Sunday, June 28, 2009

What She Said

I said a few words in a previous post when I'd heard about the celebrity deaths last week. A post on Facebook by my art friend and teacher Gina Gabriell of Dublin, CA stopped me in my tracks. I asked her for permission to print it here.
When I first met Gina in August of 2008, I couldn't believe she was my age. In fact, I probably should have gotten her driver's license. She's young and hip and talented and down to earth and smart and nice, all really significant adjectives in my book. I took a very fun class at the ZNE convention, almost by accident, in Gina's brand new shop, Tangerine. She also has a studio, Eleven Morning. Her memories of Farrah and Michael mirror mine. It's that age thing.

But, she probed a bit deeper. The Stevie she refers to below is her daughter, who died in early 2007 with a brain tumor at age 19.

Her post (I edited a bit for length):

"I remember my cousin Ron (and every other teenage boy) had the Farah in the red bathing suit- nipples at attention poster hanging in his room. I remember thinking how beautiful she was and how I wanted more than anything in the world to have two things: 1. Boobs and 2. Big Hair.

Lucky for me curling irons and a home perm weren't too expensive but the boobs would be harder to come by and a long wait. The boob fairy finally did visit me after the birth of my first child. Because this fairy was late she decided to make up for it by giving my great-grandmothers heavy breasts. It is feast or famine with me always.

Charlie’s Angels...sigh. You had to love that cheesy show, the original crew made me want a jump suit, made me want to learn karate, made me want to wear lipstick. Alas I was trapped in a skinny boy's body but I loved those Angels.

Although I am not a People magazine reader and I don't follow what goes on in the magic world of all things shiny, I did respect Farrah making the documentary of her cancer journey. I have not seen it, but I think it can only raise awareness when someone who was the standard of beauty in her prime allows the public to see what cancer takes away. It isn't like the movies; it is painful, scary, and ugly.

Michael. It was a shock to hear that he had passed, I knew it would happen some day; I just could never imagine Michael Jackson at 70. It was hard to believe he was 50. My instincts tell me his demise was drug related but it doesn't really matter how he left, it was just his time. His heart breaking seems like a tragic and fitting ending.

The monkey, the out-there clothing, Lisa Presley, Neverland, seriously how could that shock anyone. Hollywood is the land of make-believe and he gave people something to talk about, to wonder about and keep them interested, pure marketing genius.

When I was a kid I went to see The Jackson Five at the Circle Star theater in Oakland. We were way up front and it was spectacular. These boys sang their hearts out. Micheal had a ‘fro back then and all the brothers wore bell bottoms. I thought that was boss. I was a runny nosed little tom-boy, but I danced my little chicken legs off.

While I was driving home I spoke to Stevie. I told her, "Hey Michael Jackson is in heaven now; how cool is that?" She had a little collection of DVDs that she used to watch. To her it was all ‘Old School’ and she loved the music and videos.

Stevie didn't judge people. She liked them or didn't like them. There was never an explanation or an apology, she never wavered or changed her mind. She could just feel to the heart of a person. She didn't have time to waste.

I wonder if that is how we should all live. I could have saved hundreds of hours of my life if I didn't try to help people who didn't really want help, change people who were happy in their misery, trying to build friendships with people I didn't really like because I thought it was the right thing to do. My instincts were always right but always a hindsight observation.

I am not saying people should be hateful or avoid helping another person; it isn't about the worth of a person. What I am saying is that we all have a moral compass/ good instincts, and if we listen to that without judgment we could live a little more effectively.I get lost in this. I always tell myself that that gut feeling isn't a tool for me to move in another direction but a challenge, a hurdle that will help me build a better me if I do the right thing, maybe I am wrong.

The universe gives us a road map for our lives, Point A to Point B. It offers us guidance and direction. We have the freedom to take our own route, and we can make it as long or as difficult as we like. Only two things are for sure: there is a point B and there are no shortcuts.

I think I am going to stick to my map now, listen to that inner guidance, love when my heart tells me to, run when my heart tells me to. My girl had this all figured out by the time she was five; I am a slow learner.

