Thursday, August 28, 2008

Check out this blog!

I am linking Stef's blog: Craftside -- A behind the scenes peek at a craft world. I have been visiting her blog ever since I joined Arttechniques Yahoo group. She reviews craft books and has great ideas for projects associated with the books. Thanks for blogging, Stef!

Postcard and Hike

Got another swap done! Over at Fun and Friendly Yahoo group I needed a Games themed fabric postcard. The background is black and white fabric woven and then sewn at the seams with a feather stitch. I made paper "checkers" and stamped "king me" in the squares. They will be on their way tomorrow.

Yesterday morning (before subbing in a first grade classroom all afternoon) Daphne and I went hiking on my favorite White Tanks trail, Goat Camp Trail. This was Daphne's second hike with me since getting her cast removed and she really wanted to get to the 2 mile mark. We made it! It took 3 hours and we got back with just enough time to guzzle some more coffee, take a shower, and get to school. Way to go, Daphne!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nominated by April

Thanks, April!
The rules for this award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you've nominated.
So my nominees are:
Dawn and Stephanie
These wonderful people are already linked under Favorite Places!!
P.S. I changed the wording so as not to leave out the male bloggers (see how nice I am to you, Michael! even though you are known to wear a skirt......... LOL!)

New Bead

I made another Eye Candy Bead from Alma Stoller's instructions tonight. I used a bronze sheer fabric with green and burgandy fibers for embellishment. Looking at my picture it reminds me of a caterpillar. Hmm.... I wonder what the butterfly from this would look like? LOL

On the flight to and from Virginia I played in a journal I made prior to leaving. I brought my Jelly Roll pens (love 'em!) and People magazines I hadn't read yet. I attached the tangerine bead to ribbon on the binding. It held up pretty well for all the traveling it did! This is one of my favorite pages in the journal, an ad for Cirque de Soleil that I doodled on and labeled it Southern Hospitality.

Birthday Card

Today is Dave' 50th birthday and I used my favorite technique from Lisa Engelbrecht's Modern Mark Making class at Art Unraveled. I actually played with this method on the plane in my travel journal. I love using Jelly Roll pens and I have silver and gold paint pens. So the letters really sparkle! The envelope:

The front of the card: simple, but effective

Post Card contest

Since our return from Virginia, I have been knee deep in finishing swaps due in the next couple of weeks. I finished my aqua postcards for the colors_postcards_group. I didn't take a picture of them because I am not extremely happy about the way they came out. Working on a flat piece using one color was much more difficult than I had imagined. Next I finished a fabric postcard for the FunFriendly group. This is an entry in the Back to School Postcard challenge. I took a piece of printed fabric and embroidered borders and details on it. I also added the word "CAT" on the left and P.S. 84 on the roof (homage to the p.o. box number I grew up with). I'll let you know if it wins.

Dave's 50th Birthday

OMG! You have to go to April's blog and check out the freakin' hilarious ecard that she made for Dave's birthday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cool giveaway

Check out centsible Mommy's blog for a chance to win a fabulous wallet:
This site has some pretty items:
I love the hair clips that look like fish, spiders, bees, butterflies: all made out of ribbon. Very clever.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back From Virginia

