Thursday, December 15, 2016

Embellished Wine Glass

Here is my first attempt at embellishing a wine glass.  I found this crocheted coaster at a thrift shop last week.  I used the blue flower as my focal point and added the strand of blue rhinestones for some contrast.  Finally, I added the three blue dangles to the bottom of the coaster.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Embellished Teacup

Once upon a time...I fell in love with the work by a local artist who was doing mixed media and altered art long before it even had a name.  I knew that she had embellished wine glasses (I am privileged to own a few of them).  So when I threw a surprise tea party for my mother's birthday one year, I commissioned her to alter a teacup for my mother.  To this day, this early specimen of altered art sits on a shelf in my mother's house.

Fast forward to present...a small group of my high school classmates always gather together to celebrate the holidays.  This year, our annual grab bag theme is "Simply Red or Green."  The only rules were that there be no food or gift cards and no more than $25.  I gave some thought to what I would like to do for my grab bag gift.  I knew that I wanted my gift to be something that the recipient could create a ritual from.  Drawing a bath, writing in a journal, enjoying a hot cup of tea...

Yes, the tea theme really spoke to me.  I recalled that altered teacup from years ago--even asked my mother if I could photograph it to study so I could create one of my own for the grab bag gift.  I quickly realized that I would have to find the proper adhesive to affix chunky, heavy pieces of vintage jewelry  to the side of a teacup.  E6000 does the trick.  Then I had to contend with the not-so-flat surface of the teacup.  Not all of the jewelry pieces were flush so I might not get a good seal.  Here is my practice cup:

What I learned from this practice cup is that it was very difficult to create a pleasing composition while trying to hold individual pieces in place while the glue dried.  Using a backing of lace or felt would allow me to create my composition before adhering the entire piece to the teacup later.  Much better!  I still had to contend with the curve of the teacup surface, but the felt worked quite well with the E6000.

So here is a picture of my finished composition before I placed it onto the teacup.  I trimmed the felt backing so that it is barely visible.  I am happy that I used chains and rhinestone strands to create dangles.  I think it makes the piece so much more interesting with the dangles!

 Positioning the composition onto the teacup:

And the finished piece!

I created this handmade booklet about Rituals to accompany the teacup:

I think the recipient really loved her new teacup!  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Barbie Body Parts

Some people have a passion for collecting Barbies.  I, on the other hand, have a passion for collecting Barbie body parts.  I know that some find my interest in body parts to be quite disturbing.  Surprisingly, there are many others who share my enthusiasm for this strange fascination.   Just check out the "What to do with Barbies" board on Pinterest!  

I was fortunate to be in San Francisco a few years ago where I attended an Altered Barbie exhibit.  I must have spent three hours studying all of the amazing pieces of art that cleverly incorporated Barbie parts into the works.  My head was reeling with ideas of what to do with a Barbie doll (parts)!  I couldn't resist purchasing this set of Barbie earrings--one side is made from an arm and the other side is made with a leg.  Aren't these just fabulous?

You can imagine my delight when I first met a friend of a friend this summer who used to work for Mattel.  (Barbies are manufactured by Mattel!)  This past week, she gifted me with a collection of Barbie bodies and (detached) heads!  Now I will be on the lookout for the next "Altered Barbie" class.  It's BYOB--Bring Your Own Barbie!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Birthday Candle Bling!

In September, a dear friend of ours was celebrating a very special 90th birthday.  He insisted that no gifts were allowed, but he didn't say anything about giving him a birthday cake!  Over the past year, I have ordered several cakes from Magnolia Bakery.  Abigail, (Magnolia's Regional Director of Operations), has become a fast friend and she didn't disappoint when she created this elegant two-tiered cake for the occasion.  Since the colors for the party were cream and gold, I thought it would be fun to create the cake topper with a very blinged-out "90!"   Abigail loved the blinged-out birthday candles and asked if I would make a set to display in the Bakery.  I made the "20" in honor of Magnolia's 20th anniversary and created this additional magenta "21" for Abigail after I found the candle at a thrift shop! 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

July Creations

Though I have not been able to do much art this year, I did get together with friends this summer for some creative fun.  We marbled papers, tags and envelopes with shaving cream.  We made more CitraSolv pages using stencils.  We tried our hand at affirmation stones and even made a cache of painted paper beads!

