Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Short Term Goals for July


Time to choose some new short term goals.  Which means I also need to look back to see what I accomplished this month (I used my Letter G in AlphabeThursday for my Short Term Goals post!)  

In July I completed my newsletter research and created my first newsletter.  Yay!  If you're not a subscriber, please come and join me in August for Newsletter #2.  I plan to supplement my blog with info and tips.  Other goals from this month?  I didn't make any notecards that I'd willing to sell.  And I didn't walk in the park everyday, but I am walking more.  

This month, my goals are very different from each other:

1)  Go for a walk
I need to keep exercising.  Which means get out and walk at least 3 times a week.  On the weekend, I can get DH and Buster to come along.

2) Challenge myself
Last month, I completed a number of challenges, which helped me create new pages in my art journal.  That also made it possible for more blog posts.  Need to do that again!  I participated in the BBArtisans Team Challenge (interested in joining the team?), the Sketchbook Challenge, two Art Journaling Ning challenges and the prompt over at the Ideas of Inspiration blog.

3) Make some magnets
I bought materials for making magnets a few weeks ago, but never got around to putting them together.  Rose (Random Creative) has a nice HubPages post that talks about three different methods.  I decided if I was going to participate in any fall/winter craft shows, I needed to have to small items, like magnets!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BBArtisans Team Treasuries, July 22-28


It's the last Sunday of the month, which means more treasuries within the BBArtisans team.  This week there's three treasuries that I was in.  Let's look at them, plus a featured item from the curator's shop.


At the beginning of the week, LeAnn (Pasque Flower Creations) put together a fabulous blue treasury, called Rhapsody in Blue.  She included some of my Italian paper beads.  LeAnn had a few blue items in her shop; these oven mitts were my favorite.



The next day, Judy (JN Originals) picked the same blue Italian paper beads for her treasury, The Sunset Sky Shimmers.  I love that name!  Her treasury has all the colors of the rainbow in it.  I was looking for something in Judy's shop that had sunset colors all in one piece.  And I found it in one of her felted wool slip cases.



On Friday, Kathy (tapestry316) put together a perfect summery treasury, and called it Pass me a lemonade, please!  Kathy picked a bright yellow art journal of mine, which I thought fit so well here.  Summer reminds me of the beach and ocean, sort of where Mr. Random Dude is hanging out.  Isn't he adorable?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Link List - stamping with different materials

Pinterest is a great place to go when you're looking for ideas for a specific project.  I think stamping is great.  But I got to thinking, what other materials are out there that people use for stamping?

Here's a little look at different materials and techniques that I found by briefly looking on Pinterest.  Then I surfed a bit on the internet.  Some are very simple and would be easy to do with kids.  Others might be better suited for adults.


Stamping with pool noodles
This is a great way to stamp on paper with kids, using a pool noodle.  

Stamping with pencil erasers
Usually when I stamp on paper, I'll buy or carve my own stamps.  But here's a real simple technique that Carloe used with a pencil eraser.  Didn't it come out pretty!?

Stamping with vegetables
I remember in grade school, we used potatoes to stamp on paper.  Do you remember that?  Here's a post from Crafting with Kids.

But have you every used an okra?

Stamping with Nail Polish
I've seen some ladies walking around with crazy-designed nails, and thought the whole nail was placed on top.  But Helen has actually stamped right onto her nails.   She can show you how to do it with just a few products, in a quick video!

Stamping with buttons and Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart has a great idea on her website: stamping using buttons.  I know there are some of you out there that would love this!

