Friday, August 31, 2012

Make a calendar for September

Don't forget to print your calendars, available on my newsletter .  I'd love to see what everyone does for the month of September.  Download the calendar design by just right clicking and saving the file to your computer.  I used the same design here (below), and this is the result of my calendar.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

AlphabeThursday - O is for Olive

olive trees (left) and vineyard (right) on our drive northeast into the Dolemites

When we went to Italy in May, I saw olive trees and grapevines everywhere.  Along the side of the road and in every yard.  I kid you not!  It was absolutely amazing.  I had forgotten how popular olives were in the Mediterranean Basin.  Fresh olives were sold in bags at the grocery store.  They were delicious - way better than canned.  And we ate them at every meal (also wine!)

olive tray from Siena
During half of our trip, we took day trips to neighboring cities from our homebase, on the border of Tuscany and Umbria.  I bought this little olive tray when we went in Siena.  It was neat to see all the artists, handpainting pottery when we were there.  In more than one shop.  I should have bought a larger tray, since I love to eat olives... 

terraced olive trees
Here is a view of our modern villa, where we stay for about five days.  Note the olive trees on the slope, in front of the house.    

overlooking the valley from Cortona
You might have seen this photo before; it's a view from Cortona, one of my favorite cities, overlooking the valley. Those are olive trees in the foreground on the right and an olive orchard behind the monastery.  


Hope you enjoyed another AlphabeThursday tour through Italy.  You can visit other blogs and see what Letter O word they chose, at the link party on Ms. Jenny's blog, ...off on my tangent...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

almost wordless wednesday - table decoration

This tall vase with paper roses were a table decoration from a wedding.  Aren't they beautiful?  I couldn't tell or not whether they were real, when I first saw them in my mother's house.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Link List - Enjoying Mixed Media

Paper and sterling silver bead earrings
Have you started your artistic endeavors with one medium, only to switch to another?  It's not uncommon.  I call it growth.  Paper is usually a second medium that we all use, whether we started out with it first, or moved to it after trying something else, like me.  What about combining your mediums together and use up some materials, in a mixed media project?



If you're ready to use some of your scraps of fabrics, then you'll love Bona's blog called Keep On Scrappin.  Back in 2010, she participated in a blog swap and received a bunch of decorated tags.  Here's a video made by Bona, showing how she added these tags to her beautiful Fabric Journal.  You can use her idea of a themed fabric journal or make your own.  I know I just have to do this!  But first I need to get more scraps... 


Cloth Paper Scissors is one of the Stampington Company magazines that I haven't bought yet.  If you enjoy fabrics and paper, you'll enjoy it.  Here's the cover of the July/August 2012 issue.  Stampington also publishes Art Journaling, my favorite.  And Artful Blogging, which first came out exactly two years ago.  I'm sure it's something a bunch of us here would love to pass around.  Stampington is an expensive series of journals, but next time you go to the book store (or are surfing on the internet), you should try and buy (or order) just one.  You won't be disappointed.   



If you like making jewelry, then you've heard of Fire Mountain Gems.  I know I've bought loads of beads from them, before and during my bead buying sprees on Etsy.  But have you taken full advantage of their website?  I went over there this week and found an article on "The Art of Mixed Media Jewelry" written my Jamie Smedley.  Aside from this beautiful "Momentos of Life" necklace designed by Louise McClure, they also recommend polymer clay and art clay to use.

picture frames by Laura Winzeler
I was thinking about other types of material people have in their workrooms.  Glass came to mind.  There are lots of things you can create with glass: jewelry, stained glass, fused glass.  If you have some extra broken (or soon to be broken) pieces around the house, you can mix it with beads, buttons, metal, almost anything, and make a personalized picture frame.  Take a close look at some in Laura Winzeler's etsy shop and you'll see what I mean. What a fun way to use up extra "stuff"!  



Thursday, August 23, 2012

AlphabeThursday - N is for Nowhere Man, aka Jeremy Hilary Boob


It didn't take me long to start thinking about the Nowhere Man for this week's AlphabeThursday Letter N post.  You know who I'm talking about: Jeremy Hilary Boob, Ph.D.  With "so little time, so much to know."  That sounds familiar, right?