For some reason humans need idols. Icons serve a purpose but they too die and fade away, making room for other icons.We can chose who we love. I think we should learn to see lovable greatness in ourselves and not hang all our hopes and dreams on someone else who seems bigger and better.This is the only life we have and know right now; we have to be kings and queens of our own beauty and promise."

Well said.

If X equals the sum of my evening's art adventures, then WHY do I still have a headache?

If three beads and one charm can send me to the studio for nine-and-a-half hours and produce four bracelets and six pairs of earrings all the while fighting a migraine, then what is x? Just thought I'd try to tie in some of that lovely algebra we were all promised we'd use later in life. Well, I don't know x or why, but my jewelry-designing gene woke me up in the middle of the night with an idea for a bracelet. I received my three free beads from Fried Peas and an unexpected and totally cute crown charm from Debrina Pratt of Spark*Your*Imagination in the mail Friday, and by the wee hours of Saturday, I had a girly pink charm bracelet in mind, using the crown charm and some pink resin beads. I even got up to write myself a note in case my memory faded by morning.
After a late breakfast and one of the worst migraines I've had in awhile, I banished myself to the basement thinking that the charm bracelet work would take my mind off my head pain. It did indeed as I wire-wrapped dangly after dangly for the bracelet, then added jump rings and attached all the charms. A few of the beads I used I had been saving for almost a year for something special. I guess this was it.
The next thing I knew it was six hours and four bracelets later! I came up to make a big salad and homemade croutons for supper and then headed back downstairs to make six pairs of earrings. By the time I finished I had been at it nearly 10 hours. And none of this was on my to-do list for today! I also wanted to put more beeswax on my doll canvas, which I did. I love the smellof beeswax, although I know not everyone does. I also had high hopes of painting my paper clay figures- the mushroom and owl I had molded-so I got to that about midnight. I am always quickly reminded that tired=messy.
I photographed all my creations, and some are shown above. The entire result of Saturday's adventures can be seen on my Flickr photostream here. Some of the goodies are heading to my Etsy shop next. Gotta try to make a little money because that buys more beads.
Tomorrow's art to-do list? An art doll assemblage with the porcelain doll heads I built up with paper clay and something Alice in Wonderland*ish.
It's off to Pittsburgh Tuesday for work and also company year-end Tuesday, so reports and packing are also beckoning, and my reading pile is growing. I've tried stockpiling sleep, and it just doesn't work. In fact, I'm going to guess that weird sleep, feather pillows, stress and too many carbs were the algebraic equation that equalled my migraine. Don' try this at home.

Friday, June 26, 2009

C'est bien! Marie Antoinette book pages are done

Several days of staging went into these 17 hand-drawn, hand-painted all original 4" x 4" fat book pages for the Marie Antoinette Mail Art group collaborative book. As I explained in my other posts here and here, I first prepped the backgrounds and then I put in the faces with pencil and tissue paper and then acrylic paint and molding medium.
The last two days I drew in the facial features, painted those, highlighted the hair with silver leaf and gold leaf and glitter, added metal as well as rub-on curlicues, punched holes, set rivets and attached assorted fibers. I also signed and dated all the backs and silverleafed the edges.
Something still didn't feel 'right' or done until I came up with the idea for the mask/opera glasses, an accessory with which Marie Antoinette is often portrayed. I sprayed the tiny sticks gold. Designed and cut masks out of black construction paper, glued sets together with the stick in the middle, punched eye holes, added rhinestone and glitter pen embellishments and tied the mask stick to the fibers. Voila! Now Marie can go to the ball, and I can mail my pages off to Tennessee to our hostess, Rhonda. What a gorgeous book this is going to be!
Now, on to my paper mache project.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Body of Evidence or Mad Scientist at Work

