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Monday, August 31, 2009

We Have A Winner

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Hi all,
I am sitting in the Driftwood Restaurant catching up on emails and blogging and have a random number to determine the winner of the giveaway. Drum roll.......mcstack00 you are the winner.

I have sent an email to the winner and will be mailing off the package tomorrow.

I expect to be going home from my Mom's on Thursday morning and will have more art and maybe some UP pix to share with you then.

I will try to post again from here, but no promises.

Talk to you soon......

Friday, August 28, 2009

Handmade Postcard and a Friday Fill-In

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Uh-oh, I've been bitten hard by the Photoshop bug. There was a time that I spent every available bit of time reading, playing, watching videos, and subscribing to Photoshop User magazine (which is included in a NAPP membership). And then, as with all things, I moved on to other things. But I saw a few things in the Yahoo! groups I belong to and heard a few things here and there and decided to try a bit of playing with pictures and BAM! it bit me. Sure hope it isn't itchy or worse yet, fatal.

While playing with Photoshop yesterday, I opened up one of my favorite pictures from this Spring, a bluebird closeup. I couldn't wait to try the art history brush on him. I tried with different sizes of brush and different tolerances until I liked what transpired. And then, I used him to make a postcard. I think I will put a shiny layer or two over it to protect it, but except for that and a message I think he is done.



I've found a fun little exercise called Friday Fill-in and here is mine:



Lots to do today to get ready for a visit to the far north (only 4 hours, but a long trip alone). I also hope to get something creative done today and I haven't even made coffee yet. Better get on it.

Don't forget to visit Wednesday's post to get into the drawing!

I will try to find a way to get to the WiFi places in order to keep up with the blog and to announce the winner of the drawing which will be decided by a random number generator some time on Monday.

See you.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the Road Again & Extended Giveaway with More

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I was so hoping to get to stay home until the end of September when I will be making the long trip to the far western UP for my nephew's wedding. I think it takes 9 or 10 hours to get there and once you cross the Mackinac Bridge it is all 2-way traffic. Ugh! But I am really looking forward to the wedding and meeting his bride's family. I've never been to that part of Michigan and am hoping the color will have begun. I am sure it will be beautiful. But I digress.........

Yesterday my sister called almost in tears and implored me to come and help because her ulcers are back and she is in horrible pain and is of no help to Mom. I so wanted to be able to say no, but what can you do. This is family, after all, and I would do anything for my Mom. So, I will be dropping everything and driving 4 hours north to stay for an undetermined amount of time. I am hoping to be home in time for a friend's wedding on the 5th of September, but do not want to be on the road during Labor Day weekend.

Meanwhile, I got a small collage done yesterday that I wanted to share. The circular part is made with small triangles that were cut from the coverings of the books at the class I took last Sunday. When we cut the cover paper in order better miter them, I asked if I could have the scraps. You just never know when you might want a small pretty piece of paper. I used about half of them on this piece.



If you haven't yet left a comment on yesterday's post, don't forget to do so. Because it is 200 blog posts, I've decided that I should have 2 items in the giveaway. I am adding a wonderful DVD, "100 Hot Photoshop Tips". I haven't looked at this in a long time, so I loaded it and took a look. Wow! Wonderful short how-to movies and lots of goodies. If you are playing with Photoshop in any form (elements, too), you are going to find lots of Wow! tips on this DVD.


Also, since my schedule is about to implode and I think some of you may not get much computer time until the weekend, I am extending the sign up time. I will make my drawing some time on Monday, August 31. Do leave your comment on yesterday's post in order to be in the drawing.



I made coffee half an hour ago and haven't gotten my first mug yet, so I gotta go.

See you tomorrow.......

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

200th Post and A Giveaway

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It would seem I have reached another milestone - my 200th post. I have decided to have a giveaway to celebrate. More about that later in this post.

Yesterday was a milestone of sorts for me in another way. Late last Fall I took a faces class with Paulette Insall and was happy with the background and although not entirely delighted with the face, it was much better than any I had ever attempted before. The dilemma was I didn't know how to finish it, so she has been sitting on a shelf with a few other unfinished canvases waiting. I got her out and "finished" her - at least I think she is finished. She now resides in the room formerly known as the den (a little Prince humor there).


I also read a post in one of my Yahoo! groups about a tutorial using the art history brush in Photoshop. Well, of course, I had to try it. I think I used a brush that was too big and maybe covered too much area with each stroke, but for my first attempt, I am quite pleased. I can't wait to try another - maybe a bird. You know how I love birds!


