Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Friday of the Year and A Blind Contour

Can you believe it? I think I just got used to writing 2010 in the date and it is time to take down the old calendar and hang up the new one - 2011.

I wonder what the new year will bring. I know a new grandgirl will be born in late February or early March. And I know a niece will be married in September and I'm hoping to meet a grown niece at the wedding that I've never met before.

I am hoping to strengthen my friendship with my arty friend, Nancy. I think we may get to a life drawing session in January. I am looking at Hollander's new class offerings and hoping to take another book binding one. I am hoping to reconnect with my friends at Puff's. I'm hoping to take a class with Sandy in Niles.

I am also looking forward to beginning the Sketchbook Challenge tomorrow. I've chosen a landscape format, 5.5" x 8.25", 128 page journal. Because of the width, I may divide each page in two. This will give me 256 spaces in which to work. I am hoping to see some marked improvement in both my commitment to do art everyday and to my personal growth as an artist.

I am hoping planning to do a blind contour at least once a week in 2011. If you are unsure what I am talking about, take a look here.

For the last post of 2010 I have a quick sketch of a decorative pitcher that I used to keep kitchen utensils in, but now have in my work room.

And a blind contour of same:

Last year the hubster bought a bottle of bubbly to welcome in the new year and it still resides in the refrigerator unopened. I am not much of a wine drinker (migraine sufferers are not supposed to imbibe).

Happy New Year! If you are a reveler, be safe; if you are going to watch the ball drop on TV, good luck staying awake &-)


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thort and Thweet Thursday

Just a quick note to check in and share a little bit of art from yesterday.

I am still not feeling up to par - head cold and sore throat - but I did spend a bit of time drawing with the little girls last evening before we went to bed.

Here is Little Miss 7's in progress:

I love this child's art. 

And here is my quick sketch of one of Little Miss 3's Care Bears:

The hubster is leaving in about an hour to spend the day with a couple of brothers and a friend and then go to the Great Lakes Invitational hockey game this evening. They are hoping that Michigan and Michigan State will have a match up. DD is working today until just after dinner so I will be in charge of the two little girls for the day.

I am hoping to get on the treadmill before he goes, so I'd better get this old body moving. I hope to have something to share with you tomorrow.

Just one more day before the new year arrives. It is in the 40s this morning and we are expecting low 50s tomorrow - weird weather for this time of year.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What Happened Wednesday

When I finished posting yesterday, I ate a quick breakfast (whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas) and then spent an hour on the treadmill. I did a slow jog for a mile and a half and then walked at 3 mph at an incline of 3 for about 20 minutes and finished off with what I call a dance step for the last five minutes. What a great way to start the day!

And then I got a phone call. My daughter was trying to catch up from her week of sickness and had the day off and would appreciate it if I came over to give her some motivation to get started with the catch up. And her water pump on her well was leaking and making funny noises so someone was coming over to check it.

I took a quick shower, packed up some homemade pea soup, a dozen clementines, a handful of apples, and the laundered clothes she'd left here when she was sick and headed for her house. The girls loved the clementines especially Little Miss 3 who found she could peel them herself. I sat with the little one while her Mom started picking up the house. After some time Mom got in the shower and then asked if I minded if she ran to the grocery store. No problem. When she got home she asked if I would stay until the water man came in case they had to run to a store to buy supplies. No problem. As it turned out, I didn't get home until almost 5 pm, starving and with a headache. No art play yesterday. I've already blown my latest resolutions.

Late last evening, DD called to ask if I could take the girls today around noon and keep them overnight and until she gets off work around 3 pm Thursday. No problem. That means that my alone art time will be severely limited again. However, I have a plan to do some art while the little ones are arting (I know, here I go making up another word). Usually I am so caught up in what they are doing I don't do my own art when supervising them. That is about to change.

When I got up this morning before I even turned on the computer, I got out my sketchbook and my watercolors and made myself do a bit of quick art. Here are the results:

I didn't draw him in white on orange paper; when I scanned him my blind contour foot drawing was showing so much through the background that it was a great distraction. I opened it in Photoshop and put a dark background behind it and then used blending modes so that the foot drawing didn't show through.
I don't think I am really happy with the results of this playing, but I am very pleased with myself that I not only put watercolor to paper, but that I am sharing it as well. I would really like to take another watercolor class.

