Friday, July 31, 2009

My Winnings

I hadn't mentioned before, but I was the winner of a drawing at Ginny's Small Studio on Tuesday. I was so excited! The prize was $40 worth of goodies from her emporium, Small Studio Productions. If you are not familiar with Ginny and her blog and store, you owe it to yourself to go and check it out.

I had a hard time choosing (there were so many great things, and such good prices), but finally decided. Imagine, they came in today's mail - that is almost instant gratification.

Here is what I got:

Don't you just love getting art supplies in the mail!

And isn't this the cutest label??

I'm in heaven!

My son is coming out for some Algebra tutoring this afternoon, but when I am done I will play with these goodies and show what I am doing tomorrow.

Starving....gotta go!

Memories and Redos

I am a bit distracted today. It is one year ago today that my younger brother, John, gave up his battle against cancer. He was 52 years old. I am a little sad, but am working on focusing on the wonderful memories I have of him particularly when he was a little guy and he and Dan and Joe were inseparable and full of fun and mischief.

I scraped as much wax as I could off the piece of wood I was working on and instead tried a bit of paper napkin on it. I am pleased with how it turned and will try my hand at wax another time.

I used matte PPA underneath and glossy PPA on top.

I am meeting my Algebra tutee at 9 this morning and need to shop for a bridal shower gift afterward. The shower is tomorrow so I cannot put it off any longer.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a bit of hoarseness. I did have the girls for most of the day yesterday and Payton was running a fever. I don't know if that is connected or not, but I will remember to drink lots of liquids today and hope to get rid of it in a hurry.

Gotta go!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On A More Positive Note

Anyone who knows me is aware that for me to be down and/or to beat up on myself is a rare thing. So, now that I've exposed my raw, insecure self, I have a more positive post.

I decided to get right to work on something new, so I put out on my palette (piece of waxed paper) three shades of green and took out a detail brush to practice the point, squish, draw to make a leaf that I watched Sue do effortlessly yesterday. I tried several times with similar results. This is going to require lots of practice.

So instead of getting frustrated, I turned my attempt into a silly little drawing that I will share with you now.

I rather like her and her green hair!

I also took apart the wax collage I tried a couple of days ago and am going to try something else with it. I will post when I decide what it is to be.

More tomorrow........

Where Did My Muse Go?

Yesterday I had an art class at USArtQuest in Grass Lake, Michigan. It is really almost in Jackson and only about 20 minutes from me. In the class we made checkbook covers by first painting a background on the presewn Studio Cloth and then using PPA to adhere them and finish them. There were ten of us, plus two instructors, Frankie and Sue. It was apparent almost from the start that I was the only "pretender" there. A couple in the group were on their way to Novi for a big stampers convention, at least one was a successful watercolorist and everyone (except me) knew exactly how to choose pieces from paper napkins to make beautiful compositions on their presewn studio cloth.

As might be expected, my muse almost immediately jumped up and ran and hid in the parking lot somewhere (or maybe she actually went further away than that). I was so out of my depth in terms of ease of working with art products and self-assurance. Everyone was very nice and said nice things, but it was apparent that I was the left-brained one and they were all surely right brained.

I surely wish I had taken my camera with me. The designs were absolutely beautiful - many of them actually did some hand painting to add dimension and interest to the glued pieces of napkins. At the end Sue added hand drawn leaves and berries to some of them (at the request of the artists). On the last one I saw her playing with she used 101 to make dimensional leaves. She is awe-inspiring to watch!

I didn't get much done on my checkbook cover. I do like the background. I only adhered a couple of flowers to the outside and part of a butterfly to the inside. When I got home, I stamped some script with a background stamp I have that I think made the cover much more interesting and looked quite nice inside.

I must say the Studio Cloth is really nice to work with and I just happen to have a roll of it here in my art room. When I decide what I am going to do with it, I will play more and show what I can do when I am more relaxed at home and not so intimidated by the talent around me.

