Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stampotique Stamps

The  Stampotique stamps have arrived! (Okay... actually they've been here a little while.) I keep looking at them and thinking about what I'd like to create next, but have lacked the time so far. School activities, birthdays, and holiday get togethers have filled the majority of my evenings and weekends. Secretly, I'm dreaming of a blizzard and days trapped at home! It is quite unlikely that will happen as our area rarely gets snow, but I can always dream, right?

Stamps from L-R are AngelKassa's Bloom,  and Tree
The Angel stamp was used in an earlier project for the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge, In a Dark, Dark Forest. 

Totally random and not related to this post at all....

I made the BEST no bake cookies last night. Not only are they super easy, but they are delicious. The recipe is for No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Angela Gliddon's blog, Oh She Glows. I would have shared some pictures, but the cookies weren't around long enough to photograph!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Hustle 5K/10K Run

The last week in November and first week in December have proven to be quite busy! While I was hoping to do a little art each day, that hasn't been a reality...even though I will still keep making the effort!

In the meantime, I've been working hard to add running mileage. Over the past couple months, I've been working on stretching, strengthening, balance, and all kinds of other things to overcome plantar fasciitis. In addition, I've run less and been biking and aqua jogging instead. It's taken a little time, but I've slowly added in mileage and feel like I'm more solidly on the road to recovery. (If you've had issues with PF, I've added some resources at the bottom of the page that might be helpful to you.)

This past Saturday was The Holiday Hustle 5K/10K run. It's a fantastic event that has something for the entire family. There's a 5K, 10K, and kids' dash, cool tech shirts, gift cards for age group winners, prize money for the super fast folks, and a pancake breakfast afterwards with awesome Christmas music! It's a well run event and definitely one of my favorites.

Saturday morning we woke up to a misty, cloudy day with very cool temperatures. It sounds miserable, but it was actually perfect running weather! Roger ran very well and set a new personal record, 17:54! This put him first in his age group. Way to go, Rog! Surprisingly, I also earned first in my age group, and we both went home with $20 gift cards from a local running store! (Time to go shopping!)

Running a new PR....17:54!

It was great seeing friends that were running the 10K!  
It feels amazing to be back to running more each week. I've really missed it. I'm looking forward to future races and upcoming half marathons! Let the training begin!

If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, I've linked a few things that might be helpful. I've used a little of everything over the last several months. One thing that also was extremely beneficial was seeing a doctor that did soft tissue work on my foot. 

*******Stampotique Stamps have arrived and I will be making something with them soon!*******

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Creative Portfolio

Over the last couple days, I've been playing with Adobe Creative Cloud. I created an account on Behance, edited photos using Light Room, and published my own creative portfolio. It was SO MUCH FUN! I learned many things just by clicking around here and there. The platform is definitely user friendly.

I ended up purchasing an early Christmas present for myself (or as my husband says a birthday present for him) and subscribing to an annual membership for the Creative Cloud. The membership was $9.99 a month and includes the online portfolio website, Light Room, and Photoshop (which I've been wanting to learn for the last two years). There are many other packages and pricing options, as well as a trial membership. All the details can be found on the Creative Cloud site. 

I'm so excited about sharing my portfolio, which currently has three pieces of artwork (pictured below). I'm still playing around with various formats, so it might end of changing, but for now you can view it by clicking the link, "my portfolio." I'd love to hear your comments and feedback!

This piece was one of three that I made into a set of cards. 

This one was created and gifted to my mom. 

This is a close up of a larger piece that was framed and given to my sister for her birthday.

The final work was mounted in a beautiful aqua frame (not pictured). 
While I've had fun playing with all of this tonight, it's getting late! Tomorrow I'm meeting my sister to have some fun at Paint Your Art Out. I'm looking forward to sharing that soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge: November

I love this month's challenge! It's all about COLOR, specifically the colors below:

As always, I didn't really know where I would go with this challenge, but I finally decided upon an abstract piece of work. 

( these!)

Using a sheet of 140lb (cold press) watercolor paper and a brayer, I created my first layer with a wash of Payne's Gray Golden acrylic.  I was so excited to start this project that I didn't get a photo of this step! While it was drying, I cut out several pieces of paper to use for collage.