I woke up this morning with a huge headache and every time I sneeze it is intensified. After a couple of mugs of coffee it has subsided a bit and I don't think I am going to have to take any medicine to tame it. I really hate taking medicine and I find that sometimes when I do I get rebound headaches.

My only goal for today is to enjoy my girls and try to produce a bit of art while we are all playing together. I'd like to combine a sketch with a bit of watercolor and see what that looks like. Here's hoping for a fun-filled, arty day with my girls.

I do need to clean bathrooms and the hubster is taking down the tree today, so I will vacuum and rearrange the living room. I love how big the room looks after taking the tree down. 

I have a couple of cornish hens thawing in the refrigerator and maybe the little girls and I will make some interesting stuffing and plan a feast for dinner. Stay tuned......


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Temperate Tuesday

Here is part of the listing for 'temperate' in the thesaurus: self-restrained, restrained, moderate, self-controlled, disciplined; abstemious, self-denying, austere, ascetic; teetotal, abstinent.

The meaning I am referring to is "self-controlled, disciplined".

As I find myself looking into the maw of the new year, I find that I am drawn to make some resolutions and being more disciplined is one of mine. I find that I am not structured enough in my day. Don't get me wrong, I don't want a schedule, but I don't want to waste so much time either. Some days I find it is getting dark (granted that is pretty early in the day) and I haven't accomplished much at all.

For example, I intended to do a small watercolor yesterday and I did not. I didn't totally waste the day, but I didn't get to the watercolor. Granted I am not feeling up to par, but I am afraid that is not a really good excuse. I just have a head cold and am a little achy and unsteady. It seems like the unsteady part might actually contribute to a better chance to make a really loose painting (she said with a smile).

I did make a shopping list, clean the refrigerator, go to Meijer and get the groceries, put the groceries away, make pea soup, work a few crossword puzzles, make dinner and do dishes, but that doesn't seem like a great deal to get done in a whole day. Oh, and I sketched a bird.

I have a few things that I would like to accomplish in 2011 and I like making lists, so here goes:

- set aside time for art each day
- participate in the sketchbook challenge
- go to a life drawing session
- learn to do digital art (take the time to really learn Art Rage)

And more in general:

- listen more
- spend more time with family and friends
- get more sleep
- keep a cleaner house
- cook more
- budget my time and my money better

I am sure I am forgetting something very important, but these will do for a start. What about you? Do you make resolutions? I don't generally make New Year's resolutions because I am forever nagging myself to change, but I thought it might be a good idea to actually write them down.

Oh, here is the little sketch I did get done yesterday.

This is supposed to be a yellow warbler. I think I should have drawn his beak open in song.

I am off to have a healthy breakfast and then walk the treadmill and then am going to set aside a bit of time to do nothing but art. I also need to get another journal made. I think I will make one for the Sketchbook Challenge. It will be fun to actually write in one of my own.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to "see" you again tomorrow.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Missing Monday

I feel as if I've been away forever. A week has gone by and I don't have much to show for it. The week of Christmas started out well enough. The hubster and I picked up my daughter's girls around noon on Sunday and took them with us to the annual family Christmas party which was held in Ann Arbor this year. My son was able to come and bring his little girl also. It was a lovely day. Little Miss 3 fell in love with the 14 year old dog and carried him around everywhere, diaper and all.

I got to hold the newest grandchild in the family for quite a long time. She is beautiful! The little Miss 7s were put in charge of the white elephant gift exchange and did a great job. The food was delicious. 

We kept the girls overnight as planned as their Mom had to work until 3 pm on Monday. I had a bit of last minute shopping to do and decided to take the girls out to lunch before taking them home. When I was about half way into town, my cell rang and it was my daughter. I told her our plans and that if she would call when she got home I would bring them to her. That was when she told me she had been sent home from work and was sick. She just wanted to go to bed. I told her we would have lunch and do our shopping and then we would stop by to see how she was doing.

The girls and I had lunch and then did a bit of Christmas shopping for the hubster and then we went to Michael's where I told them we could browse to our hearts' content and that they each could pick out a small art item. We had a blast!

When we got to my daughter's house she was under two blankets on the couch. I asked her if she would like to come to my house and I would take of her, but she said she didn't feel as if she could get up at all. So I took the girls home. Later that afternoon my son took her some chicken soup and checked on her. She felt awful.

On Tuesday morning she called me around 8 am to ask me to take her to the doctor. She had an appointment at 9:30. I went to her house quite early in case she needed help. She was in the bathtub and asked for help washing her hair and getting out of the tub and dressed. She was really sick.

