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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

IO Challenge "Snowy Wishes" Entry #2


I know, I know...I have a hard enough time consistently entering challenges every 2 WEEKS! Much less 2 entries in ONE! 

Go HERE to enter the Impression Obsession challenge.

But lately, I've been on this tag making, mixed media binge, and I stumbled on a technique I wanted to try with my IO poinsettia die and the Season's Greeting's die.

I used sticky back canvas and stained it red and green and adhered them to grunge board. I ran the dies through my big shot twice but it didn't cut all the way through, so I snipped them out. It wasn't difficult, but it added some extra time to the project.

I inked the edges with Walnut Stain and used distress stickles on the leaves for sparkle and snow effect.

I cut the sentiment out of black cardstock, then used black embossing powder to give it a punch. The greenery I cut from cardstock and alcohol ink stained glossy cardstock. 

The tag was colored using distress stains but if you look closely, you'll see I used the Cover A Card Music stamp which I stamped on the background using white distress stain. 

I'm not altogether thrilled with the 3 brads at the bottom...they'd been silver so I used alcohol ink to turn them a muted gold...but I ran out of patience and left them there. I needed something to anchor the tag and they're ok...I tried trim, crystals, dresden....but nothing was able to weight the piece without drawing the eye away from the poinsettia. This was as close as I could get.

Finally, to satisfy the snowy part....and, in truth, because I REALLY like to do this, I spattered distress paint over everything for 'snow'. DANG I love doing that!!!


Impression Obsession Supplies:








Thoughts on Interventions...



I began seriously thinking about a need for intervention, when I bribed my 17 year old with take out Chinese and a tank full of gas in exchange for his silence. It just so happened that HE was home when the Amazon deliveries rolled in, instead of me. 

Staggering under the weight of packages over several days, he finally said "If you're out of a job, how are you buying all this crafting crap?"

"Don't use that language! It's not 'crap'! They just happen to be 'supplies'."

"Hhmmph. They still cost money." he said.

"Gift certificates." I snapped. "Now, take my wallet and get the green card...not the green and gold card...that one's maxed out. But the green card I just made a payment on, so use that to go buy yourself some Chinese. Don't get a drink with it, though...that might be pushing the limit. Literally."

Ok...look. I'm OCD. I can't help that. For some reason, God decided that I would be best served with OCD AND ADHD. I kind of imagine it like God sitting back, chin in hand, saying "Let's name this one Carmen. Alright. let's start by throwing in some ADHD, so she has zero impulse control. Then, just for kicks, let's toss in some OCD-and not the good kind that would make her clean her house, let Me give her the kind that-when she ends up doing things her ADHD makes her do, her OCD will kick in and make her KEEP doing these things until they're right. Oh! I almost forgot...let Me make sure to put her in the lower middle class bracket so that she can't afford ANY of those impulses. Heh heh. Now...who's next. This guy? Oh, what the heck. Let's give him the name Bill Gates...I'm in the mood to make a billionaire."

Story of my life.

At any rate, it all started when I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and really try some mixed media. That's right...I'm one of the rare few who never jumped on the train and was okay with it. But I wanted to do something 'arty' and I didn't want to have to complete card after card. I just wanted to play. So, I visited Tim Holtz's blawg, and decided to try his December tag.

Everything after that is a bit of a blur. The next thing I knew, I was having weird feelings for grunge board and paint dabbers. My hands were stained, my clothes were ruined and I was going nuts because I didn't have tape or tissue paper or stamps or dies or spray stains....well...you get my drift.

The next thing I know, I'm ordering little bits here and there, putting little charges on all sorts of different cards. I actually felt like a knew what a drug addict went through! Secretly hiding my stash, claiming I'd had it all along, saying I borrowed stuff from other people, etc. etc. I swear I started thinking about getting the husband to coordinate an intervention.

Actually, I TRIED to get him involved, but he was too busy on the golf course. 

So, I ordered some fun foam to makes stamps out of my dies. Because that would totally save me money. Except I needed some more dies to make the stamps I wanted. It's a never-ending cycle, people.

But I'm telling you, when the husband is done golfing and I find I'm unable to bribe my children in a way to which they're accustomed, I'll quit. I swear. Just one..more..bottle..of..distress..glitter....

Thursday, December 24, 2015

IO Challenge "Snowy Wishes"


Okay...listen up. You've got until Jan 5th to get your entry into the Impression Obsession Snowy Wishes challenge! You COULD win a 20.00 gift certificate to their store! 

Actually, it's 25.00...but my cut is 20% for letting you know about it. HEY...do you have any idea how much work it takes to throw a hyperlink into one of these posts? That's worth a little something, right?

I have to say that this is one of my fave Christmas Cards I've made this year. I sponged four colors of blue ink, spattered a mixture of white Distress Paint and Acrylic Paints, then cut the deer from grunge paper. I painted him and put so little glitter on him that pretty much everyone here in the house thinks something is wrong with me. I usually have the stuff streaming out the air ducts by October, but have shown uncommon restraint this year. I'm not sure why, but I can tell you that I fully intend to resume my abuse of glitter and sparkly stuff, shortly. I've missed going to the store or the stable and having people squint while looking in my general direction.

Sorry. Ramble. 

One of my favorite dies from Impression Obsession this year is the Jingle Bells. I took the flourishes from the die and attached them to the back of my reindeer, being very careful to enhance his flying and not look like he was having some type of gastric disturbance. 

