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Monday, April 3, 2017

Ahhhh...Springtime. With Blissful ATC Swap


(Chipboard, Graphic 45with bird, some grass and clover  mounted with mounting tape 
for effect, Tim Holtz, Dresden frame covered in white Gilder's Paste
and rubbed to highlight a little of the gold.)

I was visiting a friend the other day, when she paused during our conversation, and gazed out the window with a rapturous look on her face.

"Look!" she said, in a excited whisper.

I did. And I understood exactly how she felt.

The birdfeeder was simply crawling with birds! A movement to my right almost caused me to laugh aloud. "Oh! I can't believe it! Here comes a squirrel!" 

She pursed her lips thoughtfully, then smiled. "It's okay for now, there's enough for everyone."

"Well," I said, "Maybe not enough for everyone, but a good start."

We grinned at each other. "I'll get phone and get pictures!"

"Great idea!" I said, "You do that, and I'll get the shot pellets and gun."

Shortly after, I was sitting in my car and wondering how birds had become so darned overrated.

(Inside of ATC sized paper mache' house covered with tissue paper and acrylic. Live twigs, mini birds, greenery and clay birds. Brass finding on top with clock. Moss adhered with tacky glue. Tim Holtz findings.)

Back in the day, we used to hunt those suckers and suck the marrow out of the tasty little bones.

Well, ok. Not songbirds. But squirrels, definitely. 

FINE. Fine. So my grandpa hunted squirrels. But I STILL had to eat squirrel and dumplins on occasion. 

Geez. You people are a pain. Ok, I ate it once. After they told me it was dark meat chicken and dumplins. Had I KNOWN I would be eating a member of the rodent family, I certainly wouldn't have come NEAR it, much less eat the nasty stuff.

Wow. That was a heck of a rant, wasn't it?

The point I was trying to get to (before you ill-mannered people managed to access my brain and gave me the power to foresee your disturbing need for ACCURACY-whatever happened to literary license, people??) was why in the world would anyone want birds and inevitably, squirrels, hanging out 24/7 at your home? You are, in essence, training them to hang out until meal times and show their gratitude by pooping on everything from your car, to your deck and even your kids!!

PAM (pre-adderall moment) I want to say that I would give anything to have my kids get poop-bombed by birds. That would be hilarious! Oh, the fabulous Facebook photos I would have! Not to mention that I would finally have material to justify the purchase of those Christmas picture cards to send to everyone! With cute captions like, after catching a kid slipping and falling on the bird poop slicked grass, the picture would read "I'm POOPED". Or how about a picture of all three covered in bird droppings and having a caption that reads "The POOP Posse!" How about a close up of the birds and the kids having a birthday party in the back and calling it "The Party POOPERS" Oh HAHAHAHAHAHA The possibilities are endless. The only thing keeping me from putting this incredible idea into motion is the fact those little poop-heads would refuse to leave the house and I'll be stuck with them for the rest of their lives. Is that worth a day, or three, of parental payback perfection??? 

Sigh. I know. I'm torn about it, too.

(END OF PAM)



But look...I'm not here to try to change anyone's mind. I mean, how could I? You people are crazy enough to WANT the little sh*t machines to hang out at your house 24/7! You even buy them food to keep the poop coming on a regular basis! I don't even know how to TALK to that kind of crazy! All I have to say is this: when you tire of the mess, you know who to call. 

And I'll even supply the shot.

Needless to say, I was on a clay binge for Blissful ATC swap's "Bird Brain" theme for March. I found so many little tutorials on youtube, that I drug my Sculpey out and went to town! What you see is one try on each before I baked them. That's how easy it was! Throw in so live twigs and some good texture and you've got a really good start on some bird themed ATC's!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It all started with eggs....

Piece 1 of 3 for Blended Backgrounds. Small shrine, painted with chalk paint, stamped and shaded. Gold, stenciled words on top. Picture coated with glossy accents for shine.

When the theme for February's Blissful ATC swap was posted (Blended Backgrounds) I had originally thought to make another Faberge Egg ATC, that I learned from the terrific tutorial HERE at Laura Carson's artfully musing blawg.

