Friday, December 31, 2010

Collage Obsession challenge ATCs

The current Collage Obsession challenge was to use an image of the couple provided.

A few days ago I made up a bunch of ATC blanks with various patterned papers and grabbed a couple that went with the greens and browns in the image. These are what I ended up with.

I deepened the green on the lapel for the first one to better go with the paper and the stamp ink. They sort of look like they're whispering so I paged thru an old book until I found a bit of dialog that fit.

I also can't quite decide if the one on the right is a woman dressed as a man. Maybe it's a costume party?

For the second one, I added a strip of old postcard, a little image of a ship, and a few doo-dads up in the corner to fill in that area.

I love the background paper on this one. It's from a small pack I bought when I first got into collaging and I'll be sorry when it's gone.

I'm happy with both of these, but think I like the bottom one best.

I tinkered with the image in Photoshop and intensified the colors. I may do a couple more in a stronger palette.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chinese New Year swap

2011 is the year of the rabbit, and a metal year, as well.

Red is the color of celebration in China, which caused some problems when I was working for a Japanese man and his Chinese wife. She would leave the office girls notes written in red in with lots of exclamation points and everyone thought they were really getting yelled at and often wound up in tears. It fell to me as the G.M. to talk to the Chinese woman and explain that it was very upsetting to get these notes from her.

She was amazed and explained that she thought she was leaving happy, exciting notes because they were RED and had lots of happy marks!!!!!!!!  Really makes you see how wars start, doesn't it?

Anyway, I used a fireworks stamp on watercolor paper with RED gouache paint for ink as a background. The rabbit emblem was printed, colored, and cut out. Added some red sequins, stamped 'celebrate 2011' in black and gold, and finished off with some gold trim. Looks pretty festive to me. It'll be fun to see what I get back.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

all things French swap

Some ATCs made for a French themed swap.

Matisse, Cannes, and Chanel.

I didn't realize Sarah Bernhardt was French until I started researching all things French while trying to decide what to make.

I bought some ribbon while shopping with Julie during one of her visits and it was just perfect as the accent on this card.

I made an extra of the Chanel card to trade, but I love the Matisse card and am considering keeping it and sending the other Chanel card along instead...

theme thursday - famous faces

There are a lot of art challenge blogs and I keep meaning to play along, but by the time I get something created, I can't find which blog it was, or I missed the deadline and they're on to something else, etc, etc. I took the time yesterday to make an Excel chart of the various blogs who run the types of challenges I like, then filled in the theme for that week, the format (ATC, 4x4, 4x6, etc), and printed it out. At a glance, I can see the theme, what size to make, if there's an image to use, when it's due, whose challenge it is. I looove Excel.

So, this evening, I was able to sit down and crank out a Famous Faces ATC for Theme Thursday.

In going thru my boxes of images, it didn't take me long to decide who to use.

Who's more famous than the Beatles?
Nobody, that's who!

So here's Yeah Yeah Yeah, my contribution to Theme Thursday's Famous Faces Challenge. Yay for being organized.

(I used my new Xyron 150 on this. What a cool little gadget. No more getting my gluey fingerprints all over everything.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

A Christmas postcard sent to my maternal grandmother in 1909. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We're off work and home until Tuesday morning. YAY! I love it when Christmas falls on a work day.

 I didn't do a whole lot of decorating, but I did do some. Here's a look around the house. Most of the Santas were made by Moneka and gifted to me over the years. One I earned by stuffing arms and legs during one of her especially busy years.  
The whole time I was a kid, we always had multi-colored lights on our tree and rolled our eyes at the people who had those teeny all-white ones. That's not Christmas-y - Christmas needs colors! But of course somewhere along the way, I discovered the allure of little white lights and that's all I've used for years. 

I have a precious box of old ornaments from my mother. Hand blown balls that she made and painted. Fragile glass birds with tails that pull out from their body that clip to the branches of the tree. An old white plastic reindeer that she always hid in the tree for me to find. I didn't unpack them at all this year, just wasn't in the mood.

                                                                       I also didn't unpack the box of handmade but unbreakable ornaments I've acquired over a lifetime of crafting and knowing crafters. Moneka figures heavily into this box with probably half of it coming from her craft room over the years.

This year I did buy a real tree - a 4 foot pine tree from the lot behind the mall that I pass driving home every day. It smells good and all I put on it are little white lights and several strands of silver and pearl garlands. It's very simple and I just love it. I have it on a timer so that it's on when I get home and it's so nice to walk in and see it shining there by the fireplace.

We're far from family and friends, so we're staying home tomorrow with lots of good food, our books, and our computers, and enjoying a quiet day to ourselves. I hope you're all doing whatever it is that makes it a good day for you. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tacky Jackie ATCs

There's a swap going on the artisttradingcards Yahoo group called Totally Tacky. I read the rules and thought about it for a few days. Pink flamingos? Bad 60s hair? Hippie tie dye stuff? Garden gnomes?

I wasn't real inspired until an idea came to me - take a really classy person and tacky them up. So I signed up for the swap and went off to google images to search for a suitably high class person to desecrate.

And so today I present to you <drum roll> Tacky Jackie!!!

