Thursday, January 31, 2013

I brake for collage

Hello all!

is everyone surviving the crazy weather?  we had school cancelled because of ice, the next day we were in shorts and the following day we had buckets of rain and gale force winds and a tornado watch - the gale force winds being on trash day OF COURSE! good gravy!

hubby and i celebrated 8 years of marriage this week - craziness!  i can't decide if it seems like 8 years or not!  i have always been a bit of a gypsy - growing up we moved alot on top of me being shuffled around a bit and i continued that as an adult.  i have this insatiable need for adventure and tend to like to fly by the seat of my pants.  hubby - just the opposite - very solid and stable.  and while adventure is fun i can honestly say safety and stability is not bad!  and i have learned how to do things like clean an oven instead of just move :P  SO grateful hubby has the patience to put up with my kind of ridiculousness.  and little daughter is looking to be equally ridiculous just like her momma!

I have a mixed media art journal page to share with you today featuring loads of shimmer courtesy of Luminarte Primary Elements:

the wonderful magical amazing thing about primary elements - on top of the amazing shimmer - is the versatility.  I chose 3 colors - green tea, lime squeeze and just peachy.  Then I mixed them into water with gum arabic to make shimmering mists for the background.  next i mixed them with fluid glazing medium to make a paint for the stamping.  this gives the project great color coherence!  and lordy look at that GLOW!

After creating my background I created my focal piece and wording piece with some awesome I Brake For Stamps images!

I inked up one of the images from the Collage Elements #1 image sheet with Coffee Archival Ink (so it would be waterproof) and then misted it with the same Primary Elements shimmering mists I used on my background to give it some subtle color.  I edged it with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

I typed up and printed my wording.  Then I added some stamping in the background using the pocket watch and clock face from the same image sheet collection.   I also misted this piece with the shimmering mists - you can just catch a bit of the lime green sparkle in the bottom corner in this picture.  Working with the sheets of images is a really great way to do a project!  Which image sheet is YOUR favorite???  why not grab a few from IBFS and get it all for 10% off?  use my code SAVE10MARTI when you check out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

i brake for carnations

Hello friends!

i am spending most of my spare time with my adorable teeny little foster kittens.  Pezza held the bottle for one today and was so thrilled with herself.

I have a quick card for you using one of the amazing detailed collage stamps from I Brake For Stamps again!

This time I have chosen the Vintage Carnation Label Collage stamp - breathtaking details!  I stamped the image in brown ink.

To spotlight a bit of the detail  I stamped it again using pearlescent pink ink and then cut out a circle area where I wanted to highlight.  I inked the edges and then placed it over the first brown image.  Very effective don't you think?!  remember you can use my code and grab some of these for yourself - SAVE10MARTI!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

sunrise flowers...


we are in a deep freeze here in northern va!  i think our high today was 22 - add in the wind and WOWZERS!  with this kinda cold i need me some SNOW!  supposedly we will be getting some on friday - woohoo! 

we have spent most of our spare time feeding kittens. hubby has been phenom!  he has all three of them using the bottle instead of the little plunger thing which is awesome as the bottle is a MUCH easier and more efficient way for them to get some nutrition!  of course with no mommy to bath them constantly they get a little stinky so we will be doing more kitten bath time this evening.  i still can't convince one of my older cats to do it HAHAHA!  my 2 old girl cats are completely disinterested.  bubba is very curious though - he doesn't know if he wants to be friendly or is scared to death!  which is funny since they are the size of one of his ears.

i have another piece to share using the luminarte skins me and pezza have been making.  i have a butterfly garden on the side of the house with some gorgeous echinacea bushes in colors that remind me of a sunrise and that is what I wanted to capture here:

i can't get enough of them!  the background also has some subtle color and shimmer from Luminarte Silks.  the stencil design is from Splash of Color (Creative Imaginations).  they have a number of great stencils!

my flowers are handcut.  it is hard to tell in the picture but the brown centers have a bit of ceramic stucco medium in the mix which gives them an interesting unique texture.  you can also see the texture in the pink and yellow petals.  i added some yellow dots using a viva decor pearl pen - awesome little things!

i have more ideas but with kitten duty they may have to wait!  what have you been working on?  will you be trying your hand at some jaw dropping luminarte skins?  even a papercrafter/cardmaker can benefit from these - you will have the best embellies ever!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Little love notes!

hi everyone!

