Monday, August 21, 2017

Stampaway 25

Seems like only days ago... Oh, wait, it was only days ago I was in Cincinnati at Stampaway USA, year 25 for this excellent convention.  There are many things to love about it, but number one on my list is merely taking a road trip with my best friend, who I almost never get to see anymore, and seeing old friends from far and wide.  Being able to shop with favorite vendors, great class offerings, seeing awesome demos by nationally known teachers, and checking out the latest products is icing on the cake!

We knew in advance there was major bridge construction on the bridge from Kentucky to Ohio.  You had to decide pretty early if you wanted to take the detour.  We took our chances on the bridge.  It was early afternoon on a Thursday plus the sign said trucks were prohibited.  We figured there would be less traffic and no trucks, so even if it was slow, we'd still be okay.
Okay, so the truckers ignored the signs.  Soon the Cincinnati skyline became more visible against the brilliant blue sky.  Traffic was slow enough that I got to take a few pictures.  Bridge traffic was a little slow, but about normal from other times when there was no bridge construction. (If you are traveling that direction, the Brent Spence Bridge has its own website with updates and apps to keep  you informed.)
This year we stayed at the brand new Hyatt hotel that was built adjacent to the convention center.  It really was nice being mere steps away from the classrooms and only a few more steps to the convention later.  Hyatt and the convention center share parking too, so that was convenient.
The hotel lobby had a map of Cincinnati, or at least that's what they said it was.  It's not marked, so use this map at your own risk!  Pretty cool, though.

Gaye taught her first class Thursday night.  It was a backgrounds class, and the students learned great techniques and put their samples in a little book Gaye provided.   Thanks to Lisa for standing on a chair and taking this shot of Gaye during a demo (okay, she was already up on the chair and I handed her my phone.)

Gaye's second class, Friday morning, was this great little planner.  So much attention to detail and supplies provided to the students.  Gaye's classes never disappoint.
The theme of the Friday night preview was pajamas.  This was by far my favorite two attendees who went all out with a cat ladies in pj's theme.
Great demos as usual..  Dyan Reaveley is always friendly and has great demos...
What can I say about Mary Beth Shaw, aka Stencil Girl.  I could watch her for hours, and she never seems to get tired of demoing for the masses.
I always get inspired by her journal pages.  

There was also some guy named Tim demonstrating.  :)
Big kudos to Connie Williams, who started Stampaway 25 years ago, and received roses during the convention.  Stampaway remains a highlight event for those of us in the eastern part of the U.S., and it is very special to all of us.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

If it's August...

I should be finishing up the laundry... but instead I am playing in my planner...

 I should be packing, but instead I'm setting up a little travel journal.  I wonder if the Field Notes notebook will be too small.  I'll give it a try!

Happy 25th Year, Stampaway USA!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One of These Days

One of these days, I'll get around to finishing up my recap of my trip to Western Kentucky and Tennessee.  I'll probably show the little travel booklet I made.  I'll show the stamps and stencils I got.  And I'll talk about the Dina Wakley journal I bought, the one with pages made of watercolor paper, burlap, canvas and kraft paper.  Yep... I will, one of these days...




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mini Getaway - Part 2

It only took me--- how long?  over a month to write part 2.  I blame it on working night shift.  I don't think I'll ever get used to these hours.

But I vaguely remember going to Paducah recently.  :)
On day 2, I was so sleepy when my alarm went off in the hotel (see comment about night shift).  I knew there were a lot of places I still wanted to visit before I hit the road again.  I got up.  I made coffee.  I fell asleep again.  My alarm went off again.  I got up.  I made coffee.  I took a shower and made friends with the housekeeper who was knocking on my door.  I'm sure she was checking to make sure I was okay.  Or maybe she just wanted to clean the room.  Due to the language barrier, I couldn't be sure.  Through hand gestures I finagled more coffee from her.

After finally feeling human, packing and re-loading the car, I was off again, very much later than I had planned.  But since part of the plan was catching up on sleep, I guess I was still on track!