Piece 2 of 3. Stamped image in Archival Ink on paper backed cloth. Image colored heavily in Distress Ink and spritzed. 

I had originally planned to title this "Hopelessly Devoted to My Eggs". Personally, I thought this a wonderful title! Until my husband wandered into my craft...I mean my 'Art Studio' (don't laugh...I bought a SIGN that says it, hanging above the door) and started reading this over my shoulder.

"You like your eggs?" he said.
"I do," I said, trying to sound pleasant while mentally restraining myself from elbowing him in the gut to get him to move out of my personal-PERSONAL space.
"Do you still have eggs? I mean, at YOUR age?"

I counted to 50, all the while thanking the Lord that the loaded handguns were under lock in the upstairs safe and not still in my purse.

"Fabrege' eggs." I said, teeth clenched.

"Is that what they call them? I thought it was fallopian or something." he squinted his eyes, as if trying to have an intelligent conversation.

"You really need to go watch TV." I said.
"There's a commercial on Fox and Friends." he whined.
"There will be plenty of those to deal with. But I'm pretty sure that the little hottie that is Ainsley of Fox News and Friends is worth a few commercials. I'm pretty sure she doesn't like a quitter."

He fled.

Have we ever reached a consensus as to why, no matter where we are in the house or what we may be doing, our husbands periodically wander into our personal space and just stand there without a word until we snap "What do you want??" Then, with a wounded 'nothing' or 'what's wrong with you?' they shuffle out the door? It drives me MAD when my husband does that! What does he think I'm doing? Having some kind of spicy 'chat' with a handsome, wealthy Castillian Spanish hombre' who is just shy of 30 and has never been in love with anyone...until ME?

CRAP. Now, I'm going to have to write my mother yet another of my apologetic emails, and include an extra hundred punishment lines:

"My art blog is NOT the place to share my spicy fantasies. It is a crafting blog, not some questionable URL where 'Craft' involves scantily dressed people with whips. My blog is NOT the place to share my spicy fantasies. It is a crafting blog, not some...." I'll finish them later.

Point is, I'm crafting. Or shopping.

PAM: (pre-adderall moment) For the record, my husband would be fine with my saucy repartee' with Don Carlos, as long as it curtailed my shopping. Seriously. I've got some real problems with this. I noticed it the other day, when I counted 4 pieces of relatively large mechanical things that you're supposed to plug in a wall and turn on. I don't know what they are, and I'm afraid of plugging anything in unless I know it won't jump off a table and run around, chewing up art supplies and children's toes (not to mention MINE) on its rampage. So there they sit until they can be identified. It's pretty bad, people.

But back to the original question: What is it that drives our men to circle us as if caught in some gravitational pull they can't break free of? Your responses and advice would be greatly appreciated and you'd probably better take a moment and help a sister out.

Otherwise, I'll be calling YOU for bail money. 



Piece 3 of 3. Masonite shrine, painted red and antiqued using black stain. ATC design card glued to front. Chipboard platform rests on wood dowels painted red and covered in stickers. Stamp of dragon done in VersaMark and heat embossed with gold glitter embossing powder. Paper used is Graphic 45.













Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Snow Men, Scotland and Summer in December


Well, Christmas is over.

Apparently here in Burlington, NC, so is winter.

I went to bed last night, snuggled under my favorite down comforter, dressed in my best (Wal-Mart) quasi-faux-velvet-een-ish sleep pants, and a light, long-sleeved cotton shirt. 

Around 3am, I woke with my pillow soaked with sweat, the comforter on the floor, and my pants twisted around my knees, forcing my body to contort until my face was (still sweating) on my husband's back and my feet resting on the nightstand. 

My husband woke with a groan. "Good Lord...what are you doing?"

I tried to rearrange myself, with little luck. 

"Question." I said, quickly trying to figure out which leg connected to which hip, in order to untangle and right myself in a way which would spare the lamp and my iPad. "Did you try to take my pants off at any time during the night?"

