Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Book of Dreams - Week 5 {Metal}

Whew, I am barely getting this submitted in time. I just realized that tomorrow is Wednesday already! That always happens to me when a holiday falls on a Monday. So this week's Book of Dreams challenge was "metal" and I thought of quite a few techniques and embellishments I could use. I seem to be intrigued by metal doo-dads as I discovered I have quite a boat-load of them stowed away! Anyway, the inspiration for this page came from the metal molding strip from Making Memories that I used on the right hand page. I bought it eons ago and never used it. {I hate to admit it, but I can say that about quite a few things that I have purchased!} Then I wanted to use up some paper scraps that I had lying around from other projects, so I created a patchwork background on the page. After piecing the papers together, I covered them with a white glaze to soften the colors. I then made a packing tape transfer of a mother holding her child and framed it with a metal frame. I created the left-hand page last {I seem to do that alot} and the patchwork background reminded me of my grandmother's quilts from my childhood. So I decided to go with the "Childhood Dreams" theme by listing the dreams on a piece of paper torn out of a small spiral notebook. I distressed the paper and layered it on top of a photograph of a collage I made a while back with myself as the subject. I finished the page off with some metal corners, paper flowers with metal brad centers and beads strung on various fibers.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sew Cute!

It's been a while since I did any blogging. I've been just trying to catch up on some things around the house. Also, my internet connection has been giving me trouble....AGAIN! I must be the only person I know that is lamenting about giving up my AOL dial-up service. But honestly, it was so much more reliable than what I have now.

I worked on this simple scrapbook page today as week 21's assignment from Donna Downey's Big Picture Scrapbooking Class. I believe the assignment was "friends" but somehow I got sidetracked into making a sewing theme. I just bought a cute little sewing machine, that Miss Donna recommended and it is absolutely perfect for small craft projects like this. I do have a monsterously {is that a word?} heavy old Kenmore sewing machine, which happens to be buried somewhere in my storage room downstairs. But even if I could unearth it, it is much too big for my tiny studio and it is too heavy to put away and drag out whenever I need it for a project. This Jenome is only 11 lbs and much smaller, not to mention much cuter too.

Anyway I got frustrated trying to find a specific photo of my best friend that I wanted to use and while searching for it I came across these photos of my daughter and her cousin from about 18 years ago! Since I had already done some stitching on the page, {in Donna-Style}, these pictures actually seemed to fit the page better than the photo I had been looking for. You see, the kids are sewing on a tiny old Singer sewing machine that was a toy of their grandmother's when she was a girl. My nephew is actually doing the sewing, which would make his mother proud since she is quite an accomplished seamstress and quilter. My daughter is looking on while ironing with another or Grandma's antique toys.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I went to see The Da Vinci Code today with my daughter. We both read the book, so we were anxious to see how it translated to the big screen. Ron Howard did an excellent job with the movie. I had seen a program on television where Dan Brown also was happy with the movie and that is no small complement from an author whose book has been made into a movie. Both my daughter and I felt the film followed the book very closely. Of course another reason I wanted to see the movie was that I am obsessed with all things French, especially Paris. Someday I hope to travel there and lose myself inside the Louvre for days. {Isn't that the dream of every artist?} Anyway, if you haven't read The Da Vinci Code, you should read it before going to see the movie. It is a very easy read, with short chapters that you can squeeze into small spaces of time, so reading it goes very quickly.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Book of Dreams Week 4 {Windows}

I had a bit of trouble with these pages when I began working on them. You know how sometimes you envision what something will look like before you start, only to have it look completely different when you finish? Well that's the problem I was having with these pages. I knew the concept I wanted to convey, the photo I wanted to use and I had no trouble constructing the window. But suddenly I hit a road block and couldn't figure out how to illustrate what I wanted to express. So I let the pages sit over night and when I came back to them this morning, everything fell into place. Which speaks volumes for walking away from your art when you feel stuck or frustrated.

