Monday, February 3, 2014

A simple little funky village

Hi all!

Well I do love snow but even I am getting a bit tired of snowy winters.  I am chomping at the bit for spring to arrive so I can head out to my gardens and dig in the dirt!  Truth is I may finally be over snowy winters for good!  Might even be able to be convinced to one day live somewhere with no snow in winter.  But not while Pezza is little - she loves it too much!

I have been scrambling around for balance and failing miserably.  BUT I have long admired the work of fellow Luminarte artist Jodi Ohl and when I saw her mini version of her Funky Cities class for half the cost of the full version I jumped at the chance to try something new!

I must say I was operating far outside of my comfort zone as well as using a medium I am not too familiar with - acrylic paints.  Not the $1.79 craft paints I usually use but big girl paints!

I have slowly collected tubes of these more expensive paints - and some of them can go as much as $12 for a tiny tube so I use my coupons at Michaels or watch for them to be 40% off!  I have to say the difference is striking!  The colors are so vibrant!

I have also been attempting to participate with a Blog/Facebook art journaling group called Journal 52 and we have weekly prompts.  This one was for the week 2 prompt - "Somewhere, A Simple Place."  I think of mine more as funky little villages - a fun, simple, doodled place!

It was SUCH fun that I have already started on a second one and Pezza is doing one with me so I can teach her about the techniques.  She is QUITE pleased at using the big girl paints like Mommy!  Now to find some time to do some more!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Journal 52 day - week 1

Hi all!

I came across a journaling prompt Facebook group called Journal 52 starting up for the new year and thought I would join in the fun.  There is a new prompt each week - this week the prompt is "Up, up and away."  Pezza decided to join in on this one too (being as how we were having the Xmas break that never ends - thanks a lot Polar Vortex :P)

In addition to the Journal 52 challenge we decided to use something else I made up to help - I made a bunch of product/technique prompts and we turned them all over and drew some to help our work along.

I suggested we draw 6 but Pezza insisted on drawing more.  Here are hers:

She actually had 9 but it got to a point where I was like ok we can only do so much at once.....

She did such a great job!  I try my best to give her as much freedom as I can - offering product usage info and suggestions but I let her make some choices too.

Her background has some subtle shimmer and I love the doodling she did with the gel pens!  She is getting better at stenciling with pastes too.

And here is mine:

I left a few of the tags out!  Six was more than enough!

I was inspired by the sunrise at the bus stop this morning - brilliant pinks, oranges and yellows masked by the cool soft tones of blueish purple clouds.....

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."  ~Helen Keller

Friday, January 3, 2014

Say Yes to New Adventures

Hi all!

One of the things I like most about the life I have lived so far is that I have never been afraid to say yes to new adventures.

One of the things I have been struggling with lately - for some time really - is the lack of new adventures and I am unsure how to handle that.....

Don't get me wrong, jumping headlong into new adventures and living by the seat of my pants could make for some rocky rides, stress and uncertainty so I appreciate the stability I have now......

But oh how I still crave the adventure.......!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Letting Go....

Hi all!

It's a new year...again...SO MUCH PRESSURE! Hahhaha!

I rarely make New Year's Resolutions because I really try to work on things all year and often those things change.  But I did pick a word I am trying to keep in mind for the New Year or at least for now and that is "freedom".   A big step towards freedom for me is letting go and I came across a great list of things to let go of  for the New Year and sort of built on it and re-worded it to fit me.  (You can read the original article HERE.)

In Alcoholics Anonymous we love our quick sayings and tag lines and one of my favorites has always been "You will find it necessary to LET THINGS GO simply because they are heavy."  (In later research I found the source of the quote - C. JoyBell C.)

So simple and yet so tough to do...

But it is something I must remember how to do if I am going to find my way back to freedom....

It takes an awful lot of energy to hold on so tightly to so many things....and it changes nothing.....these are people/places/things I have no control over....

And so this is what I will meditate on for as long as it takes - something I did not wait until the New Year to start and it is gradually helping, a tiny bit of peace, just a glimpse, but I have faith it will grow.

"For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit." (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, p. 66)

Monday, December 30, 2013

A fun new thing is hitting the shelves!

Hi all!

I hope you have all been having a wonderful Holiday season!  I must admit I am looking forward to a new year - this one has been a rough ride.  I am really hoping my new year includes more studio time.

Recently I was asked my a friend and Sizzix designer,Eileen Hull, to design some things for CHA using some of her new Scoreboards Dies.  May I present Artist Trading Blocks!

How cute are these little guys???  And really fun too!  To be quite honest I was a little perplexed when they arrived as it was something new to me but I decided to just dive right in and I had a blast.  Today I am going to give you a step by step to create the center one.  These will be on display at CHA in the Sizzix booth.

SO let's begin with Score Boards - what the heck are they???  Straight from the Sizzix Score Boards website:

"If it’s chipboard or mat board, then ScoreBoards Dies expand your creativity with quick and easy cuts and scoring. The first-ever product of its kind, ScoreBoards Dies produce sturdier boxes, pockets, holders and other ultra-versatile designs. Use board thickness from .040" to .055" for best results."

The Box dies create these boxes.  Super easy to decorate and a snap to put together.  The largest one is available now and the smaller sixes will be available soon.

So let's get started!  Here is what they look like nekkid!

You need TWO pieces to create the box.  Each piece has 3 sides and a tab on each end where your Score Tape will go to put them together.  you can see the score lines on each one.  Now when planning out your design line the two pieces up as shown so everything is facing the right way or one of your sides will be sideways (guess how I know :P)  Here are the steps I used to create my flower garden Artist Trading Block in the middle of the first picture.

