Friday, August 31, 2007

My New Love

I am in love.
I got a new set of 30 Caran D'Ache II crayons from an artist friend of mine who had bought them and never used them. I'd never tried them myself, but had heard other artists just rave about them so last night I broke them out and gave them a try.
Now I see what all the fuss is about. Amazing colors, perfect blendability and they're water soluble. I think my favorite thing to do with them is to dip the tip into water and draw with them while they're wet. They just pop right off the page. And I am so in love! Of course now I want one of the bigger sets. Isn't that just the way?
Take a look at this page that I did:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Inspirational Reading

I thought tonight I 'd put up some books that I've been reading for art inspiration.
The First is Collage Unleashed. This has got some amazing techniques and Traci's hand-drawn sketches are enough to inspire me to try my hand at doodling again.
The next is the Creative Liscence by Danny Greggory. While I am not a draw everything girl, I do find his attitude and approach to be inspiring. I agree with his underlying philosophy that you have to make art every day and learn to quiet that inner critic.
For you altered book fans here is a new little collection of books all house shaped. This book is a bounty of lovely images that are sure to get your creative mojo going. I keep thinking about Mike's set of wood shaped house books over at Coffee Break Designs. I think there's a house shaped book in my future.

Lastly, is the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. I've always loved poetry, but my love affair with Emily was something that came about in my adulthood. I read her when I was younger and thought "ehhh." But then a few years ago I found a poem by her and fell head over heels for her. There is something about her words that just work for inspiring me. You should try reading her sometime and if you do, be sure to let me know which of her poems you love!
I'll be back with more art tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I have been on a quest for the perfect calender. I was standing in Target the other night looking at day planners and feeling that familiar funk: I need something to write down monthly appointments, write out lists, keep track of swaps and take notes in. I don't need something for every day work stuff since I keep a palm-pilot for that. As I stood there bemoaning in my head a thought struck me--why don't I just make my own???
So that's what I did.
Take a look: I took it to Kinkos to have it bound. I really wanted a hard mat-board cover but they wouldn't bind that and since I don't have my own spiral binder I had no choice but to go with what they offered me. I covered the offending plastic cover with some decorated card stock and an image of me.

This is what the inner cover looks like. I printed out a blank template for the months on heavy card stock and then filled in the date and decorated the top. They fold out.

These mail art records are courtesy of a girl and her journal. I printed a bunch of these off and put them in. No more searching for my art swaps info now!

This last picture is of some scrapbook paper I included in to take notes on and my to-do list, which I printed a bunch of these off and put in them in as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A ribbon Box

Since I've been unpacking all my art supplies I decided that now is a good time to get my supplies organized. In my old studio place I had wooden dolls to thread thought the center of the rolls, but I've got a lot of smaller spools and they wouldn't fit on it so they wound up in a drawer rolling around and getting all tangled up. Yuck!
I decided to take a cue from Martha and make my own ribbon box. I used a photo storage box and large eyelets. I created a divider to hold the two levels of ribbon on the inside, threaded my ribbons through the holes and viola! So wonderfully organized.

The only other artwork I have to put up is this card that I made for a friend who recently came back from living overseas. I layered a bunch of different flower cut-outs with some fibers. I used one of those Rhonna Ferrar stamps and then added color with a gel pen. The turned down corners are actually a different pattern of paper: I used a square punch and attached it to the back and then folded down.

Have a happy weekend all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Alcohol Inks-Shrink-Plastic-Tutorial

After swapping out my shrink plastic charms last weekends some of the ladies in the group had questions about my process so I thought I'd just go ahead and post a tutorial on how I did it.
Here's what you'll need: Shrink Film ( I like Grafix brand for consistency of shrink) stamp, permanent ink, alcohol inks, dauber, hole punch and clear embossing powder or diamond glaze.
The first step is to ink the film. Just load up your dauber and go. The colors will really intensify when it shrinks so don't worry if it doesn't look like you've got a lot of color.

Next you need to flip your shrink-plastic over and stamp the image on it. Permanent inks and alcohol inks don't play well together so it's important not to stamp them on the same side. Again, remember that the color will intensify with shrinking. I am using a pale purple color here. I found it helpful to do a test one without the alcohol inks just to see what the stamp and the ink will look like shrunk.
Once this is dry, cut out the image and punch a hole. I always use my biggest hole punch since the hole will shrink with everything else.
Pop it into the oven at 250 (you can use your heat gun and a heat proof mat for this also.) If you're cooking in the oven use a brown piece of paper (like from a grocery bag) to cook on. This keeps it from sticking. Don't panic if it curls. They do that. Let it keep cooking--you'd be surprised 99% of the time they work themselves out flat. When it's done shrinking give it about 20 more seconds and then pull it out. Using a heating pad or metal spatula flatten it just a tiny bit more.
Once it's out and cooled you need to seal it. You can use diamond glaze (which I am too impatient to let dry) or clear embossing powder. I like to attach a little text to the back of my charms, so after cutting it out and securing it using just a tiny bit of glue, I coat the charm in clear embossing powder. You can do this by sprinkling it on, or using a clear embossing ink.

