Thursday, December 30, 2010

Theme Thursday - Patterns

A new challenge (for me) is Theme Thursday! I hope to make it for each challenge, as I want to find ways to be creative and keep the juices flowing. If I am having an off day, or the energy is sapped, then I will bypass it till the following week. I am stronger than I was last year, and certainly much stronger than two years ago, so I thought perhaps it would be OK to push myself just a wee bit.

This week on Theme Thursday the challenge is to do any kind of pattern:

Steampunk Bird
(click for details)

This is done on a 4 x 4. Before Christmas, I found some bird tape in a sale bin and added it to my stash, and today I had a use for it. I had a steampunk bird stamp I've been wanting to use, so it all came together. I made it to look like directions for an old mechanical bird. Ledger paper is the background, distress inks were used along with a metal label, wire, key, tiny gears, arrow and brad. Sakura pens used for accent. (In case it's not real obvious, the repeating birds on the tape is my pattern.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tag Tuesday -Christmas Leftovers, and a story.

Today, the first Tuesday after Christmas, Louise at Kard Krazy gave us an appropriate tag challenge - to use up any Christmas leftovers - a tag, a bit of wrapping paper, packaging from gifts, etc. How fun!

 Christmas Bits
(click for details)
The background is from wrapping paper, the blue is a lovely little used gift tag with a bird on it and then I punched out a butterfly from some used gold foil and added ribbon trimmed with a gold edge. I used Gold Leaf pen on the edge of the tag and Sakura pens and Stickles for detail.

I've been thinking of adding a story from past experiences when I blog, perhaps not every time but enough to share my memories, perhaps a weekly thing. This time it will be a story to fit this time of year, of a Christmas past.

When my parents were first married, my mother became interested in a certain china pattern. She was hoping to collect enough pieces to have something special for company. Then over the next decade, six children arrived and the few pieces she had collected were stored, and labeled in her mind as "someday...". As my siblings and I became adults, and our parents grew older, we struggled every year with the "what do you get your parents, now that they really don't need anything" problem. One summer a novel idea presented itself during a conversation with my Dad. I asked him just how much my mother had of her "special dinnerware" and together we hatched a plan to really surprise her. I was an antiques dealer at the time, and had access to auctions, and other places where perhaps I could find some pieces to fill in her collection. I contacted all my siblings so everyone could participate. I made a list of things she would need to complete a service for eight, plus serving dishes after my father gave me a list of what she had, and started searching. I ended up finding most of the things on eBay, and since I had several months lead time, I could take my time and search for pristine pieces. By the time Christmas arrived, I had found everything we needed and even some ice tea glasses which matched the dinnerware! All of us chipped in to pay for the things as time went along and we were all excited about the big day. That Christmas, we all gathered at my parent's home, and all of us unloaded our car and piled the boxes on the living room floor. My mother was very curious once she got a look at the pile of wrapped boxes, but we wouldn't let her know who they were for until it came time to open gifts, then we made her wait till last. She and Dad sat down on the hearth and after opening the first box, she was speechless and had tears. Box after box was opened and china was laid out on the hearth and you could just feel her excitement! After everything was opened, she just looked at us and expressed her feelings by saying she just didn't know how to thank us, but the look on her face said it all! We quickly washed the dishes and used them for Christmas dinner and that was the loveliest table and one of the happiest Christmases I remember. Now that both of my parents are no longer with us, it is a very special memory!

Hope your Christmas was a joyful time and you are enjoying the last week of the year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tag Tuesday -Christmas Colors: Gold or Silver and a Fish in a Box

The last Tag Tuesday Challenge at Kard Krazy before Christmas. This one was to use gold or silver on a Christmas tag. And I love to do bling!
Christmas Tag
(click for detail)

Gold foil is used for the background, and then altered a bit with alcohol inks. I had a lovely Poinsettia flower full of sequins, so I thought that would be the perfect contrast. I added 2 tiny gold foil reindeer at the top (kind of hard to see), a tiny jingle bell on twisted trim and then finished it with gold stickles around the sides of the tag.

The other night I had some difficulty falling asleep, so I went upstairs to my studio and was doodling around, and this was the result:

Fish In A Box
(click for detail)

I painted the fish and box with watercolor, added the background colors with watercolor, pastel chalks and Lumiere paint.There's also a little glitter on the fish and box; I have a hard time not adding glitter somewhere!