Kittie, one of the DT at IO, started putting cute little sprigs with berries around her deer several years ago. She put 3 berries in the middle of hers, but I wanted to see if I could get close to a little poinsettia, instead. It's not quite that, but cute nonetheless.

After all that tomfoolery, I cut the Peace out and stuck everything on with those little traitorous 'glue dots'. Oh...they SEEM convenient. Until you end up finding them stuck all over your clothing, or until you're 12 year old has told you-for the thousandth time-that watching you roll them up with your fingers looks like you're playing with a booger, then hearing the little &*&(^(* howling with laughter like a little, annoying hyena, as he relates the story to twenty relatives that have just converged on your home for a Christmas celebration, and you're tearing the kitchen cabinet apart looking for a Xanax (or Nyquil, in a pinch) there's not one to be found. Anywhere.

Oops. Ummmm....let's just go with all that being totally hypothetical...mmm-k? 

But I still have to say that this card makes me happy. And it'll make me significantly happier if it makes that gc land in my lap. With the way things are going, I doubt I'm going to be leaving my craft room before spring, and I can use all the supplies I can get.



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tim Holtz 12 Tags....December is in tha' HIZHOUSE!


I've almost got myself convinced that I'm going to do the whole tag a month thing with Tim. Mostly because I have this need to hang around with people who know what they're doing. 

I, certainly, do NOT. 

Besides playing with the love of my life...that's right, my horse....I've been messing around with jewelry, clay and found myself wanted to get back to a fairly flat surface. And play with ink and paint. THAT'S where Tim comes in.

I was hoping that, with the decision to jump on the tag bandwagon, I would find myself at peace working on a smaller space. I saw myself playing around with techniques and effortlessly creating these gorgeous tags that I intended to put on every Christmas package of relatives who deserve one. 

Ahem. Sorry. That whole 'truth' thing just jumped in and ruined that. 

Anyway, my reality was pretty much consistent with what it always is...which involves me spending twice the time arguing with my OCD before I can even post the *&^& thing. 

Okay...I like the tag. But I don't know about the peace sentiment. Shouldn't it be in gold or silver? But it matches the flowers on the wreath! But maybe they should be red. But that would be too much red! And there's that space in the bottom right corner. It feels empty. But they said I should always take one thing off? Yeah....but NOT AN ENTIRE QUARTER OF THE DANGED TAG! Why are you yelling at me???? 

It's pointless. If I start changing everything, then I'm on to a new tag. And I don't WANT to do another tag. I like this one. Mostly. But still...I have GOT to get to a point where I can do 2 things in one day instead of one thing a week.

So, I'll leave it a little on the bare side instead of mucking it up with...well...something from the boxes of junk that I've been taught to call 'stash' because it sounds cute and not like something that threatens to consume the house and everyone in it.

Merry Christmas, peeps.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Little clay magnet thingies with lots of balls...



Before you even START to say anything, the answer is YES...I am aware that my titles aren't exactly the creme de la creme of blog post titles. But after making these little suckers, I'm a little too tired to be witty. 

Snarky? Yes.
Witty? No.

These ARE fun little things to make, however. I found this online tutorial site called claylessons.com and bought a few clay tutorials for this and for an under the sea based tutorial that shows you how to make coral and sea foam. I didn't do so well on the sea foam, but that's another story for another day.

These little guys taught me a lot about blending clay and rolling little balls until your fingers are ready to fall off and you get cramps in your wrists. Bear in mind that these are INCHIES. It STILL took me a couple of hours to make them. 

After baking, I painted them with black acrylic then quickly wiped it off to make the colors and designs pop. I don't mind telling you to remember to do this after you bake your clay. I did it before on an Impression Obsession challenge piece and that's why you will NOT see that particular piece. 

Ever.

I'm not quite sure what my next project will be. I'm having this 'thing' for gel mediums and messy ink/watercolor time, so I just may have to give into that urge.

Anything to get away from the little, tiny balls for awhile.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More ATC's, More Clay, More Seahorses.



Okay...listen. 

It wasn't my intention to do another seahorse atc on clay, just to do it....THIS happens to be a special request and is going out as a gift, to an unfortunate soul who made the mistake of complimenting my artwork. This is an unintended consequence that most people find out the hard way. Compliment my stuff and it'll be on the way to you in less than 48 hours. And nothing...NOTHING...short of you moving out of the country will stop this from happening. 

Not even a restraining order. 

So let this be a lesson to all of you. Say something nice about my junk, and it'll be cluttering up your living room for years to come. 

And you KNOW I'm not kidding about that. 

Ever notice how the things that you dislike the most have a tendency to haunt you? 

It's almost as if our dislike gives an unwanted chotchie super powers. If you hate it, it will be impervious to breakage, fire, earthquake and theft. 

Yeah...well...'duh' on the theft part. 

But I'm serious about the rest. So be warned...this could happen to you! 

There is a wonderful lady on Splitcoast named Kathy (screenname muscat) and she is one of the constants at SCS. She's always participating and leaving sweet comments for everyone. Her avatar is this sweet little leaping kitten, and I see it all the time at SCS. She's one of those who is easy to take for granted because you get used to her always being there and always encouraging. But if she were to NOT be there, for whatever reason, we'd all feel her absence. That's where the sentiment from Verve comes in. Because she is treasured by so many of us!