I've had so much fun stuff on my art to-do/wish list, and tonight I finally got to make a dent in it. Actually, my list of things I want to do includes both art and writing. With work (a lot) and sleep (a little), it's hard to get very far on my 'what I'd really rather be doing' list.
But thanks to a burst of inspiration last night, I got some writing out of the way that is due July 3. I've been lucky enough to receive the Rylan Harris Memorial Scholarship to the Midwest Writers Workshop July 23-25 in Muncie, IN. Not only am I excited that the cost of the workshop is covered, but I am thrilled beyond words that the fiction and poetry I sent in were apparently good enough to earn this award.
There will be sessions with published authors, literary agents, writing contests and manuscript evaluations. To warm up to my writing, I wrote a review of my recent visit to the American Visionary Art Museum for the 'guest reporter on location' spot on Vintage Indie. For the writing workshop I needed to have done the first five pages of my proposed novel, a synopsis and query letter, another five pages of a short story for a contest, and five pages of poetry for the evaluator. Most of that was done at midnight last night, with poetry from midnight to 2 a.m. Then I started reading a book on writing non-fiction memoir and got sucked in until 3:30 a.m.
So tonight I was determined to make a doll out of a fat canvas and porcelain doll parts like Lisa Kaus and Beth Quinn have done. See those here and here. I got this particular doll head from Kris Hubick at Retro Cafe Art, and I've been saving it especially for this project.
I set up my art table and got out the supplies I would need, knowing that some would carry over into what else I wanted to accomplish. I had already painted my 4" x 4" chubby canvas that I got on Ebay (although you can get even fatter ones from Dick Blick).
I cut out some scrapbook paper that I had gotten at Archiver's into the shape of a dress. Then I embellished that with several layers of ribbon and lace, and some scraps of sheet music and a page from a children's book.
Once I assembled the dress, (after tea-dying the biggest piece of lace out in the sun for awhile), I attached everything to the canvas with Golden's gel medium. I used E6000 to attached the head to a bottle cap and then to a fabric covered disc and then to the canvas. I used wire and eyelets to attach the porcelain bisque legs and arms.
I finished my dolly up with some jaunty vintage millinery in her hair and an exquisite passementerie flower and leaf that I had received in a swap. Then I brushed a thin coat of melted beeswax over the entire canvas. I added a sawtooth hook on the back for hanging. Not sure if she will stay or go to my Etsy shop. Lisa's dolly canvasses have been featured in Romantic Homes, Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines and regularly sell out immediately for $200 or more.
While dolly was drying, I grabbed a couple of smaller old German doll heads and some paper clay. Both of the heads were broken at the neck, and in one case part of the cheek and the end of the nose were gone. So I built them up with paper clay as you can see above, and now they'll be usable in a project.
With the paper clay out, I sculpted an owl and a mushroom by hand, hoping to paint them as cheerfully as Pam Garrison has done here. I can't stop looking at her critters. I love her journaling, too. I only hope my paint job turns out half as cute as hers did. Paper clay takes about 24 hours to dry, and then you smooth any cracks with a little household spackling and water. Dry some more. Then paint. Big fun.
You can see in my pencil doodles I tried to emulate Pam's owl there also. I've been admiring all the talent in Suzi Blu's art group as well and can't seem to stop doodling girly faces. A few pages a night seems to be what the art doctor has ordered. I like doodling best with woodless graphite pencils. Then I spray a little fixative to keep it all from smudging away.
Lastly, my 17 pages for the Marie Antoinette Mail Art fat book collaborative that I blogged about pre-painting here, were ready for me to start painting the faces. I drew the face I wanted in my sketch book first, then I traced it on tissue paper. Next I cut 17 of these faces out of tissue paper and adhered them directly to the book pages with gel medium.
After letting that dry awhile, I painted the faces with Golden's liquid acrylic in titan buff and then I painted the hair with Golden's white, adding some white Pearl Ex pigment for shimmer, some Gesso to thin it all out, and some Golden's molding paste to give the hair texture. So far, so good. I have my ribbons, rivets, filigree findings, gold leaf and fabric at the ready to finish my pages, well before the July 20 deadline. Can't wait to see how they turn out. More importantly, can't wait to get my finished book back. There's so much talent in this upcoming book. It will be fit for a queen.
Although I was kept busy tonight and last and although I always try to stay chirpy on this blog, I am deeply saddened by all the deaths today. It is strange feeling to hear about the icons of one's childhood- icons in some cases one's same age almost-dying much too soon.
I grew up tearing Michael Jackson pictures out of Tiger Beat from about third grade on. I remember my dad driving us past the Jackson's house in Gary back in the late 60s. We lived nowhere near Gary, so I think we made this a side trip in addition to visiting the Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan. Such a talented family, those Jacksons- five, six, seven of them-how ever many performed in addition to the core group. One has to wonder what will become of Michael's three (or is it four?) children.
Farrah Fawcett. Who did not want her hair when I was in high school? Or for that matter her job or her bathing suit body. I spent many hours forced to look at her famous poster in a boyfriend's room. I wonder if he is thinking about her tonight.
And Ed McMahon. Didn't we all feel comforted closing the evening with Ed and Johnny, waiting for the television set to go to snow after their show?
Icons of my generation for sure. They will be missed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I won some Fried Peas!

