Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bright Lights for the New Year

With Christmas day behind us I am enjoying this slow week
before New Year's Eve.  I was playing with my camera the other evening and was reminded of a fun trick that my Mother-in-law taught me using the auto-focus mode on my digital camera.
Start with something like Christmas lights and  just point and shoot, hold down the button and move the camera around while shooting.  The auto-focus keeps the lens open while trying to find the focus, and thus.Creating these dazzling images. These pics are of the lights on our tree.  
They turned out quite cheery and bright. I added a colorful greeting....
And created a fancy looking image.
Perfect for sending a New Year's greeting to your friends and family.
The only limitation is your imagination and of course computer space.  It doesn't take long before you end up with about 50 or so of these playful pictures.  What did we do before digital cameras? 
To all of you, here is a New Year's greeting of peace and prosperity and of course many colorful lights.
Leave a note and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Drive-By Blogging

I know I am not the only person short on time these holidays.  So here is a quick glimpse into my paper adventures within the last few days.  Music paper ornaments with a Victorian flair.  
I used some old music paper and I didn't need to distress this paper.
But I did find working with this paper is delicate and had to handle it gently.
And more gift tags came out of my little workshop.   

I hope you all find some moments to put some handmade items on your list, whether you make them or share those made by others.  Handmade means more.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Partridge in a Pear Tree

I get together once a month with my Hooker friends (yes that is rug hooking) and in December we do our holiday party.  We do a gift swap with a different theme each year and this year the theme was 12 Days of Christmas.  The gift has to be hand-made, either by yourself or another artisan.  As much as I wanted to do some kind of fiber art pillow or table mat in a primitive style that our group loves so much, I just couldn't get myself to the place of creating something inspired.  
So, I let myself be pulled into a natural direction of something I do love....yes, that certainly would be stamp carving, and there I again  found my inspiration. I played with several ideas after I got my partridge and pear carved.  The fiber did call me as well, I used some of that fabulous wool thread to machine stitch onto some manila shipping tags. I tried different attachments to the tags, brown satin ribbon or strips of this green damask fabric  I stayed with the satin ribbon and included this set of four tags in my gift. Using several colored inks on one stamp gives a great detail to the stamped impression.     
 Then for some quick and easy pieces I used the partridge and pear stamp and one of my flourish stamps for the tree branch. A similar stamp is available for sale in my Etsy shop. After stamping the text background I simply used one ink color for each stamp and edged the tags with creamy brown chalk ink.  For these I couldn't resist adding glitter, I sprayed each tag with a light coat of matte sealer and sprinkled with some clear iridescent glitter, it was the perfect bling effect.  You may see it slightly in the photo below. This set I gave to our hostess.
The gift that I ended up making was a set of eight Christmas cards, that have a folk art style tree made from strips of brown tweed wool.  I stitched the tree down on a white panel got busy stamping. I used the wool thread for attaching the panel to the card. I love the fibery look of the wool thread.  The partridge even got some shimmer with an accent of blue foil on her wings, sorry you cannot see that here. After I was done making the card I didn't think it looked very much like Christmas.

My son was visiting me in my studio right after I finished the set and asked him what he thought and he suggested stamping a holly sprig in the upper right corner.  I wasn't sure it would work in the composition.  I had a sample card I was working on and he got me to try it and it worked beautifully. 
 Thank you Abraham, you were right the holly made it look like a Christmas card.  I used the excess card stock  scraps and  created some more tags.  We all need gift tags this time of year and I made these quickly. These tags make great, easy gifts as you go for holiday visits and get togethers and you need something uniquely yours to give.
 I hope you are all inspired to make something for giving this season.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I love Etsy this time of Year.

Oh, how I do love thy Etsy this time of year.  Well truthfully, I love Etsy all year long. But, this time of year I am really pulled between making items and listing every day, in order to play the addictive Etsy game of entrepreneurial  pursuits  OR shopping in the endless worldwide store of hand-crafted. This time of year, they change the front page several times a day, and I don't want to miss any of the gems that land there. As much as I want to shop I was able to list some Holiday & Christmas items.....

Tags are the best thing to make and give as gifts themselves, everyone needs cool gift hang tags, ok not everyone but the cool people do.  lol. 