On to the giveaway. At one time I ordered a boxed set of beginner acrylic paints with a lovely case, a selection of colors, an instruction booklet, a built in palette, a brush, an HB pencil, a pencil sharpener and an eraser. I have never painted out of doors, so the poor thing has spent its young life in my art room languishing to get out.


If you would like a chance to win this lovely travel set, just leave a comment in this post. I will choose a winner on Friday, August 28.

For now, I'm off to do last night's dishes (we had the girls for a couple of hours and not much got done, but we did have a blast) and get ready for another day.

See you tomorrow.......

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday Book Making

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I took a beginning bookmaking class at Hollander's in Ann Arbor on Sunday and it was a blast! I'd been warned by several people that usually you can't accomplish all they say you will, but we all got all the books done and they were really good looking and very well explained.

The teacher, Vicki, was really sweet and demoed each step before we each went back to our work places to do each part. The materials were fantastic and even if you were the last to get to choose your materials, you ended up loving them anyway.

We made a hard cover accordion fold book, a soft cover Japanese stab binding book, a 2-section pamphlet stitch book with a ribbon tie, and a multiple signature book encased in a hard cover. It was such fun that I can't wait to start making my own variations. I think I need more hours in the day to do all the creative things I want to do.


I found out when I read my blogs yesterday that Suze Weinberg was at Hollander's while I was downstairs. It would have been big fun to run into her!

Today I hope to get some time to make the postcards I started last week, finish the ATCs for the "found poetry" swap and get them in the mail, and start something new.

I've just poured my first cup of coffee and am still in my "jammies" so better get a move on. I still need a shower, I am making a trip to Mason with the hubster to take care of some business and pick up a few groceries, and return an order and reorder via the post office. Then it's art time!

I believe this is my 199th post, so in tomorrow's post to celebrate this milestone, I will be having a giveaway. Don't know what it is yet, but I have many lovely things from which to choose. Stay tuned.....

Until tomorrow then.....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where Did August Go?

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Is it my imagination or is this the last full week of August? And just where exactly did this month go?

I guess part of the reason I've lost track of time is that I have been on the road and away from home a bit this month. I left last Wednesday to stay with a sister who was told she wouldn't be released from the hospital until she had someone to stay with her. Another sister who lives a couple of hours away and I (I am about an hour away) met there and nursed/entertained her until her daughter and family returned late Saturday night. While it was scary that she was so sick, we had a lot of fun and saw a lot of improvement in her condition. I feel so fortunate that I have family and that we really make an effort to be there for each other.

Before I left I was working on a 3 for 3 "found poetry" ATC swap and am quite pleased with how they turned out. I will seal them today and mail them later in the week. I am also prepping some cardboard that used to be tops of pizza boxes for their new lives as post cards. Have I told you about Postcrossing? It is very fun so far and I am looking forward to getting postcards from all over the world.



May have the middle grandgirl today while my son is at school - today is the first day of the Fall semester. I am hoping to get some work done on the postcards so I can get them in the mail. I'll share them with you before they are posted.

Meanwhile, the coffee is ready and I need to go get my first mugful before I officially start my day. See you tomorrow........

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hands Collage and Flowers

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I have added a bit to the hand collage, but feel it is still not done. I am going to leave it where I can see it until an idea strikes. I do find it funny that I feel that I need to add a glove. Whenever I see/hear/think "on the other hand", I immediately think "she wore a glove". Don't you??



I have a pile of new things to try; some mine and some loaned by my friend, Nancy. Yesterday I decided to try the Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils she loaned to me. I like them, but think I overdid the color. The petals of this flower should be lighter and somehow the middle should be more 3D. The whole thing appears too flat to me. The ultimate insult came when the hubster ventured into my art room and I showed it to him. I made the mistake of asking him if he could identify what kind of flower it was and knew it was a huge mistake when he said, "Is it a tulip?" There is absolutely nothing in common between a tulip and a rose of sharon!! Ack!



Going to try my hand at making 3 post cards for my Postcrossing friends. I have cardboard cut to the right size. I need to decide whether I want to start with some paper as a background or paint or maybe both. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to play!!

Time for my second cup of coffee and get started on my day. See you tomorrow.......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Procrastination

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Or so much to do, so little time.