We waited way too long in the doctor's waiting room before finally being called in. She was running a fever of 103º and had strep throat. No wonder she felt so bad. I ran by the pharmacy to fill her prescription and then took her home to my house and put her to bed. I made some of her favorite soup and tried to get her to eat. She pretty much slept on and off in my bed until Wednesday morning. The hubster and I took care of the girls with him sleeping on the couch in the living room and I sleeping with the girls on a daybed and trundle bed pushed together in the guest room. 

Despite all that we had a pretty good Christmas celebration on Tuesday, my son's birthday, as planned. We sure missed DD, though. The girls Dad picked them up late on Wednesday night. On Thursday, after making sure DD was okay and getting her packed up and back home, the hubster and I drove to the UP to spend a couple of days with my Mom.

I must say we had a lovely time there. But I came home with a cold and stomach woes. I slept in until 10:30 yesterday morning and didn't get up until after 8 this morning.

So here I am finally writing to my blog and all I have to say so far is pretty much negative with just a sprinkling of positive.

Now I will share with you some more positive things. I received these 3 ATCs from a swap I participated in earlier in December. It was called Water, Water Everywhere.

from B Baird in Canada

from P Mackenzie in Australia

from P McVay in Washington
I really enjoy getting art in the mail and besides joining the Sketchbook Challenge, I think I will make it a point to join more swaps through ATCs for All in the coming year.

I did a little bit of sketching last evening while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself because I didn't feel well. They aren't much, but I really need to push myself to draw more often and I need to develop the habit of carrying a sketchbook with me when I am out and about so I can practice a wider variety of subjects.

This post is getting really long, but I do want to share my son's little Miss 7s art from last evening. She is quite creative and loves all things art.

The two extra lips on her cheeks are evidence that she was kissed by two boys according to the artist.

Don't you just love the colors in this one?

My cupboards are bare and I don't feel like going anywhere, but am hoping to get around later this morning so that I can make a pot of soup later today. I also need to clean out the refrigerator and do some housework - the bathrooms in particular. Maybe the Christmas things could be put away as well. It is so much easier to clean house without the tree in the way.

I am hoping to approach the New Year in better health and with my family happy and healthy. I will try to have some art to share with you as it approaches.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday week and that you are planning for an artful 2011.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun Friday and a Blind Contour

I really have to thank Peggy Stermer-Cox for reminding me about blind contours. They are so much fun and I think they are good practice. She has a new site appropriately named "Blind Contour Friday" where you can link your post on your blog for others to see what you've done. I never considered myself a "joiner" but I am gung-ho about this idea.

Last night just before going to bed, I decided to do my Friday assignment (she actually doesn't expect you to do it on Friday, you can add your link on her site any day). I just happened to have a foot at the end of my leg just waiting to be drawn. Of course I took off my slipper first. Here is what I ended up with:

Looks like I am playing Beast to Little Miss 3's Belle :-)

I was so surprised by how short and wide I'd made it, I decided to try drawing it looking back and forth from the foot to my paper and here is what I have:

Looks like I may have overcompensated for the width of the blind contour.

I think this one is a bit narrower than my actual foot, but it isn't too bad. I still am not used to drawing with pen. It looks a bit messy to me.

I finally made room for my watercolors and decided to do a really loose painting yesterday. I really enjoyed playing, but wasn't very happy with the result. I reminded myself that sometimes it isn't the destination, but the journey that is important.

I decided it was too unformed, so added the ink lines. I may have made it worse.

I had a wonderful surprise this morning when I opened my email. The same artist who purchased the "I Dare You" journal has also purchased "Under Mad Anthony's Banner". I feel good knowing it is going to a good home.

I think I told you I am taking a drawing class with Monica Zuniga. I need to download more videos, but can't do it from home. I think I may visit my daughter today and download them at her house. Other than that, I am free to do as I please today. I may try to make a small 2-needle coptic.

For now, I need another mug of coffee and then I'd better call the daughter to see if my plan works for her.

Thank you for visiting and Happy Holidays to all!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guest Artists

I had Little Miss 3 nearly all day yesterday and then at 4:30 her sister, Little Miss 7 arrived via the school bus. We did a bit of art at the kitchen table and the girls really had a good time.

