Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mothers Day Gifts

Again I have started to slack off on doing art daily. Long term motivation seems to be what I need. Now that I have defined the problem, what is the solutions? I don't know. I am holding out that once I move and can be in a new place and set it up I will be more motivate. All in favor say "aye." Hahaha

For mothers day though I did create some gifts. I did tin sunflower collages. I took the idea I learned from Opie and Linda O'Brien and with a twist made it my own.


Wooden Plaque or piece of wood at least 3/4 inch thick

Tin (I used an old folgers coffee can and a cafe du monde coffee can that is not old.)

Heavy Rubber Mallet
Can Opener
Tin Snips
Permanent Marker (I used a sharpie)
Piece of Scrap Wood
Carpet Tape
Finishing Nails (I got mine at Home Depot for less than $1.)
Paint brush
Matte Medium
Sheets of Music
Glaze or paint mixed with a glazing medium. I used golden glaze in violet earth.
Drink Can Pull Tab


  1. Preparing the wood. The plaques I used were already finished. So if you are using just plain wood you might want to sand it smooth first. I covered mine in gesso. Let that dry. Then collage sheet music on it with matte medium and let dry. You can use any vintage paper you have. I wanted something to give the background interest. Glaze over the collage. Let dry.

  2. Preparing the tin. Using a can open remove the bottom of the coffee can. Then with the tin snips cut along the seam of the can. I bought my tin snips from the O'Breins and they work great. They sell them on their Etsy site which is the link on the supply list. Using the rubber mallet flatten the metal. Now every thing is prepared.

  3. Using a permanent marker, trace your design on the back of the tin. Simple designs work best but the tin snips do a great job on detail work as well. Cut out your design.
  4. With the hammer, awl and scrap wood tap a small hole in the tin where you would like the nails to be placed. You can use a small metal punch for this but for me the awl works just as well.
  5. Place a piece of carpet tape on the back of each of the tin pieces. Arrange the pieces on the wood as you would like them. Use the carpet tape to hold them in place.
  6. With the hammer and finishing nails, attach the tin to the wood.
  7. Attach the pull tab to the back with a finishing nail. This will work as a hanger for the finished piece.

Friday, April 23, 2010

nothing to report and a book within a book

Last night, after my injection I went home and fell asleep. So no new art. So I thought I would share something I made last summer and the directions for it.

Its a book inside a book. I started off making a mini book. here is the link to a website that explains it really well.

I did this mini book in a class I took for free (free is a very good price.) In the class the instructor had the most awesome clip art so the entire mini book is clip art and rub on lettering.
I painted the two page spread with Golden's heavy body acrylic paint in payne's grey. I just did it haphazardly to give it a lot of texture. The lettering is from a text sheet of paper and using my sizzlit machine. I am not sure of the font. I adhered the mini book in the spine of the book.

Now I have a page that has pages to turn on it.
This mini book can actual be a big book too just use larger paper with the same dimensions. Lynne Perrella does this times and it is awesome.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cover art

I am on a roll folks. I am continuing to create art on a regular basis. I am doing so much that I decided to only post things that get finished.

Last night I finished a cover to one of my books. I usually do the covers near the end of a book because other wise I am smashing the embellishments and when I am working on the inside the art on the cover makes it hard to get a good impression and such.

The technique that I did on this cover is a faux leather technique. I love it because it uses recycled grocery sacks. Perfect for an earth day project.
  1. Brown Grocery Sacks torn into random pieces
  2. soft gel medium
  3. glue brush (a paint brush dedicated to glue)
  4. Substrate in this case my book cover


  1. Glue the pieces of grocery sack down on the substrate.
  2. Cover with gel medium. Let dry

Easy peasy huh and it makes a great background. I have a page I will show later when it is finished that I did the same thing. I used an old nylon paint brush I got at an estate sale and as I was spreading the glue bits of the bristles were coming off so my book has these interesting black spots that I had not planned for at all.

Next I stamped the white swirls using white gesso. Let that dry. Then stenciled using sequence waste the purple and yellow dots.

To the spine I add some ribbon flowers along the spine. These are different then the technique I talked about the other day. I will show you how to make these later when I do some step by step pictures. These particular flowers I made last year for Artfest as trades and forgot to trade them.
Final step was to stamp something on the front. Coming up with titles for my altered books is very random. What ever word pops in my head I use. In this case, April the month it was worked on and it fit perfectly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Circus page

This page has been worked on different times in the last year or so. It really has gone in spurts. The spread was gessoed first, as are most of my pages. Then the circus tissue paper from the dollar store was added. I thought it was really to bright for anything I would do so I dry brushed titanium buff over it to push it to the background and fade it out. So then it set for a while.

