Friday, August 31, 2007

ARTchix Sepia ATC Swap

Another early morning as I was so excited about last night's completion of my sepia tone artist trading cards for swap in my ARTchix group that I had to get up early to photograph, upload, edit and post right here!
Today was also the opening day for the CaaT Complementary Art and Things collage and altered arts theme week. So, I had to get my 6 different collage prints uploaded and listed. Just try dealing with photobucket, photo editor, ebay, ebay groups, scanner, printer and camera- all at 6 a.m. Please search ebay under hpsgsmith and buy yourself a signed, suitable for framing print and help me win my CaaT challenge!
But I am done, done, done and looking forward to an artsy weekend! Friday to Monday is also the annual Blueberry Festival in Plymouth, IN - one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the state and nation, or so they say. Hope to find some great goodies for my swap gifts! And I have lots of projects on the weekend's front burner, including some altered domino pendants that I will list for sale. Also, what perfect weather for a three-day weekend! O, happy day!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Think I Hate My Computer or It Hates Me

So why do I have to be a computer guru to run my blog? I tried to give my blog a fall makeover, with colors, fonts, a new banner, and I feel like I have been trying to hold on to a greased fish, or whatever that saying is.
Some of my art friends are experts, in that they create a lot of their collages and ATCs all via computer, merging or altering vintage images. I cut and paste everything by hand, as probably 50 percent of altered artists do (have become somewhat of a whiz with tiny scissors), but when it comes to my blog and the computer, we aren't really friends.

I know just enough to be dangerous, having used a computer for more than 20 years (yes children, back before there were cell phones and CDs) and having run a newsroom as a managing editor and having received national publication awards. I'm not bragging. I'm just saying this square electronic box shouldn't be so intimidating. But more times than not, it keeps little secrets from me. Just that last tiniest bit of info, code, that final step that would make everything work just right, photos post correctly, layouts come out the right size, etc. The final step is elusive, and I actually think my computer (or fill in the blank here, copier, scanner, camera, etc.) are laughing at me- like playing a game of tug-of-war with a puppy. A snarky puppy.
Having survived a full-out crash this week and struggling to get all my settings back to "normal" might have something to do with this post. Just leave me alone, evil laptop, and let me cut and paste. You do your thing, and I'll do mine.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Color and Art and Crows?

Here are my most recent, most colorful and maybe my best yet ATCs. I can say "best" because I am an ATC virgin and have done so few, that whatever comes next could be my best because I never really know what I am doing. I just do "it" and see what happens. I especially like the Twyla Tharp quote I used on one, "Art is the only way to run away from home without actually leaving." Also, love my crow domestic triangle called "Bad Crow Karma," which I made from parts of my "Peaches and Cream" crow collage (below and on ebay). The background is supposed to be crackled and is from my winter watercolor ATC backgrounds. Some of the other backgrounds you see here are also handpainted by me. Love bright colors!!

