New mixed media background papers

My friend Karen has a great art group and every other week we meet on Zoom and do a project or a technique. SO many great things are coming out of this for me. I am finally making things again, which is huge, and I’m learning so much. Yesterday, we made background papers in anticipation of next week’s session, when we will make tiny books. These sheets will be cut down to make the book pages. Ta da!

Scrapbook paper, book pages, Tim Holtz tissue, paper napkins, rubber stamps from Paper Bag Designs, hand-carved stamp, gesso, matte medium, glue stick, Gold High-Flow paint in Sepia, Golden Glazing medium (gloss)

recent mini quilts, journaling, collage and cards

I have been very very busy finishing Christmas gifts (yes, really) and, more recently, valentines. I’ve also been working on the Collage Challenge with Crowabout and assorted swaps. I have so much to show, so I put a few of each type of item here (click on photos to see larger version), but there are a lot more on my Flickr site.

Mini quilts. These are fun and I’m finally getting the hang of using my machine. I’m no expert, but I like the way these are all coming out. The base fabric is stuff I painted in workshops with Lisa Englebrecht (Maybe I’ll actually finish the projects I started in Lisa’s workshops someday!) last year. The two that say “hope” are for my youngest brothers and there’s a pocket made from a Hambly overlay that holds a prayer card from our dad’s funeral, which was last year on 2/14. The card is of St. Jude, who was my dad’s favorite saint (and is my second favorite). St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases (and policemen) and I thought my brothers would like a little something to remind them to have hope for whatever their dreams may be. Recently I thought that gluing pony beads on the ends of the hanging stick would finish off the look nicely and I was right! Very happy with these.

Mini quilt for my brother Steve and his
wife. A belated Christmas 2008 gift!
Mini quilt for my brother Mike. A belated
Christmas 2008 gift!
This was Jennie’s Christmas gift and
it was less late than the ones for my family.

Collage stuff. I’ve been trying each week to find a little time to participate in the Collage Play With Crowabout challenge. Here are a few of the recent collages I’ve done using images from that challenge. If you are interested in playing along with us, email Nancy and ask for an invite. Let her know traypup sent you! I’m really enjoying art journaling lately and will be posting more pages from my journals in my next post.

Crowabout challenge week 20.
Crowabout challenge week 21.
Crowabout challenge week 22. The heads
are my mom and myself about 40 years ago.

Cards. Sometimes I have a hankering to make a ton of cards. I can’t bear to buy them in the store because I feel like making them from scratch means so much more. Plus, I have all of the stuff! So I collected all of my Valentine’s Day-related supplies and sat on the sofa watching movies with my husband and made a ton of cards. Here are a few:

Vday 2009 card for Devin
Assorted Vday cards
You make my heart whirl

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! There is lots more that I’ll be writing about this week. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things.

a little halloween atc joy

Just a quickie tonight as I’m heading out for my last night at Creating Your Heart’s Desire Part 1 workshop. I made this little ATC for the October ATC of the Month swap on Stampers Corner. I love when a project (especially one with a deadline) comes together really quickly without putting a ton of thought into it, don’t you?

The orange dealies are Sparkle Spots I got from Suze Weinberg, but it seems like she’s out of them. Oh man, these are so easy and quick to add unusual sparkle to a project! I hope she brings them back! Retro Witch stamp from Third Coast Rubber Stamps.

quick card and bag topper with Cats Pajamas Stamps

It’s been crazy lately — work has been busy and I was prepping for a visit with mom and then mom arrived…I haven’t had much time for myself. But Wednesday I whipped out two quick stamped thingies.

First, Tim needed a wee giftie for a woman in the office who was celebrating her 60th birthday. They all got her ’60’ themed gifts, or 60 of something. Tim chose 60 Lifesavers. So I used the new Cats Pajamas stamps to create a bag topper (click for larger image).

Then, Thursday was my sister-in-law’s birthday and mom wanted to get her a gift card. Well, mom was too tired to make a birthday card in which to put the gift, so I whipped out a card, again, using the new Cats PJs stamps.