Above this post you will find a slide show of our new house and property in southwest Virginia. Our final offer was accepted and if all else goes well we should take possession in October. We are planning a trip back again in December to visit our vacation, soon to be retirement home. There is a bit of work to do finishing the inside, but the previous owner has added many details such as a tongue and groove wood ceiling as well as floor, tiled entryway to match the fireplace surround, pine cabinets in the kitchen as well as other wood details. The house has two livable levels and an unfinished basement that, when finished will add quite a bit of square footage to the house.
The house is located at the end of a "street" which you can see in one of the pictures. It is literally two ruts in the ground which extends from a gravel road. The property is over an acre in size, mostly wooded and very isolated. Exactly what we were looking for! Bonus: wild turkeys and deer on the property. We did not actually see the turkeys (only their feathers), but did see several deer running around through the trees. It is so quiet there it's unbelievable. The weather was perfect, 70s to 80s with a bit of rain one day. Even after the rain it wasn't muggy at all. The area is in the Blue Ridge mountains and beautifully preserved.
While there we took a side trip to Mount Airy, NC home of Andy Griffith. I managed to find two fabric stores, a Goodwill, and an Alpaca farm (add weaving to my craft repertoire soon!!). It was great seeing green trees, grass, water in streams, hay bales, cows, horses, and two lane country roads after having lived in the urban Phoenix area for nearly 30 years. It smelled so good there I couldn't stop taking deep breaths... people probably thought I was asthmatic! LOL
Speaking of people, Southern Hospitality is not just a phrase, everyone really was nice. We have never had better service in restaurants than in Hillsville, VA! Even the buffet across the street was great and no matter where we ate our glasses were constantly refilled. Anyone who knows me knows that my tip is based on a full glass of whatever we are drinking! When we told people we were buying property they were genuinely excited that we would be moving to the area! What a difference between here and there.... can't wait to be there permanently...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Off to Virginia

We are vacationing in southwestern Virginia to look at houses there. Our intent is to purchase a second home for vacations and ultimately retirement. If nothing else we will be 30 degrees cooler there than we are here in the Phoenix area. After nearly 30 years of the desert heat we are more than ready to experience cooler temps and four seasons again!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bead Journal Project 2008

I just learned today that I have been accepted to join the Bead Journal Project 2008!!!!! I learned about it yesterday and quickly emailed them as the cut-off date to join was yesterday! Got a nice email this morning letting me know that I was not too late. I am not sure what I will be doing, that's nothing new! I have been making beaded jewelry for several months now and this will be a great chance to use my plethera of beads in a new way! I will post updates and pictures of this journey............

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fabric Bead

I purchased Alma Stoller's Eye Candy Beads instruction booklet at Art Unraveled this past weekend. Today I bought a size 13 knitting needle at Michael's after spending at least an hour at SAS Fabrics here in Phoenix hunting for fabric and notion bargains. I found several yummy colors of voile there to use for the fabric beads. Here is my first attempt using a squash-colored base with three different types of fibers as well as random beads from my collection. The directions were very good and I am very happy with my first Eye Candy Bead. Thank you, Alma!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vendor Faire Win and Friends

Although Karen and I did not have bunches of time to attend the Vendor Faire yesterday morning before eating lunch and attending Kelly Kilmer's class, we had enough time to wander over to a few booths and spend all of our money! During a break in our class I met up with Alma Stoller whose zine I had purchased several months ago. In her zine, Odd Ball Zine, I found a pattern for crocheted flowers which I used and incorporated into a row house swap for TreasuredArtTrends Yahoo group. I love Alma's work, but realized that I had signed up for other classes that coincided with her classes...... bummer....... but we met up and seemed to have a connection! I made her take a pic with me (just kidding, she was more than happy to pose!) and I purchased the kits from her classes. I am excited to try her fabric beads, may have to find a large knitting needle first. They look way cool!!!

So, who was in the booth right next to Alma? Why, the lovely Katie Kendrick! So, here are two of my favorite artists: (love these ladies!!!)

Poor Susan had to suffer through two classes with me (she survived!)....... both Carboard Visual Journal and Avant Garde Journals. I think she is in love with my heat gun (just kidding Susan! always glad to share!) I asked her to share her favorite page from her Avant Garde journal (she finished this one, still waiting for her to sew her cardboard journal together -- send me a pic, Susan!), she chose a large pull-out page, her covers were beautiful!!!

Karen incorporated some personal memorabilia into her journal (love the passport shot!) as well as some papers we shared (notice the fashion black and white paper that was in mine too). Her favorite spread shows her drawing ( on the left) and painted pages (too bad the textures she made don't show up, they are wonderful!):

So, during our break and visit to Alma and Katie I actually won a door prize. Those who know me, understand how unusual this is. At one conference I attended there were fifty people and thirty prizes and I was one of the twenty!! If there are numbers involved mine is only one or two away from the winner....... anyway I won this gorgeous pendant made by Cindy Dean. This was something I recognized immediately from her blogspot, they are across her masthead. Not only did I win, but I won something I really coveted! Thank you, Cindy! Your work is marvelous!

