Saturday, May 30, 2009

International Impromptu Art Exchange

Hopefully the dream box above has safely arrived in Canada by now, also making it safe to post my pictures here on the blog without spoiling the surprise for recipient Heather Robinson of Creative Solace.
I have admired Heather's work for some time, first spotting her during Technique Tuesdays, a former challenge blog, co-sponsored by Heather and Suzan Buckner, whose crazy zetti-style art I also love. Then I ran into Heather as a design team member for Indy (not Indie, well, yes, indie, too) artist Kris Hubick, and IRL friend who runs Retro Cafe Art, the Web site and blog.
Recently, Heather posted a darling ATC on her blog, and I wrote to her to propose a swap. She responded with the suggestion of an altered art assemblage swap, which I gladly accepted.
Heather mentioned she had been doing some altered tins. You can see them on her blog here, as well as a nature-themed piece here. Heather is good at updating her blog almost daily, which is tre's fun for her followers.
It's ironic that the tin 'dream box' or nicho I altered for her, came to me from Canada, having been ordered from another favorite supplier, ArtChix Studio. However, the nicho was hecho in Mexico originally.
I used a gazillion little products to 'art it up.' The paper wings are from Retro Cafe Art, the background is a postcard from Bluhm Studios, the mini eggs, leaf mask and tiny bottle with decorative stopper are from Altered Abbey, the green 'seeds' are from ArtChix, the reeds and corrugated paper are from Random Arts in Saluda, NC., the mushroom is from Paula's Kit Club and the egg-print paper on the back as well as other paper scraps are from Character Constructions.
Nothing like having to link to practically everyone I know! But it's always important to give credit where one gets supplies, and also readers will ask, where did you find that thingamajig? The swap gave me a chance to use various bits and pieces from two years of accumulations. The dream box was one of the first things I ever bought, and the piece of lace on the bottom I received early on in a swap and immediately thought it belonged on the dream box. Some months later, the tiny bottle, stopper and seeds arrived separately and seemed to go together. So I filled the bottle, plugged it with the little topper, stuck them in the lace-embellished dream box, and there they sat for over a year, until it seemed just the right thing to use for this swap.
I hope Heather agrees. Mail sent at the same time as her package has already arrived in both Belgium (a swap with ATheeC on Flickr) and Oregon ( 1:1 swap with Michelle Geller of Hold Dear), so Canada can't be far behind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And the two shall become one and store things in this here box I made

Two sweet peeps at my work are marrying each other in a bang-up ceremony July 4th in Michigan. I had to miss their intra-office shower this month, so I got busy and altered up something just for them. (I know, a gift card would have been so much better, but hey, there's still wedding presents to buy).
Amy and Brian's wedding colors are white, red, black and silver, so using flocked paper, velvet ribbon, beaded/braided ribbon and a passementerie closure I covered a cigar box, wherein they can keep some special treasures or maybe wedding cards.
The inside is fully covered with a black and while paisley/scroll paper and a faded red and cream love text, and more ribbon. On top there is a spot for a photo, with a frame trimmed in paper lace. I hope they like it. I do. I guess that's stealing their line.
You can read more about the upcoming nuptials on their blog by clicking on Amy's name above. And my office must be all-in-the-family-friendly. Amy's mom works there, too. Which means Brian will be working with his mother-in-law every day. I wonder if there's a handbook for that?

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Usual Memorial Day Weather is Good for Something

I could have predicted clouds and rain today in Indiana. It is always yucky on Memorial Day. 'Yucky' is a very specific meteorological term describing gloomy holiday weather- specifically on the three long weekends of summer. I know it's not summer yet; that's probably what's always been wrong with Memorial Day anyway. I can remember so many Indy 500 races that were rained out on day one, and occasionally, on day two. Race Day Sunday was beautiful in the Hoosier state, but today looks like something out of Dungeons and Dragons. No offense meant to you fans of dungeons, dragons, dark, dank, drab or dangerously dreadful.
The yucky weather is perfect, however, if one wants to stay in one's slightly dark and not too dank basement making art. So I did. I can't post pictures of my first two projects. One will be unveiled Aug. 22 on Creative Therapy, and the other is a 1:1 swap for Heather Robinson of Creative Solace. Heather is a design team member for my art friend Kris Hubick of Retro Cafe Art. I sent a picture of my finished work to Kris to see if Heather would like it. Seems that she may.
I spent the bulk of the day finishing my son's scrapbook. I have kept a book for both children, recording in pictures their lives from birth to age 18. For my daughter's graduation in 2001, I stayed up all night right before her open house. That doesn't seem too unusual to the insomniac in me now, but it was quite unusual- and stressful- then.
So my son's book is done with 11 days to spare until graduation and 19 whole days until his open house. Sometimes I amaze even myself. I may have amazed my son, too. He looked at his scrapbook- page after page of adorable-ness, hour upon hour of labor- and he grunted.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm Queen of Arts & Letters for a Day

