Wednesday, June 22, 2016

M is for Mice

M is for Mice
(yes you can use a mouse as well)

To main Blog

That's our new challenge at ABC Christmas Challenge and Sue is hosting this one. Unfortunately I did not have an image with mice so I used this cutie from Beary Wishes. It was colored with Prismacolor pencils and I added a touch of glitter with Spica markers.   

Our sponsor for this challenge is

Lawn Fawn

Prize is a stamp set and 6x6 paper pad of winner's choice.

I'm happy to have another Christmas card finished! If you're interested in creating your cards early this year then I hope you'll join us. For more inspiration visit the challenge blog to see what my fellow teamies created. 

Thanks for the visit!

Monday, June 20, 2016

4th of July

We are celebrating the 4th of July at The Cutting Cafe!

I love the 4th - picnics, watermelons, fireworks - and it's hard to believe we're about to celebrate it in two weeks. This year has flown by!

I used The USA Phrases...Printable Stamp Set and the USA Word Shaped Card...Template - Cutting File on this project. I printed the phrases out with my printer and cut the U S A letters with my Silhouette cutting machine. Two layers were cut, first was Silhouette chipboard then I layered another set of letters using a dp from my stash. I added White Opal Liquid Pearls to the letters but it's kinda busy with the micro star dp so I may cut another set and replace these. ;) 

Stickers along with ephemera from Graphic 45's Place in Time collection were used. On the top and bottom borders I glued patriotic paper straws to embellish and in the middle I cut a border strip from the collection. On the left and right side I added long clear stickers with stars. I used patriotic ribbon for my big bow and it was the finishing touch to my altered printer's tray. 

The Cutting Cafe

This was a fun project to put together and I'll set it on a tabletop easel for display. Be sure to drop by The Cutting Cafe's blog to view all of the 4th of July inspiration by my fellow design team mates. If you leave a comment on the 21st of June DT post you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to win 3 FREE Sets from TCC. Regina will announce the winner on July 7th.  

I'll be spending the 4th recovering from our 30th anniversary journey. My hubby and I are going back to some of our favorite national parks in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and South Dakota plus new parks in Wyoming. We were able to to expand our trip thanks to some dear friends of ours who agreed to house sit for us. They're looking forward to enjoying the lake, boating, fishing and relaxing on the brand new deck that my hubby recently finished. Knowing that everything at home will be taken care we decided to include Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. They've been on our bucket list for a while so we are super excited! We'll be having a vacation while our friends have one as well. That's what I call a win for everyone! :) 

Now all I have to do is leave the fridge stocked up and by request make some homemade salsa. I'll be posting some of our adventures on Instagram (beginning Thursday) if you'd like to see what our beautiful national parks in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota and Wyoming look like. Plus I plan to leave some special messages for a dear friend of mine in Germany on my IG page so heads up Katrin. 

Thanks for the visit, have a great day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

May Outgoing Pocket Letters

Hi there!
 As promised I'm back to share the pocket letters I created for my pals at Pocket Letter Pals during May. There's so much going on in my personal life that I've cut back the number of pl's I'm making. Hopefully I can pick up the pace again in late July but for now I'm officially on a break at PLP's. 

The pocket letter above was made for my dear friend Katrin in Germany. She loves the beach so I surprised her with a beach themed pl! Originally I tried to create "real sand" however it rained for days on end and I couldn't get it to dry properly so I did the next best thing and grabbed some Jolee's Boutique stickers. Since I was going the sticker route I incorporated a few others and created 3 scenes-sun, sea and beach. So happy to say that she loves her pl and it put a smile on her face. :)

The next pl is steampunk themed and I made for my pal, Deb, in Maine. This is our second swap and I used one of my favorite Graphic 45 collections-Steampunk Debutante. Just for fun I fussy cut this hand holding a flying man in a weird contraption. The lady on the bottom middle row is ephemera from the collection and since she's looking up I thought it would look cool to have her looking up at him flying by. I added trim to the front of the pl that she can peel off and use for crafty projects plus 4 dogwood paper flowers as well. Washi tape was added to the spine to further enforce the steampunk theme.

I love this sassy lady!

Deb loves her pl which makes me happy!

Last but not least is a pl I did for a private group swap at PLP. It's for my swap partner, Sarah, in Ohio and our assigned theme was to use nine face and decorate each with a different theme. Now if you saw my post last week where I shared my Incoming Pocket Letters then you know that Sarah nailed the challenge. I didn't but I'm thrilled that she loves her pl and the various Graphic 45 papers I used on it. 

So all's well that ends well! 