Heat it up--you can use your heat gun or just pop it back into your oven. And viola!
To give you some idea of the shrink ratio, here is a photo of the stamp in my hand and then shrunk charm in my hand.

So tiny and cute!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I have this wonderful photo of my friend Kasia--who I wrote about here--and I just love it and wanted to do something fun with it. While unpacking I found this blank photo frame that's from the BE line by Creative Imaginations that I'd gotten a while back and did nothing with. So today I created this:

The letters are chipboard and are by Li'l Davis Designs. The flowers are a combination of punch-outs and pre-cut flowers by DCWV. The stamp on the tag is by Stampendous and the red flowers on the chipboard are eyelets by Making Memories. And the swirls on the brown paper are by Rhonna Ferrar.
Everything but the kitchen sink!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

atc swap

The Indiana altered art group met yesterday for our ATC swap. Here are my completed cards that I made using the technique I talked about here. Our theme for this month was Hot so I used pin-up girls for mine.

And here we all are. Well, everyone but me, Bev & Diana (whom were greatly missed this month)...we've gotten pretty big! We started out with just four and are up to eight! If you live in the Indy area you really out to come and play with us sometime!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Teddy Bear's Picnic

My Hubby and I each took yesterday off because we were both stressed out and feeling snarky after our move a few weeks ago. For fun, we went to the IMA and had a lovely picnic lunch. Something we haven't done in over a year. I think picnics should be mandatory every couple of weeks when the weather is nice. There is just something about laying in the grass and lazing away the afternoon with some good food that resets the batteries. We were so lucky that we had the grounds all to ourselves--we only saw 2 other people the whole time we were there. Here are some pictures I took of all the beauty. I promise you I won't post any pictures of my husband smiling cheekily (although I have 3 of them on my camera) or of me singing the teddy bears picnic song (which I did and my husband thought I was making it up!)
This is the view of the fountain from where we sat.

And just look at this gorgeous water lily that was blooming in the fountain. Can you believe this color?

Here are 2 more views of our picnic spot. One of the main house and one I took while looking up from my back at the light in the trees.

I couldn't believe how amazing the blue of these little flowers was. And it just went on and on like an ocean of flowers.

I have no idea what this next thing is, but I liked the fuzzy look of it. For some reason it looked like a Muppet to me.

And lastly, the ever famous statue. Because what would a trip to the IMA be without a picture of it? I've often thought that it conveys the emotion just perfectly--like it is the biggest possible thing that could ever be.

Tomorrow I will be back with new artwork, I promise.
For now have a lovely day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pearl-Ex Tutorial

I have had a bunch of people asking me about using pearl-ex powders over the last couple of weeks. Heaven only knows why--I guess I must have some sort of "Ask me about Pearl-Ex Powders" sign on my back. In any event, I thought I'd just post a quick tutorial about using them. For this project I did an ATC and used them with my alcohol inks because I think the textures work together beautifully. So, here is a picture of everything I used to create this ATC minus the stamp and the playing card. I used: Pearl-ex powder in blue, red, yellow, and currant alcohol inks, dauber, soft-haired paint-brush and a watermark stamp pad.

The first step is to load the dauber with ink placing the three colors so that they are touching. This creates a nice agate look to the inks when they mix. Here is a picture of my dauber loaded and ready to go.

Then just dab, using an up and down or "pouncing" motion. If you drag it, the inks will smear and then not blend well.

You can re-layer more ink on top of what you've got if you're not happy with the way it looks. Once you're happy with the way it looks, let it dry completely. If there is even a little of the ink left on the card it'll interfere with the watermark ink. I normally let it set about 15 minutes or so.
Once it's dry, load-up your stamp with watermark ink and stamp away. If you're going to do more than one image it's a good idea to work in batches--ink one, apply pearls and then move one. The watermark ink won't stay wet long enough otherwise.

