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
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....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Testing Grounds

Don't you love getting new art supplies?  For me that means another page of playing and testing.

I admit I do get easily suckered into something I may not really need, especially if it is on sale.  This journal was not only on sale, it was on "super" sale, and it came with 9 free pens.  I'm always looking for black pens in different sizes, so that sealed the deal for me. And since I was ordering anyway... decided to order the liquid pencil I've been wanting to try.
The journal is soft leather, with three kinds of paper (plain, lined, and dots), with pocket dividers. It feels good just to hold it.

I played around with the pens first (in another journal).  The result is that just because it says it's "permanent" does not mean it is.  These will be good pens for journal writing, but not necessarily for heavy duty use on other media.  I'm still trying to figure out how to use the liquid pencil, which I got in black rewettable and sepia permanent.  It will take a lot of playing on my part to figure out when and how to use them, and when to use permanent and when to use rewettable.  I was a little disappointed that the sepia was such a dark brown.  I expected a little redder color, but that's just me.

Bottom line, it was fun to test it all out.  (The borders of the boxes on the page were done with watercolor pencil and not any of the new supplies.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Less is More

Just playing around....  Traced stencil with water soluble pencil, brush with water...
Add color with watercolor pencils, brush with water.
 Fill in background with scribbling using No Blot Pencil (writes like a pencil, but turns blue when water is added)...
 Add watercolor to very bottom, let everything dry, add some washi tape and stamping.  Call it good.
Return to mandatory overtime at work and hope for more play time.... Have a good week!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Instant Stickers

If you ventured into making a cardboard book like I talked about in a June post, you may have also bought a ginormous roll of the packaging tape (water activated).  The thing is, you either need to get dozens of friends to also make a cardboard book to use it all up, or come up with other ways to use it.  I was looking at my cardboard book pages, and started thinking to myself, I wish I had used a border punch on the edges of the tape before I stuck it down.  So I punched a few strips of the tape just to see what it looked like.  There is lots of potential there, I do believe!

Then I found myself using other punches on the tape.  You can lick and stick them, but I prefer to use a slightly wet brush to activate the adhesive on the tape.  Either way, you have some instant stickers.  You have lots of positive and negative shapes to use.  (In other words, I like the holes in the tape as much as the circles punched out of it.)  And that roll will go a long way!
Have at it!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Agenda Book

Do you have your secret agent Agenda Book?  Bet you don't.  There are some openings in my class at Stampaway in August in Cincinnati if you are on the fence.  Still lots of good classes at the convention in fact.

I keep coming up with more and more ideas for this little book, and it is not as hard to make as it looks.
Registration at Stampaway USA.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It's July.  I know because I just put the word "July" in my writing journal. I am also playing catch-up in my writing journal and there are a few months that have been left blank for now.

I haven't had any time for artsy visual journaling lately, so in working in my writing journal, I have been adding more play just to feed my need.  The July word was cut from a piece of scrap paper where I had used up some leftover paint.

The simplest things make me happy.  I seem to be content just to use a watercolor pencil, then smear it with some water to activate the pencil.  I love the Inktense pencils.  They smear if left as pencil marks, and will transfer to a facing page.  But once activated with water, they are permanent.  I just like the gunginess of haphazard markings.

I have been challenging myself to use all kinds of differnt date designations.  Date stamps, stencils, etc. Then I coordinate the color with some washi tape.

So my "writing" journal has become a little more fun until I can get some Real play time! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bits and pieces

Honestly... who saves things like this:
I guess the answer is, people who are distracted by anything with color on it!  And people who might also be inclined to save things like this....
Or even this.....
But if things like this pile up in your kitchen junk drawer, just put them on a journal page and pretend that you planned it that way all along.