November 27, 2012

how to have fun: see below.

I had to show you the new, cool thing I did just last night for my next art journal page!  (yes, I'm excited; but just wait- it's really cool!! (At least I think so, anyway... lol!)

so, I learned this technique in Kelly's class on lettering, and when I started on it, I said "I do not like the way this looks." She said, "just wait, you'll see" and when I still protested, she said, "okay, how about this: everyone I've taught this too said it was their favorite thing to do in this class." High expectations, right?? But you know what? In the end, she was right, and it did turn out really neat!! (I should have listened... lol!)

So here's what I did... I started with this piece of paper:

my starting point: a journal background, stenciled with some Dylusions spray inks
This pic is actually the reverse side of the paper, but the side I used looked very similar to this. This was a background that I ripped out of one of my other journals; I didn't like it, so I used it as scratch paper and drew a map on it-- anything when you're in a hurry to get out the door to an estate sale, lol!  But I didn't want to just throw it away, so I figured out a way to use it in my current journal.

then, I doodled all over it:
lots and lots of doodling with all sorts of different pens and markers
Now, I like doodling, but I think this looks sort of *ick* the way it is... lots of mixed media artists and art journalers do this sort of layered doodling very well, but not me- some people who I think are very good at it are  Tracie BautistaTammy from Daisy YellowRoxanne Padgett, and iHannna, to name a few.

 close-up of the doodling... I like this section!
After I did all the doodling, I got out the scissors... and voila! the results are below:

this girl knows how to have fun!

The word 'fun' was cut out of the doodled paper, and outlined with white souffle pen. And, like Kelly said during the class, I like it!! I don't do much hand-cutting of lettering like this either... I've seen other people use this technique: Kelly Kilmer of course, Julie Balzer, and Mary Ann Moss, but again, I don't think (didn't think) I was very good at making and using lettering like this, but I'm liking it more and more!! I will definitely do this again, for sure.

so-- cool, right?? I think so!! (and now I have the rest of the doodled / painted piece of paper to cut up and use for other things!)

How to have fun?? paper, paint, pens, and glue, of course! :D


November 25, 2012

a Thanksgiving weekend recap

dang, Thanksgiving weekend went fast! I took Friday off from work so I could have a relaxing 4-day weekend, but it turns out that it wasn't all that 'relaxing' after all...  here's a recap, including photos:

our Thanksgiving spread: roast duck with all the trimmings... and you can't forget
the relish tray!! (vegetables, cheese- NOT limburger- olives, and 2 kinds of pickles)
Thanksgiving dinner was yummy; the duck turned out really nice, and we took advantage of our wonderful weather to grill the asparagus. I wasn't sure whether I was going to go out or not, but decided to do it-- but not to the mall: I went estate sale-ing! (I also saw the last Twilight movie, too, but I digress...) Since I work, I never get to go to sales on Friday, so I decided to take advantage of having the day off to see what Friday sales are like as opposed to Saturday. I went to three different sales, but only bought things at one ($10 total). The sale was the the estate of someone who was a miniature and dollhouse maker... there were over 20 completely furnished dollhouses for sale, and literally thousands of dollhouse 'ingredients' and miniatures, including all sorts of furniture, rugs, pieces for iron fence, 'stone' walls, siding, shingles, and all sorts of crafting supplies. Here's what I got for my money:

I spent at least 2 hours digging through two 10-drawer cabinets that contained
wallpaper samples. (they were all sorted by color, even!) I pulled out
some interesting colored and patterned pieces, and came away with a small
stack. (I could have bought an entire cabinet full, but I chose to use restraint.)
In addition to the wallpaper samples, I also got a  couple bottles of craft paint, an unused stencil (a really neat lattice shape), and a couple other crafty supplies. 