I've been meaning to send Kathy something for a while now. But I dropped out of crafting for six months, so I didn't have a chance to send anything. When she left a sweet comment on my atc named Pura Vida Dream and said she really liked it, I asked her if she'd like one like it. That particular one had been given as a gift, so I set out to make Kathy another. 

And here it is.

So, Kathy...I HOPE you have learned your lesson. ;)

And another thing...don't you EVER go away.

MWAAAAAAH




Friday, December 11, 2015

Clay ATC Reindeer Wishes




I am TOTALLY addicted to this clay medium! 

It's just...fun. 

Granted, I had to buy one of those pasta machines thingies to roll it out with because my hands STILL don't want to work properly after carpal tunnel surgery, but hey...when there's a will...

My significant other likes to say that the carpal tunnel surgery also rendered me incapable of folding laundry and cleaning. But when I pointed out to him that my trigger finger worked flawlessly, he quickly abandoned his attempts at comedy.

I used an EF of swirly dots to texture the background and my assortment of mica powders to go nutballs with on top of that. I really can't stop myself with the mica powders. I've been sliding toward a craft intervention for years, but the mica powders may have actually pushed me over the edge.

I grouped little clay balls for color and buried those crystal beads with that treatment that makes them flash different colors. DANG...why can't I remember the name??? Grrrr.

Anyway...they don't show up very well but they add some sparkle. It was the 'moon' I consider my artistic contribution. 

Oh...get that look off your face. I mean the TREATMENT I used on the moon. I've not seen anyone else do it so I'm claiming 'firsties'. 

Using a large, clear, glass thingie you usually put in the bottom of glass vases, I created the moon. But with it being clear and the clay being black, it was pointless. So, remember the last ATC I did where I experimented with baking shells into the clay and said the worst-or best-thing that would happen is that my stove would blow up? And it didn't?

Well, I'm no quitter, people.

Using silver metallic alcohol ink, I painted the flat side, let it dry, and pushed in into the clay. Then I baked it, hoping  wondering if it would result in some type of fireworks. 

Since I'm sitting here and typing this and NOT being interrogated by arson inspectors, you can safely assume that YES...you can use alcohol inks on the underside of your crystals when using clay. Not a huge finding, mind you, but it's nice we can create our own colors now to coordinate, I guess.

I'm off to scour the house in search of other things to stick in clay and experiment with in terms of how explosion-y it might, or might not. be. 

The things I do for art. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

First Clay ATC "Pura Vida Dreams"



Well, it took me long enough, but I finally hopped on the ATC train.

My very first ATC was a Marie Antoinette piece that was okay, if a little boring in predictability. But this is one I'm simply thrilled with!

While watching lots of videos on ATC's (which is my MO...reading is lost on me when it comes to art) I stumbled upon THIS ONE by Gabrielle Pollacco. I was so intrigued with it that I jumped on board. This is the result.

The stones and beads are directly from Gabrielle's example. The shells were some I already had and wasn't sure if they'd take the heat but what the hey, right? Worst I could do is blow up my over. And for my family, that would be the best Christmas gift of all. 

No loss there, friends.

I used black clay and mica powders, 2 glass rock/bead thingies and a row of glass beads. The seahorse is cut from grunge paper. I actually followed Tim's blog where he showed a way to color this die and coat it with rock candy crackle.

Now, par for the course, I have decided to devote all of my time and energy to making clay and regular ATC's. And when THAT 7 or 8 days are over, I'll find something else to obsess over.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

First 'Commission'



Okay....okay...so I'm playing a little fast and loose with the word 'commission'. 

In short, she paid the cost of the materials and agreed to feed my horse the 2 days I'm out of town. 

But HEY....there was SOME trade off,...a little....I think....

At any rate, I had a LOT of fun making this sucker!

The inspiration (and collage sheet) is from the art goddess Laura Carson. She made these and I just fell in love with them! 

She came up with the idea of using juniper (sprayed first with acrylic) and micro beads to double as seaweed and juniper painted with blue and gold lumiere paint to serve as coral.

The shell is a Lion's Paw. You can find them at Hobby Lobby for 3.99. I also purchased the majority of the shells used here at Hobby Lobby as well. My fave is the little clam with jewels at the bottom...fill with glossy accents then rhinestones and let dry! If you look carefully to the right, you'll see a real seahorse. Mummified, of course, but cute nonetheless.

I purchased a nautical lantern from Hobby Lobby to put this in but am going to let my 'buyer' (hee hee) make the decision as to whether she wants it or not. If she does, I'll post the finished results. 

I'm off to go wallow in delight at the fact that I ALMOST broke even on a craft project!! I was THISCLOSE!!! That's saying something, friends. 

What's that sound? Oh! My husband. 

I just can't figure out if he's laughing or crying. ;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

IO Season's Greetings JEWELRY!


Well, well....look who's sliding into home plate at the last second for the Impression Obsession Challenge "Season's Greetings"!

This was one of those projects that started with the phrase "I wonder if I can..." 

Anything I attempt that starts with that phrase usually ends in one of three ways:

1-Spectacularly (rare)
2-"Meh" (underwhelming-this is common)
3-With the rapid arrival of EMT and/or Rescue Volunteers. (Usually the Volunteers, as the EMT's have found I make an unusually reliable-and frequent-training opportunity. 

Fortunately, today was NOT number 3, even though it involved heated copper, spray paint and E6000.

The question tonight was in response to realizing that Impression Obsession's deadline for their challenge was...tonight. 

