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

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Imagination Takes Flight

Even though I did not participate in this year's round robin project, I had the honor of being able to do a spread in Lucy's awesome steampunk-themed journal.  I really struggled to come up with an idea for this spread but I think it finally all came together nicely...  I hope she likes it!

Altered Rusted Tin

Over at Paper Traders, Cathy hosted an altered rusted tin swap inspired by her recent tutorial on various rusting techniques.  I used my own variation of these to rust my tin...

First, I sanded ALL of the paint off of my Altoids tin lid, then sprayed it down with straight vinegar and let it dry in the sun (I did this about 3 times on each side)... it was already starting to rust with just the vinegar.

Then (wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, just in case), I mixed 4oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2oz of the vinegar and about 1 tsp of salt, stirring carefully to dissolve completely; then I carefully poured it into my spray bottle. I sprayed the tin and left outside to dry, turning and repeating about 3 times on each side... I got lots of rust coating the entire tin. In the areas where the solution pooled because I sprayed a little too much, it took longer to dry but turned out really textured and dark in those spots.

Finally, I sprayed the whole thing with a coat of matte acrylic sealer and let it dry before creating my collage.

I have been wanting to try this for so long and am surprised at how quick and easy it was to do!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Your Stuff / My Stuff

Our Paper Traders group did another Your Stuff / My Stuff swap this year.  I sent an envelope full of extra stuff from my studio and received back an envelope from Sue in Canada.  Above is a photo of all the terrific stuff she sent to me.  We only had to make one ATC to send back but I sent her two because she gave me so much good stuff... and then I just kept right on creating!  Below are all the ATCs I made from this stash - and there are still a lot of goodies left over.  =)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Poetry Found

My second attempt for this Found Poetry swap was a bit more difficult but much more successful.  This time, I used pieces of Post-It Notes to cover my words and only had a tiny little tear which I was able to fix.  The hard part was trying to find the right words for my poetry.  In the end, I had to change the word "ignorant" to "ignore" and then it all came together.  The image for this piece was re-purposed from a postcard I received and I want to give credit to the original artist Wendy Paula Patterson for her beautiful imagery.
a party-colored dress
and hard

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lost Poetry

Occasionally things don't always turn out in my studio.  This week's epic Fail came while working on my Found Poetry canvas for an upcoming swap at Paper Traders.

I have seen this technique gaining popularity and was anxious to try it myself.  I had read online that another artist used MasquePen to block out her words so she could paint over the rest of the page and then remove the masque when she was done.  Sounded perfect!

The paper I was using was quite old so I tested the MasquePen in several methods: straight paper, over clear gesso, over clear acrylic sealant, and over clear gesso covered with clear sealant.  The last seemed to work wonderfully so I prepped my pages and went to work.

Below is what happened to me when I tried to remove the masque...  Two section of masque pulled the paper right off the page and my words with it.  So sad!

I decided I will salvage this piece by reprinting my poem and gluing new words over the top.  But will have to start from scratch on a new piece for this particular swap.  Live and learn.  (For my next piece, I'm going to try using Post-It Notes to cover my words...  I'll let you know how it turns out.)

thrown aside,
Haunted forever by
which is not to be

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beachy Love

Cathy is hosting a paper mache heart swap over at Paper Traders this month.  Once I got over the initial messy gross-ness of the paper mache process, I found it to be a relaxing task to do while watching movies.  It took me about a week to make these hearts because I had to let it dry in between the many layers.  I learned a few things doing this project which I'll share...

I loosely based my technique on Crafy Cupid's tutorial here: http://www.craftycupid.com/index.php/cc/entry/mache-mixed-media-heart-tutorial/

For working with the messy paste, I employed this Martha Stewart tip using a rubber band to create a scraper which easily removed the excess paste from my paper strips:


When they were completely dry, I applied a layer of gesso and then a coat of acrylic paint to each heart.  Both of my hearts were crackled using Ranger's Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.  Here's something interesting that I discovered...  The gold heart was painted with a glossy metallic acrylic paint underneath the crackle.  When dry, the crackle still appeared very shiny and crystal clear.  The blue heart, however, was painted with a matte acrylic paint under the crackle.  This one ended up looking much more opaque (sort of like sea glass) as the crackle coat seemed to take on some of the aspects of the underlying paint.  Both results looked terrific but were notably different.  For this project, I topped off the blue heart with an extra coat of glossy glazing medium to bring back that high shine finish I had anticipated.

The "sand" for my beach scene came from a pre-packaged bead mix and I just love the way this looks!  I used Glossy Accents to adhere the beads, shells, and charms.

