Sunday, July 22, 2007

Luckiest girl alive

After an exhausting three days walking for floor of the CHA trade show, I'm finally home and ready for a good night's sleep. But first I have to share a bit about my post-CHA stops in Chicago before I headed for home. Both Melynda (from and I love vintage stuff so I promised her a trip to a great place that I had been to many, many years ago before I took her to the airport. So we finished up at CHA before noon and headed to Salvage One. We had a great time browsing through the store (okay, I did purchase some really cool vintage printing blocks). We also discovered a couple of other VERY COOL shops. Right next door, was a great shop called El Paso Import Co.. If you are ever in Chicago, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking out this place if you need any furniture or home decor items. Jon, the manager is an awesome guy! As we were looking around the store, I spotted a wicker mannequin that was fabulous and immediately checked for a price. When he saw me looking at it, he said "Do you want that, take it!" It turned out that someone had left it in front of his store just a couple of days before that. So he literally "gave" it to me. Of course, he now has my undying devotion. Don't you just love it?

By the way, if you haven't checked out the ILove2Create blog lately, definitely do. Melynda has posted tons of sneak peeks from CHA and is giving away fabulous prizes. Okay, time to for me to get some sleep...

Friday, July 20, 2007

At CHA...

Melynda and I are sitting in the hotel bar, sipping drinks and blogging after a long day of walking the trade floor show. I'm exhausted but had to pop in to mention that the ILove2Create blog to see pictures from the show and have a chance to win some cool giveaways (it will be just like you are here with us).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Learning new things

I have to say that one of the things I enjoy more than anything, is experimenting with new art techniques. When I first started with the Artist's Way group I found on, I really did it to focus on becoming more productive with all the different art mediums I already enjoyed. Little did I know, but this group has also given me opportunities to explore other areas of art. One of the "rules" of the group is that we schedule open studios to allow us to experiment with other creative outlets. Our most recent open studio was an art doll/image making class. Here is my final product.This is the first time I have ever attempted this type of art and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I did add some eyes to her after the class was finished but I still feel like she needs more of a face. I have some face molds for polymer clay so I'm sure I will be making a few more of these in the future.

Some of the other open studios we have had were to Play in the Mud pottery studio where we could do hand-building or wheel work, Wisconsin Center for Book and Paper Arts where we learned paper pulp painting, and a workshop on Soul Collage. The picture on the right is one the soul collage card I made at the workshop. I can honestly say that each open studio has expanded my creative toolbox. Next month we will be making mosaics, which is another thing I've always wanted to try.

Tomorrow I am heading to the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in Chicago. I am really excited to spend time with Melynda, the owner of We will be spending the next 2 1/2 days planning for upcoming Scrapbook Society kits and website events. The monthly Scrapbook Society kits are what started me on my recent installment of my creative journey and Melynda inspires me more than I can ever say.

Before I end this, I also want to mention that two of my recent ATCs were selected to be featured on the home page of the Artists of the Round Table Yahoo Group. I have been having so much fun with the ATC workshop (based on Bernie Berlin's book) with the group and there are so many incredible artists participating that I feel truly honored to have mine on the home page. I am also really glad that this week we had a break from our "studies" because I needed a little extra time to get caught up.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The difference a day can make

Yesterday I got results from some blood tests that I had done earlier in the week and found out that my glucose level was consistent with prediabetes. I will admit that I had my suspicions that this was a possibility but actually having it confirmed by test results really hit me hard. To help me absorb what this would mean to my life, I spent my evening working on doing some image transfers using a new technique (at least new to me). It was the last part of my ATC workshop assignment for this week and by the end of the night, I had my assignment done (one day ahead of time - Yeah!).
Here are this weeks lesson, image transfer and using fun foam. I did two image transfers by printing pictures using my Epson inkjet photoprinter. I printed the photos on some cheap photo paper that I picked up at the dollar store awhile ago. As soon as it was done printing, I placed it face down on a piece of wet watercolor paper. I brayered over the back of the photo to transfer the image. The top card shows an underwater scene that I added some acrylic paint to the bottom edge smooth the transition of the edge of the photo transfer. I also added the words "Go with the Flow" over the paint, embossing the words with clear embossing powder that contains glitter. Because the words were written in Versamark watermark ink, it is only visible at certain angles. The second image transfer photo was from Art-e-zine. I love the way it turned out and this photo transfer was the second printing from one photo. My last ATC was supposed to use fun foam to create the dimension but I happened across some chipboard letters that I thought would be perfect and used them to create "SPLASH".

Creating definitely helped me absorb my test results but waking up this morning brought news that one of my closest friend's father had passed away. I was glad to hear that she had time to go see him before but I also knew that she had been under a lot of stress with other things in her life. I spent time this afternoon working on some things for her and came away with a new appreciation for my life situation. I must say that I am very fortunate to have the life I do and I have a new gratitude even for things that I used to feel stressed about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

My Review of ProStor X-Rack

I had to add this to my blog because it this is one of the best organizational things I have found since having kids. In the words of Martha's a good thing!

