Tuesday, July 31, 2012

book review: Collage Couture by Julie Nutting


how is everyone?  i am recently back from computer hell.  i have been telling hubby for months my virus software was turned off and he kept telling me i was wrong.  my computer was doing more and more weird stuff and i finally sent him a few screenshots.  so he looked again and did a scan and i had evil computer things all over the place.  turns out somewhere i picked up an initial one that disabled my virus software but put in a dummy icon so when  hubby looked at it it looked fine.  but it was not fine.  no it was very very not fine :(  so most of yesterday was spent cleaning it up but we were finally victorious with no wiping and re-building - HOORAY!!!!  so i am back in business!

today pezza went to see a movie in a theater for the first time ever.  as a rule i don't do movies in theaters - such a huge rip off in my opinion.  BUT we met up with hayden - they have been insisting they are going to be married one day.  this has been going on for a year :)  they are so super cute and hayden is the sweetest boy ever!  we saw ice age continental divide - pretty hilarious.  after that we wandered around old town leesburg and rummaged through the antique stores and such but left empty handed :(

don't forget - my new class - Mixed Media Basics - is launching this week over on Color Me Creative!  There is a slight delay in the start due to my computer fun yesterday :P  but you can get registered and we will be up and running in the next day or so!

as promised i have a book review for you today!  i got a copy of Collage Couture from Julie Nutting at CHA in january and I have been playing with it lately.

Collage Couture: Techniques for Creating Fashionable Art 

talk about fun!  let me start by saying that i can NOT draw.  i have been working really hard on that this year though and this book is a huge step in the right direction! 

But julie didn't stop there!  Not only does she teach you how to draw the adorable girly girls she is known for - she also teaches how to make great backgrounds to go with them!

These are my first two girls done using Julie's book.  yep - i drew them myself!!!!!  Now i must say my initial attempts were really bad!  so it does take a bit of practicing.  however with julie's technique i got useable figures fairly quickly - in a matter fo days!

you saw the first one yesterday.  this paris girly-girl uses a number of techniques/ideas in the book on the background as well as the girl herself.

Unlike the one i showed yesterday i decided to put a little face on this one.  i am not sure which way i like it better - what do YOU think????

of course the dresses are the most fun!  i am already itching to create a few more!  and i think they would make great digi images too!

now i am not going to give you any details on the how-tos - that's what the book is for!  i WILL give you more details on the book itself though!

the book is a good sized paperback - 8 1/2" x 11" - with 128 pages of glorious color photos and perfect instructions.  what i really like about this book is that the wording/instructions are so very well done.  not too much but not too little.  the directions are straight-forward without being overwhelming.  i appreciate that!  i don't want to wade through a lot of wording i want to get down to business and play!

another thing i like - this is such a great way to use up lots of scraps!  in fact this book does not require going out and buying loads of supplies.  in fact you will likely have many of the items already on hand.  The last portion of the book has other fun project ideas and instructions for your girly girls.

were there any drawbacks?  i would have liked more info on hairstyles and hats that equaled the instruction on eyes, lips and clothes.  but with so many examples throughout the book it is only a minor drawback.

overall, i would consider this to be a STAPLE book to have on your shelf - and i have ALOT of books.  if you want to dabble in mixed media and figure drawing and can only buy one book - this is the one to start with.

Julie announced on her blog at the beginning of the month that she has gotten approval for book number two and i can't wait to get my hands on it!  go check out more of julie's work on her blog!  tell her i sent ya!

Monday, July 30, 2012

mixed media couture!

hi all!

did anyone miss me???  sheesh summer is busy!  so what the heck have i been up to?  alot i can tell ya that!  last weekend we headed out to virginia beach to spend some time with my buddy catherine and her family - ALWAYS a good time when cat and i are hanging out!  and our hubbies finally got to meet each other!!!  the drive down was miserable for ALL involved - lots of rain and heavy traffic.  our site was nothing but a mud puddle but luckily our set up with the camper is relatively easy.  cat's family was all in tents and setting up tents in the rain SUCKS!  but sunday was gorgeous - not quite as hot and perfectly sunny.  cat told me they were going down there to go crabbing.  i didn't believe her.  but sure enough we got to the beach and there were the guys, in the water, pulling out crabs right and left!  FREE CRABS!!!!  i couldn't believe it!  so we had yummy crabs for lunch and then spent the afternoon in the pool.  pezza loved cat's neice tiana and the other kids there and it was so nice to have some little friends for her to play with.  all in all a great time!

