Sunday, October 31, 2010

Best Halloween Party Ever

Shimelle challenged us to use a mad-lib or fill-in-the-blank template for journaling.  I used one from Friday's class lesson to compose this description of a Halloween party from long ago:

"I wish I could go back to a time when I would really dress up for costume parties.  A time like the night Paul and I dressed up as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. It made me feel all hip and cool, like we could even win the costume competition. We didn't (but it didn't really matter). That same night, we danced and drank until the bar closed down, and they kicked us all out. Everyone said it was the best party ever! I know I thought the fun would never end. There was never another Halloween party like that again!"

Our Halloweens have been much quieter since then.  There were many years of taking the kids trick-or-treating (lots of fun, but in a different way).  The pendulum may be swinging back. This year I'm dressing up as a Gypsy (complete with Tarot cards to do readings) and Paul is dressing as a Vegetarian Vampire (complete with a theme drink - Bloody Mary's), and we're off to a friend's party in a bit.  Will have to report on the party later . . . 

How was your Halloween?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Dear House"

The writing expert featured in Shimelle's new class suggested writing a letter to an inanimate object. I wrote the following letter to my house.
Dear House,
Are you built on some mysterious spot that causes strange weather phenomena to occur within your walls?  Are there small volcanoes which erupt in the floor spewing debris about for me to clean up? Do small geysers exist in the children's dressers causing clothes to gush out and overflow the drawers, cascading to the floor?  Are there tsunami winds which blow papers all over the counters or small tornadoes knocking every remote, telephone and adapter onto the floor?
How else do you explain the mess which greets me each morning? I know I tied you up yesterday!
Mortgage Owner

Friday, October 29, 2010

Two out of three ain't bad

Question:  So, Ms. Ontiveros, we know that you are a full time law professor and spend quality time with your family. Yet you continually amaze us with the amount of beautiful art you manage to produce. Can you share some tips with your readers on how you manage to get it all done?
Answer:  Well, the truth of the matter is that I don't. . . at least not right now.  Usually I am able to manage all three areas of my life by staying organized, setting reasonable limits and staying in constant motion. Currently, the time I'm devoting to art and kids' activities are both a bit out of control, and my work is suffering a bit. . . not the teaching, but I truly need to start devoting more time to my academic writing.  A good friend once told me "Whatever truly needs to get done, will get done." And I've found that to be so true!  Right now, I just keep telling myself that "two out of three ain't bad."

From a design perspective, I created this piece in the same way I did the bird piece from a few days ago ("Rediscovering the Joy of Flight). It involves stencils and watercoloring with spray inks. This one has a more symmetrical composition, although it's not quite symmetrical, which I think gives it more visual interest.  I used numerical journaling, instead of words, based on a prompt from Shimelle's class.  I think it adds to the interest and mystery of the piece. Truthfully, it's one of my all time favorites.
I designed another art journal page using the principle of symmetry and based on a grid.  I filled each grid with a time of the day and a letter which represents what I'm doing at the time of the day, a bit of written journaling, some corrugated paper and a piece from a cigar band.  The journaling prompt came from Shimelle's class and the design from Dina's class.  Although I don't love this page, it was fun to make and I learned from doing it.  I'm sure I'll return to the design idea in the future.  Here it is:
I don't use symmetrical designs often.  My style runs much more to the asymmetrical, which I balance using other design principles. What about you?  Symmetrical or asymetrical?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Challenges: Masks, Colors and Gothic Grannies

Taking a short break from posting of art journal pages to post a few entries to challenges.  Stampotique's current challenge is to create something scary using Stampotique stamps only.  So, I made this scary cute tag with their "devilish" stamp.
Like the technique? It's Tim Holtz's extreme masking, which happens to be this week's Compendium of Curiosities challenge over at Linda's Studio L3 blog.  Here's another tag with the same technique:
Like the colors? They just happen to be pumpkin, eggplant and avocado, which are the colors for this month's color challenge over at the Gingerstamp Creations blog!
Speaking of Gingerstamp, and because I really can't get completely away from art journaling these days, here's one more entry for their "Gothic Elements" challenge, which closes on Halloween. I feel a little bad that I've always thought my Great Grandmother looks downright scary in the pictures I have of her.  But I can't help it.  I do!
Do you only have nice, sweet looking relatives? Or do you have gothic grannies in your family tree, too?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing with Words (via baseball)

10/27/2010: The World Series starts tonight (that's the best of seven games American baseball championship, for my friends from abroad), and the San Francisco Giants are playing the Texas Rangers. Yes, the Giants (my Giants) are in the World Series! It's pretty heady stuff for a family of baseball fans.  Last week, I posted photos of the playoff game which I attended with my son, Henry. And here's the art journal page I made to commemorate the event. The journaling reads "Dear Henry, The timeless beauty of baseball comes partly from experiences shared across generations. Giants playoffs, 2010."