I will definitely take more classes and will hope that my muse will not totally abandon me as she did this time.

I need to do a little bit of grocery shopping today and I think I will go looking for a new shower curtain for the master bath that the hubster painted yesterday.

And I am going to do some art. I think I am going to practice the brush techniques that Sue showed yesterday. Mention was made of Donna Dewberry (of whom I've never heard) and her one stroke method of painting. I got online today and went the the Jackson District Library site and then to MelCat and reserved a couple of her books.

What I'd really like to do is have Sue adopt me and spend lots of time teaching me all that she knows. I might have to live to be 100 in order to feel more like an artist, but it would be worth it!

Okay, enough beating myself up. My muse will return. I'm hoping she has been hiding out in my art room all along and didn't get lost somewhere near Grass Lake yesterday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waxing (Poetic?)

I bit the bullet and pushed my fears aside and got out the Melting Pot and Project Pan that I found for a great price at the USArtQuest warehouse sale and began the process of melting some wax that my dear friend, Nancy, gave me to play with (I just can't write "with which to play" so I am ending this sentence with with, ha! :-o )

I began by using a brush to put a coat of wax over the wood and then took each piece that I wanted to add and put it in the wax to coat it and then used metal tweezers to place it on the wood. It went well except I think it is too waxy. Some of the wax seemed to drip onto the wood in clumps, so when it was cooled I took a part of an old credit card and scraped some of it off. I think it looks okay, but both my friend, Tina, and an online friend, Rob, told me that I could heat the wax with a heat gun and rearrange things. Also Rob told me that when he uses wax he likes to put a layer on the substrate (in this case, the block of wood) and then arrange his collage and use his heat gun to get the collage to sink into the wax. I think I like that idea and it seems like it wouldn't get quite so waxy as mine did.

I am posting my collage as it looks now, but once the hubster arises, I am going to get out the heat gun and melt some of the wax on the collage so that I can remove the large "Dream" from the upper left hand corner and play a bit. I think I will also remove the large pink sparkly from the bottom left. I will post the revision tomorrow.

I am excited about my day today. I have a class at USArtQuest from 10 to 1 and then have my third Photography webinar at 2. In my morning class, I am making a checkbook cover using Studio Cloth and paper napkins. I will write about it tomorrow and show what I've done.

Time to get started on this day......

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Playing with Punches

I found another beautiful wood scrap in the hubster's workshop and am trying to decide what I am going to do with it. Last evening I went through a magazine and punched out some circles and squares with my recently acquired Fiskars punches. They are the kind with handles that you squeeze and through which you can see exactly what you are getting. I think they are called "squeeze" punches.

The wood is so beautiful, I don't think I want to paint it or cover it completely with paper like I did when I made the elephant collage. I didn't really have a theme in mind while I was cutting, but I found interesting patterns. After trying to punch the thin magazine, I realized that I would have more success (I ruined a few of them) if I put a piece of card stock behind the picture when cutting. I had a piece of scrap card next to the printer behind me and just grabbed it. I notice now that the orange is a nice addition to the patterns. Serendipitous!

I will spend some time today trying to get a pleasing arrangement without covering up too much of the original wood and will post the result tomorrow. I also noticed how messy my art room is, so must spend some time today getting it organized. My treasures from last Thursday are still in their bags and are taking up much needed floor space.

See you tomorrow.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to Collage

My son was out Saturday morning to do some of his Algebra homework together and he brought his daughter with him. His class meets from 2 pm to 6 pm, so we kept her with us until after class. She loves to do art, so we retired to my art room and went through magazines finding interesting parts of women to put together to make new ones. It was big fun! She's 5 3/4 (according to her). She will be six in early September. She did the one on the left and was pretty serious about finding parts that were approximately to scale. As you can see by mine on the right, that wasn't a big concern of mine.

When class was over, we met him in town and called my daughter and we all went to the Oak Tree Lounge for dinner. She brought her almost 2 year old with her. It was really fun. We need to do that more often. The only child missing was the daughter's 6 year old who was out of town with her Dad.

