Friday, December 20, 2013

A Very Special Paint Party Friday!

  The wonderful  hostesses of Paint Party Friday  EVA and Kristin have organized a SURPRISE! Virtual Tea Party for Tracey Fletcher King to send lots of virtual hugs along with support and cheer. Tracey has been tenaciously dealing with breast cancer for many months now, and as I've mentioned before she has been battling it with grace, with art and with humor. So here's to you Trace, with love across the miles.

  The actual mug I chose to sketch:

  and my watercolor sketch:

  Don't be too hard on me- I know it's wonky and flat but I just HAD to give it a shot despite never having sketched from an actual object before. You need to go see Tracey's work-wow!! And here's the post I shared of Tracey's sketch of one of my mugs. So thank YOU Trace for at least getting me to do something I didn't think I would try anytime soon. I know now that  this is something I'll continue practicing with the help of an online class (more on that in another post :)

  And now, some art I decided to make all because I can't seem to get that ridiculous, silly song "What Does The Fox Say?" out of my head!!  I felt I needed to share the love:)

 I found this great website for making all kinds of origami things and was delighted to find a fox-aren't they cute?

 I also did a journal page. Here's the WIP:

 I looked online for some images I could work from then changed it a bit. The background was painted with acrylics. I knew I wanted to paint a blue fox so I chose a bright orange and pink for the backdrop. And here's the finished page:

  Linking this week to Paint Party Friday; Creative Every Day; Art Journal Every Day; Mandarin Orange Monday; T is For Tuesday.

 And in the event I don't get another post in before Wednesday, for all who are celebrating the holidays I wish them to be merry and bright!

" Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging."
                                                                                                                            Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's beginning To Look A Lot Like...

C h r i s t m a s !

  We got snowed in again on Saturday and I came down with a cold and sore throat. The good thing is I was able to get the trees up and the house decorated, then rested by finally beginning to watch the Downton Abbey series. Yes, I bought the DVDs and am just now watching from the first episode! 

  Here are some pics of my trees and displays which I will share at Inspiration Avenue for the theme of "Christmas" this week. My trees are also for "T Stands For Tuesday" with Elizabeth and Bleubeard:

 This is the main tree in the sitting room. I always adorn it with cardinals and my very favorite tree topper- a peacock! We used to have a 5-6 ft. tree but have downsized and simplified.

 And this is the tabletop tree in the den. It's filled with ornaments I have received throughout the years thru swaps and gifts.

 Here are a few pics of some of the displays. I tried to put it together as a collage in PicMonkey but it just wasn't working out for me this time :(

 I woke up this AM to, yes, another snow day! I only hope this isn't the beginning of a really snowy winter... but to keep warm I had not one but two cups of my favorite Sumatra blend Starbucks coffee:

  Here is a card I'm entering for the Simon Monday Challenge theme of  "Stamp Out 2013!" :

 This was recently made for a dear friend's special birthday. I used a sketch -Heather's Sketch which was one of the Simon challenges a few weeks ago.
 Products: 5" x 7" white card (Canvas Corp); white card stock; patterned papers (The Natural Matstack-DCWV); foam stamps (Making Memories); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Big Scalloped Squares Lg. dies (Spellbinders).

  And this is the card design I used to send to my family members in France.
  Products: white note card , card stock (Canvas Corp); patterned card stock-Figgy Pudding,Peppermint (Basic Grey); twine (Martha Stewart); glitter tree (Hobby Lobby); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Classic Ovals Large dies (Spellbinders).

  I'm also linking up with Aimee at artsyville for her final Glue It Tuesday-thanks so much for hosting!

 I hope wherever you are you are warm and cozy-whether it's by a fire indoors, or out enjoying summer in your part of the world.

 " Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are."
                                                                                                                     Marianne Williamson

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Squeezing in Art Time

  Thanks to everyone for all your sweet comments last week. Sorry I wasn't able to reply to everyone individually, but the holidays are fast approaching and I need to keep moving! Today I managed to get a bit of art time in in between mailing cards and decorating the house and that break felt good -even if it was in keeping with the Christmas theme:) But first, guess who came to dinner yesterday???

