Friday, August 31, 2012

IA Challenge

Keep believing in wonders. Every morning, wish three things for your day. Your wishes may or may not be granted, but it's a great way to find out what you really want. --Unknown.

The challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week is doorways and windows. While they do fascinate me, I must admit that I really don't think much about what is happening behind them! For me the fascination is all about the shape, color, size, and shadows. It has been really busy this week, getting our daughter ready to go back to college on Sunday, but I really wanted to play along. I decided to show a WIP--an oil painting that I began probably a year ago. I used to take lessons weekly, but sadly, the man who taught them is now unable to continue teaching. I hope I get the inspiration to finish this some time:

Have a happy creative weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WIP Finished!

Remember the polymer clay pendant I made awhile back for one of the challenges? Well, here is how I finished him:
I really like how it turned out as a necklace. He is currently hanging out in my Etsy Shop.

I'll be in an out this week as we help our daughter get ready to go back to college. Seems like she just got home from England. We drive her back on Sunday so I plan to enjoy her this week as much as I can. I'll try to get around to say hello and at least have something ready in the altered book to show on Monday! Have a good week!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Mail!

Don't try to hold back your smile, just wear it.
Don't try to stifle your joy, just share it.
Don't long and hanker for love, just give it.
Don't hold out waiting for life, just live it. --unknown.

Today, I am wearing my smile; sharing my joy! I was the lucky winner of this beauty from Roxanne:
Her name is you see it on her arm? She enjoys sitting near me while I craft or work on the computer. I am so happy to have my new friend. Thanks, Roxanne!

I also received a nice surprise from Stacy who sent me two cabs and a cool bead:
The one on the right is Lapis. I'm not sure about the bead, but it's a lovely shade of burnt orange with black lines in it...I'm seeing it in something Halloweenish! As for the quartz cab on the left...don't you just love that it looks like two eyes? It reminds me of a ninja for some reason. Thank you for your generous gift, Stacy!

Have a wonderful creative weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vacation Part 4

Our next stop was Yosemite National Park which was widely photographed in black and white by Ansel Adams. During the course of his life, Ansel Adams, dedicated himself to the preservation of wilderness areas and wildlife. At the end of this post, I will show just a few of my black and white photos.
This was our first look at some of the famous landmarks of this beautiful park. On the right you can see Bridal Veil Falls, on the left the huge grey monolith is El Capitan, and in the middle you can see Half Dome.
A reminder that this is a wilderness filled with wild animals. We did get a glimpse of a baby brown bear as it ran across the street in front of our bus.
We took many trail walks and at the base of one of the mountains, came upon this beautiful creature. I took this with a zoom lens!
We saw this fellow on another trail. Again, zoom lens to the rescue--I was not anywhere near to this snake as it looks. Later on I looked him up in a guidebook I saw in the gift shop--nonpoisonous California Mountain King Snake. Now enjoy a few black & whites while I prepare to take you to our next stop.
Our next stop was at a lovely winery in the Napa Valley wine country of California. In addition to a tour of the facility and the history of wine making, we were treated to a lovely lunch:
Normally, I don't care for duck, but this was really delicious with all the fresh veggies and fresh baked bread.
Got in a little macro practice! The flowers were so beautiful and so inspiring--I'm sure some of them will find their way into my beaded creations:
The flowers seemed to have such intense color!

Join me next time for a visit to San Francisco and hear about the day I went to Jail!

Monday, August 20, 2012

AB Lesson 13

Energy and persistence conquer all things. --Benjamin Franklin

Before I show you the latest progress on my AB, I want to thank everyone who left such lovely comments on Friday. They were much appreciated!

I was really getting annoyed with my inside cover. Remember I used a sheet of tyvek paper that I painted. Every time I opened the book, the pages stuck together and peeled away some more color. I found some paper decorated with a train theme & stuck it on top. It's better.
Lesson 13 is all about windows and doors. I did not get a chance to make a page with a door, but since that is relatively straight forward, I will go back and do that another time.