One of the things I'm loving about Shimelle's True Stories class is that each day there are several different prompts to help improve your writing.  One of the lessons today was about how words sound, especially sibilants and fricatives.  Having had two kids go through speech therapy and being someone who (at least partly) writes for a living, I found this really interesting.  I noticed that several of the Giants taglines succeed because of the fricatives involved:
"Giants Baseball:  Torture!" coined by announcer Duane Kuiper because of all the close games we win is full of crackling sounds.
"Fear the Beard!" a saying about how good our bearded closers are contains two very heavy fricatives.
And, finally, "The Freak", a nickname for our best starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, starts and ends in fricative land.
The Giants also have a theme song for the playoffs, which is based on the Journey song, "Don't Stop Believin'". It's a bit more redolent with sibilants than fricatives, but it will definitely get into your head like an ear worm and stay with you.  Click on this link to hear it, if you dare!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Advice for my children . . .

This is an art journal page that I created in Dina's class, in response to a Shimelle class prompt about advice to give your children.  It has five key pieces of advice that I truly hope they learn:
1.  Make good friends and hold on to them.  For life.
2.  Take care of your skin.  After thirty, everything shows on your face.
3.  Marry the person who loves you for who you are not the person they want you to be.
4. Learn your grandfather's definition of "organizational ability" - always be there for the family.  Always.
5.  Don't trade your integrity for a few pennies - give back extra change.

Of these, I think I might write a bit more about #4. It is really a core belief that my dad instilled in all six of his children, and I think there's a "true story" behind it.  Is there any advice you want to pass on to your children (or nieces, nephews, etc.)?

From a design perspective, this page is supposed to be unbalanced but still satisfying.  I'm not sure I am happy with its design, and I welcome any feedback on it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Classes are Fun!

I started two classes today: Art Journaling 103 with Dina Wakley and True Stories with Shimelle. Both are fabulous so far, and they work really well together. I made this page in Dina'a class, and it really captures how happy I am to be taking these classes.  Look for many more art journal pages (capturing wonderful, true stories) in the days ahead!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wandering (altererd book spread)

I finally feel like I've got the creative flow working again! This is an altered book spread I made in my friend Ann's book.  The book's theme is road trip, and I started with the idea of using a Tim Holtz stamp that reads "Not all who wander are lost." That made me remember this dynamite image of a boy wandering in a forest that I had in my collection. It went really well with some napkins that my ABC friend Karen had RAK'd to the group. When I decided I didn't want to stamp direction on the napkins, I decided to make a pocket and create a postcard because postcards have been on my radar lately (see my post here for why postcards are on my mind and to see the postcard I used - it's the one in the lower left of the post). Then it turned out that the postcard I chose didn't have the wander saying stamped on it after all - LOL! So, I wrote it on the pocket. I actually like how it works to balance the overall layout.
Today (Monday), I'm starting two new classes! Dina Wakley's Art Journal 103 and Shimelle's True Stories. Was hesitant about the latter, but I won a spot in a give away on Dina's blog. And, after having seen Shim's video on her blog, I'm so glad I did!
Also, a big thanks to Amy for the blog hop yesterday. It was filled with wonderful stories and recipes! Thanks to all who participated.

