"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit,
the greater your capacity to create."

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Birdie! Birdie!

I had a hard time with these chipboard birds. These are for an upcoming Paper Traders swap. Everyone is to decorate both sides of 5 chipboard birds from the Maya Road Bird Coaster Book. The sixth bird is held back to make your own cover (which I haven't done yet).

When I started this project, I used DCWV's Luxury papers and covered each bird, adding a ruff and wings in coordinating paper. They were beautiful - and I hated them! They were way too PRETTY and scrapbook-y... not artsy at all. So I pulled off the accent pieces, painted them with gesso, sanded them down, and started all over again.

I pulled out old issues of Somerset Studios for inspiration and found a beautiful art journal done using this technique... paint with several acrylic colors, apply pictures and text, stamp images and heat emboss in gold, apply gesso, and sand. I inked the edges afterward and added a few touches of gold pigment ink to tone down the whiteness of everything. I LOVE the distressed look and am very happy with the final results. Below is a breakdown of how I utilized this technique:

I utilized a technique from Jana Holstein in the Sep/Oct 2007
issue of Somerset Studio. She used this on her "Treasures of
the Heart" journal. I did something very similar on my sweet
blueberries page for my blue journal, too.

1) First, I laid down a background of old text.
2) Then I dabbed some pink and blue and yellow acrylic paints
over the top.
3) Next, I applied the images and dictionary words (I like
using torn edges for this).
4) I then stamped and heat-embossed the flowers and birds with
gold embossing powder.
5) Finally, I applied a light coat of gesso over the top of
everything with a piece of cardboard - you want to just scrape
it over the top.
I tried painting it on but it didn't work as well.
6) Once this gesso was dried, I started sanding it back off
with a sanding block. I love to use the foam sanding blocks
that you can get in the manicure section - they have different
grits on each side, are perfect to hold in your hand, and the
foam inside cushions it so it doesn't gouge your artwork.

I learned one more important thing with this technique... if
you have an image or text that you want to ensure will be
visible, use clear embossing (which I did on my birds) or
even a few coats of clear acrylic over the top of it before
applying the gesso. Otherwise, you'll have to sand too hard
to get the gesso off and often end up sanding away too much
of what you wanted to save. You can also wipe some of the gesso
off with a TINY bit of water but this tends to smear it around
and doesn't give the same distressed look that the sanding
provides. BEWARE if you do this because the water can break
down the integrity of the paper and if you sand over it again,
the paper can end up breaking apart. (Guess how I know that!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Neat Freak

Awhile back, we were discussing our working spaces on Paper Traders and this is the photo I posted showing my craft room in the neatest state it has ever been in... I cleaned and organized for hours before bringing out the camera:

Several people wanted to see what my room looks like in the midst of a creative effort, so I took this picture tonight... if you look closely, you'll see a sneak peak of my Birdie Birdie chipboards:

(This is what my room looks like more often than not! That's why I have the fold-away screen tucked in the corner - so I can hide the mess if someone comes by =)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wyoming Wildflowers and Landscape

I literally took several HUNDREDS of photos on our camping trip this past weekend. We went up into the Beartooth Mountains in northwestern Wyoming (and a bit of southwestern Montana). Not all of my photos came out great, but here are several that will hopefully give you an idea of all the beautiful stuff we saw...

This little chipmunk moved so fast, it was hard to catch him with my camera...

A portion of the panorama at the top of the Chief Joseph Scenic Bypass - you can see the switchbacks leading down to the valley below and, in the very far back on the right, the mountains where we camped...

Tiny little alpine flowers (Lupine?)...

Many of the flowers hadn't even started blooming yet - summer is slow coming in the highest mountain peaks...

Here's a busy little bumblebee, hard at work...

Some hardy little alpine flowers - seeming to grow right out of the rocks!

The flowers were everywhere - growing in even the most unlikely of places...

More little alpine flowers...

Indian Paintbrush...

Beartooth Lake...

A waterfall along Beartooth Creek - this is looking across a steep, wide canyon - that's a LOT of water!
Tiny little Forget-Me-Nots...

Even more alpine flowers...

Long Lake near "Top of the World"...

These are some of the smallest flowers I have ever seen...

An interesting snow melt...

In the distance, Pilot and Index peaks...

Hard to tell from this photo, but there is so much water coming down here that the creek has overflowed its banks and is pouring down the mountainside in a wide, foaming rush - that white in the background is not snow - it's water!

These pink (Wild Geraniums) and purple (I don't know what kind?) flowers were everywhere we looked...

Even the pine trees are blooming...

If you want a little perspective on this photo, check out the people standing on the bridge in the distance - the force of the water coming down here is phenomenal!

At the tippy-top of the Beartooths, looking down onto alpine lakes and glacial canyons - still a lot of snow up there for the middle of July...

These pink flowers are called Shooting Stars and they're my Dad's favorite! If you know how tiny Forget-Me-Nots are, then you'll realize that these rocket-like blossoms are only about an inch long...

There was a whole mountain meadow filled with these blooms...

A cute little visitor...

Cody Stampede Independence Day Parade

These are just a FRACTION of all that we saw in the parade on July 4th... enjoy!

Wyoming Wildlife

I was so excited because I got to see my bear! This is a photo my dad took... we only had a brief moment to get the shot as the park rangers were already on site and moving the traffic along as quickly as possible.

I also saw a moose (sorry no picture) and lots of other critters - deer, hawks, antelope, chipmunks, rock chucks, squirrels, etc. Unfortunately, there were lots of mosquitoes, too!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mind your own beeswax

These are my beeswax collaged ATC's for an upcoming Paper Traders swap. This was a kind of challenging technique and we made quite a mess while working. We also discovered that some wax is much better than others so I recommend paying for the premium stuff... much easier to work with! These all incorporate real flowers, leaves, seed pods, etc. and the wax gave everything a vintage look.