Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tag Tuesday- Summer

So thankful that I woke up this morning feeling much better than yesterday! What a blessing! I pray that I would never take being healthy for granted, should the Lord bring me completely out of this illness.

Today Louise at KardKrazy is celebrating summer as the season deepens this weekend. So we are all going along by designing a Summer Tag for the challenge. This one spans two weeks, so take a good long look! :)

I just had to use this ceramic watermelon slice and so that set my color palette. The image is from a vintage advertising card; I used Distress Inks, decorative tape, Stickles (which don't show, as usual), a tiny bird brad, brown ribbon with pink stitching and Sakura pens for accent. Are you feeling the summer glow yet?

Then I went on to another project, designing a card and envelope for a friend. She is an acupuncturist and her business is doing so well, she is expanding into the offices next door. I first made the framed altered piece below a few days ago:

 It's an image from Vintage Printable which you may have seen in an ATC form on my blog. This is 8.5 x 11 size, printed on handmade paper, altered with Micron pens, opaque pen, and Sakura pens, then stamped with Chinese characters for Friend, Joy, and Fortunate. Here's the card and envelope:

If anyone had told me yesterday that I would be able to be so creative this morning, I would have had a hard time believing it, but as always, with God, all things are possible!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bed Rest and Belize

Well, darn. I'm having a bit of a relapse and it's bringing me down. This illness cycles, I know that, but I always am disappointed when this part comes around, as if it were not expected. I know I deliberately don't think about it, because it is so discouraging, BUT I have to say - I am really MUCH better than I was last year at this time!! I'm just going to have to rest, so I can be up and creating and doing things in a shorter time than if I don't. No whining!!! Do what you need to do!!

I did manage to get an ATC done for a group I'm in on Swap-Bot. We have been taking world tours, and the last one was in Poland (see Powitanie). This time we are going to Belize, land of Mayan ruins, beautiful beaches and tropical plants and animals. Here is my swap image:

I used a clip art copy of a Mayan face from an 1920's hotel ad, altered it with metallic pens and Sharpies, drew palm trees, water and sand on the bottom of the image, put it over an old map copy, added Distress Inks, colorful trim and an old jewelry finding. 

I love old junky jewelry that's past its prime! This was an old fake gold earring part. A pair of jewelers pliers is about all it takes to transform some out of date fashion into a zing for an art piece. I have quite a collection of it, from my own days and a boxfull one of my sisters sent me a few months back when she was cleaning out her own accessories. And when I have the energy to visit a junk shop or antique store, I look for cheap jewelry trinkets to add to my stash. I have been able to make some really neat, one of a kind pieces of art from these fashion rejects!

Well, to follow my own advice, I'm going to rest. Tag Tuesday is tomorrow and I want to have enough energy for that at least! 

Have a great Monday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Long week!

This has been a busy week in a lot of ways. I'm still trying to get all the impatiens into the ground, and have to do it in very small spurts, especially since the heat is up. This is a much hotter June than we had last year. I can still sit on the porch watching the birds as I have breakfast, but it heats up pretty quickly after that. I am doing more art as I feel stronger, and I have been able to rest more frequently. I think I am finally learning to pace myself as the strength slowly returns. The reservoir runs out pretty quickly!

I did several art projects this week. In addition to swaps for ATCs and Skinnys, I did a few different things. I came across the blog Gingersnap Creations and they have several neat challenges running on different Wednesdays of each month. For the GC #57 Wings Challenge I submitted this:

It is a Skinny I did a while back. I stamped and embossed the wings on aluminum tape, dyed them with alcohol inks and cut them out. I really like the effect! It has old music and title from a 1919 song sheet, Sakura pens for accent, distressed inks and a 9 from Tim Holtz. I love just about everything from Tim Holtz! Anyway, embossing on aluminum tape is a lot of fun. The same site has a Shades Of Blue Challenge so I designed this:

Materials used are 5 x 7 cardstock, blue distressed inks, rubber stamps, Gel pens, Stardust pens, vintage music sheet with blue printing from my stash, aluminum tape stamped and embossed with birds and dyed with blue alcohol inks, and sides are edged with silver leafing pen. Check out the site for other challenges, too. What do you think? I have these both on separate pages on my blog, but there is no space for comment, which is disappointing. 

