Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Big Thank You!!!

I enjoyed the recent OZ blog hop and was thrilled to learn that I had won a prize from Karen Anne on her Ireland Brady blog. Karen is a wonderful artist, whose work I am already familiar with, so needless to say I was beyond happy with winning these two prints:

Stop by her blog and see her wonderful art--you won't be sorry! You can also visit her Etsy shop and visit her Humming Belles blog to see some gorgeous fairy paper dolls plus so much more!

Thank you so much, Karen Anne!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grand Opening Sale

I'm going to leave this post on top for the duration of the sale, so please scroll down to see other posts.

To celebrate the Grand Opening of my new Website, I am having a one week sale! Purchase anything on my website from Sunday July 22 thru midnight July 29 and I will refund 20% back to your PayPal account! Happy Shopping!

Here is the link.

Friday, July 27, 2012

IA Challenge-Swirls

Magpie hosted this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge, and decided on a theme of swirls. I went with the first thing that came to mind. I got out some polymer clay and made some swirly beads:
Making the beads is as far as I got this week, but I plan to combine them with glass beads and make them into a set of jewelry.

Hope you are all keeping cool! Have a fun and creative weekend everyone, and I invite all to enter my giveaway here if you are so inclined.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vacation 2012 Part 2

Our next stops were at 3 of the most beautiful National Parks. First up: Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, as wide as 18 miles, and as deep as 1 mile. Over the course of billions of years this Natural Wonder was formed by earth's shifting plates raising mountains. These mountains in turn put pressure on the softer rock layers below & weighed them down until they were eventually below sea level. The Colorado River, again over millions of years ran in and eventually carved out the canyon. The shelving you see on the sides is caused by water seeping into the rock, freezing at night & calving the rock. (As explained by a Geologist talk at the Canyon)
Let me share a few photos:
We had the great luck to be at the Grand Canyon on June 6, 2012. Why was that date important? Because it marked one of the rarest events in planetary history: the transit of Venus across the Sun. According to the Nasa website, only 7 of these events have taken place since the invention of the telescope! The Park Rangers set up a display board; and when we returned for a second visit to see the sunset, we were also able to safely view this phenomenon. They also lent safety glasses so you could look directly.
Here's one of the sunset. The colors and shadows were amazing!
The next day we went to an old Indian observatory and got great views of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.
We saw this fella in a tree, and I took this photo for my friend, Stacy, who loves crows.
The next stop was Bryce Canyon. Bryce is an amphitheater canyon filled with gorgeous formations called Hoodoos. At one time the Hoodoos were connected together. Over the years fins between them were worn away, leaving the spires. They were the most gorgeous color! I'll just share a few photos:
The third National Park we visit was Zion National Park. Here the formations are much larger.
We did see some wildlife in this park:
No, I am not that brave or stupid! Do these creatures jump??? I had a good telephoto lens!

Hope you are enjoying the trip...next time: Viva Las Vegas!

Monday, July 23, 2012

AB Lesson 12

Elizabeth's Lesson 12 is chock full of altered book goodness--folded pages, pockets, & spinners! Before I show you my pages from this week, let me just say I took a little artistic license with this lesson, so check out Elizabeth's blog to see how she taught these techniques.

I'd like to tell you that I am a genius and combined the three elements into one by design, but it didn't happen that way. Despite reading over the lesson several times before I began, I made an "error". I still like the way it all turned out--it certainly is my most elaborate page so far. This is my Las Vegas spread:
The left page has an image of the Eiffel Tower because we stayed at Paris Paris right on the strip. The building to the right is part of the hotel & I, again, used our room key to make a tag. I used the building as a pocket. BJ gave me a really nice tip on how to keep the top from tearing on my last lesson which gave me an idea how to strengthen this pocket. Since I didn't want anything to show, I backed it with duct tape--strong as ever!

On the right page, I used a map of the Vegas strip to line the pocket/folded page--I'll show you that tag in a minute. Remember my color wheel? Well I turned it into a roulette wheel & used a paper fastener to attach it to the tip of the folded page. It probably sticks out of the book a little farther than had I done the folded page as Elizabeth taught, but I need to let loose & get messy! Just below the wheel you will see "The Rat Pack is Back". This is a show we went to see which you will understand when I show you the next page:
The Rat Pack was a group of actors/singers that in the 1960s included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., & Joey Bishop. If you enlarge the photo, you'll see that I added rat noses & whiskers to them--gave me a chuckle.

On the left page is a vegas-themed piece of card stock I had, so I used it to line this side of the folded pocket. I cut out an extra playing card to hide the back of the paper fastener and glued on a microphone to tie into the right page. It's hard to read, but the wheel says "Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows".
Here's a better look at the tags I made. The two dice on the lady luck tag are buttons that I cut the shank off of & attached to the ribbon. You can also see the background with the sparkle I added.

