Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Its Clearly Black & White!

Did I mention on Mother's Day that Cassandra and Michael gifted me with a Cuttlebug, some embossing folders and a set of six Spellbinder Dies?  As well, David gifted me with a Joann's Gift Card and I was able to get a few more goodies for that Cuttlebug.  I felt and still feel entirely spoiled to the max with that gift -- I've wanted one ever since I first heard about ability to create one's own embellishments!  :-)

The Cuttlebug is rather a quiet little workhorse that, although not as sophisticated as the newer and bigger machines, is wonderfully fun and easy for a first-timer to them.   I've been playing and experimenting with it ever since and enjoying its capabilities!   I will pick up more dies and embossing folders over time as funds are available ... in the meantime, I'm thrilled with what I am able to do!

With some of the results from my playtime, I got the idea for an art piece done totally in black and white, with metal elements if possible.   Having watched my friend, Darlene, of ArteDar's Ustream one evening where she used Aluminum Foil HVAC Tape and embossed it, I thought I'd give it a try as well and picked up a roll at Walmart recently.  OH MY!!  It embosses SO nicely!  Yes, I know it did for Darlene too ... but she's well qualified in doing that as she's been doing Mixed Media forEVER ... whereas I'm a beginner!  LOL   I used the Cuttlebug Anna Griffin Brocade Embossing Folder, and then rubbed some acrylic black over the foil and then wiped it off, leaving it in the depressions -- it looked just like pewter to me!  And those embossed foil strips were the final puzzle to my project idea!

Its Clearly Black & White
Its Clearly Black & White - Upper Right

I started with a 9 x 12 Canvas Panel Board (canvas heat-glued to a hard cardboard backing).  Using the same Brocade folder, I embossed and loosely black-ink-swiped a piece of cardstock and when dry, I Decoupage'd it to the top right corner.  Then followed with a Decoupage of another Brocade embossed sheet of copy paper, left plain white, in the upper left corner.  Following, that, in the lower left, another cardstock (which matched the upper right's) was decoupaged in place.  And finally, lower right, was another decoupaged sheet of white copy paper that was embossed with little flowers (the folder came with my Cuttlebug) and left plain white.

Its Clearly Black & White - Bottom Left

The next step brought one of those "happy accident" thingies.  Using the Crafters Workshop Layered Beads TCW293 Stencil, I was stenciling the series of acrylic black dots on the mid-horizontal when the right side went wonky on me and I messed up the dots entirely.  O.o  I tried to wipe them off the white paper, but was only successful in smearing it ... very badly.  Necessity will rule, so that whole block was painted black and when dry, white gesso dots were stenciled instead.  At the time, I was not happy with myself, but after seeing the effect, I was thrilled!

Its Clearly Black & White - Upper Left

The next step was the decorative die-cut edging strips using Spellbinders Shapeabilities Ironwork Accents Die.  The top one is the cut - the bottom one is the relief from the cut.  These were done on light cardboard, then painted acrylic black and then I used a  metallic silver Gelly pen for decorative touches to imitate a pewter look.   Following those, were the Buttons Galore & More filigree corner pieces, which started out gold.  I painted them acrylic black and rubbed with metallic silver acrylic paint, again to imitate the pewter look.  All of these elements were adhered with Beacon's 3-in-1 Glue.

Its Clearly Black & White - Lower Right
The vertical embossed foil strips were laid down next and followed by the stamped Hero Arts Circle Lace doily image on cardstock which I fussy-cut and glued in place with the Beacons.   I specifically chose this rubber stamp as its image looks like its got tiny little gears and wheels which I felt would coordinate with the metal design elements.

Finishing touches include a previously purchased kit which had the upper right butterfly, the bird, the birdcage cage with a tag which says "Moments to last a lifetime" and the lower right clear tag with scrollwork and raised tag that says" Remember when".  

Its Clearly Black & White - Middle

The "Remember when" tag was placed atop a square cut from cardstock and edged with black & white polka-dotted ribbon.

The lower left butterfly was a free digital image, fussy cut and glued in place.  

The Cameo was another treasure from Buttons Galore & More.  I changed up the gold center with Faber Castell Gesso.  These Cameos are so versatile in that every part of them can be painted or inked to coordinate with your art piece!

So this concludes my first piece using elements created with my new Mother's Day Cuttlebug!   I love that little thing so much already!  :-D

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Letter To Self ...

Letter to Self
This month of May has been a real challenge because of the task given by Tracy Weinzapfel for our Mixed Media Monday's group's monthly challenge.   I thought previous challenges had been challenging, but THIS one was a challenge-topper for me, personally.

