Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My Teesha Moore stamps that I talked about in my last post arrived today, can't you tell? FYI, the stamp is the little girl. You can click on the photo to get a much larger view. See her funky outfit? I colored her in purples and pinks today to match the digital background. She is so cute! I have another one that I'll post next time. I thought I would put her into a Halloween mood so I gave her a few frightful friends.

The mailbox had all kinds of presents today. I also received my '60's Flashback ATC's. Here is one called "Valium Mornings". It just has that vintage feel to it, doesn't it? I LOVE this card!

Here is another of the 60's ATC's. It has really captured the era with the verse and the art. LOVED it, too! The other two I will post next time. I'm still getting used to trying to figure out the spacing when you try to type between photos. As you can see, I haven't quite figured it out. Oh well...

That's all for today. I need to go get the candy dish ready for the little beggars that will be arriving soon. BOO!! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mod Paper Doll

I have been busy working on the paper dolls for the latest swap I'm participating in. The last post showed some clay molds that I planned to use for faces. I'm still using those, but not for every doll. Plus, I'm making extra dolls for my own stash! The swap requirements were to make three paper dolls: one will be your Muse; one will be YOU; and the third can be anything you wish. Here is my first one:

I'm not sure which category I want to put her into yet. Well, she's definitely not ME! :) So that leaves two to choose from. Here is a closeup of her face and bodice:

Her bodice is made from a sheer fabric that has been glued over red scrapbook paper and then adhered to a heavy cardstock doll template. Her skirt is black crepe paper and I got her belt from an old Barbie doll that I picked up at the Goodwill to use for spare doll "parts". I made her sleeves from striped scrapbook paper and some old lace cut from another doll's clothes. Her boots are made from a scrap of faux suede material. I drew on the boot details with a Sharpie. The boot template was provided courtesy of Valerie Brincheck in my ATC art doll swaps.

If you aren't familiar with the artist Teesha Moore and her "Zettiology" series of art and rubber stamps, check out the link at the end of this post. If you click on "New Zettiology" you'll see her line of rubber stamps devoted to quirky costumed girls. My little doll is pretty tame compared to Teesha's cool stamps. And, yes, I had to order some of those stamps! Who could resist? I'll post them when they come in.

These are based on the Japanese street fashion called "Fruits" that the Japanese teens wear. If you search the web under "Japanese fashion and fruits fashion" you'll see the types of outfits I'm talking about. Some of them can be pretty wild get-ups. Anyway, Teesha's Zetti girls were the inspiration for my toned down version of a "fruits" fashion doll.


Other news: The '60's Flashback ATC's have been swapped out and are in the mail. I should be receiving mine any day. Also, the ephemera swap has been mailed to us and that is now on the way. Plus, my art doll Halloween ATC's should be put into the mail within the next couple of days. And finally, the zines will be put into the mail next Friday. Someone completely missed the deadline and we all had to wait for that person to finish theirs. Lots of things in transit now and I am anxiously awaiting them all. I'll post them as they arrive.

Now back to working on my next paper doll. I'll post her when she's finished. And here is the link to Teesha's catalog of cool stamps:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Second Thought...

In my last post I had mentioned that I may change my blog host. Upon further review I have decided to stay right here for the time being. I chalk that up to lack of sleep and grumpiness! Now on to other business:

Since I am starting with a clean slate (attitude-wise) with my blog host, I thought I would do the same in my art studio. As I mentioned before, it was due for a major makeover. The clean slate is always a good place to begin:

Now the question becomes, what should I work on next? I have so many projects I want to tackle and all of this empty space opens up so many possibilities. Should I cut some fabric here on my sewing table?

Or should I begin at my art table? Perhaps gesso a few pages to prepare my art journal. All of my little friends who inspire me are already here and waiting for my decision! There's even the little girl that I used to be staring at me, whispering, "Be You!". Hmm... where to begin?

A few of my collage supplies beckon. Try some new things? Lots of treasures to explore and choose from. Which shall it be?

