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.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Smart Art

Okay, I may get a little geeky here.  I have always thought the Periodic Table of Elements is a little under-rated. Well, look at it... not very interesting at first glance, but it IS made of boxes and letters and numbers, which are certainly interesting.
An image search online will show lots of variations, from vibrant colors to parody tables and goofy versions.

A more interesting Table is one I have in my posession done in calligraphy by the late Ann Van Tassell (mine is a reproduction).

But then I came across this image on Pinterest. The original art is acrylic on a 60 x 36 inch canvas.


I tried to find out more about the artist, Princess Rashid.  Okay, cool name first of all. Second, she studied Physics and Astronomy. Don't we love smart women? Who do art?  I think I may be inspired to do some scientific art in the future.

Check out this video of her at work on another large piece
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcMM9Qvkozw

Friday, September 5, 2014

Documented

Last year, I made a little travel journal when I got home from Stampaway.  I liked it so much, I made another one this year, using stencils and stamps I got while there, adding notes and pictures.  I worked on it off and on over the last couple of weeks and finally finished it.  The front cover is not shown because I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I used a piece of duplex cardstock that is red on one side and black on the other, plus a brown file folder.




 
 




I highly recommend making a travel journal, whether it is a simple little book where you can staple cards and receipts, or something more elaborate than what I have done here.  Just have fun with it!
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I get it now....

Friday, I headed up the road to have an art day with my friend Gaye.  I was about halfway there when she called my cell phone to say there was a change of plans.  We met at another location, she picked me up, and we went to a yard sale.  I have mentioned before that Gaye is some kind of yard sale guru who can find the most amazing things.  Where I live, I have stopped going to yard sales because I hardly ever find anything worth getting up early for on my day off!  This particular sale was held at the house where Gaye grew up, so it had special meaning for her already.  Plus, they had some pretty fun stuff and great prices.

I get it now, why she is willing to get up early, endure the heat or rain or whatever it is doing that day... because I got all this for $4.   Art supplies, red envelope with someone's class notes and drawings from an art history class from 1952, an old Japanese/American newspaper (Chicago Shimpo), what appears to be a block printing kit, and a button.



Lots of fun stuff to play with later, for sure.

Then we went back to Gaye's where we played with pan pastels, doing all kinds of things they were not supposed to do!  I love playing in the experimental art laboratory.  I highly recommend it!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Travel Book

Last year, when I got back from Stampaway, I made a book of the trip, using stamps, stencils, business cards, and other things collected from the trip.  I decided to make another one for this year. The first page uses the same "road trip" stamp as last year, plus what looks like the same large number stencils - I saw the same stencil I bought last year in a smaller size this year and decided to get that one too!

I took my teacher's packet, cut it smaller to fit the page, and decorated it with one of the stencils I bought this year.
The packet included a map of local restaurants, and I added some notes and highlights about the trip (which included a car fire and giant squirrel statues).
Another thing I bought this year is a template stencil, so I've been playing around with making miniature folders and envelopes!
I still have lots of fun stencils I haven't had time to play with yet, and will be using those on other pages in this book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What a Tool

No, I'm not calling names.... just trying out a couple of things I got at Stampaway this year.  One thing I got was a house stencil (Artistcellar).  I decided to use some pan pastels with it, mainly because I got a couple of tools that I wanted to try out. 
One tool is the Brushstix.  It comes in different sizes, but I decided to try the small pointed tip and see how it does with putting pan pastels in smaller areas. It is made by Tsukineko and the package says it is for applying StazOn, GlazOn, and other mediums.  I know StazOn is a stamp pad.  Never heard of GlazOn.  Doesn't say anything about pan pastels...

I really liked it for the small areas.  I wish I had gotten two so I could keep one for dark colors and one for light colors.  I don't know how durable it will be, especially since I was using it on a rough watercolor paper.
I will note here that I do have other sponges and tools for the pastels, but wanted to try something different.  I have the plastic applicator things that have the replaceable sponge tips.  Most of them work okay for me, but some of the sponges (brand new) are already crumbling.  I am very forgiving when it comes to people - I will give you multiple changes in life.  But tools?  If that crumbly sponge is going to waste my time and frustrate me artistically, it's time to find something else!

