Jan 31, 2012

Creatively Made Portrait

Although Creatively Made has technically started it's fourth week, I have just completed some work from week 2. This week was three lessons : vintage hardware art, marks-all pencil paintings, and portraits.
Each of the three involve using what Jeanne calls a marks-all pencil by Stabilo (Stabilo water soluble graphite pencils, I think.. Bascially, this pencil writes on anything. Then, when you use water in it, it becomes paint-like.

And just to remind you, each week has three art lessons, as well as thoughts from Jeanne and other artists. Week two's topics: Change your perspective; Perspective changes; Keep them close;  Accept your beauty; and The grass really isn't greener on the other side.

One of the really great lessons I have taken away from all of this so far, is that this art style doesn't have to be mine. But that doesn't mean that I can't try it, and work at it. It's hard to do something that feels so different. None of us like to try things that we aren't good at, right?

Layering, in general, is very hard for me. My style is pretty simple. This piece came one. stinkin. thing. at a time! It was like pulling teeth. And no, it's not great, but it is a start. I love the way the pencils turn into liquid.

After making the background, I printed out a photo that I liked. Then I scribbled on the back with charcoal to make my own tracing paper. I applied the image where I wanted, and then traced it.
This is the finished product, but if you look on the image to the left, you can see how I traced over the lines.
Ugh. I hated it. I tried to go over it with the Stabilo pencil (mine is thick and looks like a black crayon). I hated it even more. Oh, it as awful. So I painted over it and decided to start over. Or, maybe wasn't going to even do it again.

I watched the vidoes again, to see where I went wrong. Then I decided to just try it again. So, I got out the Stabilo crayon and traced over the pattern that was still showing through. Then I got a wet paint brush and gently started to moisten the pencil. it turns into paint!! It's awesome.

I did the quote the same way as I did the tracing. I printed out a font that I liked, blackened the back with charcoal, and traced. Then, I went over it with a fine black Sharpie pen. I could have tried black paint, but I didn't have a super thin brush.

So, here she is. The dogwood flowers are cut from vintage wallpaper, washed with a cream paints, then highlighted with a white thick paint pen and charcoal.


Jan 28, 2012

Dirt and Drywall Dust

One of the joys of moving into an old home is uneven floors. Our floors are crazy tilted- I don't think a single one is even remotely straight!

One of the reasons for a certain sag in the house is from previous boneheads owners running plumbing/drilling through a support beam too many times and it cracked. And BTW, this is one big heavy house = SAG!!!

So, the wall I'm speaking of is in the middle of the house, and part of my bedroom. The one that I spent so much time on, painting trim, walls, doors, the panelling... see where I'm going with this???

So, Chris jacks up the house, faster than he knows he's supposed to, and voila!! buckled plaster and cracks. In the wall in the bedroom, and in the kitchen/dining room downstairs. Perfect. I took pictures up in our bedroom and the adjacent ot it. I didn't take any in the kitchen. oh well.

In the midst of all of this, he decides he wants to rip up the laundry room floor. HOLD. ON. ONE. SECOND!! I tell him. You need to fix the walls before we do anything else. He looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.
This is the craziness of our crappy laundry room floor. The wood in the bottom right corner is the original flooring (probably on top of a subfloor). The nest layer visible is a subfloor that is nailed down. On top of that, another thin subfloor, that is stapled down. Missing from this picture is the lovely commercial tile, which was lifted up by some water that leaked the day they turned on the water when we moved in- TWO years ago...

So the moral of th story is- be careful what you wish for!! hehehe. The walls have come down. We opened up the wall between the kitchen and "dining room" and decided to leave it open. The drywall is hung and mud is on and sanded. All in less than two weeks. Hubby is a machine when he puts his mind to it!
The kitchen is to the left of this picture. They share the same back wall.

Looking from the dining room into the kitchen.

