Monday, January 19, 2015

Making progress slowly

So, about my Documented Life journal... there aren't any pictures here of my journal pages other than that first post.  Oh, I've started pages and sketched ideas, and made notes.  But I can't seem to commit myself to finishing my pages.

Then, an amazing thing happened.  A few days ago the prompt for week 3 was posted online.  The journal prompt quote for this week is:
"I found I could say things with color and shapes
that I couldn't say any other way."
by Georgia O'Keefe

I almost fell out of my chair.  In my hallway, there is a calligraphy piece I did many years ago (unfortunately, I didn't date it, but I think it was late 1990's).  Here's what it looks like (try to ignore the fact that I didn't spell O'Keefe correctly).

I took the piece off the wall and out of the frame.  I took pictures of it and also made quick copies on the copier so I could cut apart the words and decide how to put them on the page in my journal.  I had planned to cut up the original when it comes time to put the words on the page, but I'm already having second thoughts about that part.

Since the copies I made included the boxes of watercolor, I might incorporate those into the journal page too.

But that wasn't the only coincidence for this week's assignment.  The Art Challenge part is "the color wheel".  As it happens, I had also recently bought two color wheel stencils (Pam Carriker designs from Stencil Girl.)  I have played with them a little already, but I think I will make a journal page background using parts of the stencils.

I still don't have this assignment completed, but I did have a burst of inspiration, plus I have been playing a lot.  Also, part of my goals for this year are to use things I have and to try to incorporate hand lettering more in my work.  So I'm headed in the right direction.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back on the Grid

For several years, I have kept a "writing" journal (no art) in books with graph paper.  I found one on a sale table once, and now whenever I see one on sale, I grab it.  Last year, I experimented with adding dates and stenciling to the covers of past years' journals.  I also started adding little bits of art amongst the writing in the 2014 journal.   Many times, it was just creative ways of dating the page or designating the names of the months, or adding border art. 
I have one more of the books left, and now that we are on the 10th day of the month, I opened it to the first page and stenciled in the year 2015.  I thought I was going to be done after just sponging on some ink, maybe stamp a couple of things on the page.  But then I started stamping things inside the numbers themselves.  I had lots of fun in a short amount of time.  Now, time to catch up the past 10 days and try to keep up with the days as they speed by.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Making a Commitment

I am being very ambitious this year.  I have signed up for the Documented Life Project 2015 online journal class.  I watched last year's results as people posted their work online and decided to jump in this year.

The first order of business was to get the recommended journal they are using (which is optional, but I had been wanting to try out this journal anyway).

The theme for January is addressing the blank page.  Before I got to the assignment, I painted the first couple of pages and added a calendar for January.  The calendar is a free printable calendar, and I printed mine on tan grid paper.  They had lots of calendars to choose from, but I just printed the first one I found that was in the right orientation and would fit my page.
The first assignment is to cover up that blank page with other paper.  I used all kinds of papers including security envelopes.  I always feel great when using up things in my stash, and in fact that is one of my goals this year, to Use all that stuff!
Instead of using acrylic paints to cover the papers, I am trying out acrylic inks.  I have no idea if I'll be able to write on it, but I have some scraps I also painted to test out pens.
I still have things to add to all my pages.  We can add goals for the year if we wish.  I think I am going to put a small envelope on the page for Small Goals, and a larger envelope for Big Goals.   I may also add some of these items below... more from the stash.  The photos are printed on fabric and are left over from a project from last year where I printed off some of friend Gaye's art. I also have a pad of "list" papers that I got off a sale table of Smash book products. 
So, I still have a few things to do this week to finish up the first assignment.  I am having fun with it so far.  But one of my goals will definitely be to follow through.  I have a really bad habit of starting things like this and not finishing them to completion.  Gaye is taking the class too, so I know that will help inspire me to keep going!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Goals

Word to the wise... If on the first day of the new year, you make a smart alec statement about how you haven't screwed up the year yet, it stands to reason that karma will bite you in the rear and knock you flat on you back on the second day of the new year!

Yesterday, I stumbled on the one and only step going from my kitchen to the garage.  I have stepped down that step a million times before.  But this time I turned my ankle and fell hard on the concrete.  I ended up twisting both ankles, both knees, and hit my back hard on the edge of the step.  Thank goodness nothing was broken, just terribly sore now.  I somehow got one leg tangled in the cord of the shop vac and felt like a trussed up Thanksgiving turkey for a little while before I got untangled.  Believe me, it was hilarious (if you weren't me). 

I don't usually set resolutions for the new year, but I have decided to keep a running list of goals.  This is what I have so far:

Have a good new year.. and watch your step!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Clean Slate

Don't you just love the first day of a brand new  year?  You have a clean slate.  I love it because I haven't screwed up anything yet this year.  I haven't tried and failed yet.  The world is wide open for anything at this point (until I need a nap....)

