Thursday, April 17, 2014

Catching Up ... Again!

Hello everyone, my apologies for being MIA for so long, where oh where does the time go?!  I've been enjoying the Spring weather, hiking with the pups in the hills above our home now that the snow has gone, and working on items for our Handmade Art Fair Mother's Day Celebration on Etsy.  And before I knew it, much to my surprise it was the middle of April already!  Terrifying how quickly the days whirl by.

As I said, our Handmade Art Fair Etsy group is having a celebration for Mother's Day, so I made four new items for the occasion.  Two of them are created in my usual style but I ventured outside the box for the other two items and fed my mixed media muse :O)

First I made this pillow tuck for Mom with a wonderful Art Nouveau etching that I found at The Graphics Fairy.

I've loved this etching ever since I first saw it, it is so lovely.

And next I made some Spring flower bowl fillers, using images by Pierre-Joseph Redoute that I purchased at Dover Pictura.  A wonderful collection of vintage flower and fruit illustrations.

A pretty bowl of Spring flowers for your Mom that will never wilt!

Then I decided to do a couple of mixed media pieces for my other two items.  It was a scary decision to make, I'm comfortable creating my primitive and folk art items but mixed media and altered art is a new creative area that I'm still learning so much about.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes, so away I went!

The first piece features a quote I found on a piece of scrapbooking paper and it felt so right for Mother's Day.

The wonderful vintage image is courtesy of Magic Moonlight Studio and I then embellished the plaque with bits and bobs from my stash.

And the second mixed media piece is also a plaque for Mom but for this one I took a more humerous approach.

The wonderful image of the elderly woman holding the book was a blank ad courtesy of Dover Publications and when I saw her, I knew what I had to write on that book LOL!  I transferred her onto some muslin and then glued it to the artist's canvas with some more embellishments and a cork banner.  Fun to make and I know I will be doing many more of these.

The Handmade Artfair Mother's Day Celebration will be ongoing at Etsy until April 30th, so if you are looking for a gift for your Mom, search HAFMDC on Etsy to finds lots of gift ideas.  My four items are available in my Etsy shop if you are interested in any of them.

So that's all I have to show you today, I've been indulging myself with an art journal video series on YouTube that the very talented and generous Terri Kahrs of Pringle Hill Studio has posted for everyone to view.  Click here to go and take a peek, her use of color is so inspiring and the art journal is a perfect size to start out with if you are new to journaling as I am.  I've viewed all the videos now and have my supplies lined up and ready to go; I'll share some photos as I progress :O)  I also must get cracking on my April ATC's for our Mixed Media Studio group as well as get folding my book for our book sculpture challenge.

I'd also like to wish all who celebrate a very Happy Easter, enjoy the holiday with family and friends and don't eat too many chocolate bunnies :O)  Have a great weekend everyone and happy creating!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Hello April

Welcome April, we are so glad to see you again!  Your lovely showers bring the May flowers, which is something that we are all eagerly anticipating.  Especially those folks who live in the East and especially everyone in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador; I think that they have had more than their fair share of snow, cold and Nor'Easters this winter!

I finished my final challenge for our Mixed Media Studio group at the last minute, it was the pop tab challenge and while I had grand plans (again!), my pop tab constructs quite literally fell apart so I ended up making a pendant necklace.

This is definitely one of the simplest things that you can make from a pop can tab but since I am in no way, shape or form a jewelry maker, I did find it challenging.  But the final result is quite pretty I think.  Whenever I wear it, I will be able to keep my Mom close to my heart :O)

I also wanted to share with you my swaps that I received this month, they were both from Helen and I love, love, love everything that she makes, she is one talented gal!  First, here is her take on the cat cone.

I adore owls so this guy just melted my heart as soon as I saw him, don't you love the eyebrows?!

And here are Helen's Flower ATC's for our March ATC swap.

I admire Helen's use of colour so much, it is an area that I am more than a little intimidated by but she has no fear at all and the results are beautiful.