And the Bloggerette Sorority had its Rush Day today! To see more about that, view the prior post. I have been visited by some very lovely sisters and it's been enjoyable seeing what everyone did with the photo we were given. 

I received some wonderful postcards from China, Belarus, Italy, and other places this week. I designed two art postcards to send to my sisters, both of whom are dealing with health issues, and I'm working on another project for a friend. Now, though.......I need to go rest! 

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bloggerette Sorority Sister!

Whoo hoo, I am now a Sorority Sister! Never was interested in college, but this one is going to be great fun. Karen at SomedaysAreDiamonds has started a art blog sorority and there is a long list of participators! Go over to her blog (link below) and check it out, or click on the button in my sidebar. To rush we had to do something with a given image and then post it with our face in the picture (never a favorite!). So here I am:

Of course, I had to do a bit of altering to the original black and white photo, since I have to alter everything! And so I went in a different direction. Here it is close up:

Ok, I must confess. As do many things that turn out better than you thought, this started with a mistake. I had messed up the eye on the woman on the right and I was muttering to myself that I ought to just stick an eye patch on her rather than start over. Our daughter, who happened to be at our house at the time, replied "Yeah, just make her a pirate!" and that's all I needed. I immediately made little pirate hats for them all, and added Once upon A Time... to the top left. It has more bling than shows up in the photograph!

Material used: black and white photo, cardstock, Gel pens, Stardust pens, Micron pens, Stickles, decorative tape, rubber stamp, watercolor, distressed inks, and old metal frame. 

Oh, and to check out what else I have been doing, click on the two links at the top of the page for other challenges entries!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Tag Challenge - Postage Stamp

The challenge this week from KardKrazy was to incorporate a postage stamp. Being a member of Postcrossing has given me many interesting stamps to choose from, and I picked this impressive stamp from Japan.

I used distressed inks and paper distresser on the sides of the tag. Japanese rice paper was also distressed and torn, collaged and used as a mat around the postage stamp; the bamboo and floral design was rubber stamped with distress inks, a coin attached to the top with black fibers finish it off. It was great fun to do! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Joy Surprise!

Yesterday I checked the nest where the bluebirds had already raised a brood and found 4 lovely eggs! I had seen them flying in and out of the nesting platform and had hoped they were having another family. I knew that bluebirds often raise two, and sometimes three, families so I was hoping they would feel safe enough to have another family in the same spot as they had the first one. Aren't the eggs a lovely color?

We had put up two nesting platforms, one on the lean-to section of the barn, and one on the front porch. Here's the one on the lean-to:

The front porch platform is currently empty because the Carolina wrens raised their brood a couple of weeks ago. The bluebird nesting box, which had housed a family of chickadees, is still empty also. Chickadees only raise one family a season. The wrens usually build a second nest if they are going to have another family.

I am trying to motivate myself to bring some order to my studio! I do have to finish the second gift for my husband as we celebrate Father's Day and our 29th anniversary tomorrow. Right now, I thought I had better rest so that I don't fall in the trap of overdoing it and pay for it later. I sent 6 postcards out this morning for Postcrossing, one each to Japan, Malaysia, Belarus, China, the Netherlands and Finland. It's a pleasant thought to know that you have been in touch with people all around the world!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Music

I had a rough night's sleep (must have been the effects of the anesthesia!) but I feel pretty good this morning. John will be gone most of the day (he works from home) and so instead of using the iPod, I crammed the CD player and cranked it up. I'd rather hear music that way, I like to feel surrounded! I was ready for something upbeat so in went two Moody Blues, two Chicago's, several U2s, Eric Clapton Cream of Clapton, two Eagles, two Police and Yanni (no laughing - I like this particular CD!) and then I clicked on random. And away I went! I designed labels for some binders on my shelves, so I would be able to choose the one I want without pulling each out till I found the right one. Then I framed a fun piece which will now be a Father's Day gift:

