Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Cards 2011

During the Western Washington Scrapbooking Retreat back in November, I made over thirty Christmas cards. I found a great deal on paper at Ben Franklin's Craft store. It was considered a Halloween theme and was on clearance. The black and gray paper worked well for a low key Christmas tree. I also wanted a simpler idea than last year's Gingerbread Man Christmas card. Cutting out over thirty gingerbread men by hand? A hand cramping good time.

Merry Christmas everyone! And bring on a happy and prosperous new year!

Believe Love Celebrate

Friday, December 09, 2011

Buzzing Bees

Buzzing Bees

What a sentimental journey! I went through my stash of letters from my Grandma, who passed away almost 2 years ago now. It was an emotional process, deciding which letters to glue down and which ones I didn't want to lose. I added some of my daughter's artwork that was at hand, because she resembles my Grandma quite a bit. I decided at that point, this picture would be for her.

Base Collage
Letters from Grandma, Pictures from Daughter

My daughter is known as Lil' B, so bees were a natural. I love daisies and polka dots, so voila! A picture was born. It took me a lot of fussing with dot placement and what to do about the bees' wings...I thought tissue paper at first, but then it became a competition with the petals. After digging in my junk drawer, I found pieces of a Bodum coffee press that I had kept. So glad I did! The mesh was the perfect answer. The wings look like they are in motion and contrast just enough in color and texture to stand out, yet not stand out too much. Know what I mean?

Multimedia Art
Acrylic Paint, Charcoal, Tissue Paper, die cut paper...

A lot of heart and soul went into this image. I love it because it became what it wanted to be: buzzing bees.

Bee Details
Cardboard, music, wire mesh, and sewing pins

Recycled: cardboard, letters and envelopes from Grandma (1986-1988), pictures and stickers from preschool daughter, wire mesh from coffee pot filter, sewing pins, sheet music, greeting cards, and tissue paper.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Birds

"Feeling left out."

I took the advice I received and dulled the white birdhouses so they didn't compete for attention with the birds. I also added some shimmering red berries to the tree and bush in the opposite corners, hoping to counter the strong diagonal line between the two birds.

I scanned the image in two passes and in Photoshop stuck them back together. I hope this helps show the true color palette.

Recycled: baby board book, letters and envelopes, paper doily,  sheet music, cardboard, magazine and newspaper

The Scowling Mermaid

"It meant so much."
Traditional Collage

I'm taking a break from digital work for a bit while I explore my traditional collage roots. I love getting my hands dirty and seeing actual textures, patterns, and layers working together. I was inspired by the artist Cindy Wunsch, who was featured in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. She uses memorabilia in her artwork and I have boxes of it that would love to see the light of day.

My current project is using letters that my grandmother wrote to me. I read them, I wept, I remembered her. It was an emotional process but a well of inspiration all the same. Seeing her script in the background will keep her memory close to my heart. Miss you, Myrtle!

Recycled: toner copied worksheet from high school memorabilia, magazine paper, greeting card text, and canvas covered cardboard from hard bound book.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Card Swap

Susan Neal's "Printed Cake" Birthday Card
Paper Crafts Magazine, Issue April/May 2007, Page 100

My Version
Happy Birthday Cake Card

The Western Washington Scrapbooking Retreat is right around the corner! My mind is pondering what to pack and bring while my hands are busy making 25 of these "Happy Birthday Cake" cards. Twenty of these are needed for the card swap during the retreat weekend. I thought while I was at it, I'd make a few extra for myself. Lots of birthdays coming up!

I was inspired by Susan Neal's "Printed Cake" card but made a few changes for myself. I used brown paper instead of black...thinking of chocolate. I added the "Happy Birthday" stamp to it since my text didn't specifically say it. I also scrapped the brad in favor of dimensional paint dots. Brads don't mail well and I love-love-love putting dots on my stuff. It's very therapeutic!

