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It’s been a while since I posted…I have no good excuse really, I just have been really busy (I really dislike that word!) or something I guess. I have plenty to post about though, that’s for sure!

So one of my goals for this year is to submit four items to magazines. My Christmas ornaments fell through, I did submit my encouragement cards but I haven’t heard anything so I’ll take that as a no. And last Friday I mailed some new ATCs – I call them the “sunshine happy sparkle” sisters.

three sisters

I made these for the “aqua” theme for an upcoming issue of Somerset Studio. I’m pleased with how they turned out, although it was not easy to get them done in time – they had to be in California today.

When I thought of the color aqua, I thought of children, happiness, bright colors, summer, and fun. Then – and this is how crazy inspiration often is – I was walking down the hall at work thinking about sparkly things (hey, I need a break sometimes from all the numbers I work with!), and then I noticed how sunny and pretty it was outside, so I was thinking about sunshine sparkles. Somehow that turned into sunshine happy sparkle (which sounds like a Japanese interpretation). And suddenly the idea popped into my head to make the ATCs featuring three sisters named Sunshine, Happy, and Sparkle.

I wrote a little story about the sisters and printed it onto tissue paper, which I glued onto the ATCs (I used premade watercolor paper ATCs). I painted over that with aqua, then stamped over that. I printed out the photos and colored them with pencils. And of course I had to add some sparkle with stick-on rhinestones. I put masking tape across the bottom, and I inked over the tape a bit to dull down the black. Et voila!

I think they turned out cute, and definitely captured what I was aiming for.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoDawne

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ooh les fees!
My little French fairies are all done.

La Fee Francaise ATC

La Fee Francaise ATC

La Fee Francaise ATC

I’m pleased with how they turned out. I restrained myself in regards to adding embellishments – originally I intended to add lots of crystals. But it didn’t look right, and I didn’t want the fairies to be overwhelmed by too much sparkle (did I just say “too much sparkle”? heaven forbid!)

La Fee Francaise ATC - detail

They ended up with a simplicity and subtlety that I’m really happy with.

La Fee Francaise ATC - detail

dreams of paris
I started my other aubergine project as well. I found the absolute most perfect picture to use.

she dreams of paris

Isn’t she wonderful? I just love her!

somerset-opia
I got the new July/August issue of Somerset Studio (50% off coupon again. AC Moore knows what I like!)

Somerset Studio - July/August 2009

Lots of color and flowers in this issue, as well as the usual gorgeous-ness. It has been added to my magazines-to-read pile.

get ready for the holidays
I received a copy of my article that will be in the next issue of Somerset Holidays. Lovely, of course, thanks to the beautiful layout and photos. It’s so exciting to me, and I feel that it’s just the beginning.

details, details.
The wind blowing the rain so hard there was a mist coming in our front door. Thunder and lightening. Lily screaming in delight over her new flip-flops.

~off on my way~

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an ensemble is never complete without the right pair of earrings.

Here are the earrings I made to go with my new pendant necklace.

Chain earrings

I wanted to make something quick and simple, and of course elegant. These are made with two different antiqued-brass chains, antiqued-brass findings, and Czech fire-polished beads.

I made these while Lily played on the computer. I can’t believe I actually got to work on a project while she was awake! Note to self – let her play on the computer more often…

my little french fairies
And here are my aubergine-theme atc’s so far.

les fees francaises

I still have to add words and crystals. I came up with a phrase for each, in French. I hope my meager grasp of French vocabulary and grammar doesn’t embarrass me! Unfortunately I don’t know anyone fluent, so I’ll have to take my chances.

I think they look good so far, n’est-ce pas?

life is in the details
Watching three little bunnies running around the cemetery at the church where Lily’s daycare is. Pinkish light on the house across the street as the sun was rising.

~must renew my French lessons~

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more & more new jewels
I made this necklace to showcase the beautiful Russian pendant I got from Artbeads.