Little Miss 3 was in dress up clothes - a black leotard with a sparkly, flared skirt and pink flip flops. These days almost before she has her boots and jacket off, she asks if she can go in the dress up room (formerly the little girls room) and get changed. This child wears me out. She sings and dances nearly all day and changes her name all the while. I am supposed to remember not to call her Morgan, but to call her Belle, Snow White, Jessie, or some other name. She also has a number of imaginary friends including a wolf (the very first one), a ducky, a bear, and Lisi (I don't know if this is a person or an animal). When she tells me that they want to talk to me and I forget and answer them while looking at her, she reminds me that I am not talking to her that I should be looking to the side and talking to her friend. She is a hoot! However, there are days where I am not sure she is keeping me young. I sometimes think she is aging me, but oh how I love that child.

Little Miss 7 is a dear also and no longer wears me out so much. She loves to read and frequently asks me to find her crossword puzzles for kids online that I can print out for her. It is a joy to sit with her and give her hints when she is stuck. She is smart and funny and has the most beautiful red hair. She lived with me for her first year and again a couple of years ago for about 10 months while her Mom was house shopping. I feel that she and I have a really special relationship because of that. She sometimes tells me that she wishes she and her sister and her Mom lived with me. It is a lovely sentiment in theory, but I really need my space and so does her mother. They have a lovely house and are very happy there.

Here are a couple of pix of the guest artists in action:

After dinner we took the girls to their house, got them bathed and into bed and then settled in to wait for their Mother to get home from work. We got home around 11:00 pm. A long but really fun day.

Tonight we are going to my son's Little Miss 7's Christmas program at her school. I will have to remember to make sure my camera battery is fully charged and get some pix.

So, for those of you who celebrate Christmas, are you ready? nearly ready? I still have to do the wrapping and after the program tonight I have to pick up food for dinner on Tuesday (we are celebrating on the 21st) and some food for the annual family Christmas party (in Ann Arbor this year) on Sunday. This is surely a busy time of year.

I hope yours is going smoothly and that you are surrounded by those you love and those who love you.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whoaful Wednesday

Yes, I made up that word (you've no doubt heard of woeful, but that is such a sad word) and it means (according to the Faint Heart Art dictionary) "characterized by a need for things to slow down".

It is the middle of December already and I still haven't recovered from the whooshing by of September, October and November. I think we need to borrow some of the people working on the global warming phenomenon and put them to work on the speeding time phenomenon.

But, time is wasting, I need to get on with this post because the telephone just rang interrupting my train of thought. It was the daughter asking if I could take the girls today. Of course, I said "Of course". The only thing is it means that I won't be getting to my next book today. But in its place, Little Miss 3 and I will be having an art day. And maybe when Little Miss 7 gets off the bus, she will join us. I will try to have some fantabulous (yes that is a made up word, but I can't take credit for it), artful things to show you tomorrow.

Meantime, I did get "Under Mad Anthony's Banner" finished yesterday and it is by far my favorite to date. I am getting much better at the coptic stitch and am determined to try a 2 needle soon. I am going to try it on a small book so that I only require 2 needles. Stay tuned for that one.

Here are a few pix:

a picture from the original book as front end paper

a picture from the original book as back end paper

The hubster tells me that we are going to have a warm up today, and then he tells me that it is going to get all the way up to 21º F. I don't know about you, but even though this is almost 10 degrees warmer than the last two days, I find it hard to use warm and 21º F in the same sentence.

I'm still in my jimjams and on my first mug of coffee and the girls are coming around noon, so if I am going to get anything done at all today, I'd best get on my horse. I may just stay in the jimjams all day though. There is no law against creating art in your pajamas; at least I don't think there is.

I will be adding "Under Mad Anthony's Banner to my "Handmade Books" page and it will be available for purchase. There is still time to get a journal in time for Christmas if you order soon *-)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Terribly Cold Tuesday

It is really cold outside and I am once again so thankful that I don't have to go out unless I want to. I slept in today and when I awoke and raised the blind in the bathroom, I could see that the creek was frozen all the way across. It is positively (or negatively) arctic out there.

I am planning to stay inside today. If I had a fireplace, there would be a roaring fire and a plush reading chair nearby and that is where I would take up residence for the duration of this cold snap. I made a large pot of pea soup yesterday and I plan to have some for lunch. I just wish I had a bit of sliced ham to make a sandwich to go with it.

Since I don't have a fireplace and I am in the middle of things I will instead stay inside and play. I have begun work on my next book. I've separated the covers from the text block and have chosen a selection of drawings from the text to use as endpapers. I've also made my signatures and put them under a weight to compress them. I just love the color and the title:

I'm leaning toward using the two darkest drawings as the endpapers.