The blog award (top, right) from Cassandra couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Another special delivery arrived today, and I actually do feel like a queen. My long-awaited copy of the July issue of Romantic Homes magazine was in my mailbox, and I nearly unbound the thing looking for the From Your Pen column and my article about my mother's Fiesta ware collection. The article was finished back in October, and I've been waiting for what seems like forever to see it in print. (That's page 76 if you're playing along at home). It's my first nationally-published article, and for a journalist who cut all of her teeth on print media- and not digital or virtual- it is the ultimate achievement. Well, as far as articles go. We won't talk about the great American novel. Yet.
In the very same mailbox was my artist's copy of Somerset Studio Gallery, summer issue, and as fat as it is, it seemed like that also took forever- flipping through page after gorgeous page to find my artwork. I knew I had a Marie Antoinette assemblage in the issue (p. 89) and after more flipping, I discovered a second piece of my Marie art on p. 39.
Seeing myself published never gets old. I wonder if it does for other folks? I can't imagine ever taking that validation for granted. As writing is my first love, and was my first vocation, getting an article published nationally means more than I can say. And as I love my editor- I mean I really love my editor- I owe him a debt of gratitude also, for paring down my word count from Britannica to Wikipedia size.
But as art is my newest love, seeing my works published takes on extra significance. I wonder if those artists who have been published many times over let go of the feelings of self-doubt and wondering if their works will be understood? My goal is to find out.
So, I readily accept Cassandra's "Queen for the Day" award, and pass it on to a couple of art friends who also have publication goals: Ann-Denise Anderson of Whim & Fancy Designs who has a book in her head, and Michelle Geller of Hold Dear, who has Somerset in hers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Blog As A Visual Chronicle

"Visual Chronicles" has been used before, as a title for various art books and publications, but I like to think of my blog as my visual chronicle. So, I like to record pictures of stuff I've made, such as the seed-beaded starfish and beach glass pendant here. I only got one picture, and it's kind of fuzzy, but since I posted the beginning of the project here, I wanted to wrap it up properly.
The other way I keep a visual record is not only by posting my photos on Flickr, the photo-sharing site, but also by making Moo cards every now and then of my photos. Moo is a service found on Flickr, and for $19.99 you can get 100 different 1" x 3" (approx) photo cards of your work with your contact info on the back. You can also get stickers, albums, labels and much more. But I like the Moo cards best. This is my third set of 100. I posted some others on my Blythe blog.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Matchmaker, matchmaker....

Shouldn't these two be together? Gwen and Ike. Ike and Gwen. But maybe it's a moot point since they are only 1. Each. Or 32 months together. Besides, they live in different states. With their parents. My friends.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

All in A Day's Work

It's called "The Care of the Mind." Not sure if it is done. 11 x 14 gallery-wrapped canvas. Acrylics, collage, charcoal, watercolor crayons. Still studying Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts and Journal Bliss by Violette, and very impressed with Twisted Figures art by Shonna Bucaroff.
Oh, and so much for Facebook DIY, my little sketch pad. Last night I decided to get with the program and join the real Facebook. How fun it has been to connect with art friends and reconnect with old school friends. Good way to care for the mind. They're old; I'm not. Come find me there here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring Bling and Things

There were splashes of color everywhere I turned this weekend. The trees seem to be exploding with blooms. I took time to cut some lilacs, crabapple blossoms, tulips and daffodil to bring inside. A large pitcher does double duty as a vase for my fragrant and cheery centerpiece.
A trip to Canal Street Gallery in Winona Lake produced a little baggy of goodies (bottom photo). It's almost like going to the candy store...and much less fattening! Owner Merna Eisenbraun had just gotten a new shipment of interesting Mother-of-Pearl beads in, so I brought home a few to make earrings. I made two pair for myself and another five pairs for my Etsy shop. So it seems like I got a lot out of my little stash, and I still have enough left to make a bracelet out of the black and white and red ones. But try as I might tonight, I just couldn't come up with the sequence that interested me. Next time. I'm offering free shipping in the US on the new earrings in my Etsy shop, so check them out.
A couple of hours wandering the antique mall in North Webster, IN produced only one little treasure- this frozen Charlotte/Kewpie type doll for $5.00. She stands six inches and aside from a little dirt, she's in great shape, frozen though she is, except for arms that move. Although that was the only thing I bought, I always have a great time looking at all the old stuff, hoping for that bargain, searching for that "thing" I will know when I see it- something strange to use in my altered art or just another thing. Period.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some Random Weekend Cheer. TGIF!

Direct from France, er, California

I received this lovely canvas this week from Kathy Jacobson in our Marie Canvas Swap, hosted by Maria Rodarte. It is 8" x 10" with bits of charm in every square! Can't wait to figure out where to hang it. The photo doesn't do it justice. Other goodies came in the mail this week. I'll have to get them posted. Stay tuned.