Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's the Holidays

Somebody was sick for 37 days and has now shared the bungus with someone else.  Not good.

Somebody got a new Lexus for Christmas with built-in navigation, back-up camera, and side mirrors that tilt down when you put the car in reverse.  Somebody still backs out of her garage looking over her shoulder while her hubby stands there hollering "use the back-up camera!".

Somebody spent Christmas Eve at the Emergency Room...the entire day...with a hubby who has kidney stones.

Somebody needs to start tending to her blog, once all the excitement dies down.

Somebody thanks you for checking in and hopes you'll do it again...soon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Girl, Where have you been?

Sick, sick, sick, that's where.

Don't know what I've got but I've had it for 17 days and counting.  Cough, sore throat, earaches, no voice, and a nose on the fast track.  Don't I wish I owned stock in Kleenex!

It's no fun getting sick Thanksgiving weekend and still being sick going into week 3.  That's a fact.  The miracle is that I haven't given it to hubby, thank goodness, who's having a bit of surgery tomorrow.  Zithromax didn't touch this plaque, but the cough syrup with codeine is a godsend at bedtime.  I still can't sleep through the night, but the coughing calms down for a few blissful hours.

Ask me if my shopping is done and of course I'll laugh out loud which brings a coughing spasm, so please, don't ask.  We did get a tree set up in the living room on Saturday night but the decorations remain in the attic.  Wreaths are on the downstairs windows and carriage lights either side of the garage door, but not on the second floor windows yet.  The pumpkins and gourds were moved off the porch this weekend after sharing space with a snowman for several days.  Keep in mind, I haven't been leaving the house during this illness, so that snowman didn't get picked up on my radar as quickly as it would've in normal circumstances.  Tsk tsk.  And my fabulous wreath with all the big, glistening ornaments is somewhere in the attic with the stockings and reindeer and other mantle decor.  Can't guarantee any of this will get done since we'll both be pretty much out of commission starting tomorrow.

I've come up with THE MOST FABULOUS class ideas, and yes, the clock is ticking on me.  Surely this weekend I'll find the needed boost to climb those stairs and knock out some samples.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few holiday ideas with you so you won't feel too slighted with this post.

A tree for limited space indeed.  I'd never put that many nails in my freshly painted walls but if those Command strips would hold them up, I'd consider it.

I really like this simple giftwrapping idea.  Unfortunately I don't give wine at the holidays.  Mores the pity...

I am such a believer in "presentation is everything" and something about this simplistic array appeals to me.

As does this... what fabulous little gift bags.

I love these simple coordinated color schemes.

But I like this one the best. 
And I've got a couple of trees that would be divine for displaying tiny gift parcels like the ones below, if only I felt like making the parcels.

Did you collect any pinecones yet?  It's not too late.

I'll be back, I promise.  Do come again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nature at its best

Did you by any chance watch Super Soul Sunday on the OWN network yesterday?  It aired twice that I know of, so undoubtedly, reruns are still being shown.  Do tune in for the first segment on nature.  My stars, it was glorious.  So much so in fact, that I ran it back and set the DVR to record it.  Watched it in its entirety and then watched it again last night with ACC when he came in from toiling on the new pergola.

The time lapse photography was magnificent...watching seeds fall & germinate, vines begin to grow and climb in the dense forest.  Or a tree in Australia that grows in salt water.  Who knew?

Awe inspiring.  That's what it was. 

Last week's cool temperatures are gone and today its sunny and glorious outside.  Too late.  We've already begun moving the big pots of outdoor plants inside.  The biggest, heaviest of them is still on the handtruck, sitting in the middle of my front porch.  Need to find a strong body to help get it inside tonight.  Maybe the plumber due at 5:30 could be persuaded since I'm not sure he can squeeze past it anyway.

But you know that cold weather is coming and it will be here before we know it.  I found this photo on the BH&G site and instantly it sent me back in time to the street where I grew up, near Five Points in Raleigh.  Mr. Peebles, right across the street, owned one of these huge cedar trees.  I can see it in my mind, as real and true as though I just looked out the window from across the street more than 40 years ago.  Funny how your mind can play tricks on you like that. 

Where has the time gone?  Did I really move out of that childhood home 40 years ago?  Sure did.  And yet I can remember it like yesterday.  The year I fell in love with yellow and orange and Robert Wagner played Al Mundy on It Takes A Thief.  I had his picture on my wall, next to a huge sombrero. 
And I can see the crepe myrtle trees by the front porch where I got my first kiss at 12 (my word), and all the hybiscus planted along the property line, and my play house in the backyard.  I can even see the shade of pink on the walls and the curtains at the windows.  And that big old apple tree pecked entirely from top to bottom by that pesky woodpecker. 