The challenge was "Season's Greetings", which was easy enough, but sometimes even when you own virtually every die and plenty of Christmas stamps, it just isn't enough to give you a solid idea of what you want to do.

I've been playing around with art assemblage jewelry, when I said "I wonder if I can make actual jewelry from my Impression Obsession dies?" 

And it was on like Donkey Kong, friends.

I ran the Peace and bird die through the Big Shot and cut them from copper scraps. I heated the word until it turned that gorgeous shade of gold, with a little pink and blue-which you can't see in the photo. Sigh. 

I had a large, brass mistletoe which I spray painted silver. Then I used Gilder's Paste (black) to give some detail definition. A little E6000 finished the job. 

I wanted a little pop of color. I knew I wanted red and I knew it had to be something that made sense with the word. Cursing myself in a very un-Christmas-like manner for not ordering the cardinals die, I ended up using one of the birds from the Leafy Wreath die. I cut it from copper and coated it with red stickles. 

I glued the pin backing to the piece and it was done! And I was incredibly pleased with the outcome!! When I say it looks ten times more striking in person than the photo, I mean it! 

So, turns out you CAN make jewelry with your IO dies! 

WITHOUT becoming a training subject for your local rescue units.

Products:



Brass Findings

Stickles

E6000

More Art Assemblage and ADHD!




This has to be one of my fave projects to date.

First of all, I have a bad habit of buying.  

That's right...buying. Period. In short, I spend way too much money and mostly on crap I don't need at the moment and probably will NEVER need. But, that's the way it is when you are a person with ADHD. You see something sparkle and you're in the midst of a bidding frenzy...and...well...you might as well just hang it up.

I've really been thinking about petitioning for a 'protected class' status. Because for people with ADHD, like myself, it's very hard to do things like not spend money. It's also very difficult for us to do all the things that society says we have to do...like get a job and not talk all the time and not try to be the center of attention and get our 'crazy' cured.

You know, impossible stuff like that. 

I guess I see myself as the "Norma Bates' of the "ADHD Protected Class NOW" movement.

Wait...I think that's Norma Rae. Was I thinking about Norman Bates? I never DID see what was so classic about that movie...Classic potato chips and grilled cheese...I'm in!!

See??? See???? THIS is how horrific life is with ADHD. Most days, I drown my sorrows in a half gallon of Bryer's Chocolate Ice Cream (chocolate ONLY...no creamy chocolate, or dark chocolate or any of that crap...plain chocolate or risk my wrath.) only to find that once I finish the carton, I've forgotten why I was upset. So, I have to start thinking about all the things that upset me and THAT upsets me again and there goes another half gallon of chocolate (ONLY!) ice cream so now I'm fat AND upset and...

Know what? I ACTUALLY FORGOT WHERE I WAS GOING WITH THIS! Good Lord.

That's ok...I actually have a trick I use when I do this. Since, chances are, my subject matter was ME, I just sit and think about myself and I'll find my way back eventually. Hold,please.

(elevator music-some light symphony playing Guns and Roses, perhaps)

Where was I....me...spending...eating...ice cream....spending again....craft room...

GOT IT! 

Crafting with junk jewelry that I paid too much for and purchased too much of. Whew. That was a bad one, wasn't it?

Anyway...it started with these two pieces of junk jewelry. They were originally flower brooches, I think...but they looked like coral to me. So I started sticking little ocean inspired charms in each.


The one at the top had started to tarnish a bit, which I loved, so I helped it out with some Patina Gilder's Paste. The rest was just E6000. I really love upcycling broken, junk jewelry!

Thanks for coming along...I promise you'll be impressed over the next several days...I'm in a crafting frenzy, my friends. I'd love to say it's due to a surplus of creativity and energy, but it really boils down to trying to use up a lot of stuff that's cluttering my craft room and waiting until the last minute to fulfill requests. Oh well...whatever works!



I swear...I HAVE been working!!





I want to start by saying that this was absolutely the MOST involved project I have EVER done in my entire life.

I'm serious. 

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due...

This is from Kathy Orta. I purchased the file several months ago because I wanted to make it 
for my sister for her birthday. The house, itself, wasn't that bad. What nearly did me in were the (&*(&*(&* albums!!!!

I made the one photo album by hand...there are 6 pages and each page has more pockets and fold-outs than I've ever seen in ALL my years of doing this. The other is the Tim Holtz small portfolio and between the two, it took me THREE DAYS.

At the end of all this, I didn't want to see another piece of chipboard in my life. For ANY reason.

But, my sister seemed truly delighted with it and I was so thrilled to get it OUT of my craft room, that it's sort of like having a baby....you swear you'll never do it again but about a year later, you lose your mind and develop amnesia and find yourself saying really stupid things like "it wasn't THAT bad", even though you just had the restraining order dropped by the nurse who refused to get the epidural going in a timely manner.

Anyway...Kathy has some very cool projects...many that aren't as involved. Find this and other projects at paperphenomenon.com


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Anyone know what this is???

I'm going to lose my mind if I can't find out what this piece is called and, most importantly, where to find it!! TY in advance for any help you can give me!!!




Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Devil Wears FitBit


Let me start with the basics....

I'm sorry.

I'm REALLY late getting this Tea Party tickle out. But I have a great excuse. Really. One that ALL of you can understand and sympathize with.

Or, at least, that's what I'll tell myself.

