Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!  This is a postcard beautiful day here, with sunshine, spring blooms, beautiful weather.

Here are a few Easter dont's...
 
 Don't forget and leave your Christmas wreath on the front door until April.  If you do, don't tell anyone, like in a blog post or something.  I never use my front door, I always go through the garage door.  Out of sight, out of mind!  But I did find a lovely spring wreath at Michael's, on sale, half off, plus 30% off my entire purchase.  That's what I was waiting for.
Don't even try to make a metal Easter egg.  Just does not work, trying to smooth that metal on a rounded surface.  The more I worked with it, the worse it looked. 
 
Don't forget to disconnect from electronic stuff every once in awhile and enjoy the spring!  Happy Easter!
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Embroidery Time Capsule

It's hard for me to imagine, but there was a time when my only hobby was embroidery, followed by cross-stitch.  I was reminded of that when I came across this project holder in the back of my closet. I wish I could remember who made this cross-stitched piece, but I can't (I know it wasn't me.)  It still contains the last cross-stitch project I worked on, along with the embroidery floss and pattern book.

I cannot even guess when I was working on that project.  At least 20 years ago. I was into it all the way at the time.  I had every color embroidery floss they made.  In my basement, there is a cabinet (made for nuts, bolts and screws) that holds all my floss, with numbers on the drawers corresponding to the numbers on the floss wrappers.

Coincidentally, but great timing, I saw this embroidered piece on a Pinterest site this week.  So true!!

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Don't Hate Me

If you are the type of person who gets jealous, you probably don't want to read any further.  There are goodies below.  Lots of pretty amazing goodies.  I am a lucky girl.

I had a day off Friday, and got in my getaway car and headed up the road to my friend Gaye's.  The first thing we did when I got to her house was dig into the Butterkuchen (German cake).  She had remembered something I said last year about wanting to try it, and made a special trip to get one at the bakery for my birthday.  Yum, yum.  Yes, I did indeed like it.  (In fact, part of what I brought home with me was consumed for dinner that evening).
My unique gifts were a feast for the eyes.  Gaye makes amazing collage sheets and gifted me with some, as well as a metal birthday ATC. 
I don't usually ask for anything specific (and in fact, there are birthdays and holidays when we don't give each other anything, depending on what is interfering with life at the time). But I did ask for another Takin' Care of Business book, as my other one is full of business cards and moo cards.  This one she made outshines all the others she has made in the past.  She is always coming up with something new, like the circles put on the spine of this one.  
All the above would have been more than enough for one person, but she has also been sneaking around behind my back, making a Shutterfly book like the one I made her.  This one has pictures of things I have made for her over the past years.  When we first met, that was back in the days of film cameras, not digital.  There are things we have made and given away that we don't have pictures of, so I love having a record of some of my earlier art.  She did a great job with the book.
This is one of my favorite page spreads.  These were square canvases I made for her in 2008.
Afterwards, we did one of my favorite things when I'm in town--went to Hobby Lobby.  They had a bunch of blank wood mounts in the sale bin, and I got a few, and this one specifically for my bird stamp I got last month.  When I got it home, I stamped the image on the wood with black ink before mounting the stamp to the wood.  Turned out great.
If there is one thing Hobby Lobby has a lot of, it's letters and numbers.  I saw some oversized Scrabble blocks, about 5 or 6 inches square.  They'd look great on a shelf if one had the right space for them.  I liked the idea of these drawers with letters on them, but I think they could have done a better job with distressing them.  The original price was too high, and the sale price ($700) was also way too much.  But the idea is great.
If I were writing a tip column, I would pass along this tip from Gaye.  I don't think she will mind if I do, because I have heard her tell our other artist friends many times... make copies of your art.  Resize it and put several sizes and cropped areas on a page and print it out.  You will have lots of collage pieces to use for tags, pockets, cards, etc.  Great tip.  Great day!!!  Great fun!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's Brewing?

The best thing about getting older is setting your own rules.  If I want to spread out my birthday celebration over several weeks, I get to!  I have had some great cards and fun packages arriving.  I'm not sure how they did it, but my friends and family seem to be color-coordinating everything this year, even though most of them don't even know each other.  Lots of blues and browns.  Nice stash!



