Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beads & Baubles

A couple of years ago I took a class (I wish I could remember the instructors name!) at The Beading Frenzy  in San Mateo, CA where I learned to make these crystal cuffs.  Not sure they are "my style" as I am an avid sterling silver jewelry collector and "wearer" (is that a word?)...but I enjoyed making them just the same.  They are pretty fun and sparkly!

All The World Is A Stage...Especially in Berkeley!

There is an amazing store/studio in Berkeley, CA called A Castle in the Air.  This incredible little gem offers classes taught by some talented, top-notch artists; one of which is John McRae.  I had the pleasure of taking one of his classes and I was BLOWN AWAY.  Here is the stage we created.  It's made entirely of matt board, crepe paper, imported dresden and vintage papers.  Get this...the ballerina spins and the stage folds up.  Beauty and function...gotta love it! 

What the heck is dresden you ask?  They are die-cut sheets (in the case of the stage, gold sheets) made on machinery dating back to Victorian times.  Amazing stuff.  Apparently John McRae was nicknamed "the king of dresden" from the student "groupies" in the class. 

Crepe paper?!  You might be thinking "I played with that stuff in kindergarten" or "you mean the party streamer crepe paper?"   Stop right there!  This was not your grandmother's crepe paper.  This stuff was "top-notch-imported-from-Germany" crepe paper.  Nuf said! 

The Butterfly Project

If you haven't already heard of The Butterfly Project you must read up on it.  Such a beautiful event dedicated to a tragic time in history.  Here are my submissions for the project.  I'm currently working on a few more...even have an extended family project planned for Easter.  It's going to be a butterfly craft filled Easter this year.  This outta be interesting since both of my brother's are not the most creative individuals I know.  Note to self:  Must take tons of pictures!

Martin & Gloria

A couple of months ago, over at Willowing Tam was kind enough to provide a free online course entitled "Art, Heart & Healing".  Oh what fun it was!!  My favorite project from the course was making the Empathy Monster. 

Given that my 8 year old son just lost his grandmother, I thought I would make him a special gift that he could cherish forever.  Meet Martin (my maiden name), made from remnants of his grandparent's clothing and a vintage button from the huge stash (a stash a creative person only dreams of!) I inherited from my "Nonie" (grandmother). 

And...because everybody needs love, I made Martin a girlfriend.  Actually, that's sort of an excuse...I made Gloria for me.  Shhhhh!!! 

You are probably thinking I went crazy and made a bunch of Martin "smalls".  Not that I hadn't thought about starting a pet-rock sort of craze...if just for a moment....this is actually 1 of 2 mini Martin's I made for my adult nephews.  I really thought these guys would be scratching their heads in "what the hell is this" disbelief when I handed them their very own mini-Martin Christmas ornaments.  Quite the contrary, they LOVED it!  Looking back, maybe it was the money I had pinned to the back of each ornament.  Naaaaah...I could see it in their eyes, they were in love (or they are both up for academy awards next year).  After all, who doesn't want a little bit of family love sewn up in a tiny, ugly monster hanging from their Christmas tree every year?   

ATC Swaps

Until recently I had no idea what an ATC (Artist Trading Card) was.  Well, I lied, I sorta did.   I just really didn't see the value or purpose of them...but boy was I wrong.  These little tidbits of art are so gratifying to give and receive.  Here are a couple that I completed for some swaps...

Theme:  Springtime. 
Hosted by:  Kitty, Australia

Theme:  Girlfriends
Hosted by:  Lauren, U.S.

Theme:  Owl's
Hosted by :  Rachel, Australia

Theme:  Something's Fishy
Hosted by:  Mary, UK

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journals

I attend a monthly SoulCollage Workshop (more on SoulCollage later) at my friend Sandy's every Saturday of every month.  I've often told her that attending her workshops is like attending church (although, I haven't been to church since I was forced to go in my youth!).  Anyway, it's like my adult version of church where a group of like-minded, caring people, in this case creative women, come together for a common reason.  At one particular workshop Maura P. mentioned how she just completed an Art Journal Swap...and so it began "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journals".  It truly was that quick.  One mention of a journal swap and the majority of us were all over it!  Today, about 13 of us are in the "sisterhood" whereby we rotate journals on a monthly basis and someone completes a 2-page spread in your journal.  Some of us started our journals off with a theme.  Here are my contributions to some of the journals in the "sisterhood"...

Marilyn F's journal about "Depression, Happiness and Everything in Between".

Elke M.'s journal about "Time".  The card slips into the pocket on the right hand page behind the black stitching.


