Saturday, December 29, 2012

it takes a village...

hi all!

did everyone have a fabulous christmas???  we certainly did - probably one of the most perfect christmases ever except for the fact that we did not get to see my oldest boy.  we did our family-present-unwrapping-big christmas breakfast time on christmas eve so we could spend christmas day at the in-laws.  my youngest boy came over and played with pezza and ate and napped and ate and napped.  we got several inches of snow for even more fun play time.  pezza loved all of her gifts - we didn't go overboard and instead picked a few really good ones and it worked out perfectly.  she loved her stuff and was not overwhelmed and flinging things aside to be forgotten.  christmas day we headed to my in-laws for lunch and more gifts and everyone had a good time.  hubby and i said no gifts for each other since we are both pretty spoiled and get whatever we want throughout the year but OF COURSE he broke the rules and got me something anyway - a docking station speaker for my ipod which i have been wanting so i was quite pleased!  i am a HORRIBLE gift getter.  i WANT to get perfect gifts but i am completely terrible at it.  but i have something in mind to get him with next year...just gotta see if i can pull it off...!  i think the nicest thing about this year was that i did not overdue it and i took it easy on myself.  not everything on my wish list got done but i decided i am done trying to set impossible goals for myself and killing myself trying to reach them.

so i am fascinated by whimsical houses - ok let's be honest - i am fascinated by whimsical anything but i LOVE houses as a subject matter.  a few weeks ago pezza and i were relaxing in starbucks and started doodling a little village together on one of our bags.  i LOVE how she is SO much freer with her doodling - years of conditioning on what is "right" are totally absent when you are only 6 years old!  then last week i came across a post on Cathy Michaels Design and knew i needed to start bringing our little village to life.  not only was i IN AWE of her work - and ALL of her posts are seriously awe-inspiring - but i loved her method of couch potato art.  i do something similar in the summer when we head out to camp - i can't bring my whole craft room so i gather a few items to bring with and make do with what i have!

and so i started a page in my studio and got the basics down and then i grabbed some rubons, zig pens, neocolor crayons, gel pens and a water brush and headed to bed.  yes bed not the couch.  pezza wanted to do mommy bedtime which basically means she gets to hang out in mom's bed and fall asleep with me instead of having to go to bed in her own bed.  here is the end result:

my background consists of washes of watered down Luminarte Silks Acrylic glaze - LOADS of shimmer even with the additional water.  I added a bit of stenciling with straight Silks too.

i gathered some papers - a french book page, music pages, scrapbook papers and cut out some basic house shapes, added washes of watered down Silks on each of those and glued those on with my tape runner. then i sponged on some cream and white paints very lightly across the whole thing.

i sprayed the whole thing with workable fixative before moving on.  i knew i would be using more wet media and the silks are water soluable so i wanted to "set" them and prevent them from running.

and then i just doodles and colored and doodled some more.  and learned some things.  some of my doodles i liked.  others i did not.  i LOVE the way the neocolors "behave" on the workable fixative surface.  i am NEVER very good with the gel pens.  and the rubons are perfect additions - especially the ones that are actually double sided adhesive that you rub the foil on top of!  i am going to need some more of those!  i never really used rubons for anything before now!  i think i will be doing some more of this!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

christmas cards...CHECK!

hi all!

pezza's party was super cute yesterday.  her teacher is really good and those kids are perfectly behaved in there!  i guess that is sort of a must if you teach right?  which is why i don't teach hahahah!  i also put some more faces witth the names i hear her talk about.  one little boy i was especially curious about, ernest.  she has a love-hate going on with him.  initially she adored him but as the year has gone on she sometimes she says she doesn't like him.  the reason?  he talks alot - meaning she can't be the one doing all the talking!  cuz if anyone talks alot it's HER!  hahhahha!  so she may have met her match in little ernest!