 
I love it all, but I gotta say, this Raven's Coffee still fascinates me.  Great coffee, great art.  I just checked their website, and they are donating a portion of online sales to the mudslide recovery efforts in Washington state.  Awesome company. (ravensbrew.com)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Go With the Flow

There's a hokey saying "Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans."  That actually is true.  And the longer you live and the older you get, the more it happens.  It was a shock (but not really a surprise) when I learned this month that my entire transcription department at work was being done away with.  More than 30 of us are being fired and the work will be outsourced.  If there is a glimmer of a bright side, the company they are outsourcing the work to is offering us jobs (although with a different pay structure).  It is bit of stability while we explore other options. So, the past few weeks have been filled with massive paperwork, online learning, still working at the old job, while at the same time transitioning to the new job.  I'm mentally tired.

It seems like years since I picked up a paint brush or any art tool of any kind.  So, over the past couple of days, I just played in a journal, using whatever was on the desk, with no plan or thought, just putting things on paper.  It felt great!
I used masking tape to section off parts of the page.  For background color, I used mostly a sponge and stamp pad ink. Other places I used watercolor pencil.  Stamping, collage, stencils, a little writing.  It's good for the soul.

There's another saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."  I don't agree with that one.  I'm a pretty old dog, and this week, I'll be learning a bunch of new tricks as I start yet another chapter.  All will be fine, I truly believe it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It Could Work

I'm a sucker for a deal, even if it probably isn't a deal.  I was checking out at the grocery store and right by the checkout, where they were placed especially for me, were Cadbury eggs. Buy 2 and get 1 free.  Well, I haven't had a Cadbury egg in over a year, so thank you, I'll have 3 please.  The guy at the register said, Do you want to put these in your purse?  No, I said, just put them in the bag.  He said, I'll put them in the bag with your regular eggs so you'll know where they are.  I said, hmm, maybe I'll make deviled eggs with them.  The guy at the register didn't comment.  The guy putting my groceries in the bag, and clearly the more creative of the two, said, Yes!  Mix them with marshmallow cream.. or peanut butter, I said.  We formulated chocolate deviled egg recipes until I paid and left.

But, you know, it just could work....  I hope Martha Stewart sees this and jumps right on it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stick it To Me

I often go in spurts with projects.  Like fabric projects.  I have a lot of interesting bits of fabrics, but I don't make too many things with any of it.  Then I get in a sewing frenzy and make stuff.

Several years ago, I made some pin cushions for gifts and one for myself.
I don't even pretend to be an accomplished seamstress, but the directions were easy enough to follow.  The instructions were in this issue of Sew Somerset 2008. 
I do struggle with matching seams, making corners, and all that stuff.  But somehow it still turns out okay.
 In fact, it turns out okay enough that I can give another one as a gift and not embarass myself.
And in case you want to use it instead as a tiny pillow for a tiny head, make sure there are no pins in it. 
:o)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Howdy Doody

If you grew up as a kid watching the Howdy Doody TV show, just those two words probably make you smile.  If you didn't, well, I guess you think I'm just a country girl saying hi!

In January, I was one of the many who joined the Artstronauts Club that Teesha and Tracy Moore started.  I have gotten my money's worth several times over already.  My favorite thing so far is the little Playing Card Journal that Tracy made.  I immediately looked for a playing card box to make a journal.

What I used is a little smaller than regular playing cards.  It's a vintage Howdy Doody playing card box.  When I say vintage, I mean old and falling to pieces.  First thing I had to do was laminate the whole thing.
I used a variety of papers, including security envelopes, brown bag paper, and printed stationary.
I have used some of my Zettiology stamps (a Teesha & Tracy company) on a few pages as they are just the right size.
I've been making notes in this little journal from the videos and instructions.
I am really loving this little journal.  I had big issues with my velcro closure, however, and for now I'm using a rubber band to wrap around it when it is closed.
As I have said many times, it does not take much to entertain me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dirty Bird

It sounds perfectly logical to me.  Five or six hours in a car, round trip.  Attend a rubber stamp convention. Buy just one stamp.  Make it a good one.  I don't see anything wrong with that, do you?

This guy looks like I feel most of the time!  His name is not really dirty bird... in the Lost Coast Designs catalogue, he is called Feather Bird.  I really like all his messiness!!!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Making Books

There's making books... and then there's making books about making books! 

