Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Did you know it is almost Christmas?  Then the end of the year?  Seems like only about twelve months ago we were doing the same thing!

No matter what your Christmas plans are, I hope that your travels are safe and your days joyful.

Merry Christmas!
From the workshop of metal trees and red gift tags.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Distractions

I am focusing on Christmas preparations, I really am.  But, I am also easily distracted and often wander off doing other things. 

In a previous post, I showed a stamp I carved which was a pattern from a Kleenex box.  The pattern on the box actually had two designs and I only carved one of them.  A few days later, after looking at the other pattern off and on, I carved that one too, which is a reverse of the first pattern.  I had fun stamping out a page using the two stamps and different inks.
 I also stamped one of the designs on brown kraft paper.  It would probably look better if (a) I could carve a symmetric design, and (b) I could stamp in a straight line. 
I also tinkered with something Christmassy for addressing envelopes for Christmas cards.
Last but not least, one of my favorite things every year is receiving a Christmas letter from a faraway friend.  Every year she stamps/writes the letter in rebus form.  I cannot believe how she has outdone herself year after year.  It is such a hoot to sit down and figure out what her letter says.  I always take it with me when I go visit family and it has become one of our most fun traditions to laugh at everyone's wrong guesses until the whole thing is solved.  If there was a rebus Christmas letter hall of fame, she would be the main rock star there.
This might have been posted sooner except for the fact that when I took all the pictures, my camera card was in the slot on my computer and not in my camera.  One might say, doesn't your camera have a message on the screen that says no card is there.  Yes, it does.  But since this is about December distractions, all I can say is, I was too distracted to know the card was not in the camera, and I totally missed the message on the camera screen.  I hope I am less distracted in the new year.  I might be much more productive!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Magnetic Field over my House

Happy December (nine days in already?)

I don't know if there is a magnetic field over my house or if solar flares are bombarding me... but I have had electronic issues most of the year.  The latest was when my computer died. So I had to get a new computer and learn new things (like trying to figure out what new names they now call my old programs.. sigh...)  I don't even want to go into it all, but I am plodding along, trying to return things to normal, trying to re-establish files, pictures, music, etc.

But what I do know for sure is that this is a great time of year.  Because people drive around with reindeer antlers on their car and no one thinks it is odd at all.

And take my word for it, next year is going to be a really, really, really great year.  It just has to be!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Carving

Ah, Thanksgiving in America.  It commemorates a time when European settlers shared food with Native Americans, then afterward they went out to find bargains on big screen TV's and watch football... or something like that.

I didn't have turkey this year.  I did not carve a turkey.  But I did do some carving...

I keep looking at my Kleenex boxes.  I have to hand it to Kleenex.  Over the years they have had designs that depict marbling, paste paper, and now these tile looking designs.  It's enough to make me forget that their tissues are getting smaller and smaller, even though the box remains the same size.
When one of the boxes was empty, without a second thought, I cut it apart and decided to use the design for a carved stamp.  I didn't bother to get out my carving tools or use acetone to get the words off the eraser.  I just went for it.  It took me all of about 15 minutes to carve the stamp and stamp out a pattern.  
It would have helped if the stamp was more symmetric, but over the years I have learned that's never gonna happen with me, no matter how hard I try.  
Quick, quick, quick... In no time I had stamped out a pattern.  Maybe I'll stamp my Christmas wrapping paper this year.  hahahah, right after I make my Christmas cards... (that ship sailed years ago!)

Now, if only I had some pumpkin pie to eat while admiring my handiwork.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leaf Me Alone

I had the urge to paint leaves.  I remember doing this several years ago and got the urge to try it again.

