Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

It's Michelle Wards 61st and final Crusade over at the GPP Street Team.  The theme was "restraining order" and the goal was to create a journal page with minimal elements.  I've been meaning to do this all month.  In fact I've been meaning to do the crusades just about every month for the last year, but have only managed to do a few.

So why am I jumping on the bandwagon at the 11th hour? Two reasons.

1.   Tammy's creativity queue challenge has been a powerful motivating force to tackle those half finished projects and half baked ideas.
2.  This blog might not exist if not for Michelle's crusades.

The page at the top is not particularly restrained.  But if you look closely, you'll see it's dated 4/19/11, and  on the right hand side it reads "discovered the Street Team challenges. I will need a blog or flickr to play along"
My journal entry 6 days later notes that "I am Rushmore is up and running with 11 posts" (I was so full of good ideas I did 11 posts at once and back dated them.  If you look at my archives it looks like I've already celebrated my one year anniversary.  Don't believe everything you read.)

And so, since words cannot express my gratitude for the motivation to stop making secret art, and start this little blogging adventure, I will say it minimally: 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creativity Queue Challenge

I'm great at starting projects.
Well known spaz that I am, I have a steady stream of good ideas and enough creative energy to try them all!

But finishing projects?
not so much.

Enter the ever-inspiring Tammy at Daisy Yellow.
She's challenging us to tackle one or more of the creative things we've started and haven't quite gotten around to finishing.  The challenge is going on for the next few weeks and she's encouraging everyone to tackle something in their queue and then link up at her site.

As one of the hosts of today's challenge, I have decided to tackle some of my PILES.
you know the ones.

These are partial piles. One is a pile of excellent mail art I've received.  The other is a pile of loose sketches and journal pages.  I "keep meaning to do something" with them.  Meanwhile the piles grow.

The mail art problem was solved with a tip from Diana Trout's blog and a rewards certificate from Staples.  I bought myself this cool gadget:
It's a fancy hole punch for the staples line of Arc system notebooks.  I have no use for the notebooks themselves, but with this hole punch and the cheap plastic discs that go with it, I can make my own little books in a flash.  Now I probably wouldn't have dropped the $40 if I hadn't just happened to have $40 in rewards certificates that were about to expire, but I'm glad I bought it because it's a great way to organize the beautiful little works of art I get in the mail.

Here's one of the books I made.
It's roughly 6"x12"

Here's a lovely little postcard from Corrine, inserted into the hole puncher:
And here's a great postcard from Jill with the holes already punched:

I admit I wince every time I punch into a  card, but ultimately I've decided that keeping them in these cool books means I will LOOK at them and enjoy them on a regular basis, instead of keeping them in piles and boxes where they don't get seen.  I'd rather have slightly damaged art that I enjoy than pristine art I never see.

Here's a shot of the funky little discs that serve as the binding - each black circle is an individual piece.  You pop them into the grooves made by the hole punch.  The come in different sizes and you can make your spine as long (or short) as the papers you're binding:

What I particularly like is that I can include cards of all different shapes and sizes.  
I can easily pop them out and put them back in and rearrange the pages.
Some cards can't be punched (like the ones made with fabric or wood), so I punch holes in an envelope and stick the card in that pocket - like this awesome one from Mad Madge
Now I've got two fabulous binders full of gorgeous mail art.

On to the next pile!
I'm not very particular with the materials I use to create.  When inspiration strikes, I grab what's nearby.  I end up with a lot of loose journal pages on cardstock, and sketches on all sorts of odd paper.  These are generally not master works.  I'm not going to hang them on the wall.  I'm not going to send them to anyone in the mail.  I may or may not scan them and blog about them.  But I want to keep them because they mark my journey and progress as an artist. So I glue them into various books.  Or at least I PLAN to glue them in.  Mostly I just pile them up on TOP of those books "for later".

So yesterday was "later" and I spent 20 minutes with scissors, a glue stick and double sided tape and my piles are gone!

Here are the two books I used.  The one of the left was a damaged library discard, but as a bird lover I adore that cover.  The one of the right is a large sketchbook with a collaged cover.
 The sketchbook is easy to fill.  Find a blank space anywhere in the book and slap things down with a glue stick.  

 The bird book required a wee bit more effort (but not much).
I didn't want to obscure the edges of my loose pages, so I use the "tip in" method to adhere them.

I cut out a page of the book, leaving about an inch sticking out from the binding:
I run some double sided tape along the back edge of the loose page.  I forget what this tape is called but it's awesome.  It was highly recommended in the altered book class on flutterbye.  I got it at Michael's in the scrapbooking section.  It looks red on the roll, but that red part peels off to reveal the sticky side.
Slide the paper with the exposed sticky side under the little flap
rub it down so it sticks.  Adhere another page in the same way to the back of this page
And there you have it, a bunch of new pages in this journal.

Big thanks to Tammy for inspiring me to finish these projects.
So, what's in your queue?
And what are you waiting for?

Head on over to Daisy Yellow to get inspired and share what you've accomplished.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


It's been a weekend full of winnings, gifts, honors and surprises.

First, I won a giveaway hosted by the ever-amusing Mr. Dodson on his blog, I still write.  Head over there to see the abundance of mail he sends and receives.  You could even send him something.