So here are my finished results... I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them:

I also made an extra heart which I covered with distress doilies and pretty printed napkins layered over a bronze crackle finish:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Stitches

We're doing a stitched canvas technique swap in our Paper Traders group this week.  This was a bit of a challenge for me because I really hate to sew.  My stitches on this piece are not very good but the overall effect is nice and the loose threads give it a shabby chic look.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tangle Garden

At Paper Traders, I am hosting a colored Zentangle® art swap. Zentangle art was created by Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas. You can discover more about this method on their website: Zentangle.com.  Below are the cards that I created for this swap... a relaxing way to catch up on my DVR recordings!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Graven Angels

Over at Paper Traders, I am managing the current round robin journal project but was disappointed that I couldn't commit to actually participating this year.  Working 50-60 hours per week at my two jobs has left precious little time for making actual art.  What time I do have is spent doing more management type work for the group, although I have been trying to host the occasional ATC swap.

Even though I did not participate in this year's round robin, I did make a spread in my mom's journal which has the theme of Graven Angels.  Everyone's work so far has been lovely but they tend to be dark and somber - no surprise, really, given that it's all about cemetery statues!  Yet, death has never felt like a dark spectre to me so I wanted to make a page that was lighter and more introspective...

...in fond memory of George, Grandma Betty, Jennifer, Grandpa Holso, Alyssa, Uncle Ronny, Danny, and Aunt Joyce.  I love and miss you all and I'll see you someday soon!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eye for Color

I'm hosting an ATC swap in our Paper Traders group.  I've been loving Pinterest  and one of the things that caught my eye were all of these beautiful color palettes that people are pinning.  This lead me to a really cool website Design-Seeds.com  where I found my inspiration for this swap:

It's been fun to see all the different creations everyone is coming up with using this color scheme.  Below are the cards I made.  The blue flowers are glittery and the butterflies' wings are lifted up off the cards:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Butterfly - image transfer technique

In our Paper Traders group, we're doing one-for-one canvas swaps based on a specific technique.  This month, the technique was to use an image transfer (of any kind).  I made this canvas using the gel medium technique to apply my butterfly over a torn paper background and embellished it with my white Sharpie paint pen.  Then I layered a gold-printed napkin with orange flowers over the top and embellished with doilies and german scrap.  Lastly, I rubbed metallic colored waxes over areas of the canvas and applied some colored mica in select areas to add more texture.  I think it turned out nice and I hope my swap recipient likes it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Steampunk Quickpage Freebie

I am participating in a quickpage contest over at CoolScrapsDigital.  This is my first quickpage ever and it was a lot of fun - especially because I love this genre AND I got to work with an awesome kit by EMS Arts.  Check out the forum at CoolScrapsDigital to see all the wonderful quickpages from this contest.  And you can pick up your own copy of the kit from the designer here:  http://coolscrapsdigital.com/10047-designer-s-list-10047-ems-arts-c-1_81/ems-arts-steampunk-p-2498.

And now, here's my quickpage...  Enjoy!!
click here to download
If the link above doesn't work for you, try this one: https://www.box.com/s/d312610223dbff3ef9a5

Summer Dreaming

Cathy is hosting a Summer Windows swap over at Paper Traders.  I used vintage Coca Cola ads for my window scenes.  These were difficult to scan but I put clear plastic behind the top layer of window frames to simulate the glass.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Live Life to the Fullest

I wanted to play with my new bottle of Goosebumps spray some more so I used it to make the background for this pretty little ATC.  Such a simple card with a not-so-simple saying...

If you're like me, there's never enough time to do all the things I need to do much less try to squeeze in more of the things I want to do.  I realize that I'm becoming somewhat of a recluse and am letting life bog me down.  I'm trying to take baby steps to change this - not staying at work so late, cutting down on my Facebook usage, scheduling time to work on my art, etc.

This weekend I took a huge step and am spending most of my holiday weekend at a church Single Adult Conference.  It's been very uplifting and I've even made a few new friends.  Yesterday was a tour of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography followed by an amazing keynote speaker, Robert O'Brien.  Then we had some terrific workshops and I even learned how to play Bunco  =)

Today, I'm looking forward to more spiritual edification with church services and a fireside.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gives me Goosebumps

I made this project using a few newly acquired art supplies - Goosebumps clear texture spray and Prima resist canvas shapes.  You can read about this technique and my product review on the Paper Traders blog here: http://papertraders-art.blogspot.com/2012/05/product-spotlight-goosebumps-texture.html

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take to the Skies

Time's running out to join this month's blog challenge over on the Paper Traders blog.  I made this quick piece to enter in our winner-take-all ATC lottery using the hot air balloon theme for this month's challenge, killing two birds with one stone.