Then one day I was messing around with creating ribbon flowers and realized the orange polka dotted ribbon went well on this page but I did not have any focal image so the page sat with possible embellishments but no focal image.
In September, my friend go married and we made her wedding programs with orange vellum. Well the orange vellum that was not perfect became mine. As I thought about it I thought it went really well with this page.
I stamped the face, buildings and quote (all from Zettilogy) and placed them on the page. I added the ribbon flowers and like the page but it did not seem finished.
On Monday, I had a box of trim out next to me and the braided trim was right on top the perfect color and the perfect size to finish off the page.

I am not sure where I learned to do the ribbon flowers, but I know I was influenced by Sister Diane who taught me how to make flower embellishments out of buttons and trim so I am going to give her credit.
Directions for the ribbon flowers.
  1. Ribbon about 6 inches but really this depends on how full you want your flower. The ribbon has to be wide enough that you can run a stitch along it. I used 1 inch wide ribbon.
  2. Scissors
  3. Thread any color
  4. Needle
  5. Button
  6. Embroidery thread or fake flower stamens.
  7. Fabric glue or heavy duty industrial glue like E-6000


1. Cut ribbon to desired length. Run a running stitch along the edge. This edge will be hidden by the button so don't worry about thread color. Cut off thread. Leave at least 3 inches of thread at both ends of the ribbon.

2. Gently pull the thread so the ribbon bunches up. Tie the to ends together tightly.

3. Thread embroidery thread through button and tie off like flower stamens or use fake stamens. Glue button on top.
This ribbon make great hair embellishments as well.
I know another each ribbon flower that I will share later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another completed page

Over the weekend I did not create any art. Saturday, I did the MS Walk and when I got home I decided to just chill and rest. My reward for being a good citizen. Then Sunday I worked at Petsmart and when I got home did a small bit of organizing supplies so that was my creative endeavor for the day.

On Monday, I was back at it. I worked on several backgrounds. Which I will put in later posts, but if you must see them right now there are in my facebook album.

I did finish two pages. I started this spread about two years ago when I was experimenting with some light blue paint I got at an Estate sale bag sale....I have not idea what kind of paint it is and the texture is very smooth and shiny. The flower is a napkin from the same sale. Yes I just pulled it out of the bag and put it on the page. I thought the paint was too shiny so I brushed over it with gesso. I do like how the gesso really blends the napkin into the background, but this page never spoke to me so there it set for two years.

Then last night, I was thumbing through my incomplete books, and this page was there in a book that is almost done so I wanted to finish it. I had my alphabet stickers out and these alphabets jumped out at me. There were white to begin. Boring. So I thought I would paint them carmine with some iridescent medium mixed in to match the page. Another sticker I had said be yourself so I thought I would use the quote and then added love yourself because it just flowed.

A page I did not like turned into something that is not half bad if you ask me. It is more shiny in this picture then it is in real life.
Napkins and tissue paper are two of my all time favorite art material. When ever I find either at garage sales, estate sales or on deep discounts I buy them. They are usually pretty or interesting and you get tons. I pass them out to my friends because I usually have too many. They are really easy to use. They don't add any bulk to a book. Just peal them down to one ply and apply them to the page using matte medium or gel medium to blend them into the page. Try them sometime.
I really feel an accomplishment when I finish a book and this one is getting close.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ArtFest 2010

Artfest this year was much different experience than the year before. The biggest difference was I was part of Camp Runamuckus. A collection of some of the most creative, animated, funny, caring women I have ever met. I really feel privileged to be part of this group.

Since I have in Camp Runamuckus, Artfest had a much more "camp" like experience then last year. I love camp. I went to camp as a kid many many times. I loved it for all the arts and crafts we did....yes that might be where this obsession started. Then as an adult in college in the summers I was a camp counselor. So camp for me is like heaven.

My first class was with Lynne Perrella called Going Baroque. This was a class focusing on texture gesso backgrounds with lots of color and then using a large image and developing the story around that image. I choose Ludwig II because he was such an interesting guy and had some great castles to throw in the mix.

Lynne is a great instructor and has been doing this for years. She was great with suggestions and explaining techniques. There were some moments of touchy feely stuff I could have passed on but what was the class going to do while the gesso dried.

This class I really got the chance to explore textured gesso with all sorts of things, using stencils and reintroducing me to portfolio water soluble oil pastels.

