Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I began a blog for a few reasons. Partially to keep track, in a bigger picture way, of my own progress. I have also done it so that my firends who do not live near can see what we are doing. I also did it in hopes of finding a community of people like myself. Some people just don't get what I am about artistically. Some are inspired, some are intimidated, some just like to look. That's all okay, but I love it when I can converse with others who are under the "need to create" grip.
Lucky for me, this has begun to happen. Peg (you can see her link on my sideboard) and I have become fast friends. The cool thing is that two of our kids are developing a friendship, too. The photos here show their first exchange. Peg's son, Jake, made this wonderful blue set of gifts for Ellie. SHe simply adores it. The colors are perfect and he hit on all the kinds of things she loves. Many of the wonderful details that he included, like the tiny glass beads to add sparkle, are not readily visible here. The items he sent are much more lovely in real life. Ellie made him this oh-so-clever dog mailbox. She simply amazes me - she has such a wonderful vision. She has used glue dots to give the snout and ears dimension. She has also used one to attach the tail.
Tomorrow I will post what I sent to Peg.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
If you are going to go, we suggest the following:
* Set out your watercolor paints, good watercolor paper, two nice containers of water (one for rinsing, one for deluding paint) and a good ink pen, along with your pencil. This movie is going to make you want to do art!
* Take tissue with you. We cried several times during the movie - some for joy, some for sadness.
After the movie we were famished, so we stopped by Whole Foods for a late, light dinner. We purchased wonderful "Pink Lady" apples, grapefruit (best ones EVER!) and Satsuma oranges. We also got pizza and mint & honey tea. It was a fun evening.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Ethan has recently finished his basketry badge for Boy Scouts. At first the boys were not thrilled with this option, but elected to do it because it was too cold outside to do the badges they are excited about. However, once they go going, I think most of the boys enjoyed making the items. The ones pictured here are the ones Ethan made. I helped him a bit. At times I HAD to GIVE IT BACK to him because I wanted to do it all myself. I had no idea how much fun it would be - and so fast! Making these items was very gratifying. I think I will have to do it again, but I might add in some funky fibers as I do the weaving.I also wanted to start some posts about things I love, things beyond the obvious, like my family. I will begin with this item, my Craft Mates Locking Caddy Organizer Tote. I have a lovely collection of embellishments that were all stuffed first in a bag, then in a box, in the containers they came in. Looking for something was a dangerous, messy journey. Now that I have my Craft Mates totes (I have two of them, nearly full) I don't have that problem any longer. What I love is that the tote holds special trays that have 14 little, individually locking cavaties. They are snug so the items, like sequins, don't visit their neighbors and mess up my organizaational system. Furthermore, they have a fail safe tab on the side that must be pushed in before the little doors will open. This prevents one opening during unexpected times. I got mine from Joanne's, a fabric and craft store. WIth their execellent coupons I got it for less than $20.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Ellie was excited when I finished Ethan's hat. She had high hopes that I might make hers next. She respectfully waited, and then hoped that the hat might magically be completed in a record amount of time - over the weekend and in time to wear it to school on Monday. As luck would have it, Saturday ended up being a day of errands and picking people up. I began knitting as we pulled out of the garage on Saturday morning. I knitted as my husband drove. Ellie watched as if I were a soccer match. Her excitement at seeing the stripes (one of her favorite things) develop was contagious. I kept on going. The black and dark scarlet yarns were heaven to work with - cashmere! Then she wanted a white stripe. It turned out that the vintage angora yarn was too thin to go it alone, so it partnered with the black for our favorite section. The whisps of white almost look like a slight snow angel halo. We had to keep going. By Sunday morning we were up the the point where I began to reduce the number of stitches. When you are to that point, you don't want to stop. By Sunday evening we sat with Grandma Eleanor and made pompoms with what was left of some of the yarns. Ellie is thrilled with the results! And in record, nearly magical time to boot! Now onto another hat for my husband, who keeps trying to lure Ethan's hat away from him. "Say son, you're not going to wear that hat today are you?..."
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I recently received a really fun package in the mail from my friend, Peg. If you like my blog, you'd love her blog, Artistic Explorartions . I sent her a sewing kit (you can see those elements in my archives - look for a pin cushion, a needle case and a scissor case.) I was ABSOLUTELY THRILLED with what I had been given. The album is one she made by hand. I loved it when I thought she recovered a premade album, I was amazed when I learned that she made it by hand. The padding is tie dye fleece. The silver beads are antique. And I LOVE the fibers. I am crzy for fun ribbons and fibers. Next was the monogram "W" that she made with her Cricut. It has all kinds of fiber and bling - and oh so purple. My favorite is the tiny needle felted bear. It is all of 2" tall and he even comes with a tiny, embellished box that Peg made. Now, I love that tiny bear, but the addtion of the box sent it over the top. I have a silly love of containers (This year my mom gave me two hat boxes just for the joy of them). The picture here does not do him justice! Tucked in the box were also needle felting needles (something I want to learn) and ultra tiny glass beads for embellishing things. Now, how lucky can a girl get?
