Sunday, August 24, 2008

Strawberry Fields Forever ... an art quilt

My quilt guild's quilt show is coming up and one of the categories is a Burpee challenge. Participants picked a number out of the hat and were then given that numbered page of the Burpee seed catalog. The challenge was to make an art quilt inspired by the something on the page ... the colors, the flowers, the names of the flowers ... whatever. I hadn't worked on a quilt in ages and I thought, "Why not?" Maybe joining the challenge would get me back to my sewing machine and jump-start my quilting again. I got page #30, which you can see here:Lots of reds and pinks, which I don't use very often. Great, now what? Well, after looking over the page, I zeroed in on this:Hmmm ... "Strawberry Fields" ... I liked it! Just had to figure out what to do with it ....

Now this was back in January, with a deadline of the August meeting (which is now only 2 days away). Plenty of time, I figured, so I put it on the back-burner for a bit ... occasionally thinking about it, but never doing more than that. But as August approached, my apprehension level rose ... and when they reminded us at the July meeting that the quilts were due at the next meeting, I was beginning to get desperate. So when my mom came to town last weekend (a surprise for my 40th birthday) and asked me what I wanted to do on "my day", I said "HELP!" Hey, my mom is an award-winning art quilter, so who better to ask, right?! So we brainstormed a bit and came up with this:Don't ya love it?! And it didn't take much time at all (well, if you don't count the 7 months it took to get started LOL!) After we came up with the idea, she showed me how to use a picture of my feet (yep, those are my tootsies) to make a template for tracing onto Wonder-Under and then gave me some tips on stitching and embellishing to finish it off. It was a lot of fun trying something new and making an art quilt in my mom's style ... and I've gotten a little bitten by the quilting bug again, so who knows? You might just see some more quilting from me in the future. Too bad it's too late to enter anything else for the upcoming show ... but I'll be ready for the next show in 2010! Thanks, Mom! I sure did enjoy having you here ... love ya!!

Here's a close-up of the beading ... sorry for the bad pic, but it's so hard for my camera to get a good close-up, even using the (supposedly) correct setting.Now to cross my fingers ... the winner of the viewer's choice in this category gets a $25 Burpee gift certificate! Plus I'm going to donate the quilt to Ami Simms' Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative ... hope someone actually buys it LOL!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two more collage pages

Worked on two more of Nancy's Collage Play challenges. These really are challenging for me! It's not just that these are not the kind of images I usually work with, but the images Nancy puts together for each challenge are not ones I would think to use in the same layout. She's definitely got my mind working in overdrive LOL! But it's fun when the collage is done to find a quote that fits ... I {heart} good quotes!Now I'm all caught up and can work on week 4. Wonder if I'll make the deadline this time ....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A slew of art journal pages

It's been 3 weeks since I posted, but not because I haven't been journaling ... quite the opposite! Here are 8 pages that are finished, and I have 6 more spreads I'm still working on. I don't usually have that many going at once, but they're just piling up on me LOL! That's okay, though ... gives me places to jump around depending on my mood ... I can do a little collage on this page, or doodle on that page, or write a little here and a little there. They'll get done when they get done, right?

So, onto the 8 pages. The first one is quite sad. A family friend's son-in-law was killed in a car accident ... he left behind a wife and 3 young children. I did this page while we drove from the memorial service to the graveside. This is only the left side of the spread ... the right side is the same background, but is currently blank. I plan to journal my thoughts about it all, but haven't had a chance to really sit quietly and dwell on it. And once I do, I don't think I will want to share that.The next 2 spreads were done using Sarah Whitmire's soul journaling prompts. She did about 3 weeks' worth of prompts on her blog, and I've done the first 7 or 8 days, I think, but these are the only finished spreads so far. I hope to keep working on her prompts, but it'll take awhile.

This next one was a fun page to do! My stepmom wanted to take me and my girls to find this guy that makes really great hotdogs and brats and such, but we had a little trouble tracking him down. After a few wrong turns and such, we discovered he wasn't even there that day ... must've been his one day off. Oh, well, maybe next time!I have a 10 year old!?! I can't believe how fast that went by ... people always say that, but it is still shocking just how true that is. Anyways, I just had to memorialize the passing into double digits. I love you, Emily!!This spread shows our misadventure with the train ... we got up really early to catch a train to Chicago to go to the planetarium, but because we had trouble finding a place to park, by the time we did find a spot, the train was coming and there was no way to catch it before it took off again. (Say that 10 times fast ... whew!!) The next train was an hour away, so while we waited we changed our plans and went to the (free) zoo instead. Hopefully next year it'll happen!Yeah, I told you I had a slew of 'em LOL! This next one was really fun and challenging to do. Nancy started a private Flickr group where she posts a collage sheet each week and we are challenged to use at least 3 of the elements in a spread. This is from week 1. I used 8 of the 10 images given. Unfortunately, I didn't get it done until the middle of week 2! Now we're on week 3 and I have week 2 and week 3 elements cut out and waiting for inspiration ... I wonder if I'll ever make any of the weekly deadlines LOL!And, finally, here's the last one of this post ... my stepmom, sister and sil had a "girls' day out" and I used some of the brochures I picked up to journal about it. Fun!Well, that's all for now ... gotta catch up on those other 6 spreads before too many more come along ... hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zentangle ... had to try it ...

