Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Ornament

It's so nice to have some down time during this Thanksgiving weekend. I've got several projects in the works and wanted to share this one. The tin was lightly sanded, primed and painted with linen color acrylic. The image was added using gel medium. This one begged to be crackled so I used Anita's Fragile Crackle and rubbed a dark red acrylic into the cracks. Holes were punched in the sides of the tin and rusty wire from Rock Candy was used as a hanger. This is the sturdiest rusty wire I've ever used. It is twisted which gives a nice appearance but it also adds strength. The embellishments are also from Rock Candy and include red tinsel, silk ribbon and rusty jingle bells.

I picked this tree up at Goodwill and I believe it needs to be a different color. I'm not sure what will become of it yet, but I think it's pretty cool.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thankful Heart and Edible Art

In an hour, we'll leave for a family gathering to celebrate this day of thanksgiving. It's a good time to take stock of all there is to be thankful for even during these days of uncertainty. I have been blessed beyond measure in this life and because of the hope we have through Jesus Christ, I look forward to the blessing of eternal life.

I wanted to share a photo of Clarissa's beautiful pumpkin cheesecake. At fifteen, she has a love of creating in the kitchen and she is gifted at it. The recipe can be found at It is called Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping and Gingersnap Crust. This is her first cheesecake and I think she's off to a great start.

Thanksgiving Blessings to All!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Page For Charity

Although not a scrapbooker, I like to shop at for Cuttlebug folders and Spellbinder dies that aren't available locally. They are sponsoring a charity event for literacy which is geared toward the early learner. The letter "f" is my assignment and on this rainy day, it was relaxing to just have fun with this little 8"x8" page for a worthy cause. The page will go into one of two books that will be sold to benefit literacy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Workshop

When I think of Anne Bagby's style, I think of her great stamp designs. This is one of the stamps I used during the workshop and it was about half the size of her larger stamps. This one is about 6" tall by 12" long. I was introduced to carving stamps a few years ago and carve occasionally but after using these stamps, I'm feeling the desire to get my carving gear out and create some new carved stamps.

On the first morning of the three day workshop, we were introduced to complicated paper. Our supply list included various inks, paints and glazes all in the color palette of greens, neutrals and oranges. We each had about 30 sheets of various papers to cover with layers of acrylic paint. The goal was to cover each sheet of paper with as many layers as possible in a short period of time. This is a sample of a piece of paper I did. My base was all neutrals but afterwards other layers of color were added.

Below is a page from my journal. I cut a window using a diecut and covered the page with strips of complicated paper. Note the orange and greens. I had just started adding a glaze (Golden brand in taupe) when I decided to snap this photo so I could compare the change that the additional layers of color would make.

This is the result of 3-4 layers of glaze, stenciling and a bit of machine sewing.

One of our homework assignments was to do some sketching. We picked out a few faces from Anne's samples and used those to sketch from. We were encouraged to photocopy our completed sketch and save the original. Here's my first attempt at sketching a face and I'm pretty OK with it. The copy was collaged onto a piece of the produced paper and was colored and shaded at this point.
Additional layers of color were added including glazes, water soluble wax pastels and more sewing. The sketch was also shaded and outlined a bit.

One of our challenges on the first day was to create a self-portrait collage on a piece of the complicated paper. This was the only project I couldn't complete. For whatever reason, I just couldn't produce. I believe it was the second day that we worked with shapes and created 'people'. The person I created became my self-portrait. Her "crown" is a shoe tap with the words 'high-test' and the number 24 is in the center. This is so symbolic of how I feel my life has been for the last 3-4 years. The two pieces over the chest are watch faces and the strings of thread are not trimmed leaving her a work in progress.

