Saturday, December 27, 2008

Canvas Adventures

Hope you all had a great holiday! We don't do much here, but finally got a good paycheck that wasn't totally taken by bills so I ordered a sewing machine from WalMart. The shipping was only 97 cents and it got here within a few days. I ordered a Brother CS6000i which has 60 different stitches on it and I LOVE IT! I have been using an older Brother machine (they are workhorses and I have had this since my days at House Of Fabrics!)and wanted to use some fancier stitches in my work. I gave the old machine to April so hopefully she will be able to do some fancier work herself with it!
For the past week of break I have been working, working, working on several swaps that are due in January. I joined collageUnleashed and have made 20 out of the 24 background papers to send in. It was sunny out yesterday here so I covered a table out on the patio and painted for several hours (Dave laughed when he saw my large pieces drying on the clothesline!). I forgot to finish one side of a piece so will probably finish that today and get them in the mail. We were to do 24 8X10 double-sided papers utilizing techniques in Traci Bautista's book Collage Unleashed. I had started these several weeks ago at Jane's and needed several hours outside to finish them. When I finish the last set I will post pics.
Below is a piece I worked on with April Christmas day. I started with canvas paper and layered acrylic paint (pink, green, yellow) brushed on, stenciled with a metal bracket (found in the junk drawer) in both white and black, stenciled the oval (Easter egg cookie cutter) into chains and a flower in black and purple, used punchinella in two different sizes with white and black again. When I got home the next day I sewed over the flower petals with my machine and then used a fancy stitch all over the canvas.

This is canvas paper again with left over paint from the 120 pages for Arttechniques technique swap....

...and another left over paint canvas with more added to it: I collaged scrapbook paper pieces, page from an old children's encyclopedia, used some rub on phrases that I would never use elsewhere (cut apart and randomly adhered), added some hearts and a flower with black sharpie. On the machine I stitched over the hearts and layered clear plastic over the flower before stitching that as well. I added some fabric scraps from my stash, highlighted some rubons with stitching, and stamped some squares on top.

Arttechniques is hosting Monthly Art Technique swaps, January's swap is using tar gel which I received a small jar in Jacqueline Sullivan's Journal of Surfaces class at Art Unraveled. Those 10 pages are finished and there were 1 inch pieces left on the ends so I used them for a beaded charm swap hosted by Pam at Bad Baby Artists group.
I used the leftovers to make beads and then added an assortment of beads around the beads for the charms.

Today April and I worked on some larger canvas pieces out back. Hopefully she will post some of what she did on her blog!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Time to Breathe!

I've been trying to shake the cough left from a cold I've had for the past two weeks or so! I finally bought some Mucinex which has helped some (at least I can sleep for more than a couple of hours straight!. In between coughing fits I have been working on tons of swaps. Every time Jane and I swear off swapping we get swept right back into it...........I'm sure it doesn't help that I started a Yahoo group dedicated to swapping.....duh! Our first book is the Wizard of Oz and it should be a great collaboration.
In the past week weeks here are just a few things I have been working on:
A composition book headed for Albuquerque:

A page for Barb V in Florida in her bee deco:

2 fabric books I worked on at home and at Jane's. Neither have any pages in them yet:
Some collaged blocks started at Jane's last week and finished at home with help from hubby:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hosting Wahoo!

I have been working diligently at my computer for the past few days fine tuning details for two chunky book swaps that I am hosting on-line. I am so psyched to actually be in charge of these swaps! One was already semi-established, but the other is my own creation. I have suckered April into doing them with me as, if you read her blog, you know she is starting to really be interested in chunky book swaps. Yesterday we participated in a Funky Chunky Book swap and I love all of the pages we received! Jane did the fabulous covers!

I just signed up on collageUNLEASHED yahoo group and am in the process of making 24 double-sided 8x10 pages ala Traci Bautista. As usual it is taking me a while to get in the groove, but they will be finished on time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blog Candy Winner!

SuzanneRenee!!!!!!!!! Little did you know that my favorite number is 7 so I chose your suggestion of blog candy at 1,777 hits! Email me with your address Suzanne and I will send you this 4x4 accordian album made from Heidi Grace's Urban Couture line.
Thank you to all who played! Stay tuned for the magical number of 1,777...........

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love this kitty!

What is wrong with some dog owners?