have you all been enjoying your 3 day weekend?  ours has been humming along quite nicely with a well behaved little pezza.  she was off friday as well so we spent the day out and about - i asked her if she wanted to go to the children's museum and she said no she would rather chik-fila - um okaaaaay....  afterwards we spent some time roaming a book store so she could gather up some more chapter books - she has found several series she likes - most of them involving kittens as the main characters of course!    yesterday hubby took her off for a visit with his parents and giving me some uninterrupted peace and quiet (his dad seems to be recovering pretty well so far.)  i got quite alot done/caught up with - half way done with my mom's purse, my page in a circle journal i am participating in and even made my first booklet for my own circle journal i am doing with another group - i have made some folded pages into a book with a coptic binding - easier and funner than i ever would have thought! there is a wonderfully easy to follow two part video tutorial on you tube - Coptic Binding.  most of the girls are in ireland and i know several of them well and can't wait to see what they include on the pages!  so things were humming along smoothly and then it happened.

i got an urgent email from the kitty rescue i work with - 5 kittens, 1 week old, the foster mother found the momma kitty dead in the box with the kittens.  the vet things it was some sort of post pregnancy complication resulting in a stroke.  the foster mom works long hours and could not take care of them so me and 1 other foster have stepped up to see if we can save them.  they are a mess the poor little things.  the hardest part is that they need to eat and eat alot BUT they fight it with everything in their power.  i am a nervous wreck!  luckily i have a fellow foster coming over today who did two orphan litters last summer so she is going to give me a demo.  i did follow some of her tips and it is going better than it was at first but not as smoothly as i would like.  it has NOT been like the adorable videos you see on you tube with a tiny kitten happily sucking on it's bottle.  it is much more like my stubborn as hell breast fed only daughter clamping her lips shut and kicking and punching when we tried to convince her to take a bottle.  she wasn't doing it either!  i may be even more scarce than usual in the next week or so as we get them sorted.

i do have a couple little cards to share with you today.  i was asked to make some samples for Little Scraps of Heaven using a couple digi images they have for valentine's day.  i have always loved their cutting files and these images are super cute too!

both images are colored using colored pencils

however i did them in different styles - the one above is burnished

and this one is not - i left the rough texture to show through and also left a lot more white highlight area.  the background papers are mixed media papers i made myself - you know how i love to get a lil messy!

these are small scale - card size - but i like the look of them.  i may have to repeat them in my art journal or possibly a board!

and now i am off to try and get a few things done while the babies are sleeping before i need to do their next feeding!  if you are interested in learning how i color with colored pencil or want to learn more mixed media techniques be sure to head over to Color Me Creative and check out my classes!  Colored Pencil - Mixed Media

Saturday, January 19, 2013

CMC challenge with the skins!

hello all!

so what did y'all think of the skins?  anyone going to try it out?  as promised i have a little project for ya - my first one.  i am over the top in LOVE with this technique!  i did not think it would be cool at all really - but oh it is!  our challenge for Color Me Creative is to use our fave image and our fave color combo and this fits the bill with my new fave technique to boot!  and the prize up for grabs this time - 1 free class on CMC - winner can choose from either one of Suzanne's copic classes, 1 of my colored pencil classes or one of my mixed media classes!

my CMC challenge DT project is a journal page featuring the skins today:

the intense shimmer makes photography a little tough sometimes but LOOK at those flowers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The background is a wash of Luminarte Primary Elements too - i mixed them with a fluid glazing medium and brushed them across my background.  then i used bubble wrap and the same puddle of Primary Elements and glazing medium to stamp some messy circles here and there.  seriously y'all - the versatility of Primary Elements - can't be beat!

next i cut out my shapes - just freehand, low stress.  i adhered them to the background with gel medium.  you can see in the flower centers that when i made the skins for this piece i sprinkled micro beads on to part of it while wet.  as good as these look in the photos in real life they are phenom!  want to start your own collection of PE powders or add to what you already have then visit leslie at Dreaming In Color and tell her i sent you!

my page started with this adorable image from Sherri Baldy - i just LOVE these - i only came across them recently.  i colored her up using prisma colored pencils and gave her some added pizzazz with an orange spica glitter pen.  i am really into turquoise and terra cotta lately so she covers both my fave image and my fave color combo.

i am also entering my page in the following challenges:

color combos are an interesting thing - one of the first rules of the color wheel is that complementary colors look good - one of those is blue and orange:

not terribly awesome...but when you sort of "grow them up" and use shades slightly off from the true blue and orange - like turquoise and terra cotta - they can really play off of each other amazingly well and give your piece alot of power and wow!

thanks so much for stopping in and seeing what i am up to - i really appreciate it!  now be sure to join in on the challenge - YOUR fave image in YOUR fave color combo - and see if you are chosen (at random) to win a free class!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I brake for paris

Hello everyone!

as much as we have adored having little Fred to foster I am happy to say he is going to be adopted into a permanent home tomorrow!  Bubba will miss him desperately and will have to go back to tormenting me for attention!