I have been mentally painting some watercolor flowers and planning to get out a piece of watercolor paper and go for it. But right now all my work space is covered with bookbinding materials, so I drew a simple vase of flowers instead. I have been meaning to use a fountain pen to draw with, but have been hesitant because I am finding them to be a little messy. I think it is me and not the pen, however. At any rate, last evening I attempted a small drawing of a vase of flowers using my Lamy Safari pen. For whatever it is worth, here it is:
It is a little messy, but I rather like it. Maybe when I use pen I should try stippling for the darker parts.

I also took a picture of the cutting board the hubster made as a custom order for a Christmas present. It is made of cypress, cherry and black walnut and measures 16" x 22". I think it is absolutely beautiful. I love the light and dark woods together and am sure the recipient will be very pleased with it.

It is not the best picture, but I think you get the idea.

I haven't been feeling well the last few days and think maybe it is from too much coffee. My stomach is on edge. I am going to try cutting back to one mug in the morning and one in the afternoon instead of two or more each. I am hoping I will get through today without that raw feeling.

Meanwhile, I need to get on the treadmill today and then do some work on my latest book. I was wanting to try two needle coptic stitch, but I think I would want to use curved needles and I only have 3 of them. I would need at least four of them, and for a book this size, I should probably use 6 of them. So for now, I am thinking of finishing this book with one needle coptic stitch.

I have all my holiday shopping done now and need to set aside some time for wrapping. We are celebrating our Christmas a week from today so I'd better get busy.

I hope to have something more to share with you tomorrow.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Maelstrom Monday

What a weekend! I'm afraid I didn't get much done in terms of art - or at least I don't have much to show. On Friday we had Little Miss 3 from midday on and Little Miss 7 got off the bus here. Then my son brought his Little Miss 7 out and the 3 girls helped Poppa bake cookies and then joined Nana at the table to mix up colored frosting and do some decorating. My son's Little Miss 7 had to leave just before dinner, but the other two stayed overnight and until after noon on Saturday. I took a nap Saturday afternoon!

My son had his office Christmas party on Saturday so he brought his Little Miss 7 out to stay with us around 5 pm and picked her up around 11 pm. We had lots of fun with her, but I don't have anything to show for it. We did a lot of reading, talking and snuggling - a lot of very important stuff!

I did spend a little time doing some art yesterday. I cut slits in some cover stock and threaded the ribbons through it on the small book I showed you on Friday. I am not yet happy with it - the covers feel a little flimsy, so I may be adding some endpapers for added support. I prepped the hard covers for my next coptic stitch journal and this time I am going to try the 2-needle variety. I am looking forward to getting that done today.

I have a hair cut mid-morning. All the area schools are closed due to blowing and drifting snow, but we expect the roads to be fine by then. The hubster is driving - isn't he the sweetest? I really dislike driving on roads that may be slick here and there.

I had a lovely surprise on Saturday. I received a Christmas card from Vivian Swift. She is the author of "When Wanderers Cease to Roam" and has a delightful blog. Do check it out. Here is my card:

Receiving the card was a surprise even though I had asked for one. You see, she announced on her blog that she was sending cards to the first 25 people who emailed her with a request for one. As it turns out she got 46 requests and I believe she sent one to each of them. I didn't know if I had gotten my email to her in time, but was thrilled to receive this as an early Christmas present. Thanks, Vivian!

Speaking of Christmas cards, if I am going to get the few I send each year made, I'd better get on my horse. Do you believe December is almost half over already?

It is my dear brother-in-law's birthday today. Happy, happy birthday, Tom!

So much to do, so little time.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Fettered Friday and A Blind Contour

I really wanted to use hog-tied, not fettered, but the desire for an alliterative name took precedence.

I have so many ideas about how I might finish a handmade journal that I find myself settling for inactivity instead of making a decision. For instance, the small journal with the French Link stitch that I showed yesterday is waiting for a cover decision. I have chosen the paper and it is a perfect choice. The big decision that I am a bit iffy on is whether to just glue the tapes to the outside as they are; or to cut them to staggered lengths and then glue them; or to cut slits into the covers and pull them through and glue them on the inside; or whether to use decorative stitching to hold them to the covers with or without glue. Ack!!!!!!!

