Monday, March 31, 2008

Step Outside Your Box

For Step Outside Your Box Saturdays the challenge was charms. I have to admit that I made these some months ago, but jewelry is definitely outside my box. I had these very, very shiny dollar bin frames, supposedly for scrapbooking. I used a little alcohol ink on them, created three teeny, tiny collages, and added the beads. They are some of my favorite necklaces. 
So this is my skill and my problem. I love to rework and repurpose things, and therefore I have a hard time throwing any art or craft supplies away. I actually have tons of really ugly papers (sales, gifts, some of those "What was I thinking??" moments...), but I can't recycle them, or donate them, because I know I can (and do) paint over them, tear them up for backgrounds, bind and gesso them for sketchbooks... but how often do I do that? How many pounds of paper do I really need to hold on to? I need one of those spring cleaning fits to come on when you just recycle everything in sight. I hope it comes soon. Then again, I don't.... 

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fabulous Card Class, Ladies!

I just wanted to give a big shout out to all of the ladies who attended the card class tonight. I had a wonderful time and most of you rocked out all ten cards! If you didn't finish, the directions can be found here. The calendar class directions from last month are here. Again, thanks to all who took the class, and I look forward to seeing you again. New classes will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

Off she goes!

It's been awhile since I submitted anything for publication, so I mailed off two cards the other day for the "found stamps" call. I really wanted to make some Halloween ones, too, but I just haven't had the time. So, I decided that a funky dark envelope would have to do. Of course, I'm still playing with the carved stamps, and I finally used a cool background stamp that I picked up at MDW's Rockin Rummage Sale last month.  I LOVE number stamps, so they went on, too, but I am dying for the coolest number stamper I saw on Scrap In Style TV. It's like the kind they used to use to stamp library books, but it's HUGE. Gotta find it! Anyone knows who makes it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Here's a journal page for the Mixed Media Monday challenge this week - bright colors. You may recognize the background from the previous entry. It consists of a couple layers of distress ink in straw and marigold, with my hand carved stamps. The Created by Hand challenge this week is stamped backgrounds - how appropriate! The text is from the remains of a book page used for another project. Then, of course, the bugs. Ants this time. Which I hate. Seriously. I battled them for years when we lived in an apartment long, long ago, so I go nuts whenever I see one. Yet here they are, crawling along my page with a lovely trail of glitter behind. Art therapy?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A new obsession

Michelle, what have you done to me? I can't stop carving stamps! The only reason I've put down my carving tool tonight is because I've run out of Speedball block (but Michael's has a 50% off coupon for this Friday!) Above is a sample of my stamps so far. I'll share a few tips that I've learned during my brief tenure as a stamp carver:
1. Speedball carving block is VERY soft and crumbles easily. The carving tools work much better than an xacto knife.
2. If you carve it after having a glass of wine, your figure is likely to lose an eye or a limb (good thing I started with an eraser!)
3. It is SUPER easy to transfer your designs directly from your sketchbook if you use charcoal pencil. Just draw, place a piece on carving block on top, press down a little and BOOM, you got it, sister! If you write your own text, there's no need for reversing, since it will reverse in the transfer (see sample).

I played a little more with my beloved Batboy (thanks for all of the kind comments, I truly  appreciate them, although it's kind of give him an overinflated sense of self;) and his new friend Frogpal. I doodled on this page as part of the Arty Girlz challenge for the week, although I swear the skull and tree just appeared in the ink - I only outlined them. (You can click on the picture to enlarge it) If you look really closely in the ink at the top of the tree, it looks like it has bat wings. And if you look really , really closely at the bottom left hand corner, you can see a face in the ink. And if you look at the page really, really closely, and turn it backwards, it says "Paul is Dead." ;)
Edit: I can't stop playing with them! They are featured in the next two posts, here and here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mixed Media Monday

Let's be honest; if I came across one of these on my garage floor, I'd step on it. But when I see an image of a cockroach in Popular Science, I make a little squealing sound (probably quite similar to the one the roach would make when I'm stepping on it) and tear it out of the magazine before my husband has a chance to read it (don't worry honey, you wouldn't have been interested in the article, anyway) and presently use it on an ATC. Why? I don't know. I hate bugs. I love bugs. It's a sick little circle. So here is my take on the Mixed Media Monday challenge for the week: purple and gold. Probably not what you expected, but isn't the unexpected more fun?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


The challenge this month, from GreenPepper Press Street Team was to make your own stamp. I've been meaning to do this for quite awhile, and I really wanted to play with some of Matt's old linoleum blocks, but for now I just grabbed the pink eraser from my desk and an xacto. The plan was to create a cute, cool little stamp that I could use on children's cards, since I am in possession of only one such stamp, a rocket ship. Alas, I have failed again to produce something that would elicit dreams of sugarplums and lollipops. Instead of cute cool sock monkey or Mr. Alligator, I am left with Batboy (second cousin, twice removed by marriage from Tim Burton's Oyster Boy).  Maybe it's just my disposition, maybe it's the glass of red wine I had before creating him (advisory note: Current OSHA standards forbid the consumption of alcohol before using an xacto knife, but I had nursed that glass for more than an hour and hey, I'm not that bright to begin with...) but I have a feeling that Batboy will end up in many a nefarious adventure. Stay tuned... 

The second page was an exploration in painting photos. I had an extra one of me from a scrapbook project, so I gessoed it and then painted it with heavy body acrylics.  It is definitely NOT like painting on canvas! It was quite difficult to work the paint, even with the gesso base. I learned very quickly that any bit of water on the brush brings up the emulsion, so you have to work with a heavily loaded brush, and catch any moisture coming off of it with a rag before it hits the paper. I couldn't work the colors the way I had intended, but I'm sort of satisfied with it, anyway. It's definitely a technique I plan on trying again.

Edit: I can't stop carving! Here are more stamps!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Created by Hand Rabbit Template

This Created By Hand was a challenge for me, since the template, cute as it is, does not match my style. I started out with a background  of small rabbits cut from patterned papers, but it was too busy, I toned it down with some red and green paint and the collage elements, but it was a little muddy. The large fabric rabbit was good alone, but it was difficult to work it into the piece. I eventually white washed the entire background, sanded it, and added the title. Am I happy with it? Not really. I like elements, but the piece as a whole still doesn't quite come together. I don't love everything I make. Not all of my works are successful, but I learn from each one. Art is a process. It's not always smooth. It's not easy. But regardless of the outcome, I still enjoy the journey.