Isn't he a cutie pie!  and so lovey-dovey!

Have you checked out the large array of collage stamps at IBFS?  They are jaw dropping gorgeous and I have quite a few.  These images are put together in such an amazing way - little treasures for beautiful cards in minutes.  Here I have used one of my favorites - the large Paris Balloon Collage:

I stamped the image on cream cardstock using brown ink to keep with the vintage feel of the image.  I paired it up with more cream, brown and blue papers and gave it a bit of glitz with the blingy flower!

YEP that is from the acrylic skins we have been making  (see next post for the full tutorial!)  they work PERFECTLY with dies - in this case a sizzix original type die.  they also work perfectly with craft punches - woohoo!  here you can get a better feel for not just the color but the shimmer and the slight texture too.

i am entering this card in several challenges:

We have been having so much fun with this i actually had to order more gel medium!  wondering where to get it for the best price?  i shop at dick blick and use their brand - their gel medium, gesso and matte medium - all are awesome!

Which collage stamp is YOUR favorite?  Head over to I Brake For Stamps and pick some out - and don't forget to use the code SAVE10MARTI and save 10% on your whole order!  happy shopping!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Acrylic Skins - a tutorial for you!

Hi everyone!

we are having some seriously dreary UNsunshine-y days around here lately!  I usually don't mind winter much but this year - just ICK!  i think perhaps i am longing for the start of traveling season with our camper!  we have lots of fun things in the works for this year - can't wait!

of course i may be grumpy because i am missing CHA for the first time in years!  i can see all the new stuff online so that's no big deal.  i miss the PEOPLE!  all of the friends and fun that only happens once a year - BOO!

I am part of various artist groups online and one of them has brought up the topic of using acrylic skins in mixed media work.  A quick search in Google images came up with all sorts of beautiful things.   The idea seemed intriguing so I thought I would give it a whirl!  Rather than using plain acrylic paints I had to step it up a notch and decided to use Primary Elements Pigment powders and Gel Medium to make them.  Once the skins are dry they have a unique elastic-like material which can then be cut or torn and used in collage work.  Here are the steps I followed.I chose 3 colors for each skin.

Skinz 1

Place a small pile of each powder on a non-stick surface.

Skinz 2
Next put out a pile of Gel Medium alongside each one,  Use enough to ensure you are able to make a skin the size you want.
Skinz 3
Mix really well!
Skinz 4
Use a pallette knife and spread the paints across a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up).  Overlap and blend the colors into each other but keep them discernable to give the skin some interest.  The thickness can vary.  The thinner it is the more transparent it will be once dry.
Skinz 5
Because gel medium is a milky white when wet as you can see in the center of this piece.  Once dry it is crystal clear and you are left with gorgeous brilliant color and because they are done with Luminarte Primaary Elements the color is exceptional PLUS the added bonus of oodles of shimmer!  Coax the edge up and then gently pull it from the freezer paper.
Here are our finished pieces.  In addition to regular gel medium you can use some of the specialty mediums such as Ceramic Stucco or Glass Bead Gel.

Skinz 6

Skinz 7
Skinz 8
The Ceramic Stucco gives a sandy texture...
Skinz 9
Skinz 10
Here I used Glass Bead gel.

Pezza joined in and made her own set of skins too.

she picked her own colors...

and did her own mixing and smoothing (and yes she was in her robe but i couldn't resist the pics!)

we also have a new foster kitten, Fred.  Bubba has really missed having a baby around to play with and he and fred have made fast friends.  so last night while we were watching tv i, the cat LOVER sat on one couch alone and this is what was on the other couch with hubby the cat "tolerator"

really!?!?!?!?  you can see fred - the little black one - sleeping right up close to bubba.

Now to see what we can do with these skins!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

fabulous of course!

happy weekend!

we have three foster kittens with us temporarily - i couldn't resist!  i miss having babies around!  two are maine coons like our own kitties and they are SO scared and timid the poor little things.  they are down in the basement.  then we also brought home fred.  fred is a short hair all black kitten.  he is rowdy so he had to be seperated and put in the nursery AKA my studio.  bubba was dieing of curiosity of course so yesterday morning i had the door open so they could check each other out.  well the phone rang and it was my MIL and FIL had been back in the hospital with complications so of course i dropped everything and talked to her.  when i got off the phone i heard a big "shamie" upstairs (what my cajun grandma called a big commotion.) so i remembered fred and ran up to see what was going on and bubba and fred had made fast friends.  they were playing fred is chasing me and i am terrified game.  when fred gets tired bubba nudges him and asks why he's laying down :P

i have been meaning to get this post up for the current Color Me Creative challenge and with so much going on the days are getting away from me!  Our challenge was to use pastels on our colored image:

 We also used images from our fab sponsor Paper Makeup Stamps - Katie's images are just darling!

she is colored with colored pencils!  want to learn how to color your images with colored pencils?  check out my classes on Color Me Creative!  I have two colored pencil classes plus several mixed media and cricut classes as well!  with more to come in 2013!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Brake for Pinecones...