Here are the cards I've done for the past couple retreats:
A Single Daisy Can Be My Garden (2010)
Just a Note (2009)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2012 Tomie dePaola Award Challenge

SCBWI has another challenge coming illustration depicting the text below is due December 15 by email.

So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey
“Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny,
and Chicken Licken,” said Turkey Lurkey, “where are you going?”
“Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!”
“How do you know the sky is falling?” asked Turkey Lurkey.
“Ducky Daddles told me,” said Goosey Loosey.
“Cocky Locky told me,” said Ducky Daddles.
“Henny Penny told me,” said Cocky Locky.
“Chicken Licken told me,” said Henny Penny
“I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears,
and a piece of it fell on my tail!” said Chicken Licken.
“Then I will go with you,” said Turkey Lurkey, “and we will tell the King!”
~ P.C. Asbjörnsen

For more information, check out the guidelines.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Craft Published in Cloth Paper Scissors!

Cloth Paper Scissors Cover
November/December 2011 Issue

I received a nice surprise in my mailbox today...a magazine sporting my work! Not just any old magazine, but Cloth Paper Scissors, a resource for collage, mixed media, and artistic discovery. This is the second time my art work has been selected as a finalist and printed in the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

I wasn't quite sure that my work would be chosen. When I initially checked the roster to see if my name was selected as a finalist for the "Home Sweet Home" challenge, it was not. Later, right before the due date to mail in the work, I received an email saying there had been a glitch and several names had not appeared on the list, mine being one of them.

I had entered two houses and it wasn't clear if they wanted both or just one. So I emailed the editor and she wrote back, "The yellow one." There wasn't a yellow one. There was one white house and one green I mailed them both, thinking that there must be a mix up and they had emailed the wrong person all together.

But, a nice surprise for me today, to find the green house in print for the November/December 2011 issue.

"Home Sweet Home" Reader Challenge

Second row down, Column 4
Green House with Brown Roof

My first entry printed was my Deux Pois Bakery confections, a winner for the "All Buttoned Up" challenge back in March/April 2011.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seven Deadly Sins (Greed)
Illustration Friday: Ferocious


I had one more sin left to represent and found it to be the hardest by far, greed. I couldn't figure out what my monster should look like and what he should be greedy about. Money? Toys? Food was out since that is Gluttony's vice.

...And, it just so happens, he looks pretty ferocious, which fits the bill for Illustration Friday's theme this week. What luck!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Ice Cream Social Invitations

Here's the scoop...
Birthday Party Invitations

I dedicated some time over the past couple days making party invitations for an ice cream social. As seen above, the front says "Here's the scoop..." in Gelato Script by Schizotype Foundry.

I bought a set of blank greeting cards (package of 8) from Michael's dollar bins. Then I just collaged on the front covering the original picture and voila! Inexpensive cards with envelopes at the ready.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Altered Book - Project 6

"More palachinki, please!"

I love the tactile feeling of collaged paper covered with gloss gel medium. It's smooth and pliable. I almost hated to put anything on it...however, I'm glad I did. I really like how this one turned out...simple, textured, and easy.

"More palachinki, please!" - detail

I bought some dimensional metallic paint because I love-love-love putting polka dots around things...weird, I know. But for some reason, I'm called to the dot for accents. In this case, I made a marquis around the title word, palachinki, to set it apart from the rest of the title words.

Another detailed shot...

We have palachinki almost every weekend. It's Bulgarian and is sort of like a crepe.

Eat with confectioner's sugar and strawberries, like we do, or add syrup, honey, or the evil Nutella!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Altered Book Project
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two Steps Forward
Introduction Spread

I decided to get my beginning pages in line by choosing the end papers and getting the contents page set up. I was going to have a "This Book Belongs to" spread, but it turned into the authors page shown above. Many Good Earth tea packets were opened in the making of this! I wanted to find 3 quotes for my tea cup that were somewhat related to my project.