I think I will begin the faces for my paperdoll swap. But these are no ordinary paper dolls. These will have clay faces and embellishments galore! The Muse paper doll will be mystical and almost ghostly! I have big plans for her. The "self-portrait" paper doll will be whimsical and playful: maybe a jester! And, the "anything goes" paper doll will be a surprise even to me! Time to begin!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thinking About A Change

I am thinking about changing my blog host. There are a lot of reasons for this, but mainly it's due to my lack of understanding on how to fix little layout issues that really are starting to bug me. Usually I overlook it, but today it is really frustrating.

I'm investigating my options right now. I may end up doing nothing; we'll see. Blogger IS free and you do get what you pay for. Plus, I'm only averaging about four hours of sleep a night (for some reason) and am really grumpy! If I decide to move to another site I will post my new link here and leave it up for a long time so you can make the switch, too!

OK, enough of that. Here is the third ATC I received in the Magic Key ATC swap at Artella. Isn't she cute? Such different takes on the theme!

Here is the last of the ATC's I received in the swap. Interesting, huh? The back of the card says: "Sometimes the darkness comes when I least expect it and I often look for keys to open doors I can't find. Looking for keys, searching but never finding." See? That's the cool thing about these swaps. You never know what somebody's interpretation of the them is going to be. All four cards were really a different take on "Magic Key". It made it one of the more varied swaps this year.

I started cleaning up my studio and felt too overwhelmed so I decided to come in here and post to my blog instead! I do have to get back at it so I can clear room for my next project. I think that's the part I dislike the most in all of this: cleaning up afterward. Of course, if I DID clean up afterward, I wouldn't be whining about it now! Stay tuned...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun!

As you can see, the top two photos have nothing to do with the bottom two! First things first: the top two are the last of my art doll ATC's that I have sent off to the hostess! I loved the cat when I saw him and had to make a doll out of him. His face is all black glitter; that is what some of the reflection is that's glaring on the photo. The little ghoul girl was clip art that I had in a file. I just used her head and made the rest out of fabric, buttons and paper. She's kind of creepy, but it's Halloween, so she's supposed to be!

The next two cards are the part of the Secret Key ATC's I finally received today! Yay! These were a long time getting here. A few people missed the deadline, so we all had to wait. Anyway, here are two of the four.

I love seeing how each person will interpret the theme. It just shows you how creative people can be. I received four very different interpretations of "Secret Key". The first one says, "Travel is the key that helps us see". It's really nice! The artist included some really cool foreign postage stamps and part of a postcard from Hawaii.

The second one is a beautiful card on watercolor paper. Soft pastel peachy color. The back of the card reads: "I Corinthians 13:13 (NN) "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE." Then at the bottom, she wrote: "psst...pass it on". Very Nice!

It's such a treat getting little pieces of art in the mail from people all over the country. I can't wait to see what kind of art doll ATC's I'll receive. I will post them here when they arrive. Now I have to clean up my studio because I can't even walk through it right now. Bits and scraps of paper, stickers, fabric, glue, etc. are all over the place.

Next projects to work on: 1) the Amusing Paper Doll swap (from Artella) You create 3 paper dolls in any medium you wish: 1 doll is you, 1 is your Muse, and 1 is any kind of doll you want (I think... I'll have to check on that). You get three in return. 2) My art swap with a fellow Artella artist. Still trying to get something centered around the butterfly theme, since that is what she likes. 3) My Art Journal. Hope to have a page done by tomorrow night.

I was upset to hear that the bag of ephemera that I sent PRIORITY MAIL a week ago Saturday never made it to the hostess! I paid extra money for nothing. So, I have to get another baggie of 35 items together by tomorrow and mail it out AGAIN. I'm not using priority anymore. It's a ripoff. So, regular mail will probably get there (I hope) in a reasonable time.

OK. Got that off my chest. That's all for today. Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Goblin Girl ATC

Here is the second ATC I made for the Art Doll ATC swap I found on Yahoo groups. She was a lot of work! This little canvas to work with is challenging. They must all be able to fit into the 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" sleeve or on the card of the same size. She does fold up into the sleeve, but I think I'm going to mount her on a card. I have done up a few Halloween backgrounds on some blank cards but I'm still deciding.

