Thursday, March 24, 2011

But first...

Plan:  Go to the grocery store after work.

What happened in reality: 
I notice the open journal on the work table.  I had started a color chart the day before using a small fold-up watercolor box.  I bought the box years ago, always envisioning myself out on hikes, making nature sketches. [Insert laughter here.]  I made a row of color down the left side and a row across the top, but decided I didn't have enough room across the top, so I abandoned the idea.  But on the way to get ready for the trip to the grocery store, I instead sat down and started filling in the rest of the page with other stuff.  I liked it.

Now I can go to the grocery store.  But first, I'll take this leftover acrylic ink that I had used for lettering, and paint a couple of journal pages in my other journal.  Oops, not quite enough to finish, so I poured out some more acrylic ink.  Now I had some left over again.  I decided to use the rest on some fabric.

As I've done in the past, I put some stick-on letters and numbers on the fabric, then used a lot of water and the ink on the fabric.  I liked it.

But the fabric was really wet, so I tried a new thing (for me).  I took a piece of paper (I think it is Lenox, but might be Stonehenge), and pressed it hard onto the wet, painted fabric.  I could not believe how well it picked up the detail of the thread in the fabric.

To the store now?  No, there was still a little ink left, so I painted another piece of fabric.

Off to the store now?  What store?  I think my brain has spring fever.  And I have a nice little pile of stuff for future projects. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fashion (Non)Sense

Be aware.  This could happen to you. 

You might buy a big box of old patterns.  You might put it aside and forget about it for months. 

The Pattern People might get bored.  They will mix and mingle.  They will try on each others clothes.  They will steal words and pages from children's books. 

You never know what they will do.
  [Caution:  Silliness alert!]

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feeling Bluesy

I don't know why people think I like blue so much.

I mean, really.

Okay, it's true.  I love blues and greens.  I like other colors, but I sure do gravitate to the blues a lot when I'm playing and journaling.

By the way, the first picture, with the brush in the water?  That was an experiment too.  Just mere hours ago, it was a candle.  Am I the only one who gets irritated when a candle in a jar burns halfway down, then the wick disappears and it won't burn anymore?  Or, even if the candle does last its intended life span all the way to the bottom, what does one do with a wax-coated leftover candle jar?  This particular candle was a favorite--"vanilla cupcake"--and smelled heavenly.  But halfway through, it just would not burn anymore.  On a whim today, I put it in the microwave.  I heated it for about 20 seconds at a time, then took a knife to the soft wax and cut it in fourths like a pie.  I was then able to remove the wax chunks through the narrow opening.  While the rest of the leftover wax inside was warm, I wiped off what I could with a paper towel.  I'm sure I could have washed it, but who wants wax in their kitchen pipes?  Only when I felt the wax was gone did I give it good rinse and cleaning in the sink.  It is now my new water jar.  I have some small water jars that I got from Gaye.  They are my favorites that I use constantly.  But this may be my new favorite because it is wider on the bottom and maybe I won't tip this one over!  (In reality, if something has a liquid in it, and it is near me, chances are it will eventually get knocked over.)

Playing, playing, playing... lots of experimenting going on.
I had some leftover acrylic ink and used it on some journal pages.  Tried to see what would happen if I used a dropper to drop black, then white inks into the wet blue.  But before I used the dropper, I got my camera, and it dried too fast for good results.  Plus the white was kinda globby.  I ended up blotting up most of the black and white.  The pages curled a lot at first, and I weighted them down before dropping more color.  The ink bottle left a nice little half moon there on the page. 

Speaking of moons... don't forget to look up in the skies tonight for the SuperMoon!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zoom Zoom

Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day?  Did you know you can get a SmartCar with a St. Patrick's "wrapper"? 

I'd want the Hello Kitty car, I think.

Or maybe the one with paint stripes. 

These are so cute, you can practically put them in your pocket.  However, not so sure how they'd do on those icy roads late at night on a long trip.....