Food as Mile Markers of our Lives

Welcome to the Let's Eat blog hop, organized by my wonderful Australian blog friend Amy. You can read all about the blog hop and find the master list on her blog here. If you're following the blog ring, you probably came from Sian's wonderful blog, "From High in the Sky". Or perhaps you're one of my regular readers just popping in to check things out.  In either event, welcome! When you are done digesting my post, you should skip on over to see Helena, she's quite the Creative Maven.
Certain foods conjure up very strong memories for me - sometimes of an event, sometimes of a restaurant and sometimes of a period in my life.  Tostadas, cheese enchiladas, mole and fried chicken take me back to my childhood. Round Table pizza and Safeway birthday cake remind me of when the kids were little, and I ate these processed foods several times a month! The recipe I'm sharing today - a wonderful curry featuring farmer's cheese and peas - is one developed by my husband  and which recalls another wonderful time in my life.
We were young, married and fully enjoying our life as "DINK's" (Double Income No Kids) in the San Francisco Bay Area. We loved food and wine and each other. We'd often watch cooking shows together and experiment with all kinds of food. We'd spend most of Sunday reading the New York Times, maybe over french toast or fabulous bagels. We made big batches of pesto and yummy blackberry jam in the summer. We had time to relax and talk and read.  It was a magical period of our lives. 
Since Paul is a vegetarian, he was always experimenting with new recipes to find something that we would both found yummy and satisfying.  This one is based loosely on "Cheese Curry" from Vegetarian Dishes from around the World by Rose Elliot. Any time I eat it (or any good Indian food), I find myself transported back to that wonderful, exciting time in my life when we were just starting out. I love how food does that. And I'd love to food to hear of a food that serves as a mile marker in your life.
Thanks for reminiscing with me! Once you're done, click on this link to head over to see what Helena is cooking up today.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trending Now: Postcards

I find it interesting to follow new trends in the scrapbooking and papercrafting field.  One format that I've seen popping up recently is the post card: 4x6 and mailable.  The current challenge at the Creative Therapy art journaling site is to create a post card.  There's also a challenge blog called "Sunday postcards" which has all  kinds of interesting challenges.  I know I saw a postcard challenge somewhere but can't remember where.  In any event, I made some postcards using the Tim Holtz dabber resist technique to fulfill the current Compendium of Curiosities challenge over at Linda's Studio L3 blog.  I used three stamps from the Tim Holtz "Urban Chic" set for the background and two other Tim phrase stamps.  The cut outs are from a 12x12 pad of paper I bought (maybe from Kaiser Craft, but I don't remember for sure).
One of these postcards will be going into a pocket in an altered book layout I'm working on.  The theme of the altered book is "Road Trip," and I'm going to jot a message to my art friend about how art is definitely a journey, and I'm glad that it's a road trip we're taking together.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sometimes you've got to play hooky . . .

As my regular readers know, my family are fans of the American baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. They're having a very good run this year. They made the playoffs and won the first round, thereby advancing to the National League Championship Series for a best of seven series against the Philadelphia Phillies. They split the first two games in Philadelphia and then returned home to San Francisco for games 3, 4 and 5. Well, I bit the bullet and paid through the nose for two tickets so that my 15 year old son, Henry, and I could go to the first game. I've got an art journal page brewing about the experience, but I wanted to write the story of the day while it was still fresh because buying those playoff tickets . . . best investment. Ever. 
Henry was thrilled when he heard the news and enjoyed bragging to his friends the day before the game.  When I went to pick him up early from school - he and I both dressed head-to-toe in Giants gear - the attendance officer smiled broadly at us and asked, "And where are you two going?" Before I could squeak out, "Would you believe a doctor's appointment?", she said "Are you going to the game? I wish I were. Have a great time!" Henry is such a hardworking and good student that not one of his teachers or school administrators would begrudge him a day of playing hooky.
We took the train to the game, and, as more and more fans boarded at each stop, many "go Giants!" shouts were heard. We walked to the glorious stadium, which is located down town about half a mile from the train stop, and the excitement grew with the waves of black and orange all around us.  Chants of "Let's Go Giants!" filled the air, as vendors gave us signs and rally towels to take into the stadium. 
We scooted down to the edge of the field to watch batting practice, and I snapped these images with my iphone:
(that'd be Henry)
(apparently, I wasn't the only parent who had pulled their kid out of school!).
Once back in our seats, the opening ceremonies got started.  I got goosebumps when a huge American flag unfurled on the field, military jets flew over and a beautifully voiced singer sang our National Anthem. 
Then the crowd went wild when Barry Bonds (a former Giants superstar player who has kept his distance from the team and the ballpark because he has become the symbol of the "steroid era" in baseball) was announced to throw out the first pitch. The stadium erupted as the prodigal son returned.  
But that eruption was nothing compared to what happened when the Giants took the lead with a two-out rally in the middle of the game or when they turned a double-play at game's end to clinch the victory.  We were all fist pumps and high fives; back slaps and hugs; dancing in the stands and screaming for all we were worth. I can't count the number of times Henry turned to me and said, "This is the best day ever!"
Afterward, we walked by the television broadcasting booth because Henry wanted to try to get his face on TV (he did).
And truly we were in no rush to leave.  I think we both wanted that day - and the glow from it - to go on forever.
The Giants now have a 3-1 lead in the series. If they win tonight (Thursday), they go to the World Series. If they lose, they go back to Philadelphia needing to win one of the last two games to advance.  No matter. Whatever happens with the Giants, I feel like I winner. Because I got to spend this day with my boy. And I'm grateful. Because sometimes you've got to play hooky.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ancestor (art journal page)

