October 29, 2007

trick or treat

The "Trick" since it's close to Halloween, and all: okay, I have to warn you, the following picture is not a pretty one, especially for any arachnaphobes like myself out there, but rest assured, even though it looks alive in the picture, it is very dead. Tom found it in our garage Sunday morning, caught in one of the sticky traps our pest control guy set out last time he was here. (thank goodness for Raid!) I need to look it up on the web, to figure out what kind it is- that's the only reason for taking a picture of it. I don't think it's poisonous, just really yucky. We do have poisonous spiders in Arizona, the worst of which (I think) is the black widow, but luckily we haven't seen any of those (alive, anyway) since we've moved into the house. Now, on to the treat part of this post- last night, I finished a couple new ATCs for a swap-bot trade... this one was a new concept for me, and was a bit of a challenge. It was a "7+1" challenge, where you are required to include seven specific elements on the card, plus one more that you choose. I sent them off in today's mail, so I don't want to show the entire cards yet. For now it will just have to be sneak peeks: The seven items were: music notes, a flower, a postage stamp, something with wings, the sun or moon, a brad/eyelet/button, your user name, and one more thing of your choosing (I chose ribbon). Thanks for looking, and if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading past the icky spider picture!

October 23, 2007

graffiti book pages

This past Sunday I spent all day at a (sort of) local stamp store in Scottsdale, Frenzy Stamper. I spent the day painting, stenciling, scribbling, and gluing, in a Graffiti Book class with Kelly Kilmer. (I took a class with her at Art Unraveled that was alot of fun, so I was kind of excited to take another one.) This kind of painting is sooo not my usual style, but there's something really "freeing" about it. We painted the fronts and backs of 5 12 x 18 pieces of paper, using all different techniques for color mixing and layering, some of them using metallic glazes. Then, we dug into her amazing stash of rubber stamps, stencils, markers, and paint pens, to give it the graffiti look. After that, we bound the pages into a book using a 3-hole pamphlet stitch. (I really need to remember how I did this, so I can do it again.) This first book turned out 6 x 6 inches square. I decided to make my book open vertically, since that's how I did most of the stamping... Kelly has such an amazing stash of rubber stamps... I did buy a couple while I was there, so I'm working on my own- lol! One of the interior layouts- it didn't photograph too good, but the bluish page has a wash of silver metallic paint over the colors; it's amazing how that totally changes the colors! The darker page has "graffiti-type" scribbling on, using a Sharpie paint pen, and some glitter glue, I think. I cut my pages smaller (those large pieces of paper intimidate me, I don't know why...) so I ended up making two books. I folded the pages off-center for the second book , so some of the interior pages are smaller, more like a flag book. This way I can attach something to them, or turn them into pockets, or something... One of the other classes Kelly taught over the weekend was a "taped journal," which is why she had a great collection of decorative tape... I never even knew there was such a thing- of course, now I need to keep my eye out for it when I'm out shopping! It took a couple days for me to wash the paint and glue off my hands, but it was totally worth it. Check out more pics from these books on my Flickr page. (I think she'll be back again for another class in January- I can't wait!)

it's a small world after all...

(worldwide web, that is...)

It's just amazing how you can put something out there into cyberspace, and the neatest things happen as a result?? In a recent post, I added a photo of a collage from the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix... the artist added a comment answering my question about the asphalt (yes, it is real asphalt). Turns out that he lives in Phoenix, shows his work around town, and he has a blog with even more of his really cool collages! check it out for yourself:


I realize this post is NOT photos of the graffiti book that I promised, but I will post those later tonight. For now, I just had to share my amazement at the "smallness" of the entire world!

October 22, 2007

good mail!

I've gotten some pretty fun mail lately; here are a few pictures of the latest. The first two are photos of my very own felted sweater kitty, purchased from a fellow Etsy seller, Fluffy Flowers. The shopowner, Felicia, also has a blog; somehow we ended up reading each other's blogs, and commenting on each other's posts occasionally. From that, I found her Etsy store where I fell in love with her kitties, tree sprites, and bunnies. She writes the cutest stories about all of them, too! She made my kitty (named Phoebe... ) after I sent her a photo of my very own Phoebe. Phoebe the sweater kitty is now perched on the bookshelves in my craft room. Perhaps a sweater bunny is in my future, too... check Dixie the sweater bunny out here! (she's a bit afraid of flying, it says, but I might convince her to travel to Arizona someday... lol!)

This was an envelope that came in the mail today... the first envelope from my "recycled inchie" swap partners. (I signed up for an internet swap, and one of my swap partners ended up living in Phoenix- how funny is that?!?) This batch of inchies is from Jessica, a high schooler; she recycled everything for this swap except the envelope and the stamp... they look like candy wrappers, maybe?? I love the colors, and the resourcefulness of her recycling!