Hope your Christmas week is going well!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Apollonian Gaskets and a Christmas Card

So I was watching this video the other day about doodling (scroll down to Infinity and Elephants if you click that link) and became fascinated by what she was doing, which I learned was a version of Apollonian Gaskets. (There is a link underneath her video for Wikipedia for a scholarly definition.) I don't pretend to even understand what they were saying in the definition. I asked my husband if he had ever heard of Apollonian Gaskets (I love saying those words!) and he, the scientist, engineer and all around extremely bright math person, was stumped! Ha! I felt proud to know something he did not, although truth be told, I did not actually KNOW anything about it except that it looked cool. I showed him and he said "Oh, that. It's another term for fractals.". Ummm, ok. Well, not knowing anything more than I did before, I thought it might be fun to try. So I did one free hand (it really isn't so easy!) in pencil on cheap printing paper:

(click for detail)

I confess, I did draw the original circle with a stencil. You can tell the freehand ones, some of them look like ovals! Oh well, I enjoyed it enough to try one on card stock with Sakura Gel Pens and Starlight Pens. I did use stencils, and the original circle was a tracing around a cafe au lait bowl. But I did a lot of freehand as well, and doodled some in a few of them:

(click to enlarge)

Some of the ink smeared, but that's OK, it was for fun and learning purposes. It reminds me a lot of Zentangles, only usually more shapes are used, but in reality, using just one shape is fine.

Also, for the past few days, I designed and created a Christmas card. It's more of a prototype really, to perhaps use next year. My vision is still not 100% and it's driving me batty sometimes, so I won't be sending out handmade cards this year. I had fun with it.

(click for details)

The card is made from card stock folded a special way to form pockets. I made a tag out of a card I received last year, and added ribbon and an angel charm. The card was stamped and distress inks were used. Gold foil covers one of the pocket edges

(click for details)

(click for detail)

Certainly not something to take your breath away, but fun to do and since I am still having trouble focusing, I was quite pleased that I was able to do SOMETHING! I have a few ideas to jazz it up a bit for next year and one of the things I need to do is start in October, if not earlier! 

Hope your Christmas season is progressing along nicely!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tag Tuesday -Christmas Colors: Yellow, Green, Brown

Back to Tag Tuesdays at Kard Krazy! I really missed it - Louise was doing the Twelve Tags of Christmas with Tim, but it's just as well because of my eye surgery. I'm still not focusing too well, so if this is out of focus, please let me know and I will attempt a better pic!

(Click for details)

These were supposed to be simple colors - yellow, brown and green. I found out I don't do simple very well - everything looked lifeless to me. So then I finally came up with this. Materials include part of an old Christmas card, Sakura pens, stickles, 3D painted clay Christmas tree and silver ribbon with brown birds,

Always nice to stretch and learn, so perhaps I'll get better at "simple"!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Birthday Card

This card was made for my dear brother who lives in Alaska, and I don't get to see him very often. He also is not a blog reader, so I feel safe putting it up before his birthday!

(click for detail)

I altered on old photo of him when he was about 10 years old and attached it to a dark brown cardstock. I made a double tag out of more cardstock and a small sticker tag and attached eyelet letters for his name. The main cardstock background was stamped with green Staz-On ink and then another background paper of old postmarks and postcards was distressed and attached. I ran a silver grosgrain ribbon with brown birds through the tags, then painted a grunge crown with Lumiere paint and used Stickles on it. The final piece was an old "Love" charm in an abstract shape. 

His birthday is Dec. 19 - Happy Birthday Brother Dear!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birthday card

Been a week since I posted, still healing from surgery (and it's been going well) and all sorts of other things have been happening. We've had to replace a dishwasher....twice... and that was a headache, then one of the heating units went on the fritz, so in a week where the evening temps have been 20 - 23 degrees, the past couple of days the downstairs heater doesn't work without icing up. That's being replaced today - yay!

In the meantime, I've sent off many postcards on Postcrossing: to the US, Russia, Japan, China, Germany, Finland, Estonia, UK, and Netherlands. some of the countries more than once during the past week. This time of year I usually send postcards of old fashioned Christmas prints, so it's been fun.

The art work I've done I couldn't post till today - it was a birthday card for my dear sister whose birthday was yesterday. I didn't want her to see her card before she got it!

(click for details)

Her favorite color is purple, so this has various shades of purple on it, with the 3D double butterfly with sequins, torn paper with purple distress ink on top of torn handmade paper also distressed. I punched the circle, added an embossed sentiment, metal embellishment, altered bird and used purple Sakura pen for accent. I heard from her yesterday, she really liked it!

Looking forward to having heat all through the house!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Several ATCs and off to surgery.......