Can you tell I love making this?

Friday, July 20, 2012

IA Challenge-Paris, France!

"Live your life the way you used to use your crayons: Let all the bright colors create a better day."-unknown

Hettiene's recent vacation to Paris has sparked the IA challenge this week. I've visited Paris and other parts of France several times and have always loved it. For me, it is the beautiful architecture and especially the bridges which make me fall in love with this city every time I visit. My favorite is the Pont Alexandre III. It is art nouveau style & covered with carvings and elaborate lanterns.
(Photo wikipedia)
There is a bridge in Springfield, Massachusetts that we pass when we go to our daughter's college that never fails to remind me of Pont Alexandre III, although it is nowhere near as ornate. It is called Memorial Bridge.
(Photo credit)
I had to broaden the topic to France in order to take part in this challenge...for France in the 1500s is where it is believed French Flower beading started. Peasants began collecting imperfect, discarded glass beads, stringing them on wire, and shaping them into flowers to be used mainly as memorial wreaths. Flowers were attached to ornate wire frames and placed on headstones. It wasn't long before these flowers were starting to be displayed in homes. It is rumored that Marie Antoinette collected them, as did Princess Grace and William Randolph Hearst.

Thanks for reading my mini history lesson of French Beaded Flowers. Here is what I have been working on this week:
Beaded Irises whose colors are modeled after real flowers.

Looking ahead to next week, I'm planning a giveaway on Tuesday!

Have a happy, creative weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Artist's Play Room

Make art while the sun shines.--craftymoose

This week Jenn's challenge in the Artist's Play Room called for Pears. Now I have to admit I don't particularly like them; but never having drawn them, I was game to try. I told Jenn it was going to be an experiment, and I would show it for better or worse.

So why the silly quote above? Because I decided to try an experiment with melting crayons using the sun.

Yesterday was one of the hottest, 96 degrees F (35 C) days we have had. I lightly drew the outline of a pear on a blank art card and filled it in with crayon shavings, using a pencil sharpener. When I thought I had enough I put it outside, sure that it would be melted in no time flat. After all, I was, just walking outside to put it in the sun! Fast forward about 4 hours later & the crayons weren't even trying to melt. Now it was starting to look like the promised afternoon thunderstorm, so I went out to rescue the card. I wasn't letting any pear get the best of me, so my next idea was a hair dryer. Note to self: Buy a heat gun. The hair dryer even on low blew any loose shaving all around. By this time I had had it and was ready to ditch this whole idea and move on to some more cooperative fruit...And then, it hit me--my toaster over that I use for polymer clay. It took literally moments to melt the crayon, I applied a bit more shavings, and ta da!
Let me make a little disclaimer...I heated this in the toaster oven at a low temperature on a silicone sheet and watched it constantly so the paper did not burn. If you decide to try something similar, you can probably find the real directions on how to do this on the web somewhere.

Thanks for the inspiration, Jenn!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vacation 2012-Part 1

I have finally gone through and organized the photos from our recent motorcoach trip to California and some of the National Parks. I'll try not to bore you to tears, but be warned most of the posts will be long!
One of our first stops was to visit Old Town, San Diego. This was a small state park that recreates life back in the mid 1800s. There were shops, restaurants, a school house, post office, and museums.
This cool mural was actually the back drop on a stage.
These were exhibited inside one of the gift shops--they just intrigued me!
After a quick group photo in front of the USS Midway,a US Navy Aircraft Carrier that is now a Naval Museum, we spent a little bit of time driving around San Diego's famous Balboa Park. It is about 1200 acres of museums, music venues, gardens, hiking & biking trails.
Just look at the front of the Museum of Man!
This is an outdoor pipe organ! The rest of the afternoon was spent at the San Diego Zoo. Now I know you all know what animals look like...but here are a couple of my favorites:
Next we made our way to Arizona, from Scottsdale to Sedona. As we moved up in elevation we were treated to miles and miles of Saguaro Cacti, most of which were hundreds of years old! This is the only place on earth that these beauties grow. It takes them about 50 years to blossom and 75 years before they start grown arms, and they are protected by law.
Hard to get a picture from a moving bus!
Isn't this a beauty?
Sedona is known for its beautiful red rock formations-This is Bell Rock,
Beautiful art,
And Jeep Tours down into the canyons! This had to be the bumpiest ride I have ever been on, but we loved it and could not stop laughing! A cowboy took us on the ride and told us about the area and fun stories and legends. I'll leave you with a couple of photos...
Next stop, Grand Canyon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

IA Challenge FLY!

