May 31, 2012

art and stuff...

a few of the latest art journal pages I've been playing around with... 
a fold-out page: the collaged image is from a gardening magazine. (the cigar band on the pot is covering up some advertising, or something). Loose lines added with black permanent marker.
The entire page, unfolded. This will (probably) be the base layers for more collage work: yummy bubblegum pink and lemon zest spray inks sprayed thru my new Dylusions stencil, a piece of collaged striped scrapbook paper (which actually covers up a rip in the paper), blue washi tape on the fold, and some scribbles with a red wax pencil. Not sure what's next with this page...
Here's the 'stuff' part of the post: the first personalized license plates I've ever gotten! Also the first specialty license plate I've ever had!  (fyi, It reads live 4 art, or love 4 art, whichever you want.) I usually think specialty plates are kind of a waste of $$, but I really like the design of the AZ centennial plate.

Journal page close-up: this page is basically just collaged paper, with some colored details. Not sure if there will be more added to this one, or not. My pages lately have been mostly just art, with very little writing; I'm okay with that- since there's no right or wrong way to journal, whatever I feel like doing at the moment is 'right' for me.
A view of the entire page: the cats are from a vintage book (from a collage pack I bought from Kelly Kilmer ages ago, I think); the black and white bits are from a journal page photocopy, and the other pieces are SB paper, magazine, vintage map, etc.
This page will definitely get more added to it, but I like taking photos of my pages in process. so I can see the progression. Over the weekend I broke out some acrylic paints and stamps, and went back out onto the patio. (it wasn't as windy as last time, thankfully!) I used fluorescent pink and orange paint on this page, along with some paint 'scraped on' using the edge of an expired gift card. (the scraping allows what's beneath- the faint scribbled circles- to show through. 
More of the fluorescent pink paint, along with some other colors, on a vintage book or magazine (National Geographic?) page. I like the pops of black I used on these pages; I'll definitely be doing more of that.

May 25, 2012

catching up...

so, just a bit of a catch-up post, since I've been away from the blog for a while-- this next photo may explain something about why:
ick!! this photo is evidence of a clear liquid diet, in preparation for a surgery I had on the 15th. (it went fine, no worries!) I've been resting and recuperating since the surgery, and am ready to go back to work next week. (another ick!! to having to go back to getting up at 5 am, though.)
Tom has been great taking care of me-- he brought me 'get-well' flowers, along with a long-anticipated Diet Dr. Pepper!! (it tasted great, for about the first three sips... my stomach still had a ways to go to get back to normal, so it went into the fridge. But, it's the thought that counts, definitely!) 
I finally started getting out and about the last couple days, and this afternoon, I decided to find out how much art-journaling stuff I could lug out onto the patio- turns out, the answer to that question is: a lot!! I figured since it was a bit breezy, that would help the paint and spray ink dry... turns out, it was more windy than breezy, which didn't help ANYthing but upping my frustration level. But, I did fulfill that 'creative-mess-making' urge a bit, anyway... 
Here's a couple of my latest journal pages, still in-progress.  
A few details, from L-R: left: this page was made with Dylusions spray inks (these are absolutely gorgeous colors!!) and a bit of acrylics; middle: a watercolor background with some acrylic paint stamping, and the beginnings of a collage with photocopied patterns and a magazine image; right: colored cardstock background with a magazine image, some spray inks, and collaged papers with acrylic paint. Much more inking, stamping, and doodling is still to go on these pages, but colorful creative interlude was a much-needed boost for my energy.

now, I think a bit of a rest is in order... (after washing off the paint, that is!) Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

