Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Ladies Come Calling

Look who I found hiding in my mailbox today! Isn't she adorable?

The paper dolls arrived from the Artella Paper Doll Swap; and so FAST! These ladies made record time in getting here. This little gal is made of clay and look at her pretty beads!

And this sassy lady came with her own wardrobe, complete with an extra set of eyeglasses! How cute is that?

You have to look more closely at the detail of the beautiful lady who popped out first. Isn't she fancy with her ribbon dress and velvet boots?

These little ladies are so cute, I'll have to find them a permanent home where they can be comfy and watch me work. That was a fun swap and we may do another one after the first of the year. I hope so!

I also received some special rubber stamps in the mail that I had ordered. A little preview of those will be coming tomorrow. I see some more polymer clay tiles in their future.

I had a nice (but way too short) visit with my sister this weekend. We laughed, shopped, ate too much and, in general, had a great time. It's always sad to see them go. :( So, today I'm trying to get the art studio in shape to begin my next projects. It will keep my hands busy while my mind misses my sissy! More to come tomorrow...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Memories: Vintage Style

Here are the final two cards I made for the Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap. I decided to make these last two cards with more of a vintage feel. I had a little scrapbook kit in my stash that had these cool vintage Christmas images on them. I cut out the images that would fit nicely on my card and just collaged them all together. Of course I had to put some doll images on there! The backgrounds I painted and then embossed with copper embossing powder to give it an old "rusty" look. I'm pretty happy with these. Now I can get them in the mail today!

I forgot to mention how many people had signed up for the fat book swap in my post yesterday. So far there are 112. The deadline for sign-ups is supposed to be Sunday, but today the hostess said she may hold out to see if they can get 120 people for this swap, like they did for the one that was just completed! Regardless of how many sign up, I'm going to be making at least 125 pages!

I've already cut 90 background sheets, so I'm a little ahead of the game so far. You have to adhere your technique to a sturdy base page that measures 4" x 4". I'm using a heavy watercolor paper for my base page. You also need to leave the left 1/2" margin of the front side clear to allow for binding your page. Same goes for the back (right) 1/2" for when you turn the page over and read your instructions! I've even marked off the margins on the pages I've already cut! I've found that this is a good activity to do while watching football. Am I good, or what! :)

Since you have to include a few extra pages in your packet, you also don't want to forget to keep one for yourself. Duh! That would be a bummer; send all your pages off and not have one of your own for your book. You just need to slow down and think about what you're doing. I can't wait to dive into doing the actual technique. I want to do batches of the fabric paper in different themes. You'll see what I mean after I do a batch. :)

Right now I must get ready for my sister's visit. Her room isn't quite ready. I've been using the spare bedroom to store all of my yarns, fabrics in. So, off to clear a tiny space for her to sleep! Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Memories ATC's

Here are three of the five ATC's I have made for the Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap. I want to get the other two made today and all of them mailed out tomorrow. The deadline for mailing isn't until Dec. 3 but I have so many other things in the works that I'd like to get these marked off my list so I can concentrate on my big projects.

I'm pretty happy with these so far. You can click on each photo to get a better view. I found this glittered white scrapbook paper that just looked like snow with either the sun or the stars shining down on it. I knew it would be a perfect backdrop for these memory cards. I now have to decide on how I want to do the remaining two. I'll post those when they are finished.

Other things in the works: I've signed up for an art techniques swap. This is a big project. I recently joined the Art Techniques Yahoo group. This is a group whose main focus is on art techniques; not so much the art itself, but the backgrounds and effects you get when you make your art. This sounded real interesting. I started looking at their photos and they have some very talented artists; some whose names I recognize from the Somerset Studio magazine and other Stampington publications. So I knew I was in the right place.

I was sad to see that they had just completed a fat book swap. What is a fat book? It's a sampler book of, in this case, 120 different art techniques. The swap entailed each artists making as many 4" x 4" pages as there were people signed up for the swap. That swap had 120 people signed up, so each artist made 120 separate pages; one for each participant. They used the same technique that they had signed up for on each of their pages, but they had to make 120 separate pages. No photocopies allowed. Basically you just make a big bunch of huge sheets of your technique and cut it down to 120 individual 4 x 4 sheets. Anyway, that swap had just ended and people were starting to receive their box of pages in the mail.