And if you're wondering where the stove and counters are, well, this is the eat-in-area adjacent to the actual kitchen. The eat-in area is about 14x14 and has the woodstove, and the ceiling has beams and plaster. The actual kitchen is about 9x17, and is right next to it. We hung a huge piece of plastic between the two in an attempt to keep the dust out. Attempt, I say. It filters through anyway, and is even in the cabinets... It makes me crazy that the house is so dirty, but there is NO use in really cleaning until it is all done. So, I just keep vacuuming and lightly dusting.
The newly opened wall is on the other side of the plastic, on the back wall.

Now, we need to figure out how to marry the floors together. I wish we had the money to rip out the floors and put new ones in throughout the laundry room, kitchen, and dining room. SIGH.

We'll get there, someday. In the meantime, we're remaking the movie Money Pit...

xo, Lee

Jan 24, 2012

Creatively Made

So, I have been spending time watching Jeanne Oliver's online course Creatively Made.

Week one was dedicated to altered journals, their covers, and making altered journals from catalogs. Each week also features guest videos from other artists.

It's great fun to watch and listen! Jeanne is just adorable!

I have made journal/book covers before, so didn't feel the need to follow her example. However, it is really fun to watch how someone else does it.

I did, however, try my hand at Jeanne's style of background and altered magazine images.

It's frustrating to not have any decent craft/art supply store nearby. Of course, I can order online, but sometimes it's fun to go browse, pick things up, and really look at it first.

I used what I had, which is always a good thing. I think the skin is a bit yellow, but the process was really fun. It is completely not my style, which made it even MORE amazing to try. We should all try things that are not in our comfort zone!


Jan 22, 2012

Swap Gals

OK, here goes:

We'll swap in order:

I mail to Shannon
Shannon mails to Jean
Jean mails to Cassie

Cassie to Jessica
Jessica mails to me.

How's that sound? Stuff a $5.20 sized priority box full of stuff, and try to get it in the mail by next weekend.

Email me your addresses, and I'll pass around. Shannon and Jean can get it from PDA. Cassie, send me your address via email and I'll pass it on. Shannon, I still think I have yours floating around.

Good digging!!

Jan 21, 2012


OK gals, c'mon and join the swap!! See below.

You know you have goodies just waiting to be used!

You know how much fun it is to get new stuff.

C'mon, you know you want to!!

Jan 15, 2012

Supply Swap Time!

Ok boys and girls, time to go dig into your stash!!

As you know, I won  a membership to Jeanne Oliver's Creativley Made E-course. There is a members-only FB page, on which some funny gal posted about her talent for collecting stuff errrrrrrrrrrr supplies.  Supplies, we all love to hoard them, and yet how many of us have little treasures that have been sitting around, just waiting to be used.

Well, the wait is over!! This is a swap for anyone who wants to be involved. Even if it's just me and one other person....

 We can go two ways. One, stuff a $5.20 Priority Mail Box full of stuff and mail to your partner. Or two, use a larger bubble wrap type envelope, stuff, and mail. You tell me what you preference is, and majority rules.

So, let me know if you are interested. You can email me your address. If we decide to to envelopes, I'd like to pair people who are geographically close, especially if any of you are in Canada.

In your comment, please leave a list of things you want, or need to get rid of. That will help too!!

Today is Sunday, sign up will be for one week. Happy digging!!

Jan 10, 2012

It's Just Like Riding a Bike... sort of

So, as I mentioned, I headed home the week after Christmas. It's been a year since I've been there- way too long. Last year I went just for a few days, this year I went for 6.

The thing is, it just makes me want to go home more. It makes me want to move home more. SIGH.

My parents and sister have Welsh ponies. I have two myself (really my mom's). I haven't ridden in years, but my sister asked me to go cross-country with her. So, she helped me saddle up, and I donned some of my 11 year-old nephew's gear (helps to have a big nephew!).