The sun is shining here... I'll be on the Patty-O.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cut Cut Here...Cut Cut There

I like to carve stamps, but I don't do it very much.  When I ran across Traci Bunkers blog (here) in January, I admired her dedication to carve a stamp a day.  What I liked best was that the designs were nice geometric shapes, and she did a lot with them as far as adding color.  You can see more of the designs by going back through her archives of January and February.  (And now that she has finished 30 Days of Carving, she is on to her 30 Days of Journaling... I have some catch-up reading to do!)

So I decided to carve a few stamps.  Then I wondered if I had some older stamps I had carved that I forgot about.  

The one below is one I carved last week.  I like this design for borders on journal pages.  (I also like the flexibility of straying from the original sketch as I go). 

 For journaling, I also like to use words and phrases from magazines and newspapers.  I have an envelope full of these that I cut out as they strike my fancy, then I'll grab one from time to time, and see where it takes me.  It usually involves silliness of some kind...

So much to do... so little time!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Postage Fabric Adventures

Sorry... I've been distracted again.  It started when I checked a blog that I really should check more often.  Cathe Holden has some really great projects, and is very sharing with ideas and downloads.  Like this Cigar Box Doll Bed.  That is the cutest thing I've ever seen.  And she provides free downloads of the postage stamps to make your own little bed quilt. 

I downloaded the stamps from her blog and printed a couple of them on Jacquard's inkjet cotton sheet.  I'd forgotten that sometimes colors fade when you print on fabric. 

Then I remembered I had some of Golden's Digital Ground, which I know others have had success with.  So I painted a fabric sheet with it as directed, and waited for it to dry.  While I was waiting, I tried covering the first fabric sheet with Golden's Acrylic Glazing Liquid.  I was pretty proud of myself that it did indeed brighten the colors.  On this photo, the top two rows (lighter) are without the glaze and everything below it has glaze on it.

The next day, I printed postage on the fabric I has put the Digital Ground on.  Wow.  I could not believe how well it worked.  The colors really were brighter and the images sharper.  I was really impressed with the results.  (PS, I do Not work for Golden's, just happy that a product does what it is supposed to!)

Since I don't have a cigar box bed to make a quilt for, I used some of my new fabric to make a journal pocket.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Love

One of the fun things about stopping at Gaye's house on Saturday is that I got to see some of the class samples she is working on for Art & Soul in Hampton, Virginia.  The "Lattice Entertain You" book is pretty amazing.  The pictures are great, but holding the books person is another matter - very impressive with all those intricate cuts on pages, on edge of pages, on the spine.  There are still openings in that class if you are in the area or planning to go.  The other class (Sewn In & Tied Too) is full (and is also an awesome, fun book). 

To see more pictures, go here.  For convention info, go here.   Now that's a road trip I wish I was going on!

Rainy Road Trip

About this time, nine weeks into the new year, those dark winter days could use some excitement.  That's why Gaye and I look forward to our road trip to Indianapolis for the annual rubber stamp show.  Little did we know that it would rain all day.  And by all day, I mean All Day, without exception.  I wish I had thought to take some pictures of the fields along the interstate.  Indiana is pretty flat in that area, and every field looked like a lake.  In some parking lots, ducks looked like they were walking on water, because there was no dry surface.  Hard to believe we were in drought conditions not so long ago.

But inside the car, it was toasty and sunny. We both really needed the road trip. We didn't really need to shop for anything at all - it's all about the trip.  It's not a huge convention, and seemed even smaller this time.  We both bought a few unmounted stamps at StampCamp and Lost Coast Designs.  I was happy to get some cushion, too, since I've needed it for months.  And those $2 long border stamps get me every time.  Hard to pass those up.  I noticed at most of the booths, it was all about ATC's.  Lots and lots of stamps sized to fit artist trading cards.  There were also some companies I wasn't familiar with, but they were very popular and had long lines.  Gaye and I reminisced back to the early days, and whether or not we ever wanted something bad enough to stand in line.  Me - my limit is about 30 minutes in line, tops.  Gaye - not so much! 

