Friday, August 28, 2009

Bangle How-To's Coming Your Way

Last month at both CHA and the CHA Consumer Super Craft Show I had lots of inquiries for more bangle instructions. This weekend I'll be making lots of bangles and taking photos throughout the process so please come back.
And for those of you who took my classes at Stampfest and at Stampaway, you'll be pleased to see several designs. Hope you've ordered some bangles to play with by now!

And if you haven't, please visit to see one how-to slide show and also to place an order. Mention that you took a class with Lovely Linda, or that you visited my blog.

My plan is to decorate several different styles of bangles: flat, pentagon & domed, so you might want to order some of each.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tidy Studios are not Creative Studios. Tidy Artists are not Creative Artists

Remember last week when I spent days cleaning up the studio so my STARS club could not only enter the room & find seats, but also have clean tables to play on after being seated? Had to be done and the studio is gorgeous. But my creative mojo has flown right out with the trash in the dust pan. Gone. Vanished. I enter that room and can't think of a single thing I want to do.

And it's because it's just too tidy. I need that brown kraft paper back on the tables. I need to see all that ink and paint, evidence of my last guinea pig class where everyone was having fun.

So I made myself the card you see above. And I'm keeping it on file to remind me how to start a mess... I mean project.

I should tell you I love journals and I have dozens of them. When I travel I carry one with me to make notes. You should see me on long flights, scribbling away as the ideas come to me. Same thing when I get a new publication. I love to look at the photos for inspiration, though I never see what the artists have made. Instead I see something completely different that sends me down a totally unexpected path. It may be a color combination I haven't used before...or a shape...or a pattern.

Think about an old telephone with a rotary dial. It's not just a dial. It's a circle cut from bristol board. The holes are punched (where are my punches?) Now I can use foam mounting tape, or a brad, or a brad run through the bristol board, then a foam circle, and then my base cardstock. Now it's raised just like a phone dial. But I don't have to stamp numbers & letters on the base to show through the circles. I can stamp anything! I can punch clip art faces. I can glue on different colored buttons. I can stamp letters that spell out a word. I can stamp tiny words to make a sentence.

And while I'm cutting out a circle of bristol board why not cut out 2? For this one I'll punch a tiny hole in the center and add a game spinner. What will I stamp around the edges?

And that makes me think of a Crazy 8 Ball. Remember those? "Does not look good" "Check Back Later" "Try Again"

And that makes me think of the jar of fortunes I bought at Stampaway last week. Which makes me think of art using those fortunes. How about a journal with pockets...and a fortune tucked inside each pocket.

I've got to make a mess in the studio. Gotta do it. Soon.

And then I've got to start making my samples for new classes. Which reminds me of the lesson I've learned over the years. Don't send off the ONLY sample 9 months before you might be teaching the class. Make several while you're making one.

Gotta make another card...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reuse, Recycle, Think Green

Have you picked up a copy of the newest Stampington publication called Green Craft? I'm hooked! Little gift baskets made from cardboard egg cartons and peet pots...little paper packages wrapped with tiny bits of fabric & ribbon...paper garlands from used coffee filters...far too many to mention. But my favorite had to be the little gift packages made from those tiny cereal boxes. Way fabulous baby!!!
I've spent the last 2 nights in the studio, unpacking suitcases, sorting, stashing, trying to find homes for all my new goodies but it's impossible. My solution to overcrowding is to move box after box of supplies out of the studio and into the family room next door. But then I need to find a book at bedtime and the built-in bookshelves can't be reached for stacks of boxes. So I drag them back into the studio. And then it's time for another stamp club meeting and what's a girl supposed to do? Drag those boxes back outta the room or drag them downstairs, unopened and toss them in the trash can outside? Blasphemy!!

I'm a collector of all things...and a lot of those things are junk. I come by it honestly. Just visit my mother's house. Or visit mine since she finds these "great things" for me everywhere she goes. She's coming for a visit on Friday...spending the night and playing dominoes til the wee hours. What treasures has she found for me this time?
How do you like the bird on this cup? For months now I'm been whacko over birds. Not pigs anymore. Not monkeys. Not elephants. Nope. Right now I'm all about the birds. In the 100+ rubber stamps I brought home from Stampaway I have multiple birds. MaryJo McGraw was doing a demo in Carmen Veranda's booth with this huge crow and I swear I made her wipe it down with a nasty paper towel so I could bring it home with me. Also got a few more Coffee Break stencils of birds. In the last few months I've added 3 die cuts of birds to that collection. I found these fabulous little paper mache birds on etsy just this week and nearly fell right out of this chair when I realized they were selling for $65 each!!! Why it was like a dash of cold water in the face (or a bucket full poured over my head)!
It's time to fall in love again with things I already own. I should be creative enough to find new uses for old, much-loved things. But it might be worth mentioning this new fascination with birds to Mother, just in case...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chunky ATC Fun at Stampaway!