He appears in one of my favorite movies, Yellow Submarine, and fixes the Beatles broken down submarine motor.  Here's the scene from the movie, where the Beatles first meet the Nowhere Man; then break out in song!



I thought I'd put the Nowhere Man somewhere in my art journal, to remember him.



And let me remind you readers!  Come write with us or visit other who love to write, over at Miss Jenny's blog called "...off on my tangent."  She has two "McLinkey" opportunities for all writers; my super favorite link party called "AlphabeThursday" and "Saturday Centus" where your writing is challenged.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BBArtisans Team Challenge - Starry School Night


People were asking to see how my Murano glass pen worked with my inks, after I wrote about them in my AlphabeThursday post last week.  In the past, I enjoyed writing with India Ink and a quill pen, but didn't draw too much with ink.

Once Upon A Time
This weekend I started a pen and ink page with some stars and a farmhouse scene, but wasn't all that happy with it.  So I decided to "refurbish" the red farmhouse and put a schoolhouse in its place.  Now I'm entering it into the BBArtisans Team Challenge, Back to School, hosted by Erika (Artful Rising).    

That's the great thing about mixed media.  You can change your mind and redo just about anything.  The more layers the better!  At least, in my humble opinion.  This page began as "Once Upon a Time" and ended up as "Starry Schoolnight".    

Starry School Night
What I did: glued a cute little schoolhouse in place, along with some other papers I found in my stash of goodies.  I usually don't cut into my art journal itself, but felt this page needed some attention to the reds, so I got out my scissors and cut some of the paper away.  And here's my end result; a dreamy mixture of reds and yellows; pen and ink on paper.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

BBArtisans Team Treasuries, August 12-18, 2012

I was surprised to see myself in three BBArtisans team treasuries this week.  At least three is a lot for me!  I want to thank those curators here and feature something from their shop in return.  An item that I would choose, if I had the chance to pick something for that treasury!


Sharla (Beaded Tail) is still in summer mode, big time.  The Pacific Northwest got the heat wave the Midwest was simmering under this past week.  For her treasury, called  "Summer Sun, Birds, Cats and a Bear - OH MY!", she picked one of my hot looking art journals.  And I found some bright cute kitty cat earrings.  Darlings!


On Friday Linda (Pruitt Creations) curated a lovely treasury called "I See the Sea Everywhere..."  Right up my alley!  Or should a say channel (tee hee)!  Linda picked a watercolor doodle book of mine to add to her beautiful treasury.  I'm so flattered!  I featured her collage gift tags here because they remind me of the waves in the sea (they're on Clearance too!)


Yesterday, Sarah (Magnolia Surprise) curator a treasury called "Black and White and Red All Over!"  It surprised me because I had a similar treasury at the beginning of the year, with the same colors - if you can call black and white colors.  Anyway, she included a set of (46) paper beads that I made.  And I chose her red and pink card holder - it would look perfect in this treasury!  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Link List - Creations with Felted Wool


Last Saturday, I used one item from my Eyecatching Pinterest board that was made of felt.  It was so beautiful and  got me thinking, what is this felting all about?  So I did a little surfing on the internet and this is what I found.  


  • there's different kinds of felting, but the process is always the same: matting and condensing woolen fibers.  
  • the final result is usually soft enough for slippers and sturdy enough for bags.  
  • wet felting is when you stimulate the material by friction and moisture
  • needle felting is sculpting wool fibers to make 2 or 3 dimensional works.

There's a wide variety of felted pieces I found on Etsy, my favorite place to look for handmade artwork.  Some of what you'll find below are finished products; others are tutorials that you might want to try.

Judy (JNOriginals) is a member of the BBArtisans team that I belong to.  I've always been intrigued by her felted bowls, and it was probably her work that got me questioning the process in the first place.

Annie and Lyn (rosiepinkStudio) are a mother and daughter team from the United Kingdom, who sell a step by step visual tutorial using a wet felting process.  With their instructions you can sew with a machine, use hand embroidery, "or no embroidery at all if you prefer to just let the felt speak for itself."  This is absolutely beautiful!