I'm trying to catch a cold and have felt sluggish the last couple of days, so I'll keep it short today. I still have two more cards to make and want them out in tomorrow's mail. Speaking of mail, my Magic Key ATC's were supposedly mailed Wednesday from California, so I'm looking forward to receiving those. I will post them when they come in. That's the hard part: waiting on your cards! That's all for today. I will post the other two cards after I finish them.

I'm also working on my first journal page. I'll show that when it's ready. And, I'm looking for ideas for something to make in the art swap I'm doing with my art buddy at Artella. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Witching Hour Art Doll ATC

Here is my first art doll ATC. Witches don't always have to be ugly! Well, maybe you think she is, but I don't! ;) The broom isn't permanently attached yet, because I have to be able to manipulate it so that it will fit into the ATC sleeve. Believe it or not, she will fold up nicely and fit into that little 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" plastic sleeve.

I found the face image on the web and colored it in with my colored pencils. The legs are fabric that I glued onto the template. The arms and little vest are black crepe paper. The bodice is landscaping fabric left over from our gravel laying! I have a huge strip of this left which makes nice little clothes!! And I found those teeny buttons at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I love her hair. It's one of those cheapy spider webs they sell that you are supposed to drape in your Halloween decorating. I think it makes great hair! The hat is a copy of a sticker. I originally wanted to use the sticker but it was too small for her big head. So I enlarged it and colored it, then adhered it. :)

So, one down and three to go. I'm making four different ones. The next one will be a little anime doll with a mask, then onto a cute little cat figure. I drew the face for doll #4. My first time actually drawing a face for art! These are going to get mailed Monday so I hope to finish them up by tomorrow. My eyes can only take so much of this little tiny work!

I had some exciting news. One of my art buddies at Artella asked if I'd be interested in doing an art swap with her! She's an awesome artist and I was honored that she asked. Of course I said yes. When she returns from her trip after this weekend, we will work out the details. I think I want to make her a mixed media collage on canvas. She loves butterflies, so ideas are forming. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

60's Flashback ATC's

Here are the ATC's I'm sending in for the 60's Flashback theme. Sorry some of them ended up scanning a little blurry. I don't know what that's all about. If you look real close (you can click on the photo to get a larger view) you'll see that I included a metal peace charm somewhere on each charm.

My favorite is the Twiggy card. I wish it had scanned better. The background is that cool handkerchief I found at Hobby Lobby. The boots are dimensional stickers that I found on a sheet with a 60's theme. How appropriate! I stamped the word MOD on one of the letters on the fabric.

Speaking of stamps, I found these tiny rubber stamps at Michael's in their dollar bin! I'll try and scan them in my next post. At first, I picked up the little box and thought, "how cute!". Then I realized there were all different kinds of fonts! I started with three little boxes. Perfect for ATC's!

The guitar card is another one that I used the fabric for a background. The stickers were part of the same set with the boots. I think I added one sticker for each card. There were plenty to go around.

Other news: Isabella's Coffee House is adding an annex! That's all I'll say for now. Details to come later...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Read To Me"

This is a digital collage I made from the elements in the latest studio kit, "School Days", that I received through my Artella membership. If you click on the image, you'll get a larger picture. Each month they send you a nice digital studio kit and then they have a monthly contest for the kit recipients to submit whatever you decided to create from the kit. There are usually quite a number of files of background papers, brushes, images, etc. to choose from. I haven't done anything with a kit for awhile so I thought I would enter this little collage; the title is: "Read To Me". Some people print out the images and adhere them to canvas or watercolor paper; it's all up to you what you want to do with the images.

I remember when I learned to read. What a world that opened up! Mom would take me to the library and I could pick out any book I wanted to read! These images brought some of that magic back to me. I remember she would get a huge stack of books for herself and I couldn't believe she was going to read all of them. She usually did, too. Mom was a very fast reader. I am, too. That's one of the multitude of gifts that she passed on to me! Thank you, Mom! I love you!! I know she hears me in heaven. :)

Well, I'm finally starting an art journal. I've had a sketch book laying around here forever, and I bought it with the intention of starting a journal, but I just never knew where to start. The blank pages were intimidating and I could never figure out what to put on them. Thanks to the art journal course I've signed up for from Artella I now have a place to begin. It's a really cool course and it goes slow. That way, you have time to work on a journal page before the next lesson (about every 4 days). So, I'm working on my first page now and when I finish, I'll post it.

