Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flying First Class?

I find that as I get older time flies faster and faster.  I felt like the 8 years we were in North Carolina was so long and yet I have been in Michigan for over 8 years and yet I really feel like we just got back here.  I don't know why I feel that way since a LOT of things have happened since we moved back to Michigan and here is a summery:
Real Estate: we bought 1 house and 1 cottage; rented 2 different "crash pads" in Memphis for the Fed Ex Pilot
Cars: 2 used car Hondas bought and sold, 1 used BMW bought and kept, 1 new BMW (mine) bought and kept, and we still have both cars we moved here with.  Yes, that means we have 4 cars and 2 drivers.
Pets: we lost 2 dogs, got a rabbit that my sister somehow took over (he is a much happier bunny at her house so it is a great thing), and have had several carni-fish (you know those cheap fish you win at the fair and then can't kill?) and a beta
Family:  my dad got sick, had a lung transplant and died; Chase was born
Medical: I had surgery on my brain, Rick had surgery on his kidneys, Ryann had surgery on her tonsils,  Chase had surgery on his teeth and Rick had surgery on his eye.   Ryann, Chase, and Myself were diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is genetic and ironic because I worked for a geneticist in Texas before I had a clue I had EDS.  Ryann had 12 weeks and $4000 worth of "Vision Therapy" to correct her visual issues which included seeing double to 26 inches.  Being the hyper-alert parents that we are, we discovered this in 4th grade after her grades started falling and I had spent a large part of my evenings screaming at her for not trying hard enough.  Chase just wrapped up 3 years of OT    and is currently 7 months and counting into hippotherapy (that is PT on a horse).  Me? I've seen a ton of doctors, Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and med; too many to mention.
Work:  In 9 years Rick has gone to training and flown 2 Fed EX jets and 2 Michigan National Guard jets.  I worked for a year as a fill-in position for the full-time nurse practitioner.
War: Rick - one.

Whew, how can I think that time has flown by when all that drama has occurred?  I don't know but  don't blink because another month flies by.

Hard to believe that the little munchken munching on cake at her first birthday is already the "social 

girl" you see above.   I don't know what stresses me out more- watching her get older or ME get older!  I am about to drop the big bucks for Creme de La Mer.  Suddenly $135/oz doesn't seem to steep a price to pay for youthful beauty.   Does it?  Not so much when facing the mirror and an old lady with wrinkles and saggy face glares back….I look old! (note I did not include a recent picture of myself now did I? Nor did I really buy that over-priced crap from the sea).

Great Picture Taken by Ryann This Winter

Mom, TIME For a Haircut!!!!!
Much Better!

I don't know about you, but nothing is better for the mom in me than watching my kids getting along... even enjoying each other.  My kids have such an interesting relationship.  They are 6 1/2 years apart and that in and of itself could have easily be an issue.  Instead, Ryann actually likes Chase -a lot- and she loves when he is cute and funny- in fact she gets as big a kick out of the funny/smart/cute things he does and says as Rick and I do. He loves to laugh with her and really really enjoys hanging out with her and some of her friends.  He actually gets along better and more excited to see kids Ryann's age than his own age.  Makes school an interesting work in progress, but at home, he is all good.  My sister and I spend a lot of time laughing so hard we can't breath.  One night we were at our parents for Christmas and it was like 1:00 am and we were laughing so hard, I still remember how bad my stomach hurt from all the laughing.  The next morning my father told us it was really hard to lay in bed and hear us fighting…huh?  That was all laughter!  Chase and Ryann do that.  Chase has a unique sense of humor and when something cracks him up he can't breathe for a long time.  His laugh is infectious to all, but particularly Ryann and she will laugh just as hard as he is.  It is probably my favorite thing in the whole world.  Better than chocolate and ice cream even.
I have finished Mouse Paper Scissor (although there is a short 2 week course coming up again in April). I start "She Art" in a few weeks which I am super excited about.  I still have to photograph and post the pictures from MPS- we made 2 minibooks which I adore, 2 scrapbook layouts-you know how I feel about those, but I must admit I like the pages I made, one for each kiddo.  We also made several cards, and a really cool final project that was a mirror from Ikea which we covered with paper we made ourselves from observations about our own lives.  We typed the words/paragraphs in Photoshop using a variety of fonts (I admit that I am a font whore and I used even more than they planned).  The project was perfect for me because not only did we use the fonts, we added Glimmer Mist, Glam, AND glitter  (I exchanged the chancy glitter that came in the kit for my favorite Martha glitter), we added a "lollie" and a tag, some bling and a crystal.  What else would I have added?  Not a thing.