in addition to the trip pezza also hosted her first tea party last week.  a GREAT success!  although we had way too much food - the kids were more worried about playing than eating and all had a great time.  i enjoyed spending time with the moms!  we hope to host many more tea times!  the only bad part - I FORGOT TO TAKE ANY PICTURES!!!!!!  what kind of scrapbooker am i anyway?!?!?!?

this week i am hosting a Close To My Heart party - their new cricut cartridge will be available!!!!!!!  don't live by me but want to place an order?  NO problem - you can order online through my party on aug 1-3.  just go to my demo's website and look for the button that goes to my party! CLICK HERE!


what else have i been up to???  besides keeping pezza entertained (no camps for us this summer) i have been working on my next online class for Color Me Creative!  this one is a mixed media basics class and is technique based.  this means the focus is on learning the techniques and how to USE all sorts of mediums/products effectively.  then next week the project classes will launch to go with the main class.  these are techniques and ideas that can be easily incorporated into card making, scrapbooking, art journaling, mixed media canvases - so no matter what you love to do it is a great group of classes to take!  want to take the classes?  CLICK HERE to register!


i have also been having lots of fun with a book i was given at CHA called Collage Couture by julie nutting - look for a full book review tomorrow!  here is one of the projects I made from the book:

SO MUCH FUN!  i am not going to give away any how tos on this one but it is straight from the book!  I used some great stuff from SCACD on this one - the city skyline stamp, the "strong" stamp and those gorgeous die cut corners.

The polymer clay flower was made using one of the fab silicone molds also at available at SCACD!  and now back to work getting my class up and running today!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

remember fairy cake mother???

hi all!

i am up before anyone as usual and itching for the day to hurry up and begin for everyone else because today i am spending the day with one of my MOST favorite and funnest of all people - my buddy catherine who lives in canada.  AND our hubbies finally get to meet which we think is awesome because not only are me and cat like identical twins but our hubbies are very much the same too!  i think our goal for the day is to eat crabs - somehow some way catherine will be eating crabs.  and of course i brought her presents - one of which is the Fairy Cake Mother piece i posted about awhile back.

 ta da!  now if you have been reading my blog from the beginning (ANN) you know that catherine bailed on crafts and became a MASTER cake decorator.  in celebration of her leap i made her an apron.

when i began drawing people cat wanted a cat image so of course i had to draw her in her apron!

the background contains a BUNCH of different things (truly MIXED media!)  scrapbook papers, stamped pink tissue paper, stamped luminarte paints, glitter, microbeads, wool roving and a castle i also drew for her - because if you know Cat you know she NEEDS a castle!  (right ann?)  i digitized the castle and then added it onto a brownish background and put my family red velvet cake recipe on it too.

I made this on an MDF board hubby cut for me (because he's AWESOME like that!)  then to finish it off i cut some decorative wood molding for the top and bottom edges.  I painted it with Luminarte Silks - GORGEOUS!  I put some beaded trim along the bottom before gluing the bottom piece on.  notice the pink roving cloud :)

so what do y'all think???  will she like it?  i sure hope so!  and here's hoping we spend the day eating crabs!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

cake fail...

hi all!

thursday already???  who has been checking out the new goodies launching at cha?  i have been trying not to look - i need to keep myself on a strict budget and if i look i want.  and then i am sad!  busy busy around here.  i let my maid service go too so i am on my own with the cleaning now and it is quite an undertaking.  but i put me and pez on a schedule and she does her share too so she can earn some allowance - it has been working out quite well.  not only is she doing them but she is actually doing better in general being on a schedule.  with have our IEP meeting with the school in 2 weeks and i feel much better about her odds of doing well in kindergarten too now.

this weekend my funnest buddy EVER, Catherine, is coming down from canada again - i cannot wait to see her and kev gets to meet her hubby bart.  i think they may be long lost twins.  and they both have to put up with the likes of us so they should become fast friends!

i told y'all about a cake i had been asked to make last week for a guy who got a military promotion.  i was going along fine and quite proud of myself.  the entire cake making process went off without a hitch! the girl called at the last minute and wanted to pick it up much earlier than planned but i managed to finish up the last bits of it in the nick of time and her dad was knocking on my door to get it.  two solid days on my feet in the kitchen.

chocolate cake, chocolate mousse filling and my yummy homemade buttercream frosting on top with dee-lish chocolate clay decorations.

i was sitting at dinner when the phone rang - right at 6 o'clock, when the party started.  it was the girl who ordered the cake and she was terribly unhappy :(  seems i mis-understood her emails and pictures for the cake.  i left off the ONE thing she wanted to be on there the most!  the party had started, they had seen the cake for the first time right at that moment, there was no way i could fix it :(  i felt HORRIBLE!  when i went back through the emails i finally realized what she had meant.  i wish i had asked more questions but i didn't think i had any.

fortunately, i am reasonably certain the cake at least tasted good even if it wasn't what she wanted.  but i doubt i will be agreeing to make any more cakes for anyone!

