Monday, October 31, 2011

The Spooky Mystery Giveaway!

I said I'd have one more giveaway before Blogtoberfest ended and here it is: "The Spooky Mystery Giveaway"!

"Dia de los Muertos" - An early collage art postcard I made back in the 1990's while in art school...

Today is Halloween so I'm calling my giveaway "spooky", but I assure you the giveaway goodies will not be spooky in the least!

However, I haven't had time to pull anything together for a photo so that you'd know what you're getting which is why this giveaway is a MYSTERY, even to ME! ;)

But you may rest assured that you'll be thrilled with whatever you get and if you doubt it, just run over to this blog buddy who received one of my first "mystery" giveaways to tell you if the mystery was worth it!

What I can tell you is that you might get a copy of some of my early mail art postcards, made way back in the 1990's when I was taking art classes and learning about Collage Art, now one of my favorite mediums...

"Mail Art" postcard made in the 1990's; the exercise was "synergy" - putting two or more random images together to make a whole...

I can also tell you that you'll likely get one or two mail art envelopes made from photocopied images of my photos or artwork...

These envelopes are made from images from one of my art books, but you might get some made from my photos!

And I can say that if you knit, crochet, sew, collage, scrapbook, draw, rubber stamp or paint, I'm bound to have something among my many, MANY supplies to send along in your giveaway goodie bag. Just be sure to add your favorite craft when commenting so I can tailor the bag to YOU!

Now for the details for entering the giveaway:
  1. This giveaway is open to ALL, near or far!
  2. Leave a comment AT THIS BLOG POST
  3. You must comment by 5pm Pacific Standard Time on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2011 to enter the giveaway
  4. Let me know if you'd like some supplies that relate to your favorite type of craft in your comment
  5. The winner will be announced on Monday November 7
Good luck to you all, dear blog readers!

***   ***   ***
It's been quite a Blogtoberfest this year and I'll be taking just a bit of time off from blogging as I work on my two big tasks of cleaning my creative space and making goods to sell at an upcoming holiday boutique on November 13. I'd love to join in Art Every Day Month this year, but I won't be able to post about it daily. However, I might post about what I'm working on in a weekly wrap-up...

I've mentioned working on some new interviews to share with you all and that will be coming up in the next few weeks. I'm very excited about the interviewees and I think you will be too!

I also have a birthday coming up and to celebrate, I'll be posting a fun list of 46 random things, so be sure to stay tuned for all the goodness!


Congratulations to all the participants of Blogtoberfest! We've all managed to blog every day and made some new blog buddies along the way. And of course, many thanks and a big HOORAY to Tinniegirl for another fabulous year of Blogtoberfest! She is truly "the hostess with the mostest"!!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Just One Day Left....

...and Blogtoberfest comes to an end!

I can't believe I managed to participate despite the lack of internet at home, but I did, though it was bit of a challenge...

Now, I have another, bigger challenge ahead of me - cleaning my creative space!

A view of my creative space from the door of the room - the door is set in the corner instead of a full wall

I was reading at the blog of my creative idol Nina Bagley the other day and I was really inspired by her post about her own need to clear and clean her studio space of old supplies and materials she has not used in many a year...
The closet is storing my old computer which is usually used to watch movies when I sew in this room...

I can't say that I don't use the materials I bring home, but I do think I have quite an abundance of them that I could share and I will do so in the giveaway I'm hosting, starting tomorrow...

I've been thinking about sharing the ugly truth about the state of my creative space for the past few weeks, but I've held back because it really is quite a mess. However, I'm hoping that if I'm honest here, "warts and all" as we say, it will keep me accountable as I begin to really tackle the task of cleaning it all up.

Once upon a time my sewing table actually looked like this:


and these days it looks like this:


Once upon a time, I had the entire wall cleared away so I could photograph garments on the dress form my grandmother bought me to match the one she had in her sewing room:

This apron is a reproduction from one belonging to my grandmother - I thought it would make a great pattern and it does!

Now the wall looks like this:

The antique lace dress was one of two wedding dresses belonging to my GREAT Grandmother...

I know much of the problem stems from having so many of my grandmother's things stored in my home as I sell them at my other Etsy shop. I thought that it wouldn't take up quite so much space being mostly sewing supplies, but the fragile figurines and fabrics has added up to more space than I expected...

