Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My word for 2009

I think Ali Edwards's one little word idea is great as an inspiration for a year but have never picked one before. This year I decided to select a word and have spent quite a bit of time and brain energy researching and mulling about the word to use. I have always remembered the quote from (I think) Zora Neale Hurston that some years are beginning years and some years are ending years, and since I want this year to be a year of completions and accomplishments, I toyed with the ideas of completion and fulfill but then today I "realized" that my word should be REALIZE, which means "to give concrete or objective existence to that which has existed either as an abstraction, a conception, or as a possibility...(it)...implies emergence into the sphere of actual things that which has been a dream, an ideal, a hope, or a plan".
I have several quilts pieced but not quilted, a sweater with yarn purchased but not knitted, a beaded ginko necklace with one and a half ginkos finished, fabric for 2 pairs of pants and several tops neither cut nor sewn, sketches of layouts and papers and embellishments to do them with so I will work to bring these projects to realization but also continue to realize projects that are currently in my brain or art journal.
On another front, I had an awesome "75 % off clearance"shopping day yesterday - 2 tops and some teas at TJ Maxx; a yoga mat, Christmas ornaments (my theme will be red and metallic next year), teapot and Tazo tea (with a coupon for a free Starbucks inside), Starbucks big reindeer and Christmas CD at Target; and a Making Memories 3 hole binder and some Foofala seals at Big Lots.
Happy New Year - I'll be tidying my studio this afternoon and finishing - REALIZING - some layouts.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A case of the Mondays

Good morning,
just a hello as I drink my coffee this morning - it's super foggy here. I'm going to try to take some photos. But the real reason I'm posting right now is to tell you about a fantastic digital giveaway that Rhonna Farrer is doing on her new blog so go on over and sign up. I'll be posting some mischief later today. Note: I drew the background paper for the 50s layout and handcut the boomerangs. I got the idea from an awesome book called Fabulous Fabrics of the 50s (and other terrific textiles of the 20s, 30s, and 40s) by Gideon Booker, John Gramstad and Michele Mancini. I picked it up for a quarter at a library discard sale and it is a treasure trove of ideas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

My little candy cane people are having a great Christmas day as am I. I got a tripod for my camera, Stitched in Time by Alicia Paulson, a giftcard for Starbucks, and 2 reindeer for my collection. My big present was a watercolor class starting in January. But, as always, the best gift is that my son came over for the holiday and we could all be together.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas eve (the longest day)

When I was a little girl, the day before Christmas seemed endless. It was usually cold and gray so we played inside but there was so much anticipation it was hard to concentrate on anything. We usually had a nice meal that night and then watched holiday specials on television. Our house was fully decorated and the amount of cookies and candies was obscene, but the memories are magical. Even now I love the holiday season and always get a little down afterwards - so usually, being the listmaker that I am, I start making lists of things to do in the new year: things to learn, books to read, projects to make, places to go (actually I have already started lists for next year - got any ideas?)

The layout is one I did of a vintage photo of my dh, his twin, his older brother, and their cousin. I showed it to Dan and he has no idea of when or where.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

work your soul challenge

I had fun with this layout - when I looked at this photo in my box of old pix, I remembered that my brother bawled whenever my parents would take photos of us - he would scream and sob, and then when the camera went away, he was back to normal!?! How funny that I have this photo when today we would just go "delete".

Inspired by Tim Holtz

I followed Tim Holtz's 12 days of Christmas tags earlier this month and actually made 14 tags inspired by his ideas (2 based on 2007 ideas). I have very little of the supplies he uses for his tags so I improvised, (make do in the thrift rhyme) and I think they came out very well. I was thinking that I would use them next year to decorate the tree - a totally handmade tree (well, other than the artificial tree that I bought at a garage sale along with lights and garland for $12 5 years ago, and the lights which I had to replace last year (bought after Christmas on sale). I really enjoyed making the tags and maybe I will do a post on "my improvisations."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday layout

I keep meaning to post this holiday layout - the photo is of Dan and his 2 brothers. Aren't they cute in their choir robes? Dan was a somewhat rebellious child/teenager and the family all tell the story of the day when he was playing baseball one afternoon when he was supposed to be helping with mass as an altar boy. Since the priest could see Dan from the church, he sent the other altar boy out to get him, but Dan refused to go. Needless to say, when Dan got home, he was in big trouble: the priest had called Dan's mother and she was furious. But, as Dan says, he no longer had to be an altar boy as the priest had told Dan's mother that he could not come back. Anyway, I love this photo and I made miniature layouts with wallet size prints for our family Christmas cards this year (of course I forgot to photograph them before I mailed them).

Magical times

Just a few holiday images I took last evening.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rise, happy morn

Rise, happy morn! rise, holy morn!
Draw forth the cheerful day from night;
O Father! touch the east, and light
The light that shone when hope was born!