One Step Back
Blurred Vision

Thinking I was making great progress, I decided to go back to the "Sweet Tooth" spread and do some fixing. The glue I had used in making the dragon was tacky and sticking to the opposite page. Before I went to bed, I applied a coat of matte gel medium to act as a sealant, only to wake up this morning to a bleary eyed dragon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dream House with Digital Effects

Dream House
Paper Collage with Digital Effects

I scanned my paper collage then added shadow and high light details in Photoshop.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"A Little Me"

Dream House
Paper Collage

Cloth Paper Scissors's challenge, "A Little Me", is to create a self portrait on a 6x6 canvas using multimedia. I opted to work on this while the paint was drying on another project.

Not having a clear idea of where I was headed with this piece, I let it evolve on it's own. When I do that, it takes A LOT longer...but I usually get a unique story. I was trying to make a house into a crown on top of her head, but it just wouldn't go there! So, final product, she's snuggling with a baby house on a quilt of grass.

It's a self portrait in that I have a love affair with little houses. It also represents my creative self. The colorful houses are my ideas. These houses are my homes, filled with family, love, nostalgia, and personal things...vessels of creative energy.

It also fits Illustration Friday's theme of "Imperfect". The little house may be imperfect, but it is still loved ;) Of course, one person's imperfect is another one's's that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Altered Book - Grocery Bear

Grocery Bear

I've been saving my grocery lists especially for a project in my altered book. One grocery list was written by my mom and on the backside was a note she'd written to communicate to my VERY hard of hearing uncle. We'd been visiting him in Montana and wanted to make sure he had a stocked pantry before we left for home.

I glued the lists on first, then collaged additional food words cut from magazines to fill in the negative space. To blend it, I used a roller brush and rolled on a thin layer of white acrylic paint, wiping it even thinner in strategic places for readability.

Grocery Bear - Detail
Mom's Note

I was rather stumped for an image. First thing I thought of was a fairy flying with a grocery cart. I reached for my bookshelf and found inspiration in a collage book by Claudine Hellmuth. I used her idea for the outlined grocery bags and immediately thought of a bear when I reread my Mom's note...while in Montana a friend and I had visited Glacier Park and the pamphlets saying, "Don't feed the bears" came forth in my mind for this image.

Grocery Bear - Detail
Claudine Hellmuth Inspired

Monday, August 08, 2011

Finalist for "Home Sweet Home" Challenge

I recently found out that one or both (it wasn't clarified) of my houses are finalists for the "Home Sweet Home" challenge by Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

I added wheels to my travel house and mailed them both off today. Hopefully, they will be published in the next issue.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Altered Book - Today's Special

Today's Special

This was inspired by a discussion I had with a friend who was annoyed by her date telling the waitress she'd be "well compensated" for her extra attention. It made me think of other things a waitress or waiter would be annoyed by, since a single customer can cause a lot of additional running around.

Today's Special (Detail)

I layered the original page with a coat of gesso, brushed on magenta acrylic paint, and spritzed with my walnut ink. I also used the ink on the bottom of my coffee mug to make coffee rings...though I do think they are way to dark. I perused and found one under the search of "diner" called Coffee Service. I used this for the title of the piece on top of one of my favorite collage scraps, the paper doily!

As a last minute detail, I added the aqua stripes that I smeared with brown stamping ink, and for all you Big Lebowski fans, I think it really pulled the piece together.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Focusing on My Weaknesses

I decided to get back to my all paper, traditional collage roots, for some creative therapy. Maybe I can figure out where I need to go by getting my hands dirty and letting my mind wander through the fields of paper, paint, and gel medium.

I decided to focus on my road blocks and make them work for me instead of letting them get in my way. Here's my list that got me started:

1.) Problem: I want to collage in a journal. But then, I need to buy a new one. But I don't know what size. I don't know how it should be bound. Should I make my own journal? Then if I make a mistake, I REALLY will be pissed.
Solution: I decided to alter an old 2009 hard bound weekly calendar. Now if I make a mistake, I'm not out anything, AND it's already going to look ratty because I'm altering it. Whew. I can move on.