So if you are looking for some truly inspired gifts to give this year, try Etsy. You certainly don't have to be a seller to enjoy this shopping experience.  Simply become a free member and use your Favorites section to stash your favorite shops and items. If you make that account open to the public your family and friends will always know where to shop for you. Sweet! 
  Shopping on Etsy is never dull, you can shop several different ways. The Treasury, a ton of  listed collections curated by members; the TimeMachine2, where you can see what was just sold or listed;  the Pounce page where you where you get random doses of the undiscovered sellers, and the Colors page where you choose by color, this is a great one for kids or the kid in all of us.  Okay,  that is enough for now. I won't even go into the Blog, or the Virtual Labs, or anything else in their huge online creative communtiy, because I don't want to scare anyone.  Etsy is big, but if you visit there often you can easily discover this thoroughly one of a kind phenom in cyber land.   

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deck the Banner with Boughs of Holly

With the holiday season officially here,  I decided to deck my Etsy banner with some holly boughs and flourishes.
I like the idea of grid/graph paper as my background of my hand carved stamped images. And a touch of Photoshop.  Go see all the fun, cool, unique items for sale all over the world of Etsy, as well as some great things in my shop too.  Tell your friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collaged Card

Making collaged cards is always so much fun and making them for guys is more interesting and far more challenging. No flowers, butterflies or hearts, just good old masculine stuff.  My daughter was going to her friend's 16th birthday party and I put this card together.  I love rusty pieces and hardware like the fasteners.  I added his initials in a few spots and I even found a way to include some fabric and a button.  
I do love collaging and I could go on forever.  Thank goodness I didn't have much time or this could have gotten out of control.  And yes, the envelope was stamped nicely too. Don't be afraid to try collage style cards for the men in your life, you might surprise yourself.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Carving Stamps

I decide to push myself to carve some stamps with a lot of detail.
Here is what I created.
This rose is from one of my favorite pieces of clip art.

This deco piece is only 5" long.  The detail was a challenge. But I am happy with the results
This pretty scroll with a tulip is 3" long.

Thanks for stopping by.  


Monday, November 15, 2010

Journal Pages

ART JOURNALS (Moleskine)
I love building pages with mixed mediums and then return to them when I am ready to write.....
This page I dry brushed with gouache and filled the background with a collage of stamped imagery.
Then the finished page.

 Below is a page collaged before writing.
 Paints, papers, inks, gouache and ephemera.
Here are a few segments of the page after journaling.

This background was colored with watercolor crayons 
and of course a wet brush.
Then the more imagery and words.

creative expression......ahh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Quilted Table Runner

Many years ago I decided if I was going to do sewing projects, then my carefree style had to be embraced.  When I was a teenager working at Hancock Fabrics I was surrounded by women who made their own incredible clothes and made it look easy.  As much as I tried to eagerly embark on patterns and fabric and follow the directions of the patterns, my clothes just never came out right.  I gave up trying to sew clothes but never lost my interest in sewing, and kept it alive with baby quilts for my kids, curtains, pillows, pillow cases, cushions and even re-upolhstering several pieces of furniture.  When I started rug hooking, I was reunited with of my love of fabric and made a decision that my sewing machine was not going to be "put away" anymore....it had to have a permanent place in my studio.  My collage art and book art grew and it was an easy fit to incorporate sewing into my projects Also my love for quilts and my desire to make them was growing stronger.  So I decided to make what ever quilting projects I wanted and forget about perfection.  Last fall before my 50th birthday, I made wonderfully imperfect quilted table runner. I was planning on posting it then, but never got around to it.  So here it is.  I must say I love it!
 My very talented fiber soul sister, Robyn was throwing out some of her quilting scraps and I literally pulled a big pile out of her trash, salvaged them and used a good many of them with my scraps and some fat quarters I had collected to create this quilt.