Spring is here officially if not temperately.  I've seen a few robins, it stays light past 7 pm, and the sun visits Michigan more and more each week.  Now if only the cold weather would leave we would be good right?.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

April Showers Bring My Flowers

These gorgeous flowers are more of the flowers I posted previously that I made with book text, various colored papers, and the wax tissue from Anthropology.  The flowers were cut using Tim Holtz's
Tattered Florals die on my Vagabond.  They were colored with Distress dye inks and Glimmer Mist.  I glued glass buttons to some- while others I left unfinished and will be finished when I find the right project for each one.  They are really quite beautiful and very very fragile.

This week I discovered my life-twin in artist de-la-canvas, Donna Downey.  I have loved her work since I discovered her about a year ago but had only looked at her work and maybe read a blog or two; I had not see any of her videos.  She loves working on canvas and the colors she uses and the way she keeps the dyes and inks translucent takes my breath away.  Here are a few of my favorite pages from her "week of inspiration" that you can watch on her website.  I really recommend you check it out even if you aren't interested in her videos.  She has lots of stuff for sale in her shop, a great blog, and beautiful artwork.
from donnadowney.typepad.com
from donnadowney.typepad.com
from donnadowney.typepad.com

from donnadowney.typepad.com
from donnadowney.typepad.com
from donnadowney.typepad.com
Donna also does all things floral and in fact is a designer for Prima Marketing Inc which is a company that has taken the craft world by storm in the last few years with all of their beautiful flowers and crystals.  And that's not all…. Donna's makes exquisite aprons...
from donnadowney.typepad.com
 from donnadowney.typepad.com
from donnadowney.typepad.com
Last week she held an "Inspiration Week" which had her posting daily videos of her working on a canvas book.  Essentially, a down and dirty look at her process of making art journals on canvas.  She started with plain canvas pages and worked her way to semi-completed pages.  While I expected to learn some new techniques and get a glimpse at how she gets those colors so translucent, I had no idea how hilarious I would find the entire thing.  You see, it was like watching myself on video.  Donna could easily be Danee.  Why you asked?  Well, for one she makes mistakes, all the time- mostly from being sloppy and getting drips on her work-and then has to figure out how to fix it…I do that.  Donna leaves her brushes a mess, barely wipes the paint from her stamps and uses the same nasty water for her brushes day after day…I do that.  Right in the middle of the video she has to stop and ask her husband to open something…. I do that.  Maybe it was just that I am so used to watching videos of perfection; perfect artist making perfect art.  It was refreshing and funny to watch the video I would make if it was my project.  When she revealed that she uses pages from Twilight in her work I almost fell off my chair.   I do that.  Why Twilight?  Because I LOVED the series.  Oh, and because Ryann and I reread the original book to death, literally until it fell apart.  Waste not want not right? 
And Now It Is Time For My Art Work To Take The Stage  
 I am almost done with the online class du jour, "Mouse Paper Scissors" as it ends this week.  We are on the final project and it is a doozie.  We are actually making the decorative paper used in the project using Photoshop.  Using a variety of  fonts to type up little blurbs and quotes from the journals we kept over the 5 weeks.  It really is a cool class and I LOVE photoshop and the creative control it gives me.  Probably my biggest thrill is that I learned how to print well at home using presentation paper.  I was having my project pieces copied at Kinkos and even with our Fed Ex discount it was very expensive and for some reason the colors were always off on the House of 3 files which I use the most.  Probably my biggest complaint though is the shiny-look their prints gave off.   I hated the shiny look- I guess it is from the laser printer.  I am thrilled to be getting better quality at home and yes I am spending a lot on ink thank you very much.

The journal I mentioned above was made all that much cooler by adding a little jacket from a piece of "Daily Junque" from Pink Paislee and House of 3.   When my kit for Mouse Paper Sciossrs arrived to my house the "Daily Junque" line wasn't out and I was so super excited to get it.  Yes, I am pathetic.  Tuesday, I got my order of both new papers from the collaboration of Pink Paislee and House of 3- "Daily Junque" and "Soiree" as well as the final order of the retired "Parisian Anthology".  Ironically, later that day I learned that the "House of 3" is now the "House of 2" because Rhonna - the digital artist of the group, no longer wants to live in the House of 3.  I just love the art produced by the trio, the kits they put together, the projects, the digital files…. everything!  Will Heidi and Janet continue to life there or will the entire house burn to the ground in a spectacular implosion?  I don't know but I know that it won't be the same.  I just hope that they continue to inspire me with their sophisticated style.