Now I am working on her Valentine's Day package. I will be sending out two of them - one for Natalie and one for Peg.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
As I said, they all started out white. I used the Alcohol Inks put out my Tim Holtz to add color to them. The photos here do not do them justice. To do this, you will need a pair of disposible rubber gloves, a make-up sponge (the ones that look like triangles) or a good bit of gauze, the alcohol ink and the metal item. Open the ink and drip the color onto one part. For example, I put it on the edges near the door of the mailbox first. Then use the sponge/gauze to move the color around. You can get lots of different effects. I smear the color around to get it all covered, then I go back and dap. Be aware that it will dry pretty quickly. You cannot answer the phone or go to the bathroom and expect to be able to manipulate it. Also, you can add more color. Once it starts to dry it becomes a bit tacky for a short while. For this reason. I put it on wax paper, or balance it on a cup. If it is on paper, it may stick to it. I do this after I have colored all the parts that are to be colored. There are more ways to add more colors or effects, but those will wait for another posting.
Next I pick out the papers I want to use and I measure the areas where they will go. Once I have them cut out I try them out where I want them. Trying to trim paper with glue on it is not fun. Once it is correct, I glue them on. I usually use spray glue by 3M. This time I tried out the UHU Scrapbookers Pen. It worked great for most parts. I will give it a full review in another post.
Once the paper is applied I started to embellish them. I got a bit carried away, but I had so much fun doing it that I did not want to stop. I tried the UHU glue on the silk flowers, but it did not work so they are attached with glue dots, as are the sequins. The big flowers have two layers seperated by two glue dots to add dimension. The fun centers on some of the flowers are rhinestone bling, on others they are sequins (like the black and pink polkadotted one here.) I had to have some restraint on the side where the flag does down since it is flush with the box.
Some of the flowers are from "Got Flowers?," others are from Heidi Swapp and Lil' Davis. Still others are from a silk hydrangea stem I got at the craft store. The green leaves are harvested from an antique hat that is falling apart.
I also attached ribbon and rickrack. I usually run those through my xyron to make them adhere. This time I used the UHU Scrapbooker's Pen and it worked really well. What I like about the pen is that it has a flat edge where the clear glue comes out. This smears the glue as it comes out and reduces that spooge effect you get when you flatten a thick line of glue this helps you anticipate where it will spread to more easily.
I hope this is useful. If you have questions, email me or leave a comment.
I use this same technique on the lunch boxes I alter. If you search my archives, you will find lots of them.
Now, on to Valentine's Day cards...
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The National Western Stock Show takes hold of Denver every January. For a few weeks we can all pretend that we are cowboys and cowgirls. People pull out their cowboy hats, their westernwear and their ranch jackets. Purses with horse images abound, even seen on women who have surely never set foot on a ranch. This weekend took part in the annual indulgance. My favorites include the livestock, especially the chickens and other birds. The goose featured here is a wonderful animal. And HUGE. I think it stood 3' tall. My husband and daughter took delight in the horses, spending time dreaming while being spectators at the horse auction. Ethan and I were on a mission. This summer the kids created cloth on Aunt Lynne's looms. Ethan wanted to turn his into a sachel. We have been looking for leather to complete this project for monthes. We were thrilled when we found a family who makes a living by making chaps. They had bundles of scraps for $5 a roll. I could not help myself - we got 5 rolls. Now we have enough leather to make all kinds of stuff. The evening was spent watching the amazing Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza (sounds best if you can roll your "r"s like the announcer did). It featured charros going bareback on bucking bronco horses and raging bulls. There was the famouse Diaz Family and their dancing horses. (They have a special place in our hearts as they met at the stock show 10 years ago and got married three years later, at the stock show.) There were precision drill teams. The ladies featured in this picture did amazing rides, and on side saddle (both feet to one side) as well. The last part was the bull fight. Rather, it was actually a bull taunting. No one, man or beast was injured. It was fun for all, partner!
Friday, January 05, 2007
Wednesday I cleaned and dealt with mundane elements of life. Thursday I did deep cleaning with the kids and my dear hubbie so that we could clean the carpets. WOuld you believe that it took 11 hours? Today we awoke to MORE SNOW. By noon we had about another 7" of the white powder. I finally got some important stuff sent out. I will post pictures of them after they have arrived at their destinations. After running errands and doing returns, I shoveled the walks. An excited squirrel chattered at me the entire time. I was not sure if he was mad for some reason, or if he wanted a snow-free pathway to the next tree. Just to be sure, I plowed him a path. The afternoon finally bought some fun when the family went to the nature and science museum. We saw the rerun of the Shakelton Anartic Expedition IMAX show. What amazing men they were! It was a good way to end the day. I go back to work on Monday. I want to have as much fun and creative time as possible during the next two days - and would you believe that I am beginning to feel ill?!
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Some friends of mine invited us to a New Year's Day party and we had an absolute blast. I learned how to make and enjoy California Rolls, Sushi and Unagi (Rice with smoked eel). I am not a big fan of fish, so I was surprized when I liked it. I had so much fun that I helped make a bunch of the rolls at the party. I also helped put together a lot of the Unagi (as pictured in this post). We could not make them fast enough. It was the most fun that I have had at a party in a while.