 Aikya P's journal.  Aikya says she is always worried about money.  I thought the song by the O'Jay's "For the Love of Money" really speaks to her concerns.  And, being the fan of old school R&B that I am, I will always jump at the chance to honor my favorites!  I'm quite sure I had that song blasting in the background as I worked on this spread.

Lastly we come to my very good friend Kari B's journal.  You would think since we are such good friends that working in her journal would be a breeze.  Not so!  Just the opposite, which was unexpected for me. I really struggled with what to do and then I had a very loud "a-ha" moment...and it dawned on me.

For some reason, she has this "thing" for birds.  Almost every art project she does has some representation of birds.  I personally think it's a subconscious need for "freedom".  Not the irresponsible, "I'm going to get in my car and abandon my husband and kids" sort of freedom.  I see it as the need for freedom of expression.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she's a journalist (and a good one at that!) that contributes to that "need".  Who knows, but I think she secretly agrees that I'm onto something.   

When Did My Lust For Boxes Begin?

For as long as I can remember I have always LOVED boxes...and really, not just boxes, but containers... formally known as vessels.  If I dig deep enough, I think it's the "organized" part of me that lusts for the organizational strength that a simple box can supply.  I also share the same passion for baskets.  Not the hokey baskets of days past (get that out of your head right now!).  I'm talking about the rustic and sturdy "looks nice in a bookshelf" basket.  Another post for another time, I'm sure!

I found this ordinary unpainted cigar box at Michael's recently and it was just begging for a paint job.  So off I went!  The centers of the flowers are seed beads.  Everything is hand painted with the exception of the squares on the sides which were stamped on.  Currently this box holds a gazillion bottles of seed beads.  Next week it may hold something entirely different since I don't think I have found a permanent use for it yet.  And, I seem to always be in a state of organization and re-organization.  Can you say "obsessive compulsive tendencies?" Hey, at least I'm honest!  I see a support group in my future.  Really.

International Easter Bunny Dotee Doll Swap

So begins the start of my Dotee Doll obsession...

I had never heard of a Dotee Doll until I joined my first Dotee Doll Swap over at Milliande hosted by Monika from Australia.  Let's just say I dove in head first and signed up for the swap before I had any idea of what a Dotee was.

What's a Dotee Doll you ask?

Dotee Dolls were invented by an Australian lady named Dorothy Christian (Dot) hence the name Dotee. They are small handmade dolls between 4 to 6 inches long with no arms and no legs. Instead they have a hanger and a tail. They can be made with any kind of fabric and stitched together either by hand or with a sewing machine. They can be embellished with all sorts of things like beads, buttons, embroidery, paint, glitter, etc. They are never to be sold, only traded or given as gifts.

Here are my submissions for the swap.  Meet "the dotee sisters"...

                   Miss Stormy Dawn
                                                                     Miss Delilah Blus
      Miss Fancy Dancer

Miss Misty Blus

Art Journal Swaps

I'm new to the world of Art Journaling.  I'm much more comfortable working with 3 dimensional mediums. It's definetly a stretch for me, but a good stretch because I really feel like I'm learning all the time with each new page I complete...then again, are they ever REALLY complete?   In some cases they have to be if they are prompted and created for an art journal page swap like these pages were.  In other cases, they can be a work in progress forever! Nina from Canada at Milliande.ning site hosts the monthly journal swaps and I must say I'm addicted.  Here are some recent submissions. 

Prompt:  Favorite Color
This made it's way to Beth G. in PA, USA

Prompt:  It's Not Just a Valentine, It's My Heart
Beth got this one too!

Prompt:  I Never Told You...
This one made it's way to Trine P's house in Denmark.

Prompt:  Art Is...
Trine got this one too!

                                                       Prompt:  You Are My Sunshine
These pages went to Anne T. in Ontario, Canada

Prompt:  Rebirth/Renewal

Last but not favorite.  I created this for the prompt "I Never Told You" (actual page that was submitted is above).  This one is very special to me as it's dedicated to my mom who passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly 2 years ago.  Needless to say, this page never made it's way into the swap.  I just couldn't part with it.  It will remain with me where I can see it every day...a reminder of the wonderful (crazy, fun-as-hell, drama queen) mother I had.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

International Dia de los Muertos Dotee Doll Swap

It's been a while since I actually committed to a sewing project...but I just couldn't resist this one.  Over at Milliande, Palma R. from Italy hosted a Dotee Doll Swap.  What fun I had with these 4 guys!  They will soon be packed up for their long journey to Italy.  In the meantime, they are tacked to my bulletin board where they seem to stare at me constantly!  My son calls them dead heads.  Nice!