Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another night in Paradise

If you came by for a visit yesterday you saw photos from my Monday night class in the studio.  Last night two of the ladies came back for a bit more tweaking.  Above is a photo of Mary's completed project.  Surprisingly she thought she couldn't finish it, but she was done by 9:00.
And this is Michele's masterpiece, though I dare say it will have changed before she brings it back for show & tell on the 15th. 

Can you believe that out of 22 different sprays and oodles of rubber stamp choices their flowers are almost identical?  Same colors and same stamped image.  Wouldn't happen again in a million years.

And if you click on the photos for a closer look, check out their camera slides.  Mary used an abstract pattern stamp from Invoke Arts to highlight her slide while Michele chose an Invoke Arts stamp of faces.

And if you look inside the itty bitty watchmakers tin on Mary's collage you'll see some of my itty bitty dice.  That's a perk of classes in my studio...I'm happy to plunder through my many cigar boxes of ephemera looking for that something special.

Makes you wonder when the next class will be, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Collage in Miniature Class

What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys?  Inviting a few friends to take a class you've taught numerous times, and watching them work their way up to assembling the final project.  No matter how many times I teach my classes, I always tell my students that the exercise of assembling the finished piece will take longer than the steps to create the pieces.  And once again, I was right.

The photo above is Laurie's nearly-finished project.  Only a few elements have been attached, but she left with pieces to complete her masterpiece at home.  My photos simply cannot do this justice.
Here are Lynda on the left and Laurie on the right, during the early stages of the class, surrounded by Ranger products galore.  Dimensional Pearls, Dye Ink Pads, Alcohol Inks...oh what fun.  As with all my classes, I provided way too much product and too many color choices.  Which explains how a class scheduled for 7-9pm was still going after 11pm.

Michele on the left and Mary on the right finally left a little after 11 but are coming back tonight to finish their pieces.  Sometimes you have to get up and walk away so that you see things with a new pair of eyes.  Mary did just that last night, saying she liked hers better when she admired it from afar.  Ha!

Michele's work in progress last night...can't wait to see how it evolves tonight!  If you've been reading my blog for a while you know she's the master of artistic flair, taking things home and continuing to embellish, so that when she brings a piece back for show & tell at our monthly meetings, I'm more amazed than anyone at what she's found that is clearly perfect for the project.

Now doesn't Mary look like a happy little camper, enjoying herself?  How could she not!  Mary is a new member of STARS, my little stamp club.  Why just last night we were discussing how I met Laurie and Michele 14 years ago when I was teaching at a local community center.  Oh my... how time flies when you're having fun.

And Lynda even wore her apron from our stamp club project 2 weeks ago: stamping on fabric.  Makes you wish you lived nearby, doesn't it?  During our conversation last night she told us how she'd heard raves about me from her friend Carol who'd been taking my classes, so she joined a class at Carolina Memories.  It was enlightening to hear her say I had them jumping around, completing different steps...things she'd never done before...and had no idea where I was taking them that day.   She'll tell you she still feels the same way, but she keeps coming back, so we must be onto something!
While I enjoy teaching my large classes at conventions, a small group like this is even better.  Laurie's smiling because she's having fun...not because I said "smile", even though I did tell her it was okay to smile when clearly she'd have preferred to keep working without my interruption.
I'll close with a few shots of these fabulous works in progress.  Hope you've enjoyed my show & tell.

And a huge thank you to my Lovelies for continuing to come play in my studio, keeping me motivated and grateful for these enduring friendships.  My cup runneth over.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY Bangles

As long as I'm posting videos, I thought I'd include links to a couple I've done for When Creativity Knocks.

This is still a favorite technique of mine.

Segments taped at CHA are always fun even though they may not look it.  But when I'm playing with bangles, how can it not be fun?

This is one I filmed last year while in CA for the Winter CHA Show.

Hope you're inspired.

Clearsnap Smooch Demo

Many of you know I've worked with Clearsnap in recent years as a Designer, but I'm not sure if you've viewed any of the videos they taped at CHA.  Last year I taught a mini workshop in their booth which can be viewed on their website, but they also filmed a short video of me using the original Smooch.

I mention this because they introduced their new Smooch Glitz last month at the Winter CHA, and gave me samples to play with now that I'm home.

I hope you'll view this short video so that when I post one using the Glitz, you'll be able to appreciate the differences.
Click here, won't you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hyatt House - Devine!!