I was happy to see the Coffee Break booth.  I knew the business had been sold, to someone who already carried his products before.  It was good to see the familiar products, and that she kept the motto on the sign "Use Responsibly".  You can see more about Kristin here

We stopped at our favorite antique mall on the way home of course.  That's where we walk a lot, look a lot, and maybe buy one or two things.  I bought a porcelain palette and a children's book, which had old photos that for some reason really cracked me up. 

Great day.  I got home after dark, tired and sleepy.  Had to work Sunday and almost overslept.  But it was a happy tired.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sharpie Brothers At Work

My intention this month was to explore some web links I had bookmarked for myself, most with techniques I wanted to try.  I planned to share them with you as well.  Now, just posting a link is fine, but I wanted to try them first and have something to show for it.  Right now, I have a few things in progress, and this is one of them.

I will definitely tell you where the idea originated, because I want to give credit where credit is due.  I don't know these artists, and I hope they don't mind that I send you their way.  This technique is Sharpie Ghost Writing.  Looks like a cool background to try and I will be doing more of it.  I came across it on YouTube, posted by Leslie Herger a couple of years ago.  You can see the video here

Gesso a page, write a whole bunch with different Sharpies, gesso over it (full instructions in the video). Given that Sharpies are supposed to be permanent, it is amazing that the color does indeed float to the top through the gesso.  It's magic...

Have you ever noticed that even if you've seen it before and done it before, there's always something new to learn.  My favorite part of what Leslie did was to use water color crayons, then paint over them with white gesso.  I always find those watercolor crayons to be a mystery.  They are fine, but so are regular watercolors.  But this gives them a whole new dimension for me.  Love how that technique works.   Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

All I Had Was a Pancake

The search for things new and exciting continues.  I was blown away seeing art created by using a waffle as a stamp.  It was hidden in some great photos on Lisa Engelbrecht's Flickr site from a calligraphy conference.  See waffles here and here.

I really thought I had some frozen waffles in my freezer.  I was so disappointed to see all I had was old frozen pancakes, past their expiration date.

 Surely I could still stamp with them.

Maybe I could use a cookie cutter. (I have several, although none have ever been used to make cookies as far as I know.)

Maybe I could make a cat pancake stamp.

Or maybe I could have breakfast. Yum.
 See how easily I get distracted.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Beginnings

New month - new look - new plan.  Yes, it's greener around here, including the background.  (What?  You think that red background I used in February looked like a brothel??)

Can you believe it's March?  I had so many plans for the new year, so many new things to embark on, most of which I haven't gotten to yet.  Nevertheless, March is my favorite month.  And it was exactly two years ago this month that I started this blog.  Time sure flies.

Not every idea I have for a blog post ever makes it here.  I had big plans for Ice Candles.  Yes, ice candles.

I saw some awesome photos on another blog of something that looked like big blocks of ice, sitting out in the snow, with lighted candles in them.  I was determined to make a mini version.  I would put them out in the snow.  I would take amazing photos.  People would be in awe of me.  Or not....

I took a plastic cup and filled it almost full of water. I then filled a smaller cup with water and put it inside the other cup of water. I played around with different amounts of water until the smaller cup did not sink and stayed near the top level of the water. The purpose of the little cup was only to "make a hole" so that when the ice froze, I could remove the little cup, put a candle in the hole, and have my amazing ice candle.

 So I put my contraption in the freezer and by the next day it was ready to go. But it was a week or more before we had snow. In order to get my amazing photo, I wanted it to be at sunrise, with no flash and just natural light. I went out on the deck at sunrise, with candle, matches, and camera. The ice candle sank down into the snow, so you can't really tell how tall it is. It might as well be some ordinary glass candle holder I bought at the dollar store!

It was very cold and windy that morning. The wind kept blowing out the matches. Even when I did get the candle lit, the wind blew that out too. So I ended up with about a dozen pictures that were either blurry or with no lit candle. None were amazing. My fingers were frozen. I had to get to work, so I abandoned the project. Later that day, most of the snow melted, I let the ice candle melt in the sink... project failed

I'm not sure I'll ever try this particular project again.  But I do know that I plan to use this month to pass along some fun things for all of us to try, hopefully more fun than Ice Candles!