Time to end the pity party and move on right?  Time for some pictures of pretty papers.
Here is the journal cover:
Front cover- paper  is itself a collage, but I added a few elements and the gold glitter polka dots
Inside cover- paper is two sided so I just added the banners and string
Inside right cover

Back cover
All closed up and tied with seam binding I misted with Chalk Glimmer Mist 
I love this project because it is easy to make and creates a beautiful way to hide some basic notepads- it even has a little slot for a pencil.   I made the pencil holder a little too small so I'm not using it. Next time I will measure my actual pencil and be a little more meticulous.

I shall leave it here for now since I haven no more current pics to show.  I do have 2 more mini-books and some random cards I made in Mouse Paper Scissors using Photoshop Elements 8.  There is also a super cool project I am making on my own using Parisian Anthology; a project that I have never seen done before so I am pretty pleased with myself!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mouse, Paper, Scissors

Look at my header…. I added the text in Photoshop!  Ok, so I didn't do the artwork, but I am pleased as punch with myself anyway.  I have been busy with a new class called Mouse, Paper, Scissors taught by my favorite hybrid scrapbooker- Heidi Swapp, and the woman who is trying to teach the world Photoshop- Jessica Sprague.  We have established that I am not a scrapbooker, in the traditional sense of the word, but I am enjoying the class.  I did make the two scrapbook pages that were assigned- one for each of my beautiful children and while I probably won't put them in an album, I will display them somehow.  I'd love to show them in this post... but I am without a camera….and I'm too scared to use Rick's cuz he always finds something wrong; best to just NOT touch his stuff.

I have some pictures of artwork from last month so I can share some projects.  First,  the book I made for Soul Restoration- I showed a the first set of pictures earlier but I decided to put them all together in one post as well.


Soul House

Love the Glitter 

Love the Mirror page

….on to the next one…..

Flowers made with Anthropology wax tissue
Glimmer misted butterfly very pretty and glittery in person

I also made some journal pages for Soul Restoration.  Here are a few that I haven't used yet to actually journal on.  I'm showing them to give you an idea as to what an Art Journaling page might look like…. without the journaling… and without the usual amount of effort….The quick and dirty version of an art journaling page.  

Now…I am on to other classes.  I have signed up for Soul Restoration II which starts in June and She Art which is in April.  But right now I am taking Mouse, Paper, Scissors and One Little Word.  I ADORE the mini-books we have completed for MPS.  Unfortunately, I only have one project from Mouse, Paper, Scissors photographed.  This beautiful book was made out of a single sheet of "Daily Junque" from House of 3.  I opened my MPS "kit" and saw the sheet of Daily Junque and literally squealed.  I know that most of you can't imagine what in the hell I was so excited about and wonder if I have been drinking Tiger Blood after visiting the Sober Valley Lodge.  No, I just LOVE me some House of 3.  The cover holds a notepad which we are using to journal on.  Super cute!

My job this week:  get all my stuff photographed!  Oh, and catch up on "One Little Word". I still haven't done the February assignment, though I did get some interesting suggestions from Joanne about what to photograph, so thanks go to you Joanne.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Long Time No See, Sorry About That…..

I know it's been too long since my last post but getting pictures has become a challenge.  It appears that we are having an epidemic of camera suicides in this house.  Two down in less than a month.  I finally broke down and took the pictures with my iPhone 4… probably not the best pictures but it got the job done and at least I can post.

I will begin my posting frenzy with the remaining  "Truth Cards" from the  Soul RestorationI class.  The first card, which I call "brave", was my first attempt at using alphabet masks. I like the look of the word "brave" but the rest of the background sucks.  I embellished the card with little flowers I punched from a vintage book page and some flowers from Prima Marketing.  I love the little single layer flowers with the tiny rhinestone in the center.  Definitely one of my go-to embellishments.
The second card was made with a patterned paper-which I love- from Flora and Fauna.  This card I call "WTF" since on film I look at it and think "WTF".   Over the beautiful and perfect background paper,   I stamped some random crap and added a pretty floral border from the F and F collection.  I made the flower  using Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die by Sizzix -which I adore.  The papers that compose the flower are the coolest thing… EVER.  Like an onion and Shrek, the flower is made up of layers: text from a vintage book, the waxed tissue paper from the box I received with a gift from Anthropologie in December; and a piece of yardstick. The waxed tissue paper is the coolest stuff…. so cool in fact thatI made a bunch of flowers with it (I will post those later).  The waxed tissue was cut with Martha's fringing scissors.  The center of my little flower is embellished with a vintage glass button.  
I give you "Journey" and I give you more flowers.  The background is super cool in person but the 10 lbs the camera adds just took away all of the nuances of the piece.  The background was made with parchment ink and a circle stencil.  I randomly placed the circle stencil and filled it using gold pigment ink.  Then I took a charcoal pencil and roughly outlined the circles before rubbing the pencil lines with my finger to blur them.  
The "Brave Blue Butterfly" card is one hot mess.  Yes, it needs to be flattened, but I was in a hurry to get the pictures taken.  I glittered the butterfly with Martha's fabulous glitter and created the background with Distress ink in several colors of blue.  The silver was added with Adirondack paint.  The silver circles were made by dabbing the silver paint on to bubble wrap and using it as a stamp.  The flowers were made from a different flower stamp but same idea- book page and single rhinestone.
This loud pink and gold card was made with Golden Fluid Acrylics.  I'm not sure if it is anything but messy but I love the two colors.  It was my first try using Golden paints.  It is really loud and doesn't fit in at all with the rest of the cards…except maybe the blue card…. but I am so in love with the colors themselves I can't get rid of it.  I used some old Heidi Swapp circle stickers to embellish it but frankly it still sucks.  

