Saturday, March 31, 2012

Look Who Came To Visit!

AWWWW...I looked in the backyard this morning and look who came to visit!
Aren't they just the sweetest couple? I eased open the back door, which didn't phase them a bit, so I could get a better photo as they waddled their way back towards the lake:
Happy Saturday Everyone!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Stormy Weather IA Challenge

No day should ever be so hectic that there is not time in it for solitude and reflection. -Unknown

And what better day for solitude and reflection than a stormy weather day! Makes me want to curl up in my favorite spot with a good novel. Maggie challenged us to be inspired by stormy weather but not necessarily in a gloomy way! Here is my entry this week:
With the rainy storm clouds came the wind. I hope the flowers don't loose their heads, lol! I had some fun playing with my new watercolor pencils and some Staedtler triplus fineliner markers. Don't forget to stop by on Sunday and see all the wonderful entries at the Inspiration Avenue blog.

Have a happy, creative weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Artist's Play Room Blog Hop

I have joined the Artist's Play Room Blog Hop (APR) that is created and hosted by Jenn at her blog, Just Add Water Silly! Each week she provides an idea to spark our creativity, we can link up and all the entries are revealed on Saturdays.

The creative prompt this week is to doodle,embellish, or decorate your initial,name, or favorite word. I decided to bead the word "Joy" and turn it into an ACEO. I beaded in a very random, hodgepodge sort of way which is new to me. Most of the time when I bead, everything is measured or counted so it is uniform. Who would want a lopsided daisy after all? It feels good to break out of that restriction for a change!
Thanks, Jenn, for inviting me to be inspired! You can visit the challenge page here, or by clicking on the APR button on my sidebar.

New Flowers

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else.-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am having a sale in my Etsy shop from April 1 thru April 15 and am announcing it here first...
20% off with the coupon code APRIL20.

Here are some of my latest french beaded flowers:
A sweet bunny planter for Easter and beyond!
Miss Kitty filled with Bougainvillea!
Cute enough to kiss! Ribbet!
Plus I've added roses, lily of the valley & daffodils, too! More on the way!
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Jenn from Just Add Water Silly, a blog name that tickles me every time I say it to myself! I'm happy to play along...

The Rules

Post the rules for playing along in this game of tag!
Answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you.
Create 11 questions to ask the people you tag.
Tag 11 people who you think would love to participate.
Let your tagged bloggers know you've tagged them!

Here are my answers to Jenn's questions:

1) Coffee, tea or me - What's your FAVORITE drink?? My main beverage is tea, although I will occasionally drink cappuccino or espresso, but regular coffee never crosses these lips! Wine with dinner goes down pretty smooth, though!
2) Where does your inspiration come from? Since my passion is creating french beaded flowers, my inspiration mostly comes from nature. I do like to take a little license with color now & then. When thinking about the aceos I have created, I see nature again and the animal kingdom influence me most.
3) Where is your favorite place to be? I love to travel, but I can't pick a favorite...I have truly loved everyplace we have been for its uniqueness. I do love being home in my art room.
4) Did you have a stuffed animal when you were little that you loved to death? Yes, her name is Mary, she is a cat, and I still have her. She is dressed in a bright yellow checked dress.
5) What's your weirdest trait? That's a hard one...probably that my thumb tips bend up at right angles to the rest of my finger.
6)Tell me something no one else knows about you but you wish they did! Since I've answered a few tags like this, I don't think there is much left to tell, LOL! I just say I'm married and have one daughter and am pretty much self-taught in anything I create.
7) If you could buy a new pet right now, what would it be and what would you name it? I'd buy a dog & name it Chance. Just the first thing that came to mind; I don't know why!
8)Are you vain about something? Not that I can think of.
9)Have you found your niche, in other words, would people be able to recognize your artwork without your signature? How did you find that comfortable place? I believe I have found my passion--beaded flowers. But would people recognize them as mine? I'm not sure. I try to set my flowers apart from the rest by mainly creating arrangements rather than single flowers, which I only do sporadically. My niche? Probably not, since I like to experiment with so many different things.
10)What style of art do you WISH you could do but don't or can't right now? I wish I could draw better. I get very frustrated, and I know I could improve if I spent more time at it.
11)Favorite kind/brand of art supply? My favorite supply is Czech seed beads!