The black shape inside the star is actually a shiny purple sequin.

I used the least favorite of my fancy papers for the backgrounds. It reminds me of the kitchen in my first apartment. I like rusts and browns but plain old orange just doesn't do it for me.

Got out my Dymo label maker machine for the words.

Coloring her dress three different ways really taxed my meager art skills but they came out ok. I've never owned anything leopard-printed in my life, but we watched a show on leopards the other night, so that's where that thought came from.

Madonna's breast cone things came to mind as I was mulling over really tacky stuff, so I did a set of those. (I've never owned those either!)

No idea where the third dress came from. Maybe I owned something like it in Jr High...

Sequins, turquoise eye shadow, butterfly hair ornaments, talking birds, metallic markers, smiley faces - nothing was off limits as I worked away on poor Jackie.

Hopefully the people who receive her in the swap won't be outraged by my treatment of an American icon.

But even putting her in breast cones is kinder treatment than the tabloids were, I suppose.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My mom's name was Virginia. She died on today's date in 1986, from cancer at the age of 63.

She ended life as Gini, but along the way she way Ginny for a while, as signed on this old photo holder.

This is the earliest photo I have of her, sitting in this ornate chair. I don't know whose chair, whose house, what occasion, just that it's her. That's true of many of the photos I have and makes me wish I had asked when I'd had the opportunity. Actually, it looks like a photographer's studio shot.

She hung out on the porch of this house cause I have this shot, plus two others of her with women I don't know.

She knew how to roller skate. She looks like a ragamuffin in this one with her jacket falling off one shoulder and her baggy old stockings. What a hassle those must have been.

And that goofy haircut. She had two older sisters and neither of them had such a severe hairstyle at that age.

This is her with her grandma whose name I'm not sure of. I don't even know if this is her dad's mom or her mom's mom.

I love the old lady's dress and apron. Looks like a high school or factory in the background. This was probably in Dayton OH.

She liked animals. She always had a cat or three lounging around the house. No idea where this pig picture was taken but it always make me smile. Nice bandanna hair knot thing she has going.

This is my favorite picture of her.

Her hair was never that long after I was born. She always wore it short and efficient, but she never went out of the house without that red lipstick. God forbid.

That's all, gotta go!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I got MAIL!!!

Wow, did I get mail...   My Mail Art Swap envelope showed up today. Lenna only mailed them on Tuesday and she's way down in Florida, so I didn't have much hope it was here, but I took my keys when I walked the dog. I made sure our route took us past the community mailbox, and sure enough, there was a great big decorated envelope in there. I almost tore it open standing there on the sidewalk, but managed to make it home to my kitchen table.

Lenna used all mail art related stuff to do this envelope and I really like it. All the little stamps and quotes are cool. I need to get that round Mail Art stamp cause I'm gonna keep doing envelopes for friends and relatives.

This is the front of Thelma's envelope. She made zentangle-like drawings in colors. I'd never even heard of zentangles until a few weeks ago and they quickly became a favorite thing to just go look at. Mostly they're done in black, which is neat, but the few I've seen done in colors are great. This one is no exception. There's so much going on... I haven't had time to just sit and look at it yet, but tonite on the couch I'll discover it. it went from Arkansas to FL to CA.

This is the front of Cynthia's envelope. The scan just doesn't do it justice. The silver paper is textured with sparkles and two little snowflakes in the bottom left and upper left corners. There's a doily at bottom right, something that hadn't yet occurred to me to use in collage. The stamps are wintery and the image of the woman has been wonderfully enhanced with silver and gold markers.

The back has her address and artful splotches of gold paint over what seems to be tissue paper. It's just altogether lovely, like a fairy tale envelope. It's a well-traveled envelope also. It went from Connecticut to Florida to California.

The front and back of Sharon's envelope are ocean themed and the colors are soft turquoisey blues and browns and golds. Very peaceful, like a day at the beach.

It's all stitched together on a sewing machine from at least 5 different papers, and has given me all sorts of ideas.

That's the really cool side benefit of a good swap. Not only do you end up with cool stuff made by talented people; you get all sorts of ideas of things to try.

Here's the back. Every bit as wonderful as the front. I just love this combination of colors and think maybe I'll do a bathroom in them. Then I could frame the envelope and hang it in the bathroom.

Don't laugh - I hang some of my favorite art in the potty cause I'm in there a fair amount each day.

I could tell Sharon's envelope has stuff inside, so I very carefully opened the flap and oh my... what goodies. I was very fortunate to receive one of her envelopes because she included all sorts of neat collage things - old, paper, book pages, music, a cigar band, tickets in my fave shade of green, aged hang tags, play money, a snippet of poem, some gorgeous patterned paper, and more.

Hopefully I paid back some of this largess with the images of my grandmother's old postcards that I included in my envelopes.

She wrapped all of it in a large sheet of handmade paper and the crowning touch was a postcard from the beach.