Hiding under the boxes is a bin full of beautiful vintage fabrics that need to be photographed for listings

I do remind myself that selling these beautiful items really does bring in funds that I use for buying supplies, participating in art projects such as The Sketchbook Project and for making small purchases from other Etsy vendors - my way of supporting "Cooperative Economics"*, one of the values of Kwaanza that I wrote about on the eve of the New Year.

If you'd like to help me clear out my grandmothers goods from my creative space, I've got a special coupon code going on in the shop until December 5, that I posted HERE, but I'll post it again:

THANKSBETTY

The coupon is good for a 20% discount for blog readers only and I'm slowly adding more goods in the weeks to come, so check out the shop to see what's new...and help me clean out my creative space! ;)


I will share the other parts of my home that need cleaning, clearing and tender loving care, but I think starting with the reality of my creative space will do for the time being!

Cleaning and clearing will be one of two big tasks in the next two weeks - the other big task is to make goodies to sell at my first holiday boutique on November 13th! There are other projects and tasks on my list, but the boutique and the cleaning are the main priorities and I'll be sure to keep you posted about it all...

In the meantime, I hope you stop by my blog tomorrow to check out my "Spooky Mystery Giveaway"!



* - I'm really happy to say that I have managed to fulfill that practice throughout the year despite being laid off!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meeting Mel...

Since my blog buddy Mel shared a picture of me she took during her trip to Los Angeles, I thought I'd share some pictures I took of her and her children during our visits and field trips. We had 3 visits in all: meeting each other at The Huntington Library, a field trip to Santa Monica and a field trip to Ventura.

Meeting Mel at The Huntington Library

I took this photo of me with Mel using my little camera - Mel's daughter was taking silly pictures we thought unfit for public use! ;)

I was so excited to learn of Mel's trip to Los Angeles! We were in communication beforehand and I sent along a list of some places for her to visit. Since she was close to The Huntington Library, we agreed to meet there for our first meeting and I'm so glad we did...it's a beautiful place to see.

"Two Scamps" on a bridge...

I also got to meet her husband and children, "The Doctor", "The Boy" and "The Girl", as Mel calls them on her blog. "The Doctor" was working at the Huntington so I spent most of my time with Mel and her children, who I referred to as the "Two Scamps" ;)

I know it wasn't always fun for the Two Scamps to follow behind two women running around art galleries and gardens but they managed to take it in stride and Mel is a very gentle and understanding "mummy"...

Photographed in the main art gallery at The Huntington Library

We made sure there was something more interesting and fun for the "Two Scamps" in our next field trip to Santa Monica...

Seeing Santa Monica

We began our trip to Santa Monica by stopping by a fantastic art spot known as Bergamot Station. It's full of art galleries, but the main reason I wanted to bring Mel to Bergamot Station was to stop by Hiromi Papers - knowing that Mel is a scrapbook artist, I knew she would love Hiromi Papers! Luckily, it proved to be interesting to The Girl as well...


One of the shop girls brings her little dog, called "Tofu", to the shop and The Girl loves dogs, as do I. The Girl enjoyed herself to no end petting "Tofu"!

After a lunch break, we made our way to the Santa Monica Pier where the Two Scamps took a ride on the carousel and spent time in the local aquarium touching various types of sea life in the tanks...


They really enjoyed the aquarium so I made sure there would be some fun entertainment for our next field trip to Ventura...

Visiting Ventura County

I knew we would have a long drive to see the city of Ventura so I brought many of my children's books from my collection of children's literature for the Two Scamps to read on the road, and a special book for all of them to enjoy while in Ventura.

I wanted to show Mel some of my favorite spots in the city of Ventura and she was excited to see The Fig Tree of Ventura with her own eyes...

Mel the Tree Hugger! It's a wonderful tree - I can't blame her for wanting to hug it!

Mel and I got shots of the children on the roots of this enormous tree before we headed to the pier. I brought a book for Mel and the children to read through as it involves things they each love: the seashore and cameras. The book is called "Flotsam" and it's written by David Wiesner.

Mel reading to The Boy and The Girl at Ventura Pier for lunch

While at the pier, we were surprised by a seagull having his lunch nearby. Mel grabbed her camera to catch the action and I photographed Mel doing what she does best: capturing the moment!

Mel photographing the seagull eating his lunch with me photographing Mel in action...

Watching Mel in action, as a photographer and a mother, was really great. She is understanding, patient and gentle - she really is a lovely "mummy" AND photographer.

Enjoying a book and scenery at Ventura Pier for lunch...