Wow! I just want to eat them up- look at the great beads I won yesterday from Beatrice Killeen in California of Fried Peas. I found her site and beads from following some lampwork links in Stringing magazine and on to other beaders' sites. These are the most colorful, fun, cheerful beads I think I've ever seen. Can't wait to see them in person and decide what to make with them. Check her gallery here for some incredibly beautiful beads. Thank you, Beatrice!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The mess that ate my living room

The mess started somewhere between the cookies and the paint. Isn't that always how it is? Besides all the activities I blogged about below that filled my weekend, I thought I could squeeze just a little more time out of Sunday night. Nevermind that I have to leave early Monday for an overnight for work. Nevermind that it's going to be 90 degrees, and I have no idea what kind of bathing suit could pass for a business suit on such a muggy day. Nevermind that I'm tired and just want to get to my reading pile shown above and my sketch book (I guess I'd better pack them all, along with my laptop to do three months' worth of work reports tomorrow night).
So I thought I'd make the fam some cookies before I leave. I start making chocolate chip cookies- milk chocolate chips and pecans. Oops, out of stick margarine. Improvise. Get cookies to oven. Am on phone with hotel reservations, on hold, on hold, oh, there goes the oven timer. Seems the 25-foot kitchen phone cord (who uses a landline anymore anyway?) will just not quite reach. Squawking oven and unhelpful phone person.
Cookies cooling. Decide to mix up some acrylic paint, Pearl Ex pigment and gesso to paint the 17 individual 4" squares of watercolor paper I have now cut for my Marie Antoinette book pages. Decide half blue and half green. Find a drop cloth. Mix up way too much paint. Decide to apply bits of sheet music and French text first. Use glue stick. Paint pages. Let one side dry. Run upstairs and put cookies in jar. Clean up kitchen, load dishwasher. Also do multiple loads of laundry to find decent clothes to pack.
Take an hour to do company expense report, chasing down receipts from car and brief case and computer.
Change paint color, flip pages over, paint other sides, let dry. Attempt to pack or do something useful. Clean up paints, water, brushes. Cleans up nicely with pink brush soap.
Decide pages look blah. Grab piece of punchinella (sequin base after sequins are punched out). Run back upstairs for packing tape. Run downstairs to tape punchinella to drop cloth. Slide pages under open holes and use gold spray paint. Looking pretty cool.
It is about now that I realize that gold spray paint does not clean up nearly as well as acrylic paint and gesso. And between the glue on my pages, some leftover wet blue-green paint into which I have accidentally placed my forearm, and gold paint all over my fingers and my newly-manicured red nails, I decide to clean up in the little sink in my art studio. The water appears to 'set' the paint on my skin, and the glue and paint combine to make a sticky mess, which when I grab some turpentine-based brush cleaner, becomes all the more sticky, kind of like tree sap. It is now blackish-brown tree sap on my fingers instead of gold paint. It is midnight, and it does not want to come off. I do not like to go to work presentations with paint on my hands. Hmmm. Why didn't I just go to bed a couple of hours before this?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend Busy-ness: Due vs Do, Deux Jours, Not Enough, Mon Dieu!