i am happy to say i got christmas cards done and mailed out this year!  yay!  i did something a little different though. First i made three large paintings for my mantle:

then i photographed them, edited and jazzed them up a bit in photoshop and printed them out onto cards - here are the two card fronts:

i got an Avery pack of notecards and envelopes - like labels - so all i needed to do was pull up the right template number in word to position the images correctly.  then i printed a saying and our signatures on the inside.  i love how they turned out!  however next year i think i may start earlier (bwa hahahahaha!!!) so that once printed i can add some more artistic touches to each individual card.  OH and if you are wondering how i did the fancy edges it is easy - clipping masks.  you can get them in any digi store online.  one of my favorites is Scrap Girls - loads of goodies plus extremely good tutorials on how to use the goodies!  here i used their Grungy Stencils.

as for the paintings themselves - i started with MDF like always - sizes are 18x12, 15x9, & 12x12.

i taped of the squares and painted them with Luminarte Primary Elements mixed with a glazing medium - gorgeous shimmering amazing paint!

once dry i sponged on some white across the entire piece

Next i saran wrapped on some gold acrylic paint across the entire thing

time for ornaments!  i drew them out and cut them from sturdy posterboard. 

i covered them with wrinkly tissue paper, fancy trims and even spirals of gardening twine and let it all dry completely

I painted them using more Primary Elements and glazing medium paints.  To bring out the beautiful textures i rubbed the surfaces very lightly with Viva Decor Inka Gold.  a great big florist bow on top finished them off!

and now i am off to do the last bit of prep work for my last kids mixed media class today.  they will be bringing home their three final boards - i sure hope the parents like them!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

i brake for backgrounds

hi all!

i am off to pezza's Christmas party at school today.  i like that i am able to take part in more things with her than i could with the boys.  i am heading out early to help my neighbor (and the room mom) with the set up.  i completely missed the sign up sheet that went out - which is so typical of me.  signing up or remembering that i signed up ahead of time for stuff is not my specialty HOWEVER last minute?  that is just my thing!  so when she asked yesterday i was more than happy to help out!  i am beginning to think i will always be a scatterbrained mess.  i operate best in a rigid schedule - unfortunaely i am completely incapable of making one for myself :P  probably why i loved being in school so much.  i could go to school forever.  hubby said no...

i am here with a new journal page for ya!  i am entering the following challenges:

i save up all the good quotes i see on facebook and pinterest and put them in my journal.  here is one that caught my eye recently:

so true and yet so hard to learn!  i started with a blue background and layers of shimmering Luminarte Silks paints.  then I stamped in a few spots with the Map #2 background stamp.

 i love all that shimmer!

next i printed and mounted my quote.
once done i added some more stamping in yellow using stamps from the Florals & Leaves Plate.  i LOVE the backgrounds and sheet options IBFS has!  the sheets are a great way to stock up on similarly themed stamps!

fun yes?

Monday, December 17, 2012

flowers for pezza


did y'all have a nice weekend?  hubby is on a kick to whip our family room into shape which i am all for!  so we did some couch hunting, floor pricing, blind buying, etc.  3 of the 5 blinds were broken, our couches have seen better days and the carpet in here is just blech - plus i am not a huge fan of carpet anyway.  so we got some white wood blinds which look nice.  got some hardwood floor samples - i am really liking the bamboo - has a fab pattern to it.  for couches we have been debating on regular couches plus an ottoman or getting reclining couches again.  we were leaning towards regular until we came across a southern motion one with memory foam - wowsa!  we are going to re-paint too - it is taupe right now which hubby calls purple and he says we have too much taupe on the walls.  really the whole house needs repainting now that pezza is older.  i am not sure there is a wall on all three floors that she did not color on.  and it is not washing off wither - but if anyone has any ideas to offer up i'd love to hear them!

it's super dreary and quite chilly here so i have some beef and barley soup on the stove YUM!!!  the whole house smells so good!

i have a completely UN christmas post for you today - another project from an upcoming class:

pezza GREATLY influenced the materials used and this will be hanging in her room!

this background technique is fast becoming one of my faves and it is featured on my christmas cards this year too - i will post that later in the week!  for now i am off to get some things done around the house!