I have to admit that my creative mojo has gone missing the last few days . . . perhaps it's from being so busy with other things.  Or perhaps it was simply a lack of inspiration.  So, I've been revisiting some challenge blogs.  I very much enjoyed perusing my photographs to come up with yesterday's posts, and I'm loving all your verbal interpretations.  Hopefully some of you will be able to also provide a visual response. I thought I'd mention that all of the photographs were taken locally - the first at a pumpkin patch last week; the second under a pier about a mile from my home; and the third on Main Street during the 4th of July parade. There are three of my favorite pictures!  Anyway, the Gingersnap Creations blog just announced another challenge for its Gothtober celebration.  This time it's arches (as in Gothic arches).  I pulled out my art journal to see where the prompt led me, and I'm pretty happy with this page titled "Ancestor." The central image is from a collage that my art friend Ann made - isn't it awesome?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Sequences (stolen idea!)

Abi, over at Paper Dreams, has started the idea of posting a sequence of pictures and then asking readers to interpret them to find the common bond and then post a sequence in response. You can see here latest here. Love the idea!
 I decided to try my hand at the idea.  So, look at the three pictures in this post and tell me what you think they have in common.
Even better, can you come up with a sequence in response?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Pumpkins, Recipes and Volunteering

I rarely miss a day of blogging, but I have this week because I've been so busy.  This weekend, our Half Moon Bay community celebrated the annual Pumpkin Festival, an event that brings literally hundreds of thousands of people to our small community of twenty thousand people.  It's a huge money maker for all the local schools and nonprofits who set up all kinds of booths. I worked in the churro booth both days, DS Henry worked in the churro booth and pulled a clean up shift, DH Paul worked a clean up shift, DD Clara worked in the churo booth, and I coordinated about 20 work shifts for soccer players.  I'm tired, but it was really rewarding to help fundraise for the school. And it was doubly-rewarding to work with the soccer kids who were responsible and enthusiastic about earning team service credits towards a soccer jacket. I've also been perusing my recipe binders to find a good recipe for Amy's upcoming blog hop. In honor of the pumpkin festival, I thought I'd share a decorated recipe today with you for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins - really yummy! Tonight, I'll be watching the S.F. Giants play in the baseball playoffs and then catching the season finale of Mad Men. After that, it's back to creating. I promise.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christmas Art Journal

Last Friday, I had so much fun putting together this little Art Journal as a sample for a class I will teach in November.  It uses a Maya Road chipboard album and was inspired by Dina's album in this post. The paper is primarily from the Australian paper company Kaiser Craft. It has room to journal about ten memories from Christmas - from either this year or from holidays past.  Here's a sample of some of the interior pages:
Every year, Ali Edwards creates a December Daily album to document her holidays.  She has already started to blog about it, for example, in this post.  Shimelle has a class called Journal Your Christmas, which I have done before and enjoyed a lot.  This year, I'm going to use this art journal to capture my Top Ten Memories, and I also plan to do a hipstamatic minialbum that combines the December Daily and Journal Your Christmas ideas.  I know it's not even Halloween yet,  have you started to think about Christmas journaling/scrapping projects already?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Talk Jewelery

This week's Compendium of Curiosities Challenge over at Linda's Studio L3 blog is fragment charms.  So easy and so fun! I made a very simple charm with an image from ArtChix.  My little addition was to add a mini-domino on the back for a some added visual interest and a bit more heft.  You can get the idea in this picture:
Have you made any fragment jewelery lately? Or any other type of jewelery?  I'd be interested to hear how you feel about making, receiving, or buying handmade jewelery in general. I love making charms like these and often incorporate them in my mixed media pieces. I also have a few pins and necklaces that I like to wear. But I don't think it will ever be a big part of my artistic time, simply because photography, art journaling, scrapbooking, card making and mixed media keep me too buys!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

And the winner is . . .