I began by adding texture - I can NOT pass up texture pastes and stencils, nope, just can't do it.  This time I decided to do it at the very start using Modeling Paste.  Let it dry.

Next I gave it a base coat of Titan Buff acrylic paint - sort of a light tan neutral color.  Let it dry.

Now it's time for some shimmering color!  I took 3 Primary Elements Artist Pigment Powders by Luminarte (truly the grandest of things in my studio) in Apple Blossom, French Lilac & Wintermint & I mixed them with Slow-Dri Blending Medium - this just gives me a nice liquid glaze-type paint.  I randomly dry brushed them across the surfaces - I left some areas unpainted.

I wantd to give my texture a bit of extra pizzazz sso I very lightly brushed on Inka Gold in Old Silver across the raised areas with my fingertip.  If I used a darker color the effect would be even more dramatic but i was going for soft here.

I also added some embellishing.  I dug around in my misc. soft things drawer (really, there is no other way to describe it but I know exactly what I can find in there...) and I pulled out these felt die cuts and stacked them to make flowers - little glittered skittles int he middle.  Then took a black pen and doodled some additional stuff and even took the plunge and WROTE my little saying in  my own handwriting!  Not something I am usually comfortable with!

And then, because I couldn't resist (?) I added some bright pink highly textural "messes" here and there.  I mixed that same Apple Blossom Primary Elements Artist Pigment Powder into some Gel Medium and globbed it on in various places.  Then I sprinkled in some pink Gala Glitz (Fab stuff - you really need some!)

It is from Art Institute Glitter and is a mix of different sizes and colors of glass glitters and different colored micro beads - neat huh?

Hubby suggested my garden needed a little ground and I thought of just the thing - something I love but had not pulled out in awhile - Elements Earth Textures - also from Art Institute Glitter.  This time I dabbed on the Gel Medium straight and sprinkled it on - the gel dries clear.

And here is the finished piece - laid out and ready to glue!  I really like the way this combo of steps turned out too and may use it again on some flat pieces too - I am unsure how my little blocks will fare at CHA.

Past experience has shown me that CHA handling can be a bit rough!

I will post more about the other two ATBs soon!  In the meantime head over and check out what the other artists have been doing with these by visiting the ATB blog and Facebook page!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cut It Up challenge time!

Hi all!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Turkey day and stuffed yourselves silly!  I know I did - on both counts!  We headed to the in-laws for lunch and then a friend's house afterward for a bit.  So shopping for me as I think all of the stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving!  Plus it ruins the insanity of Black Friday - I liked it better when it ALL started at 4am on Friday.  I was a faithful participant for ages but now it seems lacking.  I can't go out anyway this year as Kevin cannot watch Pezza and I am not bringing her out in that.  She is not a good shopping companion on a normal trip!  The only thing I am planning to do is take advantage of the 50% of entire purchase from noon - 10pm at Michaels.  I have been wanting to add to my acrylic paint stash and those little tubes can run as much as $10+!

Little Miss Pezza Lou Who turned 7 this month (and we all lived to tell about it!)  I decided to go the digital route for her party invitations - easier to mass produce!  I used the It's Your Big Day collection from Sweet Shoppe and put these together:

Then it came time to make her Thank Yous which fit in perfectly to our next challenge over on the Cut It Up challenge blog.

This time I did a hybrid - part digi and part paper layers.  I removed a couple layers on the digi invite and then printed them all out.  I cut them out, Inked the edges and mounted them on turquoise cardstock (I did the same thing with the invites too.)  Next I designed the "Thanks" in MTC and I cut the shadow layer from white and the Thanks layer in pink using my Black Cat cutter.  I inked my edges, adhered them to the card fronts and then added 3 little Pezablings in the bottom right corner.

Prizes up for grabs for the current CIU challenge - $5 gift certificate to Digital Delights by Louby Lou!  So come join us - work on your Christmas thank yous and be ahead of the game!  Don't forget to stop by the CIU Blog to see what the rest of the design team has created!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A traveling journal page!

Hi all!

I have finished up the last two traveling journals I have been working on this year with a group of friends from Ireland - this means mine should be making it's return to me soon!

The focus of this journal is the color yellow.  I began similar to a previous post and used sequin waste as a stencil with a Viva Decor product called crystal gel - it is a shimmering gel with iridescent flakes in it.  I also sponged on Oyster Silks through a plant - like stencil.

Next I mixed up some shimmering mists - I prefer to make my own using Luminarte Primary Elements Artist Pigment Powders.  I like the ease of choosing my colors on a whim and the fact that is less expensive to buy the color & shimmer ONCE in the form of a powder and then use that to make a variety of different mediums.  For this piece I mmixed up a yellow of course and then I also used a blue.  You can see the way the two different stenciled designs show through by resisting the spray and making it pool around the designs.

I wanted to add a bit more to it so I took the same plant-like stencil and sponged on one of the newest Silks colors - Moss Green.  I like to mimic and repeat colors and elements to bring some of the chaos together - since I get a little chaotic - in art AND in life!  I felt like it needed a bit of a punch at the end so I grabbed my Heavy Gel Medium and some Apple Blossom Primary Elements and mixed well (see what I mean folks?  This stuff is so versatile!)  I smoothed it on through another stencil - the Harlequin - in a few spots.  The stencils I used here are from Crafter's Workshop.

Just look at that shimmer - the Apple Blossom gel medium GLOWS and the shimmering mists I used as my base just shimmer along with the Moss Green Silks plant stenciled on.  LOVE this stuff.

Stencils are one of my favorite things - I am toying with making some of my own but I am also really coveting Stencil Girl stencils right now.  I swear I could probably easily spend $100 or more!  Great stuff!  Y'all need to check them out!