As usual, she also included a couple of extras, generous gal that she is :O)

A pretty flower made with the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die and a fairy dust key chain, too cute!  Thank you so much Helen, I love it all.

So our first quarter at the Mixed Media Studio has come to a close and we are now on the next with lots of new challenges and swaps.  It is all about books this quarter in both the Mixed Media and Paper Studios and I am really looking forward to trying many new techniques.  The first challenge that needs to be completed is a Sculpted Book challenge; we are to create a sculpture with paper back or hard cover books that only involve folding and gluing the book pages, no cutting or carving is allowed.  There are some spectacular examples on the web (check out this Etsy shop, LucianaFrigerio, WOW!) but they are way beyond me so mine will be significantly less complicated LOL!

And our ATC swap this month sounds like a lot of fun, we are to pick a couple of our favourite book titles and then create ATC's that visually represent that title without using any words.  Our swap partner is then going to try and guess what our titles are just by looking at our ATC's; it sounds like fun and challenging!  I am going to have to scour my bookshelves for titles that will be somewhat easy to represent visually, somehow!

We also have a second Drawing On Book Pages challenge due at the end of April and then there are more swaps and challenges coming due later in the quarter that will involve making mini albums (and I do mean mini, think pendant or charm sized books, yikes!), making a tunneled book (which will involve carving out a book) and a book or album made from coasters.  Lots of new techniques to learn, I can't wait!

The I Dare You Challenge for this month is to alter a light bulb, hmmmmm, will have to think about that one, and we also have an altered initial challenge due in June.  My altered initial is going to be going to the lovely Helen, who just sent me all my wonderful swap goodies, so I'm thinking I am going to have to get over my fear of colour to make her initial!  A big bright letter H will be appearing here some day in the future, stay tuned :O)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, the snow is nearly all gone from the yard here so a little clean up is in the cards for us.  We'll talk again soon, happy creating!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Of Goats And Altered Clocks

How's that for an eclectic title LOL!  But it's what I've been working on lately and my brain was unable to find a catchy connection between goats and a clock so I figured honesty was the best policy :O)

First, here are a couple of custom order goats that I made for one of my Mixed Media Studio friends.  She has a lovely farm in the Eastern States and has a wee herd of goats and asked me to make a couple of my billy goat gruff bowl fillers to look like two of her boys.

She sent me pictures of them when they were kids so hopefully I have captured their likenesses.  I had to wait to get a new felting needle before I could complete them for her but it finally arrived and they are now off in the mail.

And I finally finished my altered working clock challenge for our Mixed Media Studio group, which I am also linking up to Frilly And Funkie's Time After Time challenge.  My hubby received a clock from Canadian National Railway to commemorate 25 years of service awhile back and although it is a lovely, heavy clock it was so darn ugly we never had it out LOL!

They call it a 'rosewood' casing but in reality it was a weird red marbled plastic with bright brass embellishments, not our style at all.  I have no idea why I didn't think of altering it before this challenge came up, the thought never even occurred to me!  But as soon as the challenge was proposed, my thoughts turned to this clock immediately and my hubby was game to let me have a go at his commemorative clock.  So here is the same clock, altered to within an inch of it's life LOL!

I should have taken step by step photographs of the process but I got going on a roll and never even thought about it till now.  So here's a description of what I did in case you want to give something similar a try.

I first took it all apart and sanded the plastic casing to give it some tooth.  Then I glued on some MDF gears (from Paper Whimsy) and some chipboard pieces that I cut out for the railway crossing signs and the tracks.  I then covered everything with a coat of gesso and let it dry overnight.  Thanks to Laura Carson of Artfully Musing for her tutorial on adding the chipboard embellishments to create the embossed look, love it!  Then it was layer upon layer of acrylic paint to create the grungy aged appearance; I used Americana Burnt Umber, Charcoal and Asphaltum slip slapped here and there to achieve the look.

I couldn't get the clock hands off (I'm sure they are just a pressure fit but I was afraid to pull them too hard in case I wrecked the clock workings) so I took an oil pastel crayon and smudged it onto the white clock face insert and the casing with my finger.  I used Burnt Umber again and a touch of black.