I've always envied some of the beautiful journal pages I've seen from other artists. How do they come up with these ideas! Wish me luck as I start on my own journey. It's like any art project: just jump in and do it. There's no right or wrong way to do a journal page; I know that. I just didn't want to "mess" up my sketch book. Duh! It's for experimenting!! So, that's what's new right now.

I'm also working on my first ATC art doll for the Halloween theme. I am loving this project! I get to make 4 dolls on ATC's and when I send them in, I'll get 5 back in return. The hostess sends you one of hers in addition to the other swappers! And, of course, I'm still trying to come up with another 60's Flashback ATC. All of these will be posted when finished.

I did check to see where our Magic Key ATC's were. It's been a while since I sent mine in. The hostess said some people were late getting their cards in by the deadline and as soon as they were all received we would get ours. I think for future swaps, she has an alternate plan for late senders. When I get those, I'll post them here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Zines Are Mailed!

They are finally in the mail! What a long haul it's been since I signed on for that swap. I had some problems this morning, though. I knew all along in the back of my head that I would staple these. The covers are made of Tyvek and it's one whole piece that's folded. I figured I would staple a heavy duty staple down the size. It didn't work! The pages were not cooperating and when you turned the page, some didn't get stapled. I was in a panic. I really hadn't thought of binding it any other way.

I finally figured out that I could three hole punch them and use book rings in the holes. I had some packages of multi-colored rings that saved the day. So, only one zine got the staple mishap. You could barely see there were staple holes in it when I took them out. The good thing about Tyvek: no ripping! You can't tear the stuff! Yay!! Ripping out heavy duty staples was no big deal.

The second wave of panic came about halfway through assembling these. They weren't going to fit in the priority box I picked up the post office yesterday. They were too thick and bulky for all ten of them to fit into that box. I had to make a mad dash out to Target and find a bigger box. I found one that was a little too big, but I stuffed it with newspaper and got it out the door!

The top photo is the cover that I finally settled on. It was oversized for the scanner and didn't really scan all that well. The butterfly wings are that gorgeous trellis yarn called Stained glass Window. I knitted little samples and attached them to the front with fluid medium. The bottom photo is the back cover. It was a mask that I had received in one of my scrapbook mailings. I had never used a mask before, but the subject matter was perfect, so I tried it. So easy! Just stick it onto your background and paint over it. When you are finished, it peels right off. It can be used over and over and still sticks to the surface. I'll have to find more of those!

So, that was one big project. If I had known how much time and work it would take to get that zine out, I'd still do it! We are talking about having another one for the spring. Hmm.. But tonight I take it easy. No more working all hours of the day and night on a project. I'm going to have a little dinner, watch some football and look over the new e-course I signed up for at Artella. It's an Art Journaling course. This will make me start an art journal: something I've been wanting to do but not really knowing where to start.

Stay tuned...tomorrow I tackle an art doll ATC and another 60's flashback ATC. I still haven't received my cards from the Magic Key swap. I asked about where they were. Hope they arrive soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scenes From A Zine

After much anxiety and despair (see previous post), the zines are finished! I am going to get a box for them today and take them to the post office with some other packages tomorrow! Whew! What a job. Ten copies (11 counting one for myself) of an 18 page zine. I will post copies of the front and back covers, along with some favorite pages tomorrow.

The first four photos are the pages for each section of the zine. I tried to keep with the whole "wings" theme, so these are the headings I came up with. Each title is a transparency I made using different digital images of frames and fonts. The first section is called "A Wing and A Prayer". This is the section that contains Angel Cards. I picked one angel card for each zine recipient and then included the meaning of the card on the next page. The second section is called "Flights of Fancy". I wrote an article about using fabric in your art and then included photos of the two art quilts made by my mother-in-law, Lydia. The third section is called "On The Fly". This is the fabric-fused paper doll section. I talked about the method I used for making the dolls and the bottom photo is one of the dolls plus their wings enclosed in a little plastic pouch. And the last section is called "Winging It". This is the collage section. I included a whole page of goodies for each person, including a small charm, two mini-zines (one of stamped Tyvek papers and the other of Wings quotes) and a Fantasy ATC.