Ok, so I am driving home from work yesterday on Greenway and just before I have to turn onto Dysart I see a cute little puppy running around in the busy street. This always sends my heart into my throat, but it was so little it seemed worse with this cutie. He/she made it out of the street so I kept driving. Get to the intersection of Dysart and Greenway when I see a man in a red truck stopped in the turn lane trying to corral another one of these little guys! I stopped, got out and tried to call the dog to ran in the other direction. The guy just stood there, not chasing, not calling, just telling the dog not to go in a particular direction. All this time I am wondering where the dogs came from (his truck? the neighborhood--not likely as all the developments are fenced in with block fences here?), why they run in the opposite directions when called, and why this yahoo is not making much of an effort to get his two, yes, two, not just one, dogs back. I would have been frantic, but then again, my dogs would have come when called! This is the second time in as many days where I have seen dogs in the street on my way home.
People! Take care of your pets! They can't do it on their own, thus the term DOMESTICATED PETS! They are not wild and certainly cannot survive in a city of millions on their own. Hell, some people can't survive here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love LOLCats!

Senior Moment

Duh! It helps if I upload the pictures of the journal from the previous post! Here's the cover with a transparency that Jane gave me:

The cheesecloth is some that I got clearanced at WalMart for 25 cents a yard and dyed with instant coffee. The back:

The pen pocket on the inside front:

A top view of the two signatures:

New Journal project with Jane

Yesterday was our "play date" at Jane's house after the Inchie swap over at Frenzy Stamper. After we made bags for an ATC swap we played with a fabric journal design. I never totally finish a project when we get together on Saturdays, but always have most of it done............I actually got my journal done this morning, I wanted to show the finished product to April before we went shopping. The pages are a combination of plain pages and scrapbook paper. I think I may have to make another this weekend with April! We found some really good deals on discounted fabric at Joann's and WalMart this afternoon so we will probably be using them to make the journals.
Only three days of work this week! Wahoo!
Update on Pack N' More (see previous rant!): I tried to send an email to the store/company but SURPRISE, SURPRISE (as Gomer would say) it was kicked back to me. Now why am I not surprised that the email address on their website is no good? Could it be a reflection of their business practices and fabulous customer service? Well, being the stubborn .......... person? that I am, I printed the email and added a nice little note to the bottom about the email that didn't go through and then sent it in the mail. They will get it, won't they? After all they ship packages don't they? Well, only if they feel like it that day...................

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thank you! Blog Candy!

Thank you to my readers! Since adding a counter to my blog I have received over 1,000 visits! I should have anticipated this and had some blog candy. I am overwhelmed that that many people have read what I have posted.
I have been busy this week back at work semi-full time (which means every day, but at sub pay) so I have not had as much time to create or blog.
So......... I would like to give away some blog candy (don't know what yet, but it will be something I create here in my tiny room!), so here's what I need from you, my faithful bloggers:
Leave me a comment about what lucky number my counter should reach next to give away some blog candy. If I choose the number you suggest I will send you a goodie. Please leave me some way to contact you when you comment so I can reach you when you win! If you are not able to leave a comment please email me at: with your counter suggestion.
Good luck to all and thank you!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Ok, so this afternoon I needed to mail several (as in over 20) small boxes for a swap I participated in. The boxes all had stamps on them and we wanted to check that we put enough so the recipients wouldn't owe postage. Thinking about how I don't like to get in line behind someone with a buttload of stuff I thought it would be best if I visited one of those independent mailing stores. I know of one close by the house and there are never people waiting in line. After getting a couple of personal packages ready to mail with the swap boxes I toodle down the road and have to detour a couple of miles out of my way because they are working on the train intersection a mile from my house. For those of you familiar with the Phoenix area this involves the dreaded Grand Ave. intersection (could possibly be fall out from the two old people who got in the way of the train last week?). So.........down Grand way out of my way to get to this store at Bell and RH Johnson Blvd. Figure out how to get all 20+ packages in in one trip (it's still way too hot here!), ok, so far so good. I troop into the store and the woman behind the counter sluffs out, looks at the bags of boxes and says to me: "What do you have there?" Jesus! What the Fuck does it look like? Let's see..... I'm in a store called Pack and More that deals in sending mail, packages, etc. ..........I probably have LOTS OF PIECES OF DOG SHIT FOR YOU TO CHEW ON LADY!. But instead of saying what I was thinking (see above) I said "I have packages (duh!) for you to check the postage on." She looked at the boxes, looked at me and said "I suppose you want me to stand here and check all of those?" NO! STAND OVER THERE AND CHECK THEM, DUMB SHIT! I said: "Obviously, you don't want to." To which she replied: "Oh, I guess I can this time." Please feel free to imagine at this point the martyred heavy sigh that accompanied this statement from her. I looked at her, picked up the bags and said: "No, don't bother, I'll go to the post office where they won't give me a hard time about it." AND LEFT! OMG! What the hell does she do in there? Read The National Enquirer and drink prune juice? I wanted to beat the shit out of this indifferent, offensive bitch! I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO PACK AND MORE AT RH JOHNSON BLVD. AND BELL IN SUN CITY WEST, ARIZONA. Yes, if I knew the asshole's name I would print that, too!
Yet, the saga continues, because now I have to reload the boxes into my trunk and now go to the PO which is on the other side of the detour and hope there aren't a ton of people in the little po manned by just one clerk. She was VERY FRIENDLY! Yes, this would be THE POST OFFICE FOR SURPRISE AT GRAND AVE. AND DYSART IN SURPRISE ARIZONA! There were a few people on and off that came in so I let them do their business in between boxes.
On the way home just one more reason I hate the big city -- had to go another mile out of my way in S-L-O-W T-R-A-F-F-I-C in El Mirage just to get home!
Anyway, the packages are mailed, the postage was enough and I made it home. WITH THE AIR ON IN MY CAR BECAUSE IT IS WAY TOO F****ING HOT HERE IN NOVEMBER! Did I mention how I don't like living here anymore? I thought so, but thought I would say it again!
OK, done for now! Have to go breathe...................................