May 14, 2012

the week (well, some of it, anyway) in photos

Wednesday afternoon, a storm moved through the valley- storms (and really, clouds in general) are unusual things here, so they're pretty exciting when they do actually happen.
 Yay, it actually rained! Enough to use the windshield wipers, even!! (although not right here; this is just after it started.)
Then, there was a duststorm... so, my nice clean car isn't nice and clean any more. :( But, there was rain!! so I won't complain too much.
another photo of the praying mantis from Friday. I love that you can even see his tiny antennae here!
Saturday morning, we ran some errands. 1) drop the dogs off at the groomers. 2) check out chest freezers and computers at Best Buy-- need to do more research before we buy, though. 3) stop off at Arriba's Mexican Grill for lunch-- they have some amazingly hot (and tasty) Hatch chile entrees. 4) Pick up framed artwork from JoAnn's. 5) back home, with leftovers for Sunday.
Arriba's interior is kind of 'kitchy' Mexican, but it's fun- an entire wall of plastic flowers, and these larger-than-life parrots everywhere. I thought this one was kinda funny, holding his can of beer. (when I took the photo, a sweet little old lady who had also been taking pictures asked me, "oh, are you a tourist too?" haha!! No, just a scrapbooker!
The first piece of framed artwork. My mom is an amazing sewer!! I started this piece of counted cross-stitch, oh, maybe about 2 years ago?? not sure... Anyway, I work really slow, and have a tendency to not finish things, even though I have the best of intentions. She worked on me for at least 6 months to give it to her so she could finish it for me. Finally, I conceded defeat (I was probably only about a quarter of the way done) and true to her word, she did finish it. 
But, that's not all- she also did this one, too!! These were designed by the same designer, and are about 18x22 framed. Gorgeous, right?? 
I know-- it is amazing, isn't it?!? I have no idea how many individual stitches there are in these, but they're so detailed, there have to be thousands... a huge thank-you to Mom, for spending untold hours on these with your needle and thread.
I'll post another photo or two of them, once we get them hung. I think they're going to go above our bed, and will finish off the bedroom perfectly! 
The dogs, after spending 4 hours at the groomers. They are so clean, the white fur is almost blinding! And, there's so much less hair on them, I can't even begin to imagine what the floor at the groomer's looked like after they were done!! L-R: Krista, Prescott, Bisbee. (Krista still doesn't know how to 'sit' yet; I need to work on that with her some more.)
Bisbee's hair is so silky smooth after they come back from the groomer's; too bad it won't last! (we haven't let them 'cut loose' and play outside quite yet; don't want them to get dirty too quick.) She poses so pretty! (when there's no outside distractions, that is.)

May 12, 2012

NSD 2012 (3rd installment)

And now, for something totally different... I switch gears from vintage inspired heirloom possessions to bright colors and doodling! 

but first: my Mom did say she remembers at least trying to make cookies with the springerle rolling pin... "They could have been used for building brick though. Anise flavored and very hard, at least the ones we tried were." (And that's why I only use the rolling pin as a decoration- lol!) Although it might be interesting to try as an experiment. I think I read somewhere that springerle cookies were sometimes used as Christmas tree ornaments; I guess if that's the case, it wouldn't matter if they were hard or not.  