Of House and Home: Living In Color

Never one to miss an opportunity to get two birds with one stone (not really, would never hurt a flea, and BTW: what is it with me and birds lately?), I decided to do my ZNE Book Club third week assignment to blog about "Home" and my ebay CaaT group, Complementary Art And Things Blog Cafe assignment on "Color" together.
Although we have only lived in this house two years out of more than 20, this is the first one that truly feels like home. Before that, I would often think of my childhood home as "home." But, this one - this one grabs me, gets me, and satisfies, for the most part, everyone under the roof. It is like living in the country, while still living in a subdivision.
Although it is an older neighborhood and older home by today's yuppie standards, it is so SOLID. I just love that. I feel safe, secure. It is is quiet. If you don't want to enjoy a storm, crickets, a train, whatever, you don't have to. But, if you do, we have two patios and a deck, although modest, they are outside with beautiful views. We have had deer at our front window (yes, looking in) and bunnies coming on to our patio, not to mention the neighbor's two golden retrievers, Grace and Ellie, who were used to handouts from the previous neighbors. Apparently those folks thought throwing bones in the yard was a good idea. (We spent weeks on cleanup and rehab).
Although there are some older features like non-buried power lines, the inside is thoroughly modern, Millie, and the 32' foot long kitchen is a dream, and was the selling feature (as the green and gold shag carpets were not). We are lucky enough to have a living room, family room and finished basement great room, so everyone has a place to go. The 4th bedroom in the finished basement is perfect for adult daughter, Pookie. (OT- I love the blog Pookie and Fig just for name's sake
Another funky older feature is that the first owners had a chimney, mantle and wood stove in what was formerly the kitchen or family room, and is now the laundry room. Not too many people get a stone chimney and mantle in their laundry room (see pix). It is the perfect place for my Americana, basket and primitive collections in red, white and blue, of course. I do love color, and my son's bedroom is also r/w/b, although mostly because that is what it was before and this house came with a bedroom with red carpet - the ONLY carpet we kept. Lucky him.
Most of my walls are all off white, also old-school but so much the better for decorating. However, the kitchen does have two cranberry and two faded mustard walls, which I love.
Most everything else is a muted mix, earthy tones of tans, sages, browns, faded blues. I love my ocean bathroom and the brown bathroom. The main bedroom is robin's egg blue with some bright salmon paisley from Land's End, which somehow works great. My office has touches of lavender and is where I keep a lot of my whimsy stuff.
Although all my other country cutie crap has been relegated to garage sales, I just couldn't part with some of these red, white and blue items. I especially love my prim Americana angel I've had so long I don't know where I got her, and I am proud of my cross stitch sampler, a county fair blue ribbon winner. Also love the r/w/b fabric crow on an antique doorknob base.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

That Peaches & Cream Complexion

Here is a copy of a recent collage using some of my vintage magazine finds from Better Homes and Gardens and McCalls from the 1930s to 1950s. I see I didn't do the best job copying or scanning, since I cut off a couple of key comments, such as "All they ever wanted to talk about was her crow's feet" and "Are you really lovely to love?" Well, clearly not with all these crow's feet- kind of all over, huh? Collage doesn't have to make any sense- that's why I like it.
I am now going to try my hand at making a glass charm similar to those in my book club book "Pretty Little Things." I had the silver foil tape and now I have my glass squares. This can be done without Flux and a soldering iron, although it won't look as nice. I also now have both a stuffed crow (on a crow kick, non?) and a stuff rat, and either will look divine on my witch hat, which gets mailed off to someone else. Come to think of it, all the good stuff gets mailed off to someone else, hmmmmm.
However, one lovely thing did come to me yesterday, and that was a silver soldered charm by Kris Hubick of Retro Cafe Gallery (see links at right). She did a great job-so smooth and the bail is placed so nicely. I just got a chain for it today as I decided it was too big for my charm bracelet, as I am afraid the others I have ordered from Sally Jean will be. Hard to do dangly when you're on the computer all the time.
I also hope to squeeze in another post tonight about Home and Color for both my ZNE assignment and my Caat assignment. I do take these seriously; I must have been a good little school girl. Were you?

Fairy Dreams kept me Awake

I started on these 5 artist trading cards for the ARTchix Fairy Dreams swap about 9 p.m. last night, finishing about 1 a.m. I was so excited to see how they would turn out after drying, that I woke up about 4 a.m. to check (or maybe that was when the noisy adult daughter came home).

They looked so great, but needed a little additional sealing and a few other touches. I also decided my pocket fairy needed a magic wand. So, instead of going back to bed, I have been tinkering for the last 3 hours and finally decided they were ready to photograph and upload. Mind you, the swap is not due until Oct. 15, but when inspiration strikes, who wants to shut it down? I guess it sounds like I like my results, which I do. I am always so amazed and pleasantly surprised when something turns out the way I hoped. As well, usually when I fiddle with a finished project, I end up ruining it. So, all is well and that must mean I need to work only in the wee hours.

Fairy Dreams ARTchix Swap

Friday, August 24, 2007

Artist Trading Cards Zetti Style

The Washington state artist Teesha Moore, who with her writer husband Tracy and artist/writer daughters Tiphoni (daughter's business spelling) and Trista, has charmed (or horrified depending on your take) art watchers for 25 years with her outsider brand of collage, journaling, fabric arts and rubber stamp line called Zettiology. See her stuff at: or check my links at right.

