Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

October 1, 2014

Drawing class at COD

In late August, I started a "Drawing I" class at College of DuPage.  While I've always been artsy-craftsy, and as you know I adore rubber stamping, I really wanted some formal training to develop my drawing skills.

The instructor has led us through several weeks of skill build-up.  She started with line/contour, then we moved on the proportion, then to value/form.  Lately we focused on positive and negative shapes and we just started a landscape unit.

I'd like to share a few pencil sketches out of my homework sketchbook that I was quite happy with.  

The first two are of leaves that I picked up on walks around the neighborhood. I like these so much that I'm seriously considering doing a set of notecards with them.

The third one is a fall frosted glass candleholder.  I picked it up at a garage sale for a $1.  Actually I bought a pair.  I worked hard to make the frosted glass look.

The last one is my favorite.  It's a close-up of my scarecrow in my front courtyard.  I was really happy with how he turned out.


September 13, 2014

More NatGeo Magazine Art

In our People's Resource Center class, we've spent the last 4 weeks creating, and then further altering, pages from National Geographic magazines using the CitraSolv technique.  Read more about that, here.

Now, in upcoming classes, we'll be taking the magazine art in a different direction.  By cutting strips, and either rolling them on a diagonal or folding and weaving them, you can get some pretty cool creations.  Cover boxes, cover picture frames, or use a form to make a 'vase', there are a lot of possibilities.  It takes a little patience and some tacky glue, but I've finished some samples that I'd like to share.

As you can see, I've done both rolled strips and folded strips for weaving.  I was especially happy with how the one that was just black and white text pages turned out.  It uses 1 inch strips, folded.  Really like it!

In the next example, I used some of the altered CitraSolv pages.  I purposely chose some of the 'uglier' pages that were just brownish that were kind of leftovers from the class, nobody was giving them any love.  I love how it looks woven, very stone-like or marble-y.  Totally redeemed the 'ugly' pages.  I topped it with a trio of buttons.  These were also 1 inch strips, folded.
I was lucky enough to find an article about sharks that had a lot of blue-toned photos.  This box uses wider strips, about 2.5 inches or so, folded.  I love the monochromatic feel to this.

The hardest piece to do was the rolled circle vase.  It took quite a long time.  I recommend that you be watching a good movie on TV while doing this!  First you have to roll the strips.  Then you flatten then, and wind them around a straw or pencil to the diameter that you want.  I used tacky glue to hold all the circles together, over a yogurt container 'mold' which was covered with plastic wrap.  It's small; not sure I have the stamina to do one much larger.
Finally, here's a larger shot of a box covered in the rolls.  I selected earth tone pages for this box lid and glued the rolls on a diagonal.
Hope you enjoyed these!

August 31, 2014

End of Summer Sunflowers

This card is for my friend Hiroe's birthday.  Sunflowers always seem to be a transitional flower, between late summer and early fall.  It uses a variety of techniques:

  • The mottled green and beige background is one of my altered NatGeo pages.
  • The sunflower is a napkin design, decoupaged directly to the background.
  • The sentiment is from SU's 'Art of Life' set, stamped on to tissue paper and then adhered with ModPodge.  I chose this sentiment for Hiroe because her sweet, sunny disposition always brightens our day!
  • The swirls are by Sheena Douglass (from Crafter's Companion) and are heat embossed with SU olive green embossing powder.
  • I added some brown micro beads (by Martha Stewart) in to the center of the flower.
  • This is then matted on a mustard cardstock, then on to a moss green 5x7" card base.

I love bringing together many different techniques on to one card.

August 24, 2014

Altered NatGeo's

Have you heard of the technique where you use CitraSolv to alter the ink on National Geographic pages?  I took a course on it last year at Create -- and the instructor, Cathy Taylor, has YouTube videos posted.  There's a series of four videos, and really worth watching.

We decided to do this technique last week in the PRC art class that I co-teach.  Basically, the CitraSolv dissolves the ink on the clay-coated premium NatGeo papers, resulting in one of a kind designs that can be further processed, or used as is, for collage papers.  We had to do it in the parking lot because of the fumes...but the ladies had fun and we made some beautiful papers.  Here is just a small sampling from one magazine only; aren't they cool!
Next week we'll take the papers we made and further process them with stencils or paint.  I was doing up some samples for the class and here's a look.  These were hard to photograph because the glossy magazine pages kept reflecting the flash.