I've been to the dentist this morning for a cleaning and x-rays. I love how my teeth feel when she is done. Just finished up a late breakfast of fried eggs over brown eggs. Yum! One of my favorites.

Time to get on with my day - I plan to play in my art room for hours.

See you tomorrow.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SSS #1

I ran across a blog, Maraca, where I saw some blogs about Shadow Shot Sunday and I was intrigued. I followed the link to Hey Harriet and have jumped on board this train. I have also subscribed to both of these blogs in my Google Reader.

Here is my first attempt. I had to get out early this morning just to be sure to catch some sun so that I could find some shadow. It is supposed to rain today and it has off and on.

If you are into photography, this shadow shooting is a fun way to get yourself and your camera out and about and look at things from a little different perspective.

I'm hoping to get some art done today and if I do I will share it with you tomorrow.

Bye, for now......

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Art Giveaway Link

While browsing the internet yesterday, I saw the most wonderful opportunity to win some artwork and not just any artwork, but artwork featuring birds - you know how much I love birds.

There are three ways to win: one is to go to the blog and leave a comment, another is to write a haiku in your blog comment, and a third is to do what I am doing now - post about it.

Here is the link:

Don't just stand there - go over and enter!

Sure hope I win!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Art Booty

It was pouring rain when Nancy arrived yesterday morning and I (and she) had lost power. But a sale waits for no one!

The warehouse sale was fantastic - I could have bought twice as much! Sue was very helpful and just as nice as she always is and we both filled up a large brown bag with goodies. Because of the awful weather (although, we desperately need the rain), the sale may be extended to another day. If I hear more, I will let you know.

Nancy had read about an estate sale right nearby in the newspaper the day before and so we had an additional adventure for after the warehouse sale.

It was too early for lunch when we were done "shopping" so we stopped at the Jackson Coffee Company on Mechanic Street and had a lovely cup of coffee (Nancy had tea) and a muffin. Mine was banana and hers was some kind of sweet with cherries and cream cheese. Yummy!

Nancy had brought me goodies as well and her friend had loaned me the book "Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral" by Kris Radish. Once I started reading I wanted to read the whole book, and did. It was fun; it was moving; it was silly; it had too pat an ending; it was such a good read that I am going to go to the library and find more of her books.

I am on my first mug of coffee and am meeting my Algebra tutee at 9 at Panera. I think I'll wait to eat until I get there and then I will have an apple muffin with my hazelnut coffee.

I'm hoping my son is coming over this afternoon and then tomorrow morning to work on his Algebra homework.

I'm getting the baby (22 month old) sometime tomorrow and keeping her until some time Monday. Should be great fun!!

Gotta go! I'll try to work with something from my loot from the sales later today and post about it tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Superlative Dinner and A Little Bit of Art

Yesterday during the day - at least during that part of the day that did not involve live chat with Fat Cow and telephone support with Go Daddy - I got a little bit of art completed. The first thing I did was cut a few hearts out of a piece of paper and use a bit of UTEE to turn them into "acrylic" bling for my art. They turned out really well.

I had a couple of scraps from the hubster's wood and brass pipe chime making and decided to make a simple design. I am quite happy with it despite the fact that I couldn't get the heart of adhere to the wood. I tried PPA more than once, Elmer's glue, some G-S Hypo Cement. I finally put my milk jug paint brush holder on it and so far, so good. Once I seal it, I think it will be good.

Now to the meal at Claddagh's. I had the Guinness Beef Stew and the hubster had the Stuffed Pork Chops. They were both melt in your mouth, wickedly tasty. There are not enough superlatives to describe to you how wonderful that meal. Of course, part of that is that for the first time in 28 years I tried a dish that had garlic mashed potatoes as part of it. I am severely lactose intolerant and have suffered greatly whenever I have been tempted to try anything like that. I took a couple of Lactaid capsules just before eating and am hoping for the best.