I think that a part of me is afraid to try making slits in the cover in case I mess it up. I need to remind myself that it is only paper and try it. The slitted option is what I am most interested in trying and I think I am going to grab the bull by the horns and try it later this morning.

Do you find yourself in similar circumstances when you are contemplating doing some kind of creative activity?

By the way, do you notice the new graphic over on the right? The Sketchbook Challenge begins on 1/1/2011. Read all about it here or click on the gadget on the right. I am hoping to use this as incentive to remember to draw every day next year. What about you? Are you up for the challenge? I double dog dare you!!!

I am happy to report that I have actually remembered to do a blind contour today. It is not necessarily a wonderful sketch to show you, but I really like the practice and am pleased that I remembered. I used my left hand (as it was near to hand, hah!) coiled a bit in a relaxed pose.

I think it would help a bit to put in the inside lines and such, but for now I am limiting myself to the outside contour.

I have my little girls today - Miss 3 will be brought out here by her Mom around 1:00 pm and Little Miss 7 will ride the bus to my house. I've talked to my son and he is picking up his Little Miss 7 from school around 4 pm. He is planning to come out, too. We will bake and decorate Christmas cookies tonight. I think I will also get out markers, wine corks, buttons, and glue and see what kind of decorations these crafty little ones will come up with.

I think the girls are probably staying overnight. Maybe they'll help Poppa make pancakes in the morning. They just love to get their aprons on and cook.

I really need to get some good pix of these three girls. Most of the time they are at my house, they are so wound up, all I get are blurs. Here is one of my favorites from summer of this year.

My girl tribe.

Of course, it is already almost 4 months later. Where does the time go?

I'm going to get another mug of coffee and then am hoping to get on the treadmill and still get the cover of the French Link book done today.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Threaded Thursday

I have finished the "Good Luck" book using Folio paper that I bought at Dick Blick. This is a vellum finish paper that is meant for, among other purposes, watercolor, pastel, charcoal and pencil. The book has 5 signatures with 3 folios in each for a total of 60 pages. It is finished with a coptic stitch and I actually finally used my Crop-A-Dile to punch prettier holes in the cover. Now I just have to practice setting eyelets with it. It will be for sale on the "Handmade Books" page.

It has the original endpapers on the inside of the covers.

The book is approximately 4 3/4" x 7 1/2"

I also made a smaller blank journal using acid free lighter weight paper and sewed it over tapes. I am quite happy with the outcome. I just have to decide on covers. I was originally going to use vinyl covered book board covers, but think I may go with something a little lighter. Stay tuned:

This is a French Link Stitch.

Today I have work to do for the website I maintain. I need to update all the pictures and add their latest special event. This will take several hours after I drive to Mason to retrieve the pictures. I am hoping to decide on the covers for this 3 1/2" x 4 3/8" book and get it attached also.

Anything else I manage to accomplish will be icing on the cake, and you know I really don't need any cake. I've crept back up into the high 160s and liked it much better in the lower 160s. I have come to realize that 160 might be my ideal weight. I am still "in love" with 145, but that was my 30-something weight and now that I am in my late 50s that is no longer realistic.

The hubster cut some luan to a 4" x 5" size. I am going to try using it for book covers. I haven't decided whether or not to paint on it or just cover it with vinyl like the book board I use. I think my next book will be made like the "I Dare You" book, but the book being repurposed is called, "Training the Dog". I am thinking of reinforcing the spine from the inside and then cutting slits so I can make a long stitch journal. More later.....

I need another mug of coffee and then I'd better get this day started.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you have time to leave a comment or suggestion.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wideo Wednesday

I've had many questions about Art Rage and I am not yet proficient enough to put together a tut, so I will show you someone else's tutorial, if you don't mind. At some point I will have enough experience to make something and show you my steps as I go along, but that day has not yet arrived.

The Folio paper I ordered from Dick Blick was delivered yesterday, so I have my signatures folded and pressed so that I can sew my books today.

Here are the prepared signatures and covers:

I think this one will be bound with a coptic stitch.

I am thinking of binding over cord or tapes.

There was a lot of noise and merriment at my house last evening with two Little Miss 7s and Little Miss 3 and our two to whom these children belong. It was a lot of fun. We they decorated and played and we had a wonderful meal of rice and chipotle chicken that I the hubster made. The only down side is that there are no leftovers for lunch today.

Here are a few pix:

The Decorators: Two Miss 7s and Miss 3 "Belle"
The tree in daylight.

The dining area wall.

