Thursday, December 27, 2012

AlphabeThursday - F is for Flower

It always seems like when I try a new art product, I end up with a finished  piece I didn't expect.  Not to say that's a bad thing.  Just unexpected.  I bought some Adirondack Alcohol Inks a few weeks ago, and have been trying to figure out how to use them properly on glossy paper.

created by Barbara at Joggles
Here's a tutorial for alcohol inks that I found on Joggles; I really like what Barbara created.  The background for her hydrangea is called the "Agate Technique."  I tried the technique a few times, but was never satisfied with my results.  

While sitting with the alcohol inks in front of me, I decided to draw a flower onto my “drop paper” right from the ink bottle's tip.  It was very messy, needless to say.  I cut and pasted the flower into my journal, took some card stock and layered the petals.  Now only the outline of the leaves are still visibly alcohol ink.

Moral of the story:  don't give up if you don't like something you're doing.  Just change direction!

Let me say happy holidays to all my readers.  It’s another end of the year of AlphabeThursday fun.  Don't miss what others wrote about the Letter F!  And remember to come join us next year for more favorite alphabet words.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santa and Snow and Sweets!

Hoped you all are having a nice holiday break.  The only trouble we had was a power outage the day before Christmas.  My CPU (as the computer screen told me) needed servicing.  Luckily, DH took a vacuum to it and everything is fine.  Thought I had lost it there!

 It snowed Christmas morning.  More like a blizzard, with the snow and wind.  We just stayed inside and ate a delicious ham that DH cooked.

Santa came to my house!  My Secret Santa (Sharla) knew exactly what I wanted:  more art journaling supplies!

And DH got me an "classic" Schwinn exercise bicycle. He picked it up at the Salvation Army and “serviced” it.  It's so sweet - here's a view:

What's an even better gift is the possibility of DH going back to work.  We'll see in a couple of days.  I have to go back to work tomorrow.  It's been a nice vacation for me; five whole days.  

This coming weekend we're going up to Mom's to exchange presents and have a nice dinner.  I've been working on some presents, little accordion photo albums.  I think I might take some days off around New Year's too.  Hey, that's next week.  Happy New Years everyone!  We made it to 2013! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

BBArtisans Treasuries - Dec 16 - 22, 2012

It's getting to be the end of the month, and a time when a lot of BBArtisans are curating treasuries.  Come help me thank four of my teammates by visiting their treasuries and their shops on Etsy.

Linda's (lindab142) latest treasury, Superheroe Artisans, includes super items from the BBArtisans team.  She included my "Red and White on Black Japanese paper" earrings.  I enjoy looking at her Judaica jewelry - haven't seen many dreidel products for sale around my neighborhood.  Don't forget to look at the other side of this glass tile pendant!

Nancy's (N Fallon Design Studio) treasury, Celebrating the Season, gives us an array of blue and silver products.  She included my "Blue Handmade Doodle Book."   Nancy has closed her shop until the new year, but you can see her lovely knitted items at her blog.

LeAnn (Pasque Flower Creations) is celebrating the new year with her treasury New Year's Bling.  She included my "Red and pink paper and sterling beaded earrings."  I thought her Silk Zipper Clutch in Purple would be a great bag to carry to a party!

Jamie (Poppy Hill Creations) created a treasury with a great theme: Nature's Inspiration.  She included my "Repurposed wildlife animal sketchbooks" here.    I thought you couldn't be more inspired by her Fall Foliage Digital Clip Art!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

AlphabeThursday - E is for Evergreen

I take pleasure in using layout and design in everything I do, including the design of the home where we live.  Recently, DH came to me and asked which tree I wanted in the front yard, to replace the ones no longer there.  I like the idea of having green when you approached the house in winter, so I  chose an evergreen.

"What kind of evergreen, a pine or cedar?" was the response.

Well, I hadn't given any thought about that.  Just a Christmas tree type of evergreen!  So here is the lesson I received:

Pine trees have needles.  Some are long, some are short.  You can see through the tree because the needles are thin.  Now most cedars do not have broad leaves either, but lots of scale-like clusters.  I know this isn't the only way to identify these two types of trees but this is now my way of identifying evergreens. 

Another historic page for my art journal.   

Come and see what other students at Ms. Jenny's AlphabeThursday class picked for their Letter E.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

List It Tuesday - Holiday Faves

I don't have lots of holiday favorites.  
But there are some traditions that I hold dear.

1. lighting the menorah
My poor little menorah is all covered with wax, now that the eight nights of Chanukah are over.  DH found some colorful, striped candles - they were so pretty.  I'll have to look for them again next year!

2. watching the Nutcracker
My mom used to take my sister and me to Lincoln Center every year when we were kids, to watch the Nutcracker ballet.  It was beautiful.  I was always amazed how the tree grew bigger and bigger!  Now I see multiple ballets on the Ovation Channel!  I just love the traditional ones.