After layering paper elements, I added a balloon printed napkin over the top then topping it off with a tag and another hot air balloon which I trimmed from a piece of scrapbook paper.

Alice's Mad Tea Party

Over at Paper Traders, I'm participating in an ATC swap hosted by Wendy.  She picked a really fun theme: Alice's Mad Tea Party.  I had lined up all my images and planned a layout for my cards only to see that one of my fellow participants had come up with a very similar idea.  So, I scrapped what I was doing and started over.  Here's the result - a quirky take on Alice's wild adventures:

My take on Art Nouveau

Recently, Cathy hosted an Art Nouveau ATC swap at Paper Traders.  I made these cards using some classic Art Nouveau images and a pretty frame I cut using my Silhouette Cameo.  I added some art glitter and pretty brads (they're gold, not black, but the scanner can't pick that up).  These are simple but pretty and I love the color combinations.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Take Flight

Well, it's time for another blog challenge over at Paper Traders and this one is featuring hot air balloons.  I had a lot of fun making this collage.  I printed the large balloon image onto vintage text and layered it with scrapbooking paper for the background then added gesso and crackle paint for texture, using water and alcohol inks to make it look more distressed.  After layering my other collage pieces on, I added some scribbles with my Pitt pen then a little more gesso and some charcoal pencil for shading.  The title was done with a brown Sharpie marker and white touches with my fabulous Sharpie paint pen.  It turned out much more distressed than I had originally imagined but I'm happy with the end result.

This was such a fun challenge!  Join in the fun by heading on over the Paper Traders blog and you just might win recognition as this month's Trader Treasure!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Springtime Glory

I made another piece for the Hello Spring! blog challenge over at Paper Traders.  This little ATC is going to be my entry in the March winner-take-all ATC lottery.  The beautiful background was created by Suzi Blu - it was a scrap of paper I picked up at her garage sale last year... isn't it pretty?  I layered a floral image over the top and painted each petal with Gleams to give it some shimmer, then I touched the centers with some coppery glitter glue.  I also used my Pan Pastels to add shadows behind the flowers for some extra dimension.  Lastly, I sketched some lines around the edge of the card with my superfine Pitt pen.

Help me embrace the springtime spirit by joining in the fun of this month's blog challenge.  Head on over to Paper Traders for some inspiration!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Old West Coasters

Jeri is hosting a swap over at Paper Traders using those paperboard drink coasters you get at restaurants.  I snagged a big stack of them from the manager at our local Islands to make these.  The theme for this swap is Old West and I used images from vintage postcards.  The backgrounds were done using the decayed paper technique with an extra top coat of clear crackle and Distress Ink rubbed into the cracks.  The coasters from all the participating artists will go into little books for each person.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blog Challenge: Hello Spring

I watch these online videos of mixed media artists just throwing stuff onto their paper and coming up with these fabulous creations.  Come on... who really does that?  It's certainly not me as I am way too much of a control freak to just toss things about willy-nilly.  Then, recently, after watching one of those annoying yet wonderfully amazing videos and feeling completely lost as to what to make for the upcoming blog challenge over at Paper Traders, I decided to give it a go.  What could it hurt?  It wasn't in a precious journal that I was afraid to ruin or for a specific swap that I would have to send to another artist to judge.  No, it was just for me and if I truly hated it, I could toss it in the trash and try something different.

When we were discussing what the theme for the March blog challenge should be, I was leaning toward "luck" since St Patty's Day falls right in the middle of the mix; but the other moderators were really itching for Spring to get here and so the theme this month is "Hello Spring!"  I decided to take my "lucky" idea and incorporate it into the Spring theme with some purple flowering clover - fresh greens and pretty lavenders and a touch of shiny gold.  I started by layering torn vintage text over my cardboard canvas and then I smeared the paints around... ... ...Did you know that purple and green when mixed together make a kind of ugly brown?  Well, they do and it was icky and I already hated it and ALMOST threw it in the trash secure now in my knowledge that all this creative slinging was a bunch of hooey!  But I grabbed my paper towel and blotted and wiped most of the brown gunk away, then slowly and CAREFULLY placed more greens and purples on my page, gently sponging them on instead of smearing them around.  Ooh, now this was kind of pretty... maybe a little more of this, a little more of that, some white paint touches, some black stamped text... yes, yes, I can see this might not be a totally wasted effort.