My husband paled and he resembled a deer in headlights. "NO!" he said, horrified. "We're married! I would never do that to you!"

Needless to say, this didn't really help the situation.

So, three days after Christmas, I had my A/C on 70 while curled up under a cotton sheet with sleep shorts and a tank top-neither of which no living in this hemisphere had any interest in trying to remove from my sleeping body.

Once again, I digress.

When I lived in Florida, it was always around 80 at Christmas. The difference is that it's SUPPOSED to be that temperature. 

In NC, on the other hand, we should have a dusting of snow on the trees. At least a sixteenth of an inch so that schools-and the town-would shut down, leaving us to enjoy being 'snowed in'. 

But this was not to be. 

Instead, there I was, having the mother of all hot flashes, sans hormones.

But avec pants.

Sigh.



For Christmas, I decided to make these little snowman ornaments. I'd taken a wonderful online class with Deryn Mentock of Something Sublime called The Merry Men of Winter. Using sterling silver vintage salt and pepper shakers, I glued swarovski crystal chains and broken pieces from old jewelry, I made hanging ornaments, shelf ornaments and, my fave, glass ball ornaments. 


I made the heads from Sculpey and the base of the glass ornament is paperclay that I spread glue on and glittered, then pressed into the bottom. I arranged my elements, then removed them to let the paperclay dry. They were truly adorable. It ALMOST made up for my having to order the &%^$% things from CHINA. That's right...after searching high and low for DAYS, I ended up having to order from China. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Now, I know you are waiting with bated breath for my 'Scotland' tie-in and you KNOW I never disappoint! 


BAM!
Wait...ok...maybe I assumed that most every woman in the world has read Outlander. If you haven't, then get the book. Read 50 pages. The put it down if you don't like it. 

Good luck with that.

My Aunt Sharon actually told me the same thing when she told ME to read it. As you can see, I never put the book down. 

Sassenach is the Scottish word for "English" or "Outlander". So, I made sure my Aunt knew this was her ornament, and only hers.

Thanks for stopping by...I know I've been remiss in my posting, but living life in daylight savings time in a thousand degree heatwave is truly taking its toll on me. Not to mention taking the same toll on my sleeping pants, instead of my husband. 

More's the pity. 😁




Monday, November 7, 2016

TAH-DAH!!!!

Ok. I'm not writing that much during this post. Mostly because the hundreds of picture are going to put you to sleep before it's all over. 

I have a habit of doing that to people. 

Anyway, I want to present you with what I've been working on for two months. TWO MONTHS. Why? Because that's what happens when you have carpal tunnel release on both hands and then decide the logical thing to do is make a miniature conservatory for your mother's birthday.


Most of these supplies came from alphastamps Several months ago, I saw an incredible piece from Laura Carson at artfullymusing. She'd created this UNBELIEVABLE Conservatory and the next thing I knew, I was ordering like a madwoman and perusing the internet, trying to learn how to create miniature flowers.
 The floor is actual wood, which I darkened using Tim Holtz Vintage Photo ink. I cut strips of the same paper and darkened it even more to serve as a an inlay around the outside of the room. The 'inset' is a graphic image that I resized and printed. In retrospect,  I SHOULD have cut a hole and actually made it an inset, but I'll try next time. The blue and red flowers I handmade from various tutorials. I ordered the curtains from Maggie Melinda Janet is an absolute goddess and made these  beautiful drapes for the ridiculous amount of 35.00. And that included shipping. 




I think the white lilies and carnations turned out well. The table is from alphastamps, along with various other planters. I painted it turquoise and distressed it with dark wax. Many of the pots and planters feature VerDay paint patinas  I used it for the copper root, the rusted pineapple at the top and the bronze doors. Just paint, let dry and paint again. While still wet, spray the reactor. When patina is complete, use a paper towel to rub some of the patina away, if you like. I LOVE this stuff!


The chair is from alphastamps, as is the table beside it. I made the geraniums and miniature book in the chair. The pillow was compliments of Miss. Janet at Maggie Melinda.