First stop was Ephemera Paducah.  This is a little shop that sells mixed media art supplies as well as vintage goodies, and regularly hosts some very talented nationally known artists.  I would love to attend some of the workshops there. .
My pictures really don't do it justice, but I was on a shopping mission.  There were lots of cool things all around the store.
 This old ledger was huge!  I probably could not even have lifted it to look at it!
On the right below is what I refer to as the Tower of Stencils.  You can't tell just how many stencils there are, mostly on the back side of the tower.  The only reason I didn't buy more stencils than I did is that I already had most of them!  There were all the latest art supplies from Tim Holtz, Dina Wakley, and Dyan Reavley.  The owner, Kristin, could not have been nicer.
When I left there, I noticed all the wonderful Victorian homes along the street.  This big yellow house was right next door and undergoing some renovations.

I headed toward the river, but I was also looking left and right at the homes.  I wanted to take pictures of everything, but at the same time didn't want to linger too long.  I should have spent more time looking straight ahead, as a lot of the streets were one-way and I was so busy looking at houses, I almost turned the wrong way down a one-way street.  That made me stop looking at houses and pay attention to my driving!

I made my way down to the center of town which was along the riverfront.  One of the places I had planned to visit was the National Quilt Museum.  But that has to wait for another visit as there wouldn't be time.  It has become a big claim to fame for this little town, and they have an annual Quilt Festival.  It has spurred a growth of new hotels in the area.  The one I stayed in was new, and my room had a full size kitchen and 2 queen size beds, for only $72 per night.  That is unheard of.  I'm sure it's more during Quilt Week, but I'd stay there again in a heartbeat.
And there is the river, where the Tennessee  River meets the Ohio River.   If it looks cold, it was.  It was below average temperature for late March/early April.  Wind was blowing off the river and I was quite cold!
There is a very long flood wall along the river, and each concrete panel is painted with a mural.  it is quite impressive.  Another time (on a warmer day), I will take the time to study each one and read each plaque in front of it.


There is a steam train down at the far end of the mural wall.  There is a large parking lot across from the wall, which is very convenient to the riverbank and also downtown.  This was painted on the street, but is no longer legible.  Something about being careful what you put in there as it drains to the river.
As I drove out of town, other things caught my eye, like this large painted butterfly on the side of a building...
 ... and this painted honey advertisement.
One of the things I had envisioned myself doing before my trip was sitting at a coffee shop and sketching some of the old buildings in Paducah.  I didn't have time to sit outside at a coffee shop plus it was too cold anyway.  I had scouted buildings on google earth before I left home.  I had practiced sketching a couple of them, so I cheated.  When driving around, I found a church I had sketched at home, and held up my sketch.  I'll pretend I had a lazy coffee on a sunny day while sketching it.
There were lots of interesting buildings that require further exploration.  And I was surprised at the number of antique malls.  One could spend at least 2 days just going through those!  But I was off on the road again before it got too late in the day.  Headed south, to see my family!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mini Getaway - Part 1

I am seriously behind in my blogging, my play, and my sleep.  I'll tackle the first one today!

I have had a series of unplanned job changes over the last 3 years.  I work in what used to be a very stable industry, which has become the most unstable place to be (healthcare).  I only mention it because that's the reason I have not been to see my family out of state in almost three years, not even at Christmas (It's that healthcare thing - hospitals don't close on holidays.)

I finally accrued a few vacation days with my new company and started planning a long weekend trip.  In the past, when I drive from Kentucky to Tennessee, I always passed the Paducah exit on the interstate and think, I should stop there sometime.  So, as I was making my plans, I decided to make an overnight stop there.
Paducah is a small town on the Ohio River.  I did some exploring on google earth and felt like I didn't even need a map or GPS after just a few minutes of getting the lay of the land.  I made my hotel reservation and in a couple of weeks, I was on my way.

