Monday, December 31, 2012

One More Quick Craft

A friend of mine posted this idea on Facebook and I loved it. How many moments over the last year have I forgotten? Too many. Here it is New Year's Eve and I struggle to remember what really happened this year. Here's my solution. A great moments jar. It will be placed on the bookshelf in our den and the lid will be open for all to participate. I love the idea of opening it next New Year's Eve and reading about all the little moments we so quickly forget.

There's still time! Find an old jar and make a label. This makes a cheap, fun, and meaningful hostess gift too. I made one for the friends we'll be celebrating with tonight.

Enjoy this night and I'll see you in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Love Note of the Year

Wow. Only 4 more days of 2012. Like some of you, I've spent most of these last days sleeping late, eating cookies, and skulking around my house in slippers. Thankfully, I've had a few responsibilities here and there. Otherwise, I would really go recluse. One of those responsibilities... my final love note for the Love Notes Project. This week, Jennifer prompted us with some great end-of-year ponderings.

We had several choices, but these stood out to me. Perhaps they'll inspire you as well.

One of my best days in 2012...
My wish for 2013...
My wish for the world...
Each day may you...

I decided to turn my thoughts and wishes into a little bunting for my love note pal.

My thoughts:
One of my best days in 2012...Quitting a job that wasn't right for me.
My wish for 2013...To restore peace in my own world, within myself and my family.
My wish for the world...Slow down, think, and wonder.
Each day may you...Listen less to the noise of the world and more to the music in your soul.

Enjoy the countdown. May you find a moment here or there to reflect and think fondly of the happy moments in 2012!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another Love Note

As most of  you know, I am participating in the Lovenotes post card project with Jennifer Belthoff. This week's love note writing prompt was a fun one. Jennifer provided us with a group of random words that we could use to create a little poem or a few sentences.

As usual, the word "bird" caught my eye right away.

If you need a way to share some love, check out Jennifer's blog and join the next round. It feels good!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Find Your Comfort

Like all of you, my world stood still on Friday afternoon. I'm still carrying a knot in my soul that I think will stay forever. I've struggled to make sense of things, finally realizing some things will never make sense. So I reached for my comfort, creating something.
I brought my Gelli plate out and made lots of prints on rice paper. I then cut the prints into squares and rectangles. Using liquid matte medium, I glued them onto another sheet of rice paper to create something of a paper banner. It was difficult to get a good photo of the piece, so I took it outside and hung it on a tree. The crisp air blew the paper around. The colors moved and changed in the sunlight. It was beautiful. And for a moment my spirit was lifted just a little bit. 

I hope you will take a moment to find whatever it is that brings you comfort. Find it and rest there for just a little bit. There is still love and joy and peace to share in this world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Still Decorating...

Like many of you, I've been digging through attic bins and boxes filled with all kinds of Christmas decorations. As I sort through ornaments, lights, candles, garlands, and wreaths, I see a variety of decorating themes, trends, and what I thought were "clever" ideas. Somehow time and the heat of the attic leave everything looking a little wilted, so I usually make something new each year.
This year I decided I wanted something lighthearted and funky over my mantle. So, I painted a big painting I call "Grill Wreath." The kids love it and it just makes me smile when I see it.

I also hung a garland of tiny Santa clothes. I made this garland out of craft felt several years ago.

Now if you really want some inspiration, take a look at this lovely ornament display, created by one of my favorite bloggers, Loulou at Loulou Downtown

Loulou gives a great tutorial on how to make this. She has some beautiful vintage glass ornaments, doesn't she? I don't have enough to make something like this, but I just love the way she blended sparkly and nature. Don't you just love the way that lower branch curves down to the left? So pretty, Loulou!

Has this holiday season inspired you to create something new? Tell me about it and include your blog address if I don't have it. I want to see what you're making!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Big Warm Fuzzy

Do you ever need a few words of encouragement? I know I do. That's why I signed up to participate in the Love Notes Post Card Project with Jennifer Belthoff.  For the next three weeks, I will send encouraging notes to a stranger. In return, I'll enjoy some encouraging notes from someone else. Don't you just love the love?

Each week, Jennifer emails participants a writing prompt. It only took a few moments for me to jot down some thoughts and send my love out into the world. I've already placed the note into the mail. It felt good. I can't wait to receive my special note!
Jennifer's project is on-going, so check out the link above and sign up for the next round!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Current Brain Activity

I've had a bad case of squirrel brain this week. I don't know about you all, but the holiday season can really get my gears spinning in all kinds of directions. It's probably all the glitter and tinsel. I can't look away from the sparkly.