3. getting together with family
The family, at least those who are here in Oklahoma, get together around the holidays.  Every Sunday my mom cooks dinner for the family (meals have always been a special time for us).  It's a treat for me to sit around the dinner table with her and BB when I visit.  And of course we exchange presents for the holidays.

4. buying a Hallmark ornament
I've always wanted to collect Christmas ornaments but didn't have any reason to until I got married.  My DH isn't religious but he likes to decorate the house.  And I like to get one special ornament to mark each year.  We have a collection now!

List It Tuesday is brought to you by Aimee.  Check out the other lists at artsyville!

Monday, December 17, 2012

BBArtisans Challenge & 1000th Post!

photo by Themushroomcottage, her new shop TheMapleTeaHouse
Since it’s the end of the year, I thought it would be a good see what can be done to create a little more interest in my Etsy shop (that's the December Challenge for the BBArtisans team - review our shops).  One thing I haven't done is to keep up with all the new resources available to me as a seller.  I plan to take Etsy's advice and use their Seller Handbook, which I found on the Etsy Blog.  The table of contents is very thorough, and a good place to start.

my favorite closeup - green and white paper beads
I definitely need to take out all my older journals and reshoot them on a clear day.  I've noticed that some of my photographs are dark, and not very appealing!

Pumpkins in midnight journal
Removing/Adding products
Removing products?  Maybe it would be better to remove seasonal things, like my pumpkin journal.  I do have some new ideas involving my artwork -  I'll be adding them later, once I experiment a bit.  

Keywords and Sections
One thing I definitely need to consider is changing some of my keywords and section headings.  Again, there are two links in the Seller Handbook that look interesting.  They are: Descriptive Keyword list and Brainstorming Key Words

Product lines
I'm wondering (again) if I should open another shop, to go with the new line of products I have planned.  We've talked about this before, on the BBArtisans team thread.  The Storybeader name is getting farther away from what I started out making, back in 2008.  I've changed my banner already to cover a broader spectrum of products.  But I would just hate to loose all my circles and feedback, along with my store opening date!  Do you have two (or more) shops on Etsy?  Are they both active?

I forget when the shop statistics page was added to Etsy, but I like it a lot and it's a handy thing to have.  We can thank the Etsy management for that.  I need to go by my page once a week and write down some of my observations.  I've noticed that when I blog about my own Etsy products, I get more traffic to the shop.  Naturally, you say!  Need to do that more often...

Before I go, I'd like to mention my blog.  I'm proud to say that this is my 1000th post!  I created Stroll Through Storyland because I wanted people outside of Etsy to become familiar with my artwork.  Now the blogging has become a bigger part of my life than the shop!  Funny how things work...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

BBArtisans team - Splendid Little Stars

Margaret, at Splendid Little Stars, has a festive treasury this week called Christmas in turquoise, red, and lime green.   She included my turquoise paper beads - they're sitting on the top right.  Come by this site and help me give her thanks.

When I go into Margaret's shop, I'm usually looking at her scrunchies.  They're something that I use and see myself buying.  Did you know that she sells adult t-shirts as well as children's?  I just realized that myself!  There's not too much different in price, and that's a great deal!

As I was looking around this weekend to showcase a specific item, I noticed her adorable silk scarf.  I usually only wear woolen scarves in the winter - the colors of her hand dying are just fabulous!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

AlphabeThursday - D is for Dictionary

I've always been in love with my dictionary.   I actually have two; one on the desk by my home computer and one at work, in a drawer.  And that's where the one at work stays - in the drawer!  Since I write with word processing software, there's no need for a dictionary, or a thesaurus.  It's built-in.  

And when I'm reading in bed and need to look up a word, I now use my smartphone.  Let's say I'm out or on a trip and I get a chance to read.  I'll have my phone with me, so I'm covered!

So I took a big step.  I decided to start using my dictionary at home for art journaling.  Tear those pages out, one by one.  I wonder how long it would take to use up the whole dictionary?  Tearing up a book has always been a hard thing for me to do, being a lover or books.  But this book is slowly falling apart.  The pages are a great size - about 5" x 9".  And they look like an old photo; sepia tone!  Here's my first project using my dictionary pages.  

Come by Ms. Jenny's blog, on my tangent... and read other posts for the Letter D.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Fourth Night

Last night was the 4th night of Chanukah. 
 How do you like my crazy candles?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

List It Tuesday - Junk Drawer

1. Heavy duty hole punch
2. Awl
3. Bone folder
4. Thread conditioner
5. Irish linen thread
6. Speedball linoleum cutter
7. Brad setter
8. Needles
9. Paper clip
10. Document repair tape

I don't know if you would really call this a junk drawer.  There's a lot of pencils all over the bottom of my large box that I didn't draw.  And needles out of their cases.  So it looks a little cleaner in my drawing.  In this drawer I put all my small tools that I use for bookbinding.  The scissors aren't in there right now because I use them all the time.