The photo I used is one of my daughter when she was about 3-4 years old. (She is now 22 years old.) She was dressed as a princess for Halloween and I thought it conveyed a "what do you want to be when you grow up" feeling. So from there I asked myself what are MY dreams for her future? I used the colors teal and brown because this combination is my daughter's current favorite. The quote is a reminder to accept our children for who they are instead of who we want them to be. I added the butterflies to evoke a feeling of being set free into the world. The "grow" epoxy sticker, which I positioned to show through the back side of the window, expresses how much my daughter has grown since the picture was taken.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Book of Dreams - Week 4 {Niches}

I was up very late last night finishing up my "niche" page so I could post it this morning. My niche isn't very deep as I got tired of gluing pages together. It is deep enough to hold the three-dimensional letters which spell DREAMS, so it worked out just fine. I used a pale blue, green and orange theme for these pages. On the page behind the niche I applied a glaze so that the text from the book would show through. The ribbons were tied around the pages before I secured the niche to the back page. On the left side I used a variety of word rubber stamps to convey the message, as well as the "Dream, Believe, Succeed" stamp from Inkadinkadoo and more ribbons. I am about halfway finished with the "window" pages, so I'll post them as soon as I am done.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Book of Dreams - Week Three {Images}

Yipee! I am finally caught up on my Book of Dreams project! This week's challenge was IMAGES. Wasn't sure what I wanted to do at first. Then I came across the blue and green paint chips I had saved from a decorating project and I was inspired by the cool, soothing colors. I ended up rubber stamping the partial face onto a piece of acetate using Staz-on ink and then applying the image to a chipboard tag. The image on the right-hand page is a photo of a stone fence taken at the Botanic Gardens which I printed on transparency paper and then mounted over two different backgrounds for some contrast. Paint chips, ribbons, fibers, brads and gold leafing pen accent the page. Can't wait to see what our challenge is for week 4!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Boston Legal Season Finale

Tonight is the two hour season finale of Boston Legal.
Love that show!
What a crazy law firm!!
Denny Crane!!!

Book of Dreams - Week Two {Layers}

I am a little behind on my Book of Dreams entries, so I am trying to get caught up this week. Got up early today and went straight to my studio to work instead of going on the usual distracting trips to run errands. Since I am the world's worst procrastinator I have to be very disciplined with myself otherwise I would never get anything done....which seems to happen ALOT these days!

Week Two's challenge was LAYERS. I love to layer and do it on practically everything I create. Layers add depth and interest to a piece. The problem I have is getting myself to stop layering and say the piece is done....finished....finito! Even with this piece I still think it needs something. I will let it sit for a while and come back to it and see how I feel in a couple of days. It's hard for me to say a piece is finished because alot of times when I step away from it another idea will come into my head. I guess my artwork is always evolving.

On this entry, I started with gessoed pages and then applied several layers of Golden paints for the background. After that I used some patterned tissue paper...I like using tissue paper because it is translucent enabling you to see thru it. I cut out some of the flowers from the tissue paper, mounted them on cardstock and applied them to the page using 3D dots to give them some dimension. The green tag is a leftover distressed piece of card stock from a school project my daughter just turned in. She was going to throw it away and I said, "I'll take it!" (I am such a packrat!) Some of the script paper is actually from a letter my 95 year old aunt wrote to me. The words are rub-ons - love rub-ons!!! Now I am off to work on week three. Hopefully I will be able to complete it before ArtsyMama posts week four tomorrow!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

It is a couple of hours before Mother's Day, but I won't be home at all on Sunday, so thought I would get this posted early. This is my mother when she was in her early 20's. Quite a glamorous shot, don't you think? I wish I knew her when she was that age. I wonder what her hopes and dreams and aspirations were back then? She didn't give birth to me until she was 33 years old, so I wasn't even a twinkle in her eye when this picture was taken. You know how it is. When you are young you think you will do all kinds of things with your life. Then you have kids and a lot of times all those plans get put on the back-burner for a while. But the "key phrase" is for a while. It is a good idea to hang on to your dreams, write them down and refer to them often, because at some point those kids will grow up and leave the nest. And that is when you can dig out those dreams, dust them off and make them a reality for yourself! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Studio Friday - Robots