Back to the houses... I could have sprayed a fixative when I was finished, but I tried something different that I saw at the convention and brushed a mixed media adhesive over the pastels.  Putting on the pan pastels was tedius.  Brushing adhesive over each color was tedius.  In the end, it smoothed everything out better on the watercolor paper, but honestly, I could have gotten the same effect using watercolor pencils and water in about half the time.  But it was very zen-like to sit and dab and paint, so the time was not a total waste.  (The adhesive, btw, did not "set" the pastels, and they will still have to be spray-fixed or the color rubs off.)

Yes, I did mention Two tools...I haven't forgotten the other one.  It's a fatter tool, and I tried applying pastels with it but didn't much care for it.  (Anyone out there who has this tool is probably laughing at me right now...)  I just went to get the package to tell you what it is. It says "Pebbles" on it and it clearly states it is an eraser.  I guess that's why I didn't have much luck with it as an applicator!  Okay, all together now, laugh With me please, not at me!
 
 It had the price sticker on the back where it talks about  the eraser, in very tiny print, I might add. The part below the sticker which was obviously the only part I saw, talks about applying chalk and erasing it.  Okay, now I know.  See how smart you get when you make mistakes!  May you have a very smart week...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stampaway Weekend (Part 2)

Just a few more sights from the weekend in the Cincinnati area...  Gaye and I were driving around looking for a particular place to eat and went through the village of Glendale, Ohio, which I later learned is the home of the black squirrel.  I looked it up after seeing all these giant squirrel statues all over the town.  Louisville has its horses, Cincinnati has its pigs... Glendale has its squirrels...


Another day, this BBQ place was recommended to us (thanks, Nancy - yummy!).  She said it was the place with the ambulance in front.  And so it was! 

They pride themselves in cooking with seasoned wood, and in fact have a large pile of wood in the back of the restaurant.  Apparently it is easy pickings for others, and they had to post this sign.
Some years, Stampaway weekend falls on the same weekend as the Longest Yard Sale.  This was one of those times.  The weather has been a little cooler than August normally is, but the humidity more than cancels that out, making the air laden with wetness and heaviness that makes you sweat every drop of moisture out of your body.  It was almost high noon when we left Cincinnati, but it is our tradition to stop in Covington KY even if that is the only part of the yard sale we can manage.  At least there was some shade and a bit of a breeze.  When we got to the end of the street where the clock tower is, it started to chime and play music.  It was pretty amazing.  I could not get all of the tower in one shot, so this is only about a third of it.
At one point as we were walking from booth to booth, two girls went running past us.  I could not imagine what would make anyone run that fast on such a hot humid day.  Then I saw the boom mike. Then I saw the camera people.  I don't know what TV show they were filming, but my guess is something on HGTV.  In the past, that TV channel has had shows featuring the longest yard sale. HGTV and a couple of other channels have competitions with teams seeking to out-do each other in finding the best bargain.  I'm sure it was for something like that.  The lady sitting down in the yellow shirt said they bought a vintage Coca Cola cooler from her.  I'll have to be on the lookout for that.
 
We didn't stop anywhere else for the yard sale.  We had some spatterings of rain, and some slow interstate construction traffic, but eventually made it to our respective homes safe and sound.  Neither of us bought a lot at the convention.  I bought mostly stencils and a couple of stamps (and the very cool convention tote bag). 
 
 I had to pick up a couple of things at the store after I got home, and noticed they already have their Halloween candy out.  Soon they will have the Christmas things out.  Time moves on... Stampaway 2015 will be here before you know it!

Stampaway Weekend (Part 1)

Another fun and successful Stampaway is now in the rearview mirror.  Gaye and I had a fun trip to Cincinnati and both had great classes.

