October 23, 2014

For the Love of Pumpkin

Ah, 'tis the season!!  
All hail the mighty pumpkin!!  
That gorgeous gourd of gastronomic gratification!!  
I love you!!  

And I know I am not alone in this love affair.  Trader Joe's, my favorite grocery store has a seasonal offering of 63 (63!!!) pumpkin related items.  Jillian and I went in there the other day and bought 9 of them:

  • Pumpkin Cereal
  • Pumpkin Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Cereal Bars
  • Pumpkin Macarons
  • Pumpkin Scone Cookies
  • A Harvest Salad kit with Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Croutons, and Pumpkin Dressing
  • Pumpkin Croutons (the sample offered was so yummy we knew we needed more)
  • Pumpkin Body Butter (not for eating, but I smell delicious wearing it, and it is divinely light and creamy)

I commemorated our haul with a scrapbook layout.   It's a Design Team project for Craft Envy, my local scrapbook store, using Simple Stories "Sweater Weather" collection, and some bits of packaging from a couple of the pumpkin products. 

There are so many pretty papers in this collection!  I made this card taking inspiration from one of the cute Fall motifs included on the coordinating sticker sheet, sketching out a large acorn.  By stitching around the outline, the paper piecing is "instantly" unified.  A perfect project while watching an episode of The Walking Dead, counting my blessings that we are not having to deal with the zombie apocolypse at this time.  ;)

And, the inside:

Love that little squirrel.  The line also features an adorable hedgehog and fox.
But the papers are not "cutesy" and have a lot of versatility. ;)

So, excuse me now, darling as I go off to graze on some of the pumpkin-wonderfulness we've got in the kitchen.  Then it's back to the store, because this will be me come late December: 
Pumpkin Hoarder
Borrowed from the Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer Advertising Circular.

Thank you for visiting!

July 10, 2014

OLW #84: LIGHT **Good Morning, Sunshine!**

The lovely Lisa Saunders has chosen "Light" as the Word Up this time around at One Little Word.  

I knew exactly the feeling I wanted to capture with this project, as I've been relishing it every morning now that the kids are out for summer break and our morning routine has become very relaxed.  

"Good Morning, Sunshine!"

Just some watercolor and black pen to document this luxurious nicety.  

Head on over to One Little Word to see what the Designers and other Wordsters have created this month!

Wishing you a lovely light and bright day! ;)

July 02, 2014

New Love: Fabric Twine

I. Am. In. LOVE!!

I saw this tutorial for making fabric twine on Pinterest and just had to give it a go.  Finally!!  I'm putting fabric to use that has been in my stash for 20 years!!  (Not even exaggerating!!)

Once I had a good amount of twine twisted up I played around with ways to use it, from tying up pretty packages to making this:

I painted a canvas with a couple shades of brown, then covered it with a piece of burlap.  A bit of pinkish paint around the edge to coordinate with my twine, and then the fun of looping the letters began.

I used needle and thread to carefully baste and weave the twine securely in place.  What's next?  Words, shapes, pot holders, a rug??  Who knows!!  But I'm definitely going to be twisting up some more twine!!  

Thanks for stopping by!

June 16, 2014

How Funky is My Chicken?

Easter came and went.  The kids are older, well into High School.  The Easter Bunny's excitement at our house has devolved as this burnt out working rabbit's effort at "doing her best" has really, sadly, dwindled to the point where she doesn't even use Easter grass anymore, and the baskets were too hard to locate in the garage so oversized Tupperware made do.  And there weren't even jellybeans. Weren't.  Even.  Jellybeans.  Pretty lame.

The Easter Bunny, rather, spent some post-Easter energy doing a little Spring cleaning and purging, and came to the realization that she is in fact, an Easter Squirrel.  No, a Year-Round Squirrel. Tucked behind packages of expired microwave popcorn and a bag of fossilized miniature marshmallows were these two little rubber chicks, meant to be included in the baskets...er, bowls...this year (or possibly Easter 2009).

They were deflated, misshapen and could no longer stand on their own, but trash? No.  I diverted them into my squirreled stash of mark-making tools and objects, things I use to add texture to wet paint, gesso, or gelli prints.