So, now, back to the scrapbook pages. All weekend long, the scrapbooking website Two Peas in a Bucket- yes, I know- don't ask me where the name comes from; that's just what they call it, lol!!  Anyway, all weekend long they hosted special events and challenges for National Scrapbooking Day on their message boards. My "Fresh" layout fit the criteria for one of the challenges (altering the chipboard dresses and and the picket fence), and I wanted to complete some more of the challenges.  This layout meets the criteria for 'bright colors,' don't you think??
I showed these photos on the blog before, but I hadn't scrapbooked them yet. I know they're not technically 'good' photos, since they're blurry, but I think the blurriness capture the feeling of movement I really wanted to use them to record the memory of Bisbee and Prescott having such a good time playing in the backyard. This layout was made for the challenge 'Bright Colors' and I think it delivers. It's a double-page layout (meaning the pages will stay together like this in my album) made up of one 6x12 page that holds the long, epic title, and the 12x12 page that holds the photographs. The paper is from the American Crafts Amy Tan Sketchbook collection, and it works perfectly for the fun, playful feeling I was going for with these pages. It has multicolored watercolor-look backgrounds, coupled with black or white doodling, and a very hand-drawn feel. I got this paper in a variety pack purchased at the most recent scrapbook store yard sale, I think-I would never have bought this paper on my own, but I quite like how it turned out here.  
The long, epic title on the lefthand page was all done to be tongue-in-cheek; this is not a 'serious' scrapbook layout at all. The title was made using my vintage typewriter, and practically every set of small letter stickers I own, along with a couple mini alpha stamp sets, with teal blue, cactus green, mustard, orange, and black ink. It took about 2 1/2 hours to actually do (why do I do that to myself?!? lol!) but I really like how it turned out.
The journaling/title reads: "Throughout history, there have been stories of pursuit- epic tales of glory, thrilling tales of the hunter and the hunted... Aesop's Fox and the Grapes; Jason and the Golden Fleece; Sylvester and Tweety Bird; Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. and now, there is: Prescott and Bisbee"  haha!! They spend sooo much time chasing each other, running crazily around and around the backyard, and every once in a while, one will 'let' the other one win. (except Bisbee cheats sometimes; she hides behind things, or plops herself down on the grass, to get a break and catch her breath- lol!!)
I added in a couple strips of another patterned paper (the hearts) to bridge both pages, but other than that, I didn't really add anything (didn't need to!) This is one of those layouts I'm really glad I have completed, and I'm sure I'll be glad to look back on it once it's in my album.
One last layout I started on Sunday afternoon, before I had to pack up all my crap stuff and head back home. Another one for the 'bright colors' challenge at the 2peas website! This layout also fit the criteria for a 'chevron' challenge as well, (the huge blue floral chevrons I added next to the title) and a third one called 'the final stretch' since I've had these photos printed for months, and never got around to actually doing anything with them.  The photos are from my trip last year to Artfest, and don't fit any theme or anything, so I felt pretty comfortable just choosing random paper and colors to put with them. (some people might think the paper overwhelms the photos, and yeah, maybe it does from a purely 'design' standpoint, but I really like the fact that the paper and mood captures the fun, and the visual 'overload' that was a big part of Artfest for me.)
I spent a ton of time on these chevrons, too- way too long, actually! I thought it would be easy to just hand-cut chevrons, but I should have known better, since I've always been 'math challenged' with stuff like this. I started trying to just mark them out with a pencil and ruler, but I kept getting the angles wrong. I finally resorted to googling 'chevron images' from the internet and tracing one that I thought would work. Even then, something looked wrong about them when I cut them out! By that point, actually, I think ANYthing I did was going to look wrong... so, I stuck them down and called it good. I finished up the journaling and white pen doodling when I got home. (just couldn't let National Scrapbooking go that easily, I guess- lol!! Actually, 2peas is leaving their challenges open through May 13th, so I have another layout in process- right now it's on the dining room table!) 

May 11, 2012

random photo

just a random photo for a Friday afternoon... 

I was outside my building right after lunch on a phone call-- I was just randomly looking at the pink oleander bush while I was talking, and I happened to spy this little guy. Thankfully he sat still long enough for me to go inside and get my camera!! (the colors are a bit washed out- it's really sunny out there, being just after high noon- but hopefully you can still see him sitting there.)

May 08, 2012

NSD 2012 (2nd installment)

After the 2-hour sewing fiasco from Friday night's scrapping, I wanted something a bit simpler to work on- something I could complete and feel good about getting done. haha!! So, I decided to start a project I've been wanting to work on for a while: documenting some of my most 'prize possessions.'  They have memories associated with them that I wanted to record, so I finally decided to put some of those memories down on paper. (fyi, these layouts are 8 inches square, so they went a bit quicker!)

