Sunday, October 15, 2017

What Happened to September?

I'm not sure what happened to the month of September, but it disappeared in the blink of an eye!  Lately, each weekend has been filled with activities, which has left little time to create in the art space. I started a project for the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for September, but didn't quite finish it in time. The theme was vintage and I had an adorable postcard from 1911 that I used to make a small mixed media piece. It is nearly done, but lacks the finishing touches on the frame.

The dogs on this piece were on a plain white postcard. The date in the lower left hand corners says 1911! I have several old postcards that were given to me by my mom. I really didn't know if I wanted to cut this one apart, but in the end I did. I figured that we would all enjoy seeing it hanging somewhere vs. being in a drawer. There are also some vintage stamps in the background. 

A close up of the mixed media piece.

Like the project above, I am excellent at the "getting started" part. I have many "in progress" journal pages, works on canvas and on wood, and various cards. However, I am Queen of the Unfinished Projects, as it is rare that I actually complete one! (Doesn't that sound like some cute journal page?) Anyways, below are the projects that have been ongoing for quite some time. I have updated the Butterfly on canvas from the Works in Progress post from August. The giraffe (lower right corner) also got an update with some added flowers and spots on the giraffe. I will post a better view of it when completed. The poor elephant and large canvas are just waiting to have some TLC. 

How many WIP's is too many??? LOL.

Then, as if I didn't already have enough projects going (and there are many that aren't in that photo), what did I do? I started another one! (What was I thinking??!!) The project below was inspired by the color theme for Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for October.  Currently it is in the beginning stages with a layer of papers, the first layer of paint and some stenciling. I plan on using this board as my "practice" for trying out new materials/methods with acrylic paint.  My mantra this month: "I'm going to finish on time...I'm going to finish on time....I'm going to finish on time." :P

The start of my MMMC for October. 
And finally, I created two more altered journals. I actually like these better than the original one I posted In the MMMC for August. I just finished these earlier today. They are both gifts for the teenage girls that live across the street. 

While it looks like I've been creating like crazy, I've really just been storing up projects to be completed. ha! As I have a bit of time this afternoon, I'm making it my goal to try and finish projects instead of starting any new ones. 

I have more exciting things to share, but will save those for another post! This one is already long enough! 

Thanks for stopping by to check out my projects and have a blessed week. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge: August

It's that time again...a challenge for Mixed Media Monthly! I had a project in mind for last month, but was not able to complete it. Dad was in the hospital for nearly two weeks and we spent a lot of time helping him and mom during that time. Thankfully, he is back home now and working on getting stronger each day (yay!). 

The day after we took him home, it was back to teaching. After our first full week, I was in desperate need of some time in the art room. I've spent the afternoon doodling around on various projects and finally completed a small one that I am entering in the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for August. The inspiration for this month is the photo below. I imagined sitting on the other side of those windows and doing a bit of journaling. While there, maybe even taking a peek at a beautiful view and the possibility of seeing a few butterflies flitting about the flowers outside the window. It inspired me to create an altered composition notebook.


This was a fun project that didn't require a lot of time, unless you count issues with decision making. It took me awhile to decide upon papers and what layout I wanted to use. There's so many cute options!  It is also a project that is very inexpensive. The composition notebook was about fifty cents at Walmart and the papers used to create it were just a few dollars (half price at Hobby Lobby). 

I started with a plain composition notebook. Using selected papers, ribbon and stickers, I attached my layout using a permanent bond glue runner. That's all there is to it! I played around with adding additional items, like embellishments, but decided I liked the simple version of it the best. While we were at the store last night, I picked up several more composition notebooks (for a quarter!) and plan on creating a few to use as gifts. I even thought it would be cool to leave some around my school with inspirational quotes inside...similar to the Kindness Rocks project, but a journal instead. 

Bargain notebook with not so cute cover. ;P

Completed cover...much cuter now, right?! Wishing I would have added a black background
border under the butterfly card....oh well! 

Inside of front cover
Inside of back cover

Back cover

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope your day is filled with joy and blessings. :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Works in Progress

It feels good to be back in the art space tonight. This summer has been especially difficult for our family and I've spent less and less time creating in the last month.  I'm hoping that things are looking up for a bit and I can get back to a more normal routine that includes more art time.  I've really missed having my hands in some paint!

The pieces below are ones that were started early July and haven't been worked on since.  I'm loving the direction each painting is headed and am excited at the possibility of art time this weekend.

The butterfly canvas has many layers and has looked differently through its various stages. This one would have been fun to photograph and look at each layer. I'm looking forward to adding more details and finishing it up soon.

Butterly on 12 x 12 canvas 
Using a block of wood, I made a smaller version of my flowers on canvas that was given to my parents. I absolutely love the many layers of this, one which includes beeswax! The entire background went from an antique-ish brown layer with beeswax to the bright field of flowers below. It really amazes me at the changes a project can take from start to finish. I never know what will happen until I decide, "It's done!" A few smaller flowers and this one will be complete.