At Unraveled Day 5

Saturday I attended Kelly Kilmer's Avant Garde Journal class. What a blast! I don't even know how to begin to describe the fun we had in this class........ Kelly is a great teacher! We made these funky journals made out of "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" ! LOL!! We first painted canvas spines and chipboard covers for two different sized journals. It was fun watching Karen really dig into the painting......... loved the deep colors she ended up with for her covers! Before class we attended the Vendor Faire, discovered two paper stores and bought very cool papers to add to our books. I found out we both love crowns! Wahoo!
Back to painting, I am very much an amateur as I have not had much experience with paints, but I love the feel of brushing on an medium!!! Did not end up with beloved green, but my spine is pink!! I also managed a dragonfly on the spine (since my spine is half black, it didn't show up too well, but I know it is there!). Here is my front cover for the larger journal (of course I ran out of time in class --slow poke!, so I haven't had a chance to finish the small journal), notice all of the funky pages sticking out:

We also painted a page for each signature for both journals and stenciled onto them, I call my painting style "Eric Carle" and I really am pleased with the effect I got. I love the dressmaker's stencil (an homage to my mother who is a seamstress!), this is one of my favorite painted pages:

So for all four signatures we were to incorporate a variety of styles, textures, etc. for the pages. We needed 48 different pages, I thought I had enough but when I counted I only had 36. What to do? I didn't feel like looking through what was in the room (again!) so I decided to see what I could beg from vendors and look through trash......... I got the idea from my purchase at Tricia's Vintage Bliss booth. She gave me a patterened paper bag I wanted to use as a page. So of course I ran up to Tricia and told her what I was doing... we dug through her bag bag and found some stuff (including a yellow legal tablet page with some sort of list on it!)........... what a sport she is! I loved it!!! I needed one more page so I scrounged in Stamp-O-Tique's trash and found register tape.......... SCORE! Now I had enough for my book. Here is the section with Tricia's paper list, also the brown and black paper was a purchase as was the hand made paper on the right (from S.A.G.E. Crafts, made in Bali). Although not in this shot, one of my favorite finds in Kelly's stash was a Japanese magazine, the pages are thick and glossy (actually now that I look closely at the pic you can see the black "W" page, I think that is one of them?).

A top view of all the pages in the two signatures. There is room for at least two more signatures, so I am already saving recycled treasures to add in later............ Yes, that is a gift bag hand sticking out on the left! It was the bag that held paper purchased at Paper Studio's booth. In the back signature is a plastic handled bag from Tricia's stuff.......

The class was great and I can't wait to take more classes from Kelly when she returns to Frenzy Stamper this October! Kelly, you are warned! LOL

Art Unraveled Day 4 Night Class

Thursday's night class was Jacqueline Sullivan's Journal of Surfaces. Even though the class was crowded, I learned quite a few techniques I will definitely use again. We used seven different methods for creating journal page backgrounds and then cut the pages to fit into a 4X4 book bound with the Zutter Bind-it-All. We used these backgrounds for divider pages and inserted directions for each method into small envelopes which also became part of the book. As with the earlier class, I did not get the book assembled, but took it home and finished it there ( I recently purchased a Zutter so it wasn't an issue of having to bind it in class).
I was really pleased with the molding paste method we used on the cover, at first my colors were rather dark, but they lightened up once I hit it with copper and interference green. My cover:

The sad thing is there was no dragonfly stencil so butterfly was the next best thing (Hah!) I have dragonfly stencils here, so I feel another book in my future!
I was not thrilled with some of my results on a couple of techniques, but once I got home and cut them down, they weren't so bad!! My favorite (after the molding paste and stencil) was the raised foil marks with clear tar gel on black gesso:

I also liked the gesso resist method......... I love my book! It will be a great reference source.

