Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DLP Title Page

I made a title page for my Documented Life Project journal back in January.  But I couldn't post it because I used a really fun napkin on the page, and I was giving some of these napkins as a gift and didn't want that person to see them.  (Napkins from Erin Smith - and by the way, the order came with fortune cookies with custom sayings inside, and her web address on the back of the strip of paper)

So, here's a look at my journal title page:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DLP Week 2

I am one of those people who works on a journal in stages.  I am committed to this Documented Life journal this year.  And I know full well that I will get behind at times.  It's a given.  But I have worked in bits and pieces on different weeks.  I am also backtracking to January to finish the challenges that I skipped earlier. 

Just because I finished Week 2 as we are well into February doesn't bother me at all.  I owned up to it, and put "completed 2-21-2015" on the page!

The assignment was to use gesso.  I guess there are so many things to do with gesso, I couldn't decide what to do exactly.  Then, a couple of days ago, I watched a webinar online by Dina Wakley.  I love her work, and I just basically repeated what she did.  (I should have used better lighting when I took these pictures.  In reality, the blue is brighter than this.)
I was happy with it yesterday, then today felt it needed more.  I added more stuff to the right side of the page spread.  I'm not sure it looks better, but there's no turning back now.
Detail shots always look much better than the full page.

Part of what I added on the right was some quotes that I jotted down during the webinar, things Dina said. 
One was "Done is better than perfect."  I may have to adopt that saying permanently.
Another was "You are the boss of the art. It's not the boss of you."
Stay tuned.  I may not be timely, but I'll catch up with the assignments eventually.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How cold is it?

The normally warm southern United States are experiencing brutally cold temperatures.  How cold is it?  I just saw this photo, taken in North Carolina.  This is what happens when your Jeep is coated in ice, you warm it up, then drive away.  Permanent ice sculpture left in its place.  Unreal!!
Stay warm!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Makin' Labels

Well, I've seen other artists doing it.  Whether it is printing a journal page onto a sheet of labels or making art directly on labels, it looks like fun.

I have labels in sheets that are meant to be used in an ink jet printer.  The two sizes I used were 1-1/3 x 4 (14 per sheet) and 2 x 2 (12 per sheet).  I copied some awesome collage sheets onto them (made by my friend, artist Gaye Medbury.)  Now, the thing about printing on labels is, you have to let go of what you want to be on any given label.  When you use them, you will have parts of things on each label, which really challenges you on what to do with them.

A few weeks ago, I had brayered acrylic paint onto tags.  They were just the thing for adding labels, then adding doodles, marks, and washi tape.  It was such a simple fun thing to do, and I am chomping at the bit to do more!

Here are some of my tags and printed labels.

I also used circle punches to punch out parts, and used them on my goals envelopes that are in my DLP 2015 journal. 
I think I could easily get addicted to making more of these tags and labels!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Documented Life Project Week 5

This journal spread has kind of a sloppy look to it, but I was a little worried about getting too far behind in the weekly assignments for Documented Life Project 2015.  The Art Challenge for week 5 was "under paper".  That's the scrap paper we use to put under whatever we are working on, the paper where you clean your brushes, use up your paint, etc.

I have been trying to de-clutter and de-stash lately, so I didn't have much under paper on hand.  But I did have these scrap papers which were stored with other "good" stenciled papers using the same spray colors.  These are the result of spraying and stenciling, with stencils blotted on newspaper and old ledger paper.  Like I said, pretty sloppy. 

I decided not to even think much, just put it on the page.  I did prep the pages with gesso, but in retrospect, that probably wasn't needed.  I ran all these papers through a Xyron machine to put a quick adhesive on the backs, and lickety-split, all the papers were down on the page. The only thing I would change is the February calendar.  I meant to print it on old paper that is less stark white, but forgot.  So, I'll tone it down each time I add something to the calendar, and maybe it won't glare at me so much when I look at it.

I'm still adding things but I did find something interesting that happened as I worked.  After attaching the under papers, there was a big white square in the middle.  I painted some purple there and blotted some off while it was wet.  When that dried, I used a black Stabilo pencil to make circles.  I used a wet brush on the back circle then blotted it off.  It seemed to take some of the purple off too, and I really liked how it looked.

Feels good to use up those papers in this way!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Something Fun

Sometimes, it's fun to resurrect a new interest in something you haven't done in awhile.  A free class recently on Altered Books was just the thing on a snowy day to sit and play with nothing on the agenda other than have fun.

For some reason, every time I schedule something that requires me to drive north for an event, this happens.

The weather forecast for my area included maybe a little mix of snow and rain, maybe less than an inch of snow.  Nothing to be concerned about at all.  So, imagine my surprise to find five inches of snow when I got up that morning.  Luckily, the roads were not a problem and I made it to my destination just fine.

I went to Gaye's first, then we drove to southern Indiana where our altered book class was taught by the engaging Ehren Reed, recently moved to the area from San Francisco (click on her name to see her portfolio of altered books).  This is her sample book, with long evening wear gloves used as the book closure (snaps hold them closed).  I should have taken more pictures, because she made good use of zippers, transfers, and other techniques.
One of the techniques we were encouraged to use was to cut a niche in the pages.  This book belongs to one of the students in class, where the opening was cut through the pages and the cover, with figures glued in.
Ehren had a lot of books for us to choose from to work in, as well as a lot of collage material.  I picked a book called The Journals of Eleanor Druse, thinking along the theme of journals.  When I started looking through the book, however, it was more about a mental institution and had a fairly dark theme.  So I started cutting out words and photos from old magazines to go with my insane asylym.  I got a lot of pages started, but eventually got to a point where the pages needed to dry before I could proceed. 

I have a lot of things at home to add, including chart paper (for pretend brain scan results), lots of stamps, etc. 

At the end of the day, as we walked to the car, I noticed this building at the other side of the parking lot.  Great way to put up your address!!

Over the last few days, I have been re-visiting altered books that I had worked on years ago.  I decided I should play in them some more as I get time.
I have one book with drawers and a zipper in it, and also a book by Einstein.  It was fun to look through them again and think about more things to do with them!  

Hope you are all doing something fun!!

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!