You see, I'm one of the billions of people who take up weight loss trends the second they hit the market. Hey...you never know, right? I've drunk vinegar, grapefruit juice, taken supplements that made either jitterbug all over creation or sent me straight to the...ah....'powder room'. But I haven't left one stone unturned in my search for weight loss that allows me to eat anything I want while continuing to live my slothful existence.

I KNOW it's out there, somewhere.

When the Fitbit hit the market, I liked it instantly. It was sort of like jewelry, but trendy and it seemed like EVERYONE was sporting the things.

So, on to Ebay, where I purchased a 'beginner' Fitbit (the ones that only have little lights that light up...the more little lights, the better I'm doing. Can't get easier than that) and I had it charged and on my wrist the second it arrived.

NOTE: Somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, I actually LOST the argument for a nifty Tory Burch Fitbit bracelet, that fits perfectly over your Fitbit and dresses it up. Personally, I don't consider 200 bucks a great deal of money when it comes to weight loss, but my argument was effectively squashed by the husband, who said "Lose down to your goal weight and I'll buy it for you." I HATE WHEN HE DOES THAT!!!

Next, I installed the app on my phone and I was ready to lose weight. I entered my personal information and went to the next screen, where THIS popped up:

"Hi there! Let's go ahead and set your goals! Let's start with your steps. We'll go ahead and enter the recommended daily steps for optimum fitness."

Then, the number 10,000 appeared.

I thought it was a digital error. Like it just threw on an extra zero or two, or something. I went to google to find the RIGHT number and was stunned to see that the number was, indeed, 10,000.

Ten thousand steps??? A DAY??? Who are YOU kidding, you little &*&*%^ piece of rubber filled with a 10 cent chip marked up to 89.99??? Don't think I won't track down the 8 year old Chinese kid who made this and educated him on the AMERICAN way of doing things.

Which is, AMERICANS do NOT expect to have to work THAT hard to lose weight. Period.

It took a bit to get over the initial shock, but I'm not anything if not stalwart...if only for a short time.

I woke up the next morning and made sure the Fitbit registered zero, then dragged myself out of bed to take the first of, what I hoped would be, 10,000 steps that day. For the record, just TYPING that last zero hurt.

After piddling around the house for an hour, I was at 100. This was disheartening, as I'd climbed the dang steps at LEAST 3 times, and marched in place while waiting for the cinnamon rolls to bake.

NOTE DOS: Cinnamon rolls should have NO effect on my weight with 10k steps coming down the pike, so don't judge.

It was about this time I realized that I would have to get out of the house if I hoped of even making HALF of that goal (which was forced upon me, mind you) so I headed for the barn.

When I arrived, I was told the barn manager was ill and several of us were needed to chip in and help. My job was to cull 3 horses from the herd in the field and bring them in for grooming. Naturally, the horses had decided to retire to the far end of the 30 acre pasture, but I gamely plodded along, thinking of each step bringing me closer to the goal. I'd brought 2 halters so that I could lead 2 and go back to bring the third. Unfortunately, this wasn't about to happen, as all 3 were mares who despised one another.

It took a solid HOUR to traverse that &%^%$ pasture to get those horses. Not to mention the extra time (and steps) it took to corner one recalcitrant mare. After explaining that good horses get to eat and bad ones become Purina Dog Chow, she reluctantly allowed me to halter her. She threw in a sharp nip for good measure, and we trudged back to the barn.

I intentionally didn't look at the Fitbit. I thought I'd read where the Fitbit would vibrate when you hit 10k steps, so I was on edge with every step, just waiting for that little chip to start vibrating 'Freedom'.

The day was passing quickly. I helped muck stalls, feed, then finally got my own horse tacked up for a short ride. By this time, I was getting strange looks because I was trying to double step, which looked like some awkward shuffle. But I didn't care...all I was waiting for was that stupid Fitbit to tell me I'd made it.

I stopped to pick up one kid on the way home and stopped at the grocery store for dinner. I also ran into Target for paper supplies, then got home in time to cook dinner and pick up the house. I helped the boys get their things ready for school the next morning, then showered and stumbled into the TV room where my husband (wisely) said nothing and didn't make eye contact. The ringing of my cell phone made me groan. I walked into the bedroom to grab it, when all of a sudden, I felt a buzzing on my wrist. Picking up my phone and going straight to the app, it said "Hooray! You met your goal of 10k steps! Now, get some sleep! You've got to do it all again tomorrow!"

I have to say that I'm really NOT disappointed by my Fitbit experience. In fact, I'm STILL using it and STILL making those 10k steps a day! In fact, now, I'm doing it in half the time! Granted, I made one, tiny adjustment, but I can't describe how it feels to see that step count soar!

Not to mention that the black wristband blends perfectly with the black leg of my mare's right, front foreleg.  


Saturday, October 3, 2015

IO Stamps Fall Florals




Ok...let's start with the important stuff. 

Impression Obsession is hosting their new challenge called "Fall Florals", here.

I LOVE entering their challenges, not only due to the $25 prize they give away every 2 weeks (although I'd have to win every time for 4 years to buy everything I want from IO!) but because it makes me use stamps and dies I purchased that I haven't had a chance to use.

This stamp is called Spring Barn. (link at the end) but I didn't remember the name when I saw it. You see, sunflowers are a fall flower here in the South. I don't think I've EVER seen them in the spring!!! It was only after I was getting ready to write this post that I tracked the stamp down to link it and saw the name. Needless to say, my OCD became a manic mess.