Here are a few of the artist trading cards (ATCs) or some call them ACEOs: Art Cards, Editions and Originals that I made for two swaps in the Marie Antoinette Mail Art group. I am just loving this new group I was recently lucky enough to be juried into. I made a dozen all original, all handmade (no digital skills for me) cards Saturday. These are off in the mail Monday, and then I need to get to work painting 17 4" square book pages for the group's fat book page swap. I sketched some ideas last night. Not sure if I want to go with hand-drawn, hand-painted pages or my usual collage with embellishment.
I really feel like I've been busy all weekend, yet I've accomplished little else except to make a list of all the art and writing projects I have due or want to do.
I saw the absolute most darling paper mache ever here on Pam Garrison's blog, so I've been dying to try to make something like these. I also have the doll heads and fat canvasses, so I want to make a dolly canvas like Lisa Kaus here or Beth Quinn here. I have a great sprinkler head just waiting for me to make a robot like this. And I have a new blank watercolor journal so I can journal like Pam does here. I also want to draw girls like Suzi Blu so I joined her Ning group to take a class.
I packed up some Earthenwood beads like these for a trade with Lorelei for this bracelet from her Etsy. She is so talented! I have several things from her shop. I also upended my own Etsy shop. Take a peek. And I am drooling over my recent Etsy purchases of this darling birdie from Michigan, swimmer-person from the U.K. and Steampunk canvas from the oh-so-talented DeBriNa in Cali.
Today I squeezed in a little time to properly dress and coif my new, unnamed Blythe, which I blogged about here. One of my Blythe dolls is going to Aunt Maggie for a face-up.
And over the weekend I tried to work a bit on the first five pages of a manuscript that is due by July 3 for a writing workshop, where I can not only have it evaluated by an author or editor, but I can pitch it to an agent, and I can enter it in a contest. That would be the Midwest Writers Workshop; can't wait! If only weekends were made of five days, and work, deux.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Beach-y Memoir-Published!

Is this not the coolest magazine cover ever? It makes me think of all things summer. It also makes me want to run and jump and do flip-flops like the gent on the cover. Why? Because my beach-theme shadowbox was chosen as one of the featured pieces of art in the "Life's A Beach" challenge as referenced on the cover of this July-August 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, by Quilting Arts and Interweave Press. Nearly 300 pieces of art were entered in the challenge and 14 were published. I feel truly fortunate.
My beach-y piece has few words but is truly a memoir as I created it while on vacation in North Myrtle Beach, SC, using some of the things I found there, like driftwood and shells. It's been traveling around awhile, so it will be good to get it home so I can hang it up and "dream."
You'll have to buy the issue to get a better look at mine and the other 13 entries. Check the September-October issue for results of the reader challenge charm swap!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm Not Who You Think I Am

I'm not done with my collage (top), but then I didn't even plan on what it became. I had my niece Abby, 11, stay overnight Saturday after my son's graduation open house, and we decided to make collages. It was her first time, and I think she had fun sorting through my bits and bobs to find "just the right stuff." Her collage says: Try Hard, Die Hard, Be Compassionate and Have Passion. Pretty good advice, Miss Abby!
My goal was to make one large face out of a bunch of smaller faces, but then, as sometimes happens with collage, it took on a mind of its own. Each top half of a face got paired up with a different bottom half, and it became something totally different. Not sure how I'll finish it off. Abby took hers home. We put a hanging loop on it. We also flipped our hair ends out, made greeting cards and did rubber stamping and embossing and made earrings. Pretty good fun in less than 24 hours, adding in time to eat and sleep.

Graduation Party is On the Books

It looks like a tame scenario. A few kids. Guitars. Cornhole (that strange Hoosier game). But I cropped all the chaos out of the photos. Saturday was a day of fun and family, laughs and no tears- just some raindrops. Some 15 pounds of chicken salad, eight pounds of BBQ, cases of water, beer and pop later, I have one happy graduate and one tired mom. All of the pictures are posted on my Flickr site.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Graduation to My Little Marsh-Man

Hah! Hijacked these photos from my son's Facebook (even tho he won't 'Friend' his mama). Today is his graduation party. Lots of peeps coming to eat. Big tent in yard. Much cleaning and cooking. All to celebrate my little super-hero Marsh Man (now Kroger Man) graduating from high school. He's off to Ball State in the fall, learning to teach Spanish and social studies and coach baseball. My little Buddy Woosink is growing up!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My mini paintings for a 'girly' swap