Might be time to cruise back by the hood and see what's changed since my last drive by.  Good Grief, my drive by...makes me sound like a gangsta.  Have mercy.

I digress.  You should check for a rerun of that fabulous nature segment.  And stick around for the short with the big mic.  No Impact Man was less worthy so you have my permission to check out when he comes on, or at least after a few minutes.  Giving up toilet tissue and electricity was not a good thing, Martha, and you don't need to be witness to it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time to Gather

Pinecones, that is.  We've had rain, and lots of it, last night and today.  Which means pinecones are falling from the trees.  And it's time to gather them up and stash them in the basement til they dry out for use around the house.
Like this.
Did I tell you I took my parents to the beach last weekend?  The weatherman predicted cold and rain, and he was wrong, wrong, wrong.  We had sunshine and warm, lovely days.  Of course we stayed inside for 3 days playing dominoes, so it hardly mattered.  But we did have hot chocolate, which makes me think of Fall.

I gathered up all the Halloween decorations yesterday.  So sad.  But I've still got my overflowing pots with pansies and cold weather plantings on the front porch, plus my pumpkins and gourds, and my wreath, so all's not lost.

I just need everything to last til it's time to start with the holiday decorations.  I can almost hear the jingle of bells in the background, can't you?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Assemblage Projects from Mini Retreat

For the mini retreat assemblage project I chose to repeat a Stampaway class using Tim's die cut houses of chipboard and my specimen boxes.  They're covered with a sampling of the papers created during our first project.
These first 2 photos are of Lynda's assemblage project showing the houses in process and then the completed piece.  The first house on the left has a pleated roof made of tape measures and the dimension in person is fabulous.  The roof of the third house is metal flashing tape run through a texture plate and the 4th is actually done with rows of paint from a Viva Pearl Pen.  And I don't know if you can see it, but look closely at the third house.  The door is actually hinged and she has a clip art lady standing just behind it as though she's stepping out.  Very clever.

These houses in progress belong to Laurie and the background below was taken at the same time as the houses.  Check out the house on the right; that background shows off a stamped image made with the Clearsnap Magic Stamp on the right and tiny polka dots on the left created with drywall tape.  The second house from the right also showcases that Penscore stamping with a stencilled flower near the roofline.

I thought this background paper was fabulous so imagine my surprise when I took the photo below of her finished piece.
Look how the colors changed.  She decided it needed more contrast so she darkened it with blues.  Simply amazing.  And if you look closely you'll see a rub-on alphabet letter on each house which denotes each member of her family.  And the token on the roof of the second house from the left has a W, which is the initial of their last name.  Way cool baby.  We were digging through my many stashes, looking for an embellishment for that roof and it was perfect.  Kismet!
Now here are 2 shots of Bonnie's finished assemblage.  Notice the metals she used and you'll see how someone who loves to create jewelry using metal objects can incorporate that same talent into other projects.  She's got flashing tape rooftops on the 2 houses on the left, but lots of metal elements are on all four.

But look more closely.  On her background she'd used punchinella of stars to create what looked to me like smoke from a chimney.  And sure enough, the next time I looked, she'd added a chimney to the house.  But the biggest hit of all are the 2 wire trees on the left.  When she worked on the layout she was unhappy with the empty space and said it needed trees.  So I suggested wire, and before you could blink she'd created those two coiled trees.  Talk about the perfect finished result!  And check out the 8 on the door.  Wonder if she likes 8's as much as I like 4's?
The photo above is Moneta's houses in progress.  I wanted you to see the 2 pieces of eco board she used as a door and a window, inked and stamped. 
Here's here finished piece above.  The paper on the largest house was a page torn from a textbook on how to build your own home.  I found it at the library book sale and knew I could tear out pages to use in art, and sure enough, these little die cut houses screamed for just this touch.  Can you see the stamped spiral near the top?  It was created with the plastic canvas circles I provided to be used as stamps.  Works everytime.

The photo above is Carol's completed assemblage and I wish I'd taken more photos of her houses in progress because her layering process was wonderful.  On the first house on the left she added a clip art postage stamp, then on top she layered a small square of masonite from Coffee Break that she'd collaged, and then she added a key from an adding machine I'd disassembled years ago.  Made the perfect doorknob.