Last day of Freedom

My "year off" from teaching is quickly coming to a close. No, it has not actually been a year off from teaching. The only substantial breaks I have had from subbing have been the two vacations back East. Tomorrow begins a 6 week long term position for my good friend Alyssa who just recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. When that job is finished in January I will be accepting a full time position in 7th grade Language Arts.
However I have made good use of the time I have had to work on projects such as the swap below. The chunky book contains pages from Art Unraveled 2008 participants. Each contributor gets a set of pages and one book will be auctioned off at AU 2009 for charity. Jane and I sorted and bound books yesterday. My book does not sit flat as I chose a page with a spoon in it and the spoon extends below the page. Side view (love the dangling pearl!):

Top view:

Front cover made by Jane (this is the view where you can see that my book does not sit flat, that's the charm of chunky books!):

Here is the main reason I have been restless and "out of sorts" lately:

I really, really, really don't want to be in Arizona any more......... I want to be in our house in the woods! It is extremely peaceful there and I miss it (especially in the lingering heat here and all the city noise that we tuned out until returning and realizing just how much noise there really is here!).
So, today is my last day to play (of course after running errands like the doctor's office and the bank..............) and I will be finishing Christmas inchies for a swap at Frenzy Stamper and then I would really love to work on the canvas book that I started at Jane's last month. She has completed one of hers and it is absolutely fabulous!
One of the things I MUST do today is cancel my subscriptions through Scrapbook Trends magazines.......... I am really annoyed at their less than honest way of doing business and plan to cancel all three of their magazines and getting my money returned to my account. When I first subscribed to Cards, Paper Trends, and Bead Trends I loved the issues, however my tastes have changed and I barely look at them now, so when my account was charged for over $150 for the renewals...............................not good! They have been dishonest with me (telling me I had a gift subscription then charging my account anyway in the next two days) and I refuse to do business with them any more. Furthermore, April is canceling her subscription as well since they told me SHE was the one who gave me the gift, which she had not. What a mess......... long story short, I WILL get my money returned!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back from Virginia

We left for Virginia very early on Saturday, Nov. 1 after carefully packing the car with the few things we could fit and felt we would need to live for a week in our home there. Toodling along I 40 we stopped in New Mexico for lunch and while I was using the facilities Dave decided to check how much room we had in the trunk. Come to find out we had LOTS of room because neither of us stowed the two suitcases that contained our clothes!!!!!!!!! Crap! It was out of the question to go back 500 miles just for that, so.............. we found Wal-Mart on the way and bought just enough to get us through a few days and found a laundromat in the nearby town. Duh! We both assumed that the other had put the cases in the car and neither of us noticed them sitting in our bedroom ready to go! All I could think of is how on the reality shows like Project Runway when Kenley left her tulle at Mood and the camera zoomed in as she went on her merry way designing until much later she noticed it missing. That's the image I had when we discovered NO CLOTHES FOR TWO WEEKS! As we say here: there's always a story! Here is our lonely luggage right where I left them Oct. 31 in the bedroom!

