Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Day Card Recipe Challenge (with prizes!)

I have a lot of collage sheets.  I make them, I trade them, I buy them.  And I use them. . . . mainly making collages.  Last year, I began to use them more in card-making, as well. Here's an easy recipe for using collage  images in cards:  patterned paper + image + ribbon + embellishment.  I challenge you to use this recipe sometime this weekend to make a card using a collage image.  To enter the challenge, make a card, post it to your blog, add a link back to this post, then comment below telling me you've completed the challenge.  Don't have a blog?  No problem, post in any kind of forum or email me a picture of your card (to rinda1961 at yahoo dot com) and comment below. You have until Sunday night 9 p.m. California time to enter. The winner will receive an assortment of my collage sheets.
Need more detailed instructions?
1.  Choose a collage image. It can be vintage, fun, grungey, whatever.  Mat if desired.
2.  Choose a patterned paper for the background - coordinate color and mood, but a small and fairly busy pattern works best.
3.  Choose an embellishment (or set of embellishments) that captures the same color and mood of the card.  I like to use small embellishments in groups of three.
4.  Choose a coordinating ribbon.
5.  Arrange the image and embellishments.  Adhere.
Acknowledgement and Variation
I got this idea from a pair of cards I received in a card swap.  The cards were created by Debbie B, and her original card (with the Dubai postage stamp) is below.  If you would like more layers on your card (or if your patterned paper background is not busy enough), you can add some stenciling on the patterned paper and stamped script, like I did in the "Daddy's Girl" card below.

Amy asked a good question:  what is a collage sheet?  It's basically a collection of images that you can cut up and use in your art.  You can buy them at places like artchix, or you can find lots of free downloadable collage sheets by googling free downloadable collage sheets.  Here's a link that's a nice start (you just click on her image and it will give you a screen that you can print out).  I welcome comments with other sources of free downloadable collage sheets.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inspiring Words (pt. 2)

     Yesterday, I blogged about Ali Edwards' exercise of choosing an inspiring word for each year.  I featured art I created for my 2008 word "flow" and my 2009 word "accomplish."  I mentioned that I had made a series of ATC's for my 2007 word, "open."  I'm featuring a variety of them today.
     Choosing the word "open" really helped me in 2007 to be open to and try a variety of things without fear of failure.  I turned to my 2009 word "accomplish" many times when I felt like procrastinating instead of finishing something.  I don't think "flow" really worked for me, but two out of three isn't bad!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Inspiring Word for 2010?

Ali Edwards, an inspiring and self-titled "life artist" hosts an exercise every year where her blog readers choose an inspiring word for the upcoming year.  She describes the exercise like this, "Essentially the idea is to choose a word (or let it choose you) that has the potential to make an impact on your life. Maybe you want to invite something or maybe you are hoping to subtract something. Maybe your word will be practical or hopeful or creative or fanciful. Maybe you need a big word, something in-your-face that will challenge you everyday. Maybe you need something smaller and quieter that will whisper gentle tidings as you make your way throughout the year."

I have chosen a word for the last few years and found it helpful in both my art and my life.  In 2007, I chose "open" and illustrated the word with a series of ATC's.  In 2008, I chose the word "flow" and took the picture above to illustrate it.  In 2009, I created a plaster piece with my word, "accomplish."  I have started to think about a word for 2010, but haven't settled on one yet.  Have you done this?  What word have you chosen?  Is it something you will do in 2010?  What will be your inspiring word?

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Class Review: Tim Holtz 12 Tags of Christmas (click to enlarge)