Yesterday I intended to do some art, but first I had to go through a wonderful, large box that is making the rounds of about a dozen of the members of ATCsforAll. The idea is to go through the box and take some of the things that you like and then put in at least as much as you took out. The problem is that I only took out a few small things and am trying to put in more than I took out. The box is bursting at the seams. I think when I send it out I am going to have to sit on it while the postwoman tapes it closed!

Then in mid morning, the hubster and I took some of the displaced items from my art room cleaning/purging up to the Maple Street Mall to sell. The hubster has a booth there. After spending about an hour there, we took the long way home as I wanted to take him out to lunch at Red Sky in Stockbridge. Lunch was delicious!

After lunch we just had to stop at the antiques shop in Stockbridge and by the time we got home it was going on 2 o'clock. The daughter and her almost 2 year old were supposed to be stopping so I waited to make coffee until they arrived. Unfortunately, the baby was napping so the daughter came alone. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter, but what is better than a 2 year old who thinks the world of Nana!


By the time the daughter left (after having a coffee and a little visit) it was going on 3 o'clock. I had a lot of work to do on a website I am maintaining for a client and worked on it until 5 o'clock.

Well, the day was shot and I didn't get any art done. But I do have some pix to share of previous artful things. So, without further ado, I will show you some of my favorites:




I will be getting some art done today. I am still working on my "hands" collage and I have signed up for an ATC "found poetry" swap. Plus I have several things that Nancy loaned to me to play with - Inktense Colored Pencils, clay and a toaster oven to bake it in, magic foam, a light box.....I think I should just lock myself in the art room and play for days!!!

Gotta go......see you tomorrow!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lovin' Monday Morning

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Before I retired, I was a secondary mathematics teacher and Monday was my favorite day. No matter what had transpired the week before, it always felt like a new beginning. Now quite often I don't know what day it is, and that is a good feeling too.

I worked a bit more on my "hands" collage last evening. The new parts are not glued down yet and as a matter of fact after taking the picture below I added some round flat wood letters that spell hand in a vertical arrangement along the lower right. I am not sure yet where this is going, but will let it happen later today when I sit to contemplate it.


Most of yesterday was spent rearranging my art room. I moved the wireless printer all the way to the other end of the house in my walk in closet. I have a long counter in there when that used to be my sewing center and I have a small bookcase in there where I took my assortment of printer paper - photo paper, business card blanks, labels, overhead acetates.....

I also took an old table out of the closet portion of my space and moved my work table in there. Now I am not tripping over it. I am hoping to get things organized enough that like things are in the same area so I do not have to do a major search to find things for a project.

I found a couple of things at Treasure Mart when I was there with Nancy on Thursday last week, mostly old buttons, but I did get a metal "umbrella stand" with butterflies stuck on it at a garage sale on the way there. By the time I got home and started cleaning my art space, I decided it wasn't an umbrella stand at all. It was a paper holder. Don't you just love multipurpose accessories??


Last evening when the hubster was making dinner he called to me to tell me that the kingfisher was in the tulip tree outside the kitchen window. It was 90ยบ + so the house was shut up and the AC on, so I had to do my best through a window with a screen on it. I am quite certain that if he heard me sneaking up outside, he would have been long gone. No matter - his profile cannot be mistaken for any other kind of bird.


Gotta go....see you soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

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Found this template at Sherry Goodloes blog. It is called Friday Fill-Ins so I will fill it out as though it is yesterday:

And...here we go!

1. When will __my inner critic be silenced___?

2. __Broken For You___ was the last good book I read or movie I saw or tv show I watched.

3. Everything has its beauty but __many things have "thorns"___.

4. __Linguine in clam sauce___ is what I had for dinner.

5. I'd like your __confidence___.

6. __Right here___ is where I want to be right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the Tigers beating Kansas City____, tomorrow my plans include __an all day web seminar___ and Sunday, I want to __take advantage of Michael's 25% off your entire purchase including sale items___!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Bird in the Hand

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I made Emeril's Chili for dinner last evening and just as I was finishing I heard a loud splash in the creek just outside the kitchen window. I looked out to see my "friend", the blue heron. Actually I think this wasn't the one I usually see. It appeared a bit smaller; perhaps a youngster or a female.

They are so skittish. I sneaked into my art room, changed lenses on my camera and then went on tiptoe from room to room trying to find the best place to take a picture. Unfortunately I had to take the picture through a screen and didn't really have time to fiddle with the settings on the camera. I am pretty pleased with this picture even though it is quite "noisy".




