Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Month in Photographs - January

Another month has come and (almost) gone.  As I looked through my photos, I see lots of different things going on.  I started making earrings for my Etsy shop (1); here's a before (3) and after (4) view of one pair I made specifically for Valentine's Day.  My January challenge was to make some ink stamps (5); I've been using them for my AlphabeThursday post too (trying to multi-task where I can...)  My Weekly Art Date class has been great with Moira Richardson.  I'm just finishing up my one-page calendar (2) and have been drawing faces (7) too.  I plan to continue with portraits and calendars next month.  January 18th was my birthday.  I received a very nice card (6) and present from a favorite teammate and a vase with flowers (8) from my DH.  What a wonderful (and busy) month!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Link List - Challenges

Challenges are a favorite activity for me.  It keeps my creative juices flowing.  If you're an artist of any kind, I highly suggest you join a blog or team to be able to participate in challenges.  

Many challenges you can follow on your own.  Even though the Etsy BBArtisans team has a monthly challenge, I tell visitors to the site to join in and challenge themselves, even if they're not a member.  One of the team requirements is to complete 6 out of the 12 challenges throughout the year.  Our first challenge this year was to try a new art technique.  Here is a post with a link that lists all the participants.

The Sketchbook Challenge blog was introduced by a group of artists in January 2011.  It's a take off of the Brooklyn Art Museum's Sketchbook Project that I participated in two years ago.  The thing I didn't like about the Sketchbook Project was that I had to give up my first sketchbook, though it's now part of the Brooklyn Art Museum.  With the Sketchbook Challenge blog, you always get to keep your artwork.  You can listen to Sue Bleiweiss talk about the blog in this short podcast:

There's a lot of literary challenges for those of you who like to write.  I know of one challenge, hosted by Inkygirl.  
The goal for her 1000 Words a Day Challenge is to inspire writers to write.  Her site, which is "an illustrated guide for those who write and draw for young people" also has a 500 and 250 Words a Day Challenge.  If you enjoy writing, for no matter what age group, this challenge might be for you.   

Want a more active challenge?  You can participate in the President's Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge.  You may remember being involved in an activity like this as a child, but this challenge is also available for adults.  It  involves both physical activity for 6 out of 8 weeks, and discusses eight ways to eating healthy.  You can create an individual account or start a group account with co-workers, community members or your family and friends.      

Friday, January 27, 2012

Carving My Own Stamp Blocks

My personal challenge for the month was to make some stamps from scratch.  I first wrote about my plan at the beginning of the month:

But what happened?

I had a lot of fun!  I started out with some easy shapes, to discover how it all  worked.  And I made a circle and heart.  See all of the lines near the bottom of the heart, that I didn't carve away?  Oh dear!  But then, I like how the stamped image looks and decided to keep it that way.

For making stamps, you have to invest in a carving tool of some sort.   I bought a hand chisel from Speedball, that came with various tips.  You can use stamp pads to get different colors onto your blocks.  Or color the blocks themselves, with acrylics or watercolors, like my little car below.  When you use watercolors though, you have to act fast or the color will dry.

Making my own stamps have become a regular part of my AlphabeThursday.    
This little car fit in nicely for my Letter J: Journey.  

And last week, I carved an Ice Cream Cone

So, I feel this challenge worked out great; 
I had fun, learned a new technique, and   
found something I can use in my journals.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AlphabeThursday - J is for Journey

I practiced my carving skills earlier in the week, making little cars for my AlphabeThursday post (these posts will one day be put together in an  alphabet book for children).  Journey might be a difficult word for young children to spell, but I'm sure they understand what it means.  Most  have been in a car and taken a journey to see a relative.  Or have gone on a  vacation.  

I wonder where these two cars are going...
Come on a journey with me and visit one of my favorite blogs, ...off on a tangent...    

The AlphabeThursday link list  will take you to many other blogs, where you can learn about different places and people, all beginning with the Letter J.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Art Journaling - Faces

I must admit, I've never known how to draw a face.  And that's something I'd like to learn.  I spoke about this to my online art journaling teacher, in our last class together.  So I was really thrilled during the second week of our current class, when Moira shown us some steps to follow, and asked us to practice drawing faces.

