Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mail Art - Oh Happy Days

Are you having fun today?  Are you sending out some mail?  Getting some fun mail in return?  I've been a busy girl for the last 2 months, decorating piles of envelopes in all shapes and sizes so that when I'm ready to send something out the door, I'm prepared.  And the kids at the post office are so pleased with me!  All those stamps I'm buying...all these pretty envelopes heading out into the world...and every single day my mailbox is full of great mail art in return.

If you know me, you know I'm wild about art journals and make them in all shapes and sizes.  My stamp club has participated in embellishing a couple of composition book journals, decorating the covers and then swapping them among ourselves.  The one pictured above is one I purchased at Peak Fest, an arts & crafts festival held in Apex (the Peak of Good Living) on the first Saturday of May.  It's a fabric covered composition book made by "Piecefully Home".  You'll find her on etsy by the way if you feel you can't live another day without one of these too.

This is now my mail art journal, filled with all sorts of goodness like postcards and notecards and washi tape and stickers and used postage stamps.  It's getting really fat courtesy of a couple of websites I discovered recently.

First let's talk about sendsomething.net, where you click on "random search" and see different people with snippets about themselves on their profile.  I've found a handful of people who love rubber stamps, or mail art, or some of my other interests, so I send them a letter or a postcard.  Someone sees my profile and does the same. 

Another is postcrossing.com.  With this one, a name & address is assigned to you and you drop a postcard in the mail.  Once it's been received, your name is given to someone else.  I mailed cards to Korea, The Netherlands, China, Russia & Germany.  The card on the right above came to me from Mexico.  How cool is that?  Assuming you don't think it's dreadful that it took 6 weeks for your card to Korea to actually arrive, and you don't mind that very long wait for yours to cross the oceans blue, you'll like it.

My favorite site however is swap-bot.com and this is the one keeping me busy and my mailbox overflowing on a daily basis.  You have the option of joining groups (Amazing Mail Art, Creative Mail Swapping, One Stamp Swaps, The Swapping Artist, What's In Your Mailbox, etc.) or just browsing all the swaps that are open to everyone.

The pages of my journal are filled with a lot of my mail, but certainly not all of it.  I've received handmade envelopes, made of calendars, popcorn bags, and drawings.  My postcards are store bought but also handmade and my favorites are made from recycled cardboard like cereal boxes and packaging.  I've sent out some pretty clever ones myself but silly me, I didn't think to snap any photos before I sent them on their way.

In the above photo we have a collection of goodness that arrived yesterday.  Top left is actually a canvas that I'll be dropping off on Friday in downtown Apex for some lucky person to find.  Interested in learning more about Free Art Friday?  There are websites and blogs; go look for them.

I made a small piece of my art, added a tag: I'm Free Take Me Home!, but again, failed to take a photo.  The postcard on the top right is a chunk of cardboard with a book page and washi tape added.  The bottom left is a fabulous dyed 6x9 envelope from TX and the houses were drawn in marker on notebook paper before being cut out and adhered!  Inside were lots of surprises like notecards, postcards, Halloween stickers...such a treat! 

And that postcard in the bottom right was one of 75 that came yesterday from etsy artist Brian Moss (bRiANmoSsARt.com) in VA. 

I've been sending out postcards I bought in Savannah and WV and VA and other places from my recent road trips, but I was ready for something new.

Aren't these incredible?  16 went out in today's mail to Maine, North Dakota, Washington and points in between.

Please pardon duplicates.  I pulled some off the pages and moved them around to hide my journaling and notes.

Want to play?  Send me something and I'll send something back.  Come on!  Let's put a party in your mailbox!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stampaway Play

I taught an acrylic class this year that included making cards as well as a wall hanging.

We played with alcohol inks of course and acrylics from Clear Scraps.  Don't you love these funky hearts?
Can you see the dangling dragonfly?  We twisted copper wire and strung it with glass beads.  I thought that was a very nice touch when I designed the class last year.
And we have one brave gentleman join the fun, and seriously, I think he enjoyed himself.
Instead of beads for his, he liked the miniature dice, so I fished out several in all different colors.  I knew his should be truly unique.
We had a bit of fun in my art doll class, but I forgot to take photos until everyone was ready to leave.  Shame on me.
It was tremendous fun.  Just look at these smiles.
Sorry this one is blurry.  I was laughing which means we were having fun, but not so great when I'm supposed to be capturing memories.

In my collage class there seemed to have been less time for play.  Each kit was packaged in a wooden cigar box and while I know there was more than enough ephemera, I kept wandering around the room, passing out more...and more...and more!
So just when they thought it was safe to start making those final decisions, I would sweep through with a few extras they didn't realize they would need.  And then final decisions had to be changed.  For the better of course!

