Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday studio shots

Except today they're mostly just around the house and in no particular order.
My grocery store tulips. They were lovely on the table when we had friends over for Easter breakfast. Then we got invited next door for dinner and I took them as a hostess gift, so I got to enjoy them for only a few hours, Might stop and see if they have any more on the way to work tomorrow...

My various tote bags hanging in the hall with some berry garland that I leave out year-round just cause I like the way it looks. The two crazy quilt items on the left will be going on eBay soon.

Some of DH's exotic wood standing in a crate. Every time he looks askance at my growing pile of art supplies, I glance at the door to the garage which houses tens of thousands of dollars in wood and tools and machines. 'Nuff said.

The gopher snake found by the girl next door. It was swimming in their pool, by accident, I imagine. She turned it loose in the big drainage culvert behind our back fence. Snakes are very cool.

Me in front of a crazy quilt underwater scene in the downstairs bath. 

The enchiladas we made. They were amazing. I could eat Mex once a day for the rest of my life. 
The first piece of Teesha Moore inspired art I made. What crazy fun these are. I'll do a whole post on them soon. So different from my quilting years where every point had to match and everything had to be squared up. These goofy pages are a total 180.

And last but not least, the studio in all its messy glory. Boxes and boxes of stuff for eBay and Goodwill. The fleece jacket and pillow case that need mending are still hanging over the back of the far chair on the right...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

my day job

I'm having a good day - got enough sleep (thank you, Ambien), the line at the bank was short, and I had a yummy lunch (peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with pretzels and cold water). My day job is Admin of Fixed Operations for a group of five motorcycle stores and here's a look at my chunk of space.
This is looking left from my chair - a big white bookcase filled with all sorts of stuff. Food, assorted papers for the printer, the daily cash recons, phone books, fruit, The New Yorker cartoon daily calendar (not as fun as I thought it would be), box of various OTC drugs (allergy, headache, upset tummy), my beat up taped together back and forth to work box that I haul all sorts of things around in. Way easier for me than a briefcase.
This is one turn to the right of the bookcase. My messy desk. Birthday poster on the wall, my own tape gun because everyone else ruins them and I wanted MY OWN, the ever-present bottle of h2o, a pile of keys that I need to figure out what they go to, signs I'm in the process of making (but I'm blogging instead), markers and hi-liters cause I like color in my day. The two white pieces of foam by the keys are something I found in the trash on my way to the ladies room a while ago. Looks like they might make neat stamp imprints so I grabbed them.
Once more click to the right. More signs, lots of scrap paper cause I write a lot of notes, phone with shoulder cradle cause of my car wreck neck, my outdated roller ball mouse that I love, blogger screen ready to start this post. I sit at the back of a long skinny room and have kind of this wall between me and everything else. I can duck down behind the monitor and stay below the radar when I need to surf eBay or something. Also have a window behind me so lots of natural light, which I really enjoy. 

And that's about all that's interesting. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

stars & stripes swap and returns

Yet another ATC swap. They're like potato chips, I swear. When I get a marginal card back, I say I'm done with swaps for a while, but then I'll look at the list and a new one will jump out at me, and I'll think about what I'd make if I was gonna do that swap and pretty soon I've signed up!

Anyway, this one was stars and stripes, but nothing so obvious as the flag. The ATCs could be any theme or subject matter, just had to have stars and/or stripes on them.
I called this one A Butterfly in the Hand... Clever, huh? Love that Tim Holtz tissue tape. I've now bought 3 packs of it off eBay and it's very cool. This little girl with her fisted hands makes me smile.
This is The Heiress. I really want hair like that and a huge hat. But especially the hair. Since mine is short and gray, it'll never happen but I love the Gibson Girl look.
This is The Musicologist. I was just flipping thru one of my old dictionaries and came to that word. I never really thought about it being a word but I liked it and I had some vintage music from thrift shopping when I was in San Diego in January. 