I already have something fun to try.  A friend passed along this tip for keeping your bottles of glue free-flowing.  The video can be found Here.

I admit I haven't tried it with the glue bottles yet, but my mind did race ahead and wonder why you can't do the same thing with bottles of acrylic paint.  So I bought baby bottle nipples (silicon only, newborn size), and followed the instructions in the video for putting foam tape and the nipple on the bottle.
I still need some practice with writing with these bottles of paint, but I can see a lot of potential with random writing on art projects.

Happy New Year to all...  so far, I have made a blog post every day this year..hee hee...  (All kidding aside, I do plan to resume more regular posts in this shining new year!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Did you know it is almost Christmas?  Then the end of the year?  Seems like only about twelve months ago we were doing the same thing!

No matter what your Christmas plans are, I hope that your travels are safe and your days joyful.

Merry Christmas!
From the workshop of metal trees and red gift tags.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Distractions

I am focusing on Christmas preparations, I really am.  But, I am also easily distracted and often wander off doing other things. 

In a previous post, I showed a stamp I carved which was a pattern from a Kleenex box.  The pattern on the box actually had two designs and I only carved one of them.  A few days later, after looking at the other pattern off and on, I carved that one too, which is a reverse of the first pattern.  I had fun stamping out a page using the two stamps and different inks.
 I also stamped one of the designs on brown kraft paper.  It would probably look better if (a) I could carve a symmetric design, and (b) I could stamp in a straight line. 
I also tinkered with something Christmassy for addressing envelopes for Christmas cards.
Last but not least, one of my favorite things every year is receiving a Christmas letter from a faraway friend.  Every year she stamps/writes the letter in rebus form.  I cannot believe how she has outdone herself year after year.  It is such a hoot to sit down and figure out what her letter says.  I always take it with me when I go visit family and it has become one of our most fun traditions to laugh at everyone's wrong guesses until the whole thing is solved.  If there was a rebus Christmas letter hall of fame, she would be the main rock star there.
This might have been posted sooner except for the fact that when I took all the pictures, my camera card was in the slot on my computer and not in my camera.  One might say, doesn't your camera have a message on the screen that says no card is there.  Yes, it does.  But since this is about December distractions, all I can say is, I was too distracted to know the card was not in the camera, and I totally missed the message on the camera screen.  I hope I am less distracted in the new year.  I might be much more productive!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Magnetic Field over my House

Happy December (nine days in already?)

I don't know if there is a magnetic field over my house or if solar flares are bombarding me... but I have had electronic issues most of the year.  The latest was when my computer died. So I had to get a new computer and learn new things (like trying to figure out what new names they now call my old programs.. sigh...)  I don't even want to go into it all, but I am plodding along, trying to return things to normal, trying to re-establish files, pictures, music, etc.

But what I do know for sure is that this is a great time of year.  Because people drive around with reindeer antlers on their car and no one thinks it is odd at all.

And take my word for it, next year is going to be a really, really, really great year.  It just has to be!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Carving

Ah, Thanksgiving in America.  It commemorates a time when European settlers shared food with Native Americans, then afterward they went out to find bargains on big screen TV's and watch football... or something like that.

I didn't have turkey this year.  I did not carve a turkey.  But I did do some carving...

I keep looking at my Kleenex boxes.  I have to hand it to Kleenex.  Over the years they have had designs that depict marbling, paste paper, and now these tile looking designs.  It's enough to make me forget that their tissues are getting smaller and smaller, even though the box remains the same size.
When one of the boxes was empty, without a second thought, I cut it apart and decided to use the design for a carved stamp.  I didn't bother to get out my carving tools or use acetone to get the words off the eraser.  I just went for it.  It took me all of about 15 minutes to carve the stamp and stamp out a pattern.  
It would have helped if the stamp was more symmetric, but over the years I have learned that's never gonna happen with me, no matter how hard I try.  
Quick, quick, quick... In no time I had stamped out a pattern.  Maybe I'll stamp my Christmas wrapping paper this year.  hahahah, right after I make my Christmas cards... (that ship sailed years ago!)

Now, if only I had some pumpkin pie to eat while admiring my handiwork.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leaf Me Alone

I had the urge to paint leaves.  I remember doing this several years ago and got the urge to try it again.