I'm not sure if this was considered a class, per se, but it certainly was chock full of learning and had the feeling of a class.  Each day, starting on Dec. 1 and continuing through Dec. 12, Tim Holtz posted a detailed tutorial for how to make a Christmas tag.  This is the third year in a row that he has done it, and more people participate each year.  A variety of different websites, including blockhead stamps and the All Things Tim yahoo group posted contests and moderated discussions.  Tim Holtz gave away 12 prizes each day to people who commented on the tags. The class was free, and the instructions (along with instructions from 2007 and 2008) remain on his blog. The tags extensively feature Tim Holtz signature products (produced by Ranger, Stampers Anonymous, etc.).  I completed my tags without buying anything (because I have sooo much stuff - Tim Holtz and otherwise) and Tim encourages people to improvise and use things from their stash.  But check out this message which my friend Marian posted on the Paper Addicts Online forum:
I was talking to someone on another group who is doing the Tim Tags, too. She wondered how much the supplies for all the tags would cost if you went out and bought them. I had just seen the lists at Stampers Anonymous yesterday so this morning, I added them all up. I removed all the duplicate items once they were 'purchased' on a previous tag. This also includes all the tools he used whether from Ranger or someone else.
And so here it is:
Tag 1-$216.75
Tag 2- 102.40
Tag 3- 128.50
Tag 4- 67.50
Tag 5- 57.35
Tag 6- 71.75
Tag 7- 45.85
Tag 8- 37.15
Tag 9- 60.75
Tag 10-43.90
Tag 11-75.34
Tag 12- 9.90
for a grand total of $917.14 
Oh my gosh!  Obviously, that would be tooooo much to spend!  Given the fact that I spent nothing, I was thrilled with the class.  Here's some off the techniques I most liked:
Tag 1- painting grugeboard with a dauber, then wiping away for a faded, watercolor effect.
Tag 3 - alcohol ink plaid background. . . easy, fun, addicting and totally new to me (and I consider myself a bit of an alcohol ink expert)
Tag 4 - using photo corners to make an ornament/pin was okay.  Loved using unmounted/assorted stamps to make a custom collage background
Tag 5 - my favorite!  I loved the combination of techniques on this background which gave a beautiful, subtle, yet textured background.  I also loved using fragments (with stickles behind them and metal tape on the top)  to make Christmas ornaments.
Tag 6 - Loved combining two very different stamps (jalopy car and tree), tied together with twine to create a completely new element
Tag 7 - Paint (dauber) resist is a technique that Tim has demonstrated before, but this one worked really well.  I also loved how the layering on this one really  helped the masked Santa image pop!
Tag 8 - My vellum never turned into a crispy, curly parchment like Tim's did, but I still like this tag.  I especially like the combination of grungeboard elements.
Tag 10- I didn't have the special foil tape, so faked this one.  It turned out okay, but will be a good illustration for a party page in my JYC.
Tag 11 - I love the paint & resist approach to coloring the reindeer. Tim used a special button making tool for  this (which seemed kindof goofy).  I simply covered brads with sticky-backed canvas that I stamped.  I think it's a cool technique for making custom brads and a nice flower center.
Tag 12 - Grunge paper roses were quite the hit on Tim bulletin boards over the summer, and he posted instructions for the first time as the final day of tags.  What a gift to all his fans!

Overall, Tim is a master of layering, composition and embellishment creation. He also teaches in a very clear way how to use all his various products.  I have taken 3 or 4 classes from Tim and have followed his blog tutorials.  Even with that background, I still learned a lot! It was a terrific class.

Santa brought me a gift certificate for a new Dina Wakley journaling class.  I've just started it, and it looks fantastic!  So, look for art work from that class and a review in January.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Journal Your Christmas

xmas journal

In 2006, I participated in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class. I loved it, and I loved the
album that I created. It's a set of art journal cards, illustrations on the front, journaling on the
back. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours

For all my blog friends who are not on my Christmas card list (and even for those who are), I wanted to share  our family picture (taken back in June before the boy got taller than me) and to wish you all a wonderful Christmas.  Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.  I've enjoyed getting to know all of you!
Tomorrow you can watch my (Art) Journal Your Christmas slide show, featuring 25 entries.  When you watch it, you can pause it any time to read the journaling or examine the entry.  I'll probably leave it up for a few days. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas (on Plaster)

Ho, Ho, Ho!!!
I made this back in July for a Christmas in July challenge (with a red, white & blue theme for America's Independence Day).  It's a door hanger, and I liked it so much that I used it as a sample in a class I taught.  Hope it puts you in the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Special Christmas Rose (Tim Holtz Tag #12)

I really enjoyed making Tim Holtz's famous grunge roses to feature on this tag.  They were surprisingly easy and are stunning in real life.  This tag won't be gonig into my JYC journal because it's too big and because it has a meaning that is not really about celebrating Christmas with teenagers.