I did make this more work than it needed to be, but I decided to go all out. What the heck. So now I'm off to assemble and staple these things (with my heavy-duty stapler) and then get them out the door. Next up: working on my Art Doll ATC's. I need to do some investigating on the Yahoo site to see examples of how these have been done. Also on the radar: the '60's ATCs and the ephemera swap. Gotta run. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finishing Touches

This is the welcome letter that is on the inside cover of my little zine I'm putting together for the Fall zine swap at Artella. You can click on the photo to get a giant view (sorry about that. Didn't mean to make it so huge). I decided to color in the little lady stamp with some of my colored pencils. I liked the way she turned out! I mixed it up and gave some versions green eyes, some brown and some blue. I would like to think I'm putting on the finishing touches, but I do have a few more pages to finish before I start assembling it.

Last night I was reading the posts from others who are just now sending their zines in. One person put it just right. She said it was like going through the stages of grief! There's disbelief (I can't believe I signed on for such a massive undertaking); denial (I am not going to finish this); and bargaining (If I'm real good and finish one more page before going to bed, I'll be able to buy some more paint...) just to name a few.

It's been a lot of fun, really. It's total freedom to play and create whatever kind of mini-magazine you want! You are the editor, the writer, the art director, you are IT! You can choose whatever theme you want to cover, or NO theme. You can use whatever kind of paper you want, you can make it all color or all black and white. See what I mean? Decisions!! But, I'm loving my little baby. I made a lot more work for myself just because I'm so picky, but I'll be proud of what I send out.

But I won't be sending anything out if I don't stop getting distracted by such cool things on the web! More later...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Serendipity In The Mailbox!

OK, how cool is this? Today I go out to the mailbox and have two little surprises waiting for me. The first is a mysterious package. It's from my dear sorority sister, Joanne, back in Columbus, OH (who I miss SO much!!)... I wonder what she could be sending me? It's in a very decorative envelope (which I will definitely save)...I open it up to find this cute little card (top photo) saying she saw these two things (next two photos) and thought of me.

Ahhh!! I LOVE these!! Thank you, Joanne! You are awesome!! :) It's hard to find much of a selection in this little town and there are definitely none of THESE here! I was doing a happy dance when I saw these little guys. I love sun and moon images on ANYTHING! What a wonderful surprise.

When I get my zine finished and out the door (target date Wed.), I'll definitely get to work with these little gems. Who knows, maybe Joanne will get a little surprise in the mail!

Then I see an envelope from my dear mother-in-law, Lydia. *waving hello to Lydia* I open it and find this beautiful card inside (bottom photo) that she has made for hubby and my anniversary coming up. And, look what's on the front of the card! I say cool is that?!

I just had to share these today. Now I must get back to work on my zines. I'm practically re-doing them all, but I'm liking these much better. Photos to come as soon as they are GONE! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ATC2: 1960's Flashback

Here is the second card I created for the Artella 1960's flashback ATC swap. It's digital here, but the background is on fabric and the rest are cut from watercolor paper. Did people really dress like that?! This swap is a lot of fun! I found some cool stickers yesterday that I'll put on my next one. It's a sheet of a tie dye shirt, some funky pants, white platform knee high boots, and some other stuff. It's a hoot! I'll show you when I get it finished.

Must run now to get these zine pages painted. It's turning into a bigger project because of my perfectionism! I'm loving the finished look, though. I'll post some pages when done. Deadline for mailing is Oct. 11. (whew!) Yes, I've re-done about half of it. Hmmm... What can I say? Didn't get much done on it yesterday because of a BAD migraine. Yuck, I hate when those hit. It had me down most of the afternoon/evening. Sometimes even Imitrex doesn't take care of it all of the time. It did help, though. Hopefully today I won't get another one. When they come in two's and three's I get worn down!

OK, enough about all of that. Stay tuned for what's next!