Here's some of my faces I drew:

They are both very scary, to tell the truth, but I think with time, I might learn how to proportion the face and get the shadows correct.  A lot of people who don't draw portraits professionally have fun with people's faces.  Moira said she tries to draw a face everyday, to practice.  And showed us a bunch she did.  This is my favorite:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Treasuries on Etsy

There are two treasuries on Etsy that I am part of this past week.  For people who are not familiar with Etsy and treasuries, this is their explanation:
"A treasury is an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery comprised of lists of items. Lists contain 16 items. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme or whatever they like. Any Etsy member can create a Treasury list, and there is no limit to the number of lists you can create."
Valentine Gifts by Pasin
The first treasury I'm in is called Valentine Gifts, curated by Pasin, from Istanbul.  I am always honored to have something from my shop in a  treasury curated by someone I don't know.  Pasin is a member of the Top Treasury Team; maybe the art journal she chose for her treasury will end up on the front page!  

When I went to her shop, I found this gorgeous looking shrug.  Just in time to wear to a Valentine's Day party or out on the town.  Pasin knitted this with acrylic yarn, then added lace and a flower.  So elegant and feminine.

Got the Blues by MysticWynd
Karen (mysticwynd), a member of the BBArtisans team, put together a treasury last week with gifts that say "I LOVE YOU"; this week she chose as her theme the color blue.  I'm not much of a window shopper but I love going into Etsy shops and looking around for treasuries!  I got lost amid all the beautiful jewelry in Karen's shop!  But finally came out with this jasper and pearl necklace.  It has a great mix of natural colors and reds, something that would look great with Pasin's red shrug!  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Link List - ribbon

art journal by Storybeader on Etsy
I've never been one to wear ribbons or lace - didn't have anything to do with them growing up.  Then just last year, I started using ribbons with my art journals.  You see, a journal will "grow" as you advance through the pages and the ribbons tied around the spine will keep the pages snug.  I also use them to tie the book closed.

The cost of ribbon spools are very reasonable - they're a great addition to any project.  I've had fun mixing and matching different spools of color together.  But how should I organize my growing collection?

Here's one way:  I found this nice looking storage rack at an Etsy shop called DeesNecklaceHolders.  Duane (shopowner) makes all kinds of stylish organizers.  He has two different sizes available for sale; the larger one (above) can hold over 70 spools!    

Another wonderful item I found on Etsy were stamped ribbons, in a beautiful shop called Nancy's Lavender Farm. I like the "hand frayed and hand distressed" look the best.   If you don't have neat handwriting yourself, this is the way to go!

After seeing Nancy's shop with dozens of hand stamped ribbons, I wondered if I could do it myself? I frequently use YouTube as my personal tutor, but found this interesting video on eHow by Fran Bricken. She shows you how to stamp both ribbon and fabric.

But what to do with all those left-over pieces of ribbon?  Why not create your own fabric labels and attach them to clothing or to the products you make.  Here's step by step instructions by narchi at instructables.  (I believe narchi also has an Etsy shop, with digital prints).

Do you buy ribbon?  What do you use it for?  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

AlphabeThursday - I is for Ice Cream Cone

I miss you as much as ice cream!

This week for our AlphabeThursday, we are writing about words that begin with the letter I.  The first thing that popped in my head was ice cream.  To make it more recognizable for my children's alphabet book, I thought a picture of an ice cream cone would work better.  

About a month ago, I purchased some Speedy Cut rubber blocks to make stamps.  And I thought it was a great opportunity to make some ice cream stamps.  The first one I made was an outline of the cone and ice cream (right), with everything else cut away.

That didn't come out very realistic, so I tried again.  And I added lines for the waffle cone, which worked well.  It's small, about 1½ inches in size.  I like the little saying too - it will work great for a greetings card.  I need to improve my circles or find some other method for displaying the stamped paper - like a really LARGE hole punch!  

Come and visit Ms. Jenny's blog 
and see what other words people chose.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Art journaling - January calendar, week 2

A classmate in my art journaling course asked if I would take a photo of my entire calendar.  Here it is, Satina.