I made this tag for my mother.  Whenever I think of roses, I think of mom.  She grew the most beautiful roses in our yard and was generous in giving bouquets to everyone.  She's been gone for over five years now, and I will go visit her grave when we head south for Christmas.  I usually take a poinsettia to leave for her and my father.  Maybe this year I'll take roses

Monday, December 21, 2009

Heritage Notecards as Xmas Gifts

I love the convenience of giving gift cards at Christmas.  But I never feel like I'm giving a real gift when I give one  . . . you know, a real gift - a package with wrapping and ribbon.  So, what I've taken to doing is to give a handful of homemade cards with the gift cards.  I have A LOT of cards in my stash, so I choose a nice assortment and bundle them up with the gift card.  Most people really seem to appreciate them (mostly because they are my crafty, but overly busy sisters-in-law who can always use a card and who appreciate the work that goes into them).  This year, for my brothers and sisters, I'm doing something a little different.  I took collage sheets I made with family heritage photos and used them to make simple note cards.  Each of my sibs will get a few cards tucked into their Christmas gifts. The card at top features a Club Scrap stencil and a picture of my Aunts and Uncles.  That's my Uncle Tony looking so handsome next to the vintage card.  And that's my gorgeous mother, Carmen (right), with her sister Esther (on the left).
Do you give cards at Christmas?  What sort of a reaction do you get?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

(Art) Journal Your Christmas

In 2006, I completed Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class as an art journal.  I did each prompt on a 5x7 card with art work on one side and journaling on the other.  I have my entire journal set up to run as a slideshow on Christmas Day, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite entries throughout December.  So as not to spoil the prompts for people who are taking the class for the first time, I'm waiting to share my entries until after the prompts post.  I hope you enjoy these!

Day 20:  Letter to Santa (click to enlarge) (upper left)

Day 18:  Gifts to Give (click to enlarge)

Journaling reads: "My mom always did a wonderful job of finding the right present for me.  More often than not, it was a surprise. Like the year she gave me my grandmother's silver. It was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn't know it existed.  It truly touched my heart.  Another year she gave me a pair of overalls that I wore all through law school.  I try to keep up the tradition by figuring out my own children's fondest desire - even if they don't know they want it, until they unwrap it on Christmas morning."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I love this photo

My son, Henry, played in his first High School soccer game today.  He's number 21, in the center of the huddle.  There was very little light, so I put my 50 mm prime lens on my camera and took a few pictures.  I love how the twilight and just-coming-on stadium lights lit the boys' faces.
By the way, the boys won, 1-0.  The winning goal was scored by number 21.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tim Tags . . . almost done

So, these are the last of my completed Tim Holtz tags that I haven't posted.  The one up top is the kids when they were much younger.  I plan to put it at the end of my JYC.  The color on the tag is a little odd, but I love the picture. It brings back such strong sense memories. Henry is nervous . . . I can tell because he's holding his own hands. I can almost remember how his hands felt at that age.  Clara is also nervous.  She didn't want to get on Santa's lap and only agreed if Henry would go with her.  She's keeping her eyes on her big brother, looking for clues as to what to do and for reassurance that everything is alright.  Even though they're bigger now and fight a lot, I know in my heart of hearts they are still there for each other in the same way.

The tag at left was one of my favorites all season. I loved making ornaments from fragments, loved the beauty of the background and loved learning that you could put stickles under the fragments.

By the way, if you made tags, there's a great giveaway at this blog, run by a certified Ranger instructor.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Grace (an Art Doll)

I took a break from all my work-work and from the kids to spend time with my Coastside Mixed Media Art Group.  We gather about once a month at a local coffee shop to make art. The very nice owner, Luz, lets us in after hours to create, while she does her baking for the next day.

For Christmas, we decided to do an Art Doll swap.  We drew names, and I picked one of my favorite art friends, Anne.  I call Anne my art angel because she always loves whatever I do and cheers me on with encouragement and support.  I wanted to make her something special.  I gave Anne her doll before I could take a picture, but "Grace" (at left) is very similar.  The head and body are from an Invoke Arts stamp.  I made her skirt out of plaster wrap because Anne and I took the plaster art class together.  The byzantine paints I used for the skirt and blouse are ones that Anne gave me.  I added embossed grungeboard pieces and wings that I stamped onto a cardboard coffee holder to remind her of our group meetings.  Anne loved her!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Art Work on Plaster, Thanks & A Winner

It's good to be back from my trip, sitting in bed, cruising a few of my favorite blogs again and posting here.  Work has been insane for me, and I've got a few more days of intense work before I can really relax and enjoy the final run-up to the holidays.

