Tuesday, August 21, 2012


While looking thru pictures for something else entirely, I noticed that I've come across some BIG things lately. They made me smile so I figured I'd post them.

Huge bowl I got at a yard sale for twenty five cents.
Every now and then you need a gigantic bowl for something, right?
Like to mix up that double batch of meat loaf or potato salad.
We didn't have one and I kept thinking I'd look at Wally World the next time I was there,
but then I spotted this one which is humongous and dirt cheap. Score!
(see my bottle of Kahlua on top of the fridge? now you know my secret vice)

Mongo flashlight at Costco.
Sometimes we get a Starbucks and then go wander around Home Depot or
Bed, Bath & Beyond or Costco. Our version of cheap date night.
We were doing the aisles when I spotted this flashlight that's so big
I'm not even sure what you'd use it for.
You could shine deer with it from five miles away.
Or stand on a hill and be a lighthouse.
I bet the batteries last about 3.5 minutes.

And lastly, the largest zucchini our garden produced.
I swear we checked that plant every single day, but at least once a week
we'd find a monster zuke that somehow had managed to hide
until it was two feet long. We ate a lot of stuffed zucchini this summer,
more than I was interested in eating, frankly, but no one at work
would take them any more and I was damned if I'd throw them out
after working so hard to have a good garden. 

silly postcards

Monday morning I was in the mood to play around in the studio but didn't have anything particular in mind. While cleaning up last week, I'd come across a box of recent magazine pages, torn out for a class I took a while back. I tend to work a lot with vintage materials, so for something different, I sat down with the box and some cardboard and just started throwing things together. I made two backgrounds first - one of yellows, oranges, and golds - just random pieces from ads and articles that were mostly those colors. And another one that was a picture of some grasses in a vase that I liked the colors of.

Then I pawed thru the box and pulled out various things that caught my eye, like the bottom half of a cat standing on its back legs (???) and a kid in a superhero outfit - again with nothing special in mind. I'm trying to just let it flow, be spontaneous, spill my impulses, and all the other things the books tell you to do. Just get in there and make art!!!

So that's what I was doing. Pretty soon I had a weird pile of images that eventually came together as the two collages you see here.

I used some glittery sticker letters for Dance A Jig, plus some gel pen and marker work. I bet the guy in the blue oxford shirt from the Xerox ad never expected to end up as a cross dressing, half cat, go-go dancer.

For Once Upon A Time, I added sequins to the crown, plus some more gel pen doodles, which ran when I coated the collages with Gloss Medium and Varnish.

I really need to test every marking device I have against that stuff and keep a list. I love the finish it gives but I'm tired of wrecking things I've made by smearing the ink. Or maybe spray everything with a fixative, and then varnish it? 

Anyway, these are totally goofy and make me smile so I'm going to mail them off to friends and hope they get a grin out of them too. 

How could they not, right?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

4-legged house guest

While walking Maggie a week ago Thursday, a woman stopped her car by me, rolled down her window and said, "Is that your dog?"

I looked down at Maggie, standing at the end of her leash and replied, "Um... yes."

 "Not that one," the woman said. "THAT one," pointing back over her shoulder at a little white dog sniffing a bush about 100ft away.

"Nope, not mine," I said, hoping that would be the end of it but knowing I'd go rescue the dog. So we walked toward it, me talking in a dog-friendly voice and Maggie wagging her tail off at the thought of a dog to play with. It came right to me and since I happened to have an extra leash with me, I snapped it on her. Luckily she had a collar but no tags. TAG YOUR DOGS, PEOPLE!

I proceeded to walk the neighborhood for 30 minutes hoping to find its house. No luck, so I went home, took her pic, made flyers and set out in the car stopping everyone I saw to see if they recognized the dog. Still no luck, so I took her home and there she stayed until Saturday evening when her family finally called. We named her Betty for no reason other than she looked like a Betty and lit up when we called her.

She and Maggie ran themselves silly in the back yard for hours, and while she was with us, she fit right in like she'd been here for years. Maggie sleeps with us, in a dog bed down by our feet, so I wedged another dog bed in, pointed at it, and Betty hopped right in and slept the night.

In the evenings, we sit on a love seat-sized La-Z-Boy and watch the tube or read. She jumped up, found a spare lap and flopped down. Too funny.

When her family called, I gave them a brief earful about being a responsible pet owner. But they seemed like nice people and Betty (aka Charlie) was thrilled to see them so I gave her back. Turned out she lived about 75ft from where I found her, in one of the few houses whose door I didn't knock on. If she'd had TAGS, I could have called them within minutes of finding her.


With the Olympics on, I can't seem to stay away from the TV, so I packed a bunch of art stuff out to the kitchen table and made ATCs for several evenings. Here's the results, complete with notes about how and what. All are for trade except "rather wistfully" and the bluebird.
Watercolor background, torn bits of old book pages and maps, inking.
The woman is a vintage image that I layered over an old book page in photoshop,
then printed. "Adventurous" was part of a pack of printed words that I got
from someplace a long time ago. Seemed to fit with her determined expression and the map,
like she might be getting ready to set off for The Continent or something.

Background is an ancient ledger page showing onions, tea, 28 (lbs of?) sugar,
cracked corn, 2 cans of something, 3 breads. Amazing to think it was all
set down by hand, in pencil, and that was what everyone went by.
Inked thru a paper doily on left but you can't see much of it.
The brown strip is old tissue paper from the back of a frame.
The cucumber is from an old page of a gardening book, layered onto a bit of map.
"Buy the giant size..." is from a 1954 LIFE magazine layered onto a bit of
heavily inked book page.

Watercolor background with some old torn paper  and a couple pieces of washi tape.
Inked thru sequin waste for the dots. The image is a copy of an old photo
that's in poor shape and faded but I love his hat and bicycle.
"The very latest craze" is from that pack of printed words.