Friday, December 14, 2012

a Dover Christmas...

hi everyone!

ok who is done with everything for Christmas???  so NOT me!  I have finished my christmas shopping but i have NOT finished my Christmas cards OR the purse I am making for my mom  EGADS!  i think i will have the christmas cards done tomorrow (have i posted that before???)  and perhaps the purse will get done this weekend...I think we have all weekend free for once.    even my Sunday is free now since we have no foster kittens to take to the adoption event.  my poor Bubba kitty is LOST without any baby friends though.  kitten DISASTER really - whiny and needy all day loooong.  poor thing.  i hope he remembers how fun they were when we get a new batch in the spring when kitten season starts!

have you gone over to Color Me Creative and checked out the festivities over there?  did you know you can win a freakin' Cameo even?????  do take a peek at the Holiday Bash and have some fun!

and how about another christmas crafting contest - because NONE of us have enough to do right?????  this one has me really excited though!  are you familiar with Dover publications?  even if you think you aren't you probably are!  and if you are an artist or crafter of any kind you NEED to be!!!  they have been around forever - coloring books are a big one - you see them in Michaels all the time.  cut out clip art books are another - my mom has used them for DECADES in her art work.  the best part - nearly everything is royalty free!  they are great collection sources for inspiration as well.  however - they are slow to catch up with the times.  it took FOREVER for them to offer their collections on CD even - which was huge because otherwise you had to trace, scan, or photocopy the images in order to use them.  more recently i have been wishing they were available as instant downloads so i didn't have to wait for a cd to arrive in the mail.  well guess what - THEY ARE NOW!  the best part you can buy whole collections or just the images you want.  oh my mind is on overload with ideas but for today i have a project I am entering in their Heartwarming Holiday Craft Contest.

This is done on an MDF board (of course).  I used an image transfer technique to put my black & white image on the piece after the background was done.
once it was transferred I painted it in using Twinkling H2Os to emphasize the image and add some subtle sparkle.  I think I could make a whole collection of stuff using this method!  of course i don't know what i would do with all the finished pieces afterward!  perhaps i should get my etsy shop going again!  this style of mixed media artwork will also be included in my next online mixed media workshop on Color Me Creative!

Go check out the Dover Digi Shop for yourself and you can also check out the other entries on their Pinterest Board!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

i brake for SANTA!

hi everyone!

my house is in desperate need of a mad cleaning rampage and i have an IEP meeting for pez today too so this post is a quick one!

my brother created some Christmas stamps for IBFS and they are still some of my fave stamps to use and for this card i used his Victorian Saint Nicholas

I paired Saint Nick with one of the many perfect IBFS background stamps - Pinecone Background.   after stamping on my green cardstock I swiped a bit of Olive Luminarte Silks across it in spots to add some interest and sparkle.

The stamp has such amazing shading like so many of the IBFS images so all it needed was a wash of Twinkling H2Os for color with subtle sparkle.  remember you can save 10% of your order at I brake for stamps by using my DT code SAVE10MARTI!

How are YOUR christmas projects coming along???  less than 2 weeks to go!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

ready for a holiday bash???

hi all!!!

it's party time on Color Me Creative!!!

The month long holiday bash is kicking off with a fun blog hop!  you should have arrived here from my sweet friend Anary's blog.  if you are stumbling into the hop on accident be sure to keep hopping until the end and then head to Suzanne's blog (the start) so you don't miss any fab projects! Suzanne has challenged us to use our coloring talents to color metallics!

i made mine an art journal page of course!  the background is my fave super textured technique using tissue paper, colored mists and viva decor inka gold.  and this time i did my lettering by hand instead of on the computer - yay!  i am intimidated by my own handwriting but this one was kinda fun!

i LOVE this jingle bell image from meljen - i have had it for several years and use it every year.  you can learn how to color metallics with your colored pencils and lots of other techniques in my Prisma Pencil classes on Color Me Creative!

so what is this holiday bash all about?  here is what Suzanne has to say:

Starting December 7th the CMC Classroom will have its annual month-long Holiday Bash Celebration! Nothing more fun then having some fun challenges, games and prizes to start the season off right!? I hope you will find time to stop in and look around, join in and just have some fun. The Holiday Bash is really my way of THANKING ALL OF YOU for your continued support, friendship and patronage to the Classroom. So a lot of fun and a way to WIN SOME HUGE prizes from our sponsor!