The latest doodling technique is the Zentangle ... my understanding is that you divide a space into irregular pieces, and then doodle different designs in each piece. So I tried it with my handprints. A very relaxing art form, at least while doodling. Trying to come up with a different design for each piece? Not so relaxing LOL! And I'm not even sure if I'm doing it right ... some people just draw the designs into the spaces, like I did, but others make the design stretch and skew to fit the space. Whichever way, though, it looks cool! And it was fun, so I may do some more of this in the future.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Volume 3 is off to a great start ...

Here's Volume 3 of my art journal ... as I mentioned before, I made this with a composition notebook and manila folders. I'm really enjoying the bigger size again. Only problem so far is finding pens that will write on the acrylic paint ... I need to work on putting down thinner layers.Gotta put your address on the first page, just in case it gets lost. The background is watercolor crayon smeared with babywipes, then bits of a magazine ad. I gessoed a spot for my name and address and it sort of took on the color of the background, so it either wasn't dry yet or it rewetted them enough to color it ... either way, I like it! I had trouble with my Pitt pens around the "be bold", so for the bits of writing, I went with a colored pencil, which I'm really liking, so now I need to find a container to hold all my colored pencils in my journaling bag LOL!For this page, I started with a layer of acrylic, then some strips of a magazine page, then several foam stamped images using more acrylic paint, then gesso over it all, then some watercolor crayon smeared over that. I love the look, but when I went to do the phrase with a Sharpie, it just dried up. I had to let the pen rest after every couple of letters, and also really worked the side of the pen tip, just to get the color on the page. For the arrow, I went back to the acrylic paint. And for the bits of journaling, after trying a gel pen, I switched back to a colored pencil ... yep, need to add them to my journal bag! The picture is me at 2 1/2 years old with my grandpa ... found a whole little "grandma's brag book" filled with snapshots of me and my brother a couple of weeks ago while rummaging in the basement ... such a treat! I plan to use more of them on future pages.

Friday, July 18, 2008

And Volume 2 is finished, too!

While the kids played at McDonald's today, I was able to finish up the last couple of pages in Volume 2 and now it can be declared full, too! The girls' dance recital photos came sooner than I thought they would, so I was able to finish the recital layout started here.Then I finished journaling about our watery weekend.And, of course, I just had to document my love of Pinochle! I waited until my grandparents retired their last deck and got a new one so I could use actual cards in my layout. They are well worn and have seen lots of play LOL!I wasn't going to bother showing this page, but since I had the camera out, I went ahead and snapped a pic. This is the last page and the pocket at the back of the Moleskin. One of the best tips I got in the online class was to use the "back door" to test things out before doing them on the page. Such a great idea! I will do that from now on.Now I can focus on Volume 3 ... I've already started the first two pages ....

Finally finished Volume 1 of my art journal!

I'm already starting Volume 3, but I had one page left in Volume 1 that I hadn't finished until yesterday. It was a page of quotes that I would add to as I came across ones that really struck a cord with me. And yesterday I filled in the last remaining space so I can finally say that Volume 1 is totally full! I really liked having a place to put a quote that I wanted to keep, but didn't want to do a whole page with, so I'm planning to start another one in Volume 3 ... and when that page fills, I will create another one, whatever volume I'm in.For those who want to know, here are the quotes on this spread:

"We're our own worst enemies, you know that? Nothing anybody else can do to us is as bad as what we do to ourselves." ~Matt Longacre in The Mulberry Tree by Jude Deveraux

"Anyone can make promises. The challenge is in following through." ~Adele in The New Year's Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

"All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail." ~Dorothea Brande

"... as the will is the governing power in the man's nature, if the will is set right, all the rest of the nature must come into harmony. By the will, I do not mean the wish of man or even his purpose, but the deliberate choice, the deciding power, the king to which all that is in the man must yield obedience." ~Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life

"To sum up then: In order to enter into this blessed interior life of rest and triumph, you have two steps to take. First, entire abandonment, and second, absolute faith." ~Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life