These four artist trading cards were inspired by her style as well as made for a Zetti-style (no, not spaghetti) ATC swap with an ARTchix member, who has just informed me about an ATC swap day in Monroe, MI on my birthday weekend that sounds like it will be my treat to me. Happy Day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I just love this picture I received today of one Miss Chloe S., first-grader divine, and certainly looking more like 6-going-on-12 Cinderella. Natch, the email did not explain why she was dressed as a princess- as if there needs to be a reason!
Her dad Brian also likes to make some fashion statements, but his usually include Chucks, tube socks, camo, assorted plaids and stripes and a few holes for good measure! Gotta love the Retro 70s/Grunge look too! I will, however, go with princess/diva style if given a choice.

Pet Faux Postage Contest at ArtChix

Below are some ACEOs I drew or photographed for the pet faux postage contest. Can't decide which five to send off to enter!

The Art Fairy was Here Again Last Night

Yes, the art fairy waved her wand again last night, and I felt like making these pet faux postage ACEOs for a competition with ArtChix. I can submit five. A large batch will be chosen to make into a faux postage sheet which will be for sale this fall at ArtChix. With all these pets (past and present), surely I have a chance. Pictured are Mookie, Maynard, Larry, Lester, Buddy (late nephew-cat-in-law) and a couple of Doodle Cats. I have also listed some on ebay.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Travel ATC Swap-Off to 1950s Florida!

I am so excited about the cards I finished last night for my ArtChix travel ATC Swap. These were so fun to do with the vintage images I had from ArtChix Studio plus bits of nautical ephemera I had. I am waiting on a great batch of old Florida postcards from ebay (16 for 99 cents!!), so I can make some more. Upcoming projects include a sepia swap, Art and Scent swap (hmmm), pet faux postage creations contest (time for Larry and Lester to get famous) and, yes, a Halloween witch hat swap with Heather of speckled-egg.blogspot (check out new link at right).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Art to Go; Art to Share

Here's a neat image from Gail Schmidt at Shabby Cottage Studio She shares a vintage image every Friday on her blog. Check out her Etsy store,too! That's where I found her great and colorful Halloween backgrounds in fiery reds and oranges for my Halloween ATCs.

New Halloween Trading Cards

I can't believe how many hours I just spent to make 10 Artist Trading Cards! It was over an hour per card. Then it took me another hour to photograph, upload, list on ebay, list in my groups, and now here I am! While listing them on ebay I realized my listing fees were more than my asking price! Talk about a smart business move! But in truth, I make them for fun, and I am amazed every time someone buys one. All the cutting, pasting, gluing and decorating are all just like playing to me. (The subject of our CaaT blog this week). They are listed under hpsgsmith on ebay, or click my link at right. Sorry, I can't bear to part with the "Little Witch." I raided my own vintage photos for that one, and by that I really mean MY own. So, I know it's a vintage photo of over 40 years old-ouch!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Art Treasures and More

When checking for my next book club assignment with the international ZNE book club, I was thrilled to see my results from assignment #1 posted on the home page of the Book Club It not only is gratifying and makes me feel my art can't be that bad, but it helps to bring other visitors to my blog. So, the art world continues to go 'round and 'round. I was pleased to have this same artwork featured on another related site ZNEBlogz. Also, a great new feature at the bottom of this page on my blog is the ZNE Site Ring. Click on next or random to be directed to other wonderful ZNE members' blogs.

If you're loooking for other inspiration, Stamping Day and Night, in Fort Wayne, Indiana (linked at right) is having a week-long garage sale of other artists' and crafters' cast-offs of supplies, rubber stamps and scrapbook materials, publications, etc. The sale started today and lasts a week. I am trying to keep myself out of there, so I can just show up next week and reap (and spend) my rewards. I took a great batch of stuff, so hopefully someone will want it all!