Here are my 11 questions:
1)What historical figure would you most like to meet?
2)If you won THE lottery, what would you buy first?
3)If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you go?
4)What artist do you most admire?
5)Name one thing about yourself that you really like.
6)If you were an animal, what would you be?
7)Milk chocolate or Dark chocolate?
8)If time travel were a reality...what era or point in time would you like to visit. What would you like to experience first hand?
9)Who has had the most influence on your art?
10)Favorite color? Do you wear it?
11)what geographic feature do you like best--mountains,ocean,desert,lake,etc?

Now I'm supposed to tag 11 people, but as is my practice...I will invite anyone who reads my blog to play along. If you put up a blog post, come back and comment here, and I will add you to this post so people can find you! Thanks, Jenn!

Monday, March 26, 2012

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

Well, after a wonderful week with our daughter home from college, I am ready to get crafting again. I made some real progress on the second braid rug over the weekend. The story on the first one is here in case you missed it. With the warm weather tease we have had the last few weeks, I am itching to put away the knitting machine, but I need to finish the second rug first in case I have to add any length to the strips.

The warm weather seems to have taken a vacation for the moment...it is chilly and windy like a freight train sounds today. The theme at IA announced today is "Stormy Weather" and I think the wind is shouting at me, lol!

I had such success with my Christmas angels that I decided to create one that can be enjoyed all year long. My garden angel is listed on Etsy:
Let me know what you think of her.

Working on my AB to be up to date by Monday's show and tell! What are you working on?

Friday, March 23, 2012

IA Challenge-Dolls

To me, there is no more beloved doll than the Teddy Bear! Named for the 26th president of the United States of America, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt who refused to shoot a bear cub that had been captured for him. Over the course of time, there have been many famous makers of bears: Steiff, Gund, Raikes to name just a few. Here is my entry for the Inspiration Avenue Challenge this week, chosen by Hettienne.
A miniature Gund bear holding some french beaded sweetheart roses.

Hope you have a happy, creative weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

AB Lesson 3

Lesson 3 of Elizabeth's Altered Book Class has us prepping the cover and front pages of our book and creating a niche in the back of the book. Since my book has a cloth cover and I also hope to use the cover design as a decoration, I did not prep the cover. I figure if I change my mind down the road, I can always prep it later.

It was suggested that we do something to reinforce the first pages of the book since this may split at a later date. Turns out it was a good move for my book because the back split when I was manipulating it to create a niche. More on that later. Here is what I did to reinforce the first pages:
I created this by using a tyvek envelope that I first covered with several layers of gesso to cover up the writing. I was going for an abstract landscape, and selected acrylic colors that I thought would achieve this look. I dripped them on in an overlapping pattern and then folded the sheet lightly in half--think Rorschach ink blot test. When I opened the sheet, I did not have total coverage, so I smooshed the color around gently with a foam brush while trying not to muddy it up too much! I let it dry overnight and then used white glue to attach it to the book. I may add some embellishments at a later date. I am attempting to stay current with each lesson while not stressing out about perfection!

I am pretty happy with the way the colors came out, but after opening and closing the book a few times, the color has peeled? chipped? separated? from the center line. I am guessing that acrylic paint may have been too thick over the gesso. I am wondering if I had applied a top coat of something if that would have helped. I am not very familiar with these techniques, so hopefully, someone with more experience will chime in on this.

On to the niche...remember those pages we set aside in the beginning? The ones at the back of the book we didn't thin out? Well, they became the niche. I decided to make something to go in the niche so I beaded around a moose (what else!) medallion. It reminded me of moose I saw on a trip to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
I used gel medium to create the niche and as I alluded to before, with all the manipulation and clamping, the cover split from the last page. Since it was going to be glued down anyway, it was not a tragedy, but I can see why it was so important to reinforce those first pages. I picked some complimentary papers to use that picked up the colors in the medallion. The back page was scrap book paper & the green is mulberry paper. On the facing page, I added a page from a travel magazine. Here is the finished niche:

The results of Lesson 4 will be posted in 2 weeks!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Color Pairs

"Destiny is not a matter of change, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. -William Jennings Bryant