Fill the cup of happiness for others, and there will be enough overflowing to fill yours to the brim.--Rose Pastor Stokes

Diane chose one of my favorite themes to work with this week for the Inspiration Avenue Challenge--FLY! For me, that brings to mind my favorites from the insect world. Of course, you know it has to do with beads!
Since my daily walk takes me around a lake, I see lots of dragonflies. Admittedly, they scare me a bit, maybe because they are large, but it doesn't stop me from creating them in beads.

This is a dragonfly plant stick I made in topaz, black & white, and it can be found flying around my Etsy shop!

Have a happy, creative weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The true object of human life is play.--G.K. Chesterton

I have been honored with the Kreative Blogger Award by the very talented Karen Ann of Ireland Brady. The recipient can choose to do the follow (or not):
1. Post a link to the person who awarded you--which I am more than happy to do. Karen Anne is a wonderful artist whose latest ACEOs include an awesome Wizard of Oz series.
2. Share 7 well-thought out random things about yourself--since I have received several awards with this same "rule" I don't think there is anything left to tell! If you have a question, though, I'll happily answer.
3. Bestow this Award to 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know.--Karen Anne covered just about everyone I would have included who accepts awards, so I'm afraid the trail stops here!

Thank you so much, Karen Anne, for thinking that my blog is deserving of this honor!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another gift & new art to show

"A good laugh is sunshine in a house."--William Makepeace Thackeray

I was the lucky winner of a beautiful piece of art by Simona whose blog lives here.
This piece is called, "Waiting", and it is even more beautiful in person. I just love it! Thank you, Simona. Please stop by and visit her if you have a chance.

Back at the end of May, I made a mermaid sun catcher & was stumped on what to do for hair. Thank you for all your suggestions--they were much appreciated. Here is what I came up with:
Since the red hair did seem a bit shocking, I went with blond & added a simple wreath of tiny shells. I'm happy with her now!

Also have two new crystal prism sun catchers:
This one is heavier than the other & features an octagon shaped crystal, pink & purple glass beads & a small octagon shape at the bottom.
And I had a request:
This one features a tear drop shaped crystal and hot pink glass crystals.

We have a reprieve from the heat & humidity for a few days, so I am back to beading flowers. Hope you are all coping with whatever weather Mother Nature is throwing at you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

AB Lesson 11

It's good to behold beauty and live with wisdom. --Yiddish proverb

Elizabeth has us creating pockets in Lesson 11. Not only did she show us many different ways to create pockets to hide all kinds of collected goodies, but she showed off lots of examples in AB's she has created.

One thing I learned during the entire process of making an AB is that book selection especially with respect to size of the book is important. While I don't think I am going to run out of pages, I do wish the dimensions of my book were larger. I know I am not alone in this, in fact, in a subsequent post, she presented an alternate way to make pockets. I really liked this example and thought it would work well for what I wanted to put in the pockets:
In keeping with my theme, I used different maps from our trips as the pockets. They seemed strong enough for the lightweight items I wanted to put in them.
Here are the pockets filled up with various ticket stubs, entry tickets, etc.
Elizabeth also showed how to make hidden pockets in two different styles. I did a spread highlighting our visit to the San Diego Zoo.
See the blue ribbon tab on the left page?
Ta Da! Some of the room keys on the trip were really pretty! I actually saved them all after hearing how handy they are to spread paint or glue, too! I drilled a small hole in the top & added a pretty ribbon so I could get it out of the pocket easily.

Thanks for visiting and all the nice comments!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

AB-Lesson 10

Lesson 10 in Elizabeth's free on-line altered book course is all about using magazine images and how to frame them in your book. She talks about types of paper different magazines use & how important it is to use a dry glue, such as a glue stick. She also suggests ways to frame your images in your book so they look like they belong and are not just "floating" on the page. She included a tutorial to make an amazing frame with rolled back edges which I plan to try in my next book--yes, there will be a next one! Anyway, if you have been following along with me, you already know how much I like using magazine images. Here's what I did with this lesson:
This 2-page spread is all about the Grand Canyon in all of its splendor. It was one of the places we visited on our recent trip. I love the colors that nature has painted it--it changes by the hour with the movement of the sun. I tried to tie the 2 pages together with the crocheted frames I made. I used 3 individual colors for the small pictures on the left, and then crocheted them all together for the page on the right.
Remember the loose page I made while making the "smoosh & twist" background? I tore it in to strips & used it to make a woven design. I hope it looks like frames around some of the other National Parks we also visited a few weeks ago. It is meant to be lumpy & uneven to sort of resemble the Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.

I am so excited with how my AB is turning out! Thank you to all who have stopped by and left lovely comments & encouragement!