  After asking (just once this year:) for hubby to bring the boxes of xmas stuff down from the attic, he chose to do it before dinner. All the while I heard "I just love Christmas" repeatedly. I quickly went thru some boxes to get out the special character our son Todd and I renamed "Bill" some years ago. And he magically appeared at the table for dinnertime :):) It actually gave both Bill and I a laugh or two and his heart grew three sizes in the moment. That's it. Happy ending. The Grinch is now in his proper place.

 This is a variation on some of the Christmas cards I'm sending and is my entry today for this week's Simon Wednesday challenge "Let It Snow":

   Products: white note card (Canvas Corp); vellum (Hero Arts); patterned paper-Winter Twig (Little Yellow Bicycle, Inc.); rubber stamp (PSX); Vivid! Olive dye ink (Clearsnap); glittery foam stickers (source unknown); sewing machine and silver thread; Grand calibur die cut machine and dies (Spellbinders).

  I managed to do a simple journal page also, which I am linking to this week's Simon Monday challenge theme of "tissue". I began by covering the watercolor page with decorative tissue paper:

  I penciled in a figure, painted it in with white gesso, then filled that in with acrylic paints. I outlined the figure with a Pitt Pen. The "presents" were cut out from Basic Grey Wassail patterned card stock, painted with glitter glue, then adhered to the image. I added the words digitally in Photoshop.

  Besides the Simon Blogs I am linking to Paint Party Friday, Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Mandarin Orange Monday.

                                   "A little of what you fancy does you good."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Keeping Warm On A Snow Day!

  Snow was expected for today but what I did not expect was for it to arrive so early this AM, stranding my hubby, forcing him to park his car (a Mustang -which is NOT good in the snow) and walk home (at least 2 miles) wait-GET THIS-wearing shorts, work shoes -and no hat even!! Of course he's been told before to take pants and some warm things in an event like this-but noooo. Hopefully after today, lesson learned! I wasn't able to fetch him in my DEPENDABLE Focus because some roads were blocked and pretty bad because the salt wasn't laid down overnight-DUH! All of the local schools and some of the colleges even closed. The city should have known better since we had a small amount of freezing rain and snow yesterday and temps were in the twenties overnight. I'll have to keep my eye out on the local news-in case someone snapped a photo of Bill with a caption like "in denial" or something even worse :)

  So here's what I woke up to:

                      This is from my back yard looking toward the front. I suppose it IS pretty :)

  In order to stay warm inside I chose to wear a very warm pair of slipper socks which I photographed for the theme of "looking down at your feet" at Inspiration Avenue.

  I was in the sitting room enjoying this:

 The glass plate is part of a set that belonged to my great grandmother as did the little table.  I'm having a piece of my scrumptious double chocolate zucchini cake  which has a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon in it, along with a cup of Buddha's Herbs Green Tea With Herbs which has a bit of chamomile , thyme and peppermint in it. It can snow all it wants outside-I'm in heaven-and warm with this combination of flavors!

  I'll be joining Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations and T Stands for Tuesday with  Bleubeard and Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover today.

  Wherever you are I hope you are warm and cozy!

     " Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things."     Chaim Potok

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Art Continues!

  How's everyone this week? Personally , I'm feeling that the days to Christmas are approaching very quickly so I have gone into the "ready,set,GO!" mode to get as many cards and things done as I can. Are you like me? Do you feel like you're not going to be ready on time only to find in the end that you had plenty of time all along? I really try to stay focused on the important things at hand and then whatever else gets done, either gets done-or not :).

 I have been so inspired by Nancy Maxwell James' "Very Vintage Christmas" daily tutorials on her blog which began Dec.1 and ends Dec. 7th. It's not too late to check out her blog posts-and she also offers her tutorials in PDF format if you'd like to give some a try for next year :) Thanks Nancy for so generously sharing your talent and ideas with us!