Tracy asked us to write a letter to our baby self and read her own letter to self as inspiration for us.  WOW - there wasn't a dry eye in the group by the time she got done!  :-)   But ... me.  UGH  What to share of a life filled with ... well ... just "filled" is enough for now.    I talked with my daughter Cassandra, who often helps me find focus and get to the crux of a matter ... and thankfully, found my "letter" ... brief, but centered on the important thing my baby self needs to know.

My letter is the tag which says:  

"Your life will be a tapestry full of dark and bright moments.  Throughout it all, hold fast in the Lord for He is the golden threads and soldered bits of love, light, strength and hope with every part.  

God will never fail you!  

I love you! --ME--"
Letter to Self - close-up

The page was created with layer upon layer of acrylic mixtures of Quinacridone Red+Burnt Umber and Quinacridone Red+Titanium White which were applied with a variety of painting knives.  Each layer was dried before the next layer was applied.   The finishing touches are painting knife dabs of acrylic Metallic Gold and fine metallic gold pieces of thread which were decoupaged in place.  The Tag was painted with the dark acrylic mixture and the text written in both gold gelly pen ink with a black fine marker underlay.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Moments & Memories

Tomorrow we celebrate Mother's Day.  For us, living with Cassandra and Michael, its a double celebration for her and for me.  Next week, we will continue to celebrate with a dinner out, which will then include Louise, Michael's mom, as she will be back from her travels then.

Mother's Day Moments of Memories
But today, Mother's Day brings special thoughts of Mama and her mama, my Gramma, who are both gone many years now.   I miss them both very much and that loss seems to grow stronger the older I become. My sense of loss for them is shared by others in our family, I know.  When we are together or even talking on the phone, so often our chatter will trail and wrap around them both as we share stories and memories.

My memories hold special moments of each of them at various stages of my life - gramma whistling in the kitchen to the hymns on the radio while she was making a pie for grandpa's supper;  mama sewing a beautiful wedding dress for my first Barbie Doll that I wanted so badly and got for my birthday that year; gramma sitting at the Hammond organ (which now resides in Cassandra's living room), playing "In the Sweet By and By" and letting us bang on it too whenever we came to visit for a while;  mama wrapping me up in her special flannel blankets and bringing me 7-Up when I had the flu; and ever so many other tiny fragments of gestures of love from both of them, for myself and others in our family. 

We love and miss you both, Mama and Gramma.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Femininity Is ...

Recently, my husband David and I were talking about today's young ladies and the differences between our generation and theirs.  Specifically, how girls today seem to need so many, or so few, things on their bodies in order to feel feminine.  

He made this comment to me:  "Being feminine is not your body.  Being feminine is a state of mind."

I felt his statement deserved a page presentation.
And, so I did.

Being Feminine
This page was made in my foofy "Feminine Journal" ... and the rose paper on that page just seemed the perfect place.  :-)  The image of the lady came from Free Vintage Digital Stamps and coloured with Prismacolor Pencils.  The doily, as well as the hand-cut tag, were coloured with a Spectrum Noir marker.  The flowers are all store-bought die cut embellishments.

Yesterday, I made a cute little tag inspired by Francesca Burras' video at One Little House.  Her tag had an adorable little cupie doll and was done in tone-on-tone yellows.  I did mine in the inevitable pink and green and vintage which I love so much.  :-D

Little Girl Vintage Tag
This was tucked into one of the pockets of my foofy journal and is my first decorative tag.  It was a fun little piece to make me feel creative in a day that offered limited creative time.

The tag was made from Bristol paper, cut in the size dimensions of Tim Holtz tags 3-1/8 x 6-1/4 and hole punched to emulate.  It was painted with Liquitex Acrylics mix of Hookers Green Hue Permanent, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White.  The image came pre-coloured from Free Vintage Digital Stamps.  The rest of the elements are stencils, stamps and markers.  A pale pink ribbon finishes the tag. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grown Up Plans

Monday's Challenge at art aMUSEment was to create a piece around "What did you want to be when you grew up?". 

Well now ... didn't that just set me back on my heels!   I couldn't remember ever wanting to be anything when I was growing up.  And then the worry immediately set in ... why didn't I have dreams of becoming something?  Was life so tenuous at that time that I never gave thought to it because I didn't think I'd live that long?   Well, of course the "duck and cover" drills in the 50's from the atomic bomb threats didn't instill any hopes in our fragile little souls ... but surely it couldn't have been that hopeless, could it?