Afterward we went into Barnes and Noble next door. I found a couple of really cute decorative painting magazines, , Quick and Easy Painting and PaintWorks, and I also bought a copy of The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. We then walked around the perimeter and then made a leisurely hour long ride home.

The only disappointment in the day was that the Tigers gave up a 1-0 lead late in the baseball game and ended up losing it to the Mariners. Bummer!

I am on my first mug of coffee and am not yet ready for the day. Nancy is arriving sometime in the next hour and we are headed for the warehouse sale at USArtQuest. Unfortunately it is raining hard - we desperately need the rain, YAY - and I am bound to get wet. The sale is inside, but I must somehow get from the inside of the vehicle to the inside of the building.

Gotta go!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Birds, Another Free Photog Class and An Anniversary

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary and I am wondering where the time has gone. I'm also wondering why so many marriages fail. Oh, yes, it is hard work. There have been ups and downs, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears; and the sheer hell of the teenage years. Somehow we got through it and we are closer now than ever. We are such good friends. Life is good! The hubster has made reservations at Claddagh's for late this afternoon and I am really looking forward to that.

I finished my bird series yesterday and think once they are sealed I will send them off to be a part of the RAG 4th annual ATC exhibition that I told you about yesterday. I'd forgotten how much fun these little pieces of art are to make. I'm sure to make more, but for today, I think I will get back to making and finishing my pendants. They, too, are big fun to make and I think that I am going to make some of them in the collage style - maybe with elephants, giraffes and birds.

I added wings made from a textured wallpaper sample and then used a hold punch to get small circles from patterned paper. Once they were glued on, I outlined the eyes with a Zig silver Painty pen.

Today is the second in a four part free photography class online. I am really looking forward to this one. The first one was very nicely done and a good watch, but was simply an overview. It was quite pleasant and there was spectacular eye candy. Today's webinar is sure to be meaty with information.

Tomorrow my dear friend, Nancy, and I are heading for the warehouse sale at USArtQuest in Grass Lake. I am hoping to find lots of great deals. I always have fun when we go "arting" together and it will be nice to see Sue again.

Meanwhile, it is time for that second mug of coffee and a bit of "listening to nature/meditation" that is so important at the beginning of a new day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Themed ATCs

I've been working this morning (since my last post) on 9 themed ATC cards to enter in the exhibition/trade mentioned in a previous post.

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I am all about birds. Some time ago I made a large textured background while playing around with some new materials. I cut it into ATC-sized pieces and decided to use them for this project. I made a cardboard model and used it to trace out 9 birds on various scrapbook papers and wallpaper. I then looked through a dozen magazines to find appropriate words to use on them.

So far I am liking them; the textured background gives some wrinkles and texture to the birds and words that I have pasted, but I am okay with that.

I am thinking about adding contrasting wings and some kind of "blinged" eyes and then sealing them in preparation for sending them. I have Photoshopped a sample of what I mean, but will do the actual additions by hand.

Time to get ready for an outing. The hubster and I are going to Menards and then out for a late breakfast. I've been up since 6 and I am starving!


I haven't made any ATCs in quite awhile. I really enjoyed making them and trading, but I got a bit overloaded by trying to get into too many trades, so I took a break from them. I think I am going to go back to them at least for the exhibition/trade opportunity that I read about the other day.

Here is a little blurb from the post I read:

Anyone can participate, and there is no entry fee. You just have to send 9 ATCs in a standard 9-sleeve plastic page. You can request to have your ATCs returned to you after the exhibition closes, or you can ask to have them swapped for other artists' cards. Either way, you provide the return postage (looks like it's about $2).

To find out more and download an entry form, go here.

I am going to get started on mine just as soon as I decide on a theme. I am thinking birds (you know how much I like drawing them) or alphabets (sounds fun), or numbers (another fun one). Or maybe no theme at all, just whatever happens.

At any rate, I will share my cards as they happen.

Gotta go; so much art to make, so little time!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog Party

Just read about a blog party that sounds like fun and thought you might want to know about it.