Monday, July 16, 2012

watercolor pencil play!

hi all!

well, my foster kittens are still here :(  no adoption yesterday for us.  don't get me wrong i love them to bits but they need good homes they can stay in forever.  the good news is that we did have alot of adoptions of other kittens.  last count i heard we the rescue i work with had 110 kittens needing adoption!  and more keep coming.  please please please if any of you want a cat or dog do not support breeders or puppy mills - adopt a cat or dog from a rescue instead.  or maybe you like kittens but can't have one - contact your local rescue and ask if they need help.  we go to petsmart every wednesday morning to take care of the kitties in the cages there and it's a great way to get a kitty "fix"!

i have also been working on a new class for the Color Me Creative online class room - it is all about Mixed Media and is going to be quite fun!  this is a basics class - so if you have been wondering what all the fuss is about regarding mixed media lately head on over and take my class!  It will be up soon!

yesterday i was a blur of total inactivity and un-productivity :P  i had a crazy hectic week.  (i will tell you all about the cake making tomorrow...it did not have a happy ending.)  in the afternoon i decided to bring down my watercolor pencils and a water brush to play with in front of the tv.  i do not have very many - a small set of derwent inktense and a small set of albrecht-durer.  these are both the very best in my opinion.  i got a set of derwent student grade water color pencils years ago and was never happy with them.  well you get what you pay for sometimes!  i doodled for awhile, colored in some stamped images and then i decided to use them to color in a page i had doodled a couple weeks ago

i love whimsical flowers and i really like these!  i drew them in ink and then added the watercolor pencil - this one uses the albrecht durer.

next I spattered them with pink azalea and sunburst luminart silks using a stencil brush and a toothpick.

i am thoroughly enjoying my pencils and waterbrush! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

magazine fun!

hooray for weekends!

pezza and i had a slumber party in my room last night because poor hubby had to work all night (after working all day).  his boss really does not know how good they have it with him.  so we were up for awhile in the studio and then eating breakfast but now we are back in bed still in our jammies - me playing on here and her playing with my ipod (which she thinks is hers :P)  i have had us on a pretty strict schedule during the weeks so weekends are free.  at the moment we are playing "let's pretend i am a teenager talking on the phone to my boyfriend."  dear god help me.  when i was faced with raising two boys alone i thought i was going to do it RIGHT.  they weren't going to do all the gross crazy things associated with males - like pee on the toilet seat and amuse themselves with farting at each other.  after all there would be no men around to teach them such terrible behaviors.  i realized REAL quick that these things are engraved on the male dna.  i am now learning their are things engraved on the female dna too.  it starts at birth.  of course the talking on the phone to her boyfriend is cute now.  i will likely be less amused at her teen age behaviors when she actually IS a teen!

i have been getting more and more into some art journaling blogs lately and wish i could find as many mixed media challenges as i used to have card challenges to join in.  but i have found one i like at the art journal cafe.   this time around the challenge is magazines.  so i dug up a few i had lying around and looked for some inspiration.

i loved this outdoor table setting scene.  i made my background first,,,

I began by adhering a sheet from an old music book to my gesso'd page.  Next I dabbed some buff colored acrylic page around the edges to soften the stark difference between the white gesso and yellowed page.  Next I sponged on some bright Luminarte Silks around the page.  Silks are absolutely luscious and you can get them all at SCACD.

Next i did my magazines transfers using gel medium.  obviously too much gel medium as you can see by the wrinkles :P  i never quite understood why you would do image transfers as opposed to just glueing the image onto the page but it is actually really cool.  the image is more subdued and fades into and becomes part of the page.  i do wish i had done the transfers BEFORE the Silks though!  but overall a fun technique that i think i will explore more!

if you want to see some REALLY cool examples of magazine transfers head over to the art journal cafe post - can't wait to see what the next challenge is!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

doddling with COLOR!

hi folks!

seems we are getting an ever so slight break from the heat - only 87 today!  still  feels hideous with the 46% humidity but i'll take it!  it means i can throw pezza outside with her little kiddie pool while i sit inside watching from the window and watching young and the restless.  YEP!  love it and hate it and love chatting about it on the splitcoast thread he heee!  i have been watching it since i was way too young to watch it with my grandma!  my other faves got canceled :(

I will be spending the better part of the next several days working on a cake i have been hired to do for a promotion for an airman in the air force.  quite an honor to be honest!  he is home briefly in my town before shipping off to the next place.  i'll post pics when it's done!  in the meantime i played around a bit more with my doodle flowers from this post.