Laying out the collage papers...they aren't glued down just yet. 
I rearranged the pieces to determine my favorite layout. Then I used Liquitex Gel Medium to adhere each piece to the background.

After everything was dry, I added color with Neocolor II watercolor crayons, acrylic paints, and Silks acrylic glaze. As you can see, I got quite carried away with color! I started with the original colors from the inspiration board, but then kept adding and changing each layer. It's true, I confess, I am a color addict. 
Are you wondering what happened between the original and the current photo?
Did I mention that I got a little carried away with color?

At first, I was thinking, "DISASTER!" Then I remembered that art is a journey and a learning experience. There are no mistakes, right?! (play, play, play!)  I continued to add and and take away colors.  In the end, when I was happy with where it had gone, I added details with Sharpie and Posca pens. 

The final project will be displayed in a cute case I found at a local store.

I've been using my iPhone to take all the photos I post on the blog, but recently have been thinking about using my Cannon Rebel for higher quality photos. I'm learning some new settings and hope to start using it soon!

A better view of the has a glass cover that folds over the top.
I hope each of you have a blessed week and time each day for something creative in your life.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Art Everyday Challenge

Art everyday? YES, PLEASE! While recently reading Kristin Dudish's blog, I discovered an awesome daily challenge. It's called the Art Every Day Month Challenge. There are a couple of things I really love about this challenge: you can start any time and art can be anything creative!

Most days, no matter how much I would like to create, I come home from work completely worn out. (Sound familiar?!) It's tough to squeeze in something for ourselves each day. While I started this challenge earlier this week, I managed to add a touch of creativity into a few days. It hasn't been every day, but it's a start!

While out enjoying a walk, I saw a beautiful vine of the brightest purple flowers on a neighbor's porch. I captured their beauty with my cell phone and continued the walk. The following day, I used that picture and played around with the Aviary app. This time I was biking on our stationary bike. Both days were a little like a creativity/exercise mash up! Normally, I would have walked/biked and not incorporated photos or simple editing into the mix, but it worked and I enjoyed it. These are very small additions of creativity into my days, but baby steps are the way to go. No stress, just fun. 

Aren't these flowers beautiful? 
I encourage you check out the Art Every Day Month Challenge. Find ways to sneak art/creativity into your life. 

In addition, I've been working on the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge. I hope you will stop back by in a day or so to check out the finished project! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Flow: Mindfulness Workbook

While looking through books and magazines at the store yesterday, I came across one I hadn't seen before, Flow: Mindfulness Workbook. After flipping through the pages, I noticed it's a cross between a magazine and an activity book. I was interested in the articles, but also liked the activities and fun things (bookmarks, sticky notes, stickers, journal) that came along with the book. So, on a whim, I bought it!

After a crazy Monday, I'd like to feel as Zen as the lady on the cover looks!

The opening page of the book includes a book mark and sticky notes. 

As shown above, the book is divided into six sections. Each section includes articles and accompanying activities to complete.

Part One:
Thoughts: Why Do We Take Ourselves So Seriously?

Part Two:
Time: Why Do We Always Feel Hurried? (Personally, I can't wait to get to this section!)

Part Three:
Being Kinder: Why Can't We Be a Little Kinder to Ourselves?
(This section includes an interview with Brene Brown.)

Part Four:
New Things: Why Do We Find New Things So Scary?

Part Five:
Happiness: Why Must We Always Be Happy?

Part Six:
Being: Why Are We Always Busy 'Doing'? Can't We Just BE? (Yes, Yes, and YES! Time to slow down some, right?)

Inside part five: Happiness, there are just over fifty keepsake cards for recording memorable moments.
There are just over fifty of these cute keepsake cards. 

Sunday afternoon I spent a few minutes reading through the introduction and part one. As a result, I did try to practice a bit from the "Meditating for Beginners" section. I went outside and sat for a few minutes, just being there, breathing in the autumn air and enjoying the blooming mums. It was wonderful!