The light is my favorite, mostly because I figured out how to make it a magnetic feature which you can reach in, pluck out, turn on and off, then just stick it back up. This shot was one before I fixed the kink in it, so please try to admire the ceiling medallions and ignore the kink.\


 I made the little topiary with toothpicks and this green stuff I got at a train store. I made this and all the green moss that covers most of the house and STILL have 3/4 left. Scary.

The stone work is from Bromley Craft Products in England. Not only is the mason work incredibly easy, you can order this mix you mix with water and I can tell you that it truly is a must-have for anyone wanting to do authentic miniature mason work.

NOW you see why it took FOREVER to get this done. But I'm grateful I could draw on the experience of other crafters and had use of products that made this job easy enough that I COULD finish it! Thanks for hanging in there! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tim's Tags October 2016 ROCKY HORROR LIVES!




I LOVE Rocky Horror Picture Show!! 

Tim Curry was awesome! And the theatre actors! And all the movie cues that we played with in the theatre!!

I tried to explain the cultural significance to my 3 boys, tonight before dinner. They'd come in under the pretense of admirning my latest creation, but it was really because I was delaying dinner.

"So, let me see if I'm understanding this." my oldest said. "When it rained in the movie, everyone squirted each other with a squirt gun. And when the marriage scene was played, everyone threw rice."

"Yes!! Yes!! That's it!" I said.

"That's a real mess to leave for the people who clean up." my middle son chimed in.

"I want to wear clothes like Dr. Frank-N-Furter." my 10-year-old, autistic kid yelled as he bolted from the room to find my high-heeled shoes he'd suddenly taken a liking to.

I sighed. "You don't understand. It was so cool! We all came together and were happy when we went to Rocky Horror. The people who were acting the move out under the screen..."

"Wait." My oldest said. "They were acting the movie out as it was playing? Are you kidding me? You think that's cool but you bless us out if we even LOOK at our cell phones BEFORE the previews, even!" 

"This is different." I said, stammering just a bit. "This is...oh, just forget it. I'm going to do the Time Warp before dinner. All of us. It's easy! You'll love it! Just follow...." 

I turned around to find my audience had disappeared, leaving only the faintest trace of ozone behind.

The problem is, you CAN'T explain Rocky Horror to anyone. They have to have the actual experience of simply having fun with a squirt gun, rice, other food items and-my favorite-yelling the requisite words every time the names "Brad" and "Janet" were said.

And no. I can't repeat them here.

ANYWAY, the moment I saw Tim's Tag for October, I KNEW old Frankenstien would need a little Tim Currty treatmentl. Using pink archival ink and eye and lip treatments, along with some beautiful earring bling made from Tim's clips and charms, set me on my way. 

We used a crackle treatment on the paper, and used distress crayons to color and accent the surface. I attached good ol' Frank-N-Furter and cut out the letters to spell out "Time Warp" at the bottom, which I coated with glossy accents. I used black flocking for his hair and attached a chain for hanging at the top.

Needless to say, we DID get to dinner, sooner than later. Granted, there was some serious bargaining over the odd crescent roll (I won, this time, thanks to my threat of performing "Time Warp" during dinner) but, at the end of it all, my kids had turned their noses up for the umpteenth time, over something that was so COOL when I was young! 

But that's ok. They can think what they want. Because I had a late lunch and I'm not terribly hungry. Let's see how much fun they'll make of me in an hour or so, when they're ready to gnaw their own arms off from hunger. I bet Rocky Horror will be the best thing that ever happened to them..

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tim's Tags September 2016



Oh, how much fun I had with THIS tag, my friends!
(Description at the bottom of the post)

Par for the course, I'm sliding in under the wire, but hey...I can only work when the creativity hits, people. Well, it's not so much as when the creativity hits as to an actual deadline making me panic and create something as fast as I possibly can.

Which is tough going with the disability I didn't know I had. That was, until my husband looked down at my hands and said, "You know, Liam (our youngest minion) has fingers just like yours! Little sausage fingers!" (Fig. 1)

You know that moment when men say something they think is funny, but is actually a legitimate defense in a manslaughter trial? (See Fig. 1)

Seeing me NOT laughing, he tried valiantly to correct his mistake. 

