Archive for August, 2008

All art is but imitation of Nature. – Seneca the Younger

I’ve been working on my inchies for the next Artella swap. I’m hoping to have them pretty much done by tomorrow night. Saturday we are off to Ocean City, Maryland for a few days of rest and relaxation. I had to order some blue and aqua glitter glue, so if I get that before we leave then I will probably take them with me to finish by the sea, which would be appropriate. Hey, maybe I could get some real beach sand and somehow glue that on. I like that idea – I’ll have to think about it.

I received an email from one of the assistant editors at Artful Blogging – they are interested in publishing my blog banner in an upcoming issue! I would be absolutely thrilled to have my banner published in such a fabulous magazine. The main reason I started this blog was reading the first issue of Artful Blogging, seeing all the amazing blogs, and thinking – hey, I want to do that! So I emailed her the image and I’m putting my faith out there.

I bought a digital book and a couple digital ephemera packs from Artella for their current digitally-altered book contest. The deadline is September 20. I think my idea is pretty simple and I shouldn’t have any problems getting it done. That means I will be up at least one night until 1:30 in the morning to get it done in time. That’s not too bad, though.

I also finally purchased the bead I’m going to use as the focal point in my mom’s birthday necklace. I can’t post a picture yet, but I will just say that it is gorgeous, and it was made by a very well-known lampwork bead artist. I have an idea of how I’m going to do the necklace, but I’m still working out the details.

Here are a few pictures of Lily from Knoebel’s. They’re a little blurry; apparently our camera does not have an ‘action’ setting.

Knoebel's - On the merry-go-round


Knoebel's - The Flying Tiger

Knoebel's - The Red Baron

She’s much more adventurous than her mother!

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So it didn’t even take until today for me to come up with the theme for my next batch of inchies. Inspiration hit in the shower last night. I often contemplate my projects while I’m in the shower. That’s valuable time that shouldn’t be wasted!

Anyway, I decided to do an ocean theme. Maybe it was the water raining down on my head, maybe it was the fact that we are going to Ocean City, MD next weekend, maybe it’s my love of the ocean – but the ocean it is. I saw these sea shell rubber stamps at AC Moore last weekend, so now I have to go buy them.

Maybe it was just that I wanted to go shopping…

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Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. – Charles Dickens

Saturday night I decided to do some cleaning and re-organizing in my studio. I had a small basket of beads that needed to be put away, so I did that, and in doing so was amazed at the quantity of beads that I have. I haven’t much looked at my beads since Lily was born. To say I have a lot of beads is a severe understatement. I could probably open a small booth. I think I will see if anyone at Artella would like to swap some stuff for beads. Not that I don’t want my beads, but there’s no way I can ever use all that I have, and they’re so beautiful, it’s a shame they are sitting in a cabinet, unused and unseen.

When I was done in my studio I sat and worked on my freeform cuff while watching the Olympics. Here it is so far:

My freeform peyote stitch cuff.

I have about four inches done. It’s gotten a bit out of control, as all of my freeform projects are wont to do, but that’s part of the fun. Eventually they take on a life of their own.

I received my inchies yesterday for the inchie swap:

The inchies I received from the first Artella inchie swap.

Aren’t they cute? Each was made by a different person. Another inchie swap is under way, so of course I couldn’t resist joining that one too. September 5th is the deadline. I haven’t come up with a theme yet (I like to do my inchie batches in themes, I’ve decided), but I have no doubt by the end of tomorrow I will know what I’m going to do.

Yesterday Marc’s employer had a family day at Knoebel’s Amusement Park, so we took Julian and Lily. We’d never been there before; it’s about two-and-a-half hours away, but it was so much fun. It’s really lovely, with trees everywhere. It’s great for little kids – they have a whole bunch of rides for the under-five set, and Lily loved them all. We took her on the regular ferris wheel (she went on the kiddie ferris wheel, too – and loved it!) and when we were at the top she wanted to go higher still. I think Marc is right – she is going to be his roller coaster buddy. I will post some pictures later this week.

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Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman. – Coco Chanel

I sold another piece of my jewelry – yay! It was my Pascha bracelet, which was truly one of my favorites. She’s off to a new home now, and I hope her new owner loves her!

Somerset Studio has two upcoming themes that I am going to attempt to make something for.

The first is the upcoming theme “paper dolls” from the magazine. The due date is October 15. I love paper dolls, so when I saw this theme I knew I had to come up with something. My first idea was to design a series of 1950s suburban housewives who decide to use their housekeeping abilities to revolt against the status quo. But that was too complicated. So now I’ve decided to design a porfolio of fabulous fairy fashions, and I have in mind a certain little fairy to serve as the paper doll. From revolution to fairies – not quite the same thing, but I’m keeping the housewife idea in mind for another time.

Somerset Studio is also putting out a special publication – featuring Marie Antoinette! I love love love Marie Antoinette. I absolutely must make something to submit for this. The deadline is November 15. I am already planning on doing a book about MA, but that, once again, is too complicated for me to finish in time. So I have to think of something else.