I then used some Tim Holtz Adirondack alcohol ink on the brass ring around the clock, on the sweep second hand, on the engraved name plate and on the back plate.  It did tone down the brass (I used Latte and Ginger alcohol inks) but it was still a bit too new looking for my liking so I smudged on some Martha Stewart Multi-Surface acrylic paint in Brushed Pewter as well.  LOVED that look, so more brushed pewter went onto the gears and onto the rails of the railway tracks and onto the bun feet and edges of the top and bottom pediments.  I then defined the railway crossing sign with a dry brush of Americana Sand and then loosely wrote in the words 'Railway Crossing' in a white gel pen so it would look old and worn.

The cover plate on the back was looking way too empty, so I printed out a steam locomotive image that I found on Pinterest and modge podged it onto the brass plate.  Fabulous!

Next I painted up a little wooden toy train that I had gotten for my DH several Christmas' ago with Americana Black, Asphaltum and Burnt Umber acrylic paints and then highlighted it with the Martha Stewart Brushed Pewter paint and a little Americana Sand onto the windows.  I glued on some metal gears I had in my stash to the wheels for a more industrial look.  It got glued onto the top of the clock with some E6000 to make sure it didn't go anywhere!

And finally, I made up an 'All Aboard' sign on my program and used a transit ticket image from my Crafty Secrets Typography CD and adhered them to the front of the clock.  I've since added a second copy of the images overtop with pop dots to give it a little more dimension and it looks great.

I am thrilled with the final look and my hubby loves it too, which is the most important thing since it is his commemorative clock after all!  He said he is going to post a picture of it at work since he is sure his fellow engineers and conductors will want me to alter their commemorative clocks the same way LOL!  It is much more representative of his career with the railroad and is now something that we will be glad to display in our home.

My final project for this months challenges in our Mixed Media group is to make something from pop tabs.  I've been playing around with a few ideas and will post pictures shortly since the challenge is due at the end of the month.  Hope you are having a creative weekend my friends, I'll be back again soon!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Searching For Spring

Morning folks!  Are you searching for Spring in your neck of the woods?  She's occasionally been spotted here in B.C.

And some days have been (mostly) glorious.  I say mostly because, in typical Spring fashion, it can be beautiful sunshine one moment:

Then snowing like crazy the next:

And then 10 minutes later, beautiful blue sky and sunshine again!

I took these photographs when we were out snowshoeing on the first day of Spring and The Delinquent was in her glory digging in the muddy earth for voles.

Fortunately we had to walk across a big open field full of soft snow to get back to the truck, so she was decidedly cleaner before she hopped in for the ride home!

But today it is snowing yet again and more is forecast for the rest of the week.  Fortunately it is quite warm though, so while the snow falls and sticks for a bit, it isn't lasting long.  We had about 5 inches the other day but it is mostly gone already.  I hear that you folks in the East are having to batten down the hatches again for yet another big storm, stay safe everyone and remember, this too shall pass!

I've been stuffing goats like crazy for the last few days, I haven't sold any of the little devils for ages and all of a sudden had multiple orders for them, so I have quite the herd sitting on the dining room table waiting for finishing touches before they head off to their respective homes.  I did get another of my Mixed Media Studio challenges completed in between sewing and stuffing; it is the drawing on book pages challenge.

I chickened out and decided to print an image on an old dictionary page instead of drawing something; my drawing skills are suspect at best so figured this was the safer way to go LOL!  Found a book stack image on Pinterest, printed it onto the book page along with the text 'READ' and then colored the books in with some Tim Holtz Distress Markers and decoupaged on a couple of vintage library book check out cards.  The dictionary page has the definition for the word 'read' on it.  I can see where this could become very addicting and has all kinds of possibilities for incorporating these book pages into your art journals and mixed media pieces.

 So I must get back to work now on my wee goats and also work on my altered clock and pop tab challenge  as the end of the month is creeping ever closer.  Hope that Spring has decided to come and stay wherever you may be and if not, never fear, she will show up eventually?!