I have a couple of swaps left to complete over at Swap-Bot and finished them up in the past few days. I am having my second surgery on my right eye this afternoon and wanted to have them out of the way.
(click for detail)

(click for detail)

I used a lot glitter on both of them, but it doesn't really show. These ATCs are to finish up the History of the Month's Names. The names simply stand for the numbers 9 and 10, which was their position on the early calendars. In the 9th month, November, the Romans celebrated a feast to Jupiter and in the 10 month (Roman numeral X) the Christians used the same date as the festival of the winter solstice, the 25th. It was an easy thing to make the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, which wakes all nature from its winter sleep, into the Birthday of the Unconquered Son of God, who brought new life and hope to the world. December also had two names among the Angles and Saxons: "Wintermonath", and "Heligmonath", that is, "holy month", from the fact that Christmas falls in this month.

(click for details)

This last ATC had to be collaged. My theme intertwines school and play, with a tiny clipboard at the top.

And now, I must get ready for eye surgery and will be back to chat later in the week!

UPDATE - Back home now and things went very well. Praises!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Night Visitors!

I recently got a Wildlife infrared camera because I am interested to know what prowls around our house at night. We live on a hill and have woods which come up fairly close behind our house. I've only had it for a few days, and have been learning how to use it and so I have lots of pictures of me triggering the flash, and a few of one of the dogs and the cat. But finally last night there were some real woodland creatures!

I realize the date is a month off, so I will be changing that! But it is fun to see the possum and the red fox lurking around close to our house as we were sleeping!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! It's a grey, chilly day here but that's all right with us. We are going to a very nice restaurant for dinner and I am looking forward to it! We made reservations with the idea that we would cancel if I was having problems with fatigue today but so far, I'm feeling OK, and that's very exciting for me. Our daughter Tabitha will join us and it should be a festive occasion.

One of the recent swaps I was in was for an ATC to be done in 15 minutes. It was fun and I had to be careful I didn't go over the time limit, because I was enjoying the process.

(click for details)

The materials used include gel medium, Lumiere paint, distress ink, alcohol ink, rubber stamps, Gold Leaf pen, Sakura pens, glimmer mist, charcoal pencil and an old charm with a tiny brad.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tag Tuesday - Christmas Colors: Navy, Turquoise, Red And Thanksgiving Postcard

We're starting the Christmas Season at Kard Krazy! Louise chose the first colors of Christmas to be Navy,Turquoise and Red. It was fun to pull out the Christmas things and start dreaming up ideas.

(click to see details)

I decoupaged navy and turquoise tissue scraps to a tag, stamped with a Christmas tree design, and attached an embossed gold over red scrap on one side. I made the ornament from a round tag with watercolor paint, Golden gel medium, small puffy gold star, gold pen and red fibers. It's topped off with a red and gold bow with a spiral in the center.

Hope all the artists who post at Kard Krazy have a Happy Thanksgiving!

And to acknowledge Thanksgiving here in the USA, I made a postcard for Sunday Postcard Art where the theme is just for that holiday this week.

(click for details)

I covered a 4 x 6 card with copies of old newsprint, did a gel transfer of an image from a Thanksgiving postcard I have from 1909, added rubber stamping, distress inks, watercolor, tiny brad and Gold Leaf pen around the sides which doesn't show up very well in the scan. Thanks to the folks at Sunday Postcard Art for hosting a challenge for a US holiday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

All Buttoned Up

I took a magazine challenge to use buttons in a mixed media art piece. It's the first time I've ever tried something on the national level, and although it wasn't picked, I'm happy that I tried, and I think I'll try some more!


(click either picture for details)

I used  5 x 7 canvas, Golden Molding Paste, various buttons, glitter, Lumiere paint, watercolor paint, fibers, and ribbon. Gold leaf pen added for detail.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


No art right now, maybe later today. It's a lovely day here in the mountains of South Carolina and I hope I can spend some time outside. As we approach Thanksgiving, I am struck by the weight of the stresses of the day versus what is really important. It has been a rough year for me health wise, I am preparing for the 2nd surgery on my right eye, and it's the 3rd surgery of the year total. We have had a heart breaking month of events with our adopted son who struggles with severe emotional disabilities and other disorders; he is 18 and can not live at home and walked away from his residential care a month ago. He is now in trouble with the law and we really can't do anything to help him, except pray, which we do. My husband has had health issues, although not serious, they have been draining for him. Both of my sisters have had health issues this year, one of them very serious and it continues for her. All of my brothers have had family issues that have caused a great deal of pain. I continue to struggle with the ME/CFS and progress is slow. There have been many minor issues as well, but I don't want to list them all.