Originally submitted at CSN Garage Storage

Perfect for organizing toys, sports equipment and garage supplies, the X-Rack features three mesh baskets and a shoe storage tray for maximum capacity. It's the perfect accessory to help kids keep spaces clean. Put one in the garage, play room, kids room. Quick and easy to a...

Couldn't ask for better

By sportsmom from Madison, WI on 7/4/2007


5out of 5

Pros: Ample Storage, Efficient, Convenient, Easy to Move

Best Uses: Garage, Space Saver, Storage, Organization

Describe Yourself: Homeowner

I get a smile on my face everytime I go into our garage now. My 6 and 10 year old sons and all their friends never even need to be told to put things away.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

All caught up (sort of)

I have really been enjoying working through the Artist Trading Card Workshop book with my fellow artists at the Artists of the Round Table (A.R.T.) Yahoo group. I just always feel like I am behind. Each Sunday the new lesson is posted so in my mind the lessons go from Sunday to Sunday...And in my world it seems impossible to get them done and posted earlier than the last day. What kills me is the number of people in the group who post their work on the FIRST day. It is not that I don't want them to get them done early. It just causes me a dilema because I want to look and see all the wonderful work people are doing (and believe me, these people are AMAZING!!!) but I also want to experiment with the techniques myself without being influenced by other people's work. So all week I avoid looking at all the cool artwork and then spend hours looking at it all at once after I finish. So here I am posting lesson four and soon I'll be trolling the photos of everyone else.

One of my favorite parts of this week's lesson was that I finally got some color copies of some antique advertising cards that I had bought and used two of them for two of the cards. The first card was to incorporate a page from the telephone book. I had this image of the man and was trying to come up with an appropriate concept when I happened across the yellow pages section for "Process Servers". It seemed to be destiny for this man so the card was born. I used the section from the yellow pages and covered the unrelated part of the page with black ink to draw attention to the "Process Servers" section. I added some stenciled and stamped "$" over the background and then finished off the piece with the man and a piece of gold german scrap.

The second ATC is my version of the tissue paper background. I had some tan tissue paper with line drawings of dragonflies on it and started with that as my base. I attached a piece over black matboard, allowing a few wrinkles to form in the tissue paper. I colored the background with LuminArte Twinkling H2Os and then outlined the dragonfly with a black gel pen, adding highlights with a white gel pen. The flower was lighly brushed with Twinkling H2Os as well.

My last ATC was the hardest for me to come up with a concept. The assignment was to use string but I needed to have the string make sense in the context of the card's topic. That was when I spotted the advertising card that I had copied that was for a corset. I used the add for the background, distressing it with two colors of ink and then stamping the word "CORSETS" at the top with Distress Ink. I added eyelets along the edges and laced the card with copper cording. It is funny how once you find a concept you like, things just flow.

My goal for lesson five is to post it before next Sunday. Wish me luck. :-)

Computers - the ultimate love/hate relationship

I came to update my blog with my latest ATC Workshop lesson, number four, only to find that I never posted my cards from lesson three. Of course, now I remember how the night I had posted them to the A.R.T. Yahoo Group, my internet connection was giving me all sorts of problems. In the end, I lost my connection and never posted it to my blog.

So in order to keep things in order (okay, that just sounds weird), I am going to post my lesson three cards in this post and write a separate one for the ones I finished today. Without further adieu, here they are...
The first ATC, "ROAR", is simply a collage of bits of magazine pictures. The background is made up of three "visually textured" photos and then a center of a large flower (from a Macy's advertisement) was cropped to form the "aura" behind the lion. I added the words "I am woman...hear me ROAR!" in a gold leafing pen.

The second card is a magazine/gesso technique where a magazine photo is covered in gesso and the basic outline of the photo is recreated with a marker. I used watercolor pencils to add my own colors.

The last card is a fascinating technique that Bernie Berlin referred to as Nevr-Dull in her book Artist Trading Card Workshop. Nevr-Dull is a solvent type of product that is marketed for automotive use. Since I didn't want to buy something new if I had a suitable substitute, I tried a few of the things I had around. My first attempt was with a citrus-based solvent that I have used for blending wax-based color pencils. It did work but my samples were nothing that really inspired a finished ATC. I also tried using Transfer Ink by Stewart Superior. This product worked beautifully to remove the ink from the magazine pictures. I had used Glossy Accents by Ranger Industries to create a resist on the magazine picture, outlining some of the major lines. After the Glossy Accents dried, I sprayed the Transfer Ink on the picture, saturating it, and then wiped it in one direction with a paper towel. I like the way that because of saturating the magazine paper, there were slight wrinkles that formed during the wiping process. A packing tape transfer of a Buddha figure and the word "breathe" were added to finish off the ATC.

Okay, now that I finished explaining last week's assignment, it is time to work on this week's....Stay tuned!