Stamping with Gelatos
Let me end with this cool site by Donna Downey, who has lots of scrapbook and journaling tips.  Here she used gelatos for stamping.  I've never heard of gelatos before; well, except for the Italian ice cream.  These are creamy watercolor sticks, like chapstick, from FaberCastell.  I found some at JoAnn's.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

AlphabeThursday - J is for Journal


Before I left for Italy, I planned to write and paint my way through our trip.  Using my S Memo on my smartphone, I was able to write in the evening about our activities during the day.  And I brought with me the little bitty journal my mom had given me as a present.  I started to paint or draw every day, but didn't quite keep up.  Here are some of my drawings that most people haven't seen:

"We started off on American Airlines but the plane was cancelled and we flew on United instead."
I had completely forgotten about the ordeal with the airlines that we went through, until I looked back on these journal pages.  Not a very good start to a vacation!  Here's a photo of the Alps that I took with my camera, out the plane window.  I really enjoy our flight on the Italian airlines, Alitalia.


Here's a quick sketch and the actually photo of the monastery and graveyard that we saw, down in the valley from Cortona.  I was just amazed at the place, but we never went down there to visit.  We spent the whole day in Cortona - it was just great!


He's another sketch and photo, this time in Bolzano.  I thought when I took the photo you could see the whole bridge, with all the locks up and down the metal rungs.  I guess I didn't.  But it wasn't hard to forget and I was able to draw it in my journal (I added the watercolors later).

Here's a larger sketch of the bridge in Bolzano I did in my art journal.  Unfortunately, I was still away when the Letter B was scheduled.  But you can find it here, in a post I called "Why I Loved Bolzano".  Hopefully, there will be enough cities and subjects to get me through the alphabet.  

This post is linked to my teacher and host, Jenny Matlock, over at AlphabeThursday.  Join our "class" over at Jenny's blog, ... off on my tangent... and see what everyone else is up to!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BBArtisans Challenge - Summer Lovin'


This month's BBArtisans Challenge is brought to us by Jenny (Bird in the Hand Art).  She's calling it Summer Lovin' and said it could be anything summer-related, love-related, and/or GREASE (the movie) related.  What?!


I've been putting together a lot of challenges this month, and summer has been a common theme.  So I decided to think about something other than vacations and the sun, and practice drawing faces with my watercolor pencils.   This little lady I named Latoya, and she became the center of my love-related page.


I added some of my new letter stamps and an older heart stamp that I made a few months ago.  Just playing around...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Reading - Detective and Mystery Fiction

I don’t think I’ve ever read a detective book in my life.  Not even Nancy Drew! Our book club decided to learn more about mysteries in June, and we read Talking About Detective Fiction, by P.D. James.  Most in the group don't read too much mystery, so we wanted to familiarize ourselves with the genre.

P.D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James included one chapter about four women authors who we might choose from at a later time (our group reads books by or about women).  They were Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh.  I believe the first three are British and Marsh is from New Zealand.

I suggested that we invite a mutual friend, Eve (pen name, JoAnna Carl), who is a professional mystery writer.  We had a lively discussion about the differences between detective and mystery fiction.  Eve talked about the importance of character and the setting of the story.  She surprised us all by bringing many books from her private library and giving us the chance to borrow some of her favorites.

The book I borrow was in bad condition, with some of the pages about to fall out of the first signature.  So I put some lace around the paperback and went to the library to borrow the same title, only a hardbound copy!  The book I chose was written by Agatha Christie and called The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.   It was written in 1926 and was one of her earliest novels (she began publishing in 1920 with a book called The Mysterious Affair at Styles).  The detective in my story was the famous Hercule Poirot, who has appeared in 33 of Christie's novels and 54 short stories.  I didn’t know that Poirot was Christie’s famous detective (though I was familiar with the name) when I began reading, and thought the doctor in the story was actually an amateur detective.  Was I wrong!

I finished reading the book last week.  And it was so much fun!  Very unlike the other books I usually read...that is to say non-fiction!  I’ve always enjoyed detective movies and television shows (one of my favorite is Monk), but I’ve never gotten into reading detective books.  


Someone in the group recommended reading Agatha Christie’s autobiography, called Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir.  I'm going to try and get it out the library.  Looks like it would be interested reading.  