So I called my sister (who's TWO years old than me *snicker*) ... did she have any memories of what I wanted to be?  No ... not that she could recall.   In fact, she couldn't recall any of us girls ever being asked the question!  Oh - of course!  That was before women were liberated ... way before ... so that explains it!!   We didn't get asked because it was a given -- we would become wives and mommies.   O.o   

Hmmm ... ok ... so when did I actually think of "becoming something else"?  It must have been when I was sophomore or junior year in high school and speaking with the school counselor about college preparatory courses.  Yes, that was it!  I had to have been 15 or 16 then as I started college at 17.   I'd had my first psych courses in 9th grand and I was determined to major in Child Psychology with a double major in Spanish so that I could work with multicultural children.

Grand ambitions I had then.  Ambitions that quickly went by the way side when my first baby arrived ... and I never ever regretted a moments loss for that other ambition ... I was quite happy to be a Mommy!  :-)

So this page is dedicated to the grand-wannabe who never was ... and I thank God for every single one of my three children who've given me five grandchildren so far!

Grown Up Plans
The background is acrylic stamping (remember that large sheet of shapes I made with foamies and showed you in an earlier blog piece? yeah - that stamp!), then layers of my home-made alcohol inks, followed by stenciling with white acrylic to help tone down and blend all the background colours. The children dancing was a B&W image from Free Digital Stamp Images blog which I printed on cardstock and coloured with Spectrum Noir markers. I used a decorative punch on the children's paper corners and then used washii tape at top and bottom. The children's background was done in watercolour pencil as well as watercolours. The vine was done in markers and the buttons are all from Buttons Galore and a bit of added bling with the gems. The yellow butterfly is a store-die-cut embellishment and the smaller one was another free vintage digital image from Free Digital Stamp Images. The tag was vanilla and Spectrum Noir coloured to coordinate and held in place with a pink and white polka-dotted brad.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Keep My Memory Green

I was sorting through some saved clippings of images from Better Homes & Gardens publication of 4-17-12 and found a luminescent moth in green and yellow glowing tones.  I remembered thinking, at the time I clipped it, that it was so pretty and might find a home some day in one of my journals.  Well, last night, I was reminded of our weekly challenge at art aMUSEment ... let green be the inspiration!  Then, as I was browsing that folder, I found my printed quotes on Memory, which is my "themed" word for the year, and there was this quote by Charles Dickens that read "Lord, keep my memory green."   And to top it all off, last evening I had downloaded a free darling moon image from a vintage ad offered through **Free Vintage Digital Stamps**

Serendipity ROCKS !!

Keep My Memory Green
This 8 x 10 Canvas was painted in black acrylic.  The lunar moth (which came from a Lunesta ad in that BHG magazine) and was carefully torn around the edges, decoupaged and painted black at the edges to help the transition.  The moon was clipped to remove the ad portion and decoupaged in place atop a small round paper doily, coloured to emulate moon glow.  Assorted stars, swirls and party confetti were stamped and stenciled in place to create the nightsky.  The quote banner was developed in my graphics program and printed on cardstock, cut and glued in place.

This piece is SO not my usual and really SO fun !!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bursts of a Lady

When I was searching quotes for my post "My Lady's Presence" I discovered a wonderful quote by Shelly Winters that I just knew a page had to be created for it.

And so I did!  :-)

"I had bursts of being a Lady, but it doesn't last long." - Shelly Winters
"Bursts of a Lady"

Bursts of a Lady

Quote by Shelly Winters
Bursts of a Lady
This was created in my smashbook using part of the paper within it for the upper left side above the Victorian Lady image.  Paper from an Anna Griffith's line completed the other half of that page and fully covers the right side.  The star burst on right was created with a Crafters Workshop stencil and Liquitex Modeling Paste, which when dry was then painted with a rose and brown watercolour mixture.   Two sizes of paper doilies were coloured with Spectrum Noir markers to coordinate and the smaller one cut into 4 sections for the right side.   Gold rose buttons were snipped of their button attachment part and glued to each of the 4 doily sections.  The center Cameo was originally white framed and dismantled to colour with Spectrum Noir marker, then attached to a gathering of lace which was also coloured with the Spectrum Noir markers to coordinate.    The Victorian Lady was a free vintage image (chosen specifically for her sassy look), coloured with the Spectrum Noir markers as well.  The label was one from a set in the Susan Winget line of papers and a marker used for the quote.

This is probably one of my favourite pages I've ever made in any of my journals.  LOL