I am hoping that this weekend I will be able to have some down time and get some journaling done. I will be spending some time with my cousin and her 4-year-old, so I don’t expect a TON of down time, but there will be some fun window shopping and oogling in Aspen and who doesn’t like that?

new painting; fun with gift wrap

Voluptuous Discards painting This past weekend, I took a workshop called “Voluptuous Discards” with Lynne Perella. Lynne is an excellent teacher and takes a lot of time with all of her students. I learn a lot from her and I appreciate the attention she gives to everybody’s work. I had taken this class two years ago, so I felt a bit more confident that last time and I just went nuts and had a great time with my layers. I rarely have this kind of time to spend on one piece, so I really enjoyed the process. At the end of the class, we turned our paintings into “easy books”, with some folding and one cut. My flickr set for this class shows each “page” of the book. The book is rather large (9″x14″) so the whole thing doesn’t fit on my scanner bed, but you’ll get the idea.

fun with gift wrap I also had some fun with gift wrap this weekend. My sister Angela turned 40 and I wrapped up a bunch of little gifts for her. I also wrote her a letter describing my story behind the gifts and stamped corresponding tags for each gift. It was fun to pull out my funny, off color stamps. I’m hoping my sister will enjoy opening her gifts as much as I hope she likes the gifts themselves.

Moshi Doll In Flight

Moshi Doll In FlightI was searching for something clever to say, other than “Hey, look at the Moshi Doll I made in Leighanna Light‘s workshop a couple of weeks ago!” But I don’t have anything really thought-provoking. I’m so pleased with the way she came out, though. And, as I found last time I took a class from Leighanna, she really helped me stretch myself during the creation process. I’m still in the process of finishing the other things I made in Leighanna’s classes and I love them all.

So, the big exciting news is that Tim and I spent all of Thursday night and part of Friday moving around furniture in my studio/office and I’ve been reorganizing. I’m rethinking how I work, how I used my supplies, and I’m trying to use what I have, both for keeping organized and for creating new pieces. When I’m ready for photos, I’ll put them up. I did sort through my rubber stamps and found a bunch that I don’t use much anymore, so I thought I’d put them on my shop. Come on, you know you need them!

Second bit of exciting news: I set up a Zazzle shop! As time goes on, I’ll add some items with my artwork on them. For now, I just have some basic t-shirts with silly things that randomly came out of my mouth in the past. Check it out!

shopping and refilling my well

I’m in northern California this weekend, visiting a dear friend whose birthday was yesterday. Her husband and I schemed to surprise her with my (and my husband’s presence) and we showed up Thursday after work (after driving all day Wednesday and Thursday). It was pretty cool to surprise her like that. We almost didn’t go on this trip because of a few financial and health related issues, but I’m really glad Tim talked me into it. I have been truly exhausted and drained lately and I think this was just what I needed to help refill my well.

There was a lot of birthday-related activity this weekend, but today we were able to just have some unplanned fun. We four got in the car armed with the names of a few shops and headed to 4th Street in Berkeley to get our craft on. (Well, one husband spent a lot of time with his iPhone and the other husband toodled around pointing out cool stuff that I may have missed, and also took quite a bit of video footage for me.)

First stop was Paper Source, then we headed to Castle in the Air and Scrapbook Territory. Well, nothing had me prepared for the joys ahead. The photos you see here are most of my crafty purchases for today. I spent way more than I intended, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Barely any guilt at all!

I have been to various Paper Source stores before, but I managed to find a few stamps and little bits that I’d never seen before, including the little curse word, the dreams stamp, the face and the little checkbox stamp. oh, and the super heavy chipboard tags with grommets in them. YUM! (You can click on the photos to see larger images.)

Castle in the Air was sweet and funky and very unusual. I found some stamps and other goodies there, as well, including some spun cotton mushrooms (!). I don’t know what I’m doing with them for sure, but I suspect it will have something to do with gnomes., probably from Ellie (I think that’s her name). I’ve been coveting this gnome stamp for quite a while now. I also got a set of 6 metallic Lyra Ferbry pencils and cool birds…I forget what that style of die cut that is, with the little strips that you cut to get them apart, is. They are gorgeous.

Scrapbook Territory — Oh my stars and garters — I have never seen such a bounty of papercrafty goodness. I’ve never seen a scrapping store with such a great stamp collection, there were so many rubber and acrylic stamps, a great selection of Hambly stuff, I could go on and on. Seriously, if you are ever in the area, it is a store to behold. I also found some awesome brads, cool rubons and a clear acrylic tag book. I am drooling just thinking about what I’m going to do with it (I don’t know for sure yet, but the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?).