My winnings arrived in the mail this weekend - two fabulous blank journals and a cool map card:
That by itself would have completely made my weekend, but it's just the beginning.
Limner sent me a surprise package - this totally awesome little book:
Open it up and it's full of all these different little bits of pages.  Isn't that the sweetest little book ever? 

Limner sends and receives amazing mail and writes all about it on her blog,  Oh, Write Me!
My book came in this envelope, with a little hand draw red bird.  Limner says that the face of the bird came off under her thumb, but the post office lady drew on two eyes and a smile with her ball point pen.
I love that story almost as much as I love the little book.  Plus there was chocolate tucked into the little envelope that serves as one of the pages.  Talk about making a good thing even better.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Ms. Cade for this little treasure.  I want to use it for something fun and special.  I'm thinking a little illustrated story would be good.  I'll keep you posted.

So, a pretty good weekend haul, right?
But wait, there's more.

Another surprise awaited me Saturday - Tammy from Daisy Yellow nominated me for the "Versatile Blogger Award".  Tammy is an endless source of good ideas and inspiration.  She organized the "index card a day" project over the summer and committing to that project did WONDERS for me.  I learned so much about myself as an artist over those 90 days and gained a lot of confidence in the process.  PLUS I met some really great artists (in addition to Tammy) in the flickr group,  which leads me to my next and best surprise of all.

One of the artists I was really drawn to in the ICAD project was Lee from "Defining Me".  Lee has such a cool, fun, funky original style and a dry sense of humor that makes me laugh every day.

I got email from Lee Friday saying she was gifting me a class - Julie Prichard's "Art Journaling Super Nova, Pt II".  She had signed up for one of Julie's other workshops and had received the super nova class for free as an early bird bonus.  And since she'd already taken that workshop, she gave it to ME.

I know, right? 
SOOOOOO sweet and thoughtful and generous.  
I'm just blown away.

It's a self-paced, "on demand" class with a dozen or so videos.  I  dove right in and watched 9 of the videos back to back.  Julie's a great teacher and the videos are really entertaining and I'm picking up all kinds of new tips and tricks.  The very first video was about using gloss medium to create "ghost writing" on a painted background.  I immediately had to try it, and I cranked out 6 postcards in a series.  I'm so not done exploring this one technique - more postcards like these will follow. 

So a million thank-yous to my blogging, mail-sending, gift-giving, inspiring and funny internet friends.
I am basking in this bounty.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


See that sweet baby?  She turned 16 today.
She is my fabulous niece, and she drew that picture from a favorite photo taken of us in 1997.  She gave it to me for my birthday last year and it hangs in my studio where I can see it every day.
I could go on and on about how smart-talented-beautiful-funky-cool-awesome she is, but she reads this blog and I wouldn't want it to go to her head.

She's a big Dr. Who fan, so for her birthday I made her this Tardis phone charging station (from this pattern and tutorial at
Isn't that awesome? I absolutely LOVE geek crafts.
I packed it inside this box - collaged with my hand painted papers.
 She's coming to my house in Massachusetts from her house in Virginia just 10 short days from now!
I looooove being this girl's Auntie.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Lu!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I can't resist an interview

Amy's at it again - asking questions and demanding answers.  So here, in illustrated glory, are my answers:

1. What is your favorite kind of cheese?  What are your thoughts on smelly cheeses?

2. Marmite or Vegemite?

3. Are you afraid of midgets?
(I think I worded this wrong. I'm not implying that the entire human race is afraid of midgets and therefore I am too.  I'm trying to say that I'm no more afraid of midgets than I am afraid of the rest of the human race.  But considering the human race is pretty damn scary....)

4. Do you hate the lady who works at the post office?

5. Wine:  Red or White?

6. Do you hold a grudge?

7. What are you addicted to?

8. Who do you think is more evil? Verizon or AT&T?

9. Deserted island.  One food and one food only for the rest of your life.  What's it gonna be?

Head on over to Butterscape to see what Amy and others had to say.

Monday, March 19, 2012

If computers had bellies....

...mine would be up.

Meanwhile, I'm learning how to use blogger on my phone until my hard drive is replaced. And I may have to go back to lurking for a few days since my blog reading app doesn't let me leave comments. Hoping for a speedy recovery. See you soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

blotter hijinks

A wee bit of black felt blew across my blotter paper and landed on the spot where I tested my face stamp.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Red composition

It's week 5 of my composition class and look at me I'm keeping up!
This week was all about creating depth with layers and colors.  Since the theme over at Butterfly Effect is "red" this week, I decided not to make yet another orange and aqua collage, but to push myself to use my least favorite color.

I'll come right out and say it - I hate red.
I never paint with red paint.  I don't wear red clothes.  Red candies were the ones you gave to your sister or secretly threw on the floor of the movie theater.  

So as if my class assignments weren't challenging me enough (HAH!) I decided to work in a limited palette of shades of a color I hate.

I'm a glutton for punishment.

But I'm learning a ton in this class and I'm pleased with the first attempt at using this week's lessons.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY postcard swap

These are some of the postcards I made for iHanna's DIY postcard swap.  
They went out in yesterday's mail.

I could do this all day every day.