The third house from the left is my favorite and not just because I watched the transformation so closely, but because it was truly unique.  I'd given everyone collage sheets I'd purchased from Teesha Moore so they could accent some of the pages of their books.  But Carol focused on one of those images early on in the assemblage project because the shape of the doodling matched the shape of the house.  If you look closely you'll see she added perfect little pearls with a Viva Pearl Pen, but then in true Teesha fashion she added the striped accents in black with a pen.  That's a button in the center of the house but she inked a red bingo marker to add that black element of N39 on top of the button.  And yes, that's some of Tim's tissue tape across the bottom that reads Pasadena.  Another favorite element of mine: check out the Blue Goose cigar band from Coffee Break that adorns the roofline of the house on the right as well as the metal token atop another piece of ecoboard.  These girls were so intense while they worked on these projects but the end results showcase their many talents.

Now for the last 2 photos which are Sharon's project, both before and after.  First she chose one of her background pieces which was antique sheet music inked and stamped with the Clearsnap Magic Stamp.  It was and still is beautiful, and in a color palette she doesn't normally use.  In the above photo you'll see the 2 houses in the middle that showcase her usual palette which includes Ranger's Adirondack Stream and Lettuce with a hint of Wild Plum and Red Pepper.

Now look at the finished project.  Everyone was given a piece of glossy black cardstock and she chose to use that as her background instead of her sheet music.  I've got to admit, I'd never have considered it, but wow, it's perfect!
So now let's talk about details.  Check out the roof on the 2nd house from the left.  Again, she used a Viva Pearl Pen to create all those polka dots of dimension.  She's got one of those adding machine keys as her doorknob, and the base of the house is a piece of the aluminum flashing tape run through a texture plate and colored with Viva's Inka Gold.  The little glass marbles along the roofline were a nice touch for added dimension.

The little house with the rounded rooftop needed an accent so we dug around in my stash and found the little string of jewels.

These photos can't begin to showcase the fun, creativity, talent and whimsy we experienced during the retreat.  But I'll tell you that the best thing about a retreat in my studio is being able to dig into drawers and bins for that perfect element, and that's something I can't replicate in a class, no matter how many boxes of supplies I ship.  Everyone will tell you that their kits at conventions are generous, but until I figure out how to include these little surprises, it's never going to be the same.

A heartfelt thank you to all the ladies who came to play, and to Carol and Moneta who were here from Illinois, because it was their persistence that convinced me to play hostess for a day of play.

I'm already trying to come up with a date for the next one, so no matter where you live, make sure you contact me if you're interested.

And thank you all for coming back to take a look at the photos of the finished pieces.  Aren't you glad you did?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Day of Art and Play

Saturday's Mini Retreat was so much fun.  Bonnie had run away home by the time someone suggested a group photo, so my apologies Bonnie. 

Six ladies came to play with inks and paints and so much more I can't begin to make a list.  But I can show you what the table looked like throughout the day.
Everyone was having fun no matter how they look in my photos.  Contemplative in this shot perhaps?

Our paper arts project kicked off the day, stopping briefly for pizza and then kicked back in for a while longer.  But those papers would be used in the assemblage project, the wearable art project and in the book art project at the end of the day, so it required much attention.
We played with so many colorants and tools you can't even imagine.  Clearsnap's Magic Stamp (Penscore) was a huge hit, just as it always is in my classes.  The Viva Inka Gold was popular on metal, wood, and even aluminum flashing tape.
Stencils were another favorite, as were masks.  Sometimes new products hit the market and we play with them relentlessly, then put them aside.  But in my classes we continue to use the much-loved items.

Remember Junkitz and their foam stamps?  I pulled out my stash so everyone could play with Ranger's Dabbers.  A huge hit at this little party!

Now let's talk about stamps.  How could I possibly decide on which images to set out?  By the time we began working on our journals I knew we'd need to stamp, so I tried to select images that would work well on 4x4 pages.  But of course the IKEA cabinets lining the room held thousands more and since they're labeled, everyone had the opportunity to look for that certain stamp that would complete their page.

Our book covers were canvas that we painted using Claudine Hellmuth's Studio line of Acrylic paints by Ranger.  We had solids, polka dots, stripes, as well as patterns.  Just fabulous!

Nothing gets a woman up on her feet faster than stamping.  Whether they were up to select an image or use an image, there was lots of activity going into the 7th and 8th hours of play.  At one point Bonnie got a call and asked what time this event was supposed to end.  The answer:  6-6:30, followed by laughter, because of course we didn't finish as planned.

Come back later to see the assemblage projects.  Please.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is trash, really?