We also hit Hydra, where I got a few cool bath beads. Then we went to Ghiradelli, where we got some hot fudge to take home. I also splurged and Jennie and I picked out a few bracelets from a sidewalk vendor. I never buy stuff like that for myself and I’m on vacation, so I set myself free for a bit. that made me really happy and now my wrists are all girly and pretty! 🙂

This trip, more than any before, has really hit home for me how much I need to take time for myself now and then, and how I need to get my ass out of town and step back from life to rest my soul. I think I learned this from my Artists’ Way stuff I’ve been doing during the past two weeks. More on that later.

P.S. Jennie’s mom is big into decorating gourds and gave me two to take home and art up. I’m really excited. I wonder if that gnome and a mushroom should go to live inside a gourd! Also, Jennie’s husband saved me two cigar boxes and I’ve been saving all sorts of little odd bits and pieces for journaling, etc. Her sister mixed up a homemade batch of color spray using mod podge, water and pearl ex and then showed me her scrapbook pages and her die cut thing that plugs into her PC (I forget the name). It’s been a super crafty weekend, for not having actually made anything!

P.P.S. S.C.R.A.P. is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we won’t be getting there this trip. I am crushed.

some stampy joy!

This is the only artwork I’ve done all week. It’s been a busy week, full of work and not feeling all that great. But I was putting together a swap to send out for Stampers Corner and I wanted to do a little something to send back to the girls with their swapped goodies. This is what I came up with. The dog stamp is from Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers. The flowers are from SunSpirit Studio. I don’t know who makes the e=mc2 stamp, but it makes me giggle. Inks from Ranger and Memories and Colorbox.

I did spend some time yesterday and today revamping my shop and I’m hoping to get it live tomorrow. Many thanks to those of you who took a look and gave me feedback. Millions of thanks to those of you who made a purchase! I can’t even tell you how exciting that was for me!

I have a weekend of work ahead of me. I’m hoping to get ahead on a few things so my head doesn’t explode next week. And if I can spend a couple of hours journaling, too, all the better!

looking back, just a little, so I can move forward

So, I’ve had this item on my To Do List forEVER. The item? Update my blog with the work I’ve been doing. Of course, first I had to finish the work, then I had to photograph it, then I had to upload it, then I had to write something. Well, you can see how all of this could stymie me. This year, except for the part where Tim and I bought our new house, has been awful. I learned a few things that were good, but overall, I tell you, I could have skipped the whole damn thing!

As a result of the little bit of retrospection I’ve done on 2007, I’m more looking forward to 2008. My big goal? No more PROCRASTINATION. The procrastination (brought on by fear, for the most part) is the big thing that’s keeping me on this terrible treadmill. I’m not going anywhere! Well, that’s all over now. Really.

Here are some things I’ve been working on. You can click on the images to see the larger versions on my Flickr account. Tomorrow, I intend to post about what’s up next.

Happy New Year, everybody! *clink*

A holiday-ish altered assemblage screen I did for the Altered Art Divas 12 Days of Christmas Swap I joined. All of the gifts I received are also on Flickr. The screen is available in two sizes at SunSpirit Studio.
My favorite Halloween card ever. Made with (wait for it…) SunSpirit Studio rubber stamps.
This is the finished plaster house that I began in Stephanie Lee’s class a couple of months ago. I’m really pleased with it! There are a few other items I started in that class, and you can see them in their varying states of unfinishedness on Flickr.
An altered composition book I covered for my sister’s au pair this Christmas. The inside covers are done, too, and I added ribbons for a closure.
An altered book assemblage made in a Michael deMeng class. I don’t think he really dug my penguins and non-deMeng colors, but I do think he was amused!
These polymer clay encased hearts are the result of a class with Colorado artist Tejae Floyd. I am so entranced by these, but my patience level for working with clay is pretty low. You can see a photo of them all closed up here.
A lightbox with layers of glass and transparency, created in the Michael deMeng class “Weird Wonderful Windows”.
I made a bunch of background paper and created a series of ATCs with it. Here’s one of them, used for an ATC lottery.
If I had the energy, this would have been our Christmas card this year. I will probably do a variation on it for next year, because I love it. Stamps from Paper Bag Studios.