The pretty girls at inspiration avenue are throwing a fabulous blog party on the 1st of august at their place. Come join in and have some fun, meet some friends, get inspired, get fat with cyber cakes and cookies, and stand a chance to win an awesome gift package (a collection of works from their artists) OR a $20 gift voucher to spend at the team shop (WOW!). Come and sign up before august 1st.

Here is the link:
5 degrees of inspiration @ inspiration avenue

Hope to "see" you there!

Wood Scraps

I was out in the hubster's workshop the other day and noticed a box full of pieces of wood. I asked if they were for the taking and he assured me they were.

I started with a small piece and decided to make a collage with jungle animals. The first one I tried was using a template from Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, the scrapbook paper designs I chose from my Scrappers' Guide Premier Membership stash were of the same value as the background (my art friend explained that to me). Following up on her suggestion, I put a sepia wash over the background. That seemed to help to make the elephant "pop". I then added the washer around his eye. He's not perfect, but I love him and I am learning.

This is about 5 1/2 " square.

Later that day, I started on a giraffe collage on another piece of wood. I couldn't decide how to finish it so went to bed with him unfinished. I don't know if others do this, but I dreamed about how to finish it. First thing this morning (right after making a pot of coffee) I came in and rummaged around in my alphabet stash and found some lovely chipboard letters to use. I began to plan how to place them when I discovered I only had one F. What to do.....

I scanned the letters into my computer and began to play. I found a font I liked (Stone Sans ....) and made a pattern from each of the patterns on the chipboard letters. I then pasted these patterns into the letters I had typed. I am thrilled with the result. Hope you like him!

This is about 8 x 11 with lovely rounded corners.

Once they are sealed (I can't decide between trying Future Floor Finish or wax.), I am going to attach a serrated hanger to the upper back and they will be good to go. I've never used wax before and don't know what to expect. I'll have to do some researching and hemming and hawing before I decide.

I am tutoring at 2 pm and then getting my hair trimmed. My 31st anniversary is Wednesday and the hubster is taking me to Darryl's for dinner.

I mentioned Scrappers' Guide and provided a link above. If you are using or wishing to use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and wish you knew more, Linda Sattgast is the person I would send you to. I had no idea how to use layers, etc. until I found her. You really should check her out.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Pendants

I took the Melting Pot back to Michael's yesterday and they credited my account for $21.99 (I purchased it with a 50% off coupon). I decided to look around and I am so glad I did. They are now carrying Ranger Paint Dabbers. I have been interested in getting some of these for a long time, but was never able to find them locally. I haven't tried them yet, but will show and tell when I do.

At any rate, I spent the entire browsing time in the Ranger aisle and the one right next to it. I bought a few packages of stickers in the hope of using them as a guide to make a few more foam stamps. By the time I checked out I had spent $27 and some change. The hubster tells me that is why I am their favorite customer.

When I got home I spent some time making a few pendants using some really cool framed glass pendant blanks that I ordered from HHH enterprises. I heard about them in a YouTube video by Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter:

I am loving working with them, but I feel all thumbs working with such a small space. I think with practice I will get better. Meanwhile, I think these turned out rather nicely.

I am going to Brighton with my friend, Nancy, today and hope to find some interesting items to use in my art. I'll share my finds with you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugh-ly

My morning yesterday was busy, fun and productive. I spent it drawing, tracing and cutting out shapes from fun foam and adhering them to pieces of cardboard to make my own stamps. A bit limited, but fun nonetheless.

I probably should have stamped them with black on white paper, but I think you can see them well enough. To get the bits of detail in some of them, I simply marked them with a pencil with a bit of pressure to leave an impression in the foam.