Two weeks + completed.

I think I want to add more color in the coming weeks.  Next month, I'll use a larger sheet of watercolor paper, tape it in the journal (like this page) and fold it, so it fits inside the boundaries of the book.  

Do you have a calendar that you write on?

Monday, January 16, 2012

January BBArtisans's Giveaway

Random Creative's wrap bracelet/necklace

I'm in love with jewelry.  Just can't seem to get away from it.  It's not that I like wearing it so much, but I think it's the playing with colors and not having to draw a particular object is what appealed to me the most.

The intricacy of seed beads is something I rather look at than make!  Those little glass beads are so popular with the Native American jewelry on the Great Plains where I live.    Geometric patterns and objects made from hundreds of tiny units.  Beadweaving is A LOT of work - it's not so much the cost of the beads but the time and effort that the artist puts into her work.

This month we have a mix bracelet/necklace made by Rose of Random Creative for our team's giveaway.  That's the Blogging Business Artisans (BBA) team of Etsy.  Rose's shop is full of bracelets and other jewelry items and she is just starting to delve into the world of paper.  At least, for the Etsy world to see!

Enter to win her wrap over at the BBArtisan's blog.    There are three chances for each person!

January 19, 2012 at 11am central
Contest open worldwide

Want to know more about Rose?
Random Creative (Rose): Beaded and button bracelets, earrings, pendants, and necklaces as well as PDF Patterns

Shop: randomcreative.etsy.com
Blog: www.randomcreativeart.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/randomcreative28
Twitter: twitter.com/randomcreative

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BBArtisans Team Treasury - Winter and Love

The themes for this week's treasuries that I was in center around winter and love.  Even though Valentine's Day is a month off, that's what many craftspeople are thinking about this time of year.  Including me!  I've been working on rolling some red beads, like the ones above.  I'll be making some earrings for my shop - just can't get away from jewelry...

There are FIVE team members from the BBArtisans who thought of winter and love when they saw items in my shop.  Help me say thanks to each and every one of the curators, will you?  I've picked items from their shops, that say winter and love to me.  

"Skinamarinky Dinky Dink, Skinamarinky Doo" treasury.  
What does that mean?
Karen (mysticwynd) picked "gifts that say I love you" from the team's shops, and my art journal must have been sweet on her.  I looked in her shop's Bridal /Prom/Glam section  for a piece of jewelry which felt the same way to me, and I saw her Bridal Earrings and Necklace!  Isn't that the loveliest layout?

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas
Linda's (lindab142) treasury offers Valentine's Day Gift Ideas. Everything is all so bright and cherry.  Good picking, Linda!  She has a special Valentine's section in her shop; my favorite is the Heart and Key Red Swarovski Heart Necklace.  Great composition!  If you buy the matching earrings, you'll get a discount here!

Winter Morning Poem by SplendidLittleStars
I love the colors in Margaret's (SplendidLittleStars) treasury...so soft and peaceful, it reminds me of a snowy quiet morning.  Yes, I miss the snow - it's only cold winter winds in Oklahoma.    Margaret's shop is full of tied dyed silk, baby and children's clothing.  All dyed by her.  The snowman t-shirt is a favorite of mine.  And what a cute model she has!

Love, Romance, Flowers and Hearts by SherHastingsDesigns
Sheryl (SherHastingsDesigns) has a great eye for color.  She says, "From the softest shades to the vibrant reds.  These things represent love and romance in my mind."  She offers digital PDF patterns for crafters, and recently added a Valentine graphic and clipart set to her shop.  But I like her Blue Cat Weekly Planner the best!

Lavender Winter by Pruitt Creations
Let me wrap up this week's team treasury posts with Lavender Winter, curator by Linda Pruitt (Pruitt Creations).  She just put this together yesterday.  It's Blow-Me-Away Gorgeous!  Click through to Etsy and take a better look at it!  I've never been a big color purple fan, but there's something about how she combines the lavender and white that takes my breath away.  Like her beautiful lap quilt.   Thanks Linda for keying me in on this color combination!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Link List

Have you ever read a Link List before?  This is something I've seen on a teammates' blog, rose of randomcreative.  I've had so much fun reading them that I thought others would enjoy the same idea.  Hopefully, I'll be able to post a list every Saturday.  I love lists, so it should be something that comes natural.  I decided that posting a list dealing with books would be fitting for my first Link List, the booklover that I am.