This is from "The Birth of Christ" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but it could easily be written about the Solstice. Just think what early peoples must have thought when the days kept getting shorter and shorter, and then the joy they felt when they began to see that the daylight was increasing. The world was not coming to an end; it was beginning anew.
I currently live in Florida where the Solstice does not mean very much but I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and later lived for many years in Denver so I know how depressed you can get in the winter. Somehow you stay excited through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then when you take down the decorations and it's so cold and dark, you can get pretty down. Denver ususally has some of its worst weather just after the new year starts and I can well remember the long commutes in the dark. Dan is watching the both the Miami/Kansas City game and the Arizona/New England game on television today, and it's very cold both places as well as snowing in New England. I can remember looking out the window at work in Denver, seeing snow, and dreading the commute home.
But the new year is also a beginning - I total up our expenses and accomplishments for the past year and make plans for the new one. My big Christmas present this year from Dan is a watercolor class at our art museum, and I am super excited about it. (the reason I know about it is that registration was last week.)
Have a blessed Solstice.

Inspiration from the NYT

Good morning, I'm having my Starbucks pink Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter cup of coffee sweetened with molasses, reading the news online, and wanted to share this inspirational cut paper work of art with you

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Apronista, or tie one on, or sweater girl?

I have been super busy today finishing the ruffled apron (so easy) and knitting the last 2 rows of the back section of this short sleeve sweater. I pinned the pieces on to Bella, my dressform, and hopefully I can get it sewn together before Christmas (I always make myself a Christmas present & this sweater is it - I started knitting it in Sept and I only knit off and on, plus I admit I am a very slow knitter.) I love the abstract and avant-guarde look of this sweater,(pattern appears in the Berroco Linen Jeans book #270) and I know it will be a very wearable style for Florida living. I iced the sugar cookies that I made yesterday and right now the Scottish shortbread is in the oven. What a pain shortbread is - you have to knead the dough with your hands and although I love to knead bread dough (and do it once or twice every week), this dough was so dry that it just kept crumbling. Dan specifically asked me to make it as his Scottish grandmother used to make it every holiday season when he was a little boy. I now need to tidy up my studio and it will be time for a glass of wine. This evening there is a pro football game on tv and of course, Dan will watch it. I want to finish a knitted washcloth to put in his stocking and maybe work on a layout.

Blue Christmas

Yesterday I was having trouble with my printer - the ink light came on and the printing suddenly changed - like no red. So I put in a new color cartridge and started printing a page of wallet size shots of my Christmas tree which is decorated in blue and silver this year. Wooooo - the pix ended up super greeny blue - very strange but being the miser that I am, I thought okay I will just print out a pic of the whole tree like this to use on the layout for my design your life assignment and then put in a new black cartridge. the layouts for dyl are not really my style but I have to admit that I have learned quite a lot about graphic design and typography from Cathy Zielske through this class. To finish the layout, I cropped the photos, added a title, and finally added some ribbon (line) and some epoxy seals (repetition). Considering the fiasco of the color printing, the layout came out pretty cool. I have one layout left to finish for the class - I'm doing a two page spread of my trip to Anthropologie in West Palm.

Other mischief - yesterday afternoon I made sugar cookies to decorate. I used a recipe from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook but I was extra careful to keep the butter chilled (difficult in Florida) per the article I read about butter in the online New York Times. the cookies look absolutely beautiful - I will decorate them this afternoon and also make shortbread for Dan. I realized while I was making the cookies that I had failed to make an apron for the holidays this year so while the cookies were baking, I pulled out the current issue of Quilts & more which I had purchased some time ago. they had a really cute ruffled tiered apron pattern. I then dug through my fabric stash and came up with 4 fabrics that I had enough of to make the apron - 2 were Amy Butler and 2 were Heather Bailey so this is my Bailey-Butler or Butler-Bailey apron. Right now the front is all together and I am sewing the ties. I will post a pic later today or tomorrow along with a funny picture of a 50's woman in an apron and high heels - it is from one of my Little Golden Books. I'm not putting on high heels for my pic - it will be just me in my apron, jeans, and bare feet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Into the Woods

I was inspired by the TAIF blog challenge this week - the Woods - so yesterday I printed out some "woods" photos of the Okeefeenokee Swamp and of Asheville NC on Dan's printer. I decided to use one of the Swamp pix as inspiration so I decided to paint a tree background. I used watercolor paper and laid down several pieces of masking tape of different sizes as masks. I painted the background with a watered down version of acrylic greens, blue and brown. then I pulled off the tape unfortunately ripping up some of the paper on the lower part of the page. I then used drybrush brown paint on the trunks and filled in with gray and black colored pencil. I then did the layout including gluing on the photo etc and hated it. I ripped off all the stuff and cut down the paper - Dan actually likes the result of just the trees so I told him he could have it for his study.
So this morning I took a different approach. Still using the Swamp pic as inspiration, I cut a tree from black paper (Scherenschnitte style). Last year at this time, Amy Karol on her blog was into Scherenschnitte and recommended some books, one of which, Scherenschnitte by Susanne Schlapfer-Geiser, I got on ebay. It's an awesome book with great instructions and photos of her work (she also has a blog which is pretty cool). I freehand cut the tree using the folded paper style of work. The layout then just did itself - I thought of the stamp from the DR with the trees and I repeted the color of the little channel marker with the flower. The big button is actually wood. I went online and found that cool line of poetry - you can always depend on poets to have written something cool. I really wanted to use the dark teal of this cardstock but I only had 2 pieces of it that glued together would make 12 inches (this paper is from an old old paper company sampler that a paper saleman gave Dan when he working for a printing company). I didn't like the look of the jointure so I added scraps of vintage fabric and a scrap of black paper.
Now I need to go into the kitchen and bake Christmas cookies. Dan requested both sugar cookie cutouts and shortbread like his Scottish grandmother used to make so...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Further inspiration from magazine pages