I had an appointment with my Algebra tutee at 3 pm at Panera's, so left a bit early to make a trip to the library and then stop at the recycle center with newspaper, plastic and styrofoam. I still had a bit of time so I ran into Target to buy a small chain to wear one of my pendants. A side note: I always say that I am not "into" jewelry. I had totally forgotten why that is - After wearing the small chain for only about 1/2 an hour, the back of my neck began to burn. By the time I got that necklace off, I had a long red painful area where the chain had come into contact with my skin. That is why I am not "into" jewelry. And that brought back all the reasons why I had my ears pierced twice before finally letting them grow back forever. Even when I bought the most expensive "hypoallergenic" kinds of metals, my ears continued to "ooze". I am obviously overly sensitive - or at least my skin is!

When I got home I couldn't wait to try out the Melting Pot. I read all the instructions carefully and plugged it in, turned it on and added a large amount of UTEE. I covered it and waited for the orange light to go out. When the orange light went out signaling that the UTEE was ready to be used, I took off the cover. Imagine my surprise when I found that there were three distinct layers in the pot. The lower layer was liquid. The middle layer was like an ice floe - solid. The upper layer had bits of powder on it. Thinking that it was me and not the appliance, I moved the mess around a bit with the Kool Tool and recovered it and waited. Finally it appeared (with much coaxing) that it had indeed melted. But alas!

This is what I have to show for my efforts. The rectangular and roundish parts are the result of dipping some of my pendants into the "melted" UTEE. Each and every one of them hardened around the object and then promptly separated. The big blob in the lower right corner is the UTEE I emptied out of the container when I was thoroughly disgusted and ready to stop playing. It really is that sort of amber color that you can get if you want by overcooking the UTEE. Mine didn't cook enough, but still that color! Go figure!

I am taking the Melting Pot back to Michael's and getting store credit so that I can buy something else. This experience was too exasperating, too messy and too ugh for me to want to try it all over again. For now I will be happy using an embossing pad and using the UTEE in solid form with my heat gun to get any lovely shine on things.

I am going to Michael's when they open and I will post my alternate purchases when I return.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun Finds and Playing

Yesterday I drove the hubster's truck loaded with the things we did not sell at the garage sale and drove it to Goodwill to donate it. On the way I had to stop at the plumbing shop to get a part for my bathroom sink. The night before around 2 am when I quit playing and was brushing my teeth in preparation for sleep, I noticed that the basket I keep my brush and paste in was wet. It lives under the sink. When I opened up the cupboard again, lo and behold, there was water spurting out of the pipe! Yikes! I shut off the water and took everything out of there; then went and got some old towels and sopped up the water. This morning the hubster took it apart and gave me the old part to take to the shop to replace.

I wore the new formica chip pendant on a chain - love it!

I had a 50% off coupon for Michael's and had decided I wanted a melting pot for UTEE and headed over there. Well, you know they are having all kinds of sales. By the time I got out of there and headed over to my 2 hour tutoring session, I had found all kinds of booty.

This is what I bought along with the melting pot and Kool Toolz.

Last evening I spent some time playing with much of it. I haven't unpacked the melting pot yet, but plan to get to it in a little bit. I am tutoring at 3 pm and hope to get in several hours of playing before then.

One of the wooden circles with a layer of paint made by adding a bit of water to Perfect Pearls Perfect Bronze.

I think I will stamp it and then pour UTEE over it when I get my melting pot set up. Or maybe I will glue one of the flowers in the pic above instead of stamping. So many options, so little time!

Gotta go! See ya next time.....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wearable Art and UTEE

I've been wanting to try UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) for a long time, but had the mistaken idea that you had to keep it hot in a pot in order to use it. I was so surprised when I happened upon the YouTube video below and found out that I didn't have to melt the UTEE before using it.

I also put some clear UTEE over the domino pendant to give it a shine. My problem to solve is how to stop the UTEE from spilling over onto the sides of the domino. I may have to go back to PPA gloss as a sure way to get a good glossy finish without the mess.

I sure do love the tiles I made from the ideas in the video. I'm going to be making more and try to come up with some other ideas of my own to keep it interesting.