Thanks to all of you for the outpouring of compliments on my blog.  I really appreciate all the comments!  I think it's true that one of the thing that sets my blog apart is my artwork, and I'm thrilled that you all like it so well!  Therefore, I thought I'd do a nice arty post today.  Before I get to that the winner from last feedback Friday is . . . Lizzie! Email me your address at rinda1961 at yahoo dot com. I'll be sending you one of my Tim tags to enjoy!  Mel, mea culpa, your prize is not yet in the mail, but will be soon.

Now, on to the art . . .
Last summer, I took a great class offered by Judy Wise, who is a whiz in creating on plaster.  She demonstrated (and we created on) three different types of plaster backgrounds.  The first was simply plaster of paris.  We embedded some designs in it and then  went from there.  I used it to complete a piece called "home maker," which I blogged about earlier here.

The second surface was layers of joint compound (think dry wall paste) alternating with layers of paint and gesso.  There was lots of texturizing and sanding between these various layers, all with an eye to building up and revealing different layers.  I made "Pastel Abstract with Art" in the class.  I found it a difficult process.  Many of the other students created beautiful abstract pieces.  I was reasonably happy with mine after I etched a word in it.

Once I got home, I was determined to give the process another try.  This time I worked in a color palette that was more in my style.  I was pretty happy with the background but still wanted to add some collage elements.  I used a heritage photo from my collection to create this piece, titled "Chihuahua Memories."  The photo is from the early 1900's and was taken in Chihuahua, Mexico. I really love it and hope you do, too!  The third plaster surface was redi-wrap, which I have really fallen in love with.  More about that, soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Tim Tags & Road Weary

Hi guys,
I just got back from a quick business trip to Detroit, Michigan.
I do work for the United Auto Workers.
Too tired to pick a winner or blog much tonight,
so just thought I'd check in with a few more Tim tags.
Back on Wednesday with a winner and something
a bit more creative.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tim Tags & Ways to Help

Here's two more of my Tim Holtz tags from this year.  I hope you like them! I'm out of town on a business trip today, so won't be posting a weekend give-away winner until tomorrow (Tuesday), but I did want to share a couple of ways to help others this holiday season . . .
One Warm Coat is a fairly new and wonderful way to turn your gently used or unwanted coat into a nice warm hug for someone in need.  It's easy.  Donate a warm coat. I bet you have an extra in your closet.  Go look for it and then click on this link to find a donation site in your area.  If there isn't a site near you, consider organizing a local drive.  There's information for doing that on the website as well.  I think this is mainly for my friends here in the U.S., but it's an easy idea to take globally.
Freecylce.  After pulling out your holiday "stuff," did you find unwanted ornaments, decorations, etc.?  Have your kids outgrown all their ski clothes? Freecycle provides a great way to pass these on to others who will use them, rather than having them end up in a landfill somewhere.  It's a wonderful, web-based program that is organized in local areas.  Click on this link to find out more.  I got rid of about 3 dozen unwanted ornaments, a medium size bag of Christmas decorations, ten holiday trays and outgrown ski clothes in less than five minutes!  And the recipients were all very appreciative!  Freecyle is global, so my international friends can check it out, too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Tree Farm with Teenagers (Journaling catch-up)

Things were a little different at the tree farm this year with the kids.  Gone are the days when they got a big thrill out of the tire & rope swings.  They no longer think it's "cool" to drive the tractor out to get the trees.  Anyone interested in playing hide-and-seek in the haybales?  Not so much.

But Henry really seemed to enjoy helping cut, carry and bale the 11 foot tree.

Clara enjoyed learning how to make wreaths with Paul.

And, of course, we all still loved s'mores around the bonfire!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

(Art) Journal Your Christmas

In 2006, I completed Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class as an art journal.  I did each prompt on a 5x7 card with art work on one side and journaling on the other.  I have my entire journal set up to run as a slideshow on Christmas Day, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite entries throughout December.  So as not to spoil the prompts for people who are taking the class for the first time, I'm waiting to share my entries until after the prompts post.  I hope you enjoy these!