Now, that's a big pumpkin!  Not sure if it won the contest for largest pumpkin, but it will definitely be a contender, as will be the one in the truck behind it.  As for my blog candy contest, it was such fun to read the names of all the various sports teams, inlcuding:
1. Jan and the Bears (American football)
2. Amy and the Diamonds (Australian netball)
3. Lynn and the BSU Broncos (American college football)
4. Jacky and Tottenham Hotspur (English football/soccer)
5. Helena and the Hurricanes (New Zealand rugby)
6. Sian and Team Ferrari (Forumula 1 racing)
7. Jean FB and the Carolina Hurricans (American ice hockey)
8. Laurie B. and the University of Idaho Vandals (American college)
9. Terry and Team Sizzix
10. Deb and the Arizona Diamondbacks (American baseball)
11.  Shelley and the Steelers/Broncos (American football)
12. Jack and Southampton (English football/soccer)
13. Buglady and the California Golden Bears (American college)
14. Trish and her husband's softball team
15. Mel and Hereford United (English football/soccer)
16. Jingle and the Boston Red Sox (American baseball)/N.E. Patriots (Am. football)
17. Yelloflower and the Bucaneers (American football)
18. Becky and the Quens Park Rangers (European football/soccer)
19. Beverly and the East Carolina University Pirates (American college)
20. Ali and the Boston Red Sox (American baseball)
21. Rita and the Dodgers (American baseball - boo!)

The randomly selected winners are:
14 Trish
5  Helena
3  Lynn
Congratulations!  Email me with your mailing address at, and I'll get a package of interesting ephemera out to you!

And for the rest of you, a little bit of fall goodness from the pumpkin patch:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Four People Twelve Times (October Edition)

Just a quick post with the latest entry in my Four People Twelve Times project, in which I am taking a family portrait every month for a year.  Since I started on Mother's Day, this marks half-way through the year.  DH Paul's parents and sister came up for a visit, and we stopped by a local pumpkin patch.   Tomorrow there will be a weigh-off to see who grew the largest pumpkin this year, and the patch hosted a dinner for the contestants.  The pumpkins are huge (they fill the back of a pick-up truck). Tomorrow, I'll post the winner of the blog candy/ sports fan give-away, as well as some more pictures from the pumpkin patch.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quilted Paper Halloween Alice

I am so in awe of any of you who quilt!  The current Blue Moon Challenge at Gingersnap Creations is to be inspired by quilt blocks to create a project.  I decided this would be a perfect way to use more of the yummy Graphic 45 Halloween in Wonderland paper pack I bought.  I used the Aunt Dinah square from McCall's Quilting, which you can see here.  It was lots of fun to cut out the pieces, see the whole thing come together and then add a few bigger visuals.  But it was much harder than I thought! And the whole thing is still not really square.  But, still, it's a fun challenge if you want to give it a go!
And ,while I was at it, I made his Halloweeny birthday card for my niece who was born in October, in response to this week's Something Completely Different challenge to use purple and green:
I'll add a birthday greeting on the front before I send it off!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Old September Lessons (part 2)

I just completed this year's version of Shimelle's Learn Something New Everyday Class, but before putting it completely behind me, I wanted to post a few more ATC's from the last time I did the class (in 2007). This batch of ATC's from the second half of September didn't follow the prompts too much, but they did use some interesting new techniques (since I was using the class to learn some new techniques - maybe even one a day).
The first ATC "Blotted Jester" used an inkblot technique from Somerset Studio. The second, very autumnal tag used layered vellum (with some punchies stuck in between).  The third for Sept. 18 was my tribute to "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" (one of my favorite holidays that I all but missed this year). The green tulip ATC used the "glass like resin" technique from Bernie Berlin's book ATC Workshop.  It was inspired by the prompt to learn something from nature. The final ATC "Celebrate" was created using a postcard/flyer I found on the street.  It was advertising a band that played "Mexi-cali Gypsy Pirate Polka."  How cool is that!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Going Goth