I love the piece and I am so impressed how much it looks like a painting and not a xerox copy. This piece is not finished for me. I plan to stencil the word "vision" on the bottom and embellish it more.

My second day was what I called my branch out day. I was doing something I am not familiar with and don't really know how to do it. The class was called Getch your paint on but really should have been called getch your caulk on since we drew with bathroom caulking to make cool raised out lines. Michelle Allen was the instructor. Michelle is new to teaching and so at time had moments where she had a hard time articulating the techniques, but was great at demoing them. At times, I was explaining the basics of stamping to her but she was great with suggestions and her whimsical technique was so fun. I always loved caulk as an adhesive but now I will for sure use it to draw with.

I do not do a lot of painting, so this class was really a stretch for me. I took the leaf and flower motif from my doodles during staff meetings and just expanded them. I really liked how Michelle encouraged us to use contrasting colors. That got me out of usual color pallet. I never have done anything so vibrant before. I am still not sure I like the piece. All the artwork from Artfest hangs in my office and this piece is the one everyone comments on and praises....go figure.

The last day I purposely choose a class that would come easy to me and was right up my alley. Collage a Trois with Linda and Opie O Brien. I love them, so much so I wish they would adopt me and I could live in their art world with them. I choose this class, because by the end of Artfest I knew I would be brain dead and needed something that I could do without too much thinking. I have never worked in tin and really this class was collage with tin. The tin was nailed to a wood base with finishing nails. Sarah, from Camp Runamuckus was with me and she is a hoot. It made the class so much more fun. Both of us finished in about 4 hours.
I named my piece the butterfly dancer of New Orleans and I just love it. I think I will do tin collages for mother's day gifts if I can find some brass finishing nails.
Artfest was so awesome once again I am just counting down the day til I can sign up for next year. You should join me.

I want to give a shout out to a great crepe place in Port Townsend, Water Street Creperie. Food was great, services was supreme and the prices were very reasonable. If you are ever in Port Townsend try them out. (The don't seem to have a website, so I can direct you there. So come on boys who own the creperie get with it so I can send peeps your way.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day two of the new me

Ok day 2 of my new art everyday commitment. I did not want to do any more background because right now I have at least 5 altered books with lots of backgrounds but no finished pages. So I set the goal of focusing more on adding embellishments and focal images to the page this time. I am still working with limited resources since I have not started to organize my art room.

If you remember this background was from Wednesday. I stamped the image from Artistic Outpost on tissue paper and adhered it to the page. I am still brain storming how to complete the page but I am sure it will be soon.

This page was kind of meditative to do. It started months ago as play session with iridescent medium and an ink page. I stamped the flowers in the iridescent medium and then run an ink pad over it to get the resist. It was so long ago I don't even remember the name of the ink pad or the company that makes it. Well last night, I decided I wanted to try out the inksentials white pen from Ranger. I have heard so many people rave about it I wanted to try it out. Also I have been intrigued by the zentangle crazy that it inspired me. I just doodled and drew lines between the flowers, filling up the space. This page is so interesting to me I may just add a simple quote and call it good. Any ideas of a good quote for it?

Here is another page I have had for a long long time that has been unfinished. The background is another one I learned from Claudine Hellmuth but I also have seen it before I believe it is an old painting technique.


  • Book page
  • Acrylic paints at least two contrasting colors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paint brush
  • Water


  1. Paint page in a solid color. In this case red. Let dry.
  2. With watered down acrylic paint in a contrasting color paint over the painted page. Before the second coat dry lay plastic wrap over the page and smoosh it around creating wrinkles and such. Let dry without removing the plastic wrap.
  3. When completely draw remove the wrap.

After I did this technique I dry brushed white paint over it to give it some depth. I added the felt embellishment which I got at an after Christmas clearance sale. And there the page sat until Thursday night.

I found the image in an old calendar I had but it was huge and I had to cut it down. The expression on the persons face was so jubilant, the quote came easy. The quote is spelled out in vinyl letter I got at an estate sale.
I love the page and was very happy to have finished a page. I have not finished an altered book page in months.
So I am going to keep on trucking and creating.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I started

I did it....I went home and I did art for over an hour on Wednesday. It felt great. I did not think it was going to have because I worked over 90 minutes so I was sure I would be exhausted and not have the creativity to do anything. But I was bound and determine to work towards one of my goals.

I grabbed supplies that I had handy which was all the stuff from Artfest since I have not unpacked my art bag. I worked on several backgrounds.