Day 12: Christmas Past (click to enlarge)

Journaling reads:  "I have such happy memories of 'Christmas Past' - the Christmases of my childhood with my five brothers and sisters. Our living room was the centerpiece of Christmas. We'd always have a huge tree with lots of presents - I remember Green Ghost and my Cinderella watch in the pictures here.  One year Santa brought my brother Petey a puppy, who became Happy, our family dog of almost twenty years.  I'm thankful my parents blessed me with those memories."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Feedback Friday (and a Weekend Give-away)

Facial Twinchies (2x2 inch mixed media, featuring my photography, masked background and grungeboard)

Hi everyone!  This is a wide-open, rambly post.
To enter the weekend give-away, I'm looking for some feedback on what you like or don't like about my blog. . .
Or feedback on what you want the give-away to be this weekend. . . .
Or feedback on which of these topics you'd like to see me cover:
  • more in the "what do you plan for it" series (including teach it, convert it, publish it, show it)
  • how to get the most out of taking a class
  • how to help your students get the most out of a class
  • more tutorials
  • more blog circles
  • more slideshows
  • plans for upcoming classes
  • scrapbook sunday
  • more individual pieces of art
  • artists statement
(Yes, I'll probably do all of these, but I'm still curious to see what you're interested in.)

To enter the weekend give-away, just publish a comment with some feedback.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday evening, 9:00 p.m. California time.  Not sure what the prize will be.  Help me figure that out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is a Gingerbread House art? (click on photos to enlarge)

Just doing a little journaling catch-up today . . .
The Gingerbread House Decorating Party
Apparently, the kids still believe in excess when decorating gingerbread houses.  We enjoyed a wonderful day with our friends the Tighes.  Clara worked on her side of the house with Hillary, and it was all hearts and sweetness.  Henry used some of the, uh, unusual candy that we brought and decorated his side of the house with gummy sharks, gummy octopi and a gummy frog or two.  He also included two of his favorite types of candy - starbursts and skittles.  We usually wait until Christmas Even to eat the house, but it probably won't last that long this year!  Dec. 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanks Gemma! (Photo grid as wall art)

During the Creative Circle Blog Party, Gemma posted this idea for displaying photo grids.  Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to make the cool digital shadows or to print the photos at home. Instead, I bought some inexpensive 12x12 frames at Michael's and ordered some 12x12 prints from MPIX.  These four are now hanging in my living room.  I wish the one of our former dog, Buster, wasn't quite that close-up, and I'm not sure how I feel about the jagged black border I used.  On the whole, though, I'm happy with the experiment, and they will be easy to change out.  Did anyone else try this idea?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

JYC Tag #6: A Special Visit to the Tree Farm

On Sunday, we went to the tree farm like we do every year, but this year it was different.  Our loyal dog, Buster, passed away over Labor Day Weekend, and we all still miss him - especially Clara.  We always called the visit to the tree farm 'Buster's favorite day of the year.'  He loved running through the woods, chasing rabbit trails and smelling new smells. We knew it wouldn't quite be the same without him.  So, we decided to bring a paw print of Buster with us and bury it at the tree farm as a memorial to him.  So he would always be there when we went to visit.  And the moment we buried it was magical.  Clara felt more at peace with her loss than she ever has.  We looked out over the farm and knew that Buster's spirit was at peace.  We knew it was there . . . happy and chasing rabbits.

Monday, December 7, 2009

(Art) Journal Your Christmas (and a winner)

In 2006, I completed Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class as an art journal.  I did each prompt on a 5x7 card with art work on one side and journaling on the other.  I have my entire journal set up to run as a slideshow on Christmas Day, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite entries throughout December.  So as not to spoil the prompts for people who are taking the class for the first time, I'm waiting to share my entries until after the prompts post.  I hope you enjoy these!

Day 4:  A Perfect Christmas (click to enlarge)

Journaling reads: "What is a perfect vision of Christmas, 2006?  Enjoying some favorite traditions . . . cutting down the tree at Rancho Siempre Verde; going to church and putting up the Nativity made by Paul's mom; visiting with my brothers and sisters in La Habra, where Henry and Clara play in the same places I grew up.  Simple, meaningful, true."