This first layout features my set of vintage aluminum measuring spoons. They hang inside the kitchen spice cabinet, and are one of my favorite 'kitchen' collectibles- not because they're worth anything in a monetary sense, but because they were my Grandma's. They always hung inside the door of her spice cabinet, and now they do the same in mine. Every time I open the cabinet door, the clanking of the spoons against the wood makes me think of time spent in Gram's kitchen, whether it was doing homework, helping mix up a batch of cookies or caramel corn, or, when I was really little, keeping myself busy with the egg-beater and some soap flakes in the kitchen sink. :)
I used some of my newest paper on this layout- a couple weeks ago I went to the Vendor Faire at the local Creating Keepsakes convention, and found a vendor selling products from my favorite paper company, October Afternoon! (They have the most wonderful, vintage-looking patterns of paper in a great variety of luscious colors, along with embellishments, stickers, and other items that match...) The paper line on this page is from the 'Farmhouse' collection, which is full of faded calicoes, ticking stripes, and vintage patterns like wooden rulers and ledger pages: perfect for photos of my vintage favorites! I added a few other touches, such as the punched butterflies and baker's twine, to add to the 'homespun' feel of the layout.
This layout (I really apologize for the crappy colors in this photo; it was late at night when I took it) is a no-photo layout that I made, pretty much, just to use these cute little chipboard dresses. They started out as glossy dark brown (ick!), but that wouldn't work for my project, so I ripped off the brown layer and replaced it with some of my vintage-floral patterned paper (much better!!).
It's just a little layout documenting how fresh clothes smell when they're dried on the clothesline outside. I do hang a shirt out to dry on the patio now and then, but I can't really do it with the entire load of laundry so much here in AZ; depending on the weather, the clothes could collect dust before they're even dry! 
And, one more  'heirloom possession' layout that I completed- this one with a photograph of Grandma's Springerle rolling pin. Springerle is a German anise-flavored cookie / biscuit that has raised designs, either from being pressed into a mold, or rolled with one of these special rolling pins. (According to Wikipedia, they're most often seen at Christmastime.) I don't ever recall Grandma making these, though, to be honest... (Mom, do you remember every having springerle cookies??) I do remember, however, that the rolling pin always hung above the window at the kitchen sink; I think Grandpa made the hanging brackets for it. Now, this rolling pin hangs above the window in our kitchen (I think I've hung this above the window in every place I've ever live, actually). Again, seeing this every day reminds me of time spent in Grandma's kitchen, and the papers I chose for the design go along with that-- . the paper and colors I picked remind me of her kitchen; it was always a sunny place, with a flowered oilcloth tablecloth on the table... I'm definitely glad I finally made this layout!! 

I do have a number of other heirloom possessions (both mine and Tom's) around the house that I'd like to also document with the same type of layouts; now I just need to take the photographs! So, this took me through late Saturday night at the Scrapbook Cottage; I finally got to the point where I was just 'shuffling papers around' without much intention-- that's when I knew it was time to go to bed! (where I watched a couple episodes of Mad Men on my laptop, and finally turned off the light around 3:30 am- lol!!)

I'll be back again with one more NSD scrapping installment; I did a couple more layouts on Sunday that are a total change of pace from this vintage type page.

May 07, 2012

NSD 2012 (first installment)