Emerald - russian pendant necklace

Emerald - beautiful pendant necklace

I used one of my favorite types of beads, Czech fire-polished, as well as antiqued-brass chain and findings. Artbeads has a great selection of beads, including lots of beautiful Czech fire-polished.

I’m really pleased with the necklace, and of course I’ll be making a pair of earrings to go with it.

Emerald - necklace

oh aubergine
I decided to make a second aubergine project – a small (approximately 7″x5″) canvas. This will allow me to use the sealing wax and seal, as was my original intention. It will have a photo of a vintage lady on it and be French-themed, and other than that I haven’t decided exactly what I’m doing with it. I’ll just find a photo I like and let that be the inspiration.

still playing with the fairies
I worked some more on my digital art piece:

fairy play

It’s getting there. I want to add some words, maybe something about playing with dragonflies.

a spoonful of sugar
My daughter has been watching Mary Poppins (on repeat!) for the past couple weeks. I had bought it for her maybe when she was one, as part of my effort to build up a nice library of Disney movies for her. I’d never seen the movie myself, and I still haven’t seen the entire thing, but I must say I adore that Miss Poppins.

It’s a wonderful movie, with great songs (which are now lodged permanently in my brain) – it’s fun and uplifting. You cannot possibly be in a bad mood after watching the delightful Mary Poppins.

life’s in the details
Enjoying a bowl of delicious cold cherries. Wandering the aisles of AC Moore. Watching Lily play at daycare before she realizes I’m there.

~looking for a carpet bag of my own~

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shrinky-dinky-doo
I finished my latest Polyshrink bracelet (I posted a picture of it unfinished last week).

Polyshrink bracelet

I love how it turned out – the chain and pearls make it so elegant. I plan on making more components (still haven’t thought of a better word) and buttons after I finish my Russian pendant necklace.

french fairies
I’ve started working on my submission for Somerset Studio’s “aubergine” issue. The word “aubergine” makes me think of France (I don’t like eggplant). I decided to make a set of three ATCs depicting vintage French fairies.

vintage ladies

These are my fairies, wingless, but that will soon be remedied. My initial inspiration for this project was my desire to use sealing wax in a project, but now I’m not sure that I’m going to use it. I’m thinking the seal may be too large, but I might get the supplies anyway and try it out.

more fairy play
I started a new digital art piece using one of the “pixel packs” from my Artella digital art membership. Here it is so far:

fairy play - digital art

Not much to look at – yet. I really admire those who can do intricate digital art – I aspire to be at that level someday. For now I would call my style (and ability) digital collage, because basically I just stick stuff on a background. I guess that counts for something, right?

small moments
Trees tossing in the wind outside the windows at work. Sitting in my car at lunch reading.

~playing with the fairies~

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I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and Hanukkah (for those who celebrate them, anyway). Mine were wonderful – I am blessed with a loving, fun, and generous family.

My husband gave me some very cool gourmet chocolates by MarieBelle. Each chocolate is handcrafted from the finest natural ingredients, and the top of each delectable treat offers an artistic rendition of a unique retro-inspired scene or design. Flavors range from the traditional (butter caramel and coconut) to the unusual (champagne – yummy! and gianduja – I don’t know what that is). These are fun chocolates – just ask my daughter.

Here are a few of them:
MarieBelle chocolates

I received my ATC’s from the Artella Holiday Memories swap a week ago but hadn’t had a chance to post them, so here they are:

Artella 2008 Holiday Memories ATC Swap

I love the variety. From top left clockwise the artists are: Jan’ice Rogers, Cheryl Richards, Karen Solliday, and Pamela Tucker.

For Christmas I made necklaces for my sister and sister-in-law. They are the same as the crystal pendant necklace I made for myself a couple months ago (mine was the test drive!).

The one for my sister:
Julie's Christmas gift 2008

And the one for my sister-in-law (this one is exactly the same as the one I made for myself):
Erin's Christmas gift 2008

And here is the collage I made for my Mom:
Mom's Christmas gift 2008

This was my grandmother’s older sister Charlotte, for whom my Mom is named. Charlotte was killed in a car accident a couple months after graduating high school. My grandmother was only seven at the time. She remembers Charlotte as being very sweet and calling her “my sugar cookie”. My mom spent a good deal of time last year researching the details of the accident because my grandmother’s memory was a bit hazy.