*Starts Dec. 7th with a Holiday Blog Hop featuring projects by the CMC DT to kick off the month-long CMC Challenge!! And another way for you to win if you hop along!

*Every week will be a NEW Challenge and Prize...think scavenger hunts, puzzles, games!

*Charity Raffle - I'm giving away a NEW Silhouette Cameo machine to a lucky someone! How can you win it? Everytime you participate in a challenge during the month you get an entry for it. Also for every $3 you donate to the Charity (TBA) you get an entry. Every year I pick a different Charity to far we've raised $3200 over the years..and to me the season is all about GIVING so that's why I always include this.

so go to the Holiday Bash and have some fun!  but first check out what the rest of my DT sisters have done - head to Mel's blog next

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

i brake for clowns!

good morning!

how is everyone?  did you have beyond gorgeous weather yesterday like we did???  holy cannoli it was beautiful!  pez and i went for a long walk together and then met up with daddy on the way home who got to escape work early.  then we grilled a steak - DEElish!

i am sharing another I Brake For Stamps piece today - a page i did in my art journal last week.  i was REALLY struggling with a number of issues and i saw this quote on facebook and new i wanted to do a journal page for it - it really fit for what i was feeling at the time:

I began by using a stencil and ceramic stucco medium for the two corner pieces.  then I misted the page with several different shimmering mists in shades of purple and silver made by mixing Luminarte Primary Elements, Gum Arabic and water.  I had to be really careful not to oversaturate or the stucco medium got all wet and gooey again.

Next I stamped with Luminarte Silks using rubber stamps and some bottle lids.

i added just a bit of color and shimmer to my Clown with Mask image using Twinks - this image is by Rick St Denis - isn't it amazing!?!?!?  you can purchase a full sheet of his clown images too!

The images at I Brake for Stamps are so amazing for mixed media work - be sure to browse the site!  now i better scoot - i promised pezza i would play a game with her if she behaved while i work and she has been PERFECT!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a new idea...


how are you? anyone drowning in christmas stress yet?  i decided to help myself out a bit this year and do some very low key decorating so i could deal with everything else.  so we have our one tree up and a few other things in the family room.  i am supposed to be doing some paintings to turn into christmas cards but THAT hasn't happened yet EEK!  silly me volunteered to cut a bunch of things out for a make n take for the kids at pezza's school to do at the winter wonderland thing friday - of COURSE my black cat would not cooperate.  so a 2 hour project took up ALL of the free time i had for three days!!!  ARGH!!!  after some sort of MAGIC it all started working again and i got it all done today.  this is my first time being a stay at home mom and i was going to be all super involved BUT she is only gone for 3 hours so i am thinking maybe i should save the super involvement for when she is in school full time...

i have been so excited cuz i got a new toy.  an early xmas present.  my camera died.  i really need to have a camera.  but i wanted a GOOD one - a DSLR like my brother has been making me jealous with for the last several years.  i grilled him.  i researched.  i picked one.  i looked at the price.  i cried.  hubby made me promise not to run out impulsively and put it on the credit card.  then i began digging through my craft room and putting cricut stuff up on ebay.   hubby was out of town when i did this.  i told him how much money i had scraped up so far.  hubby began to panic.  he said DO NOT BUY A CAMERA.  meanwhile the UPS guy left a note on my door - i had to sign for a box from amazon.  why would i have to SIGN for it????  we do ALL of our xmas shopping on amazon so we had already had a number of boxes show up.  the next day i saw the ups guy on my porch again putting another note on my door.  so i yell and wave and hurry up and he re-scans it and i sign and it is addressed to me...WEIRD.  i don't remember ordering anything?  we ordered under hubby's i tear it open wondering what i ordered and i pull out...a nikon d5100 dslr camera the BEST - better than what i was going to get...i freak out and put it back in the box while i try to figure out what the heck has just happened.  then i take it out again and look at the enclosure - it is from MY BROTHER.  i sat down on the floor i was so stunned.  i took it out of the box, hugged it, got scared, put it back in....needless to say i have ALOT to learn.  but even just regular pics on auto with this camera blow me away - see for yourself on today's project:

now for the project deets - i used the sketch on the scs sketch challenge as my starting point and laid out my base papers like the layers of the sketch.  i smudged on cream and lime green paint with my fingers.  the black circles are a stabilo pencil watered down and then i sprayed and dripped cornflower walnut stain on it. 

i finished it off with an image transfer of this cool old car.  i have lots more ideas for image transfers i can't wait to try!  who needs a stamp???  i will be covering them in an upcoming class on Color Me Creative! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

pretty in pink...and cranberry!

hello all!

i was hoping to wake up to snow today...but no.  just rain.  freezy cold rain SUCKS!!!  snow is so much better!

so yesterday was tech fail day for me :P  my camera is broke...just broke.  it has been having trouble for a few weeks but i thought i had discovered a work around.  however, yesterday it completely refused to cooperate.  it cannot detect the batteries.  i tried messing with the connectors and it is still not working.  after a little research on the interweb it appears to be pretty common with the canon powershot cameras. it is only a few years old and hubby insists it should not be time to get a new camera already...which unfortunately does not make the camera magically spring back to life.  so now what to do?  there is NO line item called camera in our budget so that sucks.  but i need one.  so do i go out and get the cheapest i can get so i can still take pics or do i step into the world of DSLR and get a really good camera like i have been wanting since my brother got his and began taunting me with stunning pics...?

so what else happened?  well within 5 minutes of the camera breathing it's last breathe my laptop became unable to connect to the internet for no apparent reason and my cell phone died and was not reviving or charging when i plugged it in.  i am like an electronics death trap.  i suck the life right out of anything that runs on a battery.  it has baffled my brilliant electrical engineer father since childhood and my extremely tech savvy engineer hubby for our entire marriage.  i kill watches, cell phones, cordless phones, cameras, everything.  my cell phone will quit working and hubby has to switch out my battery with his.  then my phone works again and my battery works just fine in his phone.  after a few months we have to do it again.  my dad once bought me a watch for christmas when i was a teen.  i would wear it for awhile and it would quit working.  i would give it to him (i was at a boarding school) to take home and repair and after a day or two away from me it would start working again.  we did this cycle a dozen times and then just gave up.

i rebooted my laptop and got the internet working again and finally got my phone to charge but no luck with the camera.  dslr - leaning towards the nikon d3100.  cheapy point n shoot - i don't know yet.  i tried taking pics with my phone but then when i hooked it up to my laptop and pezza's there was something wrong with the drivers and i couldn't get the pics onto the computer.  next i tried pics with my video camera - wow did those turn out BAD!!!!  finally i sat down with my phone and emailed the pics as attachments to myself so i have something to show you today!!! i  am thinking the phone camera is probably about as good as a cheapy point n shoot anyway :P

my project today stems from the challenge on Art Journal Cafe - it is a color challenge from Design Seeds:

so pretty i couldn't resist!

my page also comes with a fun announcement - i have been chosen to be on the design team for a long time friend, Della, at I Brake For Stamps!!!!  i have loved and used her stamps for years and they are right up my mixed media alley!

after i wet my page and added swaths of Twinkling H2Os and some saran wrap stamped Silver Silks to the background i was ready for some stamping.  i used several different stamps from the Floral and Leaves Plate.  want to order these and more fab stamps for your collection?  Use the code SAVE10MARTI and you will get 10% off of your order!

i supplemented with a few scratchy flowers of my own and then i added some grungeboard flowers i painted with the same Silver Silks.