 I changed up my header yesterday - the middle portion is my new business card. Comments? Suggestions?

I'm still in my jimjams enjoying my second mug of coffee (I didn't get up until 9:30, but then I didn't get to bed until almost 3 am).

I'd better get a move on. 


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying to Catch Up Tuesday

I went Christmas shopping with a friend yesterday and have finished up my shopping. Now all I have to do is wrap them. I even bought myself something - a pair of fingerless gloves/arm warmers. They are wonderful!

I got home just in time to make dinner. I had picked up some stir fry beef on the way home. I sauteed some red onion and fresh mushrooms in olive oil and then added the beef. After it had browned a bit, I added just a little teriyaki sauce and let it cook. Meanwhile I prepared a package of roasted pine nut couscous in a separate pan and scrambled two eggs.

I made a side salad with romaine, cherry tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and dried cherries. Just as the hubster got home I added the meat mixture and the eggs to the couscous and served it. It was delicious, but doesn't have a name because I just made it up as I went along. I think I will name it stir fried couscous.

These days it gets dark about 5:30 and it makes me feel like the day is over and I may as well not start any projects, but I forced myself to open Art Rage and try to do a watercolor. Here is the result:

I think it is alright (maybe a bit too green), but the house needs work.

I must tell you I am having a ton of fun with this program.

I have been waiting to start on the "Good Luck" book until my Folio paper arrives from Dick Blick. This is the paper that was highlighted on Roz Stendahl's blog. It is one of her favorites. I am folding some small pages this morning to try another 3 1/2" x 4 3/8" book, but am dithering over what kind of binding to use. I have 10 signatures with 5 folios in each for a total of 200 usable pages. Right now they are being held by a clip to flatten them a bit. I am determined to make up my mind this morning and get it finished before the get together this afternoon.

Both of the kids and their 3 girls will be over this afternoon for the traditional decorating. The three little girls will help to hang the dated ornaments along the bottom of the shelves on the dining room wall. We have a dated ornament for each year of our marriage - 32 of them. The girls will also help decorate the tree. So far only the strings of lights are on it.

Poppa is also planning to make sugar cookies that the girls can decorate. I cheated this year and bought one of the refrigerator rolls of dough ready to slice and put in the oven. I also purchased a can of white frosting. I have food coloring to make a variety of colors. 

I'm ready for my second mug of coffee and must get on the treadmill. I'd better get it in gear.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mad, Mad Monday

I'm still trying to be alliterative with my titles and it is getting difficult, but since I am going to show you some of my first art works using Art Rage Studio Pro, I thought this would work.

I think I will begin with the one I like the best. I use a Wacom tablet which makes sketching and painting feel more like the real thing. This is a rough sketch of my son's Little Miss 7. She is a beautiful little girl with gorgeous eyes. This sketch isn't all that good, except I think it looks like her, which is really difficult for me to do.

Sorry it is a little light, but if you click on it, you will see it better.

Art Rage is a computer drawing/painting program that I used a little bit about a year ago. I had version 2.5 then. I just upgraded to Studio Pro and am trying to learn all about it. There is much to learn and I am promising myself that I will do something with it every day so that I can really learn how to use it to the fullest.

This is my first attempt using the watercolor brush in this program. I need to learn better how to use the presets and settings to optimize the tools. I used a photo I had as a reference.

I really need to learn better how to use the watercolor brush and layers.

I also tried to colorize the girl sketch from the other day. It was really difficult, but I did most of it in Art Rage and then exported it (layers and all) into Photoshop to finish. I love how this program works seamlessly with Photoshop. I think I can use some of the settings and presets of Photoshop in Art Rage, but haven't tried that yet.

Here, for what it is worth, is my girl sketch with color.

I liked her better as just a pencil sketch, but I am learning how to use this program.

And finally I played a bit with their stencils that come with the program to make this little flower.

I've gotta admit it was fun to play with this.

That is all I have for today. I hope to get a couple of books done today so I can share them. I am doing a coptic stitch with the "Good Luck" book covers and an open spine over tapes with another.

For now, I have to get in the shower. I am going into town with a friend to finish up my Christmas shopping. It is freezing (wind chill 9º F.) and I'd much rather just bundle up and play in my art room, but I am hopeful that I can finish up today and then wrap at my leisure.