Paper Tapestry Chunkies

For our June chunky swap, the theme was "Paper Tapestry."  I initially thought I wanted to do some sort of landscape using the iris folding technique.  When I was starting to gather my papers to iris fold, I came across my stash of CitraSolv pages.  I decided I would use them in my chunkies.  If I had used these pages to create a landscape, you wouldn't be able to see the beauty and texture in these pages.  I thought this simple iris fold pattern best showcased the wide array of colors and patterns CitraSolv magically creates! 

Friday, May 20, 2016


 As I work my way through the destinations on the Amazing Race Art Journaling Project, I find myself going back to my favorite techniques to create these spreads.  Because I am usually working in an altered book as part of a round robin, so few of my creations end up in my own book.  This challenge has allowed me to work in my own book for a welcome change!

For India, there were so many ideas running through my head.  More than anything, when I think of India, rich, vibrant colors come to mind. I don't quite remember how I settled on using the peacock as my subject for my India page.  The peacock is the national bird of India.  I knew I had a feather stencil and wanted to experiment and play with it to see what kind of effect I could create.

The feathers you see here in the background were made using Distress Inks which I applied through the stencil using a blending tool.  The color changed dramatically once I applied the stenciled feathers onto the pink background (Dylusion Spray).  I added glitter pen accents to give them more pop and definition.

Now for the fun part!  I used one of my favorite pop-up techniques to create the body of the peacock.  As you open the book from a closed position, the head of the peacock rises up.  When the book is opened all the way, the peacock is displayed in its full glory.  I added glitter glue to the feathers of the body and topped him off with some real feathers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Art of Graffiti

 I am really enjoying this Amazing Race of Art Journaling Challenge, but I'm running at the back of the pack!  I am finding so much inspiration--not just from the wonderful prompts--but also from the artwork posted by the others who are running this race!  I think it was a bit too fast-paced for the way I work.  After I complete the 5 destinations in this challenge, the prompts will come at a more manageable pace.

Germany was actually the fourth destination in this race, but since I already had an idea for my pages, I decided to skip Italy and tackle Germany first. 

I created an accordion fold out page (a total of 7 panels, decorated front and back) to represent the Berlin Wall.  I took images of the wall, pieced them together for a coherent look, then made several packing tape transfers.  The artwork is so colorful and expressive.  To top off my wall, I used 28 gauge wire to simulate barbed wire along the top edge.    

Money Lei

In June, we will be attending the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy.  I decided to make a lei of origami fighter jets folded from dollar bills.  Thank you Hope for helping me fold all those origami airplanes!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Next Stop: France

The Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge's second stop was France.  It has been awhile since I did a Marie Antoinette themed piece.  Although I chose her as my subject for this leg of the race, I wanted to do something a little different with her this time.

As I studied this familiar image, I began to envision her hair as 3-D coils.  I dug out some French text and started cutting the pages into thin strips.  I then coiled the individual strips around a barbeque skewer.  When I had a handful of these coils, I began to arrange them onto her head.  Row after row, her hairdo took shape.  I was really happy with the end result.

I struggled for a time finding the right materials in my stash of lace to use for a collar or necklace.  This combination of gold organza and antique lace seemed to compliment her hair instead of overpowering it.

I had several ideas for what to put on the opposite page.  A stamped image of a chandelier?  A framed portrait of her beloved husband Louis XVI?  An urn filled with colorful flowers?  Since Marie is my focal point, I chose to use her MA monogram, glittered in gold, of course, to finish my France spread.  Now it's off to Italy!   