ICAD was the perfect opportunity to experiment with them right away.  First I used them with Distress Inks to make this:

I just pounced those little fuzzy chicken heads right onto the ink pads and onto my card.

Pretty cool!  Then I thought, what if I could be more purposeful with shading and make a face?

I used three shades of Distress Ink:  Antique Linen, Vintage Photo, and Gathered Twigs.

Even though I tried to expand the illusion of the "canvas", I think using a larger format would be more successful.  I used pencil and black pen to define the features.

My Cocoa Daisy kit arrived the other day, and I was super excited because I purchased the Project Art add-on this month starring Dina Wakely's new line of acrylic paints and BLACK GESSO!!
I could not wait to (literally) get my fingers into their creaminess, grabbed an index card and smooshed and smoothed those vibrant colors all over it.  I used a chicken to stipple on some black gesso to add contrast, and wiped a tree trunk on with the left over I'd squeezed onto my work surface.

A few nearby additions including cuttings from a plastic tray insert from a box of Christmas cookies or chocolate, a worry doll and some dictionary page and my latest, most favoritest little piece of art was born!

Yes, I do love my alone time.  Especially when I'm feeling creative and go get lost in my art supplies.

How 'bout you?  What do you like to do with your alone time?

Thanks for stopping by!!
Have a great day!!

June 11, 2014

Index Card A Day

Through the magical clickity-click of the World Wide Web maze I came across Tammy Garcia's blog, Daisy Yellow just in time to join in with her 61 day challenge, Index-Card-a-Day, or ICAD, which started on June 1st.  The idea is just to make a daily habit of creating.   The only criteria is that you use index cards, and as index cards are pretty much considered disposable, you should feel free to make art without any stress or worry, no thought or goal of perfection, no pressure to even produce every day if you don't want to, and no pressure to catch up if you skip a day or join in late.   Feel free to join in now if you'd like!  It's very laid back.  The only criteria is that you use index cards.

There are prompts, themes, quotes to jump start your creativity if you want, but they are completely optional.  See?  No stress!  Use a pencil, use a ballpoint pen, use some crayons, or your finest oil paints if you'd like.

Here are a few I've created so far.

Totally mindless, carefree fun--if you want it to be.
Or, if you are feeling more deep and philosophical, that's awesome, too!

If you play and want to share, be sure to join the Daisy Yellow Flickr group!

Have a great day!

June 03, 2014

Visiting the Norton Simon Museum

Last weekend we went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA.  It was our first time to visit, but I feel like I kinda grew up with Norton due to the Cezanne poster that has hung for decades in various spots in my parents' house(s).
Current location: Mom and Dad's bedroom.
Photo credit: Thanks, Mom!

I hadn't given that poster a thought in a long while until we came across the original painting in one of the galleries.  It surely made me smile. :)

Paul Cezanne, Tulips in a Vase

It was exciting to see Degas and his many sculptures and paintings, including "Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen" and "Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera", as Jillian had studied him for a biographical report in her Freshman Art Class.

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
Photo credit:  Jillian Flaherty via Instagram

"Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera"
Apologies for the blurry photo.  By the time I noticed her and got out
the camera, she was on the move!

Jeremy was not enthused by the visit.  He was a bit miffed that he had been dragged out of his self-proclaimed "nerd cave" of a room, forced to put on *gasp* pants, when it was a 3-day weekend and he'd yet to have a pajama day.  I tried to pull him out of the funk by pointing out a few paintings and then bringing up Nina Katchadourian's hilarious airplane bathroom photos:  "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style" on my iPhone.  He was not amused.



(Funny, we were checking out the ranch house at William S. Hart Park yesterday, and as we walked back to the car he said, "Wow!  That place was, like, 100 years old!"  Jillian and I chimed in that some of the paintings we were looking at last weekend were from the 15th Century, and the Buddhist sculptures were  circa 150 - 350 A.D.  He was blown away!  It still surprises me the things that will go over his head unless they are pointed out specifically to him, and that they must be pointed out in a specific manner in order for him to truly register them.)  

I was, however, amused in the Flemish Style, and the paintings and pieces that spoke to me this first visit were all about bringing me joy, making me smile.

I love this 14th sculpture trio from the Pisan School.  The full cheeks of the bagpipe playing angel seem whimsically fun, being crafted in an era that I think of as so dark and serious.