i just love all of that gorgeous luminarte shimmer!

the page is for pezza - i posted awhile back about my battle with depression and about trying to get off the meds i had been on because i was tired of feeling nothing.  the road has been quite rough but i think it is finally leveling out and i am enjoying pezza so much more!  i continue to be amazed at the problems that are disappearing too - healthwise.  unbelievable!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

let it SNOW!


did everyone stuff themselves?  brave crazy shopping mobs friday?  i did not go out friday for the first time in i don't know how long.  mostly my heart just wasn't in it.  i don't like how it starts on thursday now.  plus i did not see anything i needed or wanted EVEN AT MICHAELS!  so i stayed home and then ended up being sick all day - even had a low fever!  but today i feel ok - just kind of tired.  had to take hubby to the airport.  work figured since he had some days off for thanksgiving he didn't really need his weekend off too.  so he will be gone for SEVEN days...IN A ROW...EGADS!

after the airport we went to target and pezza did some shopping with her birthday money.  she got some great stuff (and i haven't heard from her since we got home an HOUR AGO!  of course she wanted more than she could afford (don't we ALL!?!?!?) so i made a xmas wish list for her.  we already got her christmas shopping from us and santa done so these are additional items since family always asks what she wants.  my mind always goes totally blank whenever someone asks what she wants.  like i have never met her before and have no idea :P  of course making wish lists like this is always tricky business - some people think it is very offensive but i am not sure why.  i WISH more people had them.  i love giving gifts but i am a horrible gift getter - i NEVER know what would be good.  ever.  i would much rather be able to go look up someone's wish list and buy from that.  i sent the wish list to my family - hubby handles his family.  so i guess we'll see if i make anyone mad :P  i sure hope not!

today's project is for the coloring challenge over on Color Me Creative - here are the deets:

NEW CHALLENGE #57 will run until Dec 7th!

Your challenge this time is all about
**Non-Traditional Holiday Colors**

color ANY image ANY way you like

We want to see you use YOUR COPICS, ProMarkers, other alcohol markers or Colored Pencils!!
-Use any image you want BUT MAKE SURE YOU LINK BACK TO THE CMC CHALLENGE in your blog post!!
-Image MUST be colored with Copics, ProMarkers, other alcohol markers or Colored Pencils!
-NO more than 3 projects may be entered
UPLOAD YOUR ENTRIES to the Photo Gallery and TAG them with the word NONTRAD so they can be seen easily!
**IF you post your project in your blog MAKE SURE TO LINK BACK TO THE CMC CHALLENGE **
Entries MUST be tagged and uploaded to the photo gallery by Dec 7th at 8:00 pm EST!


and the prize is
A Digi Set of their choice from Digi My World

(Remember winners for prizes are randomly chosen)

and here is my entry - though it is not a card but a journal page

a journal page wishing for SNOW!  this one was super quick and easy to put together.  the background is just strips of green patterned paper (on the bottom), blue patterned paper (on the top), mixed with music sheet strips.  then i "snowed" on the page with white paint and a sponge.

i used two cute little images from our challenge sponsor, Digi My World, and colored them with prisma pencils.  i cut them out and glued them down to the page.

next i used a snowflake stencil with clear heavy gel medium.  BEFORE i lifted the stencil up i quickly dipped a paint brush in Blue Flame and Sky Blue Luminarte Primary Elements pigment powders and gently tapped it from high above to sort of dust it across the gel snowflakes.  then I sprinkled on silver microbeads and finally crystal ultrafine glitter and THEN i lifted the stencil.  but you have to work fast!  i REALLY like this look and want to experiment with it some more - like maybe as a background not through a stencil. or on a chipboard cut out shape...the gel dries clear and starts off pretty wet so that means the pigments sort of melt into it and each other rather than staying distinctly sprinkled PLUS dries clear.  i wonder how it would look using modeling cream which is opaque and not quite so wet....if only i could spend all day every day in my studio!  but NOPE!  it is time to pack up the fall and bring out the christmas around here!