Thursday, April 26, 2012


I joined the Elevated Envelope swap and have 11 hand painted envelopes ready to go out in tomorrow's mail. I don't usually work in a series, but since I put this off until one week before the deadline (in spite of the 2 months I've had since signing up) I thought it would be more time effective to use the same technique on all of them.  Here they are, addressed and ready to go, hanging on the clothesline to let the glue dry.
and here's a closer view of them piled on my desk:

and here's a scanned envelope to show the layers

Did you miss this swap?  Never fear, Tara says she'll be doing them every few months.
We were encouraged to tuck a little something into the envelope, so I made a batch of ATCs from an old deck of cards:
 the orange side is covered in beeswax.  can you smell it?
I also tucked in one of my new Moo cards (squee!) and a note.

I made the following postcards for a swap hosted by Jill.  The theme was "April showers bring May flowers" and we needed to use one of those blank pre-stamped postcards that the post office sells as our base.

Those are pressed flowers from my yard from last May, glued on top of a collage of my own painted papers. I used some watercolor batik paper that I made after watching Amy's tutorial in her latest newsletter,and boy-oh-boy was that just about the funnest thing ever to make. But I'm going to post about that another time.

Because NOW,  I'm going to pester you to  sign up for the postcard swap I'm organizing at Flutterbye if you haven't already..  Go over there, join for free (because everything at Flutterbye is free.  plus we're prettier when we're there).  Once you're there, join the art swap group.  You've got 4 more days to sign up for the inaugural post card swap.  Just one simple little handmade postcard swapped with one partner.  Easy Peasy.  and fun.  did I mention fun?
maybe you'll get this postcard
Unless I decide to use it for my self-portrait for a different swap.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


 Making a mess has never been hard for me.
I seem to come by it naturally.
I love to get my hands dirty, I have a high threshold for mess in my surroundings, and the messier my art is, the more I like it.
What doesn't come so easily is being part of a group.
I never participate in the "classroom" when I take on-line classes.
I prefer to work on my own and keep it to myself.
But when Lisa Wright started a free book group based on this book, I had to join. 
How could I resist?

And instead of just adding my posts to the occasional Mr. Linky, I went and joined the Facebook group and have pushed myself to contribute.
(eek!  social interaction!)

The book is fun.  Lots of prompts and challenges to make a mess right inside the book.
Here's a few things I've done:

Drew something  with watercolor crayons and left the book out in the rain
 It didn't smear enough for my liking, so when it was still wet I scraped inktense blocks over the page and then smooshed the book shut:

I also spilled coffee in my book and turned it into doodles:
Wrote with my toes:
 Did some paint smooshing and then ripped out one of the pages and used it to scrub the sink:
 And then I drizzled glazing medium all over the wet page, and scraped some chalk pastels onto it and topped it off with a healthy dose of glitter.  I'll stick it back in the book when it's finally dry.
 and since I was on a roll, I poured mod podge all over some scrap paper and dumped my pencil sharpener onto it.  I'll be adding something else to this for sure.

Some of the self-professed perfectionists in the group are freaking out over these exercises and are pushing themselves waaaay out of their comfort zones.
Not me.

 I'm challenging myself with social interaction instead.
and I admit, the facebook group is reeaallly fun.
Since the object of the book is not to make art, there's none of that "my stuff isn't good enough" feeling.  There's also none of that "my stuff looks like everyone else's stuff, which looks exactly like the teacher's stuff" syndrome.  Everyone's mess is messy.  Everyone's mess is different. Everyone's having fun.

So now that I'm forcing myself out of my reclusive shell, I'm going to strongly suggest (ok, beg) you come keep me company.

You can find more about the book group here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How hard can it be?

I really like a challenge.  Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.  Lately, I see an opportunity like nothing I've ever done before and say "sure, why not?  how hard can it be?"  

for example:
I'm coordinating an art swap group on Flutterbye.  Amy put out a call for martyrs volunteers and I answered. I seriously hope I'm not in over my head.  You all have to go to Flutterbye RIGHT NOW and join the group so that the first swaps will be really successful (and to improve my martyr status).
Everything on Flutterbye is FREE.  It's full of great classes and tutorials and nifty people.  and it costs you nothing.  So go there now and sign up.  Scroll down a wee bit the see the groups.  Join the Art Swap group.  I'll be so happy.  Our first swap is postcards.  It'll be fun.

Another ridiculous thing I did:
I signed up for an art swap involving altered stuffed animals.  I kid you not.  This is so not me.  There was no paint or paper involved.  And I don't sew.  But how hard can it be?  It took forever, but it was crazy fun and worth the 5,000,000 pin pricks I suffered.  Hopefully I was able to remove all the blood stains.

I started out with these four beauties from the thrift store.
 I ripped their seams and gutted them.
 I reassembled the pieces into this super mutant.
 below is the rear view of his cape
 and here's a close up of the face only a mother could love.

But wait, I've saved the best for last.
The most ridiculous thing I've done lately happened today, quite spontaneously.  It's school vacation week here in Massachusetts, which means my job shifts into "camp" mode.
One of today's activities was a relay race in which our young participants had to move like animals (rabbit, cat, monkey or snake) down the length of the gym and back.  One team's "snake" balked at the idea of dragging her white t-shirt across the gym floor, so which 44 year old decided to volunteer?  Yup.
I'm really glad there's no photographic evidence of me command-crawling .  We can all just pretend I looked as hot as her:
and if you never hear from me again it's because I was unable to get out of bed tomorrow morning.

