Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frosty's Meltdown

For those of you who saw my post earlier today, I thought you might like to see the rest of the photos of Frosty as he had his melt down.  Once he was melted he tasted delicious spread on the fresh gluten free French loaf that I baked earlier in the day.

Frosty the Snowman Has A Hot Flash

Well, in the spirit of Christmas (or not) I'm playing with my food.  I started out making a conventional cheese ball, but I then decided to make it into a little snowman.  I made the three balls, covered them with cream cheese and stacked them up.  Add the top hat, nose, etc. and he's ready to go.  Then I decided since I love hot cheese dips I'd put the poor little guy in my little dipper electric pot.  When my guests arrive we'll plug him in, watch him melt and then enjoy!

I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a fun holiday season.  Thanks for dropping by.

Another Beautiful Piece of Wood

As some of you know, my husband Bill does some beautiful wood working.  His most recent piece is a gorgeous end grain cutting board in a basket weave pattern.  It will make a fabulous cheese board for our Christmas Eve buffet table.  Lucky me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Art Everyday - Today that means more greeting cards.

The greeting cards I made on Saturday inspired me to pull out the paints and make some more.  I started with some papers I had made months ago by collaging the tissue paper from old sewing patterns along with acrylic paint and alcohol ink.  Today I did some stamping with rubber stamps and various old lids, the edge of an old credit card, etc.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TUSAL (Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long)

My ORTs jar started off with threads that I had in
a bin beside by my chair in the family room.
Thanks to my new cyber friend, Connie, I've joined the "Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long" for 2012. Check it out at Daffycat.  The object of TUSAL is to collect all your bits of thread (also known as ORTs - Old Tattered Threads) from your stitching for a whole year.  It's a totally easy idea that won't require me to do anything I'm not already doing, except that now I'll put the threads into a glass jar and photograph it once in a while. I've got an old fashioned candy jar that I'll use to collect my threads.  It will be a real challenge not to dip into the thread stash to make some funky greeting cards, but I'll do my best to stay out of it.  It'll be really interesting to see how much thread collects in a year.   Since I've already got some thread collected I've decided to get a head start (there's no prize for having the most,  so it's not cheating :D don't worry.)
My ORTs jar in it's new place of honour in my studio.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Art Cards

Today I joined some friends at Sandra's 'Open Studio' and we had some fun creating art. Under the guidance of Sharon Chalmers, we did some painting (although I didn't follow the rules!) using acrylics. The cards displayed are the result of my efforts. Not quite where Sharon was trying to take us, but I had fun and I've got another 8 cards to add to my greeting card stash.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge Journal

As you may know, I've been participating in this year's Sketchbook Challenge, but with my own fibre twist.  Although I have recently started playing a bit with a pen and paper sort of journal, when the year started and I decided to participate in the Sketchbook Challenge, I decided to make a fabric journal using my interpretation of the monthly themes.  In addition to the Sketchbook Challenge pages, I decided to include some of the wonderful art quotes that I had collected.

You may have seen some previous blog entries as I finished pages, but the last 6 months were sort of neglected.  Well, I finally got back into it (art everyday!) and the journal is finished.  All of the images were altered/enhanced using Photoshop before being printed onto fabric and then incorporated in the journal page.
January's theme was Highly Prized.  Casey, my dog, represents the unconditional love and natural mothering instincts (even to a kitten) that I prize.  She knows how to relax, loves to go for walks and even at 11 years old, she romps like a puppy in new fallen snow.

February's theme was Opposites.  For this one, I played with light and dark and experimented with the effects that changing the background colour would have on the colours I was using.

March brought the theme Spilling Over.  It also had me struggling through some real frustrations with my health and the image literally represents what was going on with me.  Enough said.
Branching Out/Out on a Limb was the April theme.  I decided it was time to take a risk and try journalling on paper.  I drew a silly character, did some writing then photographed it.  I added the title text in Photoshop and it was ready for printing.

May's theme was Resists so I went back to using paper and paint for this page.  As always, I added the title text in Photoshop.
The theme Pathways for June had me playing with photo collage.  Yes, that's me as a little girl, but since our road trips involved 9 people when I was a kid, we travelled in a big station wagon and not a VW bug.  However, later my oldest brother did have a bug and it's just so much more fun than a Galaxy station wagon!

 July's theme was Elements. Since I procrastinated on this page, it wasn't done until recently, thus allowing me to use a photo I took of my Chinese lantern's late this fall.  I love the intricate lace and the bright orange seed exposed inside as the orange skin erodes away.
 For August's theme, Everyday Objects, I cheated a little by taking a photo of a piece of fibre art I had recently finished on which I had thread sketched a pair of scissors.  I guess it's not really cheating since the original art is mine too!

September brought the birth of another great niece.  The theme was Unfurled, and I couldn't help noticing that the first photos of Abigail had her fits tightly clenched but as time passed her little hands seemed to unfurl.  
October's theme was Views.  This theme had me going back into my photo archives for this photo which I took in a church in PEI in 2007.  I love the reflections and shadows that the design in the window created.
Imaginary Animals was the November theme.  Last week I went to see the Marc Chagall exhibit at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  Chagall seems to incorporate a chicken in many of his pieces and he had other interesting animals, some certainly imaginary.  When I got home I was inspired to draw this imaginary creature using the bright colours Chagall used in some of his works. I also loved the quote, also by Chagall.

December's theme is Trashed, Ruined and Decay.  This summer, the town of Magnetawan suffered a tragic fire that ruined the old historic general store as well as June's Restaurant.  For the town folks and all the cottagers in the area, it is a tragic loss.
And the final quote.