I'm so glad you came to visit today and really appreciate your friendship and your comments/critiques. I hope you have a wonderful day. Keep warm and hold close those you love.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Forgetful Friday

As I sit down to write this post, I remember it is Blind Contour Friday. If it was my usual Friday and I remembered before posting, I would just wait a bit to post and try one first. But I have an appointment this morning and so will post now. Maybe I will post twice today. There is no law against it that I know.

Anyway, I finally sketched a bit. I didn't make a book yesterday, but I did sketch a couple of things. I found a lovely picture of a young girl in my file of things to draw and using Art Rage Studio I attempted to sketch her. I am quite happy with the sketch, but really need to spend time with the program before I attempt to paint her. When I get to that level with the program, I will bring her back in color.

If you click on her, you should be able to see it better.

The nose and mouth are not quite right, but I think I've captured her pretty well otherwise.

I started a pencil sketching class on Ning with Monica Zuniga, an artist whose work I've admired for awhile. I am unable to download the videos until I get to a coffee shop because HughesNet will cut me off for 24 hours if I go over my limit. But I did work a bit on an eye and have it to show to you.

I think it needs more work, but I'm pleased so far.

I need to get in the shower and get ready for this early morning appointment. I will do my best to attempt a blind contour later in the day and will post it for your amusement viewing pleasure.

Until then, I hope you have a warm and lovely day.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday

I made the most wonderful personal discovery yesterday. I LOVE making books with a curved needle. I purchased a set of three curved needles from Hollander's about a year ago when I first got seriously interested in making books and wanted to try the coptic stitch. Somehow I had the notion that they would be very difficult to use, so they were never tried. While straightening my work room the other day I found them still in their little envelope in the original packaging they were shipped in and decided to try using one.

What an epiphany! They take all the frustration out of the coptic stitch. I went from feeling tense and discombobulated to feeling like I could do anything. I actually sat down and stitched my latest book without any unpleasantness. There was no smoke coming out my ears, there were no angry "bad" words. I cannot wait for the next book.

Also while rummaging around in my work room, I rediscovered the album covers I purchased at a garage sale some years ago. Oh, the memories! I am sure many of you don't remember 33 1/3 rpm vinyl records, but I surely do! At any rate, this is my latest book using a part of the album cover for the covers.

For purchase info, click here.

I want to try 2 needle coptic stitch and more stitching over ribbons, cords, etc., but also need to get back to sketching and painting. I have a few book kits with unfinished book board covers. I may have to play with some art on the covers of those. That ought to get the creative juices flowing.

Meanwhile, I need more coffee and a crossword puzzle to properly get this day started, so I bid you adieu and hope to see you again tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Woot! Woot! Wednesday

Welcome December!!

I've sold two journals this week and I am thrilled. I hope the artists who've bought them are as thrilled with them as I am. It was really a bit hard to send them out. I was quite attached to them.

I finished the grid journal yesterday and love its size and look. It is vinyl covered with 7 signatures with 7 folios in each and is 5" x 4". I wrapped each of the signatures in a flecked paper that is a bit heavier than the grid paper to give it a bit of color and a little bit more solidity.

As you can see I took the pictures too soon. I still need to put it in the book press to get it to flatten a bit.

I've also revamped my business card to better reflect what it is I do. I am quite pleased with the result. As you can see I've used a portion of my art that is my header on this blog. Comments/critique welcome.

I had the girls overnight again last night. I really don't get much sleep with the two of them in my bed. Little Miss 7 squirms and rotates throughout the night. It is a wonder I don't get up in the morning all black and blue. The hubster was kind enough to take them home this morning so I could stay in my jimjams and drink coffee as I prepare for my day.

This is definitely going to be a treadmill day, a book making day, and a stay inside day. There is some peculiar white stuff outside on the ground!!

Time to get this party started!!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tabletop Tuesday

I've finally taken the extra leaf out of the dining room table and have set up my bookbinding work area. I thought it would make a good post to show some of my tools and resources.

Here is the work area before I get in there and get it all a mess:

This photo is a close up of some of the covers I am planning to use in my next journals:

And here is the book press the hubster made for me. Isn't he a sweetie?

The hubster took me out to breakfast this morning and we did a bit of Christmas-related shopping. We are in the middle of what may be the last warmish day of the season, so even as I type this he is outdoors finishing up the outdoor decorating.

I am planning to get a bit of organizing done in my art room and then see if I can't get a couple more journals completed today.

A handmade journal would make a great Christmas present for someone you love or for yourself. Hint, hint!!

Lots to do, so little time.......