I love this Western wallpaper and border!
(I would never use it in a room, but I still love it.)

some really interesting patterns and colors, here.

again, I would never use this on a wall, but it's really cool!

we all hung out on the patio a lot during the weekend;
the weather was spectacular all weekend long.

this woman also had a very extensive wardrobe of clothing and
accessories- I picked up a couple silk scarves, including this large square
Valentino...  I'm not sure I'll ever wear this one, but I do like the clever way
the "V" is incorporated into the design of the scarf.
The weather was spectacular all weekend, and it's nice that it's finally cooled off enough to enjoy a fire in the fire pit. (we also toasted marshmallows, which of course meant s'mores!)

a 'sneak peek' at how we spent our afternoon.
Sunday afternoon, we started on our Christmas decorating while watching football... overall, it wasn't exactly a relaxing weekend, but it was a fun one for sure! (and after sleeping late all weekend, I am not looking forward to having to get up early again!)

the first pages in my newest 'working journal'

Whenever I take one of these journal-making classes, I always get the itch to work in that book right away- but, I usually have at least one (or more, lol!) journals already in progress, so either I abandon the one I'm working in for the new one, or I have to wait (till I finish the prior journal). I'm not good at waiting, lol! But, in this case, I am going to. The next journal I'm going to work in is one I made at the end of April 2010, but never worked in (not seriously, anyway) till now. {You can see that post here: Kelly Kilmer Weekend Fun (Bliss Journal)}  I collaged a few pages during the class when I made it, and over the course of this summer (while I was recuperating from my surgeries) I painted some of the backgrounds-- but, now I'm ready to actually work in this journal: to fill the pages with fun stuff like collage, paint, stamping, and words. Here's some pics of the newest work in it:

page made during class
I started by using this journal in one of the classes during my 'Kelly Kilmer Weekend.' It was a class on using lettering in unique ways on your journal pages. I thought I would hate (or at least dislike intensely) the way this particular technique turned out, considering how it looked when I started, but it ended up looking really cool (as Kelly said it would; I should always just trust her, lol)!!

here's a closeup:
the word 'rest' was handmade by me: the paper was
decorated by me, and cut out by hand.  I will 

definitely be doing more of this type of lettering!

This next page is one I started in class when I made the journal- collaging the images and background- but that's as far as I got.
Walk this Way-- the first page.
I went to town on this page with my new set of Sakura Souffle pens! So much so that there was really no room for writing (and nothing I really wanted to say, anyway). Souffle pens are fun because they're really opaque and chalky when they dry, which makes them 'pop' when they're used on dark colors.
a close-up of the pen doodling- I used them to color in 
and accent the patterns in the paper. 

The next page, also collaged (partially) when the book was originally made:

Doodled Fox
This page had the background and image on, but that was it. (and part of that background had been torn off along the center because I didn't like the paper). So, I added more paper, decorative tape, doodling, and stenciled a pattern over the entire thing. This page is an example of 'if you don't like it, keep going.' I'm not sure what I think of the page overall; I like it, but I don't love it, if you know what I mean. I really like the techniques I used, so it was definitely a good exercise and I'll use some of these techniques again, which means it was worth it.

This page faces the fox page, and has the same stencil-- I used the chevrons (my newest stencil, a 6x6 stencil design by Julie Balzer- I love these designs!!) on the fox page with a pen, and on this page I used it with my Stabilo watercolor crayons for a totally different look. (the background on this page was watercolored previously). The focal image was cut out of an art and antiques magazine, and I added a bit of patterned paper, along with a bit of vintage dictionary paper. (and more souffle pens!)

next post, I'll show what I found on my Black Friday shopping excursion! (yes, I did go out... madness, right?? not exactly.)

November 21, 2012

more photos from my latest 'Kelly Kilmer Weekend'

Somehow, I can be in a class at Frenzy Stamper, mean to take photos, but end up with only one or two of them when the day is over with- I don't know how it happens! I guess I'm having too much fun to think about taking pictures. Anyway, here's photos of the two journals we made during Kelly's last weekend of classes at Frenzy Stamper. Three classes, and in two of them, we actually made new journals: 

this is a really fun little book; just wait, you'll see why!
This is the book we made on Friday morning; when Jane Eileen saw this book on Saturday, she said, 'it's so unassuming from the outside, isn't it??' The reason she said that is this journal has a secret:

it has fun fold out pages on the inside!

they flip up, and out, and down... 
This book has secrets, sort of like how Clark Kent had the Superman suit hidden underneath his conservative suit and tie! It's going to be fun to work in, and to figure out how to configure the pages... do I use the sections each individually, or should I make the journal page in the photo above go across all four sections for a super-huge-mega-cool-landscape journal page?? oh, the possibilities!
a mostly completed page spread in the flippy book 
another mostly-completed page in the flippy book.

these boots 'looked' like they 'needed' to go onto this page when I was making it; something about the colors and the patterns just makes me smile when I look at it!