One person was responsible for hosting this swap. What a job! She had to make sure that each person who sent her a box of 120 pages of their technique had actually sent 120 pages. (You were supposed to include a couple of extra pages, just in case your count was off.) Then she had to swap them all out. She had 120 people mail her their boxes of pages. Then she had to turn around, swap all of them out and mail 120 packages back to the participants. You include the postage for her when you sign up, so she's not out any money. It's mind-boggling, but it seemed to work out pretty well. Everyone was raving about their packages! They received 120 loose pages that they would then bind however they wanted to. It would be impractical for the poor hostess to have to also BIND the pages. Plus, people have their own way of how they want to bind their pages, or even IF they want them bound.

So I was feeling let down that they had just finished this huge project, when one day one of the messages said, "Why not do another one?" I perked right up and before I knew it they had a database set up for people to register for the 2009 fat book swap! Yay!! I signed up the first day and picked as my technique, "fabric paper". It's a technique I read about by the artist Beryl Taylor. I saw it in the premier issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine about 4 years ago. They have since revisited the technique, but I keep all of those mags and I have her step by step instructions on how to do it. Sooo... that is what I really want to start working on. I love my ATC's, but I'm ready to start tackling this project!

I'll explain more about the technique and how I'm doing different variations as I get into it. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful Art Dolls

These are the final two art doll ATC's for the November Art Doll ATC Swap. The top one is named, "Thankful for Nature's Bounty" and the second one is called, "Thankful for Change of Seasons 2". I had a hard time trying to come up dolls for this theme. They will be sent off in the mail today! Whew!

I've also been working on the Holiday Memories ATC's for the Artella ATC swap. I need to make five cards, so I'm trying to get those out the door before the end of the week. Then I can concentrate on some new things I've got going in the mix. More on that later.

I'm also excited to have my sister Sherry come visit me this weekend! I haven't seen her since May, so we have a lot of catching up to do. That's all for today. I'll share with you some other projects I've signed up for in the coming days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thinking Out Loud

What would happen if you took this AWESOME book, added these materials...

Then mixed in a few rubber stamps...?

You would get these cool polymer clay tiles!

I love this! I have always been intimidated by polymer clay; just the baking, conditioning, cutting, etc. turned me off. That is, until I saw this book. I've never even been that much of a mosaic person, but something about this book drew me in.

This is a great book. It gives in-depth instructions, lots of ideas to tailor your own art, I could go on and on. So, I thought, what would it hurt to try? I did have an ancient toaster oven that I had gotten years ago at a thrift store. I thought I would use it for my experiment. Unfortunately, when I plugged it in, a little trickle of smoke came out and I immediately unplugged it and tossed it. So, with a 50% off coupon I purchased an oven made for polymer clay. (small investment)

I have a pretty good assortment of rubber stamps. So I chose a few that I thought would make interesting tiles. The hardest part IS conditioning the clay. But after that you're good to go. It's worth it when you see your little creations come to life. And rubbing the PearlEx powders onto the clay before it goes into the oven is like magic! Beautiful colors bursting from these little tiles!

I have a couple of projects in mind for these that I'll share soon. I just wanted you to get a peek at what I've been doing behind the scenes. More will follow. Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November Art Doll ATC's

Here is one of the ATC's I made for the November Art Doll ATC Swap in one of my Yahoo groups. We have to make four dolls (cards) and we will receive five in return. The theme for the November swap is "Thanksgiving" and you can interpret it any way you want.

I wanted to do something different with this month, rather than the usual turkey, pilgrim or Indian doll. So, I made my theme to be what I am thankful for. This card's title is: "Thankful for Winter's Arrival." I am glad to see the heat and humidity of summer go and always look forward to Fall. Winter's white snowy blanket always reminds me of glitter and I found this white glittered scrapbook paper which I thought would be perfect for my little Mr. Winter doll. I made his face from the Sun/Moon push molds I received from my dear friend Joanne a few weeks back. I gave him a couple of coats of different white paints and added some "hair". The tree on the side of the card is part of a dollar tree ornament I am cutting up and using on my winter cards. You'll see that again.

Here is the second card for the swap:

This card is called: "Thankful for Change of Seasons". He's a little silk leaf I cut out of a fall flower garland and inked up with distress ink to give him that muddy look. His legs are part of the same garland that I snipped off the end of the leaves and just glued down. Behind him I stamped the background with a background stamp and embossed it with copper embossing powder. It doesn't show up very well in the photo but it's nice and shiny, kind of like the fall coppers and golds you see when you look at the fall foliage.