"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." ~Frank Tibolt

"I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil, but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be "religious". If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God." ~Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

"... all human wisdom is contained in these two words: wait and hope." ~Edmund Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Monday, July 14, 2008

A few random journal pages

Well, I'm still playing in my art journal, but I've slowed down quite a bit ... I did this when I got close to the end of my last journal, too, when I wasn't sure what I was going to use next. Except that this time I do know what I'm going to use next ... I made a journal out of a composition notebook cover and some manila folders, using Kira's instructions. So what is it that's stopping me ... going back to a bigger size? The daunting task of having to fill all those blank pages? What?! I really need to just get on with it ... maybe if I scribble on a few random pages, it'll get me past it, whatever it is ....

In the meantime, here are the few pages I've done recently. This first one is a just a bunch of random events that happened over the course of about 2 weeks that I just kept adding until the layout was filled.My girls got to be in this year's 4th of July parade ... they had a blast! While I sat on the sidelines with the grandparents and waited for their group to come (they were 2nd to the last in a looong line), I doodled the title and glued in the scrap from a flyer one of the parade groups passed out.
The other night my mil had a bra party. A what?! Yes, a bra party ... it's like a Tupperware party, but with bras. The bra lady talks about getting the proper fit for good support and lift, then everyone gets measured and is given several bras to try on for the best fit. See the ball and star stickers on the bra? Well, when she measures you, she has you take the stickers and put them on your shirt, right where your nipples are in your current bra. Then you go and try on the bras and when you put your shirt back on, you can see how much lift you got with a better fitting bra ... one lady at the party had a 3 1/2" difference!! And she looked like she had lost 20 lbs., too! It's amazing what a correct size bra can do for your figure. Anyways, I just had to add my stickers to my journal ... it's what we art journalers do LOL!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art journal at a lecture?

I created this page during a lecture on thread at quilt guild yesterday morning. The background is watercolor crayon smeared with a babywipe. The lecturer had some beautiful art quilts hanging behind her and I did a very rough coloring of a landscape one ... the brown in the middle ended up looking more like a tree trunk with no leaves, but it's supposed to be a path LOL! Fun and easy to do and made a much prettier background to the notes. I also got the lecturer to sign the piece up near the sewing machine. Love it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lots of brown in my art journal

Last night and this morning, I worked on these two pages. The first came about because my girls are always asking me to "tell us a story about our day." This is how I always start those stories, so I just had to put it in my journal somehow. We live in a house with brown cedar siding, so I attempted to draw that for my background ... I'm very pleased with how it turned out!
Then this morning, we got up very early (well, not super early, but early for a Saturday) and went to the local bakery for some German pretzels. While waiting in line, I decided I needed to journal about these yummy things, so when I got home, I drew the pretzel before eating it (I think that was harder than the actual drawing LOL!) Then I taped in bits from their brochure while savoring the pretzel. Sooo good!Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A sketch

This is a sketch of the back of my dad's house. I doubt Architectural Digest will be knocking on my door anytime soon, but I'm pleased with it all the same. I especially like the garden plants ... I tried to loosen up a bit and just give the suggestion of them, and was pleasantly surprised at the results. No color because I didn't want to mess it up LOL! Maybe next time ....

Another online journal class

Kira is doing a journaling class right now that is quite different from the last one I took. I love seeing different sides of art journaling and ending up with lots of new and exciting ways to get my thoughts down on paper. Here are my first few pages based on lessons 1 and 2 of Kira's class.I really love the online community ... there are so many people to learn from that I would never even know existed if it weren't for the Internet!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A whole bunch of new pages in my art journal

I haven't posted for a couple weeks, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been journaling ... I'm glad to say that I am keeping up with it, though still not as much as I'd like. It doesn't help that we do not have a printer right now so when I want to journal something with pics, I can't. But I'm currently working as editor of the newsletter for my quilt guild and when I was picking up the newsletters from the printer yesterday, I had the forethought to bring a page full of pics on a thumb drive for them to print out for me. Now I can't do this every time I want to print something out, but it was nice to get some pics into my journal last night. Depending on how long it takes dh to decide on what new printer to buy, I might be bringing a new file each month along with the newsletter LOL!

Anyways, here are the pages I've done in the last two weeks. The first two are quotes from a book on tape I was listening to at the time.