These are all neat cards. I was very pleased with what I got back this time. The fish is hand drawn. I'm always impressed with people who do hand drawn cards for swaps where it isn't mandatory, but maybe they hate to collage. I dunno. I'm just glad they draw cause I'm not very good at it and really appreciate the cards when I get one. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

onion skin-dyed Easter eggs

We did this every Easter when I was a kid in Michigan, but I've never met anyone else who ever even heard of it, much less did it. So! Here's my tutorial on how to dye lovely eggs using only onion skins, lettuce and string. Weird ingredient list, huh?

My biggest problem is gathering enough onion skins. Used to be you could go to the store and fill up a bag from the onion bin, but now they vacuum them out every morning (honest, I saw them with a shop vac) and look at you like you've got three heads when you ask them to save onion skins for you. This year my neighbor, who does a lot of work on the barter system, got paid with a couple bushels of onions, so skins were no problem.
Cut pieces of string about 2.5 feet long before you get started cause in a minute or two, you'll only have one free hand.

Grab a limp (the limper, the better) outer leaf from the head of lettuce and set an egg on it. Now wrap it up good while trying to keep the lettuce from splitting, the egg from squirting out, and the edges folded in. Grab a string and wrap it in all different directions around the lettuce-wrapped egg. Do not drop the egg at this point.

After a while, you'll have a pile of them. Look kinda like Chinese dumplings or something.

Bury them under the onion skins in a big pot and add water to cover the eggs by at least an inch. Gently push the skins down into the water.

Put on high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour off most of the water, being careful not to get it on anything cause it stains like the dickens, and run cold water over the eggs to stop them cooking. I like to dump in a bunch of ice cubes.

When everything has cooled down enough to handle, grab all the onion skins and put them in the trash. Don't put them down the disposal cause they don't grind up real well and will cause your disposal to stop working and begin to smell so bad that you have to put your bare hand down there and take them all back out. I already learned that for you, so save yourself the headache and throw them away.

Unwrap them, wipe off the bits of lettuce and say, "oooh" every time you do a new one. 

They never come out the same. Some are darker, some more mottled. I remember years when they had a rusty brown on them, and sometimes a gorgeous yellow. I used red and brown onion skins and mine are mostly a medium reddish brown with gold and yellow. Very pretty. You can wipe them down with a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel and they just glow. Let me know if you try it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

my $1 pink hyacinths

These were only a buck at Wallyworld a moth or so ago. 
Sat them on the kitchen window ledge and waited. 
They grew. 
Quickly. That one stalk grew an inch over night. I swear.
Then they began to bloom.
The bottom-up unfolding of hyacinths is one of my favorite flower tricks 
and I spent a lot of time enjoying this one.
All that gorgeousness for only a buck...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

a-journaling I go... vacation journal

There are so many things to try that I often have a tough time narrowing my adhd focus down to one thing long enough to complete it. My stack of quilting UFOs has filled many a Goodwill bag over the years. But when I made plans to go visit a friend in San Diego last January, I knew I wanted to keep track, in some way, of the fun I knew we'd have. In surfing around god knows where on the intertubes, I found a tute on making a quickie journal from a manila file folder. As I'm surrounded by file folders all day long, it was right up my alley.

I didn't take any pics of the thing as I assembled it (gluing, folding, sewing, inking) (doh!) but now that it's finished, I figured I'd post it. Visiting Julie...
Front cover. You can see the tab at upper right. It ends up at the back of the journal.

Pages 1 and 2, scanned. Reciepts from shopping, bits of the trims I bought at Road to California, a sun because the sun was actually out and shining!!!, what we had for dinner, football playoff teams, an accordion of pictures.

Pages 1 and 2, photo 1. You can see the photo accordion. That's a big chicken looking at you bottom center.

Pages 1 and 2, photo 2. Unfolded flyer from that art store, I think. Pic of Julie in her wonderful kitchen making me something to eat.