So, in the midst of this, what do I see as important? God's mercy. His grace. His love. The promise of eternity. That today is not forever. When the Bible talks about where your house is built (on the Rock or on the sand) and the storms that come and beat on it, it is an apt picture, for the storms do come and believe me they do beat down on you! But there is an unbelievable peace in the midst of the grief, a peace I cannot explain but am experiencing, that gives strength and sustains me. This life is simply not all that there is. It just isn't. The birds sing, the leaves glow, there is a breeze in the air. And frankly sometimes in the midst of grief, these things can almost seem irreverent, almost seem like a slap in my face and I want to shake my fist at them and say "How can these things be, this beauty, this loveliness, when I am in such pain and the world around me is upside down??"

But these things, this loveliness, is a promise. It's a statement to me, that no matter the darkness of the moment, the moment is not all there is. The moment does not define me. Instead I am defined by my Creator and the promise is that I will someday be in a better place where there is no pain and no grief. I am grown by the grief and pain, I am stretched by it but because of God's love of me, I am not overcome by it. There is much beauty around me and I will see it, and drink it in and be grown by it as well as the grief.

I am thankful for what is really important!

And now, I will take the dogs outside and enjoy this moment.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tag Tuesday - Background Tag

Yes, I know that it's Thursday, but we are experiencing a severe crisis with a family member and I wasn't able to be in my studio for the first part of the week. I felt a need to be doing something, so yesterday I finished up the rest of the ATCs for the ATCDiva swap and got them in the mail before the deadline-yay! Then I decided I needed to do some more art, so I took the Tag Tuesday challenge from Kard Krazy. Louise has a lot going on in her life right now so she had a guest hostess for us - Pam from Scrappy Pam Designs. Pam's challenge is to design a background tag, where the background speaks for itself, and use a minimum of stamping or embellishment.

(click for details)

I used Golden Fiber Paste first and dried it, then added distress inks, Red Velvet Glimmer Mist, charcoal pencil, Chinese White pencil, some light stamping with different stamps and inks, Spica pen and a small metal tag with twisted wire. This was a lot of fun to do, and was a different kind of focus for me. For more details, check on the tag on the Kard Krazy site and Pam's detailed list of how she did it on her site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

ATCDivas November ATCs

For November, the challenge was to make ATCs with a Pilgrim or Indian/Native American. And make six to send out. Here is mine:

From the Past

(click to see detail)

I found these cute plastic mini figures of Indians on horseback, but they were in primary colors, so I painted them with Ranger Alcohol ink in metallic copper. I made the mini envelope from papers from Tim Holtz Nostalgic line and adhered it to the background. The Indians are held on with a jump ring through an eyelet on the envelope. To finish it, I used fabric leaves and bronze gems. Distress ink and Sakura pens used for detail. Inside the envelope are game discs (also in primary colors, spray paint changed that!) used to depict shields with two feathers attached to each one. 

It seems simple, but it took awhile to paint each of the figures and discs! Turned out pretty well, I think.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tag Tuesday - Bingo!

The challenge today at Kard Krazy was to use a Bingo card on the tag. I have a stack of old Bingo cards in various colors and fonts, and all kinds of ideas came to mind, but then I remembered something I had saved from several months ago.

I have several 19th century French Bingo cards, and they are different from the American ones. One of them is yellow and the others are green. They are a treasure to me, but I did not put them up out of reach of my dogs. I came upon Abby gleefully tearing apart several of them, and one of them was the yellow one! Arrgh! Only an artist would save the pieces (right?) and I did, just for today. And I still have some left over!

French Bingo
(click for detail)

I attached them to the tag, added a few epoxy Fleur de Lis, a large Baroque tulip, and Sakura pens and Stickles for accents. It's topped off with fiber and ribbon anchored by a button with a pop of color.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tag Tuesday - Front & Back; and Wax Resist ATC

What a great challenge Louise at Kard Krazy had for us today - a tag on which the design covered the front and back!


(click for details)

I used a brown tag, distress inks, fabric leaves, shimmery fabric flower, jewels and variegated fibers.


And I also did an Wax Resist ATC for a swap. 

(click for details)

I used a taper candle to mark on the paper, then brushed on 3 colors of thinned alcohol ink. I added the pearls in the shapes of hearts, and topped it of with two colors of waxed thread tied around the top. Sort of a tie dye or batik look!

Certainly two extremes of color palettes today!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Gift Box Surprise!