The picture below is taken from the gravel road a bit from the house. The green building is the barn located behind our house so we actually live somewhere amongst those trees in the center of the picture behind the farm:

The Maple trees had shed their leaves, but the oaks and elms still had theirs interspersed among the pine trees. Our property has four types of oak trees, pine, and a few maple and elm. We could hear quite a few squirrels running through the dead leaves looking for acorns on our property. One afternoon I got close enough to one in a tree eating his lunch! Dave had a stare down with a couple of deer while raking the leaves from the street and we saw a buck (and heard him snorting) after dark at the edge of the "lawn." Here is one of the smaller critters we saw. I used to know the adage about figuring the strength of the winter according to the amount of brown on the caterpillar, but that was sooooooo long ago. If you can help jog my memory I'd appreciate it. Hopefully when we return in the summer we will see some of the beautiful Monarch butterflies:

This is the same signpost in the slide show above however the oak tree is much prettier now!

This next picture gives a pretty good idea of how tall the trees are surrounding the house.

One of the great things about being at the house was the quiet! We don't really have any neighbors per se (we don't count the deer, squirrels, crows, and the black bear one of the "neighbors" saw in his backyard), we are the only house on Laurel Ridge Lane. Our street intersects with Millstone Rd. (gravel) and there are several houses on this road, but they are all set back in the woods. No traffic, no neighbors' crappy music, no air force jets, no train whistles, no dogs barking, no kids walking by bouncing basketballs......... just the wind rustling the leaves at the tops of the trees, crows cawing in the distance, squirrels running through the dead leaves....... it is so quiet there that we could actually hear the oak leaves hit the ground when they fell from the trees!
The weather was in the 50s-60s and not much sunlight in the early morning and late afternoon because of the tree cover, but it was really nice to be in the cooler weather. The previous owner for some reason had not put registers in the bedrooms so it was a good thing we brought a portable heater and a warm blanket (for our air mattress!).
We really found out how much stuff we DID NOT NEED back there. We had two bar stools for the kitchen, bought two camping chairs to sit outside in, an air mattress on the floor, a refrigerator, and a range. We DID NOT have any couches, microwave, toaster, TV, computer, more than 3 days worth of clothes, etc. But, we made do for a week with what we had!
Next trip will be at the end of May next year where I will be staying for as long as possible before I have to go back to work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LOL Cats

I have added a picture and a link to what I think is the FUNNIEST place ever! I love the LOL Cats web site, I laugh out loud like a little kid every time I look at these pics. There is a companion site for dogs which can be found at the Cats site. Look at the bottom of my blog for the pic and link...........
Enjoy! I do!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Playing at Jane's: Canvas Book

Yesterday was a pretty busy day! First thing in the morning Jane, Jeanne, and I traveled to Frenzy Stamper to pick up our Halloween inchies (I love all of them!) and then Jane and I headed back to her "studio" to play with canvas and paint. We referred to Alisa Burke's Canvas Remix book for inspiration and even though we both had the same supplies in front of us our canvas pieces, the results were amazingly different. Our intent was to just let go with the different paint media Jane had on hand and experiment with different methods....... "what if?" being the driving question. After our pieces dried we gather photos, random pieces of leftover fabric to "funk" up our books. We ripped the canvas in half and swapped so our books became a true collaboration of art, hit the sewing machines and started stitching away. I had brought copies of my NY trip so I used an image of the river at Chittenango Falls for the back cover and then used the small pieces left over elsewhere. I loved the way my paint soaked yarn left a trail, knot and all and made sure it was on my cover. I still need to embellish, but am leaning toward writing on the cover rather than covering up the paint.....

A close-up of the glaze stamped with a pill bottle lid:

An inside page with decorative stitching on unpainted canvas showing Jane's work beneath. I think I would like to get a sewing machine with more decorative stitches for Christmas, I love playing with thread and those stitches!

More stitches and a transparency:

The back cover:

I really, really love the way this book is turning out and cannot wait to get time to work on it some more! Thanks, Jane!!!!

Autumn Decos

Two more decos done and ready to be sent on their way...... first is an Autumn Fairy Envelope Deco. Not sure what an envelope deco should be so I made up my own. I used an envelope stencil from Paper Bouquet and traced it on double-sided Paper Salon cardstock that I've had since last year (purchased all Recollections had in their clearance section!). Inside I ripped cream colored cardstock for the "pages." for the cover I traced a Dover sample with sharpies onto a transparency and layered it over vellum. I first just laid the transparency over the cover and the fairy image got lost, so I tried vellum and achieved exactly what I imagined, I like the pattern of the paper showing through.
The front cover:

The inside envelopes:

Right now the book is temporarily bound with a piece of leather cord, when it gets sent back I will bind it permanently with my Bind-It-All.
For the Autumn Deco I found a card I had made previously for a swap, ripped the front from the card and glued it onto cardstock, bound it with some leaf ribbon and it was finished in less than ten minutes! Easy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Busy Stuff

Whew! Been very busy today on swaps that are due within the next month. I haven't worked since I got back from NY so I have made a concentrated effort to get ahead on what's due since I anticipate working next week and then leaving for VA for two weeks followed by a long term sub job for my dear friend Alyssa who's baby is due within the next two weeks!
First up I completed 30 technique pages for an Art Unraveled swap. We were to duplicate a technique learned in one of the classes and I chose Katie Kendrick's Cardboard Visual Journal made from corrugated cardboard. The top layer is peeled off, gessoed, painted, 3-D matte medium over painted with Lumiere, stamped, and edged in dyed cheesecloth. I used primary colors to made secondary colors for paint.