"Trapped in a Book" was made with a piece of the patterned Flora card stock.  This piece was my favorite design so I used it as a base- a little bit of cheating.  I added the orange Distress ink over a bird mask.  The bird then found himself in my cage made from a Tim Holtz Sizzix die and a book page.  An 
"Authentic" stamp and a few pieces from the Flora and Fauna kit and it's a wrap!

Below we have "Exhibit A"- a much better use of the Golden Fluid Acrylics.  I tried using the cheap paint as recommended by the class teacher but I can't stand the way it feels on the page after it dries.  So rough and dried out.  I like the Golden acrylics because they are smooth on the page.  They are also very concentrated and come in bright colors… or at least the colors I can get in town.  So I had to do something more than just slap some color on.  Here I toned it down a little with white paint.  I think it is much better.  The top of the  card was cut with one of Tim Holtz "On the Edge" dies and the tree is also from his Sizzix line.  I used the blue rhinestones on the tree because I love rhinestones.  The flower was made like the other paper and waxed tissue  flowers (I promise I will show them later). 
The final card (at least up to this point) was made from more patterned paper and a few die cuts that came with the Floral and Fauna line.  The bird is a Maya Road chipboard board element and the acrylic wing was in my stash.  I added the black flower from Making Memories and more of my little single layer, text flowers.

So this brings me to he end of the "Truth Card Tour".  Please remain seated until we have come to a complete stop….Contents may have shifted during flight…. be careful already.

I have signed up for the second class in The Brave Girls Club's series "Soul Restoration II".  It starts which starts June 7th and I think it runs another 6 weeks.    If anybody out there in blogland is considering taking an online art class, I highly recommend the Soul Restoration classes.  Melody and Kathy have really done a lot of work and the class is well organized and easy to access all the components.  Questions are answered very quickly via email and the large community of Brave Girls attests to how wonderful the experience really is.

Currently I am in the middle of "Mouse Paper Scissors" learning to use Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I haven't been able to photograph my projects from this class but I will.  The class is fun and the items are very colorful and graphic.  I love doing things outside my comfort zone, don't you?

Parisian Anthology Album
Page Protectors
Oh, and don't forget that I am also taking "One Little Word" with Ali Edwards (through Big Picture Classes).  This is a year long class built around our "one little word" that we chose to represent the year.  I chose "conquer" thinking I was so cool… Picking a unique word…. Am I not the bomb?  Then we got to the February classwork… I have to take 9 pictures of my word.  How in the world will I take a photo of "Conquer"?  I keep picturing Godzilla marching through Lego City destroying everything in his wake.  Not exactly what I want in my chic, artsy album.   If I ever figure out what to photograph I will show you.  The classes is using the House of 3 album from their Parisian Anthology line.  The album has all sorts of cool page protectors.  I chose to use the Parisian Anthology paper line that goes with the album cuz I just LOVE it.  Teal, grey and cream baby…. it doesn't get much better than that.

I will be taking "She Art" by Christy Tomlison beginning in April.  It is a 3-week online course that I think everybody is taking right now.  My friend Mel is taking it and her art work has improved tremendously in just the first 2 weeks.  She must be so proud of the beautiful art she has made for the class.  I hope she has great words of wisdom for me.

That's it for now…. I still have a few pages from the SR workbook to share as well as my foray into art journaling.  Then I can show the "Mouse Paper Scissors" and "One Little Word" projects.  I am planning a cool banner for grandma, some kick ass jewelry, Easter/Spring colored flower pins, my Easter Eggs…. so much to do- so little time.