OCD: "Look!!! It says Spring Barn! Spring is the antithesis of Fall! You can't possibly enter this!!!"
ME: "Look. Sunflowers are a fall flower here. I can most certainly enter with this stamp.
OCD: "Okay, fine. But how are you going to explain the butterfly, genius??"
ME: (faltering) "Well, I still see some butterflies here and there! And I DID try to use a diecut pumpkin to put OVER the butterfly, but it looked ridiculous!"
OCD: "Ridiculous, as in using a stamp called Spring Barn in a challenge called Fall Florals?"
ME: (getting ready to go fetal in the corner) "Okay. Let me put it like this. This is the ONLY stamp I have with sunflowers. And sunflowers are fall. And since this is MY world, I'll have a dang blue butterfly in a FALL scene if I want to! Besides, I didn't notice the butterfly until I'd spent hours fussy cutting, coloring with Copics and arranging everything at different levels with varying numbers of mounting tape pieces on the back. It was too late. Be darned if I was going to chuck it at that point. Especially since I'd used my new extra fine Flower Soft for the middle of the petals!!! Now, LEAVE ME ALONE or I swear I will medicate you out of existence."
OCD: (nervously) "Ok! Hey! No need to get ugly! Just a suggestion! It's fine...really. No offense intended!  I'll just take some time off. I won't even make you get out of bed to double check the alarm and arrange the cheese alphabetically, by type, in the fridge this week! I mean, I know we're overdue for that, but we'll get to it later. Okay??"

So, at the end of the day, here is my entry. I stamped it twice, cut out the flowers and leaves and butterfly, colored everything with Copics and reassembled on the second stamped image. I LOVE doing collage cards!

Come join the fun at Impression Obsession! Unless your creation is better than mine. Then you can go find your own challenge.

Heh heh.




Monday, September 28, 2015

IO Stamps Happy Haunting!



About a week ago, I sat down in the craft room and just stared at all the c**p on (and around) my work desk. Beads, brass, glue, clay sculpting tools, scissors and a Mexican Fire Opal. 

Yeah...I know....I don't know how the devil it got there either. 

Suddenly, I felt the urge..no...make it a compulsion...to make a card. Specifically, to do some sponging and make a card. 

There were two reasons for this: The first was that I was a little burnt out on jewelry, beading, etc. The second is that I MISSED ink. I missed the exact thing that I swore months ago was the reason I left cards and went to 3D art then beading...that reason was the limitation of paper and ink. That's right...I MISSED having to work harder with fewer materials and with significant imagination. Both of which apply in cardmaking. 

Believe it or not, it's easier for me to create an impressive looking 3D creation or bit of jewelry than it is to sit down and make a card like this. 

Because there's a finite amount of material, you have to really tap into your creativity and make everything count. That's why I have the utmost respect for you full time card creators...ESPECIALLY you clean and simple people. I mean it...you are pretty amazing people. 

One of my fave companies is Impression Obsession. So, I decided to enter their challenge (you have til the 29th to enter!!!) called "Happy Haunting" Using a 2.5 inch punch, I punched a circle from a sheet of masking paper. I placed it off center on a 3.5 x 3.5 panel of white PTI cardstock. I sponged the panel in soft sky, then used Pacific Point about 2/3 of the way down, then night of navy for the top. I randomly sponged black at the bottom and along the sides and upper corners. Laying the masking paper over the moon (effectively masking everything but the moon) I sponged yellow, red, rust and orange for the Harvest moon. 

Using IO Bare Tree Die and glue dots, I added the tree silhouette and just cut the trunk off. A square orange panel and mounting tape finished the scene and after tying a sparkly orange ribbon, I used a ghost from IO's Halloween Die set and cut one in copper. Heating the copper to oranges, reds and pinks (which, of course, doesn't show to full advantage in the photo) I glued it to the ribbon to finish it off. 

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed getting back to basics. Does that mean no more gigantic creations? HAH! Never. But, for now, I'm having fun getting my hands dirty again! And that's just enough for now :)



Impression Obsession Halloween Die Set DIE114-O
Impression Obsession Bare Tree Die DIE006-V

Monday, August 3, 2015

Flights of Fancy, Saying Thank You and Hellfire. The BEST of my Non-Sequitur's to Date.

Okay...let's start at the beginning.

Not at the 'beginning' beginning...I wouldn't have enough time just to cover all the time-outs and paddling (yes...PADDLING) during my elementary school years, much less work my way up to my current age! 

Which is 30.

And holding. 

And holding. 

And...well, you get my drift.

Let's just start at the beginning of this past Spring. Which just happened to coincide with a huge decrease in whatever it is I do here on this blog. Face it...we all have a name for it, but I won't put you on the spot.

Anyhoo....this past April.

What is the FIRST thing you'd think to do if unemployed (with no jobs in sight) and a propensity for impulsive action and disregard of current job and financial state?

That's right!!! You'd buy a horse.

Which I did. A beautiful, quarter-horse mare named Coco, whom I adore. Even after she's chomped on me a time or two and stomped on me. Yes, she's a little on the high-maintenance side, but she's a love and she makes me get out of the house on a daily basis. Which is what the doctors say to do. Even thought they MIGHT not have specifically recommended that I buy a horse, that's the way I heard it.

So, knowing that I cannot possible do two things at once (no adhd med is THAT good), I've been playing around with the horse since April. Now that it's hot enough to convert even the most heinous of sinners (seriously...the threat of hellfire is scary after suffering through the nastiness of an NC summer...THIS summer, in particular) I find myself back in the relative cool of the ol' craft room. 