But I digress.
I'd like to thank my dad for instilling in me the belief that pretty much anything can be figured out through trial and error (and lots of swearing).  Where I am lacking in his plumbing and electrical skills, I make up for in spirit.  And swearing.  Did I mention the swearing?
Since I don't have a picture of the day we installed my new garbage disposal and broke a piece of PVC pipe with hammer, I will leave you with this much more heartwarming action shot in which we pretend we haven't spent a half hour cursing the #%$& Christmas tree and it's complicated system of "pre-strung" lights.

(thanks, Dad!)

Stay tuned for my next post in which I have my head examined for signing up for FOUR MORE swaps that are due in the next two weeks.
How hard can it be?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

telling tales

Here's something I've been dragging my feet about for the last month:  Seth Apter's open call for the Pulse of Mixed Media.  

(Go over to his blog and read about it because he'll explain it better than I will.  It's all part of the celebration around the release of his wonderful book, and it's not juried and open to everyone. So you should all submit something.  Really.)

I knew the minute I read the post that I wanted to play along, but then I got all freaky anxious and totally overthought it for weeks, and I knew if I kept procrastinating I'd miss the deadline and really regret it, and I'd give myself a little pep talk, but then I still wouldn't work on it.

in honor of the end of the Daisy Yellow Creativity Queue Challenge, I told my brain to shut up and I created this 5"x5" piece.

I answered the question "If your artwork could talk, what would it say?"
(look mom, I put the question mark inside the quotation marks)

It goes out in tomorrow's mail.
Thanks again, Tammy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It's day number something-or-other of the creativity queue challenge at Daisy Yellow.  Not only have I completed another half-finished project, I've coerced my borrowed technology into cooperating so that I could share it with you.

If you remember, my first project in this series involved my funky new binding system and organizing all my loose artwork.

Today's project picks up where that left off.  For the past six months I've been trying to make test pages for all my art supplies, so that when I'm pawing through the box of colored pencils trying to find JUST the right shade of blue, I don't have to scribble with every single blue pencil (yet again) to remember how it looks on paper.  I can refer to the test sheet, like the one below:
Helpful, right?  This one is for watercolor crayons, and it shows what the crayon looks like dry as well as wet, and it lists the name of the color next to the test.

My goal has been to make a page like this for every different type of material.  I've been chipping away at it, but the pages are scattered everywhere - some in sketchbooks, some stuffed in a folder, some in a pile on the bookshelf.  I tracked them all down:
I figured out which materials were not represented, and made a few more sheets. 
Then, I punched holes in all the pages, created dividers so I could organize them by TYPE of art supply (colored pencils, markers, pastels, paints, etc.)  and used some old scrapbook paper as the covers.

Now I have a handy-dandy reference book, and because of the cool binding system, I can add pages whenever I want.
It sits on the shelf right next to my work desk where I can easily refer to it in the middle of a project.
 This makes me so very happy.
Huge thanks to the fabulous Tammy for lighting the motivational fire!

Monday, April 2, 2012


My laptop has crapped out for the third time in as many weeks. I was taking this all in stride and keeping a positive attitude and such. My lovely mom ever so graciously loaned me hers for a few days and it all seemed like it was going to be okay. So I sat down to visit my favorite blogging friends only to discover my comments are vanishing after I hit publish. I can't figure out why and nearly burst into tears. Instead I made this quick and whiny journal page and I'm blogging from my phone. I may have to stalk you all without comments this week.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Peep Show

Today is the day the Washington Post publishes the photos from their annual  Peeps Diorama Contest.
This is truly one of the highlights of the year for my peep-obsessed family.  Last year my mother saved dozens of peeps so that we could have our own diorama contest during our family vacation in July.  I carted shoeboxes full of random craft supplies to our rental house on Cape Cod and 3 generations worked feverishly and secretly on their entries.  Here's mine:
My husband was the brains of the operation - coming up with the theme, and creating the masterpieces that hang on the walls (and all the bad puns that go with them).  I was the manual labor and  I sacrificed quite a bit of skin to the hot glue gun while I assembled the gallery.

Here are close ups of those visiting the gallery and of the works of art on the walls:
painting by Claude Marshmallownet
painting by Pablo Peepcasso
painting by Cluckson Pullock
The Mona Peepsa, of course.

And lest you think I made up this whole "family contest" thing as a way of justifying the number of hours I spend playing with marshmallows, I present to you:

My son's nightclub diorama featuring his favorite band, Daft Punk, as house DJs.
(and yes, those are working lights around the edge of the club!)
My nephew's rendition of the hilariously complex and violent card game "Killer Bunnies"
My mother's portrayal of the family vacation featuring me at the stove, my niece making friendship bracelets, my sister swatting mosquitoes, my father sleeping and the other five family members on their laptops.
and finally, the joint effort between my sister and my niece - four scenes from the movie "The Princess Bride"
"OK, I'll try to stay awake"
"I am not left-handed either!"
"So you'll put down your rock, and I'll put down my sword and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people?"
"Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line"

I love my peeps!