When I return home from Stampaway I'm always exhausted and ready to rest for a few days, weeks, months... But that's not how it works. Applications for next year's convention will be showing up in the mail in the blink of an eye, and it's hard to decide what I want to teach next year when I just finished up classes for this year. But look at these photos and you'll understand why I always come up with something to guarantee I'll be back again.
The description for this class began with "what do wooden blocks, decorative & antique papers, clip art & vintage tickets have in common?" I think that sparked a bit of interest. But it didn't hurt that I mentioned play with Distress inks, Grungeboard, & Tim's Ideaology line either. We had a full house for this class, 41 very talented ladies, and there were no complaints about crowding or lack of anything. The round tables were a first for me at this convention and I loved them!! I think all these gals did too.

There's Barb, owner of The Creative Stamper in KY. She's been a regular in my classes for years, having fun and truly enjoying herself. The 5 of us who flew in from NC went to visit her new store late Saturday and as we wandered around I found so many projects on display that she'd completed in my classes. Made me happy to see them all, so thanks Barb for sticking with me when there are so many great classes to choose from at this event.

And Cecile...I was having such a rough week that I missed going to dinner en masse. My apologies for being such a harried mess this year, but you know I love ya!! And next year I'll be flying in under a cloak of secrecy so if you're still game, I've got a little surprise planned just for you.

Now doesn't this just say it all? Happy, pleased, talented gals who come back for more each time I come to Cincinnati. (You better email if you're serious about my retreat!!)

Denise wanted specific colors that I didn't provide. I made her stretch and I think she was pleased. Several ladies wanted Broken China, which is such an intense blue that I opted to save it. Instead I offered Weathered Wood which has a hint of blue and a hint of grey, and the stained papers were lovely. Each kit contained white silk flowers that we spritzed with Distress inks. And that's where they found the Broken China. Those little flowers made a far bigger impact than they would have on the blocks themselves.

Kelly and Shara (hope I spelled that right) were back for more as well, and were pleased as punch with their end result. If you look back at the Stencil class photos you'll see they were in attendance for that class as well. I don't know how I get so lucky each year to see these girls in my classes along with all the new faces, but it's a joy for me.

Kits contained everything needed and then some. I'd rather be far too generous and send you home with leftovers than have anyone feel something was missing.

And Tammy who lives for turquoise was a surprise this year. She took all 3 of my classes again, which I think makes 6 years in a row, but she actually used PINK this time. Oh My Word!!! You could've knocked me over with a feather. You go girl!!

I love funny sayings and passed out sheets I'd typed up with things that make me laugh out loud each time I read them. It's always interesting to see who uses them on their projects and who takes them home to photocopy.

You'd think this was a quiet, serious group but nothing could be further from the truth. There was constant chatter and lots of laughter.

The group gathered at the front of the classroom were spraying their silk flowers, using the Mist It sprayers by Inspired Crafts. These things are the best kept secret in the world right now, so if you can find them, you'll want several.

My suggestion each time I teach the class is to think of the potential these little memory blocks offer as gifts. Add photos of your grandparents or your mother as a child. Use photos of your children throughout the various stages of their lives. Two of these would make great little bookends and when it's time to dust they can take a few minutes to walk down memory lane.

See how those Broken China flowers pop? Told you so.

Kits contained silk flowers, paper flowers from Prima, and paper flowers I punched myself from old library books. Who doesn't love flowers?

I provided everyone with a metal tin that contained a piece of Ranger's Cut N Dry foam, and Lori and I dispensed 2 colors of Distress inks to create their own personalized ink pads. Several asked for a third color during the class for accents around the edges of their blocks. If you take a close look at the above photo you'll see she used 2 of Tim's tokens as wheels for the car photo in her kit. What a clever idea!!
An enormous thank you to everyone who joined me in classes this year. I love teaching more than you can imagine and without you, where would I be?
Time to put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with for next August. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let Me Tell You a Story

In all the years I've been teaching at Stampaway I've looked forward to the party at Connie's house on Saturday night. All the vendors and instructors gather in different rooms on the first floor of her home and chat about the show, the crowds, the classes, the trends as we see them, and of course we enjoy decadent desserts. I admit I miss the key lime pie, which was always my favorite, but the carrot cake that replaced it is none too shabby either.

This is Connie's thank you to each of us for participating in her show each year. She awards prizes to the vendors for friendliest booth, best costume, best demo, etc and we all cheer and applaud.

She also provides entertainment for us each year, which ranks right up there with that dining room table laden with cakes, pies & pastries. I've had my caricature done twice over the years, been mesmerized by a magician two years in a row that still has me stumped, and had my palm read this year by the same lady who read it about 5 years ago.