 I colored this one using Twinkling H2Os.

look at that luscious shimmer!

and the transparency allows the doodles to show through perfectly!  i am really having fun with my Twinks now that i have them back out and front and center!  who else has some Twinks stashed away!

Monday, July 9, 2012

bday LO with cricut

hello everyone!

did you all make it through the unbelievable heat this weekend?  good grief!  so what did WE decide to do in the oppressive heat?  well go camping and head to king's dominion!  what were we thinking???  hahhaha!  it was actually an awesome weekend and fabulous trip but WOW was it hot!  the best part - trevor came too!  he is not working right now so he came along.  pezza was thrilled to have her big brother for a few days and kevin wouldn't have had nearly as much fun with just us girls.i DO NOT ride big high crazy rides.  NO WAY.  i tend to be a thrill seeker, heck i have been on the back of a motorcycle doing 165 more than once.  BUT i do not do heights.  absolutely hate heights.  heck i can barely ride an ESCALATOR! i went on one ride called the ghoster coaster.  it's for kids pezza's height.  scared me to death :P so pezza and i hung out together doing kiddie ride stuff and playing in the water park - which is the only place where the heat was bearable!  the weather right now - 99% humidity - that is utterly REE-DONK-ULOUS!  BLECH.  i thought about taking pezza to the pool this week but a friend went yesterday and said the water was too hot to enjoy.  guess we'll stick around the house!

none of my kitties got adopted yesterday so we still have Candy, Taffy & Skittle and we brought home another cat named Big John who had spent enough time in the little cage area at petsmart.  Big John is huge and looks like Candy's twin.  he also LOVES kittens - LOVES kittens.  he's a big giant lovey dovey cat and the kittens like him too.

i have another scrapbook layout to share today - YAY!!!  the best part - my Cricut and computer finally communicate so i did it with Cricut Craft Room and it is so much easier that way!  i don't know why i waited so long to design this way!  i first started designing using my computer when i got my black cat because that is the only way to do it.  once i got used to that i couldn't stand having to do it on my machine alone but my cricut E2 would not communicate with my computer.  apparently the new computer fixed that!  hooray!

these are more pics from pezza's 4th bday.  i used two page maps sketches as my starting point as i always do.  then i used cricut craft room to lay out my pieces and size them so there were no surprises about width.  i grouped the cuts together by color and that way i could cut them all at once!
SO much better and easier!  i still need a little practice to get it just right. 


the bad thing about cricut craft room?  the search feature.  not because it doesn't work but because it works so well.  i have been trying really hard to drastically cut my spending and haven't bought a new cartridge in ages.  within an hour of working on this, because of the search feature, i had 6 cartridges on my wish list GAHHH!!!

Once all of my pieces were cut i inked the edges and then added some details with a white souffle pen.

i am hoping to continue to get some scrapbooking done and catch up!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

a pezza's way video!

hi everyone!

i have been super busy around here but with stuff i can't tell/show yet SO that leads to a serious lack of blog postings!!!

it's also summer time/pezza is home ALL day EVERY day with mommy time which leads to alot less work time for mommy :)  we spent yesterday morning watching the olympic gymnast trials - i took gymnastics as a kid but not the train for competition kind.  our elementary pe coach owned a gymnastics training gym and he did a serious gymnastics course every year at school which i LOVED.  he was forever trying to get me into his team at the gym but i was not allowed to take classes full time.  however i DO love to watch it!  and pezza did too.  she spent the rest of the day dancing and rolling and flipping across the house and we now have a makeshift duct tape balance beam across the living room floor. she is going to start classes in the fall.

we have had unbearable heat and humidity here which makes it tough to get out and do much.  even the pool sounds bad :P  but we may venture out to swim today.  i am hoping the crowds won't make it unbearable!

i have been doing a lot of filming lately and of course pezza wanted to get in on it too so i am posting her latest video for y'all.  she has a couple good lines in this one :)

i know she would love to read your comments!