Once it was all dry, i almost chopped it up into ATC backgrounds.  But, in digging through my stash, I found a few coordinating treasures and the following canvas was born:

(One of my favorite little secrets about this canvas is that the green lined journaling paper with the distress inking on it came from Suzi Blu's garage sale - actual paper that one of my favorite artists inked and chopped herself.  I feel somehow connected to her by using this little treasured scrap in my work  =)

Now, my next adventure in messiness will be a test to see if this was just a fluke... or maybe a whole new creative approach for me!  Stay tuned...

...oh, and don't forget to join in the blog challenge at Paper Traders.  It's easy, lots of fun, and you might win recognition for being the month's Trader Treasure!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Does this dress make me look like a cow?

Cathy is hosting a Moo Card swap over at Paper Traders.  The theme is Vintage Fashion.  I was lucky enough to have a whole page of fashions through the ages that I snagged from a thrift store book.  The backgrounds were made by layering actual sewing pattern tissue over cardstock.  Once everything was assembled, I topped it off with a shiny coat of Glossy Accents.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beauty in Bronze

Every month, our Paper Traders group has a winner-take-all ATC lottery and this is the card I made for February's entry.  I used a leftover "failed" background from my CNY cards (it was a "fail" because the colors were too blended and brown - the ones I used for that swap were just black & red).  The scanner never does very well at picking up the shimmery bits but this card has a gold sheen and some touches from my gold foil pen.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lace Challenge

There's another great blog challenge happening over at Paper Traders.  This month it's all about Lace.  I actually made this greeting card years ago but thought it was a fun twist on this theme.  I laid the lace onto sticky paper and then pressed microbeads through the holes and then gently peeled the lace off, leaving the beads behind... pretty isn't it?

Love Notes

Cathy recently hosted a vintage Love Notes Envelope swap in our Paper Traders group.  I still need to make my covers to bind together the pages that I received...  I'll try to remember to post another photo once I've got that assembled.  These are the envelopes I made using vintage sheet music overlayed with pretty napkins, doilies, and vellum flourishes.  I added rub-ons for some pretty touches.  The notes inside said:

is just a word
until someone comes along
and gives it

Updated:  Here's my finished book!

Mardi Gras Masquerade

I recently hosted a Mardi Gras themed ATC swap in our Paper Traders group.  I made my backgrounds by using blue and purple alcohol inks on aluminum foil, then overlaying that with a piece of iridescent punchinella. They're really much more colorful and shiny than the scan shows.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cameo: Chinese New Year Revisited

I am so excited (and spoiled!) because I received a new Silhouette Cameo as a gift this past week!  I've barely had a chance to use it but I think it's amazing.  This is my first electronic cutter and now I can see why it seems everyone is obsessed with these things.  I have only cut out a few test items - a gift bag with scrolling heart handles and a Peter Rabbit print-and-cut... both of which I neglected to photograph before giving them away.  And the third thing I cut were these amazing chinese dragons!  These ATCs are for another swap on our Paper Traders group.  Look at the intricate details in the cutting!  I love it.

The backgrounds on these cards were inspired by Dina Wakely's "warm ups" which she talked about in Nathalie's Creative JumpStart Summit this month.  I dipped vintage asian text into black & red alcohol inks and then spread on some gold acrylic paint using a palette knife.  So simple and I love the look.

As an added bonus, these cards fit the theme of the current Paper Traders Blog Challenge as well.  Anyone can join the blog challenge and you might be recognized as the "Trader Treasure" of the month!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Everyday Creativity

I recently read this article from Panera Bread about creativity and I thought it was worth sharing:

Sometimes we feel stuck and that we can't create anything because our muse is gone.  But the author here shares five easy ways to spark your imagination instead of wasting time waiting around for an idea to develop.  Worth a read  =)

Monday, January 2, 2012

WINTER Banner Swap

I'm hosting another banner swap on Paper Traders.  This one is for Winter and is the last in a series of four banners - one for each season.  It has been a lot of fun having these hang in my studio throughout the year... I think they're just so pretty!

Below is a close-up of my banner, showing the detail of one pennant.  (Sorry for the grainy cell phone photos.)  The blue Plasticfoil background paper was a fabulous garage sale find earlier this year - I love how it looks frosty.  I added some extra shine to the chipboard letters by painting over them with some Gleams and then misting them with Starburst Stains.  I added some shiny metallic touches by threading gold cord through the lace and adding some glitter glue embellishments.

I think the end result is gorgeous, if I do say so myself  =)

Blog Challenge: Chinese New Year

It's time for another fun blog challenge over at Paper Traders!  The theme this time is "Chinese New Year."  As many of you know, I am a big fan of asian culture and art so this is a fun one for me.

Hop on over to the Paper Traders blog to participate in these challenges - Anyone can join in and they're easy and fun.

Happy Arting!