Altered Awkward Family Photo Chunkies

Even though this month's "Altered Awkward Family Photos" chunky theme was my brainchild, I admit that I too, had a difficult time deciding what I would do.  One night while playing with a tree stencil (see middle photo), the idea came to me.  I would create a Family Tree!

I used some 4x4's that I had previously made out of pages I had removed from a book to be altered.  These pages were created by tearing the pages down to 4x4 size and then glueing about 7-8 pages together.  This would be my chunky substrate.  I then took my tree stencil and Distress Ink pads (Vintage Photo) to create my tree, adding branches with various parts of the stencil, .

To give more dimension, I added tree branch die cuts that I had created from scrap papers.  The ones I chose to incorporate had the same color tones as the stenciled tree.  I did not have a proper sized leaf punch, so instead I used a small circle punch to cut out faces from the Awkward Family Photo Calendar pages that were the inspiration for this theme.  I then shaped the faces into more of a leaf shape by folding the circle punches in half and cutting into a crescent shape.  Fortunately, the borders of my calendar pages were green, so as not to waste them, I made leaves out of the green borders and added those to my "Family Tree."  Though unintentional, the crease down the center of the "leaves" made them appear more life-like and added even more dimension to my chunky pages!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge Kicks Off!

I signed up to participate in Susan Lazar Wojtkowski's "Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge."  Over the next several weeks, Susan will post the name of a country from which we will draw our inspiration.  She tosses in "detours" which gives us a choice to try a new technique or learn something new.  She even provides fun facts (arts, music, food) about the country we are visiting to get us fully immersed in the challenge.

Although I am not an art journaler, I have been craving doing some art for myself lately.  I  decided to treat the challenges as prompts for my own altered book.  You can imagine how excited I was to begin this journey!  However, when the first destination was announced, I found I had a challenge of another sort on my hands. 

The first destination announced was China.  I know that many people are intrigued by Asian motifs and themes.  I am not one of them.  I have very little in my stash that is Asian.  So here I was ready to begin this journey with little material to work with.  What would I do for my China page?

When I am stumped for an idea, I find that just starting often helps get me through my block.  Here, I grabbed an old book with a sewn spine (didn't even prep the pages).  Next, I pulled out my stash of gelli prints and thought this brick pattern in red would make a nice background.  This particular print was made with a brick patterned embossing folder on deli paper.  I went to my foreign text stash and found some Chinese text and selected two pages to use.  I selected ink pads in reds and oranges and applied color to the columns of text with a make up sponge for a diffused, blended look.  Then I glued those pages over my gelli print.  Now what?

I few years back, I had experimented with a pop-up flower in a friend's altered book I was working in  for a round robin.  I loved how it turned out, and always wanted to have one in my own book.  A pop-up lotus flower would be the centerpiece of my China spread.

I created this flower out of 9 sheets of vellum.  I love how the flimsiness of the vellum gives the petals a more natural feel.  finally, I had watercolor crayons that I had never played with before, so decided to use them to add just a hint of color to the petals.

Now, onto the next leg of the race:  France!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Marbling Paper with Shaving Cream

At a recent playdate, I wanted to experiment with marbling paper using the shaving cream technique.  (Thank you Teri for sending me a link!) What absolute fun!!  You basically take a shallow pan (I used an aluminum pan) and fill the bottom with a layer of shaving cream.  You don't need too deep a layer of shaving cream--just enough to cover the bottom.  You can use a spatula to spread the shaving cream into the empty spaces.

You can use food coloring or acrylic paints for this technique.  I thought the food coloring would bleed too much so I chose to I use cheap acrylic paints.  I chose three complimentary colors and placed drops of paint sparingly onto the layer of shaving cream.  Using too much paint will smear.  Now comes the fun part.  You take a mark-making tool ( I used a skewer stick) and begin to move the paint around on top of the shaving cream to gently mix the colors.  I found that keeping peaks in the shaving cream yielded the best results.  If you smooth out the shaving cream till its flat, you will not get the pretty marbling effect.