Field of flowers on 7 x7 wood block
Originally, the painting below was a mix of outlined flowers. Somehow it morphed into an elephant set against the evening sun. There's quite a bit left to finish on this painting, but I like where it is going and am excited to work on it again soon.

Elephant on 12 x 12 canvas
Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in some of the monthly challenges for July, but am super excited to create something for August. Looking forward to sharing those soon! I'm also looking forward to getting back and seeing what all of you have been creating in the last few weeks! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Art Class

For the last year, my friend and I have discussed taking a local art class.  This summer we actually made it to THREE classes at My Heart's Fancy.  We had so much fun and learned many different techniques. The first class was called "Master Page Creation" and was part one of a two part session. In this session we doodled, stamped, stenciled, and overall just had a great time creating our pages. We created several layers until our master page was completed...amazingly this page was worked on for about three hours. Did I mention how much fun we were having??

The next step, prior to meeting again, involved making color copies of our pages. Besides making copies for ourselves, we made extras to share with those in class. This way each of us could have many designs to create additional items. 

Cards, tags, bookmarks....oh my! ;P
During the second session of the class (a few days later), we utilized the color copies to make cards, tags, bookmarks, etc. The possibilities of creating things is endless! My tags are a bit messy and unfinished, but they were extra paint blobs and doodles. Eventually I will go back and finish them along with the tag holder. I would like to add some stitching to the holder along with ribbon and a button for closure. Photographs coming soon!

The final class we took was learning about Distress Oxide Inks. I have to say...those are pretty COOL! We went through multiple methods quickly and I didn't quite finish most of the projects. Those will come soon in another post.

Overall, I really loved being part of a class in person. I've always taken online courses and worked on art in my very spare time. It was a joy to create with others. I would love to continue taking a class here and there as time allows. If you are in the area, definitely check out My Heart's Fancy for amazing classes.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quirky Giraffe, PPF and Monthly Mixed Media Challenge

Several weeks back, I started a new project. I had no plans for this project, just play around and see where it went. Starting with a scrap wood piece, 7 x 24, I gave a coat of gesso and allowed it to dry. The next layer consisted of torn papers randomly glued throughout the background. After that layer was completely dry, I took everything outside and prepared my surface for some paint spray! Using a few different stencils, I sprayed over the glued papers. 

Everything is set up and ready to spray!

Spray + stencils = fun colors and designs. (MMMC #32: Put a Stencil on It)
I looked at the sprayed version of this for several days and could not decide which direction I should take this project. Flowers? Birds? No idea?? The length and the shape of the wood worked perfectly for a giraffe's long neck. I sketched out a quirky giraffe and starting rubbing on paint for the background. It is hard to see in the picture, but there is actually quite a lot of texture in this project.  Torn papers and molding paste in various places make for some interesting textures throughout. While I didn't take any photos of the middle process, you can see the finished project below.

Outdoors photo in Abbey's Garden (more about the garden in the next post).

Completed quirky giraffe. 

If you look closely, you can see a few places where the background spray paint/stencils shows through. While my hubby thinks this is one odd piece, I think the giraffe is kinda cute. :P 
Hope you enjoy it as well!

Friday, June 2, 2017

King Edward Gets a Makeover....

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

I'm not sure what happened to the month of May, but it started and was over before I knew it.  There have been many things keeping us on the go with little time for what is most enjoyable...creating in the art space. Finally, I slowed down to work on some of the challenges I had been thinking about all month.

There were two challenges at Canvas Corp Brands. One of the challenges for May was "Old is the New." A few years back, my mom had given me an old cigar box. I thought it was cool and that one day I could "do something" with it. I'm glad I still have the box as it was perfect for this challenge!

Old tobacco box...King Edward needs a makeover, right?
Often, I get caught up in creating and forget to pause for photos. That happened throughout this project! (One day I will get better at this!) The box has several layers.  The first layer included various torn papers adhered with matte gel. Next, was a light coating of gold/copper acrylic paints. Transparency was a goal, as I wanted some of the elements of the box to show through the paint. After the paint was dry, I wanted to add contrast to the gold and selected Golden's teal fluid acrylics.  The stencils that I had on hand weren't quite what I was looking for, so I opted for making my own. Using a hot glue gun, I drew various flowers, leaves and other shapes onto parchment paper. When they were dry, peeling them off was easy! (*If you make these, be sure to connect the glue in all places...think "one continuous stream of glue per shape.")

Using a hot glue gun to draw shapes for unique stencils.

A few of the designs that were created...I made about two sheets of various patterns and shapes. 