This was the first one. I had already adhered the circle tissue paper months ago. I colored it with one of my favorite supplies portfolio water soluble oil pastels. I love them, they are vibrant, creamy and cheap. Only complaint...they only come in 24 colors. Once I applied the oil pastels I used a wet paper towel to blend them. The water caused the tissue paper to peal and shred giving it a totally cool distressed look I had not even planned on.

This one I used the oil pastel again. At Art fest I had covered this page with gesso and then textured it with fondant cutters and tissue paper. On Wednesday, I then colored over the gesso with the portfolios and blended it with water. This time the colors came out very subtle. but you can really see the texture, even in the picture but in real life it is much more interesting.

You guessed it portfolios again. I told you I liked them a lot and they were handy. The background here is a collage of dictionary pages that I distressed with a Claudine Hellmuth technique with masking tape. I might share the technique with you later but really her two books are great and technique packed so I strongly suggest you buy them.
I color and blended the portfolios. The dog image is from an old calendar from the dollar store. I am not sure how I will finish the page out but maybe something about dancing cheek to cheek.

Quick and easy page. This is a fancy napkin I found on clearance. I glued it down with matte medium. I think it has a real arabesque feel and will keep my eye out for some sort of image.

This last technique was purely play. The page was covered in white gesso months ago. So squirted out acrylic paint blogs in white, yellow and two shades of green. I then used a barbecue brush (the silicone kind I bought at the dollar store.) to spread the color around.

Here is a close up of the awesome groove and textures that it created. Don't have any idea of how I will finish the page but I am sure it will be awesome......hahahah

I am proud of myself for even starting. This goal is the easiest for me to start but why not start with the easiest to be a motivation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My friend Sue posted that it has been a long since I have posted. Which is sooooooooooo true. It is also a long time since I have created anything. I have been in a real art slump. There are several factors that have come into play, not excuses mind you just factors that made me less motivated to do art.

1. I started a new job in November so I am not available to do art as often as before.

2. With the new job I have a 45 min commute each way, so by the time I get home I feel really wiped out and just have not wanted to pick up supplies and create.

3. I have not been taking any classes. Classes always motivate me to create and explore.

4. My art group, The Counsel of Muses, has ceased meeting due to lack of space to meet. This once a month group was a great way to explore, create and talk about art. I miss it and wish we could figure out a time and place to meet. Any ideas?

5. The biggest reason of all......My house including my art room is a total uncontrolled mess. I just dread going into the art room (can you believe that) because it is so chaotic that I can not find anything without making a bigger mess. The entire house is this way. I hate it. It makes me depressed and miserable. I am so ashamed of it, I do not let people even close friends into my house. Right now I feel stuck I don't know how to change it. I need help. Any volunteers? Hahahaha.

Pity party over....

Ok I am not the kind of person to wallow in self pity for very long. None of these problems are going to fix themselves. I have to do it. My way....make a plan that usually includes a list and tackle the problem. I am going to make several pledges and plans how to get back on the art track. Every good goal has a time line. I will outline the timeline here as a way to organize it.

1. Each day for one hour I will either create art or clean my art room. Cleaning for me means organizing it as well. Starting tonight.

2. I will ask my mom to help me with the organization because she is a wiz at that. I have asked her before but secretly I think she is overwhelmed by the project as well. Maybe my friend Anna, a gifted organizer can help me if my mom can't, which would require me to deal with my shame and guilt. Dealing with the shame and guilt might not be such a bad thing either. I will ask my mom next week when she is back in town. Sigh still dreading this one

3. Take more classes - I did go to artfest (will blog about that later) and I really enjoyed it and was inspired. I am signed up for a poly clay class at the end of April. I plan to attend art and soul in Portland(I always wait until the time of the event to sign up class and buy classes from people who can't make it since I am local and do not have to book a motel.) This goal is in process.

4. Move closer to work. Not a direct art goal but one that will essentially give me more time and energy for art as well as improve my overall mood. I am already working on this, once I get my taxes I will have the money for the deposits. So then all that will be in my way is finding the right place for me and Roux. I am going to set a date of June 1st.

5. Find more art groups or create an art group. I have re established myself with one group that meets in hillsboro at Art on a lark. I know there are more out there just have to find them. I will even look in Salem since that is where I am work. By June 1st, have found out if Salem has any such groups.

6. I will make more art dates with my friends. In the next two weeks, schedule at least one.

After reading the list, all seems very doable except the cleaning, I told you I dreaded it but it is needed.

Ok I will report back here weekly about how it is going. Feel free to add suggestions, as you can see I really need them.