January 24, 2008

root canal part 2... and crafting, of course!

Root canal, part 2... worse than the first, I think because I knew what to expect. Not pain (although it did take 3 Novacaine shots to make everything numb), but because I knew I'd have to sit there with my mouth open for more than an hour. By the time he was done, my shoulders and back hurt (a lot!), just from being tensed up for so long. And, it took quite a while for the Novacaine to wear off- I was numb up past my ear, and practically all the way up to my eye, on that side of my face. But, at least I can eat without worrying about the temporary filling falling out, now... I'm still not done with the dentist, though- the cracks in my tooth are still there, so I'm not out of the woods until the crown gets completed. I have no idea what caused my tooth to crack, but I think I'm going to try and stay away from the hard candy from now on. (I'm one of those people who has to chew a Lifesaver, or any hard candy, for that matter, to bits as quickly as possible... probably not the best for my teeth!) These are yesterday's collages... I worked on designing them in my head all day long... on the way to work, I listen to NPR- I don't remember what the subject was, but someone used the phrase "circles of knowledge" during a story, and that was my inspiration. These took me lots longer than 30 minutes, though... first I prepared a few pieces of watercolor paper, and let it dry while I dug through my stash of papers... the paper I used for the circles includes vintage music, a diagram from a nature book, a page from a book in German that I got in a trade, and text from a couple other vintage science books. It's hard to explain, but the "plant" is loosely based on a giant tree in one of the alternate worlds in the 2nd and 3rd books in the Golden Compass. The first collage is 4 x 6 inches, and the second is ACEO sized. Since my dentist appointment was this morning, I took a personal day off of work (by the time I would have made it to work, it would have been just about time to come home). I stopped at the video store on the way home, and picked up a couple movies... I now have the urge to get out my watercolor paints, because I watched the movie Miss Potter, starring Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter. I have absolutely ZERO chance of painting anything remotely as cute as Peter Rabbit, though, so I know better than to even try. Instead, I'll probably get out some rubber stamps, paper, and glue, and see what happens!

January 22, 2008

I've been featured! (...and I've been crafty, too...)

My Etsy shop was featured today on Funky Finds, a blog that features and promotes independent crafters and artists!! How cool is that?!? I got an e-mail this morning from Jessica, the author, letting me know... quite a nice change from the spam and junk mail that sometimes makes it into my inbox! She has found some really interesting sellers; when I have time, I'm definitely going to read more of her posts. Now, to the crafting: I made a few new domino keychains... In this post, I showed a keychain with a tiny rubber stamped birdie... I decided that although the birdie was a pain in the neck to cut out, he was so cute that I would turn him into a series... Birdie could get into quite a few adventures, maybe do some travelling and exploring... This is Birdie Flies a Kite- birdie is enjoying the fresh spring air! (we don't quite have any of that here in Arizona yet, here, but hopefully sometime soon...) Find Birdie, and other Crimson Cat goodies, in my Etsy shop.

This is another of Birdie's adventures, Birdie Visits the Seashore. Birdie is keeping his feet clear of the waves, and relaxing on the beach (made from actual sandpaper). The waves and clouds were drawn with marker, and the sun was stamped and cut out. This one will be in my Etsy shop soon, so keep checking!

And now, for something totally different...

This is a 4 x 6 inch piece titled Dead End Road- Collage #1, made last night using various materials, including scrapbooking paper, pattern tissue, and pages from magazines and catalogs glued onto a background of watercolor paper and accented with markers and Staz-On ink.

It was created as part of a new creative venture... I joined a fun and motivating Flickr group started by some fellow Etsians for creating and sharing collage art, Collage a Day. I've never really tried "real" collage, although I guess you could say some of my ACEOs and keychains might qualify as collage, since the definition of collage is: " technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, such as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope." I have a growing collection of "found" papers, scraps, catalogs, and such, but don't usually use them for this kind of art- Collage a Day will hopefully get me to be more creative with these materials, and actually use some of them instead of just collecting them. Although I did find myself digging through the recycle bin this evening, trying to decide "this security envelope pattern is kind of interesting; can I use it for a craft project??" Maybe this isn't such a good thing, after all... we'll just have to wait and see!

January 19, 2008

Root Canal, Post Office...

What do they have in common, you ask?? They both are uncomfortable, and take a long time!

When I mail packages for my Etsy shop, I usually take them to the post office, just to make sure I have the correct postage... some of my packages are odd-shaped, and they changed the rules last summer about how thick envelopes can be to be called letters. The post office here in town is TINY (with no plans to expand, unfortunately), they don't have counter hours on Saturday, and they always seem to charge me more than the other PO I go to... the other PO is in Tempe, on my way home from work, but it's always busy- I usually stand in line for at least 15 minutes, no matter what day of the week it is. I just found a "shipping and packing" store in town, though, so next time I need something mailed, I'll check them out. They're open later than the PO, and maybe they can help me out.

As far as root canals, I found out just how uncomfortable they can be, too... I have had problems with one of my teeth for a few weeks now- excruciating pain when drinking something cold, or eating something sweet. It was one of the back molars you need to chew, too, unfortunately... turns out I had decay under a very old filling, and two big cracks in the tooth, besides! So, root canal it is. I had the first part of it done last Tuesday, and have a temporary filling till next Thursday, when the dentist will finish it up. It didn't hurt, thank goodness, because I've heard lots of bad things about root canals... it was just a really uncomfortable feeling... it doesn't help, having to eat on the other side of my mouth, right now, either... that's starting to mess with the other side of my jaw. (but, I don't want the temporary filling to fall out!) Eventually, I will have to get a crown on that tooth so the pressure from chewing doesn't stress the cracks and make them worse.