  These are two of ? many ornaments I'll be sending out this year:

  I created a stocking template then traced and cut them out from 90lb. watercolor paper after gluing patterned papers to one side. Other supplies are: Paper Whimsy images and words collage sheets; gold, silver card stock (Canson); Stickles glitter glue in gold and silver (Ranger); oval punch; scallop punch; gold and silver German dresden borders (Artchix Studio); mini tinsel in gold and silver.

  The next two projects are for the Simon Monday challenge which this week is "With a Flourish".

  Supplies: white note card and cardstock (Canvas Corp); felt scroll tree (Hobby Lobby); silk poinsettia; rhinestone; Diamond Stickles glitter glue (Ranger); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Fleur De Lys die (Spellbinders).

  My second entry for the challenge:

 This tag was inspired by one of Nancy's Vintage Christmas tutorials. Want a free downloadable collage sheet of Christmas tickets? Please visit Nancy's blog posts where she shares the link :)

  Products: tag (Hero Arts); image (Paper Whimsy); silver card stock (Canson); Silver Stickles glue (Ranger); felt glitter tree (Hobby Lobby); ribbon (Paper Whimsy but sadly no longer available); glittery paper scroll sticker (Michaels), music rubber stamp ( All Night Media); Stone Gray Staz-On ink (Tsukineko).

 It's not just about Christmas though. I managed to complete a journal page inspired by a quote Christi Wich ( our online instructor for the 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance course). She encouraged us to create a piece of art around it and I so loved the quote I knew I had to create something.

  I began with a page in my large (9" x 11") journal. The background had been done months ago so I figured it was time to use it. It began with a pencil drawing of a leaf stem:

                                                     (the pod-like stamp is hand carved)

  A variety of green and  yellow acrylic paints were used to fill it in. I then added a bit of blue Caran D'Ache water soluble crayon (LOVE those!) to create more depth. The leaf stem and words were outlined with a charcoal pencil and smudged to complete it. Isn't that such a lovely quote?

 Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll try and get around to see what you all have created for these challenges.

  Linking to Paint Party Friday, Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Mandarin Orange Mondaythe Simon Monday Challenge, and Glue It Tuesday.

   There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don't."   BrenĂ© Brown

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Shopping??

  For those of us who celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, the day after, known as  Black Friday, has become a tradition that is sadly now beginning to creep into Thanksgiving Day. It's a day when people become literally crazed trying to find the best parking spots and bargains for the gift giving Christmas holiday. I've only done it I think twice some years ago and decided it was in no way worth it! There's always online shopping. I plan on spending a relaxing day home after a wonderful but tiring Thanksgiving Day which I hosted for our son, my Mom and Bill's great Aunt Betty. Big thanks to Todd and Bill for taking care of all the dishes and clean up :)

  So on to art! First I will share the journal page I finished which I shared as a WIP last week. Thank you for your suggestions on finishing it!

 I chose a glitter rub-on butterfly which was in my stash and the perfect size, coloring and shape! I wrote in the words with a Micron pen and glued on some punched  black hearts. "Grace" is also the theme/word for the month in the 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance class and so I created my page and tag using the above inspiration.

  The page was painted with a light blue and lilac acrylic paint. The leaf border (Magenta) was stamped with Cactus Green Staz-On ink. For the tag I sprayed it with Dylusions ink sprays in Bubblegum Pink and Pure Sunshine. The image was resized and printed from my original journal page. I added some black splatters (which I think mucked it up and should not have done), and a bit of glitter glue to the butterfly wings.

  It is almost December and so I have finished my calendar spread for Kate Crane's 2013 calendar challenge. This is the second year I have participated and completed every month! I love looking back on my spreads but may do something a bit different next year.

  The background was done simply by placing a 12" x 12" snowflake lace cardstock on the pages and spraying with Dylusions Bubblegum Pink ink spray. December was stamped using a Making Memories foam stamp set and Folk Art acrylic paint in Fresh Foliage. It was outlined with a green Sharpie pen. The weekdays were stamped with  studio g alphabet set and Forest Green Staz-On ink. The numbers are from a Hero Arts set. A variety of glitter rub-ons and stickers were used and the squares were outlined with a green crayon. Here are two more views:

  I do wish you could see how sparkly it is!! I do NOT like the winter one bit so I needed to do something bright and cheerful (not that I don't usually do that anyway :)

  I received my first Christmas card and along with it-this gorgeous ornament!!