I had fun.  Just wish I'd taken more photos throughout the week.  Did I mention I need a personal assistant?  Preferably one handy with a camera!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stampaway Classes with Gaye & Pat

Once again I was able to squeeze in a class with the talented, delightful Gaye Medbury.    Usually we're teaching opposite one another throughout the week, and I manage to find one opening in my schedule to learn from the master.
Tiny, precious, wondrous little Concertina Boxes.  Loved every single minute of it.  As always.  Thanks Girlie!

And Pat took this class as well, but couldn't resist jumping up to assist as she's always done in Gaye's classes. 

She also taught one this year, which I took, called her Agenda Book.
Loved every step, every moment, even though I didn't quite do it correctly and had to ask for a little assistance.  She watched me and thought I was onto something genius, so she let me continue...right up until I noticed something was amiss.
But she quickly pulled my fat out of the fire.  Thanks ever so much for that!

I think everyone should take classes, including instructors like myself.  We can all learn so much.  Can't wait to do it again in 2015!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stampaway USA XXII - Class #3

I'm pleased to report that I survived another year at Stampaway.  Taught 4 classes to great students.  Shopped like a crazy person at the Friday night preview party.  And the drive through VA, WV, KY and OH was just as wonderful as the drive home back through those very same states, but on a different route.

Turns out I'm not the only person who likes playing with inks and paints, stencils and dabbers, punchinella & mesh tape.
I scattered Ranger inks across all the tables and gave everyone a chance to play with multiple palettes.  And they did an extraordinary job.
My favorites used to be Butterscotch, Lettuce, Wild Plum, Stream & Red Pepper.
And since I still own more than a dozen of each, I packed them.  But I also packed Pool, Sailboat Blue, Raspberry, Citrus, Sunshine Yellow and Orange.
Ahh, the endless possibilities.  The combinations were quite cheerful.

This was one of the supply tables after everyone had grabbed multiple foam stamps and stencils to play with at their seats.  Never let it be said that I don't pack enough supplies to inspire!

Hard working girls.  Happy girls.  Girls with inky fingers.
Lisa was all smiles but Peggy was far too involved to pose for me.
As you can see I also packed my Clearsnap Magic Stamps, or Pen Score as they called it a couple of decades ago.  Still love that stuff and I wasn't the only one.

This was a 3 hour class and I don't believe a single person left early, although we did have a few guests drop in to see what all the laughter was about.

I spread out some old favorite foam rubber stamps by Junkitz, discontinued but still much loved to use with the Dabbers.
And yes, I packed the Distress Paints, but kept them on a table up front because they're totally different and I wanted these ladies to appreciate the differences.

Hope you'll come back tomorrow to see photos of the other classes and hear about them.

Do come back, won't you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Fun

Are you enjoying your summer, doing lots of fun things outdoors?  We took in an All Star Baseball game last week at the Durham Bulls Ballpark.  So much fun!  Perfect weather.  Nice and cool with a steady breeze.  Someone wore shorts and complained about cool legs...not me.

Lots of people were eating peanuts and cracker jacks, popcorn and hot dogs.  But you guessed it...not me!

Tiny tot came and spent a weekend, and ate all the things his daddy says he won't eat, like ice cream, and cheese, and potatoes.  I suspect the key is letting him pull up his stool and participate when you're preparing his twice-baked potato, including shredding the cheese and mashing with a fork, or filling the gluten free ice cream cone with Breyer's French Vanilla ice cream.  He didn't know the cone was GF, but it didn't matter since he wouldn't eat it anyway.  He ate his weight in steak, several times, and then asked for pizza afterward.  Kids! 

And when he says he doesn't eat bacon, ignore him.  Then sit back and watch him eat 5 strips along with his eggs which he also doesn't eat, and toast.  Amazing how close those tiny teeth can come to the crust without ever touching it.  Maybe it was all that homemade grape jelly his great grandmother made.

We drove to Wilson to view a home on the historic preservation list that's for sale.  Oh my.

We own 4 cars and have a 2-car garage on the first floor and another on the basement level of our current home.  That tiny little 2-car garage behind this house just isn't big enough.  Think we can sell 2 of the 3 convertibles?  Me neither.

And yes, I love that brick courtyard on the side and the screened-in porch.  But I also love my 2nd floor deck with the pergola and ceiling fan just as much.

Am I impressed with that brick wall that surrounds the entire corner lot?  You better believe it!  But will my yard man come to Wilson to keep it looking like this?  Not so sure, but it's definite that neither of us wants to take on that project on a regular basis.

Ah, to dream...

Remember my little friend in FL who promised to share her sheet music books?  Well she came through big time!!  Oh Danielle, you're a wonder!

I was clever enough to photograph it before I opened it, but then I was too busy checking out the huge bag of buttons she sent me and rifling through the pages of the 4 huge volumes of music to think about the camera.

So do come back for a quick visit later this week to see them in all their glory as I start preparing my kits for Stampaway classes.  You won't be disappointed.