 Here it is almost Friday and I really don't have a clear idea of what I've accomplished this week. I think my brain must resemble an enormous Pinterest-like collection of images. They would be organized into boards ranging everywhere from "cleaning projects I want to finish before December 24th" to "fun things to do with the kids before December 24th" to "crafts I want to make before December 24th."

On top of that, I would have my anxiety boards including things like "do we need to buy a new car soon?" or "how am I going to start bringing in some money" or "why don't I have a clearly defined mission statement?" or "what am I doing?" or worse..."are my children really happy?" It's a rabbit hole.

I've been working on some collages for a friend. I realized the crazy colors and movement really represented how I was feeling.  Perhaps these could be viewed as snapshots of my current brain activity.

I think the only way out of this rabbit hole is to stop, turn around, and climb out. Turn off the computer. Close the studio door. Take a hot shower. I might even hide my glasses so that I can't see anything unless it is at least a foot away. That would eliminate any detail work. I would be forced to look up!

Have a great weekend, friends. I'll be back on Monday. Glasses poised. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Prodigal Student Returns

Way back in the summer, I signed up to take an online course with the fabulous Julie Prichard from The Land of Lost Luggage. The class is called The Julie Prichard Mixed Media Variety Hour. Julie is lots of fun and the class truly offers a variety of techniques, tools, organization ideas, and support for artists of all levels. Each lesson comes with an amazing written lesson that I can print and save for later. Julie has a fun and encouraging personality, so you'll feel at home with her. She also offers immediate follow-up when you post artwork or a question. She never sleeps!
Unfortunately, I have been a highly sporadic student. Shame on me. However... yesterday I caught back up and was so glad I did. I watched Episode 5: From Phones With Love, an inspirational lesson that encouraged me to use some of my iphone pics to create fun little pieces.

This one was taken in Tiger, Georgia at a tourist spot called "Goats on the Roof!"
I love these so much, I might add a binding and make a little book or I might frame them.

As I was walking Peanut one day, I noticed this squirrel tail... no squirrel attached. Can't really picture how this happened, but doesn't it make you giggle in a creepy way?

If you are looking for some motivation in the new year, check out Julie's website and think about going on a journey to The Land of Lost Luggage!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A New Blog Feature - Creative Bravehearts

Creative bravery started lingering in my brain after someone on Facebook posted a clip of Chuck Close's "note to self" from the CBS This Morning show. In Close's letter, he says, "Inspiration is for amateurs -- the rest of us just show up and get to work. Every great idea I've ever had grew out of work itself." I loved hearing this and found it incredibly encouraging. Inspiration is fleeting for me, work... I can do that.  But returning time and time again to the work, well... to me that takes some bravery.

Lately, I've been thinking about my great luck. No, I'm not talking about the lottery winning kind, I am talking about the luck of knowing so many creative people who are living their dreams and encouraging me to live mine. Having supportive artsy friends is priceless. Some of my artsy friends are local, giving me a chance to physically see and touch their greatness. Many of my new artsy friends are here in blogland. It gives me huge warm fuzzies to read blogs about all things creative, from a delicate art journal page to a gallery show or book deal. The point is... creative bravery is catchy. Every act encourages me to forge ahead. If you can do it, so can I.

Each month here on texterial, I am going to attempt to spread some creative bravery around by featuring some of the people who inspire me. I'm calling the feature "Creative Bravehearts."

My first Creative Braveheart is my friend, Crystal Slagely, of Crystal's Creative Cakes.

Crystal SlagleyCrystal and I go back. She and I met when we both worked at the local elementary school our children attended. I was a receptionist and she was the school nurse. We bonded over head lice checks and fussy parents. We also bonded over art supplies. I quickly learned I had a crafty friend in my midst.

A few years ago, Crystal decided to start a cake business. She took classes, she researched, she practiced, she just did it. In the words of Chuck Close, she showed up and got to work.

Crystal called me this week with an interesting request, "Can you help me move a cake out to the car?" I quickly agreed. When I got to her house and realized I would be moving a delicate gingerbread house for a cake contest, well... I started to sweat a bit. I removed my coat and all the jewelry on my hands and wrists. I then told her she could boss me around and I would not be offended. We were successful and I breathed a sigh of relief.

In true Creative Braveheart form, Crystal has turned her dining room into a cake studio. That dining room table makes a great work surface, and who doesn't like working under a chandelier?