Nancy's Cathedral Door

Nancy wanted a cathedral style door for her cardboard visual journal (see post below), so I volunteered to cut one since I was cutting windows anyway. She was very happy so I wanted to post her work. Note the green paint, my Making Memories Evergreen paint struck a chord with several students that day, so it appears in a couple of journals.... it is a great shade!! Here is Nancy's door shut:

and open:

I am positive she did more work on this page before she was finished. I love the colors, she chose to make only a few pages and is going to give the book to her mother. Thanks for sharing Nancy!! (Nancy and I also were in the night class, see above post for info)

Art Unraveled Day 4 Class #`1

Thursday's first class was THE class I had been waiting to take: A Cardboard Visual Journal with Katie Kendrick featured in the Nov./Dec. 2007 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (boy, this issue was fantastic -- it is also the one that featured my Tuesday class with Cathy Taylor!). The class did not disappoint! Katie is a fantastic teacher and wonderful person (odd bit of trivia: we were born 3 days apart!!!!!), I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with her. The ladies in this class were very energetic and there was such a collaborative spirit. It was very energizing and creative on that second floor! Although I did not completely finish assembling the book during class, I left knowing that I was armed with all the info I needed to complete the project. So, after my night class I came home and finished both the books (staying up until midnight to do so). Here is my finished cover (of course it's pink and green and has a dragonfly and beads-- duh!):

The entire book is constructed from corrugated cardboard and coffee dyed cheesecloth. My favorite two page spread with my "window" page which came about as a solution to a weak page:

Yes, you did see a dragonfly and there are more beads!! Below is a photo of the spine and the fuzzies on the page edges, it brings to mind a barn ( for those who have lived in farm country), the cardboard texture looks like the side of a weathered barn and the cheesecloth is reminiscent of hay:

Yesterday I met up with Katie at the Vendor Faire:

Absoulutely loved her and the class, this is one book I will be making again, and again.......

Modern Mark Making purchase

I am really excited to have purchased a copy of Lisa Engelbrecht's new book Modern Mark Making upon which my Thursday class was based (see earlier post). It is large and spiral bound so that it will lay flat when you practice from it. I bought the copy at the Art Unraveled Vendor Faire yesterday..............

and had Lisa sign it........

Fabulous stuff, can't wait to dive in and practice some more!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Art Unraveled Day 3

What a fantabulous class today: Modern Mark Making with Lisa Engelbrecht. This was the one class I was leery about, I have no experience in calligraphy and do not like my natural handwriting. Which is why I took this class, I want to add handwriting to my work and thought this class would help. It sure did! Lisa is a wonderful teacher and the energy in the room was energizing! I could have watched Lisa make letters all day and been happy. However, once I dipped my nib in pink ink and started stroking I realized that I could do this, it was a great feeling! Here is Lisa giving one her awe-inspiring demos:

As a class we collaborated on a cover for our work, we all "left our mark" for each cover:

I numbered my pages as I went to track my progress and this is only page 5, I broke up the letters:

One of the last pages of the day. We were to make multi stroke letters and then fill in withe colors, more strokes, and doodles:

Isn't this A wonderful? One of our class mates did this work, I think it is my favorite:

I have added a couple of blogs from fellow Mark Makers: altered artists, Adrianna, and Lisa... go see our fabulous work!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Art Unraveled Day 2

Today was rather disappointing to me as I wasn't as productive in class as I would have liked. I really resisted the exercise in drawing. I do not like to draw and do not like what I draw when forced to draw! Moving on, I only produced a few pages that I even came close to liking so I have included them here. This first piece wasn't even one of the exercises we were supposed to be working on, but I got so frustrated I just grabbed the cover of the Harper's Bazaar mag I had and color washed , then drew with Sharpie around the face to frame it. This is my homage to Alma Stoller whose zine is full of this type of work and I love my first attempt!!! Part of the issue today was that I didn't have any appropriate weight paper to work on or markers (there are so many supplies to bring to these classes it's almost impossible to have everything you need that day) so it was frustrating. I made Jane take me to Michael's after we ate lunch to buy heavy paper, duct tape, and paint, but I still couldn't get it right. Ah, well.....