Here is what I made:

Now I just need to punch holes in one of the corners of the tiles and attach a couple of jump rings and they are good to go. I think I will paint the backs as they got a little spotty from the UTEE.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nana Day & an Almond Tin

Yesterday P and M were dropped off around 2:30 and then P's friend was dropped. I took all three girls to the library where P and M read to each other and worked a floor puzzle, and M colored, carried all the stuffed animals around and rearranged the little kid furniture. It was a fun time. We then stopped at a party store to get ice cream and root beer for floats and came back home just in time for Poppa to grill some hot dogs and make floats before he left to play tennis. After dinner P and I took her friend back home while my son stayed with his daughter, K, and the baby.

We had all three grandgirls overnight and it turned out so fine. They all slept all night in their respective beds, even the baby in a "big girl" bed. I got up around 7:30 and made coffee and the baby got up around 7:45. She had breakfast and then K got up for breakfast. They played together very well until P got up. Then I spent time with the baby while the big girls played together.

Their mother (DD) came out and had coffee with me and then took all three to her house. So I have some free time to do some art and have a bite before going in to town to meet my Algebra tutee.

I wanted to show you the cute little tin I purchased from the California Almonds people. I love tins - actually I love containers - and this one is so cute, but I thought it would be about the size of an Altoids container. It is quite small and holds 22 almonds which is how many you are supposed to eat at one time for a snack. I took a picture of it next to an ATC so that you could better judge the size. I don't remember exactly what I paid for it, but if I had known how cute and how little they were going to be I would have ordered a bunch to give away to friends.

Isn't it so cute?

Well, I'd better get on with my day. I hope to get some time after the Algebra session to work on more dominoes. I am planning to do more hand drawing on these ones, not just stamped and colored.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back to my Art Journal

I finally did a couple of pages in my art journal. It has been a long time since I pulled it out and played. I actually was trying out a background using dye based stamp pads and then was reading a sketching book where the artist was talking about his kindergarten teacher and her 3-circle pig and how it worked.

I really like to draw animals, both whimsical ones and trying to make them look real. So after my background dried I did one whimsical (3-circle) pig and then tried to draw a real one. I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. I still can't believe that I can draw recognizable things. All my life I was drawing challenged and could never draw anything recognizable. I thought that either a person could draw or they couldn't. My DH still believes this, but I am living proof (not that I am all that good, but I can draw much better than when I started) that practice makes all the difference in the world.

I awoke with a huge pain right in the middle of my back this morning - right between the shoulder blades. I haven't done anything to aggravate my back that I am aware of. It is a bit disconcerting, but it is not accompanied by any other symptoms, so I guess I just have to ignore it and hope it goes away. Boy, I don't like hurting, especially when it appears out of the blue.

The two little girls are being dropped off around 2:30 this afternoon and are spending the night with us. Should be heaps of fun. I am going to take them to the library this afternoon and we are grilling hot dogs for dinner.

Hoping to have a great day. For now it is into the shower maybe put the sprayer on burst and try to ease the back pain.

Hope to get some more art done today so that I can show you tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chelsea Farmers' Market & Altered Dominoes

Saturday was the 4th of July. Perhaps because of this the farmers' market only had about half as many vendors as usual and not nearly as many customers as usual. This date may not have been the best for my initial venture.

However, it was a beautiful morning and I always enjoy spending time with the hubster. I took lots of pix of the vendors who participated and saw some very nice produce and flowers.

I didn't sell any domino pendants, but did get lots of advice after the fact through some of the Yahoo groups. It appears in retrospect to be something I should have thought of, but didn't. I should have worn one of the necklaces; I should have had some on chains or leather and had them hanging up; I should have had my own display table and not been included with the wood crafts (beautiful as they are, they are not jewelry).

The show wasn't a complete washout. I had a good time and met some nice, friendly people. One of the music tents was right next to us and the music was quite pleasant. The hubster sold the cedar deck chairs and table.