Later I got out a canvas board that I had covered in red months ago and put aside. I had this notion that I wanted to get my hands in paint so I put out some Titanium White paint and sprayed a bit of water into it, mixed it up and put my hands in it and then just put my prints on the board. From there I went through a couple of O! magazines to find hands to add. I don't know where this is going, but as I was drifting off to sleep last night I was thinking of "hand" phrases - a bird in the hand, I gotta hand it to you, hand it over, many hands make small work..... I think I will let these ideas stew a bit in my head and then play with it some more.



I am going to Nancy's this morning. We will spend a bit of time at her house - I love looking at what she has been working on - and then I think we are going into Ann Arbor to the Treasure Mart. She is the person who actually took me there for the first time last year. What a great place to browse. They have everything imaginable covering three floors. Better wear my walking shoes!

Gotta go get that first cup of coffee and decide what I am going to do with these first couple of hours of the day before I get ready to go.......

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Encaustic and More Finds

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Yesterday I intended to stay in my jammies all day and just do art, but my 9 bird ATCs were ready for mailing and were taking up space in my work area, so I decided to go to the post office. Well once I was dressed and out, I thought I'd check out the second hand stores. It had been awhile since I'd been to Encore and Goodwill.

But before I left, I tried another encaustic painting. This time I cut the paper into a 3 x 5. It appears that I know what I like. The color is very much like the first one I made, except this one has no green. Also, when this was cool I polished it with an old nylon stocking and then added some gold into the blank spaces using a Metallic FX Crayola crayon. I am quite pleased with the result.


I see a headless person playing a harp


I went to Encore first and found a few lovely books and a spaghetti measuring device that looked perfect for drawing different sized circles. Then it was on to Goodwill where I found a few musical stickers and a cute template. Then I remembered that there used to be a St. Vincent de Paul store on the east side, so I drove over there. What fun! I found a handful of cookie cutters. I have been looking for cookie cutters each time I go to second hand stores, so this was a great find.
Treasure < $10

I am going to the doctor this morning as I haven't been able to get rid of this gut-wrenching cough. I assumed it was a virus and would take 7 - 10 days to run its course, but it has been a full two weeks and it is still hanging on.

Gotta go make my oatmeal and have another cup of coffee before it is time to hit the road.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Photoshopping

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I haven't used Photoshop for anything except exposure correction and cropping for almost two years now and I have forgotten a lot of what I used to know. As a matter of fact I was a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) for a couple of years and bought lots of books and followed the video tutorials religiously. But, alas, what you don't use, you tend to lose.

One of my sisters has a son who is getting married at the end of September. His bride to be would like to have wedding pix of both of the groom's grandparents. My parents were married in 1942 and didn't have a photographer, and probably didn't own a camera until decades later.

I found a wedding picture of my Dad's sister Mary, and both Mom and Dad were in it. It was taken in 1943 - close enough. Unfortunately, they were not standing next to each other. I did the best I could to reposition them and put a sepia tone over it and sent it to my sister. Sure hope she likes it.
This makes me realize how much I need to take the 6-month free Photoshop class I mentioned in the previous post.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finishing Up and Free Online Class Announcement

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I have spent the past couple of days finishing up some projects. I painted the sides of the giraffe collage and the small wooden pieces I'd made. I sealed the bird ATCs to send to Canada for the International exhibition and swap, I added another coat of PPA glossy to the flowered napkin on wood wall hanging and sealed the wax abstract and adhered it to a piece of mat board.

I am going up to the Maple Street Mall today to help the hubster get his new space set up and hope to put some of my things there as well. The hard part is knowing how to price them. First we are meeting his sister and a friend for lunch. Afterward I hope to come home and play. Hopefully my muse will be in residence!

If you have read my blog before you know that I took a free online digital photography course. I loved it. It was easy (they sent a link to the class each week) and very informative. Today I received another newsletter from Creative Techs in which they announced another round of free online courses - even longer in time and greater in scope. Here is a portion of that newsletter:

September: Free Photoshop, Photography, & Web Classes!