Lizet (lizetfrigters) creates OOAK wearable art with her felting.  She uses natural materials and dyes.  This tribal poncho is made from organic merino wool that is dyed, with added recycled fabrics.   

Tomas (WeCreateCuteStuff) has a shop in Lithuania.  This unique felted wall hanging is made by one of his shop artists, Algimanta, who has over 30 years of experience making artwork from various natural materials.  The hanging can be sold with or without its wooden frame.

Learn how to make felted cording with Helen (StudioShu).  She has a 20-page tutorial, complete with 43 photos.  She writes, "Making felt cord is easy. All you need is a some wool, warm water, a bit of soap and your hands."    I'd love to do this - sounds just about my speed too!

Natalia (NatalyRykova) made this exquisite ostrich leather bag with a felted art landscape on one side.  The picture she created is made with "wool of merino".   

If you need some wool that's already been felted, quiltingacres sells all sorts of colors and quantities.  Isn't this a great assortment of orange hand dyed felted wool?  I love fabric!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

AlphabeThursday - M is for Murano glass

from Etsy shop, shamarjewels

Murano glass is a well known product made in Venice.  There are lots of different items  made with Murano glass; I've always thought of beads, being a jewelry artist in my past life.  So I was real excited walking into bead stores when I visited Venice, on my trip to Italy.

If you are a bead buyer and have ever been in a bead store with a non-bead buyer, you know my dilemma.  I was enthralled with all the beautiful glass that I’ve heard about for so long.  But since the others were only halfway interested in looking, I gave everything a quick once-over and probably missed a lot.


I ended up buying two non-Murano beads that caught my eye.  Still haven’t made anything with them yet!  

I wanted to go to the island of Murano, a short boat ride off the shores of Venice.  It was exciting to think of actually going to the factories where they made this famous glasswork.   The prices weren’t suppose to be much different from Venice itself, but there were glassblowing demonstrations.  I was told there was a greater variety of glass for sale on the island and there’s a Glass Museum to visit. But alas, everyone thought it would take too much time.  


When we were in Florence, I did buy a Murano glass pen set with two bottles of ink.  And later, I bought a bottle of yellow ink.  So I am satisfied that I got something from the Murano Glass Factory.  


Sunday, August 12, 2012

BBArtisans Team Treasuries, August 5-11



This month, the BBArtisans' challenge is "Back to School".   So what better theme for a treasury!  LeAnn chose one of my art journals to include in it, a good place to write and draw.  At my museum, we sell in our gift shop sunbonnets just like this one that LeAnn made.  Many young girls get their parents to buy them these when they come for a day in the one-room schoolhouse.   And they look so cute.


Ahhhhh! Summer fun!
Kathy's (tapestry316) treasury reminds us it's still summer with Ahhhhh!  Summer fun.  She put another one of my art journals here, to remind people of the pleasures of art journaling.  My product pick from Kathy's (tapestry316) shop was too large to fit in one picture, so I separated it from the collage.  Isn't this a great idea: three ACEO originals placed together to make a panorama.  What a cute idea!

original ACEO ooak set of three sunset

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday link list - eyecatching

I have a Pinterest account and enjoy going by to see what people are making and finding online.  One of my catch-all boards is called Eyecatching.   Since I love to gather beautiful pieces of art, I expect others enjoy collecting them too. The following links are all from Etsy sites.  Enjoy!
Painted Glass Bottle from RandamArt
Miranda's (RandamArt) bottle decorating is more than just painting on glass.  She's taken other materials and added them in ornamental patterns.  This bottle can be used as a window display piece, as an oil reed diffuser or an oil lamp. Cute shape!

Custom Copper Bracelets by OrangeistheSun
I've first seen these wrapped thread bracelets worn by tribal women in Africa, and think they're just beautiful.  Jennifer (OrangeistheSun) sells them as custom pieces in her shop.  The buyer chooses what color and kind of button they want. I think I might just have to try and make one myself!

Yarn Bowl by NewMoonStudio
This yarn bowl would be a great gift for the knitter you know.  Or for yourself.  Hilal (NewMoonStudio) is a ceramics artist and uses stoneware clay and glaze for these bowls.