The stencils are fragile, so I carefully applied a coat of acrylic paint using a foam paint brush and stamped the designs various places on the box.

Here's a finished look at the bottom of the box. Stencils were used around the sides as well.

Using matte gel, I added the final touches to the box. This included embellishments such as ribbon, a button, flowers and found objects in nature (shell, twigs, leaf). 

The finished product, front view. 

Another view of the box.

Close up, top view of box. 
I'm submitting this project to the challenge "Old is New" and to Paint Party Friday. I'm also participating in the Monthly Mixed Media Blog Challenge, "A Year of Choices...Put a Stamp on It."


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Canvas Corp Brands April Challenge and PPF

There are so many fun challenges, weekly and monthly, that I have really enjoyed participating in over the last couple months. A new one I came across is Canvas Corps Brands Challenge. Their theme for this month is FEATHERS.

 I've also been trying to add posts for Paint Party Friday...even if I don't quite make it on Friday! ;P

The following project is for PPF and the CCBC:

Starting with a plain wood box, I added several layers which included: gesso, torn papers, stamping, washi tape, and acrylic paints. Each area of the box is a little different. Some areas have more paint coverage and others a bit less. Using a cute print of material and a piece of quilted material I hand stitched the two pieces together. (My mom would be so proud!) Next I added some hand stitches around the flowers using hot pink embroidery thread. The fabric piece was then adhered to the top of the lid with heavy matte gel.

The top of the box.
Keeping the inside of the box simple, I used sticker lettering (HOPE) and stamping to write the first line of the poem by Emily Dickinson, "Hope is the thing with feathers." The bottom of the box has another piece of the fabric with the quilted backing stitched together. This box will be my place for keeping found objects in nature...acorns, pine cones, feathers, flower petals, etc. When I need a little inspiration, I can peek inside and be inspired!

Inside the box.

The front of the box is decorated with a beaded key.

Front view with key embellishment.

This project was SO MUCH FUN. I love how the box turned out and am looking forward with filling it with my "nature finds."

In addition to the mood board at Canvas Corp Brands, my inspiration came from the poem by Emily Dickinson, "Hope."

Friday, April 28, 2017

Works in Progress

Several projects are in the works and none are quite complete. (I'm excellent at starting projects and taking awhile to finish them! lol.)

There are a few that are in that "ugly" stage and one or two that are looking great! I thought I would share my paintings/projects in progress and later update each one as it is completed.

The first photograph shows current projects. I am working on a large painting that has undergone many transformations. (Why didn't I photograph the transformation???!)  So far, I really like the direction it has taken in this stage. There are three projects on cold press paper using paints, NeoColor II water crayons, collage, and modeling paste. Two out of the three are birds. I'm not sure where I'm going with those two, but both are experiments using a few new materials, one being modeling paste. The box to the right of the photo is a memory/collectibles box. I've created a box  before using an old cigar box, the box below was purchased at a local craft store. I am super excited to work on it TODAY (a very rare day off)!

Projects in the Works: Large Painting in background, three smaller works on  cold press paper,
one collectibles/memories box for an April Challenge.

Close up of large painting.

Hope you each have an opportunity to create this weekend!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Paint Party Friday and Mixed Media Monthly Challenge

For the last couple years, my goal has been to eventually link up to Paint Party Friday. I am finally getting around to meeting that goal! I often struggle finding the time to work on projects, but have been thankful to have the last couple days to wrap up something I've been working on for my mom.  I'm not actually sure if I am done with this or if I'd like to tweak or add more flowers. (So please feel free to comment and let me know what you think...finished or add something else?)

In addition to linking to PPF, I'm sharing this on the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for April. I'm obsessed with COLOR, especially vibrant colors, so I'm going to say my super power is color. I especially love the colors we see in nature. I'm hoping that I will complete and add another work to the challenge this month.

I love the colors and textures, but can't decide if this is actually complete or if it needs something else. 

Playing with my photograph in Aviary. 

Play along at Mixed Media Monthly Challenge!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge - March

The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for March is....BUTTONS! There are many things that can be created with buttons, so this challenge sparked several ideas.

I've been thinking about creating my own mixed media journal for awhile now, so that's what I did! I love the idea of recycling and repurposing items, so my project started with a used file folder. The folder was trimmed to 11.5 x 7.5. Using acrylic paints, a roller, mark making tools and stencils I created a background for the journal. I actually made three background pieces before choosing one for the journal. (This step is fun, so I got carried away!) The background pictured below is one of the three... I forgot to take a picture of the one I selected to use prior to the second step.

This background is one of the three that I created for making a journal. 

After the paint was dry, I used a sewing machine and stitched a border of red thread along the edges of the folder. Folding it almost in half, leaving a flap of about 1.5 inches, the watercolor pages were added to the inside. The pages were secured by stitching down the center of the folder.  