Everything on the cake is edible, even the windows!
This delicate sugar work is amazing. I don't know how she does it. There would be lots of cussing and crying in my house if I tried doing something like this.
Here's Crystal's description:
This two story gingerbread house features two bay windows, a turret and a wrap-around porch. Please notice the amazing detail of this house, including the hand piped poinsettias, the delicate architectural details of the roof and sides of the house, as well as the impressive wrought iron fence. Note the gingerbread bicycle on the side of the house, abandoned in the snow, awaiting warmer weather.  The exquisite textured stain glass windows are handmade of gelatin and allow the luminous holiday lights to glisten through. The sparkling white snow and holiday decorations make this house look festive and elegant.  The only non-edible components are the base board and the lights inside the house. 

Later this week, Crystal and I are going to get together to brainstorm and encourage each other in our creative endeavors. I'm thrilled. I need all the brain she can storm and who doesn't need more encouragement?

If you have an idea for my Creative Braveheart feature, please leave me a comment or send me an email.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crafty Magnetism

So I was at the craft store for something very specific, when I spied a little something I had to have. Michael's sells these 2 inch square mini canvases in packs of 8. How could I resist such perfect little work surfaces? I bought two packs - one white, one black. I knew they would make great magnets. And who doesn't need another magnet? No one, I tell you. We all need a new magnet every now and then.

I started with the black canvases and just added layers of smudgy colors with my fingers

and layers of stenciled pan pastel dots.

I sat and looked at them for a while. Pause. Pause. Pause.

I decided to draw some lady faces on old paper

and paint them with watercolor paint,

then glue them onto the canvas panels using liquid matte medium.

Next, I sat and stared into space for a bit.

I thought about what I would say to my close friends, family members, and co-workers who have become close friends over the years. The only phrase that came to mind..."thank God you put up with me." So, I wrote that phrase on my magnets using a white Pentel Sunburst gel pen.

I poured a thick layer of glossy varnish over the top of each magnet.

Tomorrow I will attach a heavy duty magnet disc to the back using e-6000 glue.

I'm not sure who will be the recipient of one of these, but there are so many kind folks who have put up with me over the years. It could be a difficult decision. I think I might need to make more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gray Skies Call for Color

What a dreary day here in Atlanta. Rainy, dark, and damp. My first instinct was to remain horizontal. But I resisted. I knew what was needed. This day called for some color.

I started the morning with some paper painting. Golden paints, acrylic glazing liquid, and metallic paints on gesso-covered book pages.

Splatter brought to you by FW pearlescent liquid acrylics. Love these.

Hmmm. What will I do with these?


Next... a paper garland. Paper garlands always cheer me up. Maybe my brain thinks there's a party on the way.

I think it looks best on Clucky, my studio chicken.

Once I hung my garland, I decided to just hunker down in my studio with some music and my most colorful supplies.

Another supply crush... Caran D'Ache crayons. Sigh. I only have a few juicy colors. I would pick a box of these over a box of Godiva chocolates any day (and I've got a serious chocolate thing.)

Perhaps I was thinking about the new Great Gatsby movie that I have to wait until summer to see (wah), but I think my doodles and papers have a bit of a flapper flair.

As the days get darker for me, I think I will keep fighting the gray with color. It worked!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Bit of Sparkly to Get Us Started

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I am ready for Christmas. I had to control myself during the last two Christmas seasons. Two years ago I was recovering from nest removal (hysterectomy) and one year ago I was basking in the sun in Jamaica (I know... rough.) But this year, holy ribbons and bows, I will be home the entire time, ready to force Bing Crosby, cookies made with three sticks of butter, and lots of glitter on all who enter my home.

Even though you are not entering my physical home, you are in my bubble when you visit me here... so you will be subjected as well. But don't be afraid. I will be featuring some holiday sparkly bits, but I promise to only share ideas that can be adapted for all kinds of celebrating.

Today's super easy sparkly -  paper ornaments. Although I am using them as tree ornaments, these simple shapes can also be used as collage embellishments, tied to gifts and wine, or sewn together to form a garland. But why am I telling you crafty folks this? You've probably thought of 6 other ways to use them by now.

Here's the how.

1) Start with about three sheets of old textbook or dictionary paper. Sew shapes through all three layers. I did trees and balls, but I bet you can get more creative than that.

2) Cut each shape.

3) Quick coat of gesso.

4) Quick coat of Golden Iridescent Pearl followed by some spray inks.

5) Once dry, stencil some polka-dots and add embossing power. Apply heat to emboss.

6) Add silver or gold paint if desired, then hooks or ribbons to hang them.

7) Make yourself a cup of hot cocoa.