Now I have to make the other two cards. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Isabella: The Paper Doll

OK, if I were a paper doll this is what I would look like! Tall, very thin and carrying my paints around with me at all times. Oh yes, I would have very long, multi-colored hair and my ever present jester hat. Ha! This one was fun to do. This is the last of three paper dolls I made for the paper doll swap at Artella. You can click on the photo to get a larger view. The other two dolls are shown on previous posts.

I don't know which one is my favorite. I like them all. This one is made of very cool Harlequin fabric glued to a doll template made of heavy watercolor paper. The most trying part of the whole doll was getting those pom poms and tassels to stick (I used heavy duty adhesive). I think they are on pretty good now. She's a little over 10" tall and I really hated to see her go (just like the other two). :( I'll post the dolls I receive in the swap when they arrive. I mailed all three of my babies off today. The deadline is tomorrow, but we'll see if everyone sticks to it.

Now I must finish (start) the ATC's for the November Art Doll Swap in one of the Yahoo Groups I belong to and the Holiday Memories ATC Swap at Artella. The mailing deadlines for both of these are very soon (two weeks) but there are other projects that need to be in the works asap. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Halloween ATC's Have Arrived!

Look what arrived in the mail today! Boo! Aren't they cute? These are the art doll ATC's that came from the Monthly Art Doll Swap for October. I made four dolls and received five in return. Can't beat that! The hostess made a doll for everyone who participated in the swap (the little ghost). These people are good! Their dolls are so intricate; tiny parts and on such a little scale. They must have very thin fingers to be able to work so small. I love these! I have to have November's dolls finished and into the hostess' hands by the last day of the month. I guess I'd better get to it!

I finished up the paper doll that was supposed to represent "me" for the paper doll swap at Artella. I'll post it next time. I hope to have them all in the mail tomorrow. Saturday is the mailing deadline. Yes, I'm going to get a big monthly wall calendar with big blocks for the days so I'll be able to glance up and see when these various swaps are due.

Everyone who participated in the zine swap at Artella seems pleased with their zines. I've received some very nice comments and am in the process of commenting to each author on their zine. I definitely want to do another one when they announce it.

All of these art swaps are keeping me hopping. This is good. I've got more things in the mix that I'll share in the coming days. Right now I have to finish up a few loose ends and get packages ready for the post office tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zines Have Arrived!

See! All of that hard word DID pay off! I received all of these beauties in the mail Monday (minus my own, of course!). There were so many I couldn't get them all in one photo. Here are the rest:

They are all packed with color, wit, art, poetry ... just a little bit of everything. And most of them included little collage goodies inside. You know how I like the goodies! I am so glad I participated in this swap. It was a learning experience putting together a little mini magazine and a lot of work making ten (eleven--had to save one for myself) originals, but it was so worth it. There is talk of another swap in the Spring. I plan to join in whenever they decide to host it. In honor of all the wonderful artists' creations, I made this little digital collage:

I hope it gave you a little lift today! The last paper doll (finally!) will be posted tomorrow. She's almost finished. She is the one that is supposed to represent me. I WISH I looked like her! Hey, on the inside, I DO! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Woodland Fairy Bride

Here is the second doll that I made for the paper doll swap at Artella. I call her the woodland fairy bride. You can click on the image for a larger view. She will be my doll made for the "anything you want to make" category. The other two categories are: your muse, and yourself. She came about after I saw this book...

This is an awesome book if you are really into fairies. Of course, anyone who knows me knows I love these little creatures. This book is a collection of fairy clothes put forth by the House of Elwand. It's so creative! There are beautiful little creations in there made from leaves, flowers, beads, feathers, you name it. The ultimate creation, in my opinion, was the bridal gown. Here is their version:

I took their lead and filled this in with a base of white feathers like the ones shown here. Then I glued more curly, fluffy feathers on top of the base feathers and really liked the outcome. For the waistband I had some glue on pearls that matched the colors pretty well. I just left the bodice as is after many tries to embellish it. Nothing looked as good as the original. So, all that was left was to find a suitable face and make her hair. She is really special. Yes, I will hate to see her go.... such is the price you pay for a swap. Speaking of swaps...I received my box of zines in the mail! They are awesome and I will post a picture of them tomorrow. Now I must finish my third paper doll; the one that is supposed to represent me. This will be interesting...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spinning My Wheels

This is the other ATC I made for the Winner Takes All drawing. The person listed under their preferred themes: anything Zetti. So, I took these little Zetti stamps (included as freebies in my last order!) and embellished them to pieces! The bottom design is actually a stamp! I glued seed beads in various colors to this "rocky road". I have a ton of buttons, so I picked two metal ones and made those the wheels.