We pooled paper and "stuff" and I pulled this kitty pic from that pile. When Traci was scanning it the woman commented that someone was using her cat, so I had her put Dash's name on my page in her own handwriting. The page under Dash is plain, but I like the composition (I used bling and beloved duct tape!)

These next two pages are okay, better than some of the others. I may have to go back to them and work, but.........

Tomorrow's class is Modern Mark Making with the mistress of all things written..... Lisa Englebrecht (who has been featured in Somerset Studio with her exemplar alphabets). I have never done calligraphy and don't even know if I have the right nib, but......... now I know where Michael's is near PV mall so I can always scoot out at lunch again.........

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day One AU

Well............ definitely worth the hour's drive in rush hour traffic from the NW Valley!!!!
Today I took Cathy Taylor's Happy Endings Rescue Collage which is featured in the Nov/Dec '07 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. It's funny, but two of the classes I am taking are featured in this one issue!! Must be kizmet..... anyhoo...... I loved the class and Cathy was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The best collage classes are the ones where you can get the teacher's perspective on your work. It was great that there were only 8 of us in the class, we got to spread out and got a lot of Cathy's attention. She did two great demos and I learned several techniques (if only I could remember to lay down gel medium....... duh!) that I will be using a lot in the future. I love that we got to rip apart books to place into collages. I love the 3-D elements and the earthy, stringy, grungy look of the torn books. Being a tactile person, this was right up my alley. Below is Cathy with her "tiara."

Cathy with me and one of my collage pieces.

I ended up with three pieces that I am happy with. This in itself is unusual for two reasons: there usually isn't enough time to finish because classes can be process-heavy OR I hate what I have worked on and just shove it aside with the intention of finishing "later." This is one of the few times I was actually inspired to complete a product, and not only that....... but three pieces!!

Monday, August 4, 2008


No pics on this entry, just
ART UNRAVELED................................... tomorrow is my first class and I am psyched!! If my project is worth sharing I will post when I get home. I have a class every day through Sat., and one on Friday night as well!

Hiking Again

Last Friday Karen and I hiked the Goat Camp trail in the White Tanks here in Phoenix. Yes, it's summer and yes, it's hotter than ......... but, we went early. I scared a couple of snakes on the side of the trail, not diamonbacks this time. On the way back down we saw some odd looking caterpillars, yellow with these scary-looking orange spikes on their butts! Nice defense mechanism, I'll try to avoid the temptation to touch their butts! LOL

Today we went again, same trail, same mountain, same Bat channel....... but I kept pushing Karen and we both made it two miles in!!! Wahoo! The first mile is easy, but that second one (uphill) is strenuous. It took us three hours in and back, stopping to admire the view and just to breathe!! Way to go, girlfriend!! Just don't tell anyone about my lizard race, ok? Thanks.......

Karen (above), hot and sweaty, but we made it 2 miles! Not bad for a girl from MI!!

Busy, busy, busy

Well, where to start? I joined so many swaps in the past few weeks that I had to make a spread sheet to keep track of them. It has worked so far..... Below is my Coffee fabric post card for Fun Friendly Yahoo group. I futzed for longer than necessary to dye the small muslin ribbon at the bottom of the card..... tea works much better than coffee than dyeing!! I dusted off my sewing machine, bought some more fabric, and voila!! They are on their way to Nebraska, Missouri, and Colorado. My first postcards! Wahoo!

Also finished a hand made book for a friend in Maine. We both love dragonflies so it was fun to work on. I bound the signatures with knitting needles I found for a steal at Goodwill. Below is the cover:

And my favorite page made from 3 dragonfly tags:

Today I worked on this monstrous project happening at Arttechniques Yahoo group. When I signed up for 4X4 pages, the chunky book only had a few participants, but ended up involving 120, yes, that's right 120 people! So, procrastination is not going to cut it since I signed up for a sewing technique.
I am working in fairly large pieces, weaving black and white fabric strips onto a backing then sewing over them with decorative stitches. I bought really bright colors of thread and it has come out pretty neat looking so far. I like the weaving so much I will most likely use the black/white as a checkerboard for my Games fabric postcard swap later this month.