And, how about these two portraits?  They are so fresh, real and unstuffy!  The first, a selfie by Maurice-Quentin de la Tour:  I love the twinkle in his laughing eyes that speaks even more than the slight smile on his lips.  The second, by Guillaume Voiriot, so seemingly candid as if this unnamed man was casually reading, heard his name called and looked up just as a photo was taken of him.  Knowing how long it actually took to capture this image in pastel--it's fantastic!

Maurice-Quentin de La Tour

Guillaume Voiriot

I love how a museum can "show" you different things depending on your mood and who you are with.  If you ever think, "Oh, I've already been to that one," I say, "Ah, but not today!" and I urge you to visit again and see how your perspective is different based on so many varying factors: the weather, your company or your solitude, current affairs, what you did yesterday, what you have scheduled in the upcoming week.  All of it, all of it will play a part in your experience.

I sure am looking forward to going back!
Plus, we found an excellent little Italian restaurant where we had lunch.  It was the smell that drew us inside.  :)

Wishing you a joy-filled day!

May 30, 2014

Poet in the Rye

I'd forgotten about redacted poetry, but was recently reintroduced to the idea when reading about Austin Kleon, author of Newspaper Blackout.  Here are a couple of his examples.

All the poems I've seen or attempted to do myself have this similar blocked out look, so I was completely blown away when Jillian shared this school assignment with me:

                                            I'm not trying to contribute
                                            Something valuable to the world
                                            But to have a passion

It is absolutely beautiful!!  The poem, the art, the poem as art, the whole of it.  Love!

I love that it is on an actual book page and not a photocopied piece of paper.  She said her teacher walked around the room with a copy of Catcher in the Rye, the book they'd been studying, tearing pages out as she went along, randomly giving one to each student.

Jill says she was pretty lucky to get the page she did to be able to pull this poem out of the text.

You and I know she would have come up with something remarkable even if she had been given an empty cereal box.

I can't wait till the is project is returned to her so I can display it our home.  I love it!!!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!!

May 28, 2014

Sweet 17 Mini

Hello, friends!  As I am still in disbelief that I have a 17 year old kid, and I had a bunch of pictures from her birthday that I still wanted to scrap, AND I had some of that Twirly Girly paper yet to use, I decided to craft up a little mini book/accordion display to further commemorate the milestone and maybe even slap myself back into reality, come to terms with the fact that:  Your baby girl ain't no baby no more, Lisa! 

I started out with 4 manila tags and randomly scraped gesso on each side of them.  Once dry, I applied various colors of mist to each in a random-ish way, encouraging drips and drying each color before adding the next.

Using a bit of masking tape to position 2 tags side by side while keeping a millimeter or two between them, I used my sewing machine to zigzag-stitch the tags together.  I added on a third tag, and then the fourth, creating an easy free-standing accordion which could also be folded into a small book.


Embellishing was easy-peasy with a couple of circle punches and a piece of gold striped vellum from My Mind's Eye and the word sticker sheet that coordinates with the Chickaniddy papers.

What wasn't so easy for me was figuring out how I wanted the pictures to look.  I tried full color, muted color, and sepia toned, and finally committed to black and white.  Jillian had just purchased a couple KAISERfusion alcohol markers, and still not satisfied with the look of the pix, I decided to try the pink one out on a photo.  I love how it turned out!

Matthew, my silly nephew, making goofy faces and photobombing his grandpa.  :)
"Ha-ha, kid, now you're on my blog!" 

As on the layout poster earlier, I think the papers needed a little something, and the sparkle from a clear Gelly Roll pen was just that thing.

Because the mini has an accordion fold it can open like a book in both directions.  I made a little strap   to go around it and hold it closed with a loop and toggle when not out on display.  The toggle was made with a small piece of a paper straw.  I threaded some baker's twine through, then crimped the each end of the straw around the twine.  A few pounces on the table to flatten the end and that straw is attached quite securely in place.

I held the toggle on the edge of the folded book, wrapped the twine around and tied a loop for it to slide through and secure the book closed.  A generous dab of glue on the back of the knot keeps the contraption attached to the front cover.   Pretty clever, eh?  I admit I am pretty proud of myself. ;)

Thank you for coming by to check out this little mini!
Have a great day!