I'm so glad I got to meet Mel in person! Just think: if it weren't for Tinniegirl hosting Blogtoberfest, Mel and I may never have met...

Many thanks to Tinniegirl for hosting such a wonderful community-oriented event!! And many thanks to Mel for creating these wonderful memories =-)

Maybe one day I'll get to meet YOU, Dear Blog Reader!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coloring Swap with Mel!

I found out about a really fun project being hosted by my blog buddy Mel of I Speak Melsh and I got lucky enough to be one of the participants!!

My stamped faces arrived at the end of last week and I could barely contain myself from coloring them in over the weekend, but weekends are usually spent with my dear boyfriend so I had to wait...but not for long!

Mel even decorated the envelope with the image I'd be working with. I knew I wanted to work with my color pencils, but I thought I'd begin with a small set of pencils that are meant for traveling with...


The first three faces were made using this set of color pencils, which are uncovered "leads". However the colors did seem a bit lighter than what I wanted, so I moved on to my set of Prismacolor pencils...


My collection is fairly large, which is not surprising since I've been collecting them for over 20 years with one Orange pencil I've had since I first bought it! There are still colors that I do not have, mainly because they are colors I don't work with very often. I love my Prismacolor pencils! I particularly like how intense the color can be when applied with pressure and that was what I wanted for the remaining faces on the first card...

I've got blondes, redheads and brunettes colored in this batch and there is a whole other page of blanks to work on! 

Here is an example of how bright the colors can be:

The eyes need a bit of color but I think the tones in the hair turned out nicely!

I didn't do anything fanciful in this first batch, but I knew I'd incorporate some fanciful ideas in the next batch...


I'm adding some diversity in skin tones and some "elemental" figures, like Water and Earth...


These are the Sun and Moon - I'll be adding skin tones to them eventually to heighten the surrounding colors. There are still blank faces to be filled so I haven't given away all my 'tricks'! I thought I'd share all the work I've done so far to give Mel a smile since I didn't share the notebook I've been working on for her giveaway prize ;)

Mel makes great scrapbook layouts and has a wonderful sense of color. I met her in the first Blogtoberfest I participated in and I got to meet her in person this summer when she came to Los Angeles with her husband, known as "The Doctor", and her children, known as "The Boy" and "The Girl". They are a lovely family =-)

Mel has informed me that she is sharing a layout on her blog for today that incorporates a picture taken of me with her children, which I want to say was entirely my idea! I love that she used that picture in her layout!!
I'll be sharing some of the photos I shot of our trip to Ventura tomorrow as a "companion piece" to her blog post of today, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Studio Journal

I've shared many pages from my art journals and my current sketchbook for The Big Draw, but I thought I'd share some pages from my studio journal today...


I first heard about studio journals from the blog of Karen Wallace, an amazing art therapist I discovered. She has a great blog post about having a studio journal, not to mention great posts about the use of art in therapy. Be sure to check out her wonderful blog!

After reading about using a studio journal for keeping track of creative ideas, I began to use the journal above for keeping my ideas for projects or for keeping notes on interesting techniques I've seen...


This entry was made after seeing an appliqued flower on a t-shirt and making notes about how it was done. Later, the technique was utilized on this tote-bag project, though I did it with hand stitching instead of machine as the original version was made - I like the effect of hand stitching better!


I had already been using this journal for notes on things I was thinking of making or already making, such as this apron for the swap at my first Artful Journey Retreat; I began work on the apron a bit late if you notice the date in the upper right hand corner! I also had an idea to add an embroidered phrase, but I ran out of time to do that. But it's a fun idea to work out on another apron in the future...


I cut little scraps of the fabric I used to make the apron and put them in the journal as a memento of what I created since I never took a picture of the finished apron.


I've sketched ideas for garments I want to make and occasionally sketch costume ideas. This costume was based on a movement exercise created in a workshop for words and movement. I thought of a costume if I decided to use the exercise for performance and I sketched it out with notes...it hasn't been made, but that doesn't mean it won't be!

I really like keeping my studio journal because it's a place where I can go to for ideas if I don't know what to work on next...not that don't have enough projects to keep me busy right now! ;)

Do you keep a studio journal of ideas or projects in process?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Covering Notebooks...

Here is a super quick peek at something I'm working on, besides the bottle cap embellishments from yesterday's post...


Of course, I'm working on a note book for the winner of my giveaway, but I can't show that one here! At least, not until she gets it in her mailbox ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bottle Cap Embellishments...