I haven't mentioned before about the photo books I ordered.  In the latter part of last year, I had a coupon for a free book through Shutterfly and I decided to make a book for my friend Gaye for Christmas, with pictures of all the cool things she has given me as gifts over the years as well as some of her other art.  Back when we first met, there was no such thing as digital photography for the average person, and neither of us has much of a record of what we exchanged. 

I was determined to stick to the guidelines for the "free" book (number of pages, size, etc.) and only be out the cost of postage.  But, of course, in the long run, just before I hit the "order" button, my inner self said, why don't you order two copies, so you have one for yourself.  So, "free" is relative at this point!  I was pleased with the books when they came, and actually gave it to Gaye well before Christmas because I just could not wait for her to see it. That's her 8x8 book on the right, with a couple of page spreads following.



Last month, I had another book coupon and decided to make a book with pictures of some of the books I've made. I ended up calling it Volume I because it only has books through around 2011.  My book is 8 x 11 and is the one on the left in the top picture.  The cover shows close-up detail of one of my journal pages. Below are a couple of page spreads.


Overall, I found Shutterfly pretty easy to navigate.  There were many options for page layouts, and it is easy to move pictures around to see what you like best.  I know there are other companies that make photobooks, but I have not used them and can't compare.
 
So basically, Shutterfly gets a fairly good grade.  That is, unless you include the Mystery of the Missing Package.  Just before Christmas, I ordered some cards using photos from a family gathering.  Because, yes, I had a coupon.  One thing about Shutterfly, once you order, you constantly get new discount offers.  I knew that because of Christmas and New Year holidays, my order might be delayed a little.  But, each day when I checked the tracking number, I became more confused.  At one point, the package seemed to be bouncing back and forth between Atlanta and Memphis a lot.  Pretty ironic, since all the people I planned to mail the cards to live just a short drive from Memphis. So close, yet so far...
 
After 10 days, they consider it a lost order.  I was impressed with how quickly they resubmitted my order and got it to me, along with an upgrade in cardstock that I didn't even ask for. Kudos to a business that makes things right.  But their shipping... hmmm, not sure why that turned into a problem.
 
Will I use them again?  Probably.  You know, when I have a coupon...
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gifting Ideas

I mentioned in the last post that I helped my friend Gaye celebrate her birthday (late as it was).  I thought I'd show one of the gifts I made for her, and some fun tags that are easy to make.

This is a zippered pouch for her politically incorrect smoking sticks
 :-)
I used olive green fabric to try to match her latest handmade purse/backpack  This really doesn't have a front or back because both sides are fun to look at (if I do say so myself!)

At the last minute, I decided these gifts needed some tags.  These were done fairly quickly, using purchased tags with mostly washi tapes and stamping.


Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Metal Books

Yesterday was a good day.  The sun was shining, snow was melting.  And I had a fun visit with friend Gaye up the road,  We finally got around to celebrating her birthday.  The celebration was delayed by weather, illness, and all that annoying stuff in life!

I got to see the samples she is working on for her classes at Artiscape in Ohio just a few weeks away.  Her little metal books are just adorable.  She is constantly tinkering with techniques and discovering new ways to do things.



She is also teaching this fun little leather book.

Wish I was going to this art gathering, as they always have good classes.  Info about Artiscape can be found HERE.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Fatigue

I just couldn't help myself.  I know I can post only so many pictures of my snow and ice covered deck before it gets boring. I'm making a montage for myself of what it looks like each day - snow, ice, snow on ice, more snow, some melting, more snow... etc. 

But I admit I am suffering from winter fatigue.  I think we've been spoiled in this area over the past few years with mild winters and little snow. 

Then I read the comment on the last post, left by a local fabric artist.  Dye the snow?  Hmmm... my mind immediately went to stencils and sprays!  It was too cold to spend much time outside (with no coat and houseshoes, juggling camera, stencil, cardboard, and spray).  I tried to stencil in some green leaves next to a dead branch on my deck that has been covered in snow.  I used Dylusions spray ink since it is water soluble (which is why detail quickly becomes lost).  Tried to use the cardboard to prevent overspray, but the wind blew the spray under the cardboard anyway. 



And there you have it.  I know spring is on the way because I see green vines and leaves!  I checked on it this morning, but it is already covered in another layer of snow, so I don't know how well Dylusions holds up long term on the snow.