It doesn't show up too well but I colored his hat and little collar thingie with a copper glitter gel pen. The background is a digital background from a digital scrapbooking kit. It's kind of a monotone card, but I liked the colors and the feel of the card after it was finished. So I send these off today and can mark that off my list.

The title today also refers to how I'm feeling this week; like I'm just spinning my wheels. I can't seem to make much progress on the other projects I've started. Things keep popping up like this Winner Takes All obligation or there is some yardwork that has to get done before the rain comes, etc. I'm very excited about these paper dolls and want to finish them! I WILL finish one today. Then I have to finish the November art doll cards and get those mailed. Yes, it's my fault for signing up for all of them but I'll finish it all on time. I always do!

Enough for today. I must get these to the post office and then back to work. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

LOVE: Asian Style

This is an ATC I made for a Winner Takes All drawing in one of my Yahoo groups. The idea is you sign up and a random generator picks two names. Those are the winners. Each person who did not win has to make one ATC for each winner. When you sign up you list your favorite themes so people know what you would like on your card. This person listed Asian and birds as possible themes. I had a little set of Asian stamps and liked the "Love" one, so I stamped that on some gold lame.

The Asian -themed scene is from a credit card case my hubby gave to me. He received it from one of his students. Very pretty. Once again, the scan doesn't do it justice. I used a fabric remnant that I thought looked kind of Asian-y and adhered everything to it.

I'm not really that into Asian art or themes. I think I had my fill when I first moved out of my parents' house and got my own place. I had Asian everything. After years of living with all of that stuff, I finally burned out on it. But I see that it is very popular with ATC groups so I better have a few supplies on hand in case I have to make any more of these. I did get a little package of Origami paper that I can use for backgrounds. They just didn't match these particular items I wanted to use on this card.

Other news: I am LOVING my paper dolls. It will be very hard to let them go. I came up with a new theme for all three. Needless to say, the one I showed earlier is staying home with me. These three new ones are turning out divine! I will post them as I finish them. Also, I received three more Zetti girl stamps today! Yay! More images to follow...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Presents In The Mail!

I received my ephemera baggie today in the mail! Believe it or not, all of this fit into a little sandwich baggie. If you click on the photo you can see a much better view. I've got fabrics, foreign money, brads, charms, vintage photos and magazine page, ribbons, etc. There is just too much to name. How cool was this swap? I will definitely use these in my little collages and ATC's. I love the vintage little girl face. She will be used very soon. And the little Paris and Moulin Rouge poster sheets...I've been looking for some of those! Serendipity is at work here.

It's always fun to get presents in the mail! That's half the fun of the swaps; seeing what you'll get in return. The other half is making it in the first place and hoping whoever gets your creation will like it as much as you do! That's it for today. Stay tuned for more goodies on their way...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Little Girl Who Wouldn't Go Away

I guess I'm still in the Halloween "dark" mode. I made this little digital collage and printed it out on fabric. I'll definitely do something with this. I used another one of my Zetti stamps I received in the mail. Isn't she adorable? Well, maybe not if you read the little poem and look at the background. But she will be popping up in different colors and settings from now on. And I am going to have to order a few more! :)

On a lighter note, here are the remaining two 60's flashback ATC's that I received the other day. This one is a textured background (coffee filter) painted black. And the tie dye is real! She really dyed the coffee filter. How cool is that?!

This next one didn't scan well at all. Sorry about that. It's really neat, though. The peace sign is made up of seed beads. Hence the uneven scanning. Very nice effect with the Peace and Love stamped in psychedelic ink. This scan does not do the card justice. Arrggghhh! Maybe Santa will bring me a nice BIG scanner!

That's it for today. I am supposed to be making my paper dolls, but this little girl just wouldn't let me get to work until I gave her a spooky background! Stay tuned...