Now this isn't fortune telling. She makes no predictions. Instead she speaks softly of what she sees when I place my hands before her, both palms down and palms up. Both readings mentioned my independence, the evidence of two important relationships (not marriages she stressed), and my high expectations for myself and others. She told me I hold everyone to the same high expectations I set for myself, which leads to disappointment. Boy she sure got that right! And I hadn't thought about that trait since she mentioned it 5 years earlier. Shame on me. But looking back over the week in Ohio she really hit that nail on the head.

There was another big surprise in what she didn't say this time. In my first reading she said she saw laughter; that I was surrounded by it and people wanted to be near me to be a part of it. I smiled widely at the time because it was so very true. This year there was no mention of laughter. I admit it was a very stressful week for me and while I laughed a lot, there was a lot of anguish and tension. There's also the thought that as the remodel continues at home 5 months after it began there's been laughter this year, but perhaps not as much.

The biggest surprise was something new. She saw writing in my life. Said that I was good at writing...entertaining...and that while this didn't necessarily mean I'd be published she thought I should most definitely keep multiple journals.

And that made me think of this blog of course. Every once in a while someone will email a note about my blog...telling me something rang true for them or brought back memories of their own. And when I tell stories and everyone's laughing, someone will say I should be writing these funny things down for a future book.

So another big thank you to Connie for the entertainment this year that went very well with my carrot cake, cheese cubes and grapes. The entire evening was simply delightful.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stampaway Classes at SYAO

Now that says it all, doesn't it?
You know if there's an overuse of turquoise on a project it means Tammy was in my class. Hey girl! I should point out however that she took all my classes again this year and she actually used PINK on one of her projects!! I'm still smiling about that!

Lots of masks and stencils to choose from.

Every brand of ink was brought from home. If you're thinking those are Ranger colors, think again. Vivid inks from Clearsnap!!

Don't you love the way the masks create those incredible white shapes when color is applied?

Is it possible to have too much fun? I don't think so. I had 2 sold out classes on a Wednesday, with the first class beginning at 3pm. And when you can find ladies able to shift their schedules to accomodate a mid-week, mid-afternoon class for play with inks and paints, stencils & stamps, and most importantly masks, then I think we're all doing something right.

Color combinations ranged from the familiar to the unusual. I can't say I'd have tried distress inks in browns, greens, and dark blues for this class, yet someone did. No color palette is ever wrong; it's always personal preference. Another first: someone used the JudiKins color dusters (short stipple brushes) to apply their background color rather than sponges.

During both classes I noticed customers in the store coming back to take a peek...not quite sure what we were doing, but anxious to find out.

The trickiest part of getting this class started was Tim's alphabet masks, which of course are clear masks mounted on a clear storage sheet. My suggestion to the girls would be inking them with alcohol inks after transferring them to their craft sheet. Then when put back on the storage sheet they'll pop out and be easy to find. (This suggestion came up in my guinea pig class at home and I thought it was a great one.)

Several ladies were willing to share their inks with their neighbors. And we had no trouble sharing all the stencils and masks I provided. There were over 200 scattered out on 2 tables. I'm nothing if not generous.

Another thing I find interesting is that people like to use one color on the front pages of their book..

and then use totally different colors on the back. How much do I love that?!

We also played around with the Penscore/Magic Stamp by Clearsnap. I love this stuff!!! And it's been around nearly as long as I have, so that's saying a lot that I continue to use it in my classes and people are discovering it for the first time. I'd prepared each blue rectangle ahead of time using a large image from Just For Fun. When you want to get a large area inked in a hurry this is the perfect tool.

Several people already owned a few stencils but not like the ones I brought to class. And that's my signature...introduce students to old and new products, show them new uses for old things they already own, and be sure to show them something they'd never buy for themselves.

It's all well and good to see Tim use his masks on his blog, but it's totally different when they're in your hands and you get to experiment directly on paper.

A tremendous thank you to Connie for allowing me to teach these two classes in her store. An emormous thank you to all the ladies who came to play with me for 2 hour, allowing me to share a little joy. I loved every minute of it.

As for the week of Stampaway madness, I could do a whole blog on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this trip but I won't. Suffice it to say lessons were learned. For instance I shouldn't pitch classes that require heavy paints, more than 2 dozen glass bottles of reinkers, or my line of red rubber mounted stamps...all of which were shipped ahead of time or brought in carry-on luggage and then had to make the return trip back to NC. Instead I should think about classes like last year's Specimen Box Collage where they don't weigh much to ship in and best of all, they go home with the people in my classes.
Teaching 2 classes on Wednesday and 2 more on Friday seemed like a great idea...until you're actually on your feet for 7 hours straight and you realize that's a concrete floor underfoot, causing that back ache. Argh.
But I survived it all as I always do. Notes were made of what worked and what didn't. Paying Delta for extra bags going and coming couldn't be helped, but better planning next year is clearly going to be a priority in November when I'm shipping out my samples for next year's show.
Check back later. There are more pictures to come!