I was playing around with a leaf stamp, watercolor crayons and liquid watercolors on 5 X 7 cardstock. There's some color pencils and Sakura pens in there too. It looks great in an old metal frame! Then I did this:
Done for fun. Maybe I will save it for when the Asian ATC Series gets to China. Image is from Vintage Printable, printed on handmade paper and altered with Micron pens and color pencil; rubber stamp, chalk ink, and Sakura pens, side images are from the US Postal Service (!) - it was part of a sheet of stamps - accented with Sakura pens. A little distressed ink is dabbed on the sides.
Speaking of these CD's, they bring back some memories of a couple of concerts we attended. One was the Moody Blues when they came to Charleston while we were living there. It was held outdoors in the same stadium where they play the Family Circle Tennis Cup on Daniel Island. It was a absolutely lovely late Spring evening, and it was a fantastic concert. During the evening the moon came up over the river nearby and just added to the whole experience! I even heard my normally reserved husband singing along under his breath.

Then a couple of years later, I returned from a buying trip to England for my antique business I had then, and found out John had purchased 2 tickets for Eric Clapton who was playing in Greenville SC the same weekend as our anniversary. We both love Clapton's guitar playing and so even though I had just returned home, I happily travelled 4 hours on the road a few days later to hear Eric. What a great guy my husband is and it was another great concert! Now that we live out in the country not far from Greenville, it would be an easy trip to hear him again.

This year our anniversary is on the same day as Father's Day and it will be 29 years!

Rocking along here.........

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Out for the Day

It's off to the Outpatient Surgery I go. I will be pretty much out of it the rest of the day. Thanks to all for the prayers. They give me comfort!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Tag for Men

I joined a Tag Tuesday Challenge at Kard Krazy and this week's challenge theme for making a tag is "Men", in honor of Father's Day coming up. I cut up a copy of an old humorous postcard I had and touched it up with Micron pens and brush pens. I stained the tag with a color wash and distressed inks, used Micron pens again and added some ribbon. The metal pieces are from Tim Holtz, except for the brad. For any readers who may not know, back in the day when automobiles were becoming popular, some of them had to be cranked to start and some had a new fangled starter button you just had to push. The cranks were difficult, sometimes even causing injury to the person trying to turn it. I love the drawings!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wiped Out

Sleep has been difficult to come by the past several nights, and today I had Pre-Op Registration, which is exhausting in itself. I have been overly emotional and am now quite drained. I will be happy when Wednesday is over, although in some ways, today was worse, just for sheer draining of the little energy reserves I do have.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Effects of Tobacco

I did manage to get a few impatiens in the ground, but not as many as I hoped. They are starting to get too big for the little "6-packs" they are in, so I can't wait too much longer. Hopefully, maybe, more tomorrow?

I have to share this, I think it turned out well. It's for the Letter T Skinny swap, and I took an image from an old French postcard that I've had for several years. It's one of a group of old black and white cards which show the native costume of the people in Provence France and this particular one always fascinated me, because it shows a child with a pipe in his/her mouth. So, a little of this and a little of that and this is what we have:

Funny, no? 

This is a good example of why I want a laser printer (for a clear crisp image, this one is a little on the soft side) and I actually think I found one well within my price range! Someone suggested a site to me, and they have small laser printers and I have my eye on a Samsung. I think since it's only me using it and I won't be needing reams of work done, it will suit just fine. Whoo hoo!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the wind

One of the swaps I joined recently was a Weathered Launch postcard swap, for sending to 2 people. I had to paint on the card or canvas, hang it outdoors for a week and then paint or collage on it again and send it on. I had two Swap-Bot postcards someone had sent me as "extras" and I think they are ugly and had them stuck away. I pulled those out, collaged the front of them, and hung them outside. Brought them back in and used water color crayons and glimmer mist on them and voila:


I think I like the one on the left the best. It was interesting to do and I used up the ugly postcards too! I had to spray them with fixative so that the watercolor wouldn't come off if they got wet. I hope the Post Office doesn't mind the smell and think it's some sort of chemical hazard!

I have been looking at the possibility of buying a laser printer, but the only ones in my price range only print in black and scans in color and I need/want one that prints, scans and copies in color.  The images are so much crisper than an inkjet and that's an important consideration in my art work. However, I will not be paying those kinds of prices! I will have to see what will come my way.