And then there were a bunch of photos of Charlotte in a box of old family photos my Mom lent to me, and I also found her commencement card and a thank-you note she had written to one of her aunts shortly before she died, thanking her for a graduation present. So looking at these photos and other items and knowing my Mom’s interest in her inspired me to create a collage in honor of her.

I’m happy with how it turned out. I did a bit of sewing on this one, which I love to do. And I didn’t use any glitter glue – I wanted the collage to be more serious, and not glitzy. The buttons represent history and the connections that female family members have to each other. I’ve read many a blog entry or magazine article where the author mentions how she treasures a button box given to her by her mother or grandmother.

I suspect not many people would recognize the evocative power of a button.

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I finished my ATCs for the Artella Holiday Memories ATC swap. Overall I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. This is the first time I have made ATCs. Each one is 2.5″ by 3.5″. Here they are (the tree background paper is by Basic Grey – I love everything Basic Grey!):

Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap - 1

Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap - 2

Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap - 3

Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap - 4

Artella Holiday Memories ATC Swap - 5

As usual the crystals did not scan well. It’s a shame, because they add just the right touch of sparkle to the cards, but you can’t tell from these pictures.

I made these using the watercolor paper ATC blanks I ordered from ArtChix. I direct-applied red ink around the edges, front and back. I used scrapbook paper for the backgrounds. I used pictures from the Memories of a Lifetime – Christmas book, resized them and toned down the color a bit in Photoshop, and printed them onto white cardstock that I first treated with the coffee technique.

I originally wanted to use ivory cardstock, but found that I had none, so decided to try out the coffee technique on white cardstock. It turned out pretty cool. I only did light splatters, because I wanted the pictures to be clear.

I ended up having to trim quite a bit off the pictures after I printed them out. I did measure them pre-printing, but I misjudged how they would look, and they were simply way too big. I wasn’t happy about that situation but most of them turned out well anyway.

I used German scrap paper and Swarovski crystals for embellishment. The larger crystals are topaz and the smaller ones are garnet.

The only card I’m not thrilled with is the one with the man and woman by the tree, with Merry Christmas along the side. Why I thought putting the Merry Christmas along the side was a good idea I don’t know. There is so much space at the bottom under the picture, and it just doesn’t look quite right. oh well.

Not sure if I previously mentioned this, but I took a class at AC Moore today on tatting. Bead & Button occasionally has articles featuring tatted jewelry, with beads of course, and I always thought it looked neat. Then I was at AC Moore a few weeks ago (well, I’m there every week. I wish they would stop giving me those 50% off coupons!) and I just happened to pick up the November class schedule, which I never do, and saw a bunch of tatting classes. Most were during the week in the daytime when I’m at work, but one was today, and seeing how I had requested the day off from work, I thought surely this is a sign that I must take this class! Plus it was only $15.

So here is my half-finished, first attempt at tatting. It’s hard to see the stitches because of course I had to use black thread (this is size 10 cotton crochet thread). I know very well when you’re first learning anything that involves thread or yarn you should always use a light color so you can see your stitches easily. But I knew that I would use black again, whereas I doubt I would use white.

First attempt at tatting.

The teacher, Leigh Ann, was kind enough to give me her finished sample, so that when I work on it at home I can see what it should look like.

Leigh Ann's tatted lace.

Isn’t that pretty? She used a thinner thread and needle. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. And quick, which I’m all into these days. It’s relaxing too – there’s something about wrapping the thread around my finger and bringing it onto the needle that I find very soothing.

Obviously from the looks of my sample I need a bit more practice, but I’ve already ordered a set of needles and a book from Handy Hands Tatting, so in about a week I should be good to go. I plan on making this my portable creative endeavor.

And I also ordered a bunch of punches that I need for my Polyshrink jewelry. So I’ll be able to work on that soon too.

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