Everyone who knows me, knows I'm in love with Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way.  I feel this book changed the direction of my artwork, from making journals to art journaling   Julia has a new website, with a blog and list of books, my favorite tab.  You can click on each book at her page, which brings up a description and various places where it's for sale.
Books by Julia Cameron

There are lots of places to buy books online.  My favorite is Amazon.  Every opportunity I have to purchase an Amazon gift card, I'll take it.  Sometimes I'll get an offer from other businesses or I'll just buy a card if I have some extra cash.  It makes it real easy to buy the next book for my book club or supplies for my artwork.   

Now if you don't feel like buying books, you can always trade them online, where there's a wide audience.  BookMooch is an easy and free site.  After you join, just type in what you're looking for and which books you want to give away.  Then wait to receive an email.  The site works on a point system.  The only problem I have with BookMooch is mailing overseas, which gets expensive.  So I stop that;  you can stipulate if you are willing to ship to all countries or just your own.

I'll end with one of my favorite places to visit online:  the Library of Congress.  Since I'm not in Washington, DC this is the next best way to visit the nation's library!  I come here to do cataloging for the research library at work.  But there are also museum exhibitions and lots of digital collections where you can browse by either topic and format.  You can by photographs from these collections - handy when I'm looking for the perfect image to fill a spot in an exhibit.  Here's one of their current exhibitions: Earth As Art 3: A Landsat Perspective  (click on the "Exhibit items" tab to see more photos)

Siberian Ribbons

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AlphabeThursday - H is for House

Home is where the heart is.

After I drew my house I just had to add those words to my art journaling page.  I'm not real happy with the blue acrylic sky, but I had to put the paint on heavy, to cover up some things I didn't like.  The great thing about art journaling is that it's all for you, the artist, so you can make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.  Goodness knows, I do that all the time!

House is a perfect word for a children's alphabet book.  And for my AlphabeThursday blog post.  I wonder how many other bloggers used Home or House for their alphabet word this week...  You can check out all the entries for the Letter H on Ms. Jenny's blog series HERE.     

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Art Journaling - January calendar, week one

 I've been having so much fun with my new calendar.  My art journaling instructor (Moira) showed us her new calendar grid and gave everyone a regular calendar with a one word prompt last week.  I had mistakenly thought she wanted us to make a grid calendar and write one word that expressed our day.  So I tried it out but got too wordy for myself.  I guess I had this idea swimming around in my head, because it wasn't anything like Moira told us.  Guess I was daydreaming in class...

Here's a photo with one week finished.  Can't wait to see how the whole month will look on one page!  I've been writing the date and a word or two, then mainly watercoloring the background of the box.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

BBArtisans team treasuries

It's the beginning of a new year, and the BBArtisans are going full steam, curating new treasuries.  I was pleased to be in 5 treasuries that my team members put together.  Check out the treasuries below and see which item I thought would best match from the curator's shop.

Kathy, from tapestry316, curated her treasury on January 1st, in "Celebration of a Happy New Handmade Year."  I love all the bright colors in it; it reminds me of confetti!  Her shop usually has more muted colors, with lots of watercolors of her horses.  I was taken by one ACEO ornament she made, which expresses her fun with color.  Get it before it leaves her holiday shop!

"You and me together" was curated by Janet from HoneyFromTheBee.  Janet has lots of pairs of earrings in her shop.  One of my favorites are the orange lampwork earrings called "Desert Symbols."

Next up is another treasury celebrating the new year, "Three Cheers to a Successful 2012 by Nancy from nfall2rt.  There are a mix of different shops here, and all the items have calming colors.  Nancy uses both bright and muted colors in her artwork; I love the coin purses and picked one that fits perfectly with this treasury.  Even the background colors in her photograph went nicely with some of the photos she picked.