The Old Woman's Prophecy (art journal page)
Gingerstamp Creations is hosting a Goth-tober Fest this month.  Their first challenge was to create something with "Gothic elements" . . . things that are disturbing, off-kilter, supernatural and foreboding.  I have to admit that I creeped myself out a bit with this art journal page.  The journaling reads "It was never clear if they married because of or in spite of the old woman's prophecy."  I started by painting a page and then added an altered copy of my grandparent's wedding portrait.  I scrunched up the border of a paper napkin and topped with German scrap for the bottom border.  I found a black & white flower element and a Southern Gothic old woman in my stash.  Added some German scrap wings to the woman and some black paper flowers up top.  I feel like it really helped me understand Gothic. Funny, as much as I like Halloween and Dias de los Muertos, I'm thinking that true Gothic is not for me!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teaching Art Journaling

Last month, I taught an art journaling class.  We met Sunday mornings for three weeks in a row and worked a variety of different creativity challenges.  My manifesto for the class is above.  It reads "This art journal is my special place to record my inner world.  It is a place to download my creative ideas, a place to remember the events of the day, a place to doodle, to draw and to dream."  It was a terrific class, and one of my students, Connie Andrews of Connie's Dream, posted the most wonderful review of it. You can check it out here.  Thanks Connie!
In other news, the woman I think of as my art journaling mentor (even though I've never met her), Dina Wakley is offering a new art journaling class starting at the end of October.  It's $65, but there's a 20% discount if you sign up soon.  You can read more about it here. I've thoroughly enjoyed the classes I've taken from her.  If you click on the class review label below, you should be able to scroll through and read the reviews I've done of here classes.
P.S. This just in . . . the San Francisco Giants won the first game in the playoffs! Yes, I'm a sports fan, and, if you are too, don't forget to enter the sports fan give-away in this post.  The give-away is open until Sunday night California time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cave of Pages Project and Class Review

About a week ago, I took a wonderful class with Michael DeMeng called "Cave of Pages." My completed project is called "Immigrant Wishes" and features my maternal grandparents' wedding portrait and some other family heritage photos.  The base is a cigar box, which I covered in acrylic caulking and painted.  I took off the cover of the cigar box and created two layers within the box with paper covered mat board, with openings cut in their centers. Added a variety of found objects and embellishments (a wish bone I've been saving forever, a wooden heart, quilled flowers, burlap, wire, charms on the side, etc) mounted in front and behind the various surfaces to create a finished project that has about ten different levels of depth. I'm very happy with it! The color scheme fits the current Gingersnap Creations challenge for neutrals with a pop of color.
As for the class review, I really enjoyed it, but students should realize it's not one for the faint of heart! Michael's classes are mostly intermediate to advanced, in that you are not given any kind of a kit and told what to do. Instead, he has a variety of samples and he suggests ways to create a project similar to one of the samples.  He explains a bit and then says, "okay, go."  He is VERY available throughout class to help you problem solve and to give advice, but he's not going to tell you exactly what to do step-by-step.  He also intersperses demonstrations on things such as color washes, working with power tools, finding and using the right adhesives, detail painting and other painterly tricks.  The amount of information given out in these demonstrations is enormous - more than I could absorb in a single class.  Luckily, this is the third Michael DeMeng class that I have taken, so I knew what to expect. (You can read more about the other DeMeng classes and his style by clicking on the de meng label at the end of this post.) 
I came prepared with a variety of things to use and a commitment to myself to be brave and jump into the project.  The demos on power tools and color washes were reviews for me, so I kept working on my project and only eavesdropped on  those.  I skipped the adhesive demo entirely because I feel like I've fully absorbed that information.  The detail painting and painterly trick demos were totally new to me (or if I saw them before, I couldn't really absorb them because my brain was already too full).  I learned the "burnt paper trick" which I used on this piece (yes, that's paint, not actual burning!) and also a technique for highlighting certain people in photos by ghosting out the others.  Tried that one on this piece, too. He ends each class with a 30-45 minute critique in which he discusses each and every piece.  All his feedback is positive, and he really helps you see what works for each piece.  This really facilitates learning and understanding and improving for the next project.
Finally, a word about Michael himself.  He's classically trained in art and so really knows painting technique and art theory. This makes him different from someone like Tim Holtz who is fantastic but self-taught. More importantly, Michael is a hilarious and generous man.  He takes time to get to know each and every student and works with them at their level (without making them feel stupid). He has great taste in music and comes equipped with a wonderful mix on his ipod. At the end of a class with him, I always feel like he has given a piece of himself to me and that I have grown as an artist.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's Talk Magazines

