November 29, 2008

thankful 2008

okay, so this is a Thanksgiving weekend post, not a Thanksgiving Day post, but I'm still just as thankful...

for my family- for my Thomas (I can't put it into words without sounding sappy, so I won't even try); for the furry companions we share our lives with, both canine and feline; for my family members all across the midwest (even though we don't get together very often any more); for my friends, both new and old... companionship of all sorts makes this journey through life sooo much more interesting!

(Bisbee is sacked out on the couch next to Tom... she's the funniest dog ever!) Sedona, patiently waiting for me to take her picture, so she could get up... I never knew I was a "dog person" before we got her; I'd only ever thought I was a cat person, but dogs are so much more sociable than cats... one's not better than the other, it's just different. Plus it's just a riot, watching Sedona and Bisbee play together (there's no way I could get pictures of that, though, so you'll just have to trust that it's hilarious)!
I'm thankful that we have a comfortable home, decent jobs, medical benefits, and the means to have the things we like in order to to be comfortable... (this is the "Before" picture of our Thanksgiving Day spread, which included roast duck, a wonderful bottle of Shiraz wine, sweet potato casserole, a relish tray, and homemade bread). I'm also thankful we live in such a beautiful (although seemingly inhospitable) part of the country, and that I have a chance to see Nature's majesty every day when I drive through the desert.

I'm thankful that I have a creative personality, and an outlet for all the ideas that float around in my head... every once in a while I talk to people who have pursuits that aren't creative/artistic at all, and they give me a weird look when I tell them that I like to spend my time painting, cutting, and pasting. I can't imagine NOT being like this!!

(I'm also thankful that both our employers gave us a 4-day weekend, and that we don't have to get up early tomorrow!)

November 27, 2008

what next??

art continues, on and off... I paint lots of backgrounds, and they wait until I'm inspired to finish them. I'm okay with that; some of them get finished, and some may not ever be "finished" but the painting and background collage is theraputic in and of itself, even without the "journaling" on the page. I have done a few more introspective layouts lately, though; below is one of them. The layout started with layered acrylics and drybrushed gesso. I added glitter glue to the edges, along with some black Staz-On stamping. (don't expect stamping over glitter glue to work very well, because I found out, it doesn't!) The theme of this layout was "The Meaning of Artist" to explore what I think about the word "artist," because I'm uncomfortable calling myself an artist... It was done as homework for something I've got going on right now... homework, you ask??

Why, yes, homework (or better yet, fieldwork- I don't like the word homework, it sounds too much like school). Anyway, this all started at Art Unraveled, when through a sort of complicated course of events, I won a gift certificate. It was for four free sessions with Reva Solomon, who gave the keynote speech at AU this year- she's a writer and professional life coach based in Los Angeles. She works with all sorts of professional and creative people, has written plays, books, and has worked in television for many years.

I was hesitant about it at first, but we just had our fourth session, and I've gotten sooo much out of them!! I've been exploring how my creativity fits into all aspects of my life and personality, and am starting to work on what "direction" I want to go from here... do I want to teach classes? get published? sell at shows?? I have no firm ideas yet, but I'm okay with that- part of what I've realized is that a creative life isn't only about the results, but it's also about the journey you take to get there. And speaking of creative journeys, I started some journal pages last night that need some paint, I think... it's nice not having to worry about getting up tomorrow morning; I can work on them as late as I want!