Here is the other book we made:
Taped cover journal
This is the journal we made in the Saturday / Sunday class; we made it from scratch using bookboard and canvas, with hotpress watercolor paper for the signatures. The covers were fun to do, because they're completely covered with decorative tape! (Kelly has an awesome deco tape collection; I can never hope to compete with her collection... but I can dream- lol!)
close-up of the tape layers- layering tape
over tape gives a really cool effect.

a view of the spine and the bookbinding stitch
The spine is covered with painted / stamped canvas, which is always fun to do. You could even do this using book covers salvaged off a vintage or cast-off book. (I have a couple I'd like to use for this purpose, but I have a few already-made journals that need to be completed first, as you can see!) The bookbinding stitch is an interesting one that required two needles; it's sort of an 'interlocking chain' that turned out really neat. I always have problems sewing my books together, and this time was no exception- I think I tangled the threads together a few times, had to un-sew once or twice, and even broke a needle! But, it's always worth it in the end.

So, now that I have two new journals, I'm raring to go and finish filling them up! Except that neither of these is my next journal-- they will have to wait! I'll post about which journal I'm going to be working in next... :D

November 18, 2012

Sunday afternoon in the desert-- a taste of home

today was my day to run errands...  after I put in a load of laundry and went to the health club, I headed to the grocery store to pick up all the essentials for our Thanksgiving dinner. And as I was walking through the deli area, I spied this display in one of the deli coolers:

not everyone will know what this is... it's a product that not very many people reading this will have ever had, either- here's a closer look for you:

yes, it is Limburger cheese!! I was quite surprised to see this in our grocery store; I'm guessing someone from the Midwest asked the store to bring it in, because I've never seen it there before. 

Limburger is an old-style 'pungent' (to put it mildly) cheese, today made only one place in the US: the Cheese Chalet company in Monroe, Wisconsin... for more about Limburger cheese, you can read this Wikipedia article: Limburger cheese. This cheese is a traditional part of the Mayer family gathering at Tom's dad's place in Wisconsin... Tom's grandma loves it, and everyone (everyone who eats it, anyway- lol!) enjoys it in the afternoon before the big dinner. 

And, some of this cheese (2 packages, actually) came home with me. Not for me, because I don't like the strong taste, but for Tom- he actually enjoys it! Limburger is a strong tasting (and smelling) soft cheese that is traditionally served with onions and can be eaten as a sandwich on rye bread...  

(notice Bisbee in the back, wondering if she can sneak a cracker??)
And here's Tom, enjoying his Limburger, with some onions and capers (for a bit of saltiness) on crackers, along with a cigar-- a bit of home, right here in the desert! (he's on the patio: partially because it was beautiful out, and partially because I didn't want the Limburger opened in the house, lol!)

November 14, 2012

a quick Butters update

just wanted to write a quick update on Butters; her surgery was last Tuesday, and went fine. She had three very jagged stones removed from inside her bladder and is now on the mend. I wanted to see the stones, so the vet showed them to us when we went to pick her up... she must have been in a lot of pain, by the look of them- I can't even imagine what it must have felt like for her! 

Right now she's on three different liquid medications twice a day (two of which must taste very bad, by the way she fights when I give them to her), two painkillers and one antibiotic. By her behavior, she feels sooo much better than she did before the surgery; she's so much perkier and feisty now, I'm amazed it took us so long to realize anything was wrong with her (hindsight is 20/20, and all that). At least she's back to herself now! She's also eating a ton, and hopefully gaining back some of the weight she lost over the last few months. And, we're working on getting her back to using the litter box regularly, now that she's not in pain anymore... fingers crossed on that front!  