Before I chat about the retreat, let me clarify something from my last post.  The trash collectors didn't cart away anything of value.  Stamps, ink pads, books, magazines, etc were all donated to my daughter-in-law for her 2 little girls and for the private school they attend.  Mind you, there are still many boxes yet to be delivered to her.

The things that went in the recyling bin were empty containers, cardboard & chipboard rolls and boxes and pieces that I salvaged from the recycling bin and then put back in the bin for pick up last week.  You know, the sort of thing you keep because you see the potential, but you never get around to using.  Well, it went to the big recycling center in the sky, or wherever it is, because it was taking up far too much space in my studio.

The things that went in the trash were things I'd made, or started to make, or demo pieces from my classes that were never finished and would never be, no matter how long I kept them.

Most of the "trash" was paper that again went in the recycling bin on wheels.  Why do I print all those emails and tidbits anyway?  I could and did fill multiple drawers of file cabinets with printed instructions that are saved on my computer that I can reprint should I ever teach that class or technique again.

Imagine how many years I've been teaching.  Just slow down and think about that.  Now imagine that I plan for 20 in a class and only 16 show up, or I plan for 50 and 42 show up.  That means I'm bringing home extras everytime that I toss in a box for the trip home.  Then that box gets more tossed in the next time, and the next time, and so it goes.  Suddenly I have boxes filled to overflowing with printed matter that I can't possibly store.  So it becomes recycling material.  Shame on me.  These days I try not to do handouts in my classes for this very reason.  Instead I offer my email address open to questions that I'll gladly answer.

So no cause for alarm ladies.  You didn't miss out on a thing.  And if I ever decide to really dig through the clutter, I'll invite you all over and let you help dig.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Countdown has begun

Forgive me for a brief, lingering pause...I went to see Moneyball over the weekend and ... be still my heart  ...  He's such a pretty little thing, and I love baseball, so it was a great movie for at least 2 reasons.

Last night the purging began in the studio.  What to keep, what goes out in tomorrow's trash pick up.  Too much stuff, no matter how fabulous or  potentially fabulous it may be, is never a good thing.   I figure if I've had it in a box for over a year, it no longer has value.  Peter Walsh has proven this time and again, and I have to pay attention.  And my tiniest attic cubby (4x5) is about to be tackled tonight.  Surely if it's been housed behind that door since we bought the house, had the built-in bookcases done and created that little niche 9 years ago, it really needs to find a new home.  I'd love to think I have time to tackle the one that's 15' long, but we'll have to save that for another rainy day.

The ideas have been floating around in my head for some time...what type book/journal do I want to teach at my retreat in 11 days?  What will my assemblage piece look like?  How much ephemera can I incorporate into a day of classes?

The paper arts projects and the wearable arts project are finalized.  Oh my, they're too exciting for words. 

If you see lights on in the studio til the wee hours, don't be surprised.  Creativity is afoot.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mini Retreat in the Studio

It's official.  I'm hosting a mini retreat on Saturday, Oct. 22nd.  This will be a all day event consisting of multiple classes in paper art, book art, wearable art & assemblage.

Two of my Stampaway Lovelies from IL will be visiting Wilmington and convinced me to stop being so lazy and make some art.  So we are!

The day will begin at 10:30 am and run through 6:30pm, with lunch served during a brief break, allowing time to check out all the displayed eye candy in the studio.  We're going to kick the day off with paper art, creating fabulous colorful backgrounds.  Some of those will be used in the wearable art project and some will be used in the book art project.  I think you'll even use a smidge in the assemblage creation. 

Email me if you think you need a day of creativity and I'll reply with the specifics.

I'm excited.  Are you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Ramblings

Most of you visit this blog to see and hear about art.  To you, I beg patience.  I just want to tell you that today I'm filled with love and laughter and I wanted to share that with you.

My mother celebrated her 77th birthday on Friday.  She arrived at my house on Thursday and settled for burgers on the grill, baked beans and oven-fries, followed by nutty buddies & refresho popsicles which could be held with one hand while playing dominoes with the other.

On Friday when we were caught in a downpour at the antique festival and she realized she'd left her raincoat in my car, she whipped out a Food Lion brown plastic bag and put it right on her head, holding the handles under her chin as it filled with air and tried to blow away, all while eating homemade vanilla ice cream with a spoon in her other hand.  I so wanted a photo of that, but didn't take one.  And when I gave her my raincoat, opting to get drenched in order to salvage her hair, teased to within an inch of its life and sprayed with what surely must have been 3 cans of spray, she smiled and gave my step-father her bag to wear on his head.  He actually received a compliment on it as we raced to the car.  (Another photo op missed, but to be remembered fondly.)