This week's Studio Friday topic is ROBOTS. This one was a difficult topic for me because I just realized I don't have anything high-tech in my art space. Actually I am surprised by that because I love all the latest gadets and gizmos. They just happen to be in other parts of my house and not in my studio. Other than my iPod that is. And that idea was out because I used the iPod last week for the "Sounds" challenge. So my P-Touch Label-Maker is gonna have to do. It is like a mini robot, don't you think? You type in some organizing words and it automatically prints out a label for you, just like magic! I bought it after watching an episode of the old Martha Stewart Living TV show where she was labeling everything she could get her hands on. Deep down I am an organizational fiend, but some people who live with me would probably dispute that comment. I strive to be organized, but sometimes in doing so, I make a bigger mess than what I had when I started. Hasn't that ever happened to you? And then there are the bags I keep tripping over from my latest shopping spree for patterned papers and collage embellishments that I haven't had time to put away into their respective organized drawers yet. Maybe this weekend I can work on that and then label the drawers at the same time!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ode To Pink

I spent the day working on digital layouts. I am really getting into scrapbooking on the computer. I thought it would be quicker, but it really isn't. Not for me anyway! There are lots of free digital scrapbooking kits online. Just do a Google search and see what you can find. 2Peas has a different free kit every month, so that is a good place to start. I took a couple of classes, which really saved me a lot of time (and frustration) trying to figure out how to do it myself. It helps to have someone walk you thru the basics and answer any questions you might have. There are also lot of books available on the subject too.

So this is my Ode to the Color Pink. I like pink a lot - all shades of it. I don't know when I started liking pink, but at one point I noticed that I use pink a lot in my artwork. I have more shades of pink paint than any other color. I love pink flowers. I also look good when I am wearing a pink shirt or sweater. My dishes have a pink floral border on them. I wanted to buy a pair of pink crocs, but I chicken out and went with boring blue instead. And as I mentioned in the journaling to the right, I like that pink coordinates well with so many different colors, like green, blue, orange, brown, grey, black, etc. That is probably why I am able to use it so often in my art. I guess you could say that pink is my favorite color (although green runs a close second on my list of faves.) What's your favorite color?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - Introduce Yourself

Recently we went back to the neighborhood in Chicago where I grew up. It was quite a trip down memory lane to visit all my old haunts, my elementary and high schools, my friends houses, places we shopped, etc. This is the apartment building I lived in from age 6 until I was 22. The apartments have now been converted into condos. The current owner happened to be coming home while we were walking around outside and he was nice enough to invite us inside to see what the place looks like now. Surprisely, not much had changed. I was happy to see that the beautiful hardwood floors and crown molding were still intact as well as some of the other grand features of the building. I know that they say that "you can never go home again"...but in this case, I did.

Bird Watching

Every year we have a family of birds that sets up housekeeping in the little bird house on this garden chair right outside our front door. It is a curious place to build a nest mainly because our front door has a lot of traffic going through it everyday. Nonetheless, the bird family returns, year after year to make this their happy home. It is fun to watch (and listen to) them prepare the nest inside the bird house. We find all sorts of nest-building debris on the stoop during this creative process. After a while, we start to hear lots of noisy tweeting from the papa bird who keeps watch over his home from a distance making sure no one disturbs his family. And soon after that we hear the gentle chirping of the hungry baby birds waiting for mama to feed them. It always amazes me that there is enough room in that tiny bird house to hold both mama and her babies. Anyway, it is a small annual event that occurs every year at our house keeping us all entertained.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Take a Moment...

Do you ever feel like your life is so hectic that you just need to take a moment, relax and catch your breath? I would imagine that everyone feels this way at some point in their life. Art is the way that I cope with those crazy kind of days. When I am creating I lose myself and my worries at least for that moment. It sure beats going to a therapist! Yesterday was one of those days. I took some time to finish off this layout that started as a make-and-take at Archiver's on Friday. It began as a 12x12 layout, but I altered it to 8x8, which happens to be my preferred size du jour these days. I took a photo of the BREATHE pillow that I bought at a craft mall I used to manage. I was drawn to the pillow by both the colors and the sentiment. Sometimes you just need that gentle reminder to take it easy once in a while. Keep in mind that a scrapbook layout doesn't always have to have a photo of a person - just something you love or enjoy. The journaling on the tag reads: "It's a good idea to take time once in a while to smell the roses, let your mind wander a little, relax your body and soul and to be grateful for all God has given us." Here's to a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Studio Friday - Sounds