When you are satisfied with the pattern, place a sheet of paper on top of the shaving cream.  Gently press the paper into the shaving cream for full coverage.  Lift the page and let sit to dry for 3-5 minutes.  If there is enough paint left, try to pull a ghost print.  After the page has dried for 3-5 minutes, take a squeegee and remove the excess shaving cream from the page.  What you have left is a beautiful marbled page! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Recycled Greeting Card Chunkies

Ever wonder what to do with those greeting cards you receive?  Instead of just tossing them, why not recycle them?  That's what we did for this month's chunky pages.

As I went through my stash of Christmas cards, I pulled out the ones that had the shiny foil features in red, gold, silver, etc.  This would be my unifying element.  I then used circle punches to create lots and lots of circles in a variety of sizes.  It's so interesting to see how the different sized circles change the look of the original image!  You know how you can't always recognize a common object when you look at it  through a microscope?  Same idea.  

I selected  5 different sized circles for each of my pages.  I arranged them in overlapping fashion to fit on the 4 x 4 chunky format.  I secured the circles with two-sided tape to hold them in place while I free-motioned stitched around the circles.  You will see that my back ground is a high-gloss silver cardstock.  My thread is metallic gold.  All of these elements help to tie my foil Christmas card circle punches together into one cohesive chunky page.

Relaxing with a Coloring Book

I've been seeing lots and lots of these adult coloring books lately.  I was toying with the idea of trying one, but never seemed to find the time to just well, color.  About a mont.
h ago, my classmates and I were together at a gathering.  One of my classmates had picked up one of these coloring books called "The Lost Sea" and thought it would be fun if we each took turns coloring in the book--sort of like an AB round robin.  They asked me to start and I happily took on the challenge.

I started by flipping through the pages--all of them were "ocean-themed" pages.  Some of them were multi-page pull-outs.  I would have loved to have done one of those pages, but was not sure I would have the time.  Better to start smaller.  

The page you see above it the one that I was drawn to.  I got out a bunch of my gel pens and got to work.  I started from the inside/center and slowly worked my way out.  I say "slowly" because I was surprised at how much time it took me to color.  It took me three nights to finish the multi-colored spread (circle frame).  I was even more surprised at how unconscious I was of the time I spent coloring.  I found it relaxing, almost meditative to sit and get lost in the simple activity of coloring a page.  I also found it addicting!  As slow as I was to start this project, I couldn't wait to come home after work and start coloring.

I found myself with enough time to do the second spread (the simple circle) before it was time to pass the book to the next contributor.  I experimented with a green/blue palette since this was, after all, all things "ocean."  I had several pens in this palette but ended up using highlighters because they  made it easier to cover the larger spaces.  Accents of glitter glue add a finishing sparkle to the pages.

I am now officially hooked on adult coloring books!  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Chunkies are baaack!

After an extended hiatus, I must say that it feels great to be creating on a regular basis again!  I have had to scale back my commitments this year, but the chunkies are the perfect fit.

We decided to start this new chunky round by illustrating the word or intention we have chosen to focus on for 2016.  My word for 2016 is "Replenish."

I think this first set of chunkies will be a very inspiring set of pages for all of us!  What better way to bring an intention into focus than creating art inspired by that word.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Embellished condiment spoons

Over the holidays, I was gifted with a condiment spoon embellished with colored wire and beads.  I just loved the idea and thought I would try my hand at it.

I started by anchoring a piece of 24 gauge wire around the neck of the spoon by wrapping the wire around the end 4 times (you can wrap more than this if you like).

After the fourth wrap, I positioned a small bead in the center of the spoon handle and wrapped once more to secure it.  Next, I added two beads and positioned them on top of the handle and secured it with one more wrap of the wire.

Continue  to alternate one bead, wrap once, two beads, wrap once, etc. until you have placed a total of 7 beads.  Wrap four times and trim wire.  That's it!!  Of course, depending on how big or long your spoon is, this design can easily be adapted.  Play with colors and bead sizes to create a nice variety of designs!