31 January 2012

Mood Winter

although it's always about this time of of year that I swear my feet are sprouting webs there is beauty and color in the bare limbs of trees, winter clouds that hang heavy in the valleys and bushes that display a warm,rich palette of russets, golds, greys and browns.

28 January 2012

New ATC's : Red

This month, over on Arts In The Cards we're using the color red as a theme. In fact the whole year will be filled with observations on colors. I plan to have a very good time ! 

This month's red theme got off to a good start using the wonderfulness of Tagxedo to create a word cloud about all things red. I printed the cloud onto silk gampi tissue and glued it to the card stock using my favorite Perfect Paper Adhesive (matte) and then added some small strips of red and black decorative papers.

The symbol on the upper right is that of mudlahara - the base or root chakra which is associated with the color red. I cut it from card stock, added red lines and then topped the lines with Sakura 3D crystal lacquer & added bright yellow glitter glue to the center triangle. The Japanese Kanji characters-read top to bottom- are those for red, love & dragon. We are now in the Chinese year of the Dragon and dragons are often associated with the color red too. The characters were printed on card stock, colorized for a more vintage feel and then added to the page using 3D adhesive dots (as was the mudlahara sybol. I like the slightly raised effect. Finally, I edged the cards with red & white striped twine.
Here you can see the reverse side of the card. I used another, much smaller word cloud also printed on Gampi with decorative tape around the edges. I decided that I needed to add a translation of the Kanji characters too.

I have some more post card sized cards to finish. This is a shortie week end for me. I'm working on Monday this week which I normally don't do...the up side to that is that I will have next Friday off. Hooray!

Happy Sunday to all and to all a good night.

22 January 2012

Beaded Felt Bag ReDux

One side of the finished bag. Oddly enough choosing a zipper for this bag was one of the most difficult things - nothing looked a hundred percent 'right'. When in doubt - choose lime!
It seems that a lot of people I know are are using the gloom of winter days to finish projects. I've been rethinking my felted bags lately - considering how to simplify my process so that I can try to sell them. At present just the handle takes me 2-3 hours and no one will pay for that I know! I had not planned to hop on the 'finish wagon' until I walked by this heavily beaded quilted felt wall hanging that I had made a couple of years ago.

Honestly, it did nothing for me as it hung on the wall. It was too small, at  9" X 12", to make any impact . I had just thought about how much I enjoy using the knitting bag I made and, as I walked past this, I thought about what a great knitting notions bag it would make. I took it down from the wall, washed it in the machine and set about making it into a bag. The size is decent although I could not add the gusset I wanted because of the heavy beading.  My hands were really aching when I finally finished it! Aside from being used as a notions bag it will also make a fine small purse. I lined it with a magenta bali batik fabric and added two pockets to the lining- so it will hold a check book and a few essentials- lip balm, phone etc. 

I'm happy that I landed on the 'finish wagon', or in my case, the 're-make wagon'!.
This is the other side with a beaded fringe at the top.
Detail of side 1 showing the braided handle

Detail of the fringe beading on the top of side 2

Detail of beading on side 2

18 January 2012

PostMark'd Art Roping Cowgirl Valentine

Roses on My Table has a Valentine's theme for the PostMark'd Art swap this month. I decided to do a larger version of my Cowboy's Sweetheart ATC the swap. Unfortunately the textured metal hearts do not look as good in the image as they do in the hand. The edge is jute twine that I thought would tie in with the Cowgirl roper theme.

I'm not sure why I enjoy swapping these small pieces of art so much but I do.

The gals from Arts In The Cards and I have started a new venture - a journal quilt sized textile art theme that we have called "Arts In The Cards : ReVisioned". We'll have bi-monthly challenges and I'm just waiting for us to choose the theme to get going. I found I really needed a more textile oriented challenge - and I am hoping this will fill the bill. I designed the blog yesterday - but may have to tone it down in the future !

What are your plans for Heart (Valentine's) Day? WE'll be home being simple, snug and warm!

14 January 2012

ATC's for January Groups

Happy 2nd Anniversary to us at Arts In The Cards! The front is made from a card with a gampi overlay of 2's in circles. The hands are painted with some iridescent medium which made getting a decent photograph a real challenge for me. The hands have red fingernails that are covered with a high gloss finish. The back of the card is also a Gampi tissue overlay from a self portrait

I've been staying at least the tiniest bit creative during the work - although work seems to make a real slug out of me and my energy level is nil in the evenings. The two ATC trade groups that I do try to stay current with are Arts In The Cards and Roses on my Table.

Arts In The Cards is celebrating our 2nd anniversary this month. The cards above are in honor of that achievement.

Below are the set I made for the Roses swap. The theme was "Cowboy's Sweetheart" which is about as far away from something that is comfortable for me as the man in the moon. I did have fun these though and I am so glad to return to the Roses fold after a brief hiatus at the end of last year.
More soon! Happy MLK long weekend to all !

03 January 2012

30 Things To Stop Doing

I found this article on Alice Regan's Blog . She got it from Marc and Angels website. Somehow it all rang true to me - some of the things are so obvious- obvious of course with the benefit of hindsight at my now less- than-spring-chicken age. I wish I had grasped some of these admonitions earlier in life - but hey - I get it now! I hope some you will find it an interesting article as well. 

Happy New Year! Happy New Avenues For Growth! Happy New Opportunities To be Creative !

On my way to work one morning a couple of weeks ago. What a beautiful world!

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
Photo by: Rob Brucker

01 January 2012

When You Just Need A Little Space

I've kept a journal for nearly 30 years. During most of that time my journaling was written, perhaps with some ticket stubs or other small memorabilia glued in. Thankfully, some years ago I discovered the wonders of art, or visual, journaling and ever since then my journals have had more allure than ever for me. It's something I look forward to doing.

Let's face it though - there are many days when there is nothing much of note to write about. Some days I simply note the temperature (to prove how moderate a climate I live in - albeit with a lot of winter clouds). As I paged through the November-December issue of Somerset Studio I stumbled across an article by Kate Crane in which she detailed how to compose a monthly calendar with just enough space to add some basic observations and doodles.

I was feeling impatient and, perhaps more to the point, very tired when I made this page - so, as you can see, my spacing is off, texture is lacking and and planning and forethought are somewhat awry for January's page - but I can really this developing into a way to keep track of some bare miniumums in one handy spot - with all of the other pages devoted to more lengthy ruminations or mixed media fun things. I'll be adding some borders and doodles and thickening up some of the lettering that's already there - 2012 looks a bit skimp to me - but all in all it was fun thing to slap together and I the months to come will be more artfully arranged - but no less fun!

I guess I always look for ways to encourage my friends to journal - it's so much fun to look back on what your doing and where you were doing it as the years fly by. It gives me a sense of perspective - after all all you have to lose is memories - and they can be pretty sweet at times!