One thing that I’ve noticed when it comes to MA is that so much of the focus is on the fabulous dresses, the crazy hairstyles, the extravagance, the glitz and glamour, and the decadence. People immediately associate these things with her, and while that certainly was a part of who she was, there is so much to her story than that. I’m thinking I’d like to make a piece that examines the other aspects of such an intriguing woman.

And I did double-check the deadline for each, so I should be good this time.

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By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

One of my intentions in beginning this blog was to become more involved the art world, whichever world that may be. To that end I wanted to participate in challenge blogs. In the first issue of Artful Blogging, there was an article on wednesdaystamper.wordpress.com. Every Wednesday (or every other Wednesday during the summer) a new challenge is issued. The only requirement is that you use at least one rubber stamp.

So last Wednesday I checked and the challenge was summer tea party! Yay, what a fun – and I’ll admit it, easy – challenge. I decided to go for it and make something. Immediately I thought of a bracelet I made years ago that I called my “garden tea party bracelet”. It was my favorite bracelet for several years.

This served as the inspiration for my piece. I would use a scrapbook paper background, have a teacup with a fairy peeking out (using a picture of Lily as the fairy) and cut out some flowers and butterflys, and voila! Done. By August 20th, anyway.

Except….I checked the blog today just for the heck of it, only to discover that I had my dates wrong and the summer tea party challenge ended today! The brain malfunctioned again. That seems to be happening with increasing frequency these days.

Since I already started the piece, I decided I might as well finish it, as a celebrate-summer-even-though-it’s-pretty-much-over sort of thing. And the new challenge is keyholes, which I’m not particularly interested in.

And I’ll see what the new challenge is on August 27th. And check the date at least five times.

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Someone, I tell you, will remember us. – Sappho

A little late, but here is a picture of my inchies I made for the Artella Inchies Swap.

Inchies made for the Artella Inchies Swap

I must admit, I’m rather proud of them. I used photos from the vintage children photo cd by Digital Imagery Plus that my mom lent me, and used various scrapbook papers as the backgrounds. I wrote a phrase for each girl, choosing words that I felt best described the feeling I got from looking at her picture. The one on top, ‘thought-full’ (spelled that way on purpose) I kept for myself. They were then finished with Swarovski crystals and glitter glue. Because of course, nothing’s done until there’s glitter glue on it.

I also stamped the back of each inchie, with this really cool rubber stamp I bought a couple years ago. It’s a large stamp, so I just used a portion of it on each inchie. I forgot to scan the backs before I sent them, but here is the back of the one I kept:

Inchie - the back, rubber-stamped

I love them all, and it was so hard to send them off. But send them off I had to do, so of course I sent them in style. I put each inchie in a lovely organza bag, sandwiched the bags between two pieces of chipboard for safekeeping, and slipped that into this envelope:

Envelope, inked and rubber-stamped.

To do this, I took a plain white envelope, pressed VersaMagic teardrop-shaped inkpads in three colors of blue all over it, then stamped on top of that with the same rubber stamp I used for the backs of the inchies, in Versacolor brown.

I then put that into a plain mailer, and off they went. I hope they arrived safely.

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It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The questions is: What are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau

Here is the card I made for my grandmother:

Grammom\'s Birthday Card

Grammom\'s Birthday Card

It turned out pretty well. I really need to get some more rubber stamp alphabets. I only have a few, and I didn’t feel that the one I used for the card had entirely the right look, but it was the best choice out of the small selection I have.

I sewed all of the papers onto the card and didn’t use any glue, except for some glue dots that I used to hold the papers in place while I sewed them down. I’m trying to cut down on using glue in my paper arts and crafts – I’ve never been a big fan of it. It always distorts the paper! Of course sometimes it’s necessary. But if I can find another way to attach things – whether through sewing, the use of eyelets and brads, or staples, then I will leave the glue behind. I think it’s more challenging that way, and it also adds textural and visual interest to the piece.

And I find that I love sewing on paper. I poke the holes first, to make it easier, and I used DMC cotton embroidery floss. Some people use sewing machines instead of sewing by hand, which is perfectly fine, but I prefer to sew by hand. It’s my nature – I simply must do everything in the most difficult, time-consuming way possible.

While I’m on this topic, I was watching the Carol Duval Show a few weeks ago, and one of the featured projects was an evening bag made from a video tape mailer (if I remember correctly – the memory is a bit spotty these days. It was some sort of small cardboard box, at the very least.) and beautiful velvet ribbon. The ribbon was attached to the box using a strong double-sided tape, and then additional trims were added, again using the tape. Now, looking at the finished bag, you would never know that tape was used, and they were really lovely. But tape? I was shocked, quite frankly. I wouldn’t dream of using tape in that fashion. Especially with that gorgeous ribbon!

I guess if you need to just throw something together….but even still I’d rather do without than use tape. To me, there’s no challenge in that, no skill or craftsmanship required (other than being able to line things up properly), and not really even much thought needed. Is that snobby? Probably. But if a project doesn’t draw blood, sweat, and tears from me, then why bother? I want to suffer for my art!

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