"Wait, what I meant was that...well, Liam...I guess..." (Fig. 2)

Have you even noticed that men, in realizing they said something that will lead to their suffering months of passive-aggressive spousal behavior, begin to try to explain that they didn't mean what they meant? But, since they have no way out, mostly due to being only able to process one thought at a time, they begin speaking in half sentences. (See Fig. 2)

Next, perhaps knowing that there's not really a way out of the "Quagmire of Idiocy" they are sinking into, they next try to put whatever positive spin on it they can come up with. (See Fig. 3)

"Look, what I really meant was that I think your fingers are simply adorable! They're so cute and chubby, kinda, and just...they feel so good to squeeze!" (Fig. 3)

It's about that time, that they feel they can move a little closer, perhaps to try and hold your fat little fingers and give them a loving squeeze, while inadvertently checking to see that there are no knives concealed in the hand with the huge, obese fingers.

This is a mistake. 

Because even though they may get a hug, or soft words of forgiveness and understanding, the bottom line is that they pretty much just found a body part that CAN'T lose much weight, thereby nullifying all diet attempts made to this point, and effectively sentencing their target to a life of sobbing into a bowl of ice cream while whispering, "Why me? There's nothing I can do! I'll have to wear gloves for the rest of my life! Do they even make them in 'sausage fingers' size?"

Not to mention the incessant planning, from that moment on, as to how to punish a man for such an egregious mistake. Acts of refusing to clean or cook, claiming my 'sausage fingers' can't manage the the respective implements used in each task. Or claiming my obese digits can't possibly be expected to manage to drive a car for groceries, or to pick up children, or even allow a conjugal visit? 

Sorry-too much emotional baggage from my stunted fingers to even THINK about letting go and enjoying a little 'connubial bliss'. I'd be too self-conscious to even think about it. It's not like there's any type of sexy lingerie that could possibly help. So, I'll have to pass.

I mean, really...do you think I'd allow these fat fingers to be seen naked?





Now for the September tag:

The mash-ups were to make a marbled tag, which I did using rusty hinge, china and fossilized amber, along with plenty of metallic brass. The second was covering Yupo in alcohol ink and stmping an image using archival ink. I used  black alcohol ink and orange archival ink. Once stamped, take a clean, cotton cloth and blot over image, creating a resist. I jazzed it up with skelaton hands, cut from some little plastic images, and used Tim's Cross Movers and Shapers, covered it with Tim's texture paste and used hickory smoke, weathered wood and Iced Spruce to make it look like a concrete marker. Then, using tea bag tea, I created a freshly dug grave with another skeleton hand.

The noose I created myself and using the filmstrip and stickers (with Ranger Liquid Pearls 'blood') 



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tim's Tags 2016 August


Talk about sliding in under the wire! I don't EVER think I've come this close to missing a tag deadline.

So, let's get the business part out of the way.

I brayered different greens over the tag, then stamped with a stamp from Urban Tapestries in Green Archival Ink. Using Iced Enamels and VersaMark, I covered the edges. Since I didn't have any of Tim's dies, I used his mixed media dies and cuts lots of different textured paper and Tim's fabrics and used the cutout as a guide to lay the hexagonal pieces. Sort of a different take....I HOPE. I tried sewing...AGAIN...and the machine continues to hate me. But I pressed on, adding the silver bamboo branches with another cut in black to shadow it, then added the text and fragment with a bird image from Tim's Vellum pack. Lastly, a little cherub is tied into the ribbon.

Yes...I know this tag is busy. It really reflects my mind as of late. 

My father is on life support, and sleeping is difficult. School started at the same time so I'm trying to budget time for the kiddies, hospital and everything else that pops up. 

But I HAD to do this tag. If not for anything but a little consistency and to purge my mind for awhile. I'm pleased to say I DID find some peace in this.

Because my children continue to confound me, I'm pleased to say I have new material and will try to amuse you later on when things settle down. It has been a heck of a summer, friends! Thanks for hanging in there with me!