Sunday, December 30, 2012

Art Journaling in 2012

My art journal took a backseat to other creative pursuits this year, so I haven't had too many pages to share with you along the way. 
I thought I would close out this year of blogging with some peeks at my few pages, either in their entirety or in detail. 
I am starting to feel the urge to pick up my art journaling habit again, so hopefully this post will help to encourage me to get back into it (and you, too, if you are thinking about it!).
What are your creative goals for the new year?
Have you chosen a word for the year?
I love the practice of choosing a word for the year to frame my other goals and resolutions.
Here's a secret:  I've chosen my word already!
But I won't share my word for 2013 until the new year gets underway.
This past year, my word was WINGS, to prompt me to move forward in the adventures I had begun the previous year. 
I feel that my art-making and crafting did, in fact, fly forward, since I participated in four craft shows, and now sell my work at a local gift boutique
I have continued my blogging faithfully, and continue daily creative pursuits. 
I have very happily continued developing online friendships with like-minded individuals who share my aesthetic and many of my interests. 
I have developed my art collection by growing the number of pieces on the art wall in my craft room.
Where will 2013 take me?  That remains to be seen, of course, but I look forward to continuing to share the creative journey with you!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas Mail!

I wanted to share some of the fun mail I received leading up to Christmas. 

First, look at this beautiful hand-crafted card by Gail.  (She's my second cousin, if I have all that crazy family relationship terminology straight!)
This is the first piece of art she has shared with me, and I love the gorgeous details!
I got a fun package from Mary, too.  She sent me some pens, a notepad, and a postcard, as well as a stack of the fillable envelopes she has sent me stuffed with confetti.  I shared some with my mother, so we should be sending each other some confetti-filled goodness in the new year.
Mary always has some fun pick-me-up kind of goodies to share!

I also received my tags in the last of this year's Mail Me Some Art swaps.
I think they are pretty enough to warrant a closer look:
I received a lovely letter from Gini, and as always, she included some fun "extras":
And, as you can probably imagine, I am collecting the Christmas stamps on all of the envelopes that have come through our mailbox this season.
I try hard to share all of the mail that I receive from blogging/art-making friends near and far, but sometimes I might miss documenting a piece here and there due to my own disorganization.  But rest assured that every piece is valued and enjoyed, and I thank everyone who has contributed to a beautiful and artful mailbox this year!

Wishing you a happy new year of happy new mail!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night..." (Luke 2:8)
"Shepherds Watching Their Flocks," by Katy, age 5
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'" (Luke 2: 9-10)
Bayla, age 3:  An angel in the church Christmas pageant
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying:
 'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom
his favor rests.'" (Luke 2:11-14)

Jesus, the Angels, and Christmas presents, by Katy
Katy, during her preschool Christmas party

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Stop in Artsyville

When I discovered the world of blogging two years ago, one of the first blogs I came upon was Artsyville.  Aimee, the artist responsible for this blog, attracted me with her colorful doodles, her crafty experiments, and the fact that she maintained a blog and a creative life while mothering her young children.  I wanted to learn more!

For two years, Aimee has inspired me with her posts, including new art, doodled books about parenting and artistic retreats, and fascinating photographic peeks at the zanier sides of her homes in Lawrence, Kanses, and now northern Jersey, just outside NYC. 

Now I have brought a bit of Aimee's doodled artistry into my home by purchasing some of her prints from her Etsy shop
I put this print in a frame from IKEA, and it is ready to inspire me from the wall in my crafting space.
I put this one in an IKEA frame, as well, and gifted it to my writing partner.  We both need a little encouragement to keep up our writing!
I will be saving this amazing piece for one of my daughters at some future date.
This gorgeous piece will also find a place in my art-making space.

Along with my order, Aimee included some other fun doodled gifts:
Some of these are cards (like Moo cards), and one is a magnet.  Here are some close-ups to you can appreciate these tiny treasures.
I added the regular small-sized paper clip to this image so you can see how adorably small this little card is.

