Thursday, July 24, 2014

Echoes In My Heart Angel Shrine

the beginning
I always have an inner struggle between quilting and working with mixed media, but now that I am house bound for a time, I have less guilt about it. I cannot get to my sewing machine and fabrics right now so it's easy to allow my mixed media brain to run rampant. I began working on this small angel shrine as a thank you to my adopted sister and friend, Lauren. She always keeps my chin up and goes through extraordinary efforts to do things with me - like taking me to the doctors recently. Sometimes it's difficult to say "thank-you".

These wonderful shrines, as well as many other shrine and doll variations can be found in the "Altered Art Supplies" section on RetroArt Cafe. For making this shrine I used a sheet of watercolor paper that I had painted and fitted to the cutout sizes. I used, my favorite Daniel Smith watercolors, F&W iridescent acrylic ink, heartfelt words, a wee brass bracket, Sakura 3D Crystal Lacquer, beads and wire, feathers and charms. I was so happy to have been able to make a 'thank-you' that was unique, and that allowed me to enjoy the world of mixed media.

  •  Do you ever have a struggle between two or mote mediums that you enjoy?
  • Any suggestions about how to manage them all?
  • What are you art addictions?


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

OMG I'm a Cover Girl in "Creative Image Transfer" by Lesley Riley


Yesterday's mail brought me a copy (inscribed!) of Lesley Riley's latest book from C&T Publishing, 'Creative Image Transfer'. The most exciting part of receiving this copy is that I am truly honored and humbled to be included among some of the most well known mixed media talents out there - and I am on the cover no less!
I don't think that I ever imagined what an amazing job C&T Publishing would do with the submitted works. It was eerie seeing my bag displayed so beautifully, and I never imagined that the directions that I wrote would look so good either. 

Lesley Riley was an angel with her support and I will be forever grateful to her for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Although I normally find tooting my own horn a difficult thing to do - this time I just want to share my delight!  This book is really fun. The projects are all really unique and I am blushing with pride to have been included! 

This Buddha image has a lot of meaning for me on many levels. The statue stood in the yard of a dear friend whom I got to know in the late 80's and early 90's. She adopted me as a grand-daughter. Velma was 89 when I first met her. Her mind was sharper than mine ever has been. She played bridge, read the LA Times daily, and was just an amazing woman. Her stories about horse drawn  carriages,  the first light bulbs, the first airplane and other historically important events were always riveting. She passed away at 99 +- almost making the century mark. She always delighted me by calling me to say that "the sun was over the yardarm" - meaning that we could enjoy a cocktail- which I dutifully crafted just the way she liked it. I learned a lot from Velma and this image, taken in her front yard, has always brought me good luck.

Thank you Lesly and thank you C&T! "My" Buddha brought me good luck indeed!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Some New Books That Please

Just the right timing for hand work!
First of all, let me apologize for the poor image quality. Since getting around right now is a bit of a challenge I neglected to take the sun and the shadows into consideration as I snapped these images.

As I have mentioned in the past, I think that Search Press offers some of the best craft books out there, and I have been a big fan for many years. I was offered the opportunity to have a look at these new Search Press titles. What a treat!

Please note that you should be able to double click on these images to see a larger version.
Wonderful, clear, illustrations
 Since I have been doing a lot of hand sewing these days - especially embroidery, thee books popped up at a particularly perfect moment. Both of these volumes offer a wealth of design ideas coupled with beautiful photographs and clear, well written instructions.
Detailed color illustrations that include
 thread type and colors used
If you have a young or new machine sewer in your life then  "A Beginner's Guide To Machine Sewing" by Clementine Collinet is the perfect gift. It will also be a great addition to your own library to use as a 'refresher' course when needed.
This book is perfect for the new, or returning, machine sewer!
The lessons offer something for everybody and contain references to earlier lessons that highlight specific techniques.

Want to add piping to  project? Here are simple, concise directions. All of the lessons are very well illustrated -
 which is a hallmark of Search Press books.
Full size patterns are included !
 "Making It" is a book that I think we could all really use. It goes over everything that you need to know to get your own craft business off the ground. I have already learned a lot from this book!
The table of contents really says it all. There is a wealth of information in this book and all of it is useable. Everything is presented in a clear, concise way. 
Ah! The age old dilemma. How to price you work?
 Here are some very good methods!

