December 29, 2011

For the Dogs

Before we had kids, we had dogs, and those dogs were our babies and our pride and joy.  Two beautiful dalmatians full of zing and zest.  Baci and Junior.  Collectively, an important part of our family for 18 years.


They've been riding the Big Firetruck in the Sky (or wherever it is in Dog Heaven that dalmatians go) for 6 and 8 years now, but our menagerie of Christmas ornaments and decorations still reflect the love that we had for those two crazy moops.

My mom, not an animal person, couldn't help but embrace her grand-dogs on a crafty level and made them stockings to hang by the chimney with care.  I LOVE how she made one very spotty and one not so spotty in keeping with Baci and Junior's individual coats.

These dogs had sooooooo many nicknames.  I decided to document as many of those names I could remember and make a spread for my "Pets We've Known and Loved" scrapbook.  This is actually the first entry about our pets that I've made!  (You can read about the scrapbook's inception and the Beastie Boys themed page I made for it here.)

The Paper Company cardstock; K&Company patterned paper (hand cut title);
Balzer Designs/The Crafter's Workshop stencil; Tim Holtz Distress Inks;
Pigma Micron pen; Prang watercolors

The stencil I used as a template for all the nicknames is called "Fragmented Flower" and is available here.  I outlined and doodled the checkerboard pattern with pen after tracing out the inner areas.

Then I re-traced those areas on a separate sheet of cardstock, cut out the pieces and used various colors of distress ink to add color to the edges.

The titles were hand lettered and cut from patterned paper, and after each page was put together I inked the edges of the background paper and added some black watercolor paint splats to finish it off.

It's fun looking back on all those nicknames and how they all came about!  But, you know what?  I've thought of a few more since then!  So now I have to figure out how to add them in.  I think I've come up with a solution--stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting, and wishing you all wonderful and safe New Year's celebrations!

December 17, 2011

Art Journal Year End

In January I made a commitment to take some time for myself each day in the form of art journaling, motivated by artist/scrapbooker/teacher extraordinaire, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I can't believe the year is coming to a close!

I wasn't completely diligent, making entries or additions every day, but I consider my undertaking a success, and look forward to continuing in 2012.  I've come to a crossroads, however.  A decision needs to be made:  Will I start a brand new book for 2012, or continue in this one as there are many blank pages left in it?  I don't know how much more this beloved book can handle!

The current journal I am using is more of a sketch book, and I've been willy-nilly taping pages together to create thickness and resistance to leak through.  I may get this one as recommended and loved by my guru, Julie.  I like that it has the same dimensions as the one I am currently using, but with paper that can handle the wetness of watercolor, a medium that I've come to find  I enjoy using.

But those blank pages will haunt me.  

I took an online art journaling class with Julie last month.  I blogged a little about it here, and you can learn more about it from her, here.  One of the last projects we did was to play with the alphabet.  We worked on just a few letters a day, and the whole of it looks pretty cool.  

 It gave me an idea of what to do with those extra pages.  I think I will collect letters, and if I have enough pages, possibly numbers, too.

It seems like it could be a fun little "in front of the TV" project, looking through magazines and junk mail, collecting letters of different sizes and fonts.  I can add any stamp sets I have.  I may collage all the letters outside the outlines I made, and fill in the letters with doodles or color.  I may have so many letters that the page ends up covered completely.  I may get fed up with the idea and scrap it!  Who knows?! 

But I do think I've just justified a brand new art journal!  Haha!  It seems appropriate to me to start off with a fresh book for a fresh year, no?  Yes!

December 11, 2011

Toilet Paper Art (?!?!?)

My daughter, Jillian, is a creative dynamo.  She always has been.  At age 3 she would cry that her Barbie didn't have a couch to sit on, suck up the tears, go draw one on paper and be completely satisfied to continue with her imaginative play.  Her aunt and uncle have talked a play-doh pizza she made at age 6 into the stuff of legends.  But in between the playdoh stage and the introduction to polymer clay there was...DUN-dun-duuuun....Toilet Paper! 

She and her friend, Kirsten, were so prolific when they'd get together.  These little sculptures of sopping wet toilet paper mush would constantly line the bathroom counter to air dry.  There would be dogs, chairs, bathtubs, cradles, baby chicks and ducklings, all waiting to dry before being embellished with felt pen faces and decorations of bits of string and this and that.  I loved and despised it all at the same time. 

I think this dog is the last standing relic of the toilet paper sculpting phase. 
I was surprised that she still has it!

I found an old picture of the girls from that era to commemorate the passing fad.  With guidance from the artiste, I made some wet toilet paper pulp, sculpted a heart to add to my layout, and molded some onto a couple large foam stamps to form the impressed letters "T" and "P".  Once dry, I painted the depressed area with acrylic paint and a very fine brush.  I used an empty toilet paper tube to stamp white paint circles onto my painted patterned paper as a variation on the theme.

This layout was created last month as part of the Cocoa Daisy Fall Crop for one of the challenges.

Thanks for visiting!

December 01, 2011

Hard Working Man

My husband is one of the hardest working people I know.  Having his own business means he wears the hats of at least 5 people.  He also does freelance graphic and design work, helps around the house, is an amazing father, husband, and pet daddy.  The amount of stuff he gets done in a 24-hour period amazes me.  He never complains.  He is gracious and happy, funny, affectionate and kind.

When I look around at the things I'm responsible for around here, and note that I slack on housework, laundry, etc. (but make plenty of time for my hobbies) I realize how disparate the workload is.  He holds so many reins and works 14-, 16-, 18-hour days.  All so we can eat, sleep, play, and live virtually carefree.

I created this layout for an online crop event at Cocoa Daisy a couple weeks ago.  The challenge was put forth by Anja Wade, one of their amazingly talented Design Team members, to garner inspiration from a collection of gig posters she put together. 

Here is the one I chose:

This Elliott Smith poster spoke to me because Mike sports the same chin beard, I love the colors, and when he and I lived in San Diego we would sometimes go hang at the Belly Up and listen to great music.

And here is the layout I created:

I used Photoscape to change this photo of us first to black and white, then to the contrasty blue tone.  I wish I could tell you exactly how I did it, but let me assure you it was pretty simple (hence me being able to do it!) and that for being a free downloadable photo editing software, Photoscape has a lot of cool filters and color shifting tools to play around with.  A definite score for this girl with a broken CD drive and an unloaded Photoshop disk. 

I printed it out on a couple pieces of white 8x11 cardstock, pieced it together, hand cut the title, wrote out my journaling, and voila! 

And guess what?  I won that challenge!  Hooray for me!  And Hooray for Cocoa Daisy! :)  Thank you so very much for the honor, the inspiration, and the fun!

I'll share some of the other challenge layouts from the crop soon!
Thanks for visiting!