If you haven't had a chance to check out Aimee's blog or Etsy shop, stop by for a little holiday cheer.  Her colorful doodles and other creative projects are almost guarenteed to add brightness to your winter day!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pushing the Envelope

As a die-hard paper crafter, I love making any sort of project creating envelopes and pockets.  I have made them from sheets of music, maps, book pages, scrapbook paper, calendars, catalog and magazine pages, duct tape, and pretty much any other kind of paper and paper-like material I can get my hands on.  Imagine my pleasure at finding a project that used a material I had not yet considered. 

Back in June, Chris (Parabolic Muse) posted a project where she created envelopes from two pieces of waxed paper that she ironed together, trapping confetti between the sheets.  She used decorative packing tape to close up the sides.  I have had the project bookmarked for months, and was pleased to finally give it a try.
I wouldn't call my first attempts a 100% success, but I like the results enough to give it another try, making improvements based on what I learned. 
I used blue scrapbooking paper and a snowflake and swirl punch to create my confetti.  I think that Chris's shiny bright confetti was a little more effective in showing through the wax paper.  I also think I need to iron my two sheets of wax paper a little longer to better laminate the two pages together.  My confetti slides around a little more than I would like, and tends to clump in one area.  Finally, I used decorative tape rather than decorative packing tape, and I don't think it sticks as effectively.  That's a lot of lessons learned, isn't it?
The translucent wax paper makes an exciting addition to your mail box, though, don't you think?  I can just imagine all the postal employees taking a second look to see if they can peek at what's inside!
In addition to the wax paper envelopes, I have been using stitched paper (my favorite!) to create some pretty Christmas envelopes.
Happy holiday envelope-making to you!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Making a Good Impression

I am so excited to share the news that I have finally begun carving my own rubber stamps!

I purchased the materials to carve stamps over a year ago at Dick Blick--a Blick Lino Cutter Set with six blades, one piece of Speedball Speedy-Cut carving block, and one piece of Speedball Speedy-Carve carving block.  I also have a variety of erasers from the dollar store and office supply store, which work pretty well, too.
It wasn't until I purchased Making an Impression by Geninne Zlatkis that I finally sat down to make the first cut.

I have had so much fun over the past couple of days carving stamps, using images from Geninne's book, as well as images from my daughter's Hello Kitty sticker book and The Rubber Stamp Album by Joni K. Miller and Lowry Thompson.  Let me take you on a little gallery walk through my new stamps:
This tree is a modified version of an image in Geninne's book.  I don't have a small enough blade to cut the kind of detail she has, but I have that smallest size blade on my Christmas list, so check back for some more detail in January!
These flowers are another design from Geninne's book, again modified (fewer flowers) for my larger blade.  To make the little dots, you just have to stick an Xacto knife straight down into the rubber and turn it a couple of times.
This mushroom, also based on Geninne's book, is one of my favorites.  I had no idea how that underside was going to look until I inked it, and I was pleased with the results.
I tried leaves from Geninne's book a couple different ways.  I think I'll return to try leaves again when I'm more experienced with the process.
I got this umbrella design from a book of Hello Kitty stickers.  Who knew?  It's also one of my favorites.
This heart key, as well as the crayon, hat, mustache, and footstep images below all came from the same sticker book. 
On scrap rubber from the larger stamps, I carved my initials:
On another piece of scrap rubber, I used an Xacto knife to dig out three little holes to create a brick impression, while I used a dollar store eraser to practice carving a grid at the beginning of this whole stamp-carving adventure:
These pages contain the practice impressions of my stamps:
I carved a heart, as well as some little legs that can be added to other images, but I guess I forgot to photograph them.  You can see them on the practice page above, though.
And here are all my newly-carved stamps nestled in their rubber stamp home:
I store my stamps in plastic box photo frames that you can find at most craft stores.  Since that's where I keep my store-bought stamps, I thought my hand-carved stamps deserved a similar home!
I'll probably never know why it took me so long to finally try carving my own stamps, when it has been on my Creative To Do list for such a long time.  Hopefully I won't let that kind of procrastination to keep me from any further creative fun!