How do you promote your business? Here are some answers!
Below: an excellent resources list. This is something that I always look for in a book. I like to be able to go to other places for ore detailed information and also to get more ideas. This list of resources is especially noteworthy I think.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No More Fear Of Failure


I had a bit of a revelation today. I had been working on something that is similar to the image above. Yesterday, despite repeated attempts to "make it work" I was unhappy with of the results. I decided to "sleep on it, but this morning I was no happier. I tried, once again, to somehow make it better. Ultimately, I resented the wasted time and energy!

I thought about sanding the surface in order to save the background, after all I spent money for it, no matter the modest cost!  As my mind clicked along I came up with another idea, and started to work on it instead. Finally,  I decided to simply toss the "bad" piece. I felt that in some odd way, my worrying about the small amount of money that I had spent on it, and the 'failure' of the design to make me happy, was holding me back.

As soon as I tossed the sticky mess into the trash I felt much better and I was able to easily move along with the new project. I just felt that 'click' that happens when you know the project will be a success. I feel as if I had learned a big lesson from this small 'failure'. If something continues to make you feel stuck, whether in art, in quilting, in knitting or in life, it's better to do what needs to be done to eliminate the 'road-block' and facilitate moving along to feel happier - within reason of course!

Interesting. 

Have you ever made a similar decision? How do you deal with 'blocks' to the f-l-o-w ?
Are you willing to 'waste' some money to be able to get back in the groove? 

Simple lessons with big messages!

That's it from me today!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Glue Stories

What a lovely tin this glue comes in! I will be saving it.
Paper glues. Who thinks too much about them? As a matter of I do, because, as the consummate gadget girl, I have to know what works best for me!

Since I am none-to-mobile at the moment I am spending some time appreciating the small things that I am able to do. Thankfully, my mixed media art table is in the living room, which is one of two rooms that I can access. I am grateful to be able to stitch, knit and play with my mixed media art supplies! I thought that, since I can't use a sewing machine right now, I might do a series of posts about some of my favorite products. This will be the first.

I had thought that I had already found my favorite glue for paper (and it is still a favorite.See the bottom of this post) until Kimberly Baxter Packwood introduced me to the wonders of a pretty little tin of Coccoina potato starch glue from Italy. 

Coccoina glue is a revelation to me. This glue is so smooth and silky smooth that it brushes on flawlessly. Adhesion is excellent! They even include a wee brush to make things even easier, and the scent is almond which is an olfactory treat! You can bet that I am returning to Kaufman Mercantile to buy more very soon so that it will be on hand in quantity. I like quantity of things that I really use a lot.
 Who knew that I could become enthralled by a glue ????

This is what the information on Kaufman's Mercantile website says about this amazing stuff:

"... When Coccoina, the solid white glue in the aluminum tin, was first introduced, Italian commercials promoted the trademark with this campaign: "It is not a drug, but a solid glue that amazes and arouses enthusiasm in all who use it.”
One of the principle features of the glue was that, aside from its adhesive quality and light almond scent, you could safely eat it. A thin spread of the glue works well on paper, photos, clothes, labels, and any art project you can get your hands on, and perhaps the most welcome feature is the tiny brush that comes tucked away inside. Any surface where you need a smooth spread of paste can be achieved with this miniature aluminum paintbrush and its tiny bristles of pig hair.  It leaves no clumps that need to be smoothed with a finger. Though the glue is considered a solid, it has a consistency that's neither wet nor dry, and the container provides mess-free use and storage that lasts up to a year. It's safe for children too. Not that they should eat the stuff, but if they do, NBD. All the ingredients are non-toxic, solvent-free, and not dangerous. Use this glue on any paper-related task, from keeping photos together in an album to scrapbooking to pasting receipts for accounting records. If the glue hardens a bit in its tin, it's easy to soften up again. You can scoop it out and gently heat in a saucepan with a small amount of water. When it's slightly liquid, pour it back into the tin, and when it sets, it will be good as new, without any effect on the adhesive qualityFor longer usage, replace the cap tightly after each application. 
Maximum period of storage should not exceed 12 months.... "
My other favorite glue for paper and more is US Artquest Perfect Paper Adhesive. It is more of a liquid that Coccoina glue and I buy a large 16 oz or larger bottle which I then then decant into this small 2 ounce size so that it's always on my desk - now alongside the Coccoina tin! PPA (perfect paper adhesive) is an excellent glue, sealant, finish coat art medium. I especially like the matte finish version, but a gloss version is also available. I convinced my local arts supple store, Creative Passions, (for all of my island friends) to carry this excellent adhesive and think that they are doing well with it.