November 24, 2008

weekend snuggling and "Snuggies"

our weekend was full of snuggling and Snuggies, so I thought I'd share some pics with you! It's hard to think that we've already had Pandora and Butters for just over a year... I am still amazed at how we got them- as easy as: walk into the pet store to look at dog toys, and walk out with two kittens! I guess it really is true that the Universe gives you what you need when you need it, because it was just about a month after we got them that we had to put Cleo to sleep... I think it was time for her to join Phoebe over the Rainbow Bridge- she was lonely the last year without Phoebe, and the dogs were just too energetic for her. Pandora and Butters, on the other hand, give as good as they get when it comes to the dogs. It always makes me laugh when the dog chases the cat thru the family room, they disappear into the living room, then come back, but on the return trip the cat is chasing the dog!! These pictures are somewhat deceptive; Pandora and Butters are ultra-cute and cuddly here, but they can be terrors when they want to be!! I have to keep the door to the art studio closed, otherwise you never know what will happen- Pandora lives up to her name; paintbrushes end up where you least expect them, pencils get shot around the floor like hockey pucks, and corners of paper, magazines, and books get chewed on until I bribe them with kitty treats, which is what they want. (like Tom says, they're pretty smart for something with a brain the size of a marble! And yet, they don't come when you call- why is that?? I know, I know, it's because they're cats...)
In order to "get" the pictures below, you have to first visit this website, the As-Seen-On-TV home of "the blanket with sleeves." It's one of those short info-mercial type things we've been seeing on TV lately. It's sort of ridiculous; buy a "Snuggie" and get a mini book light, free with purchase!! That was really hilarious to both of us, and set us off- why not an oil filter, or a free toaster, with your Snuggie- why stop at a book light?? (and that word "Snuggie" is just really funny sounding if you say it a couple of times... try it!) Anyway, I decided Bisbee needed a Snuggie of her own (because Sedona wouldn't have let me do it to her), so I went into the bedroom, pulled one of my tee-shirts out of the dresser, and put it on her:
She looked so ridiculous, I fell over laughing and made Tom get the camera right away!! I had no idea she would be literally swimming in my tee-shirt... it's short sleeved, but the sleeves are longer than her legs!! (the poor girl; she's looking at the camera like "what did I do; why are you laughing?!?")
So, whaddya think- is the "Sheltie Snuggie" the wave of the future?? It definitely wins the cuteness award, at least! (or maybe it's just Bisbee's cute, furry face that helps it out!!) Have a good (short!!) workweek, everyone, and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving full of gratitude, companionship, and good food!! (I think I'm actually going to brave the crowds on Friday and go shopping... my favorite local stamp store, Frenzy Stamper, e-mailed a special 20% off coupon- how could I not?? If I do manage to survive Black Friday, I'll be sure to show you my spoils!!)

November 23, 2008

Christmas comes to Crimson Cat on Etsy

I've added some holiday items to my Etsy shop; it was looking a bit bare after a summer of neglecting it, and I love Christmas!! (and I love paper... all the tags and ornaments that I make are paper-based, with an added twist of some sort!) This Victorian angel ornament is highlighted with metallic pen, gold leafing pen, and glitter. It was made to mimic the antique German scrap ornaments made with batting, paper, and glitter; I love them, but they're certainly hard to find nowadays! The edging is ruffled tissue paper that I basted and gathered into a ruffle before gluing to the ornament. I like how this turned out, although the basting was a bit tedious- tissue paper is fragile! I also have another angel (pink and dark blue, with silver accents) in my shop.
This Victorian girl is definitely full of sparkle! She started out life as the lid from an orange juice can, if you can believe that! It was covered in glue, then glittered with extra-fine art glitter. The sequins were glued onto the edge one by one with E6000 adhesive, which was definitely a time-consuming job, also, but I think the edging definitely makes the ornament. The back is decorated with scrapbook paper and a punched-paper pointsettia, so it looks good from all angles. I also have a glittery Santa Claus ornament in my shop, decorated with real mica snow. (Showing these is making me get antsy to pull out all of our decorations, but I think we'll wait till at least the day after Thanksgiving... not much longer than that, though!)
I always like decorating gift tags, even for my own gift-giving. (It also makes the gift-wrapping a lot simpler; wrap the gift with plain brown kraft paper, or plain white tissue, tie on a decorated tag, and you're done!! These two pictures show two sets of tags- the first uses cancelled postage stamp snowflakes to strike a wintry theme, and the second is decorated with antique gold embossing powder Christmas trees in a non-traditional color scheme.
This preview of Christmas also makes me think that I haven't designed my Christmas cards yet... I think I'd better get to work!! (I'll show you what they look like when I get them done, which better be soon, hmmm??)