I spent (yet another) weekend getting our September course list posted. The upcoming class calendar looks pretty cool. Take a look through the slate of upcoming free classes, and sign up for a couple that catch your interest:

Photoshop Course (6-Months!)
Digital Photography Course (10-Weeks)
Lightroom Course (10-Weeks)
Dreamweaver Course (10-Weeks)

Here is the link to check them out: http://creativetechs.com/training/

I have already signed up for the Photoshop course. When I was using it everyday, I was quite proficient at it, but it has been a long time and, frankly, I could use a refresher. And it's free!

I hope to get some new art started today - or maybe I will finish some of the unfinished projects - and hope to share with you tomorrow.

Bye for now.....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Jiggety Jig

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I'm home! The nicest thing about being away is the wonderful feeling when you return. I am never as happy as when I am at home.

While I was gone the hubster painted the master bedroom a lovely, peaceful color called "Sand Dollar". He also rearranged the furniture when he was done. It is really lovely and I am so pleased he cares enough to do these kinds of things. He had already painted the master bath before I left and it is a soft yellow. I took down all the dark green flowered pieces (shower curtain, valance, wallhanging) that I made years ago and replaced only the shower curtain with a Target find that is quite light with some soft yellow and periwinkle stripe. I really like the window with just the blinds.

While I was at my Mom's, I did a ton of tough crossword puzzles, played a lot of Yahtzee, watched lots of Tiger games and went to second hand stores. At the Goodwill in Sault Ste. Marie I found a bag full of goodies. And yesterday morning before leaving we stopped at Hope House in St. Ignace and I found a few more.


Goodwill goodies. My Mom bought the Do It Yourself book for me earlier in the month.


Hope House finds.


My son is coming over this morning to get some last minute Algebra help before his final exam later this afternoon. He is getting a 4.0 right now, but is a bit insecure about a couple of topics that we will go over again. What a lovely change from trying to help him when he was in junior high and high school. He is a lot of fun and is very bright so it is a great visit when he comes over with his homework.

In case you can't tell, I love math! I taught Algebra thru AP Calculus at the high school level for 16 years before retiring to become a blogger and self-taught artist.

Gotta go - my boy (he's 27, but will always be my boy) is due any time now and I need to get some postcards in the mail. I have the baby (she's not really a baby anymore. she will be 2 in mid-September) coming over this evening to spend some time with me while the older sibs go to the movies with Mom and Dad. I am going to see if I can keep her overnight.

Later..........

Monday, August 3, 2009

Encaustics

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I tried my hand at encaustic painting with an iron yesterday and am not at all displeased with the result. I tried not to "guide" the iron too much and had no set end in sight. The hubster really likes it.



With the mess I made on the table pad, I used a heat gun to melt it and then just pushed a piece of card stock through it to make a background and then I collaged a bit using PPA.



I am just about to hit the road to drive 4 hours north to my Mom's house and don't know how much internet time I will have. I have an online photography class on Wednesday and am expecting to go to the library with my MacBook to watch that. If I don't get a chance to blog before then, I will at least have a small post then.

Gotta go.....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Morning - Is it August already?

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It's Sunday morning and I am still hoarse and now also have some pain (swollen glands, maybe). I am beginning to wonder if I should go to visit my Mom tomorrow or not. I guess I will call and let her make the call.

I went to check for the newspaper (it isn't here yet) and noticed some shadows so took a picture for today's post. I need to start carrying my camera everywhere so that I can get shadows in between Sundays so that I don't always have to get outside in the morning and hope for some sun.



I had a visitor to my yard yesterday and was fortunate enough to get some pix. He is so skittish, I frequently go to get my camera only to find that when I return, he hears me and takes off. He is surely a beauty. I think I should try to draw him.




I have some laundry to do and need to get packed as I would like to set off first thing tomorrow if I am actually going, so I think I will get a move on.....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

5 Degrees of Inspiration

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Don't forget there is a blog party with virtual food and drink and real prize giveaways. And lots of links at the party site of others like me who are participating in this event.

Things that inspire me:

Color: I am a big fan of purple and teal together; also really like orange and red together.

Nature: I really like to draw birds the most, followed by other animals - elephants, tigers, giraffes, you get the idea....

Language: I love the English, the double entendre, puns and the like. I am addicted to crossword puzzles and word games (Scrabble mostly).

Architecture: I frequently see patterns in buildings that inspire me to be creative in abstract ways instead of always striving for realism.

Sleeping: Don't laugh; I frequently get extremely creative ideas while sleeping/dreaming and often solve creative blocks in a semiconscious state.

Stop on over at Inspiration Avenue and join in the fun!