Then I did this page on a Bible verse that jumped out at me one night.
Here's a page I did after I fainted and hurt myself ... yeah, it wasn't fun, but the page was LOL!The girls and I went to a fishing derby at my parents' and in-laws' church ... I face-painted the kids with my mil, while my girls fished with grandpa. Somebody was going around taking pics of the kids with a Polaroid, so I just had to put them in my journal.Just a fun page where I listed some of the things I love about my girls.This is a page about my Great Aunt Meme who died last weekend at age 96. She was an amazing lady and I just wish I could've spent more time with her. I sketched the flowers that were embroidered on the inside of the lid while the pastor spoke, jotting down verses he mentioned. Then the next morning I created this page.Last weekend was my girls' dance recital ... this page is of the snapshots that I took during the rehearsal. I'm going to save the facing page for when the formal dance portraits come (which will probably not be until the end of summer).

Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Garden: the planting

Here is what I did with those plants we bought on Memorial Day:As you can see, there's a little bit of room for some more plants, but we haven't decided yet what to plant there. When we do finally decide, I'll add that info to the chart. And I'm leaving the lower right corner blank so that in the fall, I can make note of what grew well and what didn't. That's always good to know when choosing plants the next year LOL!

Have you planted your garden yet?

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Garden: a trip to the nursery

On Memorial Day, we went to the local plant nursery to pick out some plants for our vegetable garden. I brought my camera along and snapped a bunch of pics as we browsed (so glad I actually remembered to grab it!) This is what I did with the pics:Stay tuned for part 2 of "My Garden" ....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A garden in my journal

I finished planting this garden in my journal:We are studying the fruit of the Spirit at church right now, so I chose plants that have those meanings. This was the work-in-progress spread that ended up with splotches on it from the inkjet transfer mishap. I'm not all that crazy about the blue background ... if it weren't for the fact that I needed to try to camouflage the splotches, I probably would've left the sky plain. It's a bit too busy. But overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Now to move on to another page ...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brownies ... mmmmm ...

My brother makes the bestest brownies and on Saturday he brought not only a huge batch, but the recipe as well ... what a great guy, huh?! I just had to memorialize them in my journal. Now I know I will never lose this recipe LOL! My 9yo dd and I plan to make our own batch very soon ...Thanks, Mitch! Love ya!

I fixed it!

In the last post, I showed a page with inkjet transfers that I had a few problems with. The result was pink splotches around the transfers that also bled through the paper. A couple days later, I realized there was a way to fix it ... color! I took a watercolor pencil that matched those pink splotches and colored in the background. Now the splotches are covered up ... love it! I just can't believe it took me a few days to think of it LOL!Then on the backside of the right page, there were five big pink splotches ... since there was nothing else on the page yet, I thought maybe I'd cover it up with collage or paint. But Sunday we were at my in-laws' house and everyone was gathered in the family room doing various things. I wanted to sketch in my journal, but I was also thinking about this ruined page. While looking around the room, I noticed my mil and one of my girls doing a puzzle. And that got me thinking ... we LOVE puzzles! I could draw puzzle pieces around the splotches, color them in, and journal about this love. So I did ... I sketched the puzzle pieces in, then the next day I colored them and journaled. Another fix, and a great page, to boot. Can't beat that!I'm still working on the backside of the left page ... that has a few splotches, too, but was on a work in progress. I've got some ideas, but it'll be a little while ... will post it when it's finally done!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Who doesn't love a good shoe sale?!

My girls and I went shoe shopping yesterday ... 8 pairs came home with us LOL! That evening I wore my new faves and drew one while the girls were at dance class.
Then this morning I attempted to do some inkjet transfers based on this video. I did not have the same success, but I learned a few things. First, do not choose "photo" under the ink quality ... normal would've been fine. Second, make sure your spray bottle shoots a very fine mist. And third, if possible, use pigment ink, not dye ink. As you can see, the ink ran and left pools of pink at the corners. That wouldn't have been so bad, but it bled through to the back of the pages, too. In fact, on the left side, it bled through not only that page, but the next page, too. Actually it was the shoe page above ... luckily, I hadn't finished the watercolor on the shoe, so I was able to cover it up pretty well. Can you tell?Next time I will use what I learned to do it a little differently ... hopefully with much better results. It was fun to play, though ... that's what art journaling is all about ... playing! Now I get to play with the page that's still in progress and now has pink splotches all over ... who doesn't love a challenge!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More art journal pages

Since taking that online art journal class, I have really enjoyed working in my art journal again! I think I was focusing too much on the art side instead of the journaling side. I'm more comfortable with words than pictures, and I've been learning that it's better for me to decide what I want to journal about, then make art that complements the words. Not that I still won't occasionally do art on a page just because, and then journal randomly on it later ... gotta mix it up a bit sometimes LOL! It's just nice to learn something about yourself, and then be okay with it (even embrace it). These are my pages from the past three days.
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