November 19, 2008

I'm back...

to Etsy! check out my shop here. ...after taking the summer off, to deal with 10-hour days at work (lots of overtime), a new puppy, and too much to do in not enough time, generally, I finally decided to get back into it. On-line selling definitely takes some varied skills, from photography to copy-writing to marketing, and I hope to keep the shop updated more regularly this winter. I'm also going to be de-stashing some of my (gently) used art books and back issues of magazines, once I figure out media-mail postage rates.

November 18, 2008

AU swap page madness

This was the scene in our house last week as I scrambled to finish my pages for the Art Unraveled Technique chunky book swap. I was very ambitious in my page design, so it took more time than I thought (of course, like everything). I made 30 pages total, 4 x 4 inches, but they were painted on both sides (all slightly different abstract designs), and each page also had an ATC-sized (2.5 x 3.5 inches) mini-book containing 10 pages, decorated with art related quotes and other ephemera.

So, the last night before the mailing deadline, the dining room table looked like Hurricane Paper had hit, and it was definitely a Category 5! Every space was covered, and most of it was more than one layer... I was looking for my collected postage stamps, or the cigar bands, and would have to lift up four or piles of paper, scraps, and dyed paper towels before I'd find them. I work best when I can see my supplies (unfortunately, though, working this way means everything ends up piled around my work space).

But I got them finished, and packaged for shipping, as you can see below. (I would have liked to do more decorating in the mini-books, but I had to draw the line somewhere.) The return pages have already been sent out,; I got mine already (since the hostess is in the Phoenix area) and they're great!! All the pages are inspired by techniques learned in various classes, and they range from funky fabric bead decorations to etched metal and aged patinas. The swap hostess even made wonderful decorated covers for us, so all we have to do is bind the book together, in any fashion we choose.I don't want to show them just yet, though; I want to wait a little longer to give the mail a chance to catch up to farther-away participants! (so, you'll have to wait, but I promise to show them soon...)
I also have been working in my journals, since I had all the paint and paper out... the pages below are decorated with a very simple stamp that I got for free- a wine cork! Well, okay, not free, technically, since we had to buy (and drink!!) the wine, but they do make great impressions. Some people also use corks to make some pretty neat carved stamp designs, but I haven't ventured into this yet; it's a pretty small space for carving, in my opinion.
I use coated paper plates as paint palettes; I squeeze 4-6 colors onto the plate, and leave small spaces for mixing the different shades. Eventually the colors get a bit mixed up, so these circles are swirls of marbled acrylic from the paint leftovers on my "palette" (the paper plate).
I may do more (painting, stamping, etc) to these pages before I journal on them, or not... I tend to prepare backgrounds, then let them "sit" for a while till I get inspiration for journaling on them, or inspiration for the next layer of color.

November 14, 2008

and I thought my pink bathtub was bad!!

check out this link: if you're in the market for a house (or if you just want a laugh). actual photos of "interesting" real-estate listings from all over the world, for our enjoyment... I guess the 1950s pink bathtub in my house wasn't so bad, after all!! have a good weekend, and once I get out from under the avalanche of supplies left over from finishing my Art Unraveled chunky book swap pages, I will post again!

November 03, 2008

a weekend in pictures-

Before: a creative project of a different sort- After: (oatmeal scotchies bar cookies... very tasty!)
It's mine!!
No, it's mine!!
Glimpses of my desk- Art Unraveled Chunky Book Swap Pages, in progress:
backgrounds, bookbinding thread, and printed quotes:
paint, glue, rubber stamps, and various papers... It doesn't look like much right now, I know, but I know where it all is! (or at least most of it, anyway...)