18 Halloween inchies for swap over at Frenzy Stamper. This was my second attempt, the first inchies made from Shrinky Dink didn't come out the way I wanted, the glue never dried in between the plastic and the backing. Yuck! These are much better:

Finally, Holiday inchies for a Yahoo group swap. This time the Shrinky Dink came out okay. I made tags from it and attached to foam taped presents:

Yet more decos and Goodwill score

It's near the end of the month and time to get some decos out in the mail! Yikes! Catch up time.... two Marine decos..... Coastline of My country heading for the UK with faux weathered 7 Gypsies paper, Rusty Pickle tag, and rub ons:

Sea mammals also headed to UK...... painted background paper, ocean fabric from Joann's, lampwork beads and image from National Geographic (I chose a Humpback whale for the cover because I saw several off the coast of the big island of Hawaii):

On a trip to Goodwill ( I have decided this is one of the very few things I will miss about AZ when we settle in VA for good!) I scored some heart doilies, embroidered hankies, and (not pictured) a plastic tablecloth cover: these will be shared with April......

This and That

Since April is much better at getting lots of photos on a blog, please visit here to see the pics of our weeklong trip to upstate NY. Many pics of the leaves, family, sites we visited....... good stuff.
I've been LMAO at this hilarious site recommended by one of my Yahoo group sisters:
LOLcats, there is also a book which brings me to my next thought:
Visiting my sister in Binghamton, NY on my trip I noticed that she had some books ready to mail so I asked her what was up. She showed me a really great site on which you can send used paperbacks to people who want to read them and get ones you want in exchange, just for the postage (which has only been two dollars and change for each!). This is great for someone like me who chews through books like nothing! So far I have had 8 people request books from me and I should have the fourth Psychic Eye book by Victoria Laurie coming to me soon. For those crafty people, I have placed several journaling books on my wish list and am waiting to see if I can get any of them through this site. Speaking of journaling: if you have not seen any of Keri Smith's books you should! Last year in my fifth grade class I purchased several copies of "Wreck This Journal" and the kids LOVED them! I just bought "How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum and can't wait to dig in. Go to amazon and check them out. While you are there check out the Psychic Eye series. Here is the link for the paperback trading site:
Paperback Swap
Leave me a comment if you like any of these recommended sites or books! Thank you, now GO ENJOY LIFE TODAY!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to the heat of AZ

April and I returned from our upstate NY trip Monday evening. It was absolutely gorgeous there! Everyone we met agreed that the trees were the most colorful they had been in a long time. Talk about timing! April took four times as many pics as I did so keep checking her blog for more. We did some sightseeing, shopping, sewing, visiting, lots of eating, and walking through the leaves on the sidewalks. Madison, NY boasts a population of around 300+ so you can imagine that everyone knows everyone there. Yes, I am one of the Edwards girls! Sunday we had a family reunion at my mother's house which was great as it has been 13 years since my last visit. Below are my brother, Skip and my two sisters, Cindy and Merry.

Friday we drove to Cindy's house in Binghamton and after a couple of wrong turns (Oh, THAT Sunoco station!). We spent time at a local library book sale, thrift store, and an alpaca farm.

Wednesday afternoon April and I drove to Cooperstown. We didn't visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, just wandered around to buy souvenirs and eat. We drove west to Cazenovia where April purchased some unique Wizard of Oz fabric that her grandmother will quilt for her. Further north we stopped in the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, Chittenango. There is actually a yellow brick road in the center of the sidewalk there! Heading back we stopped at Chittenango Falls and took some pics:

This is a building in the "center" of town where Rte. 20 intersects North and South streets. We thought the foliage on the bricks was unique and colorful.

And here is one of the spectacular trees in the town:

Needless to say the weather there was a lot cooler than the 90 degree temps here in AZ. It ranged from 40 to around 70 degrees and rained on Thursday. It felt good to take a walk at the end of the day and come home with tingly cheeks! Can't wait to see what the weather is like in VA in 10 days!