Day 6:  Two Memories (click to enlarge)

Journaling reads:
"Dec. 87 - Paul and I closed on our San Carlos condo in late December, 1987.  We simply were not able to make it to Southern California for Christmas.  Even though we managed to put up a tree (twice, in fact, since we had already set it up in our apartment), it just wasn't the same.  It was my first Christmas spent away from 'home,' and I was sad and miserable.  Paul held me when I cried.
Dec. 95 - Last year was the first time since 1987 that I did not go to La Habra for Christmas day, but it did not matter because I was happy to be 'home' in El Granada, celebrating with Paul, Henry and Clara - enjoying new traditions with my little family. Now that Mom and Dad are gone, I enjoy visiting with my brother & sisters near the holidays, but I'm happy and content to spend Christmas in my home."

The winner of the weekend give-away and an assortment of ATC's is Mel!
Email me at rinda1961 at yahoo dot com with your address, and I"ll drop them in the post.  I know you live over seas.  No worries.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Scrapbook Sunday - Cheating a Little

Here's a scrapbook page, but it's an old one.  It's one of the kids when they were little and truly believed in Santa Clause.  It was one of my first fancy scrapbook pages and remains one of my favorites. Journaling reads:  "In a slightly past-its-prime mall called Whittwood, we met the REAL SANTA.  When Henry said he didn't know what he wanted, Santa said 'Why don't we make it a surprise, then?' When Clara said she wanted the two Bitty Baby dolls, Santa said, 'You mean the twins?'  I said, 'You've heard of them?' Santa replied, 'Of course.  I made them.'  Clara said she wanted the stroller but thought it wouldn't fit down the chimney and might scratch Grandma's roof, but Santa said, 'Don't worry.  I'll just sprinkle it with some magic dust.'  Clara gave him a big hug and said, 'I love you Santa.  Merry Christmas.'  Christmas Eve 2002." Club Scrap Reflections kit.

And here's the little miscreants today (actually yesterday, at the gingerbread house party):

Don't forget to enter the weekend give-away before 9:00 p.m. tonight, California time.  Click here, and tell me how to help them have a magical Christmas now that they are old and cynical.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Some more Tim tags & JYC Entry

I'm off making gingerbread houses with friends today - that's what inspired the third take above on Tim Holtz' Day 3 techniques.  I think it will go well in my JYC with memories of the Gingerbread House making party (a tradition the kids still seem to like).  Don't forget to check out the weekend give-away  posted yesterday, and I'm hoping to have Scrapbook Sunday again tomorrow.

I also did Tim's Day #4 technique to celebrate Christmas shopping. I'll definitely be adding this tag, with the following journaling to my JYC album:  "I've taken to doing most of my shopping online and via gift cards, but Clara and I went out shopping tonight.  We went mainly to get her a new outfit for her school dance, but we had the best time picking out some new things to give each other for Christmas.  She said she really liked getting Christmas jammies and opening them up Christmas Eve, so I bought her some cute jammies.  We also bought each other robes.  The best part - our robes match!  Hopefully this will be a new tradition for us."

Wondering what I'm talking about with Tim's Tags?  Check it out here.
Wondering what I'm talking about with my Journal Your Christmas album? Check it out here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

JYC: Where is the Magic? (and a weekend giveaway)

So, I finally settled on a theme for my 2009 Christmas Journal.  It's called "Where is the Magic?"  I used a Club Scrap Field Journal from their Natural Resources Kit that I had laying around.  I plan to alternate journaling/photos with tags from Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas project.  The first tag, "Find the Magic" sits on the inside cover, next to my first page of journaling, which reads:
"Henry and Clara are too old to believe in Santa Clause.  Truthfully, they've been too old for a while, but we still went about celebrating Christmas as if the whole Santa Magic existed.  This year, I don't think that will work. You see, they're teenagers (okay, Clara's not technically a teenager yet, but she may as well be one, given the way she acts).  So, my challenge this year is to find Christmas Magic that works with a family that now includes teenagers instead of children.  I hope this journal will help me find and record the new magic."

So, that's my journal idea for this year.  For this weekend's giveaway, help me meet my challenge.  Let me know what works to bring Christmas magic to teenagers.  If you don't have teenagers, do you remember what worked when you were a teen?  Post a comment with your ideas, and I'll enter you name in the drawing.  A winner will be picked at 9:00 p.m. Sunday night (California time).  The winner will receive an assortment of ATC's featured in yesterday's post.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I love ATC's (click to enlarge photos) & a Chance to Help

Last week, my wonderful sister-in-law asked me to explain what an ATC  is.  An ATC is an artists trading card.  It is a 2.5x3.5 inch work of art that is meant to be traded (never sold).  It has become a very popular format during the last several years.  Other than the size, there really are no rules for ATC's.  You can make them with stamps, paper, photos, paint, fabric, etc.