Art Unraveled 2007 recap

phew! I’ve been home from Art Unraveled for a few days now, but I still haven’t quite caught up nor have I gotten back into the swing of things. But my box of supplies, purchases and artwork all arrived today, so I’m busy taking photos and scanning so I can write this epic blog post about my week.

Saturday, I flew into Phoenix and Andrea (of SunSpirit Studio fame!) picked me up. We headed over to a restaurant to meet Fran and Angie for a late dinner. Andrea and I then went to Fran’s house to stay overnight. The four of us shared artwork and chatted and hung out until we were all too tired to stand anymore. Andrea and I went to bed, but talked until we fell asleep. This proved to be a pattern for the rest of the week!

Sunday, Fran, Andrea and I went to lunch at Pick Up Stix where I had the best chicken bowl ever. We didn’t hang out a ton because Andrea and needed to head to the hotel to check in and get Andrea’s vehicle unloaded. Boy, she had a lot of stuff for her fabulous booth and make and takes.

Sunday evening was the Meet The Artists event, as well as the opening talk. I had a table and that went pretty well. I was happy to meet all of those people. I almost had a few extra signups as a result, but it never happened. It was ok, though, because I already had 13 signups!

My first class was with Marney, who runs Artella. It was called Blissness Plan Journal and it was a day of taking a more creative approach to a business plan. It was pretty cool and had me thinking about what steps I want to take next in my art and in my web design business.

Monday night, I taught my Websites 101 for Artists class. Boy, was I nervous! But, as my dear friends pointed out repeatedly as I was having small panic attacks, I really know the material and it was all going to be fine. A few students didn’t show up, but the class went great otherwise. The students were awesome, interested and attentive. I am toying with offering the class again next year.

Tuesday was a free day. We went shopping at Apache Reclamation for junk, then met Fran for sushi, then went to Creative Quest in Glendale. What a great store! You should definitely visit it when you’re in the area. We did a tiny bit of grocery shopping, too, and then headed back to the hotel. I had a class that evening with Kathy Cano Murillo, who was awesome. There is no photo here because I’m finishing up the project this weekend and giving it to my husband as his “souvenir”. I will post a photo later.

Wednesday, I took Let’s Face it, Be Fearless with Katie Kendrick. WOW! What a great instructor. I didn’t know what to expect, but basically it was intuitive collage and painting where we did these whimsical face paintings with Katie’s guidance. I was having such a hard time with it for a while there, but Katie really was encouraging and helpful. I feel great about my paintings now. Here they are (click image to see larger version in Flickr):

Happy McHapster Babushka I’ll Pout if I Want To

Thursday, I took Profound Secrets of the Burnt and Bound with Bernie Berlin. I learned a few techniques and got to play with Luna Lights paints, which was pretty neat. It was fun to play around with stamps and learn to get more use out of them. Her class featured Michael deMeng stamps. Here’s what I did:

Friday, I took an Architectural Structures class with Jane Wynn, who is the most enthusiastic happy lady I have met in a long time. She was lovely and helped me with the power tools and we built a box for our shrines and she gave us lots of great feedback and ideas for our shrines. I also learned to cut glass! It was really cool. She has a book coming out in the fall, which I will definitely be getting my hands on. I’d also take another class from her in the future. She was swell. Here is my shrine from that class. This was another project where I was miserable for a period of time until it started coming together. I call it “Birdhouse in Your Soul.” The focal point is a non-functioning night light I got years ago when I was really really into They Might Be Giants. I can’t remember exactly who gave it to me…one of the record company reps I worked with at the time. Anyway, I love that nightlight and now that it’s a bit flighty, it was time to retire it and this was the perfect way to do it. I may add a bit more at some point, like a little blue bird in the “attic.” Yay!

Friday night, I took a class called Resist This, which was based on a technique in Bernie’ book. It was a quickie and we left class early because we were so tired. I don’t have photos now, but will update later with them when I finish the pages we started.

Saturday was the Shopping Extravaganza! It was even better than last year, and last year was pretty good! I had fun all day, shopping, and checking in on Andrea at her booth.

I’m pretty sure I’ll go again next year, if I can afford it. I think it’s a good way to rejuvenate one’s creativity. I look forward to the day when I can focus more on art than anything else and Art Unraveled is a taste of what that would be like (minus the 400 other women milling around, of course!)