Oh my, if you want to be treated like royalty for less than the price of an inexpensive hotel, run quickly and find the nearest Hyatt House!  After 6 nights at a hotel less than a block from the Anaheim Convention Center, we moved less than 6 miles away to heaven.  From a cramped room with a hard bed to a luxurious suite, with the most comfortable CA King in a separate room, divided from the livingroom by French doors, and pillows as comfortable as my own at home.  From $110 a night for that cramped room to $107 for a suite with a full kitchen, separate bedroom, balcony off the livingroom, with a smiling, friendly staff who genuinely seemed pleased to have us visit, it was the icing on my cake.
We shopped at a local grocery store for Laughing Cow Babybel cheese, wheat thin crackers, red seedless grapes, and vanilla ice cream to store in our fullsize fridge.  Not only were the cabinets filled with real dishes & silverware, but there were measuring cups, mixing bowls, pots & pans...everything we needed.  And even though there was a sink with dishwashing liquid, the housekeeping staff came daily to collect your used dishes and replace them with clean ones!  Get outta here!  It's true!

These are the photos from their website.  But it was even better than this looks. 

Now let's talk about breakfast.  We went from the usual muffins, doughnuts, cold cereal on styrofoam plates and plastic silverware to a hot breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, toast, fresh fruit bowls and hot oatmeal with sides of raisins, brown sugar, toasted pecans...fresh juices, oh it was so wonderful.

You can tell this is my photo because just like at home, I've scattered my things all over that granite countertop.  They wanted me to make myself at home and of course I did.

Just look at that bed...makes you want to jump right in too, doesn't it?

And now let's rave about the staff for a minute.  I called to see if we could drop off our luggage early.  Willy said yes, but when we arrived at 11am, he said my room was ready.  I knew I was gonna love this guy and sure enough, I did.

I asked about parking the car at one of these places where you catch the double-decker buses for a sightseeing tour.  He had a better idea.  A private car and driver for a 9 hour tour of Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, the stars' homes, plus numerous beaches.  Did it cost me more?  Yes, but instead of $68 for a 2-hour tour on a bus full of strangers I had a private tourguide who let me wander as long as I wanted, wherever I wanted, and managed to show me a CA I'd never have seen otherwise.  Even though we'd rented a 2012 Mustang Convertible we'd never have found all these incredible places.  Money well spent.

Next time you travel, do look for one of these hotels.  I see they're located from Raleigh to Boston so you know I'll be booking rooms for my trip to New England in September.  And if you find yourself in the Los Angeles/Anaheim area of CA, tell Willy I sent you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

I've been away for a very long time, both physically and mentally.  New year, new directions, leading me back to where I need to be.

There's nothing like 2 weeks in glorious CA to revive a person, especially when you return to NC and temperatures below 40, dressed in your wispy short-sleeved warm weather attire.  Reality revisited!

For the last few nights I've been unpacking from CHA.  Stacks of catalogs to look through now with no distractions.  One order has arrived with many more to come.  I've rearranged the studio yet again, moving furniture but also art.  New canvas art has been hung, art dolls have been shifted around the studio to new perches so I can appreciate them once more.  Everyone tells me how energized and creative they feel in my studio but without the occasional facelift, I tend not to see it.  So by shifting and reworking areas, I'm hoping to rediscover some of my inspirations from projects past.  Last night I was mostly discovering dust!

Look at that explosion of color.  My first visit to Disneyland in CA.   We arrived just in time for the parade and I swear I got all choked up when it first began...the music booming.  Felt like a little kid...overwhelmed.  Hate to admit it but we didn't know all the characters, which hardly mattered.  It was magnificent.  But I was drawn to all those colors, thinking about how I could transfer that to the pages of my journal.

New classes will be taught in the studio this year, including several guinea pig classes.  An acrylic album class, an acrylic CARD class!, an art journal of techniques class that of course will be my favorite, and so much more.

I placed a big order for tape at CHA...washi tapes in SO many patterns & designs, fabric tape, and wait for it...LACE tape.  There's a class for sure.

New stencils should be arriving any day and that will be another class...on canvas.  But students will have the option of a stretched canvas to hang on the wall or Claudine's sticky-back canvas so it can be adhered to a book cover, storage box,  tote bag, apron, or even cut up for cards.

I'm most excited about the order I placed with Ranger for Dyan Reaveley's new stamps, stencils and sprays.  Probably won't receive any of that til the end of March or first of April according to my email acknowledgment, but oh how worth the wait!

Another class I'm excited to offer is a small accordian book working with paints, ribbons & fabric on paper.  Woo Hoo!!  It's a twist on my techniques class, introducing a few new things.

Tonight I've got the girls coming over for a bit of fabric stamping.  That should be interesting.  Some are bringing totes and aprons.  I've got quite the collection of aprons pulled out but I'm thinking about one of my white men's shirts that I wear in the studio.  And I found a stash of little cloth drawstring bags that need a little something, so they may see some action tonight as well.

Since my one-day mini retreat in October went over so well I'm toying with the idea of another.  I can tell you felt beads, paper, buttons, wire, and more will be involved.  Interested?

Back tomorrow with a rave and a rant.  Do come visit, won't you?