Speaking of shopping (I should blog just about that!)....I had the opportunity to go to Schoolcraft, MI yesterday. The cute old downtown is lined with antique malls and shoppes. I hit the jackpot with a box of antique dominoes still sealed in their original package for $2 and three old magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens from 1933 and a fabulous McCall's from 1955. I was sad the Betsy McCall paper doll page was missing - that was a monthly highlight from my childhood. I don't know who looked more forward to the subscription arriving each month- my mother or me. I also found a glass baby bottle and a very old hair dye box.

My other treasure, which arrived today, was a package of ephemera I had ordered from ArtChix Studio, possibly the most wonderful source of collage and ATC supplies ever! Check it out:

I will post some pictures here soon. I just took a break from reading the old magazines and tearing out pages for collage (which I sort of felt bad about, but that was always the plan). The reading is so entertaining as well....BH&G in 1933 was encouraging readers to break out of their ration habits and start spending more to beautify their home and yard, to help the overall economy after the war and crash...little did they suspect another war in the offing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where Did All the Time Go?

This little stack of envelopes on my desk looked so pretty I just had to take a picture!
Between blogging, scanning, uploading, ebay buying and selling, reading posts, reading other blogs, responding in ebay art groups, ZNE and Artchix (my newest adventure-love their stuff!), I keep wondering where all my creative play time went. Hmmm, imagine that! But, I think most art folk know this drill.
Suddenly and stealthily, all the technical stuff overtakes the creative stuff, and the Muse starts screaming for oxygen or demanding a vacation (gotta love that Muse!). Suffice to say, I have been busy and am making myself crazy with all the things I want to make, but sometimes am just too t.....i...r....e...d...zzzzzzz.
Oops, what was I saying? In any event, I have quickly realized I just cannot blog every day. Besides, I'll bore everyone to death.
On a final note before I go play, I have to say I have been thrilled with some of the blog comments! I have also heard from some well-known and published artists and bloggers, such as JuJu and Lisa Kaus, whose blog and business are both listed at right in my favorites. Visit them both; you won't be disappointed.
Stay tuned for a contest/drawing among comment-makers for some fun art bits surprise gifts!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some ZNE Lovin'

Imagine my excitement to come home from work to discover my blog had been chosen among more than 100 internationally to be featured on ZNE Blogz front page for Technorati Tuesday. The moderator or webmistress person searches every Tuesday for member blogs mentioning ZNE, and as I had just posted about my ZNE Book Club assignment, mine came up first in the search and voila! It's a great way to link to other artists and get blog visits. I also added to the bottom of my front page the ZNE Blog Ring, which links all the member blogs together. You can now visit them from my site! Just scroll to the very bottom of any page. You can search or you can choose "random" to see which blog(s) you get. Every one is a treasure, and I am thrilled to be a part of this group. Click on the ZNE logo on the right panel of my page for more information on this group. The name comes from VariaZioNE, meaning "variation" in Italian. Ciao!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Saw A Spirit - collage

Here is a little collage I did for my ZNE Book Club assignment this week. We are to create a mixed media collage one step at a time, by drawing random tasks from a bowl and performing them in order. Mine were: write, use Twinkling H2Os, sandpaper, sand again, stamp with bleach, distress in some way, use water color crayons, paint, distress, apply a photo, scratch, apply a transparency, apply magazine bits, apply background paper bits, apply text, overstamp, seal.

I made this copy, and also a sepia one, before sealing as I think I will coat it with beeswax or maybe spooky beeswax drips, I haven't decided.
Next up is a numbers theme ATC for my ATC/ACEO Enthusiasts group on ebay, and the collage will also serve for the August month-end collage challenge for CaaT. I am continually amazed by all the talented people on ebay! It would be so great to do nothing but create, post, sell, buy, read beautiful blogs, rinse and repeat all day long!
Tonight I picked up some more art supplies. I am going to try my hand at acrylics, so I got some paint, brushes and thick little fat canvases (5x5). I also got a bunch of paint swatches (Lowe's) and will be collecting wallpaper swatches for my next endeavor.
Finally, I am awaiting some domino-size tiles in the mail from my BkNq (book-nique) group, out of which I am supposed to make a tiny book. Not sure what my subject will be! I have gotten lots of suggestions at home for verrrry short books, such as "Guide to Safe Hunting," by Dick Cheney and so get the idea...and I don't want a political blog!