Along the way, I made a stop for gas and visited the Cracker Barrel restaurant and store nearby.  They are famous for their rocking chairs on the "front porch" and I discovered chairs in several different colors.  It was a pleasantly warm March day, and I sat in one of the chairs enjoying a soft breeze, and caught up on text messages and missed calls. I'd forgotten what it was like to be away from all the demands of work, to just sit and relax for a few minutes. That's what the whole weekend was about for me.
It's not that far to Paducah for me.  When I got there it was too early to check into my hotel, so I drove around, checking out the area near my hotel.  The weather took a turn for the worse about that time, with torrential downpours, and I had no choice but to go inside a Tuesday Morning and check out the deals.  (Did that sound convincing?)  I found several things under a dollar, and probably could have spent more but I tried to restrain myself.
My biggest decision when packing for the trip was what supplies to take for journaling.  In the end, I packed next to nothing.  I had a small journal in my fake Midori planner.  I took a few water color pencils, a water brush, some washi tape, and some sticker paper with dates stamped on them.  I did play a little in the hotel that night.  I discovered the stamps I bought at Tuesday morning  (self-inking, set of three that stack, in the picture) were on sale for a reason.  The word Observation was missing the T.  It also leaks, which I didn't realize until later when I wondered why everything I touched left black marks!
I caught up on sleep that night.. and the next morning.  My plans for getting an early start both days didn't pan out.  But I really needed the rest and did not feel guilty one little bit.  The maid eventually came around and I asked her to come back later.  That was when I noticed the magnet on the door.  I guess they no longer have the hanger that goes on the doorknob that says Do Not Disturb!

After plenty of coffee and packing everything up, I went out to explore some of Paducah.  That will be in Part 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February Planner Pages

Playing catch up today and took pictures of my planner pages for February.  Just the normal--a little stenciling, a little stamping and painting, using anything lying around within reach!
 (Above right background art is by Lorraine Belle and is a free download as part of her online class which I took to make this journal/planner. For Info, click here.)



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Making Stuff

Once again, I've fallen behind in posting anything here.  Rest assured, if I'm not posting something, I'm involved in creating wonderful things.  Or maybe I'm working on a top secret government research project.  Or maybe I'm napping...

One thing I've been pretty much obsessed with lately is making journal/notebook/datebook things.

I had looked from time to time at Midori Traveler's Notebooks.  They fascinate me, with all the inserts available and different versions and sizes.  It's a whole culture out there, and I had no idea just how big the TN culture was.

Meantime, I kept seeing Teesha Moore making her own version of these books, using her journal art on the covers, and selling them in her etsy shop.  Since they usually sell out before I can get one, when she made a new batch, I jumped on it.  I bought one in a medium size, similar to the passport size.  When it came, I carried it around from room to room.  I kept it on my desk while I worked so I could look at it and pick it up to feel the leather.  I ordered another.  Actually, I ordered two more, in the micro size, and gave one as a gift.

If you are a subscriber to Teesha and Tracey Moore's Artstronauts Club, you know how generous she is in sharing her art process, her journals and how she goes about filling pages with her art. I wasn't sure how she was putting art on these leather covers.  I researched online trying to find a company that printed on leather.  Then, when I was catching up on watching some of her videos, there it was.  She mentioned she had posted a video a while back showing how she did this.  What? It was right there under my nose the whole time.

This called for a play day at my friend Gaye's.  We played with transferring Gaye's background art onto leather.  There's a learning curve, but we were very happy with the result.
Over the next few days after I got home, I made another one, using pages from a 2015 art journal for my cover art.  Since I had copied the pages from a journal, they were second generation, so when I made my collage, I used colored pencil and markers to add more depth and color to the page.  I used a thinner leather, mainly because I had more of it, plus I'm not close enough to Gaye to go over and use her heavy duty sewing machine to sew through the thicker leather.
Once again, I was very happy with it.  I have ordered a few inserts from Amazon to go in the books, but mostly I have made my own inserts.  One I made is an address book.
I cut a piece of ledger paper the size of the pages I needed.  I typed and drew on the page and made a copy.  I put both copies on a piece of copy paper, with the center of the page marked.  Since I put it dead center, I could copy on the back side and get front and back.  Then cut to size and put in the book.
I'm finding all kinds of uses for these books.  It's still a learning curve, but it's been a fun journey!