I still don't have the rest of the impatiens in the ground, and next week will be a complete washout because of the procedure I am having done. Maybe I can do a few this evening and a few tomorrow. The only problem with that is then I may be too exhausted to go to church Sunday! Ok, I better draw the line here, or I will start complaining!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Up and Down

One of those up and down weeks. I feel better, then I have a period of exhaustion. In the meantime, I have been able to do some art during the "better" times. I wanted to try something different than ATCs and Skinnys, so I joined a swap to alter a clipboard. My partner loved the color orange, and bright colors in general, so I had fun putting this together!

 I think it turned out pretty well. I finished it yesterday. It's truly a mixed media, and I had to finish off the back with a fixative to the watercolor paint I had used (that was a mistake!) will not come off when held.

Later today I worked on an ATC for a swap that is due on the 18th. Since I am having a medical procedure done on the 16th, I thought I better go ahead and get it out of the way. It was for the Asian Series #2-Turkey swap. I chose to do a rendition of a pattern found on Iznik Pottery tiles. Iznik Pottery has been made in Turkey since the 1500's.Again, it was rendered in mixed media - watercolor, micron pens, Sakura pens. and a touch of acrylic paints. I'm pretty pleased with this one too! I will get these in the mail tomorrow.

The baby wrens were still in the nest on Monday, but left it on Tuesday. They are still being fed by the parents on the limb of one of the trees. The bluebirds have been feeding their juveniles the past week, and yesterday the juveniles started following them to the feeder, begging and flapping their wings. So even when the babies leave the nest, a parents work is not done!

We voted in the primary yesterday and in two of the races there will be a run off in two weeks. It's been awfully depressing watching the news in the past year or so and one wants to walk away and tune it out. Some times I do that, but I don't want to pretend nothing serious is going on. I am thankful I can pray about it and know that God is still sovereign!

Monday, June 7, 2010


That's "hello" in Polish! I was feeling better today, so I started a new group swap for the World Tour ATC's, and this time, we're going to Poland. I made a collage from a copy of a Polish newspaper and some cut up copy of Polish currency called zlotych. I think it turned out pretty well!

Tabitha was over this morning, preparing meals for the week and cleaning. We were able to take some things over to the barn from the garage. Some day the garage will be mostly empty and we can put the camper in there. (It's a fold down type.) When we moved 3 years ago, I still had my antiques business and some of those items, plus general boxes of stuff, were put in the garage. Then we had the emergency with Schaeffer which lasted over 4 months, then my mother's death, then John's health problems and much of what was in the garage was left exactly where it was put. I sold off my business in 2008, then later became seriously ill with the ME/CFS and everything sort of ground to a halt. It bugs me to know that stuff needs going through, plus stuff in the spare room. I am making it my goal to tackle a tiny bit at a time, because it all adds up. But I've learned a lot in the past two years about letting things go, and so I remind myself of that when the anxiety hits about all the "piles".  Those piles do not define who I am!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I wish when I am feeling better that I could remember that I am ill. I go too far and then it's too late, I've overdone it. And then I pay. I was in the "zone" working on art, and then I suddenly hit the wall. I wonder how long before I am upright again.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Nice to have such a great night's sleep and it was nice to wake up feeling like I could "do something"! So.... I planted flowers! I had 3 flats of impatiens waiting for me to transfer to the ground. The plan was to plant a few at a time until they are all in. There is the big, old stump right off of the side porch and the area around it is one of the few places with decent soil. (We are in red clay country-yech!). When we first moved here, the stump was covered with ivy, which had grown extensively around it, and under the porch. It took us a while to get it all pulled off, but when we did, I knew I wanted impatiens to go in there. It's the north side of the house and the perfect place. I planted them 2 summers ago, right before I became ill and they were beautiful in that spot. Last summer I was too weak to plant, but a whole host of volunteer impatiens came up, from plants which had gone to seed the year before. It was the most wonderful surprise! I felt like God had planted a garden just for me and it was right where I sat to watch the birds.

