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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.


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! 

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


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, 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!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tim's Tags July 2016 and a BONE to pick with SOMEONE

I WANTED to title this post "From my lips to God's "Man Brain" part that is constructed to tune out any female voice in the vicinity when it has reached maximum overload", but was encouraged, by my husband to adjust said title since, he said, I'd just gotten out of 6 days at the hospital and really didn't want to push it.

Then he rushed out and bought a Virgin Mary candle. 

**PAM (pre-adderall moment)** Do you have any flipping idea how many prayer candles I have in my house, courtesy of my Hispanic, Catholic husband??? I mean, really....we have enough to provide luminaries for every danged driveway from here to the Vatican. Because, you see, what exactly do you DO with them when they're done? You can't just toss Jesus-or the Virgin Mary-into the trash. And trying to justify it by using the Recycling can doesn't cut it either. So, the only thing we can do is try to work them into our current decor (which is an eclectic mix of Asian, French and a mere touch of 2 chairs that are definitely Egyptian Revival) and it gets kind of hard when I've got a mack daddy Chinese ceramic horse on one end of the mantel and three headless Chinese female form pieces on the other end, and 27 garishly colored, half burned prayer candles shoved in between it all. I don't care WHO you are....ain't no way you're selling THAT as any kind of design motif. And since I'm throwing caution to the wind, can I just ask how REALLY effective a prayer candle can be if it's sold at the GROCERY STORE???? 

Anyway, yes...I was in the hospital for 6 days. A disc slipped and I went to Duke University, where I was promptly placed on a PDA (that thing where I can push the button every 8 minutes for pain relief in the form of Dilaudid.Which would've been AWESOME had I not been in any pain. And, by the way...they will NOT prescribe it to assist you in getting your children to the age of 18. I asked.) 

But the pain? I can only ask you to imagine living for 6 days having to use a potty chair (WHEN you were able to sit up, which was about 30% of the time because of the nerve compression and spasms) and longing for a shower and just ONE night's sleep where I wasn't awaked every 2 and a half seconds by someone to take my vital signs, and then chide me for not sleeping. 

On the positive side, I watched so many of those forensic shows back to back, that I now feel fairly confident I can either poison or murder pretty much anyone and get away with it. How's THAT for educational TV?? 

Oh crud...I think my husband just ran out to buy a fresh prayer candle. 

Well, at least I can probably thwack him in the head with it while wearing gloves. Then, I would take the candle WITH me, just in case of DNA evidence, then enter through the back employee door of Target to establish a camera alibi...

Oh he's buying two. Sigh.

NOW, for Tim's Tags, and a little powwow with the man who redefined art and mixed media for the masses (and probably uses 100 dollar bill to light HIS prayer candles). 

First of all, I took some watercolor paper, stamped and used markers to color. Then, I applied Micro Glaze to the parts I wanted to create a resist. I actually left a few parts of the dress unglazed so the pink background would run into the dress form.. I colored the hair red, as a nod to Dyan Reavley (from whom I purchase MANY products, but forget to mention a great deal since I'm focusing on Tim so much-her paint is to DIE FOR) and then, I tried to color the skin.

Dear Tim: name is Carmen and I am not white...I am pretty much 'translucent'. However, like everyone else, I tend to paint my images skin color about the color of my skin. So, I'm checking out the very light tans and find a couple of possibilities. One is "OLD Paper". There's also an "ANTIQUE Linen" that's close. Or I could lighten up some "VINTAGE Photo" or "FRAYED Burlap" and then touch it up here and there with "AGED Mahogany". 

Do you see what I'm saying here, Tim? NO? You DON'T???

Well, to be fair, I'm really not either. It's probably just the PTSD I've developed from being stared at by sacred figures and the ever present 'grocery store' aroma that runs anywhere from Rice-A-Roni (that's usually the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus who has the bleeding heart) or the subtle scent of curry from the grown-up Jesus with the bleeding heart, and which I find a putting. But I don't like curry anyway, so it really doesn't matter. I just make sure we stick to either all Mary or Baby Jesus brands. 

Wait a second...where was I going with this ANYWAY???

Danged if I know. Let's go back to the tag.

I decided to overcome my fear of sewing and tried, once again, to sew SOMETHING without it looking ridiculous. 

This would probably be a good time to have a talk about using metal thread from the 40's. I had a cool stash of it and tried to sew the bottom part. If I actually told you the words I used as I tried to SEW with this very heavy, metal thread, I would probably suffocate from prayer candle smoke. But, I managed it. And to cover up the terrible ends, I also used the metal thread on either side of the watercolor pic and the pearls, in hops the corners wouldn't show and frighten any of you.

At the end, there was a cool piece that fit the top and a porcelain rose for the center seemed to work. And three pink ribbon eyelets for the bottom. 

I figured you already put together the theme of the tag. And the reason is, that while I was in a LOT of pain in the hospital, I did run into a couple of ladies in physical therapy, who were in the same pain, but filled with nothing but hope and positive energy. "Ya gotta have hope!" these beautiful women said.

Trust when I say this was the first and ONLY prayer candle I lit with all the right intentions. 

It smelled like peaches.

And you know what? I really think HOPE would smell like that...don't you??