Altered Book
Original State

2.) Problem: But wait. What if my arms don't look realistic? Hands are also very difficult to do with paper and eyes can be tough too. They require a lot of detail.
Solution: Instead of fussing for a real look, I'm going to let my artwork look UNreal.

3.) Problem:  I don't want to spend too much time on each piece. I want to keep the projects small and easy...otherwise, when I mess up I'll be REALLY pissed that I'd spent so many hours on a meaningful piece only to have to toss it as a final step.
Solution: KISS - keep it simple, stupid. I plan to remind myself of this on every page.

4.) Problem: How shall I write my journal text? My handwriting sucks, and I don't want to make any spelling errors. Shall I collage each letter or word? Seems rather time consuming. Should I type and print what I want to say and then insert into my piece?
Solution: I'm going to use this altered book as a way to explore. So I will try all three mentioned above and research other ways to input text...Stamping? Stenciling? Transferring?

5.) Problem: Well, I don't have to worry about staring at a blank page and messing it up with an altered book. But, I do have to worry about making errors on page one. What if, at the end, I want to create a title page that ties it all together?
Solution: I'm starting on page five. Plenty of room left in the beginning without all those first page jitters.

5.) Problem: I'm a known procrastinator. I need a deadline or I'll tinker with other projects.
Solution: Well, I'll do that anyway. BUT, I'm going to enter it as a Cloth Paper Scissors Artisan 2011 contest entry, due the end of summer. There's my deadline. Now, it's time to get started.

First Step - Rip It Up
Removing Signatures

First things first. I've already removed additional pages by finding the threads to each signature and tearing out 2 sets each. This will give me room to add my collages with the hopes my altered book will still close at the end. I used opaque white gesso for the first time, painting over the first spread of calendar paper readying it for ART!

I've cut out my pieces for the first image...and...that's as far as I've gotten. Hey! It's progress!

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Big Send Off

I was trying to work on another set of houses for the Cloth Paper Scissors contest...but procrastinated too long and wasn't able to get to it today. I was going to add wheels and have them be "mobile" homes...they would have been so much cuter than the ones below...if only...

But, since these are done, I'm sending them off to the "Home Sweet Home" contest.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Scrappers Weekend

Yvonne, Ginger, and Sheryl

What happens after you get rid of the wicker furniture set that was taking up space in your basement? Well, if you're the crafty sort, it's another excuse to throw a scrapbooking party! Four of us got together again for a Second Annual Basement Scrapbooking Party to socialize and get caught up on projects before the Western WA Scrapbooking Retreat this November.

I worked on another Cloth Paper Scissors magazine contest called "Home Sweet Home." I don't like my final work, so I'm unsure if I will start again or not. We'll see what this week brings. Below are the two houses I finished during our creative weekend.

Journey Home

Music Home

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Character in Color


I worked hard on those hands! I finally found the path from "girl with big hands" to a girl holding a butterfly in perspective. I played around with some different techniques on adding shadows...but ultimately liked the way I've been doing it. I'm sticking with what works.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Creative Cup Challenge: Character of the Week 001


Meet Tyaisha, the character of the week. She is a 10 year old black American girl, wears glasses, but doesn't like them. She loves cats and is fascinated by bugs. She's an introvert and doesn't have a lot of friends. Her favorite thing to wear is a casual hoodie with capri pants. She lives with her single mother in an apartment.

"Where's my hair? Where are my legs?"

Freaky Fingers

It has not escaped my attention that I didn't put glasses on Tyaisha. I tried it on one sketch and she looked like a bug. So I thought to go ahead and draw her without, and maybe add them in when I do this a wise approach? Or am I flirting with disappointment?

She loves cats, but living in an apartment, I'd think her mother would say 'no' to pets. So Tyaisha shares her adoration by wearing cat shirts. She's toting a bug carrier in the first sketch...and probably has a magnifying glass and butterfly net somewhere in her repertoire of bug tools. Naturally, her capri pants are also cargo style...great for holding bug bait and gummi worms.