I'm looking forward to exploring the remainder of the book and the activities within its pages. I have enjoyed it thus far and recommend it to anyone looking for something on this topic that also includes activities.

The workbook includes a small journal and poster in the back pocket. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge: In a Dark, Dark Forest

It was a perfect day for working in my art space. For the month of October, we've still had quite a lot of warmth and humidity, so when I woke up this morning and it was cool and overcast, it put me in a wonderful, creative mood. Since I had recently found the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge, I decided that even though the month is nearly over, that I still had two days!  I've participated in a few challenges in the past, but I really like the idea of a monthly challenge.

Using this month's mood board, I decided upon a color scheme, which ended up changing a bit while adding various layers. Since this month's sponsor was Stampotique Originals, I browsed online at their store. Originally, I wasn't sure what I wanted to create, but when I saw their stamps, I wanted to use one for my project this month. After deciding upon a few (there are so many cute stamps!) I made my purchase! While a late-comer to this challenge, the stamps were not going to make it on time. I made a copy of one I have purchased and used it in my project.

While making this project, layers with paint were added along with molding paste and torn papers. I also used a variety of other materials that include:

Wood square
Golden paint
NeoColor II watercolor crayons
Martha Stewart craft paper
Scotch washi tape
White and clear gesso
Stampotique Originals stamp (copy)
Bubble stencil
Posca Pens (love, love, love!)
Mark making tools (old gift cards, ends of paint brushes, etc)

In a Dark, Dark Forest

I have plans for creating another project when the stamps arrive...stay tuned for more!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Current Art Projects and New Supplies!

My goal the last couple weekends has been to spend time creating with lessons from Life Book 2016. For the last month, I've been working on the lesson called Roots and Ground, Wings and Earth taught by Tamara Laporte. I have enjoyed every second of this lesson! Due to lack of time it has taken me quite awhile to complete it, but I think it's finally done.

I was able to use some of my favorite materials which include NeoColor II watercolor crayons and Posca Pens. If you haven't tried either of these materials, they are well worth the investment. Posca Pens are a little hard to come by, but can be ordered on Amazon. I have two sets, one which I recently ordered that are extra fine tip and another that are medium tip. Both sets are amazing and have incredible ink flow. 

While I was browsing for new supplies, I was hoping to find a white gel pen that would write over watercolors/acrylics/etc. and actually work. I've tried multiple pens without success until I came across the Uniball Signo. Wow. Very nice pen with fluid ink that nicely works over a variety of surfaces (at least the few I've tried so far). I ordered a pack of three with a variety of colors (white, gold, silver). Amazon has many different options for whatever you might prefer. 

After finishing the above lesson, I started the sketching portion of another lesson by Tamara. After much erasing, editing, re-sketching, I think I am ready to add some paint. I'm taking a few pictures of the work as it comes along from the beginning to the finished product. 

I hope each of you have an opportunity to do something creative everyday....even if it's only a few minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Life, Life, Life!

Life, life, life....positive and challenging things have taken place over the past several months, and I'm just now getting back around to my blog. I've missed it!

For some time now, my mom has been in a lot of pain with her back, knee, and leg. After x-rays and MRI's, the doctors finally discovered that her hip was in terrible shape. Her doctor said it was one of the worst hips he had ever seen. Wow. In March, she had a total hip replacement. While mom's pain is significantly better, the road to recovery has been a long one. She is doing great, but recovery continues for at least a year while she learns new ways to bend, move, and get around places. I'm thankful for her doctor, who was awesome, and the fact that she isn't hurting so much every day.

Shortly after spending a week at my parents' house, helping with my mom's recovery, Roger's dad became very ill. Over a two week time period his health continued to deteriorate, until he passed away in April. He was 82 years young and a seriously funny fellow in his younger days. We think of him often and are thankful for the good memories that we share of his healthier days.

May brought the end of the school year at my new school. While I truly enjoyed it, I really missed my old school, Washington Irving. Change is hard, but can also be good. It was nice to have a break and have a few summer adventures.