Watercolor background. The little girl is from a swap, I think. I had some
washi tape in a plaid with exactly her colors in it so I used that plus a polka dot.
"Mischievous" from the pack of words. This one is totally not my colors or style
but I think it's kinda cute.

Old ledger background with inking thru stencil waste and some old tissue paper.
The woman is an image that I've used before and just love for her
confident expression and soft colors. The jeweled headpiece is from a
Cadillac ad in that 1954 LIFE mag, as is the wording at top. Love the colors in this one.

Watercolor background with stamping and some washi tape.
No idea where the girl came from, prolly a swap. The phrase is from an old book.
I have a bunch of vintage books and just page thru them until I find a word
or phrase that works with what I'm doing. Love this one.

The background is watercolor with old torn paper and some inking thru drywall tape.
The girl came in a swap with little Miss Mischievous above.
The bluebird is from a set of digital images of vintage logomachy cards
I bought from Mary Green. This one cracks me up.
Looks like she was just woken from a nap by that damn bird.

Old ledger background. Cut the wall image from that 1954 LIFE mag.
The girl is a scanned old image. Cut her out so she could sit on the wall
instead of the chair she was on. "The cutest" is from the LIFE mag.
Drew some little circles with a white gel pen.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Emily knew...

Gail of Shabby Cottage re-opened her challenge blog, Mind Wide Open. I didn't know it in its first life, but jumped right in when she announced a new challenge. She gave us a gorgeous image of a girl with a butterfly tattoo on her face, on a lovely background. I went digital again, since I'm in photoshop mode today.

I liked the aqua in her tattoo so I started with three different green/aqua backgrounds, added two overlays of grungy frames and one of old film, two leaf edges, a couple glitter swirls, a butterfly image and I can't even remember what else. Did all sorts of tweaks with filters and layers, and ultimately ended up with this:

I just love the colors in it (been on an aqua binge for months now) and the overall look. I still have a long way to go to be proficient in photoshop but at least I'm now able to create art that I'm happy with.

Those of you who enjoy challenges, go check out Mind Wide Open. If she keeps up with these types of images, I'll be there every time.

gluebook pages

Every time I see some gluebook pages on Mary Green's blog, I get inspired to make a few. My husband was out of town last week for 3 days, so I hauled a bunch of stuff out to the kitchen table and made a big old mess while I watched the Olympics.

My mom being held by her dad, around 1925.
The circus is in the background.
Love the pop of orange postage stamp with the blues.

These things do well as an assembly line item so I made up 6 backgrounds one evening, patching together old book pages, maps, sheet music and misc papers until I had the cardboard covered. Then I smeared gesso over everything, and stuck some masking tape onto the gesso while it was still wet, a la this tutorial. I was on a roll and didn't have the patience to wait until it was dry, so I peeled it off after I stopped and ate a cookie, so about 15 minutes after I put it on. I had to be careful not to pull the whole thing apart, as she warns, but it worked out fine. I layered them in cereal box liners (FREE! and what I use instead of roll after roll of wax paper) and stacked them under a heavy book for the night since they tend to warp.

Loved the pic of the horse looking thru the gate so I used him with half
of an old Italian postcard that had a horse statue on it.
Added red to pick up the red in the ledger paper.
Next evening I put most some very little of my previous supplies away and got out postage stamps, people pics, and a box of vintage-y ephemera. I laid out all 6 backgrounds and just started putting items on various backgrounds as I dug thru my files and boxes. Pretty soon I had loosely themed piles of goodies on each card. Then I picked one and rearranged, discarded and added stuff until I liked it. Glued it down and went on to the next one. So in two evenings, I made these 6 cards. Gluebook pages offer an excellent payoff in time vs product!

Which one do you like best??

I'm keeping the first three but the last three are up for trade. Anybody interested? They're 5x7 with no holes punched yet, and I haven't finished the backs but will before I trade them.

My mom sitting on the steps of a porch in Dayton Ohio around 1925.
Had those little squares of paper left from doing the backgrounds
so I used them here. I really like this one.
I think the woman is a Vanderbilt daughter. I had originally saved her for using in
Lenna's vintage greeting card swap but didn't.
The flowers are an original page from a small 1932 book of wild flowers
from my yard saling friend Moneka.
The torn bits at top are part of a napkin taken apart to its three layers.
Love how it blends right in.

The girl is an original little card from an old album.
Layered her on part of an old book page.
The stamps are originals. Love how they pick up the colors.

The girl is an image from an old book layered onto edges from a map
I used in the backgrounds. The dictionary page had been painted green
for some other long ago project and the ticket was from a swap.

savvy traveler

Mary Green and her monthly collage challenges are back! Yay! As always, you must use at least part of all three images. Like the last few, I went digital with this. I love paper and glue but merging 3 such different elements is a lot more fun for me in photoshop.

Used the map as the background, with two overlays - a grungy one and an old film one. There are various other things in the background - newspaper in the top left corner, part of a handwritten letter along the left edge, a collage of health product packaging along the top.

Made the woman from various parts and pieces, and then put a frame around her head. Duplicated the ticket a couple times. Dropped a frame onto the fig label and then put it on a red background so show it would show up against the grungy map.

The savvy traveler (yes I know it's spelled wrong in the collage but it sooo looks like it should have two Ls doesn't it?? and by the time I realized it, I had already merged the layers) font is "crow scratch" from Crowabout Studio B and the other elements are from Tangie Baxter and Deviant Art.  I'm really working on adding lots of elements and packing more onto the page, not for the sake of using lots of stuff, but to make it more interesting to look at, and I'm pleased with this one. Glad you're back, Mary! Bet you never envisioned your elements ending up like this, huh?!? LOL