Even though it's just the beginning of January, Rose of randomcreative is reminding us "It's not to early to start your Valentine's Day shopping and craft making!"  She's so right.  And her "Sweet and Whimsical for Valentine's Day" treasury have some really great gifts.  Rose has lots of bright bracelets for the holidays - and here's one with hearts in it.

Sharla from BeadedTail is showing the Etsy community how our BBArtistans team brightens up a winter's day, with her treasury "Hearts, Frogs and a Cat OH MY!"   She has a lot of bright and cheery kitty earrings in her shop.  And I found this festive pair.   

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January's BBA Challenge: try something new!

I don't know about you, but I'm always finding new art techniques that I see on other websites.  Or in books, or classes.  Many of them I save on my Pinterest page, so I won't lose the instructions!  But I never seem to have enough time to try everything out!  I know that if I schedule time to try them, I'm more likely to do them.  And that's where the BBArtisans' January Challenge fits in perfectly with my plans.  

It gives me permission... no, it requires me, to set aside time and work on a new project.  For the January 2012 Challenge, there are two required steps.  One will be writing a post, to show our progress and to gently nudge us along.  It would also be a good time to ask questions of other members and get help if you need it.  The second step will be to add our link to the Team Blog linky between the 26th and the end of the month.  So remember to come and visit the team blog, and see all of our challenges.

Left: Speedy-cut for making stamps and
Right: Daisy Yellow (Tammy) sewing fabric and paper on paper.
I've been thinking of two different techniques for the January Challenge - both will take me a month to work with and get comfortable using: sewing on paper and making my own stamps.  In November I bought some rubber blocks on Amazon called Speedball Speedy-cut.  I just haven't made time to sit down and try them out.  I don't even know how to talk about them!  So in January, I will try this out.  It's top priority!  I was hoping that if I feel comfortable enough with them, I can sell print blocks on Etsy, for others to use in their art journals or in other paper projects.  We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

AlphabeThursday - G is for Giraffe

Welcome everyone to a new year of AlphabeThursday.  You can read other posts from this series on Ms. Jenny's blog, "...off on my tangent" every Thursday.  And you can find all my previous AlphabeThursday posts on the tab by its namesake at the top of this page, on the far right.

I've decided to pick words for my AlphabeThursday posts that can be used in my future children's Alphabet Book.  This week we are on the letter G.  It was three weeks ago that I thought of a great word:  Giraffe.  They are such interesting looking creatures and not easily mistaken in appearance.  This giraffe with its baby is on the first spread in my art journal for 2012.  Happy New Year!
Hope you come back to this site every Thursday and see my future art journal pages.  Click HERE to find out what other words bloggers chose for the letter G.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year Resolutions, 2012

I wasn't planning to write down any New Year Resolutions for 2012.  Writing them down didn’t seem necessary since I already have my monthly goals.  But then my art journaling instructor (Moira Richardson) mentioned her resolution and encourage us to think about "an art resolution that will work for you and your art habits."  So I thought about it a little more and came up with one:
Write or draw in my art journal every day this year.
When I participated in The Artist's Way Workbook, written by Julia Cameron,  part of the contract we made with ourselves was to write in our journal first thing every morning.  Our “Morning Pages.”  And the book changed my life.  After finishing my twelve weeks, though, I got out of the habit of writing every single day.  So, I’m going to try once again.

Aside from art journaling, I’ve talked about increasing the number of products in my Etsy shop.  Many BBArtisans team members sell over 50 items in their shop!  I never thought of selling that much, but I guess it‘s not unusual.  So that’s something for me to work towards.

Increase the number of items 
for sale in my shop.   
Currently I have 27 products in my Etsy shop.  I'm going to try to double that amount this year.

Another goal I’ve had for a long time is to sew with paper.  So the last item on my Resolutions 2012 list is to try my hand at sewing.
Start to sew on paper.
Many artisans sew fabric to paper or paper to paper.  I think it’s real neat.  I've always had a love for textiles but have never sewn much.  Yes, I talked about it some last year but never got around to it.  Mainly because I couldn’t get my sewing machine to work.  Hopefully DH can get the machine to work.
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