I simply cut strips of fabric and pieced them together in a very
casual, collage style.  Happily, I did not give any attention to accuracy or straightness of the piecing. My joy was playing with all the fall colors and making this beauty big enough for my dining room table (with the leaf added).  I just made sure all the strips were wide enough. It measures 82" x 26".  I got a beautiful color of wonderful high quality thread for the quilting and again did not worry about perfection.  You can see my uneven quilting stitches here.
This is not being entered into any contests. But I am proud to say this is my style of quilting and it feels so good to let myself off the hook of quilting perfection. When I put this runner on my table I get tons of compliments.  And I know why, I followed my love of quilting and created something of beauty without worrying about perfection.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Floral Damask Hand Carved Stamp

Carving my own stamps is my main focus these days.  I simply LOVE IT....(yea, I know writing in all caps is like yelling.) But I could just carve designs all day.  I uploaded some more hand carved stamps into my Etsy Shop. This damask floral design is so sweet, I am trying to resist going into my studio and stamping with it.  For instance stamping out a huge repeat pattern to make some beautiful gift wrap or just using it in my art journal.  I think this is so lovely, and it would be perfect for making your own wedding invites, thank yous, save the dates or many more uses.  It is looking like I will have to carve another of this same stamp just for me.   

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pingg.com Chose My Design as "Staff Pick" this week!!

Today I was notified by the staff at Pingg.com that they chose my Purple Mood Halloween as the 'Staff Pick' this week.  Yay!  I am so honored and happy.  Creating this design was so much fun and I loved how it turned out to be a dark, mystical patterned design with just the right  Halloween touch.  Thanks to everyone at Pingg.com for choosing my design and also for creating such a terrific site that is very user friendly.  If you are wanting to send some E-cards or E-invites....then go check them out. 

pingg Invites & eCards   

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Harvest

The leaves have started to show their dazzling color here in New England and I am inspired as I drive around and see pumpkins, mums and harvest decorations all over. Not inspired to create organic vignettes, but to develop fall themed art designs.  Here I played with Photo Shop to manipulate some carved pumpkin and leaf designs and then I layered them on a stamped background pattern. Pumpkin flowers....hmmmm. Well why not? It was fun to play with the different color values, hues and saturations and I had a hard time knowing when to stop.  Anyway, warm harvest greetings to you all, I hope where ever you are you enjoy the beauty and bounty of the season. Oh, and I do have mums and pumpkins piled up along the front and back entrance of my house...along with the withering summer flowers. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Designs on Pingg.com

 I am happy to announce that my designs have been selected to be part of the Designer Series for Pingg.com, an online e-vite, e-card site that also offers printed invites as well.  They chose me after I opened a free account with them and uploaded some of my designs.  Anyone can upload their own images, and Pingg reviews new Designers and then decides who to put in their own Designer Series.  I am in the mixed media category. I love working with my carved stamps and my designs are clearly not graphically designed. I like the hand feel of this style of designing. Many of the designs I have are worked into collections focusing on surface and textile design,  but creating pieces for cards and stationary thrills me too.  Here are some of my fall designs.


Based on the imprintable style of cards. announcements and invitations that are so popular, because they work so well with adding your own personal text and messages. I am planning on adding some collages designs in the future.
It is fun to enjoy all the other designer's pieces too, so go see and let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Summer Journal

Ok, here you go, because I promised more pictures of the Summer Journal, hey it's only a week after Fourth of July....I'm not doing too bad.
Below is detail of the outside.  Beading, embroidery, sequins and of course my collage quilting style which works best for books, quilted books.  OH, I love quilted books.
Anyway, I adore this Heather Bailey fabric, jelly bean design
 and which I acquired from Robyn, my fiber soul sister.  I have a fat quarter of this in pink but for some reason when I saw this color I went crazy. 
So as I was piecing the cover I was inpired to acentuate the jellybeans into flowers. I almost got too carried away with this detail which is hardly noticable, but I couldn't help myself.  I know the coloration difference between the above graphic and my photos is broad, but hopefully you get the idea. 
As I make the pages for the inside of the book I am always looking for fun stitchery embellishments.  I used some wool thread I purchased from Sue Spargo, I know if you love wool like I do, you will appreciate this. 
But of course stitching on paper on my machine without giving any care or attention to the tension or the bobbin thread, gives me a great scrappy design element. I love this look, it gives it more of a collage feel.

I will post some more...coming up soon.  Check out my Etsy shop, I am adding more small items.  I am going through a tag phase using my hand carved images....they are just so cheery.  Enjoy the summer weather and no complaining about the heat! 
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