Ah, the sound of music! Music is usually the best companion while working in the studio. It can inspire you, change your mood, give you rhythm and flow, block outside distractions, stir up a memory, and help you escape. The sound of music is the most freeing sound in my studio.
"Where words fail, music speaks." - Hans Christian Anderson

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's Lilac TIme!

Don'y you just love the look of lilacs? I do! The scent is absolutely heavenly and the colors so exquisite, as if handpainted by Mother Nature herself. They are my favorite flower, after pink roses that is. Anyway, I thought I would share this freshly picked bouquet from my garden. I went shopping today which always puts a huge dent in my pocketbook. But who can resist a new product when it comes to this wonderful passion of our? One of the items I discovered is this great new tool. It's called the Crop-A-Dile by We R Memory Keepers. I had seen it advertised in magazines, but never imagined that it would be as fabulous as it actually is. I tried it out today and it is truly as great as the manufacturer says it is. It's a combination hole punch and eyelet setter. The hole punch actually can cut through chipboard as if it was butter! That's all it took for me to say, "I need that!" It also sets eyelets with the same ease and absolutely silently. It is an all-in-one tool which eliminates the need for hammer, hole punch, eyelet setter, setting mat, etc. And to make it even more perfect, it has a pink handle! I think I'll be adding eyelets to everything I can get my hands on for a while.

Another item that I couldn't resist was K and Company's set of Shapes and Tags. They come packaged in this cute little lunchbox container which holds quite a large selection of chipboard tags, ribbon slides, and shapes. One side of the tag is decorated with typical K and Company designs and the opposite side is plain chipboard, ready to be decorated with your own paper, paint, photos, or whatever else you desire.

The last of my fabulous finds was this set of Clear Stamps from Autumn Leaves. This particular set is appropriately called "Flowers" and is designed by Rhonna Farrer. The set includes a collection of funky flowers and scrolls in pure Rhonna-Style. I love the clear stamps since they take up so much less storage space AND they are so easy to position on your work. (Note: Archiver's has them on sale this weekend for 20% off.) Well, I am off to play with my new toys now.....Ta-ta for now!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

All Day on the Computer

Wow! Where did the day go? I spent most of the day working on the computer. First I taught my daughter how to create digital scrapbook pages. I have been taking Renee Pearson's awesome class, Doing It Digi at Big Picture Scrapbooking, and having a blast with it. My daughter asked if I could share some of my knowledge with her (what little I have on the subject), so I was showing her some of the things Renee has taught us in class.

I also worked on changing a few things around on my blog. I now have a THREE column blog instead of only two. It took some fiddling and lots of trial and error, but I finally was able to accomplish what I wanted to do, despite the fact that I think I am technologically challenged! There are a few more design things to work out before I am completely satisfied...you know how that is....but it can wait for another day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What a Difference

Wow! What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was cold, damp and gloomy. Today it is sunny, bright and 70 degrees. It's funny how much the weather affects our moods. Well, I am headed outside to take advantage of this glorious day before it slips away. Have a great day!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dogs and Cats and Birds, Oh My!

It was a rainy, dreary weekend here and it is still raining today. Bummer! I don't care for cold, gray days. But as the saying goes - April showers, bring May flowers - so I will be patient and hope the sun will be shining again soon. Since the rain prevented me from taking part in any outdoor activities, I used the time to create a mini pet book. I was able to make use of the Target recipe divider cards I purchased last week. (See Post from 4/28/06) I filled the pages with photos of all the pets we have owned and loved over the years. I embellished the tabs on the dividers with various colored ribbons. ID tags for some of the pets that are no longer with us are attached to binder rings. The quote in the back of the book says, "Some of God's greatest gifts are the animals he gives us to love." This mini album is a great way to honor our furry friends.

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