Thanks for visiting!  Please leave a comment~I love to hear from you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

'Tis the Season...

I love the message that Lyric Kinard has posted on her blog.  If we all make an effort to do some random acts of kindness, we can make such a big difference in the world!  As Lyric says:

Random acts of beauty, kindness, and service.
(It's certainly not an original idea, and certainly not mine - but it helps to be reminded.)
Ask your blog readers, your twitter followers, and even your facebook friends to do it too.
One kindness, one act of service a day.

It can be as small as a smile and a wave.
It can be as big as making a quilt for a charity.

P.S. Pass it on and keep it going all year long!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Journal Cover

In keeping with my "do art everyday" promise to myself, I finally got back to finishing this journal cover. I had a lot of fun using beads to capture and hold on the little shisha mirrors.  The fabric was hand-dyed using Seta Colour paints.  I created the texture by laying cheesecloth on the wet paint before putting it out in the sun to dry (this was done in the hot summer sun).  The secondary bonus was that I ended up with some great dyed cheesecloth that I can use in another project.


beading detail
beading detail
beading detail
beading detail

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Cards

Yesterday my friend Heather showed me a beautiful hand stitched Christmas tree she had stitched to make into a pin cushion.  The idea came from Stitch Magazine.  I decided to use the same idea to create a few special Christmas cards.  They're quick to make and fit right in to my new personal goal of getting back to working on my art every day.  Instead of wasting time in front of the TV, I can accomplish something useful while watching/listening to TV.

The centre card was made using painted Aida cloth.  This is a great tip because you can use any acrylic paint and create Aida cloth in virtually any colour to suit your needs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

To Bead or Not To Bead - There Is No Question!

     Sometimes it's all about the message!  I saw a plaque some time ago with this wonderful quote and I knew I had to do something with it.  I've been struggling a lot lately with who I am and what's going on in my life right now, but this message make me smiles.  Depression sucks. (There, I said it.) We've (I've) got to get over the ridiculous stigma and move on.
        Anyway, I was inspired to pull out my beads [thanks to Anne Marie D :o)] and try to put some colour and bling into my days.  Anne Marie has also got me inspired to joint the Bead Journal Project 2012.  
     This piece is the result of hours of time wasted in front of the TV while watching too many episodes of Property Virgins, Income Property, House Hunters International and the likes.  The good thing is that you can't snack mindlessly while beading (although I do manage to get in some leftover Halloween Smarties).

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tea Cup

I just read Kim Klassen's most recent post and it inspired me to share this story.  I don't know who the original author is (it came to me as an email forward about a year ago) but it is a very inspiring story of how our life's struggles and challenges help to make us who we are.  As I continue to work through some challenges of my own, Kim's story reminded me that we are not alone and that we can take some comfort in knowing that others do understand because they too have been there!

The Tea Cup
While visiting an antique shop, a woman spotted an exceptionally beautiful cup, she picked it up, while commenting on it’s beauty.  Suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. I was once just a lump of clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded and patted me while I complained, "Don't, I don't like it! Leave me alone," but he only smiled, and gently said, "Not yet!"
Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and spun around and around. "Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!  I'm going to be sick!," I screamed. But the master only nodded and said quietly.  'Not yet.'
He spun me, poked and prodded, and bent me out of shape and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat.  I yelled, knocking and pounding at the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'.
When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on a shelf where I began to cool. It felt so good! But after I cooled he picked me up again and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Oh, please, stop it, stop!" I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'.
Then suddenly he put me in another oven.  This one was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up, but just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on a shelf where I cooled and waited, wondering "What's he going to do to me next?"
An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself.' And I did.  "That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!!"
Quietly he spoke: 'I want you to remember.' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled, pounded and patted, but had I left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I painted you, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'
The moral of this story:
God has a plan for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His vision for us.
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded, patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this:
Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think about this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Handmade Paper and Stitch

A few months ago I made some wonderful handmade papers.  I've been hanging on to them because they were too special to use for just anything.  Well, at some point you just have to get on with it and use your 'special stuff'.  There's no point hanging on to those little treasures forever, so I decided today was the day to start using them.  

As you may have read in a previous post, I make all my own greeting cards so I started playing with some simple machine stitch in the handmade paper and I'm really please with the results.  The paper stitches beautifully and I love the simplicity of the cards.  Fortunately the cards only need small pieces so I have enough left to make many more greeting cards in the future.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Greeting Cards

A little over a year ago I decided to make a better effort to remember the birthdays of family and friends with an old fashioned card in the mail.  I used to be terrible about staying on top of this, but thanks to the calendar on my Mac (and now my iPhone) and a system I've established to write and organize cards once each month for the upcoming dates, I'm managing to send cards out to everyone (and even on time!).

The second commitment I made to myself was to stop buying commercial greeting cards but rather to put a personal touch on my greetings by making my own cards.  This latest batch uses trifold card blanks (from a Canadian company in Victoria, BC - they will ship to the US too) which allow me to put a little piece of my own art into the 'window' in the front of the card.  Here are some examples of cards I made using some of the fabric I've designed while playing with acrylic paint, stamps, etc.

As you can see, my cat just couldn't miss the photo op. The poor neglected thing was a bit desperate for some attention!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

No More Excuses!

People are often saying, "I'll do it when I get a round tuit." Well, I've got just the thing!

I've been playing with my embellisher again lately.  I used various colours of felt, wool rovings, hand-dyed cheesecloth, yarns, etc. and I've been making round TUITs.  I've further embellished them with hand embroidery and beading to give them a bit more interest.

Here are the one's I've just finished:

close-up of some of the details

This is the message on the back.