November 12, 2012

weekend recap, in pictures- Art Journaling, and more!

At last, some art! My art-making goes in cycles along with my other interests, so during the last couple months while I was heavy into estate sales and Goodwill shopping, I hadn't done any art journaling. I changed that this past weekend, taking three classes at Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale (my favorite store!) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Kelly Kilmer was in town (yay!) and taught three really fun classes- two on Friday, and one that went over the course of both Saturday and Sunday. Selected pics from the weekend, below:

My workspace, before getting started: the only time
it would look that neat all weekend- lol!

random helicopter, hovering outside the store at dusk...
There was an art show going on along the canal just north of the store, and according to the newspaper, there was some sort of an art installation involving solar lights floating in the canal that were going to light up as it got dark... I'm guessing that's what the helicopter was monitoring. (either that, or someone fell into the canal, which does happen, sometimes, unfortunately.)

A very pretty sunset on Friday night.

right outside the front of the store: photo shoot!
Outside the store, there's a large fountain with horse statues... very picturesque, and tourists always stop there to have their photo taken. When we first saw these photo-takers, our first thought was 'wedding' but after seeing the girl's beautiful blue and purple dress, we decided 'quinceanera' was more likely. (Quinceanera is a Latin American tradition when girls turn fifteen, sort of like a debutante's coming out party.) 

a shot of the entire fountain right outside the store...
always surrounded by flowers, it is a very pretty spot!

geranium on fire...
Just kidding, not on fire... but I thought this photo turned out kinda cool. This is the un-edited photo; the fiery effect is from the sunlight shining through the petals.

Geranium in shade. (these geraniums were really pretty,
but they needed some deadheading to continue their bloom--
I wanted to get out there and do some gardening! lol!!)

here's my corner of the table during the weekend.
I had sort of 'walled' myself into my seat with all
of my stuff; it was a bit of an obstacle course! 

Page spread in progress, Sunday. The right-hand page has a wash of
white acrylic paint over the entire page to tone down the
colors, then I painted in the girl's dress and hair with watercolors.
The spreads above and below are from the book we made in class on Saturday and continued working in on Sunday. Kelly goes to a lot of trouble to always develop new class material, different techniques, and new and different book formats, and this weekend was no exception. The small book we made on Friday has all sorts of different-folding flaps and pages, and this book has a unique binding stitch. For this book, we also used watercolor and acrylic paint in new and different ways.

another page in the same journal, also with washes of watercolor
paint over the patterned paper, focal image, and decorative tape.
Different materials 'take up' or resist the paint differently,
depending on their finishes, which makes for interesting results.
This past weekend was also the Phoenix area 3-Day for the Cure walk... I saw walkers briefly in Chandler on Saturday morning before I headed to Scottsdale, and on Sunday, their route brought them right past the store-- how cool is that?!?
a couple of people getting set up for their cheering
section, to cheer on the walkers as they went past.
Another member of the same cheering section- this group was
all dressed as 'fractured fairies.' I love this fairy's floofy petticoats! 

An action shot of some of the walkers, taken as I drove past on
my way home after class. (I think this woman even has a walking
cast on her leg-- but she's still doing the 3-Day; how cool is that!) 
Seeing all the preparations, hearing all the cheering and honking as the walkers went past, and seeing the walkers themselves got me to remembering what a great experience it was to be part of this event-- now I'm sort of thinking about doing it again sometime in the next couple years.

Sunday afternoon on the patio

Ariel, stretching up to watch a butterfly that landed on the chili
ristra outside the patio- I love how she's on her tiptoes!!
I think she was being careful not to scare it away (which didn't work).

A photo of both journals-- it was too bright to get good
photos of them yesterday afternoon, but I'll take some soon
so I can post them. The little flippy book is so much fun, and
they're both really nice sizes to work in.

More photos to come, but I wanted to show you what my weekend looked like! I had a great time with Kelly, Debbie, and all my classmates. It was nice to get my hands dirty with paint and glue again after such a long time, and I'm looking forward to working in both these books. I'm also definitely looking forward to Kelly coming back again for more journaling fun in February!!