Our book club all agreed to skip the summer months, so I started one of Eve's books that she gave me - The Chocolate Pirate Plot  (from her chocolate mystery series).  In September, we will all get together and meet again.  Title: A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz.  A man!  It was published this year but is already in paperback .


This post is linked with my friends over at  Inspire Me Monday.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Art Journaling challenge - I Spy



The second Art Journaling Ning Challenge! in July (15th-28th) is also brought to us by Eveline Timeless, and called "I Spy".  With this technique we are to place a bunch of paint randomly on the page, and try to "spot something hidden in the background paint" (see more of the directions here).  This is very difficult for me because I usually work the other way around: having a topic in mind and then paint it.  Oh dear....


So I got out some acrylic paints (colors I wouldn't ordinarily use together) and smeared them on a two-page spread.  Do you see anything?  Maybe I had "Christmas in July" (the Etsy sale) on my mind, but I saw a reindeer, or some kind of four-legged creature, when I turned my journal sideways.  See it now?


And I thought the little guy needed company, so I gave him some stars.  Oh, and Otzi (the Iceman) is hiding in the lowerleft corner!  I told him he was not allowed to shoot my reindeer with his bow and arrows!  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Link List - Linky Parties

Are you looking for some link parties to attend?


Two weeks ago I talked about AlphabeThursday, my favorite weekly link party.  You will not add a photo with this Linky Tools, just post titles and/or names, but there's always a nice message from our teacher, Miss Jenny, and a letter from the alphabet to write about.  And you'll receive lots of visits from other bloggers.  The only rule: you have to be willing to visit at least 10 other "students" on the list.


Scavenger Hunt Sunday is a photography link party.  There are three rules: take five new photos following the themes given every week, link up at the site Sunday - Tuesday, and leave at least five comments around yours on the list.  Easy and fun, especially for those who love photography!


Create with Joy has three different blog hops going on during the week: Inspire Me Monday is “A place to share your creative inspirations, Sharpen your creative vision and Showcase your creative talents!”  On Wednesday, there is a Wordless Wednesday (photo of the week) and Friday you can share your thoughts with friends at Friendship Friday.  I like the idea of Inspire Me Monday; and I usually write about some artistic project I’m working on at the beginning of the week, so it's a great fit for me! 



No Ordinary Blog Hop is just that!  It is a month-long post with 8 wide-ranging categories and one "category of the month" to choose to write about.  You have to submit at least one post during the month, but can add as many additional links as you’d like.  It's expected that you visit the 11 hosts each month listed at the top of the host's post, and they will follow  you back!  And you need to add the NOBH button to your sidebar or in your post.  At the end of each month everyone votes for the Star Blogger Award.  Nice twist! 



There are actually quite a few crafting link parties out there - they’re not hard to find.  There are large photos in the lists (including food!), perfect if you have good photos of your projects.  And it's also a nice place to find some new craft ideas.  Two parties that I saw which I liked were Craft-O-Maniac's Monday Link Party and The Creative Spark Link Party at Clean & Scentsible.  



Just in case you make your own handmade products, think about marketing your items twice a month by joining the Shop Hop that's going on at Pixel Berry Pie Designs.   Etsy, Artfire, eBay, Zibbet and The Craft Star shop products are welcome!  One artist also get showcased on the blog - it might be you!

Do you have a favorite linky party?  Tell us about it and the url in the comments!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

AlphabeThursday - I is for Iceman

On our second week in Italy, we went to Bolzano for two days. The city is in northeastern Italy, very close to the Italian-Austrian border. It's very different from the rest of Italy: people's attitudes, the food, even the language! All the signs and even menus in Bolzano are written in two languages: Italian and German. That's probably because most of the residents are originally from Austria or Germany. Since it was a holiday weekend, a lot of businesses were closed. But luckily on Sunday the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology was open and we went to see Otzi, the Ice Man.

my iceman spread, midway
 Otzi was found in 1991 by two German tourists on the east ridge of the Otztal Alps, while they were walking off the path between two mountain passes.  People first thought he was a mountain climber, but after analyzing tissue samples from the corpse and his belongings, scientists realized he had lived between 3350 and 3100 BC.  Making him alive some 5,000 years ago!