I guess compared to braces, jaw surgery and eating thru a straw while my jaw was wired shut, having a root canal isn't that bad, though... everything I've gone through is all in an effort to keep my teeth and bite in good shape so I can keep my own teeth as long as possible.

Not a ton of crafting going on; I have some new domino keychains in progress, and a few other ideas in mind, but I also need to work on cat-proofing my craft room... they get into everything, so I've had to start keeping the door shut, otherwise there are paintbrushes-turned-cat toys all over the floor, etc. I need to put together a "travel crafting kit" too, because next weekend I will be going to Chicago for two weeks for business (training on some new equipment). I'll go crazy in my hotel room every night without something to do! I am going to see if I can get together with a couple friends while I'm there, but will definitely need some projects to keep me busy! I'm taking my laptop with me, too... the internet will definitely be more interesting than the movies on cable available in the hotel.

January 11, 2008

I almost forgot- the Christmas crafts!

I did do a little crafting before Christmas, that I couldn't show till after I was sure the presents were opened... we pick names in my family for the "big" gifts, and exchange stocking stuffers with everyone. I decided to make some of my stocking stuffers, after seeing an article in the December issue of Somerset Studio magazine. These pictures are what I came up with! The ornaments are paper mache, from Michaels. I base-coated them with gesso, then painted them with a mixture of acrylic and Lumiere paint. (Lumiere is more like a glaze, and has gold or other shimmery colors mixed in.) Then I added clip-art angels and a border of gold acrylic paint dots .

The backs were covered with scraps of vintage music paper, then dry-brushed with gesso and gold to lighten it up.

The colors I picked for these ornaments are a little brighter than my usual comfort zone, but I really like how they turned out.

I'm really proud of how this one turned out, too. I made this one for my mom, to remind her of the birds they feed outside the kitchen window every winter. It started with an empty Altoids tin (I have quite a few of these stashed away- since they're metal tins, I always feel bad about just throwing them away). I painted the outside and inside edges with gold paint, and added teal glitter for sky, and mica flake snow. (I should have built up the "landscape" with polymer clay or something, but I didn't think of that till later.) What I did use was lots of PVA and E6000 adhesive, which took a while to dry, but it worked out. I glued two tiny birch twigs into the snow, sprinkled some "snow" on them, and perched a mushroom cardinal on the branch. Sheer chiffon ribbon was wrapped around the edge of the tin to use as a hanger.

I have more empty Altoids tins, and more paper mache shapes, so I think I will make some spring ornaments, too- flowers, perhaps, or maybe Easter bunnies, or chicks?? I'll just have to see what I come up with...

sad and neglected- a catching up post

yes, my poor blog, you are sad and neglected... but no more! Wow, it's been ages, hasn't it?? The holidays have come and gone, and my cold took at least 5 weeks to finally leave, too. Tom and I both had some time off over Christmas; vacation and work holidays meant that both of us had vacation from Christmas till after New Year's. We didn't do too much... visited some friends on Christmas Day, spend the day with our friend Dennis enjoying dinner and a movie (we saw The Golden Compass), and took a day trip to Bisbee, Arizona, a copper mining town about 3 1/2 hours south of Phoenix. (we toured a copper mine, which was really neat- I do have some pictures of that to post, eventually!)

The holidays were difficult for me this year, truthfully... It started with having to put Cleo to sleep, stress from lots of overtime at work, feeling under the weather from that terrible cold, and not being able to go back to the Midwest for the holidays... but, the new kittens have started to feel more like part of the family, the overtime is done with for now, the cold is (mostly) gone, and we did talk to everyone on Christmas- so, I'm feeling a little better, finally.

This photo is a Flickr mosaic- some of my favorite photos, put together into one place. I have a tendency to Favorite really cool artwork, cute kitties and dogs (mostly Shelties- imagine that!), and striking landscape photos. You can see the original here- underneath the Flickr photo are links to the original pics, if you want to check any of them out further. This year I didn't even make our Christmas cards; I just didn't feel up to it- not much crafting got done during my vacation either, oddly enough. But, I had to do a major cleanup of my craft room because our friend Dennis came to see the house, so I finally found the desk again! I've been making some new domino keychains; they're a lot of fun to make, and I've actually sold a few of them in my Etsy shop lately. So, these two pictures are two of my newest designs... the Journey keychain above was made with a bit of a vintage atlas- the map is of Bull Shoals Basin, on the Arkansas/Kentucky border. The word was stamped onto a separate piece of paper. The ink ran a bit when I sprayed it with sealer, which actually contributes to a rather vintage/aged feel, I think. I posted a pic of it on my Flickr page, and it's actually garnered quite a few views. (I finally posted it for sale in my shop- hopefully someone there will like it just as much!) This keychain turned out amazingly cute (if I do say so, myself!), and is already sold. I called it Birdie Love Song... It was actually an afterthought, made with a scrap of vintage music paper leftover from something else... the paper was colored with a light blue wash of acrylic paint. I liked the placement of the music and words on the domino, but didn't know what I would do with it till I thought of a bird, and birdsong. The birdie was stamped onto cardstock, colored with pencils; then I cut it out (!) and glued it to the domino, along with the tiny cardstock heart in the corner. I like this birdie, so I think he's going to have some more domino adventures soon! When he does, I will be sure to post them- I am going to try and keep the cobwebs and dust off my blog this year!