What a fabulous swap this was. Thank you so much, Thelma, Cynthia and Sharon. And thanks to Lenna for making it all possible. Can't wait to see what her next swap will be.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

envelopes, envelopes... I can't stop decorating envelopes

I ran across the Creative Swaps blog while perusing the work of Lenna Young Andrews, who was in one (or both) of the GreenPaper collage classes I took. She had a Mail Art swap going and the examples looked like fun, so after making a test run envelope to make sure I could, I signed up. And now I can't seem to stop. In no particular order, here's a look at some of them.
 Cranberries for Julie. Oops, Julie - you're going to see this here before it gets to your house...
 This one has sequins glued (E6000!!) to the front of it. When it gets to its destination, I'll check with the recipient to see if they made it past the tender mercies of the USPS. The scan looks weird cause the stamp hasn't been put on yet and I stuck a piece of paper over my addy, but this is a pretty one.
 I cut a bunch of diamonds out of a Zales Jewelry flyer. Perfect sparkley snow flakey sort of things. And couldn't resist the dragonfly. I love this one.
 Kinda basic but cute.
This looks hodge-podgey to me now, but I liked it a lot when I made it LOL. Forgot to ink the edges. <sigh>

doodle calendar - a great freebie!

Go visit A Creative Dream. She makes these great doodle things reminiscent of zentangles, but bigger and semi-circular and wonderfully complex. Here's a peek at one of the pages.  

She created a desktop calendar full of her doodles and has it as a free download. A useful, totally cool-to-look-at freebie that you can enjoy every day for a whole year. Go get yourself one...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Angels of December

I'm not particularly into angels, but I have a few that stay out year-round. Since it's an angel-y time of year, I thought I'd show them off.

 The one on the left was made by me, but inspired by my doll making friend Moneka. She made a pile of them to sell one year and I made one for myself along the way. My house has no ocher yellow and no red in it, but I can't get myself to put this angel away after Christmas.

                                                             I love the homespun of her dress, her little felt heart, her crackley wings, the tiny buttons on her shoes, her hair of clove stems.

She usually hangs in the hall out to the garage, with an odd assortment of other things - my old riding spurs, a string of dried cranberries and a Christmas ornament my friend Julie made for me one year.

 This one was made by me also, from a piece of a vintage crazy quilt that I bought someplace or other, no idea any more. I think it was made either with Moneka during one of the countless afternoons we spent in her craft room, or after an angel-making session with her one year. The fabric in the bottom purple piece is shattered and fraying. I have no purple in my house either, but she stays out all year, hanging from various spots as I get the urge to move her.

 I have several of these and ought to make some more. They're not difficult to make and they're lovely to look at.

 This one was actually made by Moneka and given to me. She's a Raggedy Ann angel, all hand stitched, with kinky red hair. Not sure if it's yarn or what. Every time I look at her, I wish I'd done my entire house in those soft old greens and vintage reds.

She has hung in my craft room since she was given to me, sometimes from an old peg, sometimes from a hat pin stuck in the side of a lampshade. Lately she's been hanging from a drawer knob of a old pink chest of drawers that Moneka pitched when she moved one time. All the small drawers are great for storing the endless small supplies I seem to accumulate.

Last is another one I made, while passing thru my fairly brief scroll saw phase. I got the pattern from an old quilt pattern, I think, and painted her barn red. She goes well with the shabby bench I slammed together from old falling down fence boards that I hauled home one day years ago.

For a while there, the area behind the garage - thankfully out of sight from the street - was piled with old boards, rusty bits of metal, and artistically shaped tree branches. I turned out several rustic trellises and a couple benches before I ran out of interest. I'm still lugging this one around and love it far out of proportion to the value of its cracked boards and flaking paint.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tonight I Danced

As I said when I posted my digital collage for GreenPaper's challenge, I really like the images. While baking piles of cookies this afternoon, I made a paper collage from those elements. The whole thing is more turquoise and less green than it appears here. I fiddled a bit in Photoshop trying to get it to look right, but it's still off.

Anyway, the girl looks wistful to me somehow, so I found an old postcard image and created a postcard home to her mama.

The writing is a font since my writing is way too scrawly for this sort of thing. Plus, I'd be sure to drag my hand thru the ink or some damn thing and have to do it five times to get it right.

This piece is about 4.5"x7". I just couldn't fit everything onto an ATC this time, altho I tried for a while before I gave up and went larger. I also ran lots of names thru my head while measuring flour and cracking eggs, but kept coming back to Sophie. I've always liked it and it sounds French to me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Green Paper December Challenge

Mary at Green Paper offers up three images each month. The challenge is to use all 3 in a collage of some type. Click on the link to see the 3 images before I futzed with them. I went digital this time, altho I think I'll do a traditional paper collage also, because I really like these images. Thanks, Mary!

My mad Photoshop skillz are coming along. All in all, I'm pretty happy with this. I flipped the image of the dancer so that she was leaned left, layered a grunge texture over her, tweaked the brightness and contrast, and... can't remember what else.

Then I layered the Presented certificate over her, dragging the bottom of it way past the bottom edge of the dancer so that the letters covered her body more than her face. Changed opacity and fill until I liked the look.

Then added the stamps. I played with layering them here and there, lowered opacity and fill until they didn't overwhelm the dancer.

Et voila - my first (but not last!) digital collage challenge piece.