Here is the tip-in opened to reveal the page underneath. I added many photos of Frida and made a pocket from an orange doily to hold a larger black and white photo printed on a book page.  The ruffle is added to the bottom.

Here are the tags which go in the tip-in pocket. The image on the right is a photo of a painting that was on display in the Austin airport one time I was there. I love it!

This is the back of the tags.

Last but not least is the Day of the Dead spread.  The background on the left page is a piece of fabric and lace cut from a child's dress that was shared.  The skulls are from cupcake picks. The black diecut  skeletons, playing card and skull bauble were all shared items too.  

The right page is another tip-in. It's a printout from the Internet layered with a skull diecut and orange pompom trim on edge.

The back of the tip-in has information about Day of the Dead.

The right page has a strip of fabric under the miniature papel picado (which I also brought back from Mexico).  I stamped the shrine on painted watercolor paper and cut out the center to reveal Catrina.  It's decorated with a flower, skull, Stickles and jewels. The pocket was a glassine envelope filled with shared goodies and I added several playing cards with DOD images. 

For the back cover, I added dark purple card stock, purple rick rack and a large jeweled sticker which I got at the Mercado.

I've spent the last week sorting through all the goodies I came home with and trying to use them in my book before putting everything away.  I managed to use almost everything!  

I love how my box and book came out and it will be a great souvenir of another fun retreat!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Retreat - Viva Mexico!

As I mentioned in my last post, this year's retreat's theme was "Viva Mexico." As always, we decorated the conference room/classroom with all things Mexico.

Part of wall decor and "Mercado" - the pole on left held a giant piñata;
I brought the papel picado back from Mexico at Christmas.

The "Mercado" - everyone brought 20 whatevers for each of us and we "shopped"
for our goodies.
Before the retreat, we each made 3 art pieces which were our "money" for shopping. They were all placed in a bag and we each picked out three.  I received these: a beautifully-colored balloon trio 4x4; an adorable little cactus; and a lovely Lady of Guadalupe Altoid tin lid "shrine."  Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take photos of the three pieces I made!

Four ladies were assigned brief topics to share with us. One was on the foods of Mexico, one on five interesting Mexican artists, one on cacti and one on The Day of the Dead.  Below is the wonderful display that was made for the DOD. We learned a lot and it also brightened up our room!

On Thursday we always have some "Make 'n Takes" to do, shared by several attendees.

Jeri helped us make these vintage tin shrines with images, German glass glitter and beads.  I shared making ceramic tiles decoupaged with napkins.

We made these darling cactus gatefold cards after Joyce's cacti presentation.

Card closed
Card open

Kris showed us how to make tassels with beads, felt balls and a skein of embroidery floss.

And, last but not least, Jeri gave everyone a configuration box to do whatever we wished.  I decided to make mine for our 2016 Christmas memories in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  I added photos as well as some of the little goodies from the Mercado.

The entire box was painted turquoise and orange and then the front and back covers decoupaged with paper.  I love the decoration on the front of the box - I used a colorful straw, some fibers and a doily, all goodies shared by participants.

Front cover


Right side close-up

Whew! You can see we were very busy at our retreat! Tomorrow I will share the 
book I created on Friday.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Catch Up

Can you believe it's been over two weeks since I've posted here? It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun!

So what have I been doing? Yearly doctor appointments, mammogram, bone density test and a pre-cancerous spot on my nose removed. We also made a last-minute trip to Austin for the 4th of July, brought 5-year-old Carl home with us for a few days before heading to Albuquerque for the 5th birthday weekend extravaganza for Drew.  

Neighborhood July 4th Parade

Carl is excited to be going to Dallas with us

My four boys enjoying donuts for birthday breakfast

Drew's volcano cake for his Moana-themed party

A tired 5-year-old after his party

Two days after returning, I went on my online group's annual 5-day retreat. Luckily this is held every year practically in my backyard in Grapevine, but many gals travel from all over the country to attend. We had a blast (more on this later).

Here's a "catch-up" of the past three weeks' planner spreads.

Watercolor background, metallic sticker borders, collage sheet half-circles for dates.

Various star stamps on white background; washi tape dividers; labels with number stickers for days.

Background stamped with foam stamp and paints; days are printer-generated.

Hope to get back on schedule now!