I'm showing off some of my latest creations today. My regular readers may remember a while ago I asked for some favorite color combinations. Someone suggested purple and green, and here is what I did with that color pair:
Another suggestion was yellow and orange. Not too much yellow...but lots of orange:
"Memories of Greece" was an aceo that I attempted in a limited color palette. I think the colors are pretty true to the bright white and blue that is very characteristic of the Greek Islands. Drawing and perspective need some work, lol!
Lastly, I created a few more beaded dragonfly plant sticks. Here is one--Notice the purple and green color scheme again:
Of course, my aging mind forgets just who made these color suggestions--so I will just say "Thanks!"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mail Delivering Itself-IA Challenge

The weekly art challenge at Inspiration Avenue is being hosted by their newest member, Jenn. Jenn was wondering how we feel about receiving mail. I thought this one had me stumped until I went out the mailbox a few days ago & found 3 pieces, none of which belonged to us. Right house number, but 3 different wrong streets! Fortunately the mailman (this was a sub) drives around the block & comes right past our house again so I was able to catch him. He took the mail back and just kept saying, "Oh my!" Huh??? He told me he would check a house a few streets over & come back to let me know if he found our mail. Of course, when he came back he hadn't found any of our mail plus he reminded me (not that I needed a reminder, but I did not know he was also involved in a prior incident)of a package that was lost (delivered wrong) so he sympathized. Huh??? So, I really was pretty neutral on receiving mail until a few days ago when I began to think...Does Mail Deliver Itself???
Just a quick Aceo sketch of what I think would happen if it did:
Have a happy, creative weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Altered Book Lesson 2

As you may remember, I am taking part in Elizabeth of Altered Book Lover's free online altered book course. Every two weeks she posts another lesson & at that time we link up our progress from the previous lesson. We are just getting started and she leaves the lessons up, so there is plenty of time to join in if you are interested!

There are no rules in altering a book except for a very important one...that the book have a sewn spine. I set off to thrift stores and our local library which has a book sale room and came home with several good candidates. (I think I already knew I would be wanting to make more than one of these, lol!)

My theme is travel, and I hope to include or at least use as inspiration many, if not all, or the places I have been. I could not have found a better book in the children's section of the library...
I just love the footprints on the cover! It is a children's copy of Robinson and Crusoe.

The next task was to remove some of the pages from the book. I used Elizabeth's alternative preferred method and removed about 1/3 of the pages, after having set aside a number of them in the back for a niche. I was more worried about ruining the book and having it somehow fall apart than I was about "defacing" it, since I know this discarded book will have a happy well-loved life after it is altered! Here is the book with the pages removed:
This is the room I work in...shared with the washer & dryer. Such is life! But I do have a nice sized computer desk, three chest of drawers, and 3 closets full of supplies, so suffice it to say, I have my supplies collected!
Next are some photos of my stuff! Some are travel books from past years that I have hung onto, some is "junk mail", and in the blue folder are clipping, brochures, and other pieces of miscellaneous travel-related ephemera that I have collected on trips or from magazines.

I feel like I am off to a good, confident start. Elizabeth's instructions are clear and full of photos, and she is always around to answer questions! Now I am off to begin Lesson 3 which will be shown here in about 2 weeks.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thank you, Stacy!

A loving heart is the truest wisdom--Charles Dickens

I was lucky enough to be one of Stacy's (MagicLoveCrow)Pay it Forward recipients. Not only is she generous and an amazing artist...But she personalized each gift she sent out specific to the person! Here is what she made me:
This is a 5 x 7 painting called, "Flowers For My Friend". Stacy knows that I love Southwestern style, the color purple, and of course, flowers! She is amazing!

Thank you so much Stacy!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Allegory of Spring-IA Challenge

Lisa is hosting at Inspiration Avenue this week and has challenged us to created an allegory. In the Spring. Something with a hidden meaning. The only way I was able to come up with something was if I pulled and stretched the meaning a bit. Spring, of course, signals a rebirth, after "death" or dormancy. There is no better creature in my mind that demonstrates this, then the butterfly. From egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to adult butterfly. I skipped the first three phases:

Thanks to Lisa and please stop by on Sunday and see all the other wonderful entries, here.

Have a happy creative weekend everyone!