The folded version of the journal with stitched edges, added papers and a 1.5 inch flap.
Adding the butterfly stickers, button, and ribbon were the final steps to completing the cover. 
After looking at numerous buttons, I decided on a simplistic design for the closure. The fiber ribbon wraps around the journal and the button to keep the journal closed. In addition, I added a small round closure of velcro on the inside of the cover. 

The completed journal cover. 

The inside of the journal is a work in progress. For some of the pages, I added decorative paper over the top of the watercolor paper. I may end up adding quotes or other things on these pages. Other pages will be used for mixed media creations.

The first page upon opening the journal. Decorative paper was used on the first page. 

There are endless possibilities of things that can be created inside the pages of the journal. I'm excited about starting some of those items and sharing them along the way. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon

Last weekend a several of us traveled to Phoenix, AZ to run the Mesa-Phx Marathon. When I had originally signed up, my plan was to run the full marathon. However, due to an injury and a few setbacks, I changed my registration from full to half in January. Since Roger's training had gone very well, his plan was to complete the marathon with a PR.

We left for Phoenix on Thursday morning with another couple, who barely made the flight (whew)! Since we had a day and a half before our runs, we were able to explore Phoenix and do a few fun things.

After arriving, we drove up to South Mountain Park.  It was a beautiful drive with a scenic overview at the top. (Our friend had rented a convertible Mustang. It was very cool, but also quite tiny in the back seat area, so we drove our own rental.) Along the way, there were many hiking trails, but since our marathon was just a day away, we wanted to save some energy for our legs.

South Mountain Park
On Friday, we spent the afternoon taking a boat ride on the Dolly Steamboat.  Once again, the car ride there was filled with amazing scenery. We really enjoyed the 1.5 hour, six mile cruise. Along the way we saw a bald eagle hovering around its nest. The weather for the ride was perfect. It was a relaxing and peaceful way to spend the afternoon before the race!

View from the Dolly Steamboat

After our ride we headed back to the hotel to get our race things ready for the next day. We had hoped to go to sleep as early as possible, as our alarms were set to 2:30am (ugh!!!) This race is one that you must catch the bus to the half/full start locations by 4:30am, so we had to be ready early! Blake, Roger and I left the hotel at 3:30am and arrived in plenty of time to meet up with other friends and catch the bus by 4:30am. The full and the half both started at 6:30am, but from different locations. I was glad that we didn't feel rushed and were able to do a warm up mile and a half along with warm up drills before the race. The start was unique as both locations received a brief fireworks show before gun time! 

The weather for the race could not have been more perfect. Temps were in the mid to upper forties (perfect running weather) with very light winds. The morning was absolutely beautiful and everyone had amazing races. Roger, Blake, and David all ran personal best times and I came within a minute of a personal best for myself. My half marathon time was the best that I have run in five years. 

My second best half marathon finish at 1:41:47.
*Free pics provided by the marathon event!

After finishing my half, I was able to find Mindy and then Blake. The three of us were able to watch several friends finish their marathon. The most exciting was watching Roger blaze past us to complete his marathon with a personal best of 2:55!! (This time is fourteen minutes faster than his previous record. wow.) I'm so proud of him and the hard work that he put in training for this event. Congrats to everyone who attended the event and finished their runs. :) 

Roger...just past the finish line. 

Roger ran so well that he placed first in his age group and received an additional medal (it was HUGE). Before the awards actually started, many of us took turns taking pics on the award stand. 

While waiting on the awards ceremony, we took this pic for fun.  Thanks to Muscle Milk for making such tall stands! Ha! It was tough for Roger's post marathon legs to make it up that high. 

We enjoyed hanging out and visiting while waiting for the awards. While it had warmed up, it was still chilly for just sitting around. I was thankful for my post run warm clothes! After getting cleaned 
up and taking a short nap, we all headed to dinner in Scottsdale. We enjoyed tacos, chips, and some way hot salsa at the Salty SeƱorita. We even went for some treats afterwards at the Sugar Bowl.

Eating outdoors is awesome! Roger, Blake and Mindy at our "reserved" table. We didn't reserve it, so we made some good jokes about the sign. haha. 
Before we headed home on Sunday, we had to check out the amazing pool at our hotel. While we didn't want to get everything totally wet, we soaked our legs in the hot tub and then in the pool. It was  fantastic and refreshing! I have to add that our hotel, Grand Canyon Hotel, was one of the best that we've stayed in for a visit to Phoenix. It is run by the Grand Canyon University and students who are working on their degree in the field of management and hospitality work here for real life experiences. We would stay there again!

Last stop before heading home...the hotel pool. 

Warming up by the fire pit. There were two of these by the pool. 

Overall, this was a great trip! We enjoyed spending time with friends, seeing some beautiful scenery and running on an amazing course. Everyone is already talking about going back next year.