  What a lovely surprise-thank you so much Nancy!! And if you like Nancy's art and her gorgeous vintage style you are in luck! I mentioned it before but it's definitely worth mentioning again-

 " Speaking of Christmas if you love vintage style, if you'd love some beautiful projects to create as gifts for your friends and family, then please join me in the festive fun at Sugar Lump Studios where my friend Nancy Maxwell James is hosting  "A Very Vintage Christmas" Dec. 1 - 7 !  Nancy's gorgeously detailed projects are guaranteed to delight and inspire you to make your own! You can click the above link or that sweet  badge ( the" vintage" jar) on the sidebar. Hope to see you there!"

  Linking this week to Paint Party Friday, Art Journal Every Day, the 2013 Calendar Project, Glue It Tuesday. Please do visit these inspiring places, and even share your own art!

    "No-one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of anyone else."   Charles Dickens

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

  For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving in the USA I wish you a lovely day of  good food, family and fun. And let's all say a little prayer of gratitude for our blessings.

  I am linking the card I made to the Simon Wednesday challenge blog. This is the second card I made for the theme of "use Heather's sketch". In my last post I made a Christmas card.

 Here's the sketch:

and here's my card close up:

 I'm also going to share a close up of the beautiful teacup in my table setting:

    Isn't it just elegant? As you can see it on the table above it's very small. It was gifted to me but unfortunately I don't know anything about it. Here's the mark under the cup and saucer:

  I am linking this post to Mandarin Orange Monday; Inspiration Avenue (the weekly art challenge this week is Gratitude Show and Tell); Simon Says Wednesday Challenge; T Stands For Tuesday; and Teacup Tuesday.

                                                                 Have a beautiful week.

"Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song."    Komrad von Gesner

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Mail/Art!

  I love a good mail day don't you? Last week I received two complimentary magazine issues in which I have been published!

  In the newest issue of Somerset Studio Gallery I have two whole pages of art -

  I had sent in this series for SS Winter Wonderland theme.

  And this series was sent in for the Bordeaux theme. The vintage images and words are from ARTchix Studio. Although they weren't used for the challenges I am honored to have all six pieces I had sent in published. And I know I'll find myself in good company once I really sit down and see some of my blogging friends names in it too!

 This is the card that was published in the Just Holidays magazine:

  Funny but true- I had not sent anything in in quite awhile so when I received this issue and paged through it to find what I had in it- I didn't recognize anything. I didn't remember this card at all -lol. Good  thing my name was on it :)

  Speaking of cards this week's challenge at Simon Wednesday's Challenge Blog is "Use Heather's Sketch". Here is the sketch:

  I've had my Christmas themed materials on hand so why not use them and get another Christmas card finished?

  Products: white note card (Recollections); white, green, red card stock Bazzil); patterned papers ( Basic Grey and Paper Pizzaz); rubber stamps ( PSX and Magenta); Colorbox Fluid Chalk ink-Warm Red (Clearsnap); Marvy Matchables ink #64 Plum (Uchida); rhinestone gem (Recollections); felt glitter tree ( New Image Group); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Big Scalloped Circles Lg die (Spellbinders); 2 3/4" circle punch (Paper Shapers).

  Speaking of Christmas if you love vintage style, if you'd love some beautiful projects to create as gifts for your friends and family, then please join me in the festive fun at Sugar Lump Studios where my friend Nancy Maxwell James is hosting  "A Very Vintage Christmas" Dec. 1 - 7 !  Nancy's gorgeously detailed projects are guaranteed to delight and inspire you to make your own! You can click the above link or the badge on the sidebar.