Once school was out, we made our annual trip to Bolder Boulder with the Emerson family. As always that was a lot of fun!!! This year we ran the 10K not just once....but TWICE! The first time through was to see how fast we could run it. The second time through was all about doing the fun stuff....slip and slide (which I am evidently terrible at doing), hanging with Elvis, photo bombing local celebrities, and holding a SNAKE. (yes, a real, live, giant anaconda). This trip is one of my favorite "welcome summer" get-aways!

Rog and I before the run.
While we didn't take any pictures on our first trip through, we took a TON on the second time around. It was difficult deciding which ones to share. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Local celeb, Ryan Van Duzer, thought Roger wanted a pic of him. Little did he know...

I was busy photo-bombing his pic! LOL.

Roger with the giant of the few pictures I got of him along the way! He was all about encouraging me to do the crazy things. Although he was quite good at the slip and slide. (I wasn't fast enough to get a good pic of that.)
More photo-bombing...this time with a group of firefighters.

The craziest one of with an anaconda wrapped around my neck. As you know from previous posts,
I'm not afraid of snakes. 

All of us after the run and the show...I think we may have been the last ones there!

In a nutshell, June and July brought time with our families, much needed de-cluttering projects, painting projects, organizing and updating my art space, and so much more that did not get quite finished. The days seemed to fly by and before we knew it August had arrived with the return to school.

While summer was wonderful, I am very much looking forward to cooler air. Autumn is my most loved season and I can't wait to get out and enjoy it!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Art Progress

How long does it take to complete one Life Book lesson? Apparently for me it takes nearly a month! I started the first LB lesson about three weeks ago and I am still working on it. Part of the problem is finding time to actually sit down and focus on the creative process. I feel like it takes me a good hour before I'm "in the creative groove." By that time something always comes up and I'm de-railed from any further work. I haven't solved the problem where to squeeze in more art time. I've heard others who have creative time before or after work, but I lack the energy to do this. (Maybe I should learn to love coffee??) I'm hoping I can start to put aside more time on Sunday afternoons. Personally, I vote for three day weekends for everyone! How do you find creative time?

Below are two of the LB lessons that were taught by Tamara Laporte in January. The Zentangle butterfly lesson titled "This Year I'm Letting Go of..." and the "Happy Traveler" lesson are pictured below. While the butterfly is complete (yay!!!) I'm still working on my traveler and will post final pictures when I have completed her. The third lesson is one I started last week, "Finding Centre with Madalas," taught by Faith Evans-Sills. I had time to add the first layer of mostly paper, but not much else. I'll take some pictures of the progress on that one and share them in my next post. I've watched ahead on her video and am loving the process she has used so far. It will be my first time creating something with spray paints!!

Top pic: Zentangle Butterfly, LL: Happy Traveler, LR: Collage for Mandalas project
I created the above collage using the Live Collage app. There are quite a few options for photo arrangement as well as some fun fonts! I'll definitely be playing more with that as I add future pictures. 

Have a creative weekend! :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

LifeBook 2016

Hello everyone! It's been a LONG while, but I am trying to get back in the groove of blogging and being creative once again. Life gets so busy! I have found that I am SO MUCH happier when I am creating something. Over the last year, I worked on some original mixed media pieces that were gifts to my mom and sister. I'm currently working on a few other pieces for my home, as well as some others that I hope to print as cards. (Still learning how that entire process works!)

Below is a short slideshow I created with a couple of the pieces I mentioned above. It's the first one I have made, so it is very simplistic!

I found that over the las year I missed being part of an art community. In 2013 and 2014 I had participated in LifeBook classes with Tamara Laporte and many other wonderful teachers.  Last year I did not sign up thinking that I would "catch up" with the lessons I missed in 2014. I laugh a little, just because I didn't actually end up doing that and my books from both years still aren't bound together! (Which is completely fine...they will get done one day!) This year I have a new plan going into LB 2016, and even though I'm already behind on lessons, I'm not going to worry about it. It's about the creating when I have the opportunity, enjoying the lessons, and meeting/interacting with the other awesome "Lifebookers."

This is a short post today, but I am off to create my first lesson in LB. I'll be sharing it soon!