Just the other day, this arrived in my mailbox, and I couldn't figure out why.  I don't subscribe to Stamper's Sampler, and, even though any of the Stampington magazines send a free issue when they publish my artwork, I haven't submitted anything in a long time. When I got home, I flipped through the magazine and found two of my cards in the "Different Point of View" section (where one stamped is used by different people to create many different looks).
My two are in the upper left and lower right hand corners:
When I saw these, I remembered that a group of Club Scrap girls had put together a couple of submissions for the DPOV section.  I honestly believe this was 4-5 years ago!  We had never heard back and I had assumed that they had not chosen our cards and just donated them (which is what we said they could do, instead of return them).  What a shock! And it's still fun to see my name in print. LOL!
Anyway, as I flipped through the magazine, I found it very thin.  And none of the artwork really inspired me.  Kindof sad because I remember Stamper's Sampler as being a fabulous magazine.  That got me to thinking about stamping, scrapping and art magazines in general, and I realized how few of them are left.  On the stamping front, I used to love Rubber Stamper, but it's gone now.  Take Ten (another Stampington publication) is still pretty good, I think. Rubber Stamp Madness is still around, but it's always been too geared to scenery type stamping to appeal to me.  Not sure at all what's still around on the scrapbooking front. The last one I subscribed to was Simple Scrapbooks, but that's gone. Anyone know if Memory Makers or Creating Keepsakes is still published? 
Mixed media art magazines seem to be doing pretty well, though.  I really like Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset Studio.  Stampington (which publishes Somerset) has a whole long line of publications with Somerset in the title (Memories, Gallery, Life, Apprentice, Workshop, Digital Studio,etc.) but I get confused by all of them or they aren't my cup of tea.  The one publication of theirs that I am interested in checking out is Art Journaling. 
So, I was wondering, what's your current experience with magazines?  Do you have any you love? And subscribe to?  Any to avoid?  Anyone seen Somerset Art Journaling? I'd love to get your input.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Trick-or-treating for Blog Candy

This week's challenge at the Studio L3 blog is the wrinkle free distress technique, and I used it to make this Halloween tag.  It seems like a perfect accompaniment for a bunch of give aways!
First, as I hinted at yesterday, I'm having a give-away to celebrate the San Francisco Giants winning the National League West Championship. I'm giving away several packages of vintage paper and ephemera.  To enter my blog give away, post a comment below and tell me the name of your favorite sports team to root for.  It can be anything from a professional team to a school team or anything in between.  My challenge will remain open through Sunday evening 9:00 pm California time.
Second, Terry is celebrating her appointment to the Scroll Works stamps design team with a blog give-away.  You can enter at this link.
Third, Ali is so thrilled to be have been recognized at Split Coast stampers that she's giving away a very cool prize.  Check it out here.
Fourth, Mel is giving away a very nice journal for blogtoberfest.  Read this post to enter.
Fifth, if you're more the bookish type, Sian runs a book pass around. Read about it and sign up here.
Finally, while not technically blog candy, there's a cool blog-it-forward "Haunting" event going on sponsored by Gingersnap Creations, which you can read about here.  I picked up my tag from Vicki at The Cheerful Stamp Pad.  Check out her haunting work by clicking this link. If you want to play along, post a creation to your blog with a "Haunted" theme and link back here.  Imaginary bonus points if you also link to the Gingersnap Creations starting point and double imaginary bonus points if you invite others to play along and continue to spin the haunted web throughout blogland.
I'm also submitting this for this week's challenge at Something Completely Different.  The challenge, which you can see here, is to make anything in shades of autumn.  Now what could be easier than that?