These original paintings by me- and much of the credit goes to the styles of Kelly Rae, Suzi Blu and Shonna Bucaroff- are 4" x 4," and I made them for a personal swap of "girly" style pages with Malin Walkeby of Sweden. I finished them up about 2 a.m. last Sunday before hitting the road for several days for work.
I had great fun doing them, having been doodling faces for weeks in my journal. When I saw Malin's faces and girls on Flickr, I knew we had to swap. She also encouraged me to join the Marie Antoinette Mail Art group, and I have 18 pages of 4 x 4 Maries to make soon for a fat book in that group.
The backgrounds of my pages were the first thing I made, actually using rubber stamp in and a blender brush. Then I added texture by stamping over punchinella. Next I drew my girls in pencil, then filled them out with watercolor crayons. Next, I painted titan buff acrylic right over the facial features I had just drawn. I finished off the facial features with gel pens and more watercolor crayons, using water to smooth. I added paper, brad and button accessories as well as some vintage embellishments: sheet music, book pages, assorted goodies and beaded lace. Finally I stamped on some messages, put my info on the backs and six hours later I was done.
I received Malin's wonderful pages last night when I got home from my multi-state trip, and I'll post those very soon.
I have lots of wonderful artsy (and wordsy) news to share-coming soon!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm In When I'm Out, Out When I'm In, Charms, Cats, Swaps, Spoofs and Nutrition?