I am having a garage sale next weekend at my house to try to get rid of the baby/toddler toys and things that DH left when she moved to her new house, but the following Saturday I am planning to have a better display and my own space to see how it goes. That is unless that is the weekend of the St. Joe art fair, at which time we are planning to spend the weekend at my sister's house for a visit. If that is so, I will try the farmers' market again the following Saturday.

For today, I have grocery shopping to do and am meeting my Algebra tutee for an hour or so. Lots to do and so little time.

See ya!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wimbledon and a Cardinal

What a match! I, who seldom spends much time in front of the TV, spent somewhere around 4 hours watching a wonderful match for the championship. I so wanted Andy Roddick to win, but it was not to be. He played wonderfully, but Roger Federer won it. Both players played their hearts out and didn't falter much. At Wimbledon, there is no tie breaker in the 5th set, so these two actually played a total of 30 games in the final set where Federer won 16 - 14.

While I was watching I was sketching. I have been trying to get a reasonable resemblance to a male cardinal for some time now. Usually they end up too skinny. Today I was determined to get it right. I began with a bird lightly sketched in pencil, then added a bit of color with some watercolor pencils. It looked pretty good, but it wasn't done. I then added some Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons and finally finished it up by using a tortillon to blend the color.

I think I am going to continue to work on birds for awhile. I love them so, especially the little wren who is even now singing loudly just off the deck in her house.

I'll post about the Farmers' Market tomorrow and put up pix to go with it.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Getting Closer

I can't believe I just got up. I tend to be an early riser, getting up usually by 6:30 am. My body must have needed this rest. I went to bed just after 11 last night and didn't stir until almost 9:30. Wow! I feel like I've missed most of this beautiful day. The sun is shining and the birds are serenading. One negative thing: the coffee is awful! I'll have to fix a fresh pot when I am done here.

I spent most of yesterday painting, stamping, and drawing on dominoes. The hubster made me a wonderful display case and painted it for me. It has 3 rows and an "easel" back. The dominoes look really nice in it. He is truly the best!

I'm a little nervous about the Farmers' Market tomorrow, but I will be with the hubster and he has faith in me, plus he is such good company it is bound to be a good experience. I'll take my camera and try to get some good pix of the setting and the other vendors.

For now I'm off to make a fresh pot of coffee and sit on the screened porch and get ready for the day! See you later.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I spent much of yesterday working on my domino pendants and am getting better at it. I did take a break to go to Michael's to find some "findings" in an attempt to get a loop on them. I may just call them finished when the art is done and let the buyer's decide how to make a necklace out of them.

I hope to finish up this batch today. The hubster made me a display out of wood and I am looking forward to getting the finished pendants into it to see how it looks. Perhaps by tomorrow I will have things done and can show them sitting prettily in their rows for display.

I also got a call last evening from an Algebra student looking for a tutor and will meet with him tomorrow. So nice to get the opportunity to teach students who are serious about learning after all my years of teaching high school (although I did have lots of students who wanted to be there, there were plenty who fought it all the way).

I'm going to get my first cup of coffee and chill for a bit. Then into the shower and begin my domino art. See you later!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where Did June Go?

Can you believe it is July already? For some reason I thought that when I retired, time would slow down; that is not the case. I honestly don't know how I ever had the time to go to work.

I have been working on altered dominoes again. I have several hanging in my husband's craft space at the Maple Street Mall in Mason and am planning to take some to the Chelsea Farmers' Market on Saturday.

If you look carefully, you can see the domino necklaces hanging from the top near the middle.

I am discovering the properties of the different paints and stamp inks by trial and error. Several of them look great until I try to apply a finish coat and then they smear like crazy. I used a heat gun on them, so don't know exactly how to do it. Maybe I can get some advice from Suzan Buckner. She is, after all, the person who first got me interested in altered dominoes. If you are unfamiliar with Suzan, you've got to visit her site. She not only creates some wonderful things, but she writes in a fun and interesting style. You'll notice that her "theme" is the same as mine. She had it first and I liked it so much I followed the link at the bottom of her home page and got it for myself.

Gotta go get some coffee and get started!