As usual, Elizabeth's tutorial was well written and easy to understand. The only hard part was trying to fit it into my theme: travel. Oh, I know, there is the whole "window to the world" idea, but I wanted something different and more personal. It took nearly the two weeks since the lesson was posted, but I finally came up with the perfect idea....I thought of a porthole on a cruise ship. If you have cruised, you know they are no longer those little round, semi-claustrophic, portholes, but rather more like a large square or rectangle. I wanted to illustrate on the left page things about the pampered life aboard ship--although we've never had a room this luxurious! I included pictures of 3 ships we have been on. Even though the card stock I used was of a piece of luggage, it reminded me of the walls of some cabins we've been in.
On the right page I have highlighted some of the places that became accessible to us by cruising. Of course, there are many more..but my pages is just so big!
Note how when the window is covering each page, the words around the perimeter of the page are not visible:
The window is a piece of heavy weight cellophane that was wrapped around some flowers. I'm not sure if you can make out in the picture, but it has tiny holes punched all over it. Of course, when I went to add the cardstock on the back side of the window, I forgot to sandwich it in between. Fortunately the glue had not dried yet, and I was able to gently pull it apart and fix it. Another tragedy averted!!

Thanks for stopping by to see my latest altered book page! My book still has a fair amount of pages left so I am confident that I will be able to finish out the course with this book. Only about 6 more classes left! I can't feel sad, though, because this book makes me so happy. I will just start another one when I am done!

Friday, August 17, 2012

No Post Today

The greater part of our happiness depends on our disposition and not our circumstances--Martha Washington

While the above quote is very true--I do believe your attitude affects your happiness--I must say my circumstances are largely responsible for today's happiness.

Twenty-one years ago today at 3 pm I walked down the aisle--although many will tell you that I ran--to marry my wonderful sweetheart. After all these years, it has never gone stale...he still opens doors for me, pulls out my chair at dinner, at home, every night and always clinks glasses with me for a toast before we start eating!

I'm taking today off to just enjoy!

Have a happy, creative weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I don't know about anyone else, but I am ready for Autumn!

Voting has started on the ACEO challenge blog. Stop by and see all the fun art cards inspired by the Summer Olympics. You can also cast your vote if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mail Art & Gourds

I received some beautiful mail art from a blog friend a few days ago and thought I'd share it here...
Terrie is a very creative person who takes part in a lot of challenges and also likes to experiment with new techniques. She has a fun blog that I enjoy visiting, and I always learn so much from her. For instance I have just learned that she is an amazing photographer, too! This is a postcard of her original photo (Sorry I don't have a scanner to use, but trust me it is vivid and beautiful!) taken of a Japanese Garden in Montreal. It really made me smile when I received it!

My garden is not doing that well this year. Last summer at this time we had so many cucumbers I was sharing them weekly with all the neighbors. We have had about 6 or 7 so far, most of which I would be embarrassed to show you since they looked more like large pickles than cucumbers. I did check the pack and they are definitely supposed to be full size cucumbers. I am also trying to grow birdhouse gourds this year and while the vines have taken over, I only have two right now. Maybe that is normal? I never tried before. Anyway, here they are:

I'm staying optimistic that they will "ripen" since there still is a reasonable length of growing time left.

Have you ever tried growing gourds? Any luck? Does anyone think it might be a good idea to cut the vines back since they aren't producing so the strength goes to the gourds? I've tried to research this online, but haven't found this specific topic addressed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

APR Challenge-Turquoise & Lime

Jenn from Just Add Water Silly is the curator of the Artist's Play Room challenges. This week she chose a color challenge using Turquoise & lime.

I love turquoise....lime? not so much, but I was game to try and participate this week. I used a piece of turquoise bead backing by Nicole and beaded around a pretty polymer clay cabochon made by Lori of Out of The Flames. Since the blue in the cab was not truly turquoise, I surrounded the cab with Czech faceted glass beads & seed beads in sapphire. I backed the piece with soft leather & surrounded it with as limey a bead as I could stand. Here is the result:
Thanks for the inspiration Jenn!

IA Challenge-Doodles

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge is curated by Jenn from Just Add Water Silly. She inspired us with beautiful examples of Zentangles, zendalas, and good old fashion doodles. I lean more toward doodling since I like my patterns to look original. I created this aceo called "Olympic Dive".
I purposely chose the subject to match the Aceo Challenge this month which is to create art relating to the Summer Olympics. I've been watching every night and am always impressed with the gracefulness of the diving competitors and how they enter the water with barely a splash! I'm not sure if my moose will be as graceful, but I stopped him just above the water just in case. Enjoy!

