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!