In continuing my discussion from yesterday about getting inspiration from catalogs and ads, I thought I would post a layout I did a while back loosely based on a page from a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I was entranced by the subtle color combination and the graphic nature of the page so I looked for elements (photo, patterned papers, lace, letters) that were similar in color but simplified them for my layout . I drew the branch and made the blossoms from fabric flowers by folding and gluing them so they appeared to be small buds.

Non sequetor(sp?) Today starts the last week of the design your life class and it was fun to look back through the huge notebook of layouts - 3 per week. I will post a few of my favorites later in the week as well as some layouts I did this summer.

Have a great day - Christmas is just a week away and I'm off to the grocery store.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tutorial - using catalogs or ads for inspiration

Here's a little tutorial for using a magazine page or catalog for inspiration - be sure to click on the photos to see them in more detail.

Scrapbookers find inspiration in magazines and ads all the time -it’s the very essence of scrap lifting, but you can also use the same media as inspiration for creating your own patterned paper.
My first example comes from the cover of a Crate & Barrel catalog (I always look at Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Anthropologie for inspiration).
The summer tablecloth on the cover has some great elements and colors that can be isolated and used to create a patterned sheet that even non-artists can emulate. In the creative process first identify simple elements that you would like to copy. Second, decide where on the page the elements would be most effective; you could draw and paint the entire sheet and then cut it apart but I choose to draw near the edges of the sheet and leave room for photos and journaling. In this case, I selected two large flowers (large being easier) and drew light pencil circles(using a compass or jar lid as a pattern) in the size I wanted the flowers to be. I then hand drew the individual petals in pencil - you can be fairly free and easy with this - and added leaves and stems that pull the disparate flowers together. When I was satisfied with the result (be sure to draw lightly and use a good eraser to remove any unwanted lines), I colored in the flowers and leaves with sharpie pens and highlighters. Of course, you can use paints or colored pencils if you have them. Finally after the colors are dry, go back and erase any unwanted pencil lines. I left in the lines around the leaves as I think they add to the definition and charm of the paper.
For the layout I used a photo that I took this summer while I was enrolled in a BPS photography class. the photo is of a new leaf growing in the vee of the live oak tree in our front yard. I thought the colors really popped in the photo and wanted to use it in a unique layout. I copied the tree bark texture by layering the photo onto some black lace over the papers.

A second idea to create your own patterned paper is to isolate a motif in a pattern as the flowers in this pillow from Anthropologie and draw it on white paper. I drew the individual flowers in pencil and went back over the lines with a Pigma pen. You could actually draw just one flower and then copy it on the copier and go over the copy with a pen. Finally cut out the flowers or motifs, darken the edges with ink if desired, and glue them to a piece of colored cardstock. Then create your layout in and around the flowers. I did the layout about my grandmother and used some vintage photos of her and her friends.

My layout got picked for the SIS Catwalk!!!

I am so excited: my ANTHRO layout that I did for the Creative Type challenge got selected for the Catwalk on Scrap n style by Martha B. Sometime in the week I check the Carwalk just to see the layouts they selected because there are so many layouts posted every day and I only have limited time to look. I hadn't checked on Tuesday but a Sister messaged me congratulating me--I was so excited!!! I have been trying to follow the Bruce Mau philosophy of not entering contests (so I limited my entries to just a few challenges) and not wanting approval from others to determine the worth of my art but, honestly, it sure makes me feel great to get postive feedback like that. I really enjoyed doing this layout, and actually it was like the layout did itself.

I had been thinking about what word to use for the Creative Type challenge and then after we went to West Palm last week and I took the photos of Anthropologie, I actually dreamed the type - Anthro - and I used word to try to match the font - I played with sizes until I got the approximate size I wanted. I saw in my mind the streaks of paint behind the letters and then the embellishments all around. I used some vintage fabric and some Amy Butler fabric, a chandelier rubon, and one of the photos I took last week. Since we studied line in my dyl class, I have been obsessed with line so I made one with the black velvet ribbon, stapled it sort of pleated, and added an old rhinestone heart that reminded me of Anthropologie. Then I made the big flower from a big Making Memories paper flower, a Heidi Swapp flower, and 2 MM felt flowers. I tried quite a few centers until I remembered some vintage cufflinks I have in my button stash and even though it was a pain getting it through all those layers (thank goodness for cropadile), I think it came out really cool. Then I just sort of followed my instincts and added the K&co Amy Butler flower (just got them last week), a Heidi Swapp mirror bird (love them but can't seem to make them work on layouts very well), and a couple of old Heidi Grace pins. All in all, I bet I only spent an hour and a half on this layout, which is incredible for me as I am a super slow scrapper.