This first one is 8x10" uses a fish stencil from The Stencil Girl.  I used it on heavy Bristol paper and collaged several other papers to make a sea scene.
The second one is 8x10 also and uses leaf stencils (I think from Crafters Workshop).  I cut oak leaves from several different papers with cool patterns.  To some, I added a touch of metallic copper paint.  The quotation is heat embossed in black.  It was serendipity that the globe in the upper right was not dissolved by the CitraSolv; it echoes the quotation beautifully!
These next two are smaller scale, and use new fish and tiger stencils that I bought from iStencils.  In person, the backgrounds on these are amazing.  
And finally, two more.  The cityscape and reflection stencil is from the Stencil Girl; the aspen/birch trees are from The Crafters Workshop.  I added a bit of glitter to the cityscape reflection.

August 21, 2014

We all scream for ice cream!

My BFF Leona just loves ice cream!  Anytime we go anyplace, if there is an ice cream store nearby, I know we'll be stopping.  It was her birthday recently, so what better image to put on her card than an ice cream cone?

I zentangled the cone after drawing the outline freehand.  I then assembled it on to a glittery red card base and added an embossed red cherry on top.

This card makes me smile; I hope you enjoy it too!

August 20, 2014

Rocks in my Head?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started volunteering at an art class at the People's Resource Center.  The co-teacher is Cheryl, who has been giving of her time and spirit here for four years.  Anyway, she came up with an idea to paint little rocks, and we wanted to try it out by making samples, to see if it would be good for the class.

Well...(hangs face in shame)...I couldn't be satisfied with the little rocks.  I went on a walk and got some bigger rocks :-)

I ended up decoupaging napkins with ModPodge to them, instead of painting them.  I LOVE how they turned out.

First up is a large and heavy rock.  In addition to using a Monet-inspired waterlily napkin, I added some butterflies on the front.  The butterfly napkin was in a goody bag of collage materials that I got in Liesel Lund's class last week.  Both Liesel and Helen Shafer Garcia used stamped or cut out words in their work.  Since I had decided the large rock would be a doorstop (I like to leave my front door open to catch the breezes, but often it blows shut), I built on the word idea and stamped words like "Welcome, Home, Family, Love, Hearth, Shelter, Haven" with black StazOn ink on to tissue paper.  All of my instructors last week at Create had emphasized the virtues of translucent materials for collage.  After the Monet and butterfly layer dried, I tore the stamped words from the tissue and decoupaged them on, both top and bottom.  I made sure that the words Welcome, Home and Family were visible on top.  I then added two coats of poly varnish.  For this project you need to be patient and allow drying time before you can do the top and bottom surfaces of the rock.  I really like this piece -- and it will be used as a doorstop in my front hall.


My second rock was medium sized.  It's actually pretty heavy, so it might work as a doorstop, or a giant paperweight.  But, I think I'll end up placing it by some flowerpots on my front porch, just as a decorative element.  For this, I used a sunflower-patterned napkin.  I used gold Smooch paint to add a bit of a glimmer to the petals.  Then I finished it with poly varnish also.  This one was hard to photograph due to the shine; it looks prettier in person.

My third rock was smaller.  I used a black floral print napkin and stamped my name on tissue.  The tan part of the design is the natural rock color showing through.  This will be a paperweight on my home office desk.

I love how the mixed media techniques help me transform these rocks into little art pieces.  The alphabet stamps used are retired Stampin' Up sets.  Whether or not we actually do this project with the class, I had fun playing and love the end result.

August 17, 2014

Create Retreat - Day 4 - Repeat After Me

On Saturday evening I took a 3 hour class taught by Mary Beth Shaw of Stencil Girl fame.  I was hoping to learn more ways to use my collection of stencils, and I did!

We started by using acrylic paints and stencils to create a variety of patterned papers.  These would then be used on a 6x6 wooden base to create a small piece of artwork.  A new trick, to me, was to use a stencil to help define the layout of the patterned papers on the art piece.

Here is my finished piece.  I snuck in a tiny bit of zentangling on it.  I think this might be the only piece I've ever actually finished in all my years at Create, which usually is so heavily focused on teaching technique that I go home with half-finished works.  Trena was also in this class and her beautiful piece is shown second.

In the first step where we created our own patterned paper, one of mine turned out so well that I couldn't bear to cut it up, so I kept it whole.  Love it.