Take your soft bristled brush and pick-up a small amount of the pearls with it. A little bit of this stuff goes a really long way. (And you want to be sure your surface is covered with scrap paper and you're wearing your old art clothes because this stuff does have a tendency to get on everything. I learned this one the hard way when I had one ill-timed sneeze.) Take it and gently brush across where you stamped. This is why you need a soft brush, the stiffer bristles will wipe away the ink and leave drag marks through your image. You can see the swirls starting to come through here.
I then went on and repeated the process for the top of the playing card. Here is a picture of what it looks like when it's all dry.
Then all that's left is to decorate! I used mine for the upcoming ATC swap through the IndianaAlteredArt group, the theme of which is "Hot."

Hope this was helpful and as always, if you have any questions please feel free to email me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moving Day

Today is a very sad day for me. Today is the day the my good friend Kasia is moving. She is oh-so-brilliant that she got a teaching post at a university 3 hours north of here and is off to improve the minds of feckless youths.
While I am happy for her and her hard-won success, I am, on a completely selfish level, miserable. I would love nothing more than to fling myself down on the floor and throw a massive tantrum full of flailing arms and gnashing teeth complete with giant crocodile tears.
But I know I can't do that, so instead I made her a care package and mailed it off today so that in two days time it will arrive at her new home. Here is her package all trussed up and ready to go.

And here is the card and matching envelope I made for her. All the stamps are by Stampendous, as are the little glittery-things. I used a watermark stamp-pad to get the lighter colored stamps in the background. This was my first try using it for something other than pearl-ex powders and I have to say, I'm in love with how it looks.

And last but not least--a little music for Kasia, since I know in a week or so, when she's all settled she'll be reading this: Kasia darling, this song's for you, because "I guess on days like this, you know who your friends are."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Journal Prompts.

Over on the D'Blogia site there are some fantastic journal prompts. Dawn puts a new one up every Friday. This last Friday I took a personal day--I was over stressed and decided that it was either that or keep on having panic-attacks.--so I spent some of the time doing art work. Below is the page I did in reference to the "Map of your day." I've been trying to add in more drawings into my journal, so I used this entry as an opportunity to work on my little doodles.
This one is from the most recent prompt about music on your ipod. I did a page about one of my play lists, since I have way too much music to list it all. Something went wiggy with my scanner and I don't have a full picture--I didn't realize it until I loaded it up. :( SO you'll just have to make-do with a partial picture.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to add texture

I took a card making class last week and learned a fun way to add texture to card stock. They used this fancy-smancy tool to create ridges, but I figured out a way to do it with a simple paper-cutter. If you click on the card below to get a larger image you can better see the texture I'm talking about. I made this card for an acquaintance who just had a baby. The onesie shape comes thanks to House of Stir Fry who always has great templates.
So here's what you'll need to create this texture: card stock, bone folder (or other small pointed tool) and a paper-trimmer.
Figure out which way you want your ridges to run and how far apart, once you've done so, lay the paper down on the paper trimmer, making sure the blade of the trimmer is at the opposite end.

Then, take your bone folder and run it along the opening of the paper trimmer, pushing slightly to force the paper down into the valley.
You can use your trimmer to measure, sliding the paper along and putting more ridges into the card. The sample at the top has a ridge every 1/2 inch.
Viola--nice and easy and beautiful. If you want to see another example, you can take a look at the pink card with the big white flowers that I posted here.
Feel free to email me with any questions!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Book Cover and a little Music

I spent part of the day yesterday creating a cover for my new art journal. I used alcohol inks to color the washers. You should have seen the look the clerk at the hardware store gave me when I told him what I needed the washers for. He must have blinked about ten times and then said "A book??" Anyway, I used a square punch to get the little colored back grounds behind them and then glued them down. The swirl stamp is by Rhonna Ferrar, which I colored in with gel pens.

In other news, I finally figured out how to embed a music player in my blog. It's set up so that you have to click on it to get it to play. I'm planning on changing my music selection about once a month--so have a listen!

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Cards

I took a card making class this last weekend and made a couple new cards. I especially like the birthday card which is the second one down--and the thank you card, which I am thinking about modifying the design and making another one that is similar.
Have a look!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bed and a Thank You

You have to see these photos of our gorgeous new bed!

My Uncle Jim made it for us. He actually milled the oak himself from a neighbors tree that had come down. So this bed is really from scratch. (As a kid I used to go and spend time at my Aunt's house right next door--we spent most of our time playing outside. I like to think that I spent some of childhood playing near the tree that is now my bed.) Part of what I love about it, is its simplicity. He made his own bed and it's a lot fancier--but Eddy and I don't like our furniture too fussy. The pictures don't really do the craftsmanship justice--I keep saying he needs to go into business for himself.
Here is a close up shot of the wood.

And lastly, here is a card that I made him to say thanks for all of his hard work. The stamp is by Stampendeous.