I must have forgotten about Otzi, because he was in all the news. There are specials on television about him; one is called "Iceman Murder Mystery" on PBS's Nova. If you belong to Netflix, you can still watch it!


“The Iceman had already been buried in the glacier for 600 years when the Egyptian pharaoh Cheops ordered the construction of the pyramid that bears his name.  Stonehenge in England would not be built for several hundred years after his death.”

This post is linking with my friends at AlphabeThursday.  
Come visit us!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July Sketchbook Challenge - circles


I started this art journal page after I saw a great idea from my teacher, Moira Richardson.  She put different little metal gears on the page and then sprayed paint over them.  How neat.


So I went into my DH's stash of nuts and bolts.  I found some washers and such, laid them down in my journal, and used two colors of spray paint to develop my background.  I wasn't sure what to do next, so I got up and left it alone.  When I was reminded of the circles for this month's Sketchbook Challenge, I had a theme for my page.  

I cut out a bunch of circles with my hole cutter, added washi tape, stencils and some sheet music.  And I was set.  Love the blue and brown together...  


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

BBArtisans Team Treasuries - July 8-14


We all know how clever Sharla is.  And her treasury is proof perfect of it!

While I was looking at her treasury (before reading the curator's comment) I was wondering what Sarah's crochet chocolate chip cookies (upper left) had to do with the other items picked for the group.  Should have know better.  

"Chocolate chip cookies go with everything! 
Hope you enjoy my picks!"
- Beaded Tail

Sharla picked one of my art journals for this treasury, and I picked her beautiful Lilac Crystal Tennis Bracelet.  You can see how much she likes purple - it's even in her shop banner!  


I also made a treasury this week.  It's called Summer Dreams.  I was thinking about the hot weather and the grass growing so high, with all the rain we've been getting in Oklahoma.  It's all very strange!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Link List - handmade artists networking


For those that enjoy creating art, having a network helps in so many ways.    Most of you that visit my blog know that I am a member of Etsy, the online handmade marketplace.   But do you know the teams I belong to, and the ones that I admire?  

July Giveaway - Jewelry box from A Bird in the Hand Art
The one team that I'm most involved with is the Blogging Business Artisans (BBArtisans).  We believe in promoting our business through  blog posts and comments on other social media sites.  I know lots of artists have blogs; if you're one, consider joining Etsy and the BBArtisans - we are now accepting new members. 

I also belong to the First Friday Art Walk (AWE).  I just love the idea of art walks and joined this team two years ago (though I must admit I haven't been too active of late).  Every first Friday of the month, members of the team put together treasuries (gallery collections of items for sale) from each other's shops, and we all take a stroll.  


My favorite jewelry team to follow is the Etsy Beadweavers (EBW).  I love going over and visiting their blog when their challenge is up and running.  Isn't this jewelry just fantastic?!  Thank you, Rose (RandomCreations #12 in the challange), for telling me about the Beadweavers.  You have to appreciate all the hard work that's put into each piece.  Come by and vote for your favorite piece - good luck in picking just one!      

Winter book swap 2012
If you love books and art like me, check out the BEST team (Bookbinding Etsy Street Team).  One of the requirements for this team is that at least 50% of your products be handbound books or book art objects.  These are serious bookmakers!  I've been wanting to make some more journals of late and their blog is the perfect place to go to be inspired.  


Another favorite team I follow but haven't joined is called EcoEtsy.  Their blog, Team EcoEtsy, is dedicated to "reducing, reusing, and recycling".  I love the sound of that!  They have business and eco tips on their blog for handmade artists, posts about healthy eating and gardens, and motivational articles with eco-inspirations.   There are over 300 members and every day a new post appears - a very busy blog.  I "liked" their Facebook page (along with 2,832 people!)  

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