Fish Art - School of Fish by Jessica Doyle
I've been following Jessica's (Jessica Doyle) watercolors for years now.  She is one of my favorite artists on Etsy.  Her original artwork is out of my price range, but there are also wonderful prints available.  

Decorated Ribbon by Nancy's Lavender Farm
When I was looking for ways of decorating ribbon, I ran across Nancy's (Nancy's Lavender Farm) shop.  She has lots of different pieces available, or you can glance through her shop for inspiration.

Felted Scarf by Now & ZEN
I love fabrics and have realized that there are so many different ways of using felt.  Here is Nownzen's (Now & ZEN) shop with instructions on making beautiful scarves with felt.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

AlphabeThursday - L is for Love Locks

photo by the storybeader in Bolzano

When I was in Bolzano, Italy, I was first introduced to love padlocks, something I've never heard of before.  But after showing my vacation photographs to a friend, I was told  this phenomenon is all over Europe.  So I decided to read up on it, and see what I could find.

The Bridge of Love
Love padlocking can be traced to a Serbia pedestrian bridge called Most Ljubaviin, now know as the Bridge of Love.  The story goes that a local schoolmistress fell in love with a Serbian officer during the war (this is World War I).  The officer went off to war and fell in love with another woman.  The schoolmistress died of a broken heart, and a superstition emerged among young girls.  Wanting to protect their own loves, they would  write down their lover's name and their own name on a padlock, and attach them to the railings of the bridge where the schoolmistress and officer first met.  Years later, a Serbian poet (Desanka Maksimovic) wrote a poem about this ritual of binding padlocks to the bridge railing, and it became popular again.  Now lovers throw their keys down into the river, never to be touched by another human, binding their love forever.   

Love padlocking became popular in Rome and spread throughout Europe in the early 2000s.  An Italian author by the name of Federico Moccia wrote a book called “I Want You”.  I looked for it on Amazon, but couldn't find it.  Here’s a video by sparklemachine from August 2011 about the love locks he saw in Paris, the city of love.




There are over 47,000 photographs of love padlocks on Flickr; here are just a few that were free to share under attribution/noncommercial/share alike conditions:

photo by Mahmood Al-Yousif in Cologne
On Cologne's Hohenzollern Bridge in Germany.  This bridge has over 40,000 locks.  So many in fact that authorities were worried whether the bridge could take the strain.

photo by Jonathan Colman in Finland
From a bridge in Finland.

photo by Kevin Cawley in Seattle
The tradition has even made its way across the ocean to the United States.  This photograph was taken on a Seattle bridge.

See what other posts my classmates have thought about at AlphabeThursday

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Lessons in Papermaking

Luckily I saw the Lawton - Ft. Sill Art Council calendar of events and was able to attend my first workshop.  I made some paper!


That was Friday.  Yesterday I went and picked it up.  If you remember about a year ago, I tried to make my own paper, from directions off an internet site.       

Here's a photo of the old paper and the paper I just completed. 
Two things I learned on Friday:
1) I need to blend less of the shredding paper/water mixture into my larger bin of water, and
2) I need to let the paper air dry for a few days, sitting on felt.  You can also use sheets or blankets.  I was having a hard time peeling my final product off of shop towels.   

old and new
Here's another photo of old and new paper.  The orange paper is the one I just made.  It's regular pulp with Rit dye added.  The interior is a scrap of white paper I made previously.  The green in the paper is from flowers and leaves I crumpled into it, from newly pruned trees!  I just squished the old sheet into the center of the new, when I first put it on the felt to dry.  Looks like a frame to me!

newspaper and potpourri mix
I didn't know you could buy pulp - well, I should have know that!  The whole idea for me with making paper is to recycle my mail and printer paper.  I tried Jordan's newspaper and water mix, with some sprinkled potpourri, when it was drying. It smelled delicious at the time but  lost all its sweetness by the time I picked it up.

pulp and onion mix
Isn’t this fun!?  I started adding things on top of my pulp.  One of my favorite ingredients were onion skins!  I would have never thought of that!  Thanks Claudia for the suggestion - I think it turned out great! 

What would you suggest to add to pulp?
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