This is just a small sampling of the projects and techniques from the workshop. It was fast-paced and intense to say the least. I hope there will be more Anne Bagby weekends on Signal Mountain. I'm ready to sign up for the next one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Signal Mountain: The Trip Up

Where do I begin? Several weeks ago, two friends and I were fortunate to land spots in an art weekend being taught by Anne Bagby. Three full days of Anne and her techniques so close to home were more than I could pass up. The location for this event was on Signal Mountain, Tennessee which is around a three hour drive for me.
I worked part of the day and decided to get started and hopefully arrive before dark. Alone with my GPS, I felt confident and excited. I'd never been to Signal Mountain before and for whatever reason, the word mountain just went over my head. I totally depended on the GPS to get me to where I was going and that works most of the time.
By the time I was nearing Signal Mountain, I was weary and it was getting dark. The GPS, which Clarissa and I affectionately named 'Bertha', told me to turn and I did and I did again and again and again. I have to tell you that I was afraid, very afraid. Fog had moved in and settled and the road I was traveling on is referred to as the "W". I suspect that's because of the hairpin curves that are pretty much continuous as you wind your way up. I prayed and I squinted and struggled with a little bit of panic. Sweet Bertha told me I had arrived but there was nothing but blackness and a chained gate to my left and I knew I was nowhere. I did intend to turn around and take another look but knew that it would have to be a safe driveway for turning around because there would be no backing into traffic. After missing the next three driveways after Bertha declaring that I had 'arrived', I turned into the fourth drive and just happened to look at the mailbox and saw the address I was actually looking for! To say I was relieved at that moment would be an understatement!
Here's a couple of shots of the cute little B&B that my friends and I stayed in; it was our little home away from home and it was so close to the workshop.

The owner of this place is an artist and has several painted items throughout the B&B including this door.

We worked on our homework (yes, there was homework!) at this table in the evenings. I'd thrown in a small OTT light which is always a good idea and it really came in handy on this trip. The electric blanket was a good idea too!

I've more to post but short on time. It was a great weekend and I can't wait to share....Later!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Retreat Project

I am still unpacking from retreat! This year was going to be a 'light-packing' year but I honestly couldn't tell a difference and it was my own fault. I'm always afraid I'll need something I don't have and tend to overdo the packing. I did end up without two of my most basic needs: sandpaper and a rag. I really need that rag in my lap for some reason and nothing works better than an old diaper. Clarissa is fifteen so you know my rags are old!!

As I was unpacking, I found this card that was presented at retreat by my friend, Joyce, and thought I'd share. Strips of paper are glued onto paper and then that piece of paper composed of strips is cut into new strips...(clear as mud?) These new strips along with black Mituhiki cord was placed onto a sticky surface into a pleasing pattern. I think the size of my strips should vary a bit more but I'm pretty pleased with it. The center medallion is from a Spellbinders' die and is held in place with a brad.

I continue to unpack but I'm packing again as I go and it is a much lighter load for sure. I'm beyond thrilled to be headed to an Anne Bagby workshop weekend in East Tennessee. I think I first noticed her work in True Colors a few years ago. I've been an admirer of her work ever since and can't wait for the weekend. Later!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Betty Jane

I worked on this Christmas gift at retreat and look forward to sending it to my sister-in-law. I'm not sure it's quite finished yet but it is propped up so I can look at it often. Hopefully, if it needs something more, I'll figure out what that is before Christmas.

The photo was taken of my mother-in-law around the age of 18...(I can see Clarissa in her face). It is collaged onto a 5x7 board and of course I used the diamond background. Some of us wear diamonds and some of us paint them!

What did we do for texture before the cuttlebug folders? I guess the swirl folder is right up there with the diamond stencil. I'm crazy about them both.

I have at least a dozen gifts to make for Christmas plus several cards. The pressure is beginning to build!

Monday, November 3, 2008

From Retreat to Reality!

Clarissa and I had fun at the retreat this weekend. We were dragging this morning and thankful for the time change!
I didn't take very many pictures this year but did snap this one of Clarissa and her favorite project of the weekend which was presented by Jules.

This is a better view of the piece. Thanks Jules!

I'm not sure I had a favorite since I didn't want to stop one and move to the next. But then each new project was my favorite!

Hopefully, I'll have more to share later.