I made another sample of my Agenda Book, this one using black pages from a children's book. I'm not sure what the book was about, but it had nice pages, mostly black, with some faint writing on some of the pages.  Nice weight for this particular book. 
When Gaye taught her Concertina Box, I actually sat down and made the project with the rest of the class. I have not taken a class in so long, it was fun just to sit and relax, chatting with tablemates. (My, how times have changed, and how we have all aged... most of the discussions now center on Social Security and retirement more than art!) These are Gaye's samples. When you lift the lid, the sides come down and pages unfold with quotes and art.
At the Friday night Preview Party, I was happy to again have a chance to watch some of my favorite artists work on journal pages.  The lovely and talented Dyan Reaveley was again there....
... one of Dyan's journal spreads.
So happy to see Mary Beth Shaw (Stencil Girl) there.  I could watch her make art for hours, and her journal pages are fabulous.
If you have ever been to a convention like this (especially in the month of August), you know it can get hot and stuffy at times.  Gaye (in the red on the right) carries a battery-operated fan with her and whips it out when she needs to cool off.  We happened to cross paths with another fan lady (Cindy) and I made them pose for a picture.  I never met Cindy before and know nothing about her, except that she has the driest and funniest sense of humor I have even encountered.
 Friday Night Preview means crazy hat contest...  These are some of the amazing creations... This fella had a large sombrero with card samples clipped all around it.
This hat was very tall, with a lighted veil....
To me, this cupcake hat one of the vendors wore is the way to go, because it was impressive, but lightweight, since it was mostly paper and cotton.
Another vendor had this awesome stack of flower pots on her head.
More about the weekend in the next post...


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Birds on the Brain

I have been putting some finishing touches on my agenda book with the bird on the cover, adding little birdie things here and there.  It's fun rummaging around to see what I have to add.



The second picture is some vintage bird stickers that I drew boxes around. I used regular thin paper in this book, and now I am adding watercolor pencil, which is making the pages all crinkly - just the way I like it! The third picture uses an image from one of Gaye's collage sheets, which just happened to have a bird also!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Calling All Pencils

For some reason, I went on a mini spending spree a couple of weeks ago.  I occasionally check out shopping online at Goodwill.  I bid on two things and won both.  Both bids were won pretty cheap, less than ten bucks each, but shipping was more than what I paid for the items.  I was pleasantly surprised by both when they arrived.

Here is the pencil sharpener, shaped like an old telephone.  There is a hole on the left side for the pencil, and you crank the handle on the right to sharpen it.  The blades need sharpening, but it otherwise works. The front comes off so you can empty the shavings.  The phone earpiece on the left actually comes off the hook, like on a real phone.  It is just too cute for words, mainly because it is in miniature.
The other item was what they called a "rabbit stamp" and they apologized in the description that it does not actually stamp a rabbit but rather some scribbling.  I recognized it as a Chinese chop and I figured it probably had something to do with Year of the Rabbit.
It was much bigger than I expected, as you can see with it pictured next to a Chinese chop I already had (which has my name and on top has a dragon since I was born in Year of the Dragon).  What I found fascinating is the middle section with the round thing carved that you can see from all sides. I cannot seem to find a seam anywhere and it looks like the whole thing is one piece.  But there is a marble inside the round section - how on earth did they get it in there?  Don't have a clue.

All four sides below the window part have something carved, either Chinese characters or a scene.  Pretty impressive. 
The symbol on the bottom however kind of looks like a beginner carving.  I searched the net to figure out what the character is.  Definitely nothing to do with a rabbit or new year.  The closest symbol I found appears to be for the word Beautiful or Beauty. 
 
All in all, it was fun to get a couple of packages and not really know what they would look like in person.  When I go to the Goodwill site, I usually only look at the Office Supplies section.  They also have Arts as well as Crafts/Hobbies, but since their categories are not broken down any further than that, you have to go through every page to see what's there.  I don't usually have the time or patience for that, though I'm sure there are lots of treasures there!
The website is shopgoodwill.com
From what I can tell, Goodwill stores all over the country list items there, so shipping varies depending on how close you live to that particular store.  Kind of fun to look....