I have, literally, hundreds of ATC's!  I use them as a way to experiment with new ideas and backgrounds.  I also use them as ways to swap with other artists, and I make them when I feel a need to do something a little creative. The best book I found about ATC's is Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernie Berlin.  It has lots of great ideas, well-illustrated and very well explained.  You can also check out Emily Falconbridge's Mini Art Journal, which is basically a deck of 52 ATC's.  ATC's are easy to store - I put them in baseball card holders and then put the holders into a three ring binder.

Here's several examples of ATC's that I have created:

  • The "N" from a swap where each participant took a letter from the word "Valentine" and used it to illustrate a valentine-themed word. This was done with stamping and masking.
  • A "get to know you" ATC where you needed to include a picture of yourself and some information about yourself.  That's me on the Eiffel Tower.
  • A card for a "fabric" swap. I stamped on fabric, cut it out and added a button.
  • ATC with "friendship theme." You should click on it and read the saying!
  • An ATC for an "alcohol ink" swap.  The background is alcohol ink. 
  • Alice ATC was done in a collaborative "threesome."  The first person made the background (patterned paper with acetate), the second person added the focal picture (Alice), and the third person added the embellishments (beads and A).
  • The "Summer" ATC was for a swap where you needed to use some sort of textured background.  I used gel medium, painted, then added some stamps and collage images.
  • Finally, the last ATC is made simply with paper and a collage image.

There are so many ways to make ATC's, and I love them all.  Do you have a favorite ATC technique or story? I'd love to hear it. Tomorrrow, and I'll have the first of my Tim Holtz tags to show you, as well as the beginning of my Christmas Journal. The Weekend Give-Away will be for a selection of the ATC's shown here.

Now, for the chance to help.  Bernie Berlin, who authored the seminal ATC book also runs an amazing no-kill shelter called A Place to Bark. Read her story.  It's amazing.  If you love animals and want to help, she has an opportunity to greatly expand her work with donations made during the holiday season.  Check it out here, and consider making a donation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What do you plan for it? (a semi-regular series)*

Altared State - multimedia art

Sell It!

One of the most satisfying things to do with art is to sell it.  I sold this piece (when it was nicely framed) to someone from Massachusetts who happened to be visiting the area.  This piece was "for sale" and hanging in a show at a local coffee shop.  I have also sold my art at craft shows and (at times) when people have asked directly if things were for sale (this tends to be for sports photography).  Besides photography, my biggest sellers tend to be smaller pieces with reasonable prices. Greeting cards also tend to be big sellers.  Someday I would like to sell larger pieces, and I occasionally think about opening an etsy shop or trying to find some other way to sell online, but I think that's still in my future.  I'd love to hear other people's experiences selling their art.

And I want to say a word about the flip side . . . buying art. I love to buy original art and hang it about my studio.  I find it inspiring, and I love supporting my fellow artists.  I had a wonderful time on Sunday, Dec. 29, at an art fair, buying Christmas gifts and gifts for myself.  Many of my local fellow-artists were there, and it was fantastic to see their wares.  I even received a gift. My art friend Cindy had taken a couple inchies that I made for a swap, and she turned them into wonderful charms (through the magic of soldering).  I love them! Thanks Cindy!  Before that, the last piece of original art I bought was a small shrine by Michael Demeng called "Thicker than Water."  What was the last original art you bought?

*"What do you plan for it" is a semi-regular series inspired when Gennifer asked what I planned for some of my art.  It suggests ideas for what to do with all the wonderful art we create.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tim Holtz Twelve Tags of Christmas

Tim Holtz Christmas Tags

The amazingly wonderful, creative and generous Tim Holtz creates and publishes instructions for twelve wonderful Christmas tags. . . one each day starting on December 1.  I love these, and I have turned them into my Advent Calendar.  He's starting again today, and he gives away great prizes to people who comment.  Check it out at this link. Here's a slideshow of my tags from last year and my Christmas mantle.  Enjoy!