In other news, Tom is on the road in the Midwest all week (he will be in Michigan, the Chicago suburbs, St. Louis, and the Kansas City suburbs- it'll be a long week for him!) so I will have the table covered with crafting supplies by tomorrow night... LOL! I took a journaling class at a local stamp store on Sunday with Kelly Kilmer (check her blog out for some great journal pages!)... I made two mini books (will post pics tomorrow) during the class, and want to keep working on them while I still have the inspiration going. Right now it is bedtime for me, as I am working 10-hour days at work right now, and 3:15 am tomorrow will come awfully early!!

October 18, 2007

crafting HAS taken place...

I just can't show the entire pictures yet! These pictures are sneak peeks for a couple swap-bot packages I sent out, and I want to make sure the recipients get them first... I don't want to spoil the surprise!

These two images are peeks at two ATCs I made for a "Back & Forth" swap- my partner sent a packet of paper, embellishments, etc. to me, and I made two ATCs from them, using the materials she sent (along with a couple of my own things). I sent paper and other materials to my partner, and she sent me back a really cool ATC using the menu from our favorite Chinese restaurant, along with a fortune-cookie fortune, and some origami paper. (I will post it as soon as I take a picture.)

These two pics are sneak peeks at two sets of inchies (1 inch x 1 inch collages) I made for another swap, "Recycled Inchie Art" that was a bit challenging for me... I'm still not used to the 1 inch size, and had to work a bit finding small enough images. It was all about using things destined for the garbage or recycle bin; once I got into it, I had a good time finding papers and images to use in unexpected ways- I dug thru my recycle bin for teeny paper scraps, went thru some junk mail and pamphlets, and scavenged from the Ikea catalog, a catalog of posters, and a home decorating catalog (all of these things were dug out of the paper recycling bin). It's amazing how much paper and cardboard packaging we get; it was nice to use at least a tiny bit of it for an art project.

My next swap is also going to take some thought- it involves finding seven specific elements to decorate 2 ATCs with... it should be a lot of fun, once I get into my stash of stuff! I also dug into my stash of felt and am working on some new fall-themed felt pins, since it's starting to cool off here and feel a bit like fall. We don't get fall-colored leaves here in the desert, so I'm going to make my own!

October 14, 2007

a good time was had by all...

My parents and sister came to Arizona for a visit... they put well over 6000 miles on the car by the time they got back home, I think. My parents drove from Illinois to Kansas City, where my sister lives, and from there, they headed west, through New Mexico (Santa Fe and Taos), and eventually made their way to our house, south of Phoenix. We showed them some of Arizona, and went to a few local attractions, including the Heard Museum on Saturday. Located in downtown Phoenix, it is a wonderful museum that showcases SouthWestern history, art, and culture. It's not all baskets, pottery, silver and turquoise (although they have quite a collection of those, also!), as the following photos show: These shoes were part of a special exhibit, Sole Stories: American Indian Footwear. There were also beaded tennies, boots, and shoes worn by Native Americans, including a pair of Will Rogers' boots.

This collage intrigued me- it is at least 4 x 6 ft (?not sure...), and titled: "Adjustment Line for Miss Petite" and was done by a Mexican/American artist named Fausto Fernandez. It says "Collage- Asphalt" and I'm not sure if that means it contains real asphalt??

This picture was taken Sunday on the Apache Trail east of Phoenix... my parents and sister are standing next to a grouping of Saguaro cactus outside the Saloon in Tortilla Flats (population: 6), where we ate lunch. The Apache Trail is a scenic drive east to Roosevelt Lake. "Some of the most rugged terrain in Arizona" is putting it mildly, in my opinion- 1 lane bridges, switchbacks, gravel road for miles, no guard rail, and drop offs into canyons filled with saguaro cactus make for tense moments on my part, at least, but also some very beautiful scenery!

This picture, and the one below, were taken at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson- we headed there on Monday. It is a combination zoo/botanic garden, "a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place!" (quote from their website) The picture above is of the mountain lion, relaxing on a rock... The picture below is from the cactus exhibit- the middle grouping is Organ Pipe cactus- there are many other varieties that I don't know, but the cactus on the left is a small saguaro. There are over 20 acres altogether, and more than 2 miles of trails

On Tuesday, they set out on their way back to the Midwest by way of Tucson (to stop at the San Xavier del Bac mission) and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. It was a bit chaotic at times, having 5 people in the house, but it was really wonderful to have them visit our home and see a bit of our Arizona. (Sedona and Cleo both loved it too, I think- Sedona got so much playing time in she didn't know quite what to do with herself once they were gone, and Cleo got some good quality lap-time with my mom.)

(Look for more pictures soon on my Flickr page.)