  My last bit today is a WIP in my watercolor journal. I began on a page that had been previously painted and stencilled:

  And here's what I have so far:

  I already have a title and theme "Amazing Grace". Grace is the word for the month of November in my 52 Weeks online class and I have not been able to get "amazing grace" out of my head.
  A magazine image was used for inspiration. I drew the image first in pencil then went over it with a black Stabilo pencil. I sealed the pg with several light coats of Workable Fixative (Krylon). Once completely dry I took a tiny (spotter) paintbrush and with Apple Barrel Creamy Peach acrylic painted around the pencil lines. A combination of brown acrylic paints was used for the hair along with a coat of Twinkling H2O in Yellow Rose. Sky Blue twinkling H2O was used to paint in the dress.  Still thinking on whether I want to give her an angel's wing or a butterfly on her shoulder. and I somehow want to add the title. Hopefully I'll have it completed soon but with Thanksgiving coming next week (and I'm cooking) I'm not sure. 

  Hope everyone's had some time for art this week. I'll be looking for you :)

                 " Attention energizes, intention transforms."  Deepak Chopra

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Card Challenges and Journal Pages

  Before I get to the art I just wanted to share two photos of a very special occasion. I mentioned I had a busy weekend last week. That's because hubby and I went to a destination wedding! The service and reception was held at The Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA-just over 1 1/2 hrs. drive from us. We had a great time, and Lynn and Andrew thought of everything-from having tote bags filled with goodies and drinks for all the guests upon arrival to the sumptuous Sunday brunch before check out! The renovated hotel was positively charming and rustic with exposed beams and displays of the materials and tools used when in fact it was a cork factory.

  Lynn loves the twenties era, thus the poster her mother had custom made, and Lynn's elegant lace dress and hairstyle. They were positively radiant! Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Greenspan, a beautiful young couple we are blessed to have met and become friends with.

  Simon  Monday Challenge theme is "Got Ink?" I decided to play with some spray ink and a "stencil".

 The "stencil" is actually a 12" x 12" card stock pattern usually used for scrapbooking. Ever since I first tried this some months ago I have been looking for more of these to play with. They hold up very well and I haven't had one tear yet after multiple uses! I simply set a piece of white cardstock under the patterned paper and sprayed with a combination of my own custom made spray ink and  Lilac spray ink.

  Products: white 5" x 7" notecard (Canvas Corp); black, white, purple cardstock (Paper Studio); Black Stars Lace cardstock (ki memories); Turquoise Pthalo Fluid Acrylic ink (Golden); Lilac spray ink (Inkadinkado); die cut star shape; clear stamp (Waltzingmous Stamps-Season Of Love Set); Onyx Black Versafine ink (Tsukineko); Pearlescent Sky Blue ink (Brilliance-Tsukineko); Blue Lagoon Bakers Twine (We R Memory Keepers); metallic floss; gemstone stars.

  For the Simon Wednesday challenge theme of "Thanks/Thanksgiving" I made a card which will be my Thanksgiving cards this year.

  Products: black, white and ochre cardstock (Paper Studio); patterned paper (Provo Craft); Onyx Black Versafine ink (Tsukineko); rubber stamp (Inkadinkado); paper flower (Recollections); 2 3/4" circle punch (Paper Shapers); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Big Scalloped Circles Large dies (Spellbinders); rhinestone (Recollections).

  This journal spread is in my moleskine journal and was made for the 52 Weeks of Creative Abundance online course. Each month we have a word/theme to focus on and create a tag around it. For October (yes, I got a bit behind) the word was "DARE". The challenge was to dare ourselves to do something we've been longing to do, to "engage the youthful rebel inside yourself that desires to be set free". I thought about this often throughout the month and realized that I needed to push away/push past the fears and that inner voice of negative thoughts... to rise above it and DARE to succeed in filling my hearts desires.

  The silhouette was created from a magazine image I cut out, resized and printed onto cardstock. And since I had the cut out portion and another silhouette I decided to create another journal page:

 The background is a page in my watercolor journal next to the page I used for one of the  projects in this post. I simply sponged some black paint around the cut out  then painted the silhouette and glued it to the page. The quote was added digitally.

  Besides the Simon Monday challenge and Simon Wednesday challenge I am linking to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, Mandarin Orange Monday, Glue It Tuesday and my favorite party place- Paint Party Friday!

  "We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures."  Susan Jeffers