To help find poses for this assignment, I surfed Very helpful!

Would love a critique. Lay it on me. I know hands and feet are my weakness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm STILL on Vacation!

I'm on vacation enjoying some sunny weather, spending time with my family, and sipping the occasional adult beverage with my feet up. Pure relaxation.

With the end of bliss staring me in the face, (tick tock) I began to wonder why I even brought my sketch pad. I haven't done any drawing or felt very creative on this trip. But, just now, I remembered a book I started reading: Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne.

I may not be sketching, but I am getting my "creative on" through writing. I've been exploring the exercises from the book mentioned above. One of my favorites for Week 1 is to write "Top 10" lists. The author mentioned another book to get list ideas, called The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon translated by Ivan Morris. It got great reviews on Amazon, so I'm looking forward to checking this out when I get home.

Top 10 Things I Enjoyed on this Vacation

1.) Watching the movie, Thor, in Imax 3D with my SO.
2.) Visiting with a high school friend. One I haven't seen since the last reunion 13 years ago.
3.) Eating ice cream cones with my daughters and Oma at Star Burger, affectionately still known as Frosty Freeze.
4.) Eating shish kabobs and drinking wine with Oma and Opa's long time neighbors/close family friends.
5.) Watching the movie, Bridesmaids, with SO and B-I-L.
6.) Shopping at second hand stores for kids toys.
7.) Reading the book, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, by the (kiddie) pool side.
8.) Playing with my daughters outside by making mud pies, swimming in the kiddie pool and watering Oma's garden with spritzing bottles.
9.) Visiting the town's library, especially the childrens book section.
10.) Writing "Top 10" lists!

Top 10 Books I've Checked Out From the Library and Read While on this Vacation
1.) Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Excerpts from this novel were read at one of the SCBWI conference sessions)
2.) Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox (I wanna buy this book! Funny with great verse)
3.) Waking Beauty by Leah Wilcox (I wanna buy this book too! Funny with great verse)
4.) My Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman (This book was read at one of the SCBWI conference sessions)
5.) Fire by Kristin Cashore (Second "companion" book to Graceling)
6.) Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems (Was read at Library toddler time and quoted by my girls there after)
7.) Busy Little Mouse by Eugenie Fernandes (Loved the illustrations)
8.) My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis (Have read multiple times in the past but always worth re-reading)
9.) Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne (Lessons for week 1 and 2 got my creative juices flowing)
10.) Down by the Sea with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen (Fun verse and spectacular illustrations)

Top 10 Things I Probably Won't Do Again
1.) Take the Nevada Southern Railway excursion. Twice is enough.
2.) Have a margarita at Sunset Station. A margarita in a plastic cup is uncivilized.
3.) Order a Kyuuri cocktail while having sushi. It was good, but sake would have been better.
4.) Sit in the section where our waitress serves in Green Valley Station. She was a dolt.
5.) Go to the Mirage's Secret Garden with dolphins and white tigers. Once was enough. The dolphins were cool but caged cats just doesn't do it for me.
6.) Make stepping stones. I'm done with this project! I made 4 for my mom, 4 for myself, and 4 here for my M-I-L.
7.) Leave my incontinent cat home alone to over eat.
8.) Order a falafel burger again. Dense.
9.) Who thought the movie, Black Dynamite, was a good idea...George!
10.) Read Hippo Goes Bananas by Marjorie Dennis Murray. My summary for this book...with friends like these, who needs enemies?

and a bonus!

11.) Not stay up until 1:00 am writing "Top 10" lists!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Links to Share

I went to the SCBWI Western Washington 20th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference over the weekend of April 16-17. Unfortunately, due to a major head cold (lasted 2 weeks!) I did not bring my 'A' game. Feeling like I was in a fog most of the time made me a little anti-social and in serious need of a nap.