For the Bloggerete Sorority Altered Cigar Box Swap Reveal Day, here is the lovely box I received from my partner,Debbie .

First, a lovely card to greet me:
(click on anything you want to see better)

Then this cute fella who brought along his carrots, Isn't he charming?

When the box was opened, you can see there is a lot of fun squeezed into the box, beginning with the vintage crocheted doily on top.

Three cute sheer fabric bags with goodies inside to use for altered art. Debbie lives in Oklahoma, the Sooner State. The tags are so cute! Don't you love the wooden carrot tag?

There were handmade pieces of art, a vintage photo, pages from an old French language book, and a small address book with a French cover.

Beads, baubles and game pieces.....

and really neat vintage buttons on top of a small glassine bag from an old drug store!

Many thanks Debbie, for the wonderful box crammed with fun, and with samples of your art. I know I will really enjoy the neat objects for my art projects. The box is now on my shelf, holding votive candles for my studio!

I look forward to seeing all the other boxes being shown today in the Great Reveal!
(If you want to see the box I sent, click here.)

Thanks Karen, for organizing this wonderful swap! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Scrap Postcard....

....coming your way Sis! My heart just aches for you and the pain you must go through. I'm praying for you and for resolution of this whole situation and that the doctors get a move on! I'm glad your church has offered to help you, including monetarily. I know you will let them, won't you?? :)

(click for details)

Pulled out the scrap drawer and made a collage, added some different size hearts and then rubber stamped over it. I finished up with some mica chips sprinkled over it, not sure how they will hold up in the US Mail!

Any who read this and are praying people, please lift up my sister in prayer. She has had terrible back pain from a fall at work and the agencies involved have been dragging this out and acting like the government agencies they are! Grrrrrrrrrrrr................

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sayonara ATCs

Saying goodbye to the Asian series swap with #9, Thailand and #10, Asia continent!

(click to see details)

The background is a copy of vintage art from Thailand, and I am not sure what bird they represent. I added a postage stamp and a citron gem and used distress inks and Spica pens to add detail.


(click for details)

This image came from the top of an old box of stationery. I highlighted the continent of Asia with a mix of Diamond Glaze and glitter, then went over the small picture details with Spica pens. The Glitter Gem letters are from Making Memories and for the final touch, I added the tiny paper umbrella.

The Thailand ATC is going to New Zealand and the Asia ATC is going to Ohio.

It is very windy here today, and overcast. Yesterday, I saw 6-7 bluebirds perched on the bird feeders and bird bath, and several more flying around the area. Underneath the dwarf nandina I noticed a wood thrush busily hunting for a meal of grubs. The bluebirds were so beautiful as a group and the wood thrush makes the sweetest, richest sounds and it is probably my favorite bird call. If you want to hear it, click here. Since it usually summers at a bit higher elevation, it was probably passing through to its wintering grounds in the tropics.

And when John was walking the dogs, he spotted a huge beautiful buck in the fields and he said it was simply a majestic sight!

As I say, you never know what unexpected joys you may see!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Altered Cigar Box pictures

My partner has her surprise package now for the Bloggerette Sorority Fall Findings Swap, (I sent it a week ago) so I am posting the pictures of the Altered Cigar box.

 Top of Altered Box
(click for details)

My partner loved anything Paris related and her favorite colors were pink, yellow and lavender. I covered the box with paper with French scenes. (See the Eiffel tower up in the left hand corner?) The bronze swags are very old vintage French pieces as is the bronze flower on the vintage music tag in the lower left corner. I added some Prima flowers, gems, and sheer ribbon topped off with this gorgeous lavender ribbon and lace flower. There is a sequined ribbon pull in the front center held by a pearl brad.

(Click on anything you want to see better)

The sides of the box

The front.
The back.

The bottom.

covered the inside of the box with lovely iris tissue paper and used Tim Holz tape all around. 
Part of the swap was to fill the box with things she would like and things related to Fall, plus one item had to be made by you.

These old French bags hold surprises - the back one has French stickers for her to use and the front one has a Fall postcard I made and posted earlier

The vintage hankie on the left has a box of small Autumn cookie cutters and the vintage European embroidered pocket on the right holds mini cupcake papers in Autumn colors.

I added some trinkets, a bunch of grapes, small gourds, pumpkins and leaves....

and covered everything over with large fabric Fall leaves.

I had a lot of fun doing this and I am looking forward to receiving my surprise next week. We are having a Bloggerette "party" on Oct. 30 for everyone who participated to be able to see all the fun and wonderful things we received!