Of course, first I had to clean the paint palette I used with the blue paints the last time I played.  This is why I like acrylics--you can just peel them up and throw them away.  (My former self would have kept these blue "skins" in case I wanted to glue them on a journal page.  The new me just threw them out - trying to simplify my life, you know!)
I gathered an assortment of paints and gathered some things from the yard.  By the time I went out to get the leaves, it was dark, so rather than traipse around with a flashlight in the backyard looking for cool leaves (and risk having the neighbors think I was an intruder), I just got some small leaves at the edge of the driveway.
I made a background with paint and stencils to start off.
Then I brayered a mix of brown and red paint directly on each leaf.
I carefully pressed each leaf onto the background, placed scrap paper over it, and pressed with my fingers.
The images were fairly light, so I experimented with adding color with Inktense watercolor pencils.  I knew the pencils would not cover up the acrylic paints on the background, but it was all for the sake of wanting to see what it would look like.
Fairly quick and fun to try.
That's why I like fall better than winter.  You can't do this with snowflakes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Cure a Grumpy Witch

Chocolate cures everything.

The greeting card above is on top of some background papers I did a couple of years ago.  I was playing with the first Dylusions sprays I ever bought.  They were out of most of the colors except purple, orange, and black, not normally my go-to colors.  But I had more fun playing than I ever expected.  I still have a stack of October-ish papers, and every year I think I should make a Halloween book with them.  But so far that hasn't happened.

I still like looking at them though!

Happy Halloween!!!  Don't let the goblins get you! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Messy Play

I got some new blue paints a few weeks ago and have not had time to play.  I decided today is the day.  I just can't go too long without clearing a space and making a mess. 

I went to my old standby, painting a little of each color to see what it looks like and labeling them.  I also used some other blue paints I had on hand for comparison.  As it happened, I had a plastic case that holds baby wipes.  The wipes had dried up, and I was about to throw out the case when I realized it would make a great palette.

To use up the rest of the paint, I blocked off part of the page with masking tape, brayered and stenciled paints.  With the paint that was left, I stenciled onto plain white paper.
When the paint dried, I cut the white paper into strips and squares and added that to the page. 
Added a little detail with white and black pens, and called it good.  I feel so much better now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Important Things

Seems like a long time since I posted here.  I guess that's because it has been a long time!  I wish I could reveal that I've been doing something exciting or interesting, or making fabulous art.  But, no.  Just kind of in a fall slump of a mood or something.  Starting things and not finishing them.  Cleaning and organizing then getting bored.  Trying to read a book, then falling asleep.

But things still percolate in my brain most of the time.  For instance, I have been working on a Very Important Research Project.  It was prompted by the screaming headlines a couple of months ago.  I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to read that... well... Hello Kitty is not a cat.  Say what?  Her name is Kitty for crying out loud.  You expect us to believe that after 40 years, you have been fooling us?  They supposedly have this whole cockamamie story about how Hello Kitty is a girl, lives in London with her family, and even has her own cat.  I have to admit that I've seen more girls than cats wearing shoes and dresses and bows.  But she has whiskers.  It's a cat.

This requires a lot of research, and I have started my research journal (which I'm sure I'll lose interest in by the time this is posted!)
Another thing I did was finally give in and start a Pinterest account.  That was mainly because they have started putting a big block across the screen if you don't have an account.  You can still see things, but it was annoying me, so I signed up.  Because, you know, I need something to waste three hours a day on...  I don't have many boards or pictures up yet.  But I sure did look at a lot of stuff other people have put up.  It goes on into infinity and there is no good stopping place once you enter the door. (Pinterest account may or may not be found at this link if it works.)
One thing I discovered on Pinterest was this little easy project, which I think was described as a book closure.  If I had been smart enough to pin it, I could give you the link, but I forgot.  Basically, take a wide rubber band. Fold it in half and then in half again.  No need to clip it, I only did that so I could take a picture.  Punch a hole near the end of the folded part (I used my Japanese screw punch).
Unfold it and line up the holes. Use scissors to cut from each end to the holes.  Try to cut exactly down the center (do as I say, not as I do).
Then you have this handy little band that you can put around a small book, or a small stack of books, or probably a stack of ink pads.  Fun and easy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moon Watch

I can't believe I actually got to see the Blood Moon in the wee hours this morning.  Usually, there is too much cloud cover or rain or fog that ruins the view when something like this happens.

Unfortunately, it was just getting good when it was time for me to report to work.  Yes, it's true, I do start work at O-dark-thirty every day.  Wish I had had time to get out the good camera and tripod and view the full eclipse.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Postal Passion

Like many of us, I'm such a postal geek.  I do love all things postal, whether old or new.
I made a trip to Michael's a couple of days ago, first time in months that I've been there. They had a whole rack of postal stuff, mostly in miniature.  I don't know how long they have been carrying these items, but it's long enough that they were marked down 60%.
 Yes, please, I'll have some of these, and some of these, and some of these!  They had lots more, but I already had some of the washi tape and postal twine.  As usual, my store may have it and yours may not. These things are unpredictable. But it made me a happy camper.