Friday night I cooked a feast, served a beautiful birthday cake, and got back to the business at hand...more dominoes.  While we took a break so Mini Cooper and Mercedes Benz could go out for a walk, I pulled out my IPad and pulled up Talking Tom 2.  As that cat held his paw cupped to his ear, Mother said loudly "this is one stinky hand", referring to her dominoes and trust me, she did not use the word stinky.  When that cat repeated the phrase in his high-pitched voice, the three of us burst into laughter, which he also repeated.  And so it began, with Mother and Tommy laughing and talking, and Tom repeating everything they said, which led to more laughter and tears from us all.  Our tummies ached from the uproarious laughter, which just made it all the funnier.  Everyone should download that free app on their iphones and ipads.  Seriously.

When she called on Saturday from my brother's house in the mountains, the next stop on her birthday journey, you could hear the dominoes clacking in the background and knew she was having a large time indeed.

Late yesterday she called from her room in the Casino to say she'd lost my step-father somewhere between the $60 seafood buffet she'd purchased with part of my birthday money, and the slot machine that had stolen another $100+.  And she was laughing and beaming, just gushing with the news that she was having the time of her life.  And once again, I smiled with her.

Today they're on their way back home, anxious to plan their next adventure. 

I went to see baby Jackson on Saturday evening.  As usual he wants nothing to do with me but adores PaPa.  It's just not fair.  To whom may I direct my complaints?  He's talking non-stop though you can't understand a single word he says.   I tried taking photos but he wouldn't be still so I have lots of in motion.  Did I tell you he now has my strawberry blonde hair?  And he has a long curl hanging down the back of his neck though it's fairly short everywhere else.  Can a grandmother request the first lock of hair, do you think?  I'd pay cash.

Fall has arrived with cooler temperatures and the new Fall lineup on TV.  I'm overcome with happiness at the return of both.  Truly overjoyed. 

My new pergola didn't get painted this weekend due to the rain and the birthday celebration, but that's okay.  I still haven't finished filling my new planters, and that's okay too. 

I'm happy today and hope you are as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Time seems to get away from me, and for that I apologize.  I've already had another stamp club meeting without posting photos from last month.  The ATC above is a creation by Sharon with a little help from me. 

Everyone was supposed to make ATC's to swap, leaving one as a background only for us to stamp and embellish during the meeting.  So instead of using the background she'd made, Sharon chose one of mine. 

Next I spread out a wide variety of rubber stamps so everyone could choose a face.  This one is from Invoke Arts.  To that we added these fabulous little glasses and hats from Coffee Break Designs.  The hat is "colored" with Viva Inka Gold in a shade of green.  Think Rub N Buf, but far more fabulous.  You just rub it on with your finger and then buff with a dry cloth.  The sheen is glorious though the photo doesn't do it justice.

I'd also spilled out a few dozen tubes of Viva's Paper Pens and Pearl Pens and that's what Sharon used to add the dimensional dots to the hat band.  Don't you just love it?

I'm pretty sure this one was done by Mary, who added zentangles onto her polished stone alcohol ink background that she'd also stamped with a crackle stamp.  The image is one of my favorites from Cats Life Press, and again the crown and specs are from Coffee Break.

This one was by Michele, again using one of my backgrounds.  Can you see where I stamped with a piece of Clearsnap's Magic Stamp?  The face image is from Invoke Arts and already donned a hot but she chose to add one anyway.   And don't you just love those little star glasses?
Deb used her own background, added a face by Cats Life Press, and then round glasses, opting not to add a hat. 

This month our project was to make "restructured paper", inspired by a recent issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine (look back to March/April).  Michele had made more than one after seeing it then so everyone brought their craft sheets, scraps of paper, and we spent an hour getting really messy and having lots of fun with it.

This one was done by Lyn, though the Mod Podge is still milky white and wet, but she added lots of bold flashes of color, which I loved.

Lynda made this one using lots of beachy elements like a crab, flip flops, sand dollars, etc, since she's missed so many meetings while enjoying her beach house.

Laurie used lots of punches and shapes on hers...

While Michele used lots of stamped images.

Janie added lots of flowers...

While Sharon added lots of punchinella, dry wall tape and pages torn from books.

For mine, I began with pages torn from books added to the tissue paper first, then added mulberry papers, tissue papers, napkins, and more, trying to use as many Fall colors as possible.

It's going to be interesting to see who cuts them up and puts them to use before next month's meeting.  Including me, of course.