Have a happy creative weekend everyone! Our daughter comes home from Oxford tonight!!! So excited to see her--6 weeks is a long time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Flowers from Alice in Wonderland

<"Why don't you paint the white roses red?" Alice suggested.> From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

I wanted to share this custom order that I just finished for a customer who is giving a Mad Hatter Tea Party. She wanted 9 white roses painted red like in the story. Here is my interpretation:
Per her suggestion, I even "dripped" some red beads into the green leaves! She is thrilled with the end result, and I am pretty proud with how these turned out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vacation Part 3

This sign sort of says it all! Where else can you visit:
Venice? Complete with St. Mark's Square that changes from day to night. (Venetian Hotel)
See the Brooklyn Bridge & The Statue of Liberty? (New York, New York Hotel)
Go back in time to the era of King Arthur's Court? (Excalibur Hotel)
Visit an pyramid and see a sphinx? (Luxor Hotel)
See a light show 2 blocks long featuring Bon Jovi? (Freemont Street Experience)
See a 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumphe? (Paris, Paris Hotel-where we stayed)
Get up close & personal with an erupting volcano? (Mirage Hotel)

I hadn't been to Vegas in about 20 years so most of this was new to me. Every hotel is themed inside, too, and you can spend days (as I'm sure the owner's hope you will) wandering every nook and cranny. They go to great lengths to make every space inside authentic as well. It was awesome and over the top, but we enjoyed every minute. We saw Bally's Jubilee with singing, dancing showgirls, tributes to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, about 7 or 8 "skits" in all including an awesome sinking of the Titanic! We also went to a show called "The Rat Pack is Back!" featuring impersonators of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. & Joey Bishop. If you regularly read my blog, you may have seen the altered book spread I did on Vegas including them.

In the interest of keeping this travelogue readable, I'll end here and share our next location next time.

Next time: Come with me to Yosemite National Park and see my attempt to mimic Ansel Adams.

And the Winner is....

I had 20 entrants for my giveaway, so I wrote numbers 1-20 on pieces of paper, mixed them all up and chose the winner:

Congrats go to Gloria of New End Studio! The altered bottle is already on its way!

Thanks to everyone for entering. I'll do another giveaway soon!

Monday, August 6, 2012

AB Lesson 14

Zippers? Who would have thought you could put a zipper in a book? Well, at least not me who is so new to the altered art world. But, leave it to Elizabeth in this latest lesson to show us how! Please note that Elizabeth switched the lessons around due to a huge project she was committed to with a deadline, so Lesson 13 will be shown next time. Oh, by the way, if you get a chance, go see the amazing project she did with buttons! Now onto my results:
Here is a full look at my Alaska spread. I started out by applying gesso to both pages, then drew a totem pole (based on one in our home) on the left & trees on the right with watercolor pencils. Then I went over both pages again with gesso. I added some magazine clippings of totem poles on the left and called that page finished. On the right side, I put "matching" or is that "opposing" images of eagles, moose, and two Eskimo girls on each side of the zipper.
Since my book is small, I could only peel back one side of the zipper, but you can still see plenty of the image I placed behind it.
Here is a close-up of the zipper fob I made out of shrink plastic. I outlined it in black thin sharpie and colored it with my Prismacolor pencils before shrinking.

I'm really happy with the result, and just in case anyone is interested, I used double sided carpet tape (because we had it in the house) to attach my zipper. I actually cut the piece in half because it was very wide. It seems to be holding well, and as long as care is taken when I unzip the page, I think it will be fine.

Giveaway Time!

This post will remain on top for the duration of the giveaway, so please scroll down to see new posts.

I have been having so much fun working on my altered book that I decided to do another altered project as a giveaway. I altered a bottle with lots of floral, beaded, bell goodness--there is even a small french beaded flower mounted on the cork which has been glued in permanently.

This giveaway is open to everyone, and will end at midnight Monday, August 6, 2012. The winner will be notified and announced on my blog as soon as they contact me with their information. So how do you win? Easy Peasy! Just leave one comment on this post! Good Luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012

IA Challenge-Pink

Is it Friday already? It must be because here I am with my usual Friday post about the IA challenge. This week is a color challenge hosted by Cindy of Cottage Remnants. If you go over and visit her blog, you will see that she creates the most beautiful art in pink, her favorite color. It was no surprise that she chose pink for a challenge.

My piece this week is a beaded glass dragonfly cabochon. It is worked on Nicole's Bead Backing with Czech glass crystals & pink seed beads.

There are still a few days left to enter my giveaway which also contains some pink!

Have a happy, creative weekend everyone!