Hello peeps!

so 2 weeks ago, as we approached the new year, i decided to get out my scrapbook and figure out how far behind i was...well it was ALOT.  i sat down and went to the photos where i had left off and began going through them to get them printed and ready to scrap.  i had ended sometime in 2009 DOH!!!!!  too make things even more exciting I began printing my photos off and was just really not happy with how they were looking - the photo printer was a really old one.  so this led to hubby and i researching photo printers and looking for the one we wanted and getting it and setting it wow not fun.  BUT we got through all of that and because my hubby is freakin' AWESOME he got me the one i wanted and have been wanting for awhile - the epson artisan 837.  prints amazing photos AND has a separate ink cartridge for EACH color.  i know the last thing hubby wanted to do on his day off was spend it doing more computer crap!  but he did it for me and then i printed off ALL of the rest of the photos i need to scrap to complete 2009.  i told hubby i was going to do it in a weekend - i got the one eyebrow.  that's what he does now when he thinks i have lost my mind.  no matter how insane OR theatrical i get - i get the one eyebrow.  i guess he has gotten used to me after 9 years :P  needless to say it didn't happen  BUT i am pleased to say that i now have ONE page fully complete to share today AND all of the other photos are on their pages awaiting only journaling and embellishing!

so here is today's scrapbook layout for you:

I ALWAYS use a page sketch - it helps keep me from getting stuck on what I want to do.  i use Page Maps almost exclusively.  when i was printing out my photos i would look at the ones i wanted grouped together and then go through the page map sketches to find one that would work well with it and then i edited and resized my photos to fit the sketch.  i love the freedom to do it this way.  however, I don't always have the exact same number of photos as the sketch - stamps to the rescue!  Since this layout was all about my daughter's Christmas tree the Pinecone Background stamp from I Brake For Stamps was perfect!

I stamped using Versamark and then I brushed across the image with Luminarte Primary Elements shimmering powder in Mallard Green.  To set the powder I gave it a light spray with Workable Fixative (hairspray also works.)

This gives my photo replacement piece a subtle pattern with LOTS of shimmer! 

be sure to check out ALL of the amazing backgrounds available at IBFS!  They are stamps you will use over and over again!  and remember if you use my code - SAVE10MARTI - you will get 10% off!

Monday, January 7, 2013

an artist challenge...

hello all!

we have been on quite the roller coaster over here.  my father in law had a heart attack on thursday night/fri morning.  he ended up needing a quadruple by pass!  this was without warning - he is not even close to over weight, active, and no sign of any problems at his check up the year before!  the surgery went very well and we saw him yesterday - he looked well and should be on his way home this afternoon.  as long as he takes it easy he should be feeling MUCH better than he had been before so it's good news!  he was so very lucky and we are all grateful for that.

recently i became involved in a great google+ challenge group for mixed media techniques.  this week we have been exploring using graphite and acrylic paint together.  it has been interesting to explore artists who use these mediums together well and often and to learn about the different ways it can be done and how people have approached the challenge.  if you are interested in joining in you can find the group HERE.  google+ is not something i have played around with much but i do like the challenge community format of this group and the talent and interaction in it!

as for my attempt at the challenge i have to say i struggled.  but in the end i have two pieces i am pleased with:

i began by sketching out my image on a blank page.  i gave it a spray with workable fixative to set the graphite.  then i thinned my acrylic paints ALOT with glazing medium and brushed over randomly with a paintbrush.  the glazing medium gives the acrylic paints an interesting effect.  they become very translucent - the colors beneath show through and make beautiful layers!

on this one i decided to mix Luminarte Artist Pigment powders into the glazing medium so my acrylic layers would have some shimmer and sparkle!

i thought they both needed a little something to finish them off so i used some stencils with full strength acrylic paint.  the turquoise stenciling on this one is done using a stencil i designed myself!  i always wish i had certain stencil designs but no one makes them the way i envision so i thought hey - i will make them myself!  i tried to get a few of the stencil companies to pick the designs up but i have been told people wouldn't understand how they would be useful SO i will just use them on my own stuff!  i cut this one out of plain paper on my black cat cutter but i need to tweak it a bit and then maybe i will cut it out of something stronger that can be re-useable.  fun stuff!

but for now - it is back to being a housewife!  play time is over!