Pages 3 and 4, scanned. The fish are street art we walked past. Blueberries for breakfast, Mex for lunch, cake for dinner, more trim, a crossword puzzle, bit of a book I bought at the excellent used bookstore, pic of coffee from an old dictionary, more receipts. Upper right corner is a bit of the lace we dyed one afternoon on the back patio. 

Pages 3 and 4, photo 1. Fish pic opens to show another image on the back. Book page unfolds. More little papers stuffed into the pockets.

Pages 3 and 4, photo 2. Just a different angle.

Back cover. Tim Holtz tissue tape. Some journaling using a white gel pen, the one I bought in San Diego.

And that's it. I'm very pleased with it. It totally captures the mood of that trip - colorful with odds and ends all over the place because we crammed so much into just three days. 

Sunday studio shots - the inaugural post

Because I have no shame and because I love seeing other people's creative areas, every Sunday I'm going to post pictures of what my studio looks like that day.  Here goes.
This is my computer desk, just to the left of my craft desk. Color printer hulking just to the left, b/w printer in the center, up on top of the paper trays. Above it a little green shelf with various hand made items on it. Sewing machine on the far left, under the window so I can see well. Fleece jacket that needs tailoring draped over chair (been there 3 weeks). Pillow case that needs mending under jacket, been there 6 weeks. Michaels coupons at lower right. Just enough room for my hands to get to the keyboard.
Craft desk. Finished ATCs for book page background swap at center. White sports tape DH didn't use for basketball hanging on front of stamp storage drawers (wait - don't throw that out! I'll use it in a journal!!  big eye roll from him). Newly acquired rolls of Tim Holtz tissue tape on shelf just below sports tape. Old wooden box of paints at left from making journal page backgrounds a couple days ago. Hand made pottery mug of glue sticks at lower right edge, next to little flower-topped glass jar containing Vaseline from peeling paint technique swap weeks ago. Wire box of ATC blanks below and just to left of Tim Holtz tissue tape, next to margarine tub of water from painting session. 

Roller blade cutter, ruler and mat at center front, left over from quilting days, works great for paper. Ironed lace hanging on back of door, right above the18-drawer chest I bought one time with Farrah while coming back from lunch when I worked in Oceanside. Love that thing, perfect for holding all the little stuff. I have it arranged alphabetically. I'll go thru it some day row by row and show you all the goodies. White shelves in center hold all the stuff I use most - flat boxes of various papers on top, stamp pads, paints, clips to hold things together while glue dries, etc, etc. 

This is the wall across from the desks. Bookcase chock full of books to alter, to scan, to tear pages from. Dog bed for Mags, box of books for library book sale, old white table drug in from family room cause it was easier to carry the table than put all the stuff on it away. Big TV I hardly ever look at except every July for the Tour de France and every two years for the Olympics. Makes a great place to hang the hand dyed crepe paper rolls I bought while in San Diego in January.

And because this is the first look at my room for some of you, let me say that it almost always looks at least somewhat like this - stacks of stuff on the floor (eBay piles, Goodwill piles, etc) but right now it's particularly bad because I'm weeding thru the way-too-much-stuff I've accumulated since I got into paper arts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

peeling paint technique swap and returns

For this one you had to smear Vaseline here and then on a card, then paint over it and wipe away the paint where the Vaseline was. You could embellish the card before and/or after the paint. I made a whole bunch of backgrounds for later use and ended up with three cards I was happy with. I love the image of all the kids reading. I've used it a few times and I'm not done with it.
The ones I got back were all very neat. The first card in the series of three returns at the bottom of the post is very cool in person. It's done on canvas and the colors are lovely. Good swap.

ransom notes swap and returns

This was a cool swap. Your ATCs had to have every single letter cut out one by one. My poor fingers. I had glue everywhere by the time I was done. I like my own cards a lot and the returns are all neat too. I especially love the Starbucks card. Mine are all on hand painted and stamped backgrounds and have some more drawing on them. I'm getting more adventurous...