I've mentioned making some bottle cap embellishments here before and being inspired by this post* from my blog buddy Mel. They really are fun to work on and I've slowly been putting some more bottle cap embellishments together...


The one on the left uses some paper from on old French novel, covered with a layer of clear glue and some vintage glitter I found in my grandmother's sewing room. The small heart was also found among my grandmother's bags of rhinestone bits to be used for her craft projects. I added dashes of red nail polish around the inner edge...


The other bottle cap uses new scrapbook paper for the center and more vintage glitter from my grandmother's craft supplies...


I glued two small buttons and added a dash of the red nail polish for a flourish! The small pink heart will be incorporated into another bottle cap.

Working with such small supplies is one reason for the time it takes to make these embellishments. I also like to layer glue on the bottom to smooth out the ridge that is often found inside the bottle caps. Here are two more caps in the starting phases...


If you look carefully, you'll just make out the inner ridge in the bottle cap on the right. They are laid out on my stove, on the center griddle since the pilot light for the griddle is lit underneath and gives just enough warmth to speed up the drying process without warping the surface of the glue, but it does take time to dry completely. I leave all my bottle caps in process there and here are two more that are nearly complete...

The one on the left uses some vintage gift wrap paper and tiny rhinestone trim from my grandmother's craft supplies. The button is from my collection. I think that it is fine as it is, but the one on the right still has something to be added...


For the small pink heart, I glued a small pearl bead from my grandmother's craft supplies with a scrap of organza underneath. The bottle cap used a bit of new scrapbook paper and tiny seed beads around the inner edge. The seed beads were part of a necklace I had made so it was easy to line up the beads while still on the bead wire. I can see that using bead wire to set seed beads as a border will be the best way to glue them down! The little lump of glue is to raise the heart from the surface and give a 3-dimensional effect...

I know many folks have been using bottle caps for sometime now and they usually use resin to cover the entire surface, but I like using regular glue so you can see the 3-dimensional quality of my bottle caps. It's like creating a small world!

Bottle cap embellishment made for the art book I donated for the City Hearts fundraiser - you can see the whole book in detail HERE and HERE

Of course, I plan to use these embellishments on some more hand bound books so stay tuned to see those come together in the next few weeks!


* - I always have to laugh at the title of that post - who knew something so great could come out of a blog post titled "Aaaargh!!!" It just shows how Mel can always find something positive to say =-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tools of my Trade - Scissors and Shears

I've shared images of the many tools I work with, but I realized that I have not shared one of THE MOST important tools in my arsenal: Scissors and Shears...

Would you believe this picture does not include EVERYTHING I own?!? The mind reels!!

What is the difference you might ask?

If you've peeked at the Wikipedia link I added above, you'll see that the difference is in the size of the blade - the longer the blade, the more it resembles shears. I have at least two pair of shears in my set of cutting implements - my dressmakers shears, which are the largest in this image...

The blades are nearly 8 inches, not including the handles, on the largest pair here and they can be heavy

And my large paper cutters, used for cutting through layers of manila paper to create the patterns I made at school studying Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting...

These look pretty lethal, don't they...These are the heaviest cutting tools I own

Then I have so many other cutting implements: snips

These are used to cut stray threads while at the sewing machine - the spring design makes it hard for anything more precise...

...pinking shears, both pointed edge and scallop.


There are special small cutters that I use for cutting small shapes from paper, such as these...

I bought this pair from a vendor at the Renaissance Faire many years ago - I love the look and feel of them!

...or these funny shaped scissors - maybe they are actually for cutting hair?!
These were a flea market find many years ago, but I've just started using them in my collage work...

And there is my little collection of decorative vintage sewing snips...

More flea market finds with the exception of the open snips - they belonged to my GREAT-Grandmother =-)

And of course there are some cutting tools that have rarely been used...

I bought these for the Artful Journey Retreat earlier this year and hardly used them! But I like the look of them...

My scissors and shears are some of the most important tools I own, next to my sewing machines. I try to care for them as best I can by keeping them sharpened regularly and using each style for it's intended use. When you use such a tool regularly, you can forget that they are also dangerous, so it's good to have a few small scissors meant for little hands...

These were found among my grandmothers things - I probably used them doing crafts as  child!

Though these small scissors are old with a bit of rust, I think they'll do well with some sharpening.

What are some of the tools of your trade? I'd love to hear about them!