Riding a horse is like riding a bike. You don't really forget... but your MUSCLES sure do!! We went out for about an hour, wearing bright jerseys as so avoid getting shot by some deer hunters.

This is Christine on Jim, on the second ride.

The first day I rode my sister's gelding Gentleman Jim, a registered section B pony. It was really fun. We walked and trotted. Then I asked him to canter, and he let out a few bucks!!

I laughed and laughed, and Christine says "Oh, I forgot to tell you he did that!" Ah, all the more fun!! At one point we were cantering and he bucked and swerved... I managed to stay on, my sister yelling "STAY ON!" As if I had anything to say about it. ** laughing**

The next day Christine asked me if I wanted to ride again. I hemmed and hawed, mostly because I was in the middle of cleaning something out for my mom (I am RUTHLESS when it comes to junk).  Jason said to me, "Can I go if you don't?" I think my heart audibley broke. 1. because it was so heartfelt, 2. because all the other kids ride and mine don't have the opportunity like they do, and 3. because I had to tell him "no, you don't ride well enough." Oh, it makes living up here in Maine SO much harder!

Jason and Jim

But, I rode again despite the fact that muscles I forgot about were sore, not to mention my "seat bones." Lord, it felt like someone had hit me in the butt with a bat! hahaha. Gwr (pronounced Gore) is a stallion, a bit fiesty, but well behaved. We had the same sort of lovely ride, including some bucks too. But a much calmer day, overall. That's a good thing, because I'm thinking that if I'd gotten thrown it would have been ugly.

Jason was able to do a little riding in. It made me glad for him. And it also makes me more determined to get him riding up here. So, if anyone has a bomb proof pony, let me know.

hugs, Lee

Jan 8, 2012

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, first let me say that I have tons of stuff to tell you.
I want to tell you about my trip home, for the first time in a year. How I rode cross-country with my sister, pulled my niece's tooth, hung out with my mom, and wished that I could move back again.
I want to tell you about the snow, the ponies, and the kids.
I want to tell you about the flying squirrels that run through my walls, and occasionally (and recently) get into the house.
Yeah, all of that.
BUT, first I have to tell you that I won two things in the span of about 2 weeks. I have entered SO MANY blog contests and never won a thing. Not once. There are some bloggers out there who are constantly winning things, and I often wonder how that is.... anyway.

First, I won the cool, sweet Christmas tree that I mentioned on a previous post. My BFF Tammy made it and offered it in a giveaway. I told her in my comments to give it to someone else, since I know her (and can twist her arm at any given moment to make me something), but she gave it to me anyway.

Second, I mentioned Shannan over at Flower Patch Farmgirl before too. Shannan has a wonderful blog. She is super funny and writes well. I love her thoughts on raising kids, FOOD, and her faith.
So, she offered a give away for the fantastic Jeanne Oliver's Creatively Made e-course.

*The art projects taught in this course
Santos dolls
Vintage Journal with old books
Image Transfers
Mixed Media Vintage Girls
Leather and metal Stamping
Mixed Media Collage and Tips
How to use photography in your art
“Painting” with Stabilo pencils

Like so many of you out there, things have been so difficult lately. It can really bruise your heart and leaves you breathless and tired and wondering where the light at the end of the tunnel is (and hoping it's not a train). Creatively, I have lots of ideas, but often not the time or the gumption to make them real.
So, I'm sure you can see where this is going... I think God is giving me a little boost and telling me to get off my arse and CREATE.
Sign-up for the course ends tomorrow. It's a reasonable $48, so if you got any Christmas money, go spend it!! Otherwise, as you surely know, I will be sharing this as I go.
Thank you Tammy! Thank you Shannan! Thank you Jeanne!!

PS. As I finished this post, I realized I wanted to change the blog music, and I Hope You Dance popped into my head. I say popped, but I'm sure it's You-know-who tapping me on the shoulder. This time, I listened. It made me cry as I sat and listened to the words. He is telling my my word for the year- DANCE.