So, Saturday May 5th was National Scrapbooking Day... I don't know much about the history of this, but I do know I had a really fun time this weekend!! I headed to the Phoenix Scrapbook Cottage after work on Friday, and was messily creative till Sunday afternoon. Yay!! I didn't take too many photos of the weekend, but here are some of the ones I did take. (please excuse the photo quality; most of these were taken at night, and the light wasn't the best so I had to use the flash. And as always, click on any of the photos to make them bigger.)
My workspace, not long after I got started. There were four of us staying the entire weekend, so I had the entire front room to myself (I got there first, so I got first pick of the workrooms- haha!) The front room has three 6-foot tables all butted up together, and by Saturday morning, I spread out onto all three of them. ...laptop, computer, typewriter, photo printer, paper carrier, cardstock, patterned paper, stickers, inks, stamps, ribbon, thread-- you name it, I brought it with me (at least some of it, anyway).
This 2-page layout is the first thing I worked on... I had actually designed the layout last time I was there (in January), but never finished it. I knew I wanted to do hand-stitching on it, and knew it would take a while to design that and actually do the sewing and make flowers that fit the scale and design of the layout... and yeah, it did- like 2 hours! whew! But, I really like how it turned out-- the colors match the prevalent colors in the photos, and the flowers are (very loosely) based on sunflowers, which are a summer-time flower.
This layout was pretty much the only thing I got accomplished on Friday night; I had no idea how long it would take, and it was sort of frustrating me. So, I headed to bed around 10 pm, to get some good sleep for an early start on Saturday.
Not sure if I've shared this layout (unfinished) on here before, or not. The photos were taken last summer when we visited family in IL and WI, and the journaling reads: "It started out as sort of a joke, to take photos of a theme during our trip back to IL/WI... But, it ended up really making me think about how difficult a livelihood farming actually is." 
The flowers and stitching add a nice dimensional touch, as well as a truly 'hand-done' element. I will be doing more hand-stitched layouts, I think. (when I have the time, that is!)
So, Saturday morning I got up bright and early at about 5:45. Why, when I didn't have to?? Well, I did have to-- my brakes had been acting up, and had recently started grinding and groaning... soooo, instead of scrapping at the cottage on Saturday morning, I took my library book, art journaling supplies, and my iPod to the local Honda dealership! Nope, not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday morning! (especially since I forgot to take a pair of scissors with me, darn it!)
It wasn't too bad, though- I got the chance to work a bit in my newest art journal (I'll show you more of it later), and gluing, collaging, coloring, and doodling is therapeutic for me, as always. I did get a few funny looks from some of the other patrons in the waiting room, but I've long since gotten over that. 
They had snacks, too-- I got a small bag of popcorn to munch on, as well as snagging a couple extra popcorn bags for my journal!! 
and thankfully, I did have a few things already cut out of magazines in my collage-stuff files, like this topiary... also thankfully, now my brakes work fine!! 

(National Scrapbooking Day- well, weekend, actually- was a lot of fun, besides my personal creating and challenges I found on the internet-- next post, I'll be back to the Scrapbook Cottage to show you more actual "scrapping" since I stayed up till past midnight on Saturday evening! and yes, I'm still tired!!)

May 02, 2012

SB- a look back via the WABAC (or Wayback) Machine

another trip down scrapbook memory lane  via the WABAC machine... remember that segment from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show? I used to love watching Mr. Peabody the dog and Sherman (his boy) travel back in time to experience important events in history. Well, this time, my WABAC machine was set to 10 years ago (wow, I can't really believe this much time has passed since then!!) and a scrapbook layout I made about some of my house renovations. (click on any photo to view it larger)
My first house was a bungalow-type cottage that was built in the 1920s; I was the third owner (?I think- second or third, anyway), so it hadn't been updated at all, which I liked-- the woodwork was all original (no paint), and the house retained that homey, vintage character that I was looking for. One thing it did have, unfortunately, was ancient berber-type carpeting in the living and dining rooms that had been laid over the original hardwood floors. I didn't know how exactly to go about removing it, but knew I wanted it gone, so my parents and my sister helped me out. They all came for a weekend of very hard, very dusty, dirty  work to remove the carpeting and refurbish the floor underneath. And, of course, I had to document it in my scrapbook! 
At the time, I was still doing "Creative Memories-style" scrapbooking which involved white page backgrounds, matting the photos, and very little, if any, patterned paper. I thought I was being so 'style-forward' when I chose to use the tags, jute, and the handmade paper behind the title block- lol!! I actually chose it because the texture and colors in the handmade paper reminded me of the (crappy, messy) backing underneath the carpet that we spent hours scraping off, by hand. And of course, my title letters were traced, one by one, from a stencil and then colored in with markers- waaaay before the era of self-adhesive cardstock sticker letters!! 
Although it does sort of make me laugh, now, from a scrapbooking style standpoint, I am so glad I have these pages, so I can look back at the improvements I made to my little house while I was there!! (and thanks again to Mom, Dad, and Judy-- I really couldn't have done it without you guys!)

I do like looking back at my scrapbook pages- after all, that's why I do it! (well, one of the reasons, anyway-- playing with the pretty paper and cool supplies is lots of fun, too!)