November 02, 2012

more estate sale-ing, and more trends.

So, I said I found more than just those scarves at the estate sale I went to last Saturday- check out more of the pics below!

seed beaded Zuni sunface earrings-
I paid $5 for these (half off marked price of $10).
The price on these beaded earrings when new (tag shown in the picture) was for $29.95, and has the artist's name on (I think it said Delia Chee). I did a little googling to try and find "The Trading Post Collection" but nothing came up. Maybe they came from a tourist place somewhere in AZ or New Mexico?? They're a little 'brighter' than most of the jewelry I own, but I think they were Native American made, and took a lot of work, so I couldn't just leave them there! Plus, I will wear them occasionally (with my hair up so you can see them).

silver dreamcatcher earrings- my price, $7.50 (half of $15)
A bit on the high end of what I really wanted to pay for a
pair of earrings, but I know they also took a lot of work to make.
These earrings were stuffed into a zipper baggie and really tarnished, but I thought they might be silver, and I was right. 
(A small estate sale-ing rant, here: all the jewelry at this sale was in individual plastic bags, all taped up with packing tape, and you couldn't see any of it clearly. This frustrates the heck out of me as an estate sale shopper! I suppose they're trying to reduce shoplifting, but I need to really look at stuff before I commit to buying it! I probably irritated the woman manning the register, but I took the things I was looking at over to the front door where there was actual daylight (I did ask her first). And, gasp- I even took things out of those plastic bags so I could hold them up and look into a mirror to get an idea of how things would look as I was wearing them! That's not unreasonable, I don't think... I know she wouldn't know that I'm a trustworthy person, but I just hate that people assume right off the bat that everyone might be a thief, so they don't give them the benefit of the doubt. rant over.)

Anyway, back to the dreamcatcher earrings: this is another pair I'll need to wear with my hair up to show them off, but I really love the delicate look of the wire web. And, I think this means I am officially a 'collector' of Southwestern jewelry... in addition to these, I have a couple smaller pairs of earrings that were given to me as gifts years ago, I have the pendants and rings I've acquired over the past few months, and I have two bracelets and a necklace that Tom bought me on our first trip to AZ (wow, that was almost 9 years ago, now!)... I'll have to take a photo of all of it together. 

and now, for something a bit different:
Target Shoes #1
You know, how sometimes you can't find anything you like in a store, and then sometimes you find lots of stuff you really like in a store?? That's what happened with me and the Target shoes... I went there on my lunch hour to look for casual shoes that could be worn with shorts, because the only pair of casual shoes I had was my old pair of running shoes. So, I found the tan moccasins. Then, I went back again because I kind of liked the white sneakers, and while I was at it, decided to get the plaid ones, too... I've always loved plaid, and these remind me of the classic 'preppy, camp' sort of look. (they also have red navy, and gray ones, too, but I decided I'd better stop.) 
Target Shoes #2

Then, I saw the brown high-heels: very cool and retro / vintage looking! So, I bought those, too... (while my workplace is extremely casual- think tee-shirt, shorts, and sneakers- that doesn't mean I couldn't dress up if I wanted to. Plus, we do go out occasionally.) These shoes have enough character to be retro/vintage, but since they're new shoes, they're comfortable. After getting them home, I decided it was only practical to go back and get the gray & black pair, too... brown&tan, and gray&black shoes; they can be worn with pretty much anything, right?? :D haha!! So, I think I'm over my shoe-buying kick, for now, anyway. (and I already knew I had a shoe collection- it's always nice to add to it, though!)

throw pillows ($2 each)
Back to estate sale-ing, now: I got this collection of throw pillows from the house in Sun City. They had at least 20-25 pillows all piled in a corner of the living room- who has that many throw pillows in their entire house?? Anyway, I weeded through all of them and picked out these four that I thought matched the colors in our living room rug. The two on the right are even filled with down/feathers! (They just need to go into the dryer with some Bounce to get rid of the 'old-lady-perfume' smell... at least Prescott likes the smell, though; he keeps rubbing up against them. lol!)

I did buy just a couple more items, but those photos turned out horrible, so I need to retake them... one more post to go!