Sunday, December 25, 2011

Have a Robin's Egg Blue Christmas!

 Here is the angel on top of my bird themed tree,  It is the creative outlet i told you about HERE.
 Here is our petite table top tree with silver and white birds, pearl and mercury glass garland, and jewel toned ornaments.  It looks really sparse here - it looks fuller in real life somehow!
 I've had this painting for a while, up in our guest room.  i got the idea to stencil "peace on earth" watching Emily Henderson's christmas special (Secrets of a Stylist).  She stencilled "joy to the world" on a vintage map as a fun holiday decoration.  She suggested peace on earth as an alternate expression.  I just love how the robin's egg blue balances the theme of the tree.
Here you can see my new caged Santos - i need to find a crown for her head.  (Jim finds her hideous) Also you can see i went a little nuts decorating our 75 drawer apothocary cabinet with glass picture frames, snowflakes and more garland.
 I was blessed to receive some lovely things from my friends - here is a mini tree made with sheet music and burlap squares - topped with a wee birdie, from Z.
 And K sent me this amazing 3-d christmas card in a padded envelope.
 My friend L was moving and gave me a bunch of empty boxes.  She does packaging design - so had a quite a collection.  Here are three that i wrapped up with beautiful decorative papers and embellishment.  They can be used again and again.  The book was a gift my my sister to my husband, we were not supposed to unwrap it - but the amazon box was sooo ugly.  besides, doesn't it just blend in beautifully with my theme?
And here is one of 5 origami birds i made, using a tutorial my neice posted on her blog HERE.  I used these cranes to give my husband gifts we need to go and pick out together.  I printed images of the items on 8 1/2 by 11 printer paper, then cut the paper into an 8 1/2" square.  It took me a while to get the hang of the folding - but by the 5th one i think i figured it out!

For christmas eve, we went out with friends for a lovely gourmet dinner.  Afterwards, we invited them in for egg nog with Grand Marnier and nutmeg, enjoyed some carols and the lovely ambiance of our decorated room.  I hope your christmas is memorable and shared with good friends and family....!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Creative Outlet Play Date

Six artsy girlfriends spent Sunday afternoon doing something creative.  With an outlet.  Yes - an actual electrical outlet.  Get it?  A "creative outlet"!!
Micheal deMeng's Creative Outlet
D. has taken many classes with the altered art genius, Micheal deMeng and purchased one of his Creative Outlets so we'd seen a sample of what was possible. Click HERE to see more examples of his work. Even so, there was some intimidation about how to get started, what to bring, what if you don't like his "dark" style?  But as always seems to happen at these lively gatherings, we all feed off of each others muses, share each others loot, and end up with a fantastic array of art projects.  
When gathering up my tools and materials the day before, i saw an angel evolve - with a optical lens face, and brass and capiz shell wings.  The body of course, would be the outlet itself!  I just kept layering and layering until i felt it captured  the spirit of a DeMeng piece - with the interesting juxtaposition of materials so prevalent in his work.  Albeit with a prettier and softer pallet of cream, gold and touches of blue.
Here is after i glued the wings and shell to the back of the outlet, and wired the lens.  The adorable face came from a copy of a vintage christmas card - so angelic.  And here is my finished angel! She has porcelain arms, a copper ruffled collar, a snowflake hat, a blue crystal bodice with a blue wire bow.  Her skirt is a set of carded buttons, a piece of mica and some ecru lace. I honestly had not planned on one, but a bird quite literally landed in my work area, so was added to the final piece, i glued it onto one of the buttons strung on a piece of wire to create a golden halo.
Keeping in mind these projects are at various stages of completion, i'd love to share my friends' work with the blogsphere.  Here is Z's outlet turned face, complete with blue hair barrette eyes and some bling-y earrings.  The metal face part was found in a parking lot!  Treasures are everywhere you look....!

Here is L's whimsical framed box, with an assortment of fimo clay elements adding to the fun.  She has a striped snake tail slithering into the central compartment covered with charms and a piece of measuring tape wrapped in wire. Two metal hands give this a high five, twice!
Here is S's deeply layered outlet, with an open work vine covered round tin box, a faucet crank, a protracter, wings and leaves and flourishes, topped with a locket.  She will probably paint the whole thing and make it look quite different than it does now.
Here is D's creation.  Well - it is hard to really capture it.  It started as a protractor framed outlet with wings and gears and a watch and a spoon and a baby.  Then it got added to a wire airplane sculpture.  and here it is on a tin box, waiting for the glue to dry. As you can tell - she has the most experience with the DeMeng style!
Here is K's piece, still waiting for the carousel horse to be painted and final assembly.  Love her assortment of metals - silver, brass, and her signature copper.  It is fascinating how you take such disseparate items and make a pulled together art piece.
Since i finished my angel pretty quick, i went ahead and created a second creative outlet. Would you like to create one of these for yourself, or as a gift for your wacky sister, aunt, friend? 
Ask your husband if he has any extra electrical outlets in the garage/basement.  Oddly enough, most of them do.  Or go to the hardware store.  I do NOT recommend you actually remove one from the wall!! (yuck yuck)  Then grab two forks (or spoons or a spatula or a whisk would look cool) and wire it to the outlet.  Then add whatever you have in your junk drawer with E6000 or 7800 glue until you have enough.  Whatever "enough" means, it is kinda in the eye of the beholder!  Then you can paint or stain it to make some of the elements more cohesive.  I just used alcohol ink and a Q-tip to add a golden glow to my metals.  Some bright pink craft wire, and some white buttons dyed bright pink add the whimsy.  My little baby is painted gold and dipped with pigment dust and sits on a fork tine stage, behind a western style belt buckle proscenium arch.  Hell yeah.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Curio Christmas