Enough whining!

I'm finally feeling better, and with a bout of sunshine under my belt, my attitude is coming 'round. So, I thought I'd better share the good stuff. Below are some links that I discovered and enjoyed from the conference:

1.) Met my critique partner from Australia who just happened to be hobnobbing in my neck of the woods, Kim Fleming. I'm a big fan of her artwork. Here is her portfolio:

2.) Met Shane Watson and am excited that he is now a part of our Creative Cup critique group. He is a fabulous illustrator. His portfolio:

3.) I collected postcards for my favorite artists at the conference's Juried Art Show.
Robin E. Kaplan is an inspiration and was the 2nd runner up winner. Her portfolio: 
Ward Jenkins makes drawing look fun and easy. I really enjoy his style. His portfolio:

Margie B. Segress is exceptionally talented! Her portfolio:
4.) My favorite guest speakers at the conference were Rollin Thomas (Alternate Picture-Book Structures), and Lin Oliver (Tricks of Writing Effective Dialogue).

5.) Authors were discussing software they use to keep thoughts, research, outlines, character development, and drafts organized. Scrivener was mentioned to me a couple times. I found a list of other writing software at Literature and Latte.

Research on writing software brought to my attention a review site. I found this very helpful to break down feature sets, ease of use, tool sets, reviews, and cost. The site is called Top Ten Reviews.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting Some Perspective!

This has been a tough image! Perspective/foreshortening is a lot harder than I imagined. I took a picture of my daughter and it helped to draw on it to see where everything lined up. Just thought I'd share my process!

I kept cutting the boy's suit in Photoshop to get it situated just right, played with the transform tool, pasted, cloned, this looks cobbled together. It is a learning piece for sure. I'll print it and redraw it to get a clean image. Then I'll rescan and start piecing it together again.

Success will be mine...dammit!

Speaking of success...I've been reading up on drawing the figure, expressions, and figures in action. Here is a book list that I'm finding most helpful:
Cartooning the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
Drawing and Cartooning 1,001 Faces by Dick Gautier
Action! Cartooning by Ben Caldwell
Drawing Fashion by Bill Thames
Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth
The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expressions by Gary Faigin

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Craft Published in Cloth Paper Scissors!

Cloth Paper Scissors Cover
March/April 2011 Issue

My Deux Pois Bakery confections were a contest finalist for a reader challenge hosted by Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. The challenge was called "All Buttoned Up" and needed to showcase the obvious, buttons!

It was a great surprise to receive my copy of the magazine in the mail before it even hit the news stand! I didn't know they were going to gift me a free copy. And I got a double feature...the contents page and the feature article. How sweet is that?

Cloth Paper Scissors
Contents Page 3

Cloth Paper Scissors
Feature Page 79

Monday, February 07, 2011

Color Acuity Test

Instead of working on my very important project, I wandered down internet lane in discovery of more information about the eyes' rods and cones. I wanted to leave a pithy comment on Andrew Finnie's post regarding this subject, but instead, lost myself in a hue test at

I'm happy to report that from the range 0 being perfect color acuity to 99 being pretty low...I got a whopping 7! Apparently, I have a minor deficiency in the aqua range...which if funny, because aqua is my favorite color. I love what I don't know, apparently.

Take the test and feel those rods vibrate!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ain't No Chicken!

Owl at Home
Digital Collage

I just finished this paper collage turned digital collage today. FINALLY! It's been sitting on my desk for months...and piece by painful piece, it has clicked together like a puzzle to tell Owl's story.

Too bad Illustration Friday's theme this week is "chicken." I'd've really liked to give owl the debut he deserves. Alas, he is alone.

Below is the actual collage piece that I had to scan in two passes. As one can see, I did not pay attention to the light direction and had to rework Owl's eyes in the digital version. I was going to hang the original, but those eyes are really going to bug me.

Owl at Home
Paper Collage: Scan 1

Owl at Home
Paper Collage: Scan 2