I woke up energized this Saturday. It might have been from sleeping in as long as I did, but let's not talk about that. It could be from shoving baby bird out of the nest (see post below), but let's not talk about that either- and there was no shoving. I think it was actually due to all the art in my head that wanted out today. Visions of spending the day in my studio creating are still dancing in my head as I write this. Darned blogging, Facebooking, Flickring, emailing and all of those electronic habits are cutting into my art time!
And now I go and upload all these pictures to explain! But there's so much exciting, artsy goodness going on all around me; I want to capture and share it. I ended my post headline with a question mark, because I wonder if anyone else can tie cats, swaps, nutrition and more together. I'm going to try.
First off: nutrition. I read a great article yesterday in the June 2009 issue of Elle magazine. I buy it regularly because I can't miss the Ask E. Jean column. I think I've been reading that ever since Elle launched. E. Jean was a cheerleader back at Indiana University, even before my time at Ball State. That means cheers were probably carved on stone tablets then. She also started, with her sister, the popular Web site Great Boyfriends. But I digress.
The article by Joseph Hooper posits that some internal cleansing or detox therapy is now gaining mainstream medical approval. But what caught my eye was peer-reviewed, documented research that supports the idea that reduced caloric intake (duh!) and a low-fat, veggie-heavy diet can not only lead to weight loss (duh again!) but also elimination of allergies, vague and non-specific complaints such as fatigue, irritable bowel, headaches, rashes, joint pain, and hormonal mood swings.
I've complained about all these, and I'd lost about 30 pounds following just such a diet. Somehow, college graduate that I am, I failed to notice what I was eating when the headaches, fatigue and mood swings returned. I've been subsisting on some kind of weird all-Italian, all-bread and all-dessert diet and wondering why I feel lousy. So, fruit bowl for breakfast to be followed by heap-o-veggies salad for dinner. Back on the hamster-food diet and should get self to a hamster treadmill, too! The issue also has some other great articles: couples therapy, interview with Ryan Reynolds, permanent? manicures and a rif on Barbie's 50th. But I digress again.
As an amateur artist trying fervently to gain the necessary skills and hone any possible talent to be something more than just amateur, I remain thrilled like a six-year-old with a new toy whenever I find my artwork published. So my thrill was the usual when I received a postcard from Stampington telling me my work would be in the June/July issue of Stampers' Sampler. I even posted the cover immediately to my blog sidebar (right) with the list of publications in which my work has appeared. Today, my artist's advance copy arrived, but after two run-throughs I can't find my work anywhere. In fact, I'm 99.9% sure I don't have anything in there. Disappointment.
But just as I was about to hurt myself with a piece of French bread or worse, I discovered an unexpected published surprise. I've been pouring over L. K. Ludwig's third book, Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media, lamenting that one of my collaboratives with Shabby Cottage Studio or The Faerie Zine did not get chosen. Of course, the book is absolutely beautiful, as are her other two, Nature Journals and True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling, and it is clear this newest one focuses on collaborative projects.
I also noticed Helga Strauss' ArtChix Studio inchies swap featured, another group I'm in whose swap I had failed to join. But, as I was looking at LK's book for the gazillionth time, something I do right before bed usually, the ArtChix Yahoo! group itty bitty swap that I was in jumped out at me. And there, on page 99, is a tiny view of one of the 3" x 3" itty bitties I made for the swap, circled by me, easily-found now and forever for posterity.
A couple of the squares I made are shown above. I used ArtChix Precious Pets faux postage as required as well as some cancelled Zazzle stamps, both with my own artwork to make little spoofs of high-end designer purse ads. Two of my pet stamps can be seen in the lowest left two stamps on the link to the page. I've also been lucky enough to have artwork chosen for the ArtChix pink faux postage.
For the itty bitties, I also tied in the "ish" of my Lilly*s of London*ish, supposing that such brands as Dooney and Bark, Mew Mew, Juicy Cature, Abercrombie and Fetch, Baby Chat and Poochi might be manufactured in Leesburg instead of their internationally-manufactured counterparts like Dooney & Bourke, Miu Miu (a brand by Miuccia Prada), Juicy Couture, Abercrombie & Fitch, Baby Phat and Pucci.
So while I am flying high from finding a peek of my work in another book, I will remove the June/July Stampers' Sampler badge from my sidebar until I can find myself. That should take quite some time. However, it looks like my cats, Larry and Lester, have found each other. Their picture above is just gratuitous blog posting of cute critters. Not only are they holding hands but it appears Larry, the brown-noser (with reason) has loaned Lester (he of the white nose) a paw on which to rest his weary head. CuteOverload, look out!
Meanwhile, on with the swaps. The juicy goodness in the bottom three photos on this post are the treasures I received from Michelle Geller of Hold Dear in a recent, no-reason, spur-of-the-moment ephemera swap we did. I can hardly wait to sink my art chops into all those watch parts! The Ashland charm and the leaf-like charm (third photo from bottom) were two she made for other swaps and art events, and I am thrilled to get them.
Her charms will go nicely on a new bracelet I'll have to start now that I've received my charms back from the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine charm swap. Fastest returns ever! Charms were due June 1, and I got these back a couple days ago. Thanks to Rebekah Shattuck,Elizabeth Riggle, Judy Sinyard, Mary Van Soest and Margaret DeLeon. Watch for charms from the swap to be featured in the September/October issue of the magazine.
The gothic arch-shaped artist trading card is one of several cool ones I received from Martine in Belgium. This is the second swap we've done, and I am always amazed how fast mail travels between the US and Belgium- just a couple days. Martine makes exquisite ATCs and inchies and is always up for a trade.
The Marge Simpson-esque batch of art are hand-painted watercolor fat book pages by the extremely talented Malin of Sweden. I saw these on Flickr, and tracked her down, knowing I had to get in whatever swap this was for, which I did. However, it was touch and go, as I had to be selected to join the juried and maxed-out-in-membership Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group. Take some time to explore Malin's blog or her Flickr photostream. She does incredible artwork. She and I are doing our own 1:1 swap of five 4" x 4" girlie book pages, which I should be working on right this instant, since we plan to mail Monday. Malin also turned me on to Suzi Blu, as did Shonna Bucaroff of Twisted Figures.
Suzi is another post for another time as is the cool piece I bought from Shonna on Etsy, the other cards from Martine, my Marie pages for the mail art group book, my Marie little girl ATCs for a swap, my pages for Malin, Art & Soul Las Vegas 2010, and whatever else I think I need to blog about. Right now it's off to do art. Translation: avoiding evil carbs!