I'm sure I've mentioned my 'brass source' before...his auctions can be found HERE 

I've been buying for quite awhile. I started with buying assorted charms by the pound and worked up to having to buy a large toolbox to keep all the brass I've bought. Because now, my new love is assemblage art and, next, actual wearable assemblage art jewelry. 

Chatelaines have been an attraction for awhile. And to thank my 'dealer' for his generosity (every time I order, he includes extras he thinks I'll like), I decided to make him and his wife a piece of shadowbox art. 

I love making reproductions of Art Nouveau and French pieces. For my patrons (I use that word in it's original sense...but it's also because their last name is 'Friend'. So it sounds weird to say 'To my friends, the Friend's.' So, 'patrons' it is.) I found this chatelaine, recreated it and mounted in a shadowbox for them. Since they are artists in their own right (painters) they assured me they loved it. Which delighted me and re energized me to get back to the table and create. Here's the piece I found that I wanted to recreate:


It's described as a Antique Austro-Hungarian Figural Jeweled Gemstone Chatelaine Bird Putti Cherubs

And here is mine...


Needless to say, I had a BLAST making this. Especially for the people who have been so incredibly generous and supportive.

My next project is to make actual wearable art recreations. I'm working on a piece now that may actually put my soul in jeopardy, regardless of the heat this summer. Perhaps it's due to the fact I have never learned how to make jewelry, and E6000 can only help out so much. Framing is easy...THIS is driving me nuts. But if ANYONE can make it work, you know that yours truly is the one to do it. 

Even if I HAVE to use an entire tube of E6000 to do it.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Owl Be There for Yew.....

Attendez!

I would like to present my latest attempt at...well...whatever it is you'd call what I've been doing. Which is copying vintage and antique pieces of jewelry. Mostly because it's as close as I will EVER get to seeing any of these pieces in person...much less having a chance to own one of the dang things.

This gorgeous piece is currently held at the Walters Art Museum.


It's described as follows: 19th Century Owl Pendant. This pendant was formerly thought to be from the 16th century because of its late Renaissance-style enameled gold strapwork, baroque pearls, and the square-cut gems in box settings.

Now, before I share my creation with you, I'll give you a peek into my creative process. I know, I know...it is DEFINITELY your lucky day. 

Many of you ask just how it is that I choose which pieces to emulate. Is there a specific period I love? Favorite gemstone or metal? Shape? Amount of lust it inspires in me? 

Oh...you didn't ask that last part? Ahem. Sorry. I misheard you, apparently. 

The answer is 'none of the above'. 

You see, I'm a pinterest fan. I find myself pinning vast numbers of jewelry that I love. Every once in awhile, a piece with jump out at me. I'd like to say that this is some type of instinct or just plain artistic inspiration! But, the truth is, that I happen to see the main structure is similar to some brass junk in my stash. 
Sigh.

I had purchased 2 lots of vintage, broken rhinestone jewelry. Using Liquid Frisket (or you can use rubber cement) I took a chain with stars in it and put the mask over the stones and spray painted the rest gold. I'd found the owl piece at Hobby Lobby. It's actually a magnetic clasp and was originally silver. Everything else was just pieced together using basic matching shapes. Finally, I used black velvet paper with a bit of bright, gold brushed paper peeking out, and matted it in a shadowbox. Where is was promptly abducted by my mother, and taken to Georgia to reside with the Teterger Chaterlaine from an earlier post.


The reflection on the glass is killing me. You'd think I would've had enough sense to pop it out the back and get a really good picture. But that would've required me to use common sense that I was apparently denied at birth.
Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by...I'm slowly sanding my rusty writing skills as I type...more on the way!

On Outlander and Equines and ADHD

Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely NO idea where the past 90 days went. I mean, I do...much like Claire in, what is one of my new passions-the show 'Outlander'...but when I stepped through the stones in April, I forgot the world here. So, coming back, I'm thinking DANG! I know I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, but it seems time stopped in this area of my life!!! 

NOTE: For the record, if the side I'm just returning from had anyone resembling Sam Heughen (Jaime), who was hot for me and my body, I can assure you that you would've NEVER seen me again. EVER. That is all.

It seems like only yesterday I finished my stint in the SCS Dirty Dozen and then had my dreams crushed by Graphic 45, as I was roundly rejected for their design team. 

Okay, okay...that's a little over the top. 

It was actually a good thing. I needed a break. I really did. So, I took one and took up an old passion that I hadn't participated in since High School! 

NOTE  DOS: Said 'passion' was NOT my first High School bf, Tim. Last I heard, he was playing in some rock band by the name of Witches Offspring or some ridiculous name like that. located in the big city of Graham, NC,  Sorry, but after 50, you may 'rock' all you like, but be careful about the 'roll'...especially when the word takes on the meaning of what I'm doing as I'm laughing so hard I fall to the floor. 

Nope, this passion wasn't a person. 

Think a second...what activity makes the most sense when you're 47, unemployed, and have all sorts of back and hand issues?

That's right!

Horses.

More specifically, owning and training them.

I grew up with horses. My great-grandpa-Pa Marley-was a horse lover. He was a farmer and owned draft horses to help him plow the fields. He was also a superb horseman. 

From there, it passed down to my Aunt Sharon and on to me. I spent a lot of time in the saddle until my late teens, when I got a job in radio and spent 25 years dealing with another type of animal. Needless to say, I prefer the former.