My Speedball linoleum cutter I put in here, but it's not used for bookbinding.  Not really sure why I got the brad setter; probably used it once or twice.  Funny, all the handles seem to be red... except the wooden awl.   

Whenever I look in this drawer, I think about making books again.  I have a few in my Etsy shop, but actually there aren't many left...  Lately, I keep thinking about other projects.  More to come about that!

This week's List It Tuesday topic was suggested by NatashaMay: contents of your junk drawer.  Hear about other junk drawer at aimee's blog, artsyville.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

BBArtisans Team - JNOriginals

Judy (JNOriginals) always finds the greatest items for her treasuries; this one is called Beads, Baubles and Blooms.  When I realized my paper beads (top row) were in this treasury, I went over to see what it was all about.  There were sixteen pieces of jewelry, all by artists in Judy's Etsy "circle".  I spent a long time looking at all of their shops, thinking about the holiday shopping I needed to do...

Since this treasury was curator from Judy's JNOriginals shop, I went there to see what was "blooming".  She has many flower brooches and  fingerless gloves with flowers that matched the theme of this treasury.  I like her brooches with the pretty buttons in the middle.  The one I chose to feature is layered with purple, fuchsia and pink; favorite colors of many BBArtisans team members.

Judy's other shop (which I adore) is called MisterPenQuin.  She features paper-crafted gifts here.  I love her Post-It Note Mini Clipboards - lots of flowers there.  Very cute.  And she has one Inspiration book that I wanted to feature here:

It would make a great little gift...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Link List - Joggles

Last weekend, my mom introduced me to a new website that I thought you might be interested in.  It's called Joggles.  Ever heard of it?  Well, it's new to me.   It's advertised as "Everything for the textile, cloth doll & mixed media artist."  Do you fall into that category?

I'd thought I'd stick to this one website and link around inside it today.

There's a "Online Shopping" tab, that's broken down into more categories, including hot deals, magazines/books/DVD, chocolate & gifts, and much more.  One thing that caught my attention  were the tools and supplies, magazines on sale (including Somerset Studio), and  a paint/dye/ink category.

Doodling Designs with Susan Sorrell
You can go there to look for "Online Classes".  There are lots of different arts & crafts, including embroidery, doll making, watercolors, lace, beadwork, and fabric dying.  Lessons are scheduled and posted to a special class webpage where students can log in.  Most of the classes that are already started are marked "currently out of stock."  Some of the classes have kits you can purchase, to help you gather the supplies needed.  I would love to take the Doodling Designs class (started November 27) with Susan Sorrell that is still available...  Mom is taking a class with a friend, and making Oliver the Owl.   

Oliver the Owl with Christen Brown
If you don't want to take a class, you  can just visit some tutorials.  They discuss products and some have videos, which are always fun to watch.  Below the video box of the tutorial, there is a list of products.  Very handy.   Here's an example of one of the videos, called 7gypsiesphototray

Whatever you decide to do, let your imagine loose and have fun!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

AlphabeThursday - C is for Challenge

BBArtisans Team Challenge - New Techniques
The word challenge, before a few years ago, had a negative connotation to me.  If you were challenged, someone didn't like what you were doing or saying.  But now when I think of challenges, they are always in tandem with another descriptive word: art.

Art Challenges are used for experimenting or testing techniques, which I think is a neat way of growing and learning.  They are usually set to a specific timetable and might include only one medium, like photography or poetry, or be open to all forms of art.

The Etsy BBArtisans team has a monthly Challenge.  I love the opportunity of experiment every month.  This past September, we were challenged to use a new medium or technique.  I had this simple accordion book (above) on the "back burning" for a long time.  And the challenge was a perfect time for me to sit down and try it out for myself.  

September Sketchbook Challenge - patterns
I enjoy participating in multiple challenges as much as possible.  The artists over at the  Sketchbook Challenge are more advanced in mixed media than myself, but I had an idea for their September (again) Challenge.     

I've learned a lot of different art journaling techniques at the Art Journaling Ning's challenges.  They haven't been active since the hurricane hit, but I'm hoping they will start up again soon.  Here are two:

July Art Journaling Challenge - Control
The material/technique challenge was to mix acrylic paint and white glue.  It was messy and a lot of fun.

Art Journaling Ning Challenge - new impressionism
This challenge's technique was to mix impressionism with pointillism (short strokes) using pastel colors.  Well, I've never done any of this before.  And I was scared to death to try.  But, when all was done, it DID look Impressionistic.  I surprised myself!

Don't forget to challenge yourself, like joining the AlphabeThursday class!  Here's a link to Ms. Jenny's blog, on my tangent... where you'll find other posts for the Letter C.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday - feral kitties

People must drop off cats in the park where I work (Museum of the Great Plains).   
We have another feral momma cat with kittens (we always feed them).  
Here are two of the new kittens hanging around the patio.  Cute, eh?   

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