So this morning, I managed to pull some weeds and plant 36 little plants (1 flat) and I hope I don't pay for it tomorrow. I love impatiens - they are very unassuming, humble little flowers but when they are massed, they have such a punch of color. In this spot, they will grow until they are overlapping the edge of the porch. I am hoping I can have them all in the ground by next weekend, since I don't have any doctor's appointments.

While I was planting, the birds were visiting the bird feeder, which is right out from the other side of the stump. I snapped this picture of a male House Finch. I think I need a new camera if I want to get better pictures of the birds! Oh well, that will be awhile!

Here's Taylor, our Schnauzer/Chow blend. She is really in need of a trim! She and Abby kept me company as I planted.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Simple Treasures

I had two appointments today, and two tomorrow. I'm tired now and haven't been able to do much art this week. I am participating in a Weathered Art Small Canvas Launch swap where you have to prepare 2 postcard size canvases with paint or some other media (I used a postcard  sized something else since I didn't have any canvas handy) and then you hang it outside for a week to "weather". I collaged & Modpoged them and hung them out yesterday. This morning the dogs were with us on the side porch when we were having breakfast and saw the pieces swinging in the breeze in the trees across the side yard and started barking at them. It took us several minutes to convince Taylor and Abby that the pieces were harmless! We had a very strong thunderstorm come through this afternoon, so I will check them tomorrow to see how they held up through it.

In one of my favorite groups on Swap-Bot, we had the monthly drawing for the Winner Take All. A winner is chosen, picks a theme and the rest of us send her an ATC in her theme. The June winner had won before and wanted to pass it on to me. I was hesitant to do that, after all, she won fairly, but then several of the others jumped on her bandwagon and her theme was "Whatever Rebecca chooses as her theme". Ha! Wasn't that a very kind thing to do? This may be a long month for me with a medical procedure I am having done in two weeks, so what fun now to have something pleasant to look forward to!

Having friends like that makes one feel rich! :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Here are the baby wrens I mentioned on Sunday! There is still one egg not hatched, I don't know now if it will.
So helpless, aren't they?

Up Close and Personal

Yesterday (Monday) I spent most of the day resting, because of the energy expended on Sunday. I always try to look at it as so much better than last year at this time, so I don't become discouraged! Last night I had a full night's sleep, only awakening once and dropping right off again. So this morning when I heard John getting ready to take the dogs on their morning walk I asked to go along. I think John was surprised, one, because I am usually not up that early and two, because I usually do not have the energy. He immediately accepted, even though it meant he would have to go a tad slower than he was used to.

The air was cool, but moist after two days of rain. I think it's supposed to rain today as well. We were surrounded by birdsong, especially Titmice and Towhees. As we were going past the wildlife preserve the unmistakable odor of skunk wafted around us for several minutes and it brought back an interesting experience we had several years ago.

We were still living in Charleston and had taken the camper to Table Rock State Park in the mountains. After settling in and enjoying the park that first day, the children had gone to sleep and John and I stretched out on full length folding chairs to talk and rest. After it had gotten quite dark, we noticed several animals moving about in the shadows cast by the yellow outdoors light from the camper. Suddenly they came right toward us, sniffing the ground and looking for any bits of food. There were at least 8 skunks, black and white, blond and black, black, white and blond. They acted as if we weren't there and we just froze. Several went right underneath our legs on the chair, bumping against us with their backs. All I could think of was how horrible it would smell if all of those skunks were upset at once! We sat still and did whisper to each other once or twice, and they just ignored us, continuing their search for any crumbs of food in the campsite. Eventually, they left as nonchalantly as they had entered, and we were able to take a deep breath! I'm still amazed at the variety of colors and patterns I saw. I wish I had had my camera, but then again, that might have been the one thing they would not have liked!

Earlier this year, we found a dead skunk in the road in front of our house and the dogs were all excited and wanted to use it as a toy. Visions of having to purchase a case of tomato juice to bathe two dogs outside in icy weather quickly convinced us that the only thing to do was to bury it as soon as possible. We dug a hole by the side of the road and deposited the skunk. A few months later, I noticed that the skunk, or what was then left of it, had been dug up and taken off somewhere by some animal. The odor still hung in the air around the empty hole in the ground. I'm sure glad it was not on the dogs fur!