Growing up on horses, especially when you're a bit of a daredevil, means that you probably spend a good deal of time learning how to fall. And heal. And how miserable it feels to have an itch under your cast...so miserable that you break down and finally use a coat hanger to scratch and then you're terrified that you've messed the bone set up (they warn you that can happen) and then you figure 'well, harm's already done' and then you spend the rest of the time scratching those itches and being a happier person and, at the end of it, you find doctor's don't always know everything. 

Ooops. Sorry. No need to wonder about the efficacy of my ADHD meds.

Horses gave me joy. Along with a shattered elbow, fractured ankle, sowed the seeds for (I believe) the arthritis I have in my back, as well as my Dercum's Syndrome. Despite all this, I never fell out of love with them. 

So, in April, it chanced to happen that my Aunt and her friend, Jana, both had horses they wanted someone to work with. So, I began ground training both. Ground training is much easier than riding. If you can avoid being kicked, bitten or killed, you're doing well. Knock on wood, I only had to deal with the first 2. One of the horses I worked with, Coco (who belonged to Jana) is a gorgeous, bay, quarter horse mare. It took about 2 weeks for us to fall in love with each other, and a month for me to buy her. She was green (untrained-not the color-work with me, people!) and I was a green trainer. But within a month, I had her free lunging in the round pen (I'm sorry for using jargon and not defining it but it's pretty much what it sounds like and then there's google) at a walk, trot and lope. I also taught her to pivot on front and back legs, to back clear across the ring, and to execute a side pass. Then came the day I climbed into the saddle and had her execute all of the above, which she did, beautifully.

I can't ride much. Maybe 5-10 minutes every couple of days, and only at a walk or a few seconds at a trot. Fortunately, there are hordes of young girls  (who will bounce if they fall off-unlike me) who are willing to ride her as I continue to work with her, so I feel I've got the best of both worlds. Here are a couple of ground work videos from 3-4 weeks ago.



video


video



So, while I'm still playing with my horse, I've come to realize that I miss my crafting, too! Therefore, I'm going to try something that is quite rare for me...it's called 'multi-tasking'.  Being ADHD, it's quite the foreign word. 

Happy Fourth!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It all started like this...



One day, as I was wasting the usual hour or three on Pinterest, I stumbled upon THIS.



I love chatelaines. Chatelaines were a decorative piece, worn by women, from which lots of household items were hung. They were SUCH a delicate and ladylike way of carrying those things we forever need close at hand. Pencils, paper, scissors...just to name a few. 

This is actually a ladies watch but also classified as a chatelaine. It's home is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Made of gold, platinum and diamonds by Watchmaker Hippolyte Téterger of France, about 1880. The moment I saw this piece I fell HARD.

So hard, in fact, that I actually sat down and altered my zombie apocalypse plan. 

That's right, turns out I'm NOT heading down to the secret rendezvous point in SC to meet up with the rest of my family. I'm headed to the Met. I fully intend to liberate this piece and THEN I'll worry about meeting up with the rest. We all have our priorities. Even during the end of the world. 

Anyway, as I stared at this piece, I felt like there was something really familiar about it. Something that just kept niggling at me, and for the longest time, I couldn't figure out why.

I'm not sure why inspiration...or general 'crazy'...tends to hit during the wee hours of the morning, but it was around 3am when I woke up suddenly and got out of bed. Down to the craft room to my huge tool box filled with my beloved brass and, after a half hour of digging around, I had it. 

May I present my 'Ode to Téterger'


This pieces measures just under 7 inches tall and 3 inches at the widest part-the bottom Cherubim's outstretched arms.

I'm not sure if having all this brass and broken rhinestone jewelry is necessarily a 'plus', but I CAN say I was THRILLED with the way this turned out! I pieced everything together and used 18k gold spray paint to turn everything the same color gold. The cherubs at the bottom were originally silver and came with 2 arms...I had to amputate the inside ones to make it fit, but hey...they're CHERUBS! Aren't they, like, magic or something? So they can grow another!! Get over it!! 

Next, I took some broken rhinestone chains, a pin and a couple of links from a bracelet to use as the 'blingy' part. The large middle piece was actually this ugly finding/connector I came across that was really cheap and I snagged it ONLY because it was cheap. I just knew I'd never use it. Guess I was wrong, huh?

The rest was brass that I've been accumulating for quite awhile from my 'brass guy'. Who happens to be so ridiculously reasonable that I hate to share him...because what am I going to do when he sells out???? DANG. I hate doing this. But I've been asked so many times about the brass I use, and so in the spirit of sharing-as well as a 'ty' to Michael, my brass guy-I'll share it with you. 

Sigh.


If you're just starting out, buy the auctions where you buy 1/8 or 1/4 and get the same free. That's how I quickly built a collection and kept it inexpensive. Michael is also very generous and especially so to repeat customers. Truly a great guy.

Enough for tonight...there's wine to drink and this thing called 'dinner' my kids keep yelling for. Let me go see what THAT'S all about. Why can't they just eat Easter candy like the REST of the kids? Why this sudden demand for 'nutrition'???? 

Ingrates.

UPDATE: To answer my friend and muse Lee Ann's question of what I do with these pieces, most reside with unsuspecting innocents who made the mistake of admiring my work. I figure it's good to remind people of the danger of saying they really like something. So be careful! Don't just admire things liberally, practice reserve...or you, too, could end up with some of my junk on your doorstep. You have been warned. ;)