Of course, first I had to clean the paint palette I used with the blue paints the last time I played.  This is why I like acrylics--you can just peel them up and throw them away.  (My former self would have kept these blue "skins" in case I wanted to glue them on a journal page.  The new me just threw them out - trying to simplify my life, you know!)
I gathered an assortment of paints and gathered some things from the yard.  By the time I went out to get the leaves, it was dark, so rather than traipse around with a flashlight in the backyard looking for cool leaves (and risk having the neighbors think I was an intruder), I just got some small leaves at the edge of the driveway.
I made a background with paint and stencils to start off.
Then I brayered a mix of brown and red paint directly on each leaf.
I carefully pressed each leaf onto the background, placed scrap paper over it, and pressed with my fingers.
The images were fairly light, so I experimented with adding color with Inktense watercolor pencils.  I knew the pencils would not cover up the acrylic paints on the background, but it was all for the sake of wanting to see what it would look like.
Fairly quick and fun to try.
That's why I like fall better than winter.  You can't do this with snowflakes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Cure a Grumpy Witch

Chocolate cures everything.

The greeting card above is on top of some background papers I did a couple of years ago.  I was playing with the first Dylusions sprays I ever bought.  They were out of most of the colors except purple, orange, and black, not normally my go-to colors.  But I had more fun playing than I ever expected.  I still have a stack of October-ish papers, and every year I think I should make a Halloween book with them.  But so far that hasn't happened.

I still like looking at them though!

Happy Halloween!!!  Don't let the goblins get you! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Messy Play

I got some new blue paints a few weeks ago and have not had time to play.  I decided today is the day.  I just can't go too long without clearing a space and making a mess. 

I went to my old standby, painting a little of each color to see what it looks like and labeling them.  I also used some other blue paints I had on hand for comparison.  As it happened, I had a plastic case that holds baby wipes.  The wipes had dried up, and I was about to throw out the case when I realized it would make a great palette.

To use up the rest of the paint, I blocked off part of the page with masking tape, brayered and stenciled paints.  With the paint that was left, I stenciled onto plain white paper.
When the paint dried, I cut the white paper into strips and squares and added that to the page. 
Added a little detail with white and black pens, and called it good.  I feel so much better now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Important Things

Seems like a long time since I posted here.  I guess that's because it has been a long time!  I wish I could reveal that I've been doing something exciting or interesting, or making fabulous art.  But, no.  Just kind of in a fall slump of a mood or something.  Starting things and not finishing them.  Cleaning and organizing then getting bored.  Trying to read a book, then falling asleep.

But things still percolate in my brain most of the time.  For instance, I have been working on a Very Important Research Project.  It was prompted by the screaming headlines a couple of months ago.  I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to read that... well... Hello Kitty is not a cat.  Say what?  Her name is Kitty for crying out loud.  You expect us to believe that after 40 years, you have been fooling us?  They supposedly have this whole cockamamie story about how Hello Kitty is a girl, lives in London with her family, and even has her own cat.  I have to admit that I've seen more girls than cats wearing shoes and dresses and bows.  But she has whiskers.  It's a cat.

This requires a lot of research, and I have started my research journal (which I'm sure I'll lose interest in by the time this is posted!)
Another thing I did was finally give in and start a Pinterest account.  That was mainly because they have started putting a big block across the screen if you don't have an account.  You can still see things, but it was annoying me, so I signed up.  Because, you know, I need something to waste three hours a day on...  I don't have many boards or pictures up yet.  But I sure did look at a lot of stuff other people have put up.  It goes on into infinity and there is no good stopping place once you enter the door. (Pinterest account may or may not be found at this link if it works.)
One thing I discovered on Pinterest was this little easy project, which I think was described as a book closure.  If I had been smart enough to pin it, I could give you the link, but I forgot.  Basically, take a wide rubber band. Fold it in half and then in half again.  No need to clip it, I only did that so I could take a picture.  Punch a hole near the end of the folded part (I used my Japanese screw punch).
Unfold it and line up the holes. Use scissors to cut from each end to the holes.  Try to cut exactly down the center (do as I say, not as I do).
Then you have this handy little band that you can put around a small book, or a small stack of books, or probably a stack of ink pads.  Fun and easy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moon Watch

I can't believe I actually got to see the Blood Moon in the wee hours this morning.  Usually, there is too much cloud cover or rain or fog that ruins the view when something like this happens.

Unfortunately, it was just getting good when it was time for me to report to work.  Yes, it's true, I do start work at O-dark-thirty every day.  Wish I had had time to get out the good camera and tripod and view the full eclipse.

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

Friday, September 5, 2014


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.