A few weeks back i spent the day at my friend Karen's house for yet another fantabulous play date.  Along with three other crafty friends we enjoyed Karen's gracious hospitality and all created dozens of Christmas cards.  I got off to a quick start with this kit i picked up at Ross (of all places).  It is the Curio collection from Basic Grey papers.  I just loved the assortment of vintage patterns mixed with flowers, birds and butterflies.
Here are how the 8  cards looked made almost exactly like the kit!  Needless to say  - i was WAY ahead of my friends, although it wasn't really fair since all my pieces were pre-cut!
Because i loved the papers so much, before the play date i ordered a 12x12 kit from the same collection online. It came with some matching stickers and borders, and even a page of letters.
What i loved most about these papers is that they were DOUBLE -SIDED! - think what cool cards these would make!  (the card kit above, is NOT double sided, they are plain white inside, but still quite nice!)
You had to think hard about which side to put on the outside they were so darn pretty.
I did a bunch of 8 x 4" tall cards.

And i did some 5 x7", a couple of squares.  Since i had an assortment of envelopes, figured i would mix it up!
As you can imagine, created cards out of 12 x 12" paper leaves alot of nice scraps.  Check out this lovely pile!
 So, i had no choice but to make more cards!  I used a stack of pale olive green card stock Lucie gave away at the play date to create standard 5 x 7" folded cards.
 I paired up two or three coordinating patterns amongst the 24 or so cards.

 Then i glued them all on in a pleasing patchwork.  Perhaps not the most "christmas-y" of pallets, but the soft pinks, greens and browns all worked so nicely with the card stock.
 Then i added embellishment with stickers, lace, birds, butterflies and flowers.  On some i added "merry christmas in copper embossing, but i found melting the embossing powder caused the cards to curl and separate.
 When i counted up all my cards i had about 50 - but i need 60-70 to cover my annual christmas card list.  So i turned to this cute bird themed kit i picked up at Anthropologie.
 It contained 24 postcards, three rubber stamps, red ink, and a stack of cute stickers.
I used plain cream card stock, folded in an 8 x 4" card.  I bordered the postcards on some more scrap Curio paper and glued to the top of the card.  On the bottom i added a snippet of sheet music and some ribbons and more embellishment.
 I would have LOVED to add three dimensional objects like buttons and charms to these cards, but in the interest of safe (and cheap) mailing, i went with all flat embellishment.  Now i just have to write a personal note inside each one, stamp and address the envelopes and we're done for another year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 Here are some simple collage cards i made a few weeks ago.  Instead of actually mailing them to anyone - i used them as wall art to decorate my office for the month of October.

Most of these cards were made with the Graphic 45 Halloween in Wonderland 8x8 paper collection.  Each card is an 8x8 sheet of scrapbook paper just folded in half, for a generous sized card.  The papers are also double sided - so they are just as cool on the inside!
Here is the complete paper collection!  Special thanks to my friend Karen for sharing!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Altered Photographs Play Date

 I spent a fun afternoon Saturday altering photographs in a style my friend S learned at Art Unraveled this year.  She took a workshop with Karen Michel and learned various techniques she shared with us.  I  started with a picture i took of the Wentworth by the Sea, an abandoned grand hotel in New Hampshire i took back in the 80's.  After wetting the photo i started to sand off the edges with fine sand paper.
This is what the hotel looks like today - i just googled it - back in 2003 it was rescued and returned to its former glory!  This makes me very happy.
 But when i took this pic - it was just sitting there - sad and alone - perfect material for a creepy altered photo!
 After sanding off the edges i scraped into the trees and added details with an awl.  Then it went into a coolaid bath (unsweetened!) to turn this ghostly red colour!
 Next i took two picures of my neice and nephew sitting on my mom's back patio steps.  The pictures were taken one year apart.
 Here they are after wetting and sanding off all the background.  See below how they look with some added colour.
Here they are after their coolaid bath and some rubber stamping.
 Here is a beautiful victorian house, or Queen Anne perhaps? taken in Kennebunkport.
 Here it is sanded down.
 Here is my sister and BIL on a mountain top skiing.  I added some stamping to this you can see below.
 Here is a "before" shot at christmas about 16 years ago.  I felt quilty erasing my mom out of this one, but it isn't like i don't have hundreds of other pictures with her in them, right?
 Here is an array of L's altered photos.  She went with interesting graphic designs and lots of hand painting.
Here is a closeup of two of her pictures.  Aren't they magical?
 Here are S's and D's shots.They added collage materials and lots of vibrant colour to transform the mundane snapshot into something artistic.
 Here's Z's images - not quite finished - but really cool how you can take something and turn it into something else!
 Here are more of mine with the sanding and colour tint added.
 Some landscapes.
 D's image of a quilt altered to hightlight this gorgeous tree.
 My husband's family at christmas - they'll all be getting fun and kooky looking paper hats!
Jim and I with our respective mom's in front ot our old flowering apple tree on Mother's Day back in the 90's. Both these ladies are alive and well!
  Check out the bottom left house and scroll back up to see the before - too cool!  I added more colour to these with Caran D'ache crayons and a bit of water.
 We just loved how cool those circles look on this image!
Here are all 16 images i altered yesterday - so much fun to spread them all out the next day and see them with fresh eyes.  I need to add some finishing touches, some captions, some stamps - but aren't they cool!  Thanks as always to our host D for another creative play date.  And to S for showing us how to do this.  Fun times!