Scrapling Returns (and a little tease)

Remember scraplings? They're little 1.5x4.25" bits of art that I posted about here. I participated in an exchange, and these are the returns I picked up in the post this morning. Aren't they lovely?
In other news, the San Francisco Giants finally won the Divisional Championship yesterday. DS Henry was playing in a baseball game at about the same time as yesterday's final game, so we missed the first half of the game. When his game finished, we were too far from home to get back before the game ended. So, we hightailed it over to a pizza place near the ball field (with about half his team in tow) and watched the last hour of action, as well as the huge celebration which ensued, there, at an out of the way pizza place. . . among friends . . . and victory was sweet! Thanks for all the nice comments on our family picture from Friday night's game.  It was taken by a nine year old fan on my iphone! As they say, sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you.
So, sports fans, in honor of the Giants victory, I'll be hosting a give-away.  Look for details tomorrow, along with links to other blog candy.  In the meantime, ponder this question: "Who do you root for?"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

4 People 12 Times (orange Friday edition)

I'm working on a year-long project of taking at least one family picture each month for a year (click on the label below to see the previous entries in the series).  Although this picture was technically taken in October, I'm hoping to count it as my September photo and to take another one for October.  Here's the story - 
On October 1, we went to the San Francisco Giants baseball game.  The Giants just needed to win one game to win the Divisional Championship, and we had the opportunity to see them clinch it.  All the fans got orange rally towels on the way in, and the stadium was a rocking, electric place all evening long.  Even though the Giants lost (and still haven't clinched the championship yet), there are some moments I will always remember from the night.
*The team gave out the "Willie Mac Award," voted on my players and managers to honor an inspirational team leader.  Many former award winners attended, and, as their names were called, they walked onto the field from Center Field and to the pitcher's mound. Mike Krukow (current announcer, who everyone feels like they know because he is so often on the radio or TV) got a long, standing ovation that brought a tear to his eye.  The next person announced, Dave Dravecky, brought a tear to my eye because of the way he came back to pitch after having undergone treatment for bone cancer in his arm. His arm has since been amputated, but he remains a huge inspiration to me and millions of others.
*Clara lighting up when her favorite player, Pablo Sandavol (nicknamed "Panda") came in to pinch hit.
*After the Giants hit a home run and while the Padres were warming up a new pitcher, 40,000+ fans waved their orange towels while the P.A. played "the sports anthem." Henry was beaming and said this was the best moment ever!
The Giants current slogan is "There's magic inside!" And for us, even though the Giants lost, there was definitely lots of magic going on.

Friday, October 1, 2010

LSNE Completed Album & Class Review

I completed my LSNE minialbum for Shimelle's class! You can see it above.  Each page started with a 4.5x6.5" piece of colored chipboard, covered with basic grey paper. I added a stamped image (in black) and a lesson learned for each day. I punched a hole in the top of each page and held it together with a big red ring.  If you click on the label at left for "mini album," you'll be able to see all the pages I made, except for the last four, which are here:
The prompt for Day 27 was about saying yes to things as a way to learn, so I wrote "Agreeing to be the team manager for high school soccer is a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it." Day 28 was about things that make you unique, and my love of Michael DeMeng fits that category.  I took a class of his on the 28th (can't wait to share that project with you!), so I used a stamp designed my Michael and wrote "I thoroughly enjoy the demented world of Michael DeMeng, as well as his more normal side." I learned a ton in that class, and I'll be doing a class review later on.  Day 29 was about helping others, and I realized that I'm still in charge of cat care, even it's my daughter's cat.  Finished out the month with a favorite stamp and quote about learning: "Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."

As for a class review, I think that, even more than most of Shimelle's classes, you get out of this one what you put in to it.  The content offered was good, but not exceptional. Shimelle offered inspirational posts everyday with prompts for learning and creating, plus lots of examples. I think it could be freshened up a bit; the fact that this was one of the first classes that Shimelle developed kindof showed.   I believe there were digital downloads, but I don't know for sure because, as we say, "that's not the way I roll." There was a forum, but it got quieter as the month went on.  It is worth noting that Shimelle went through a family loss this month, and she's to be applauded for keeping the class on track, even with the sadness and travel that entailed. Other instructors would not have done the same, I think. Overall, I'm glad I did this class and completed the project.  I'll be happy to have it, and I'm really glad I took the opportunity to use some of my enormous rubber stamp collection.  It also helped me stay focused on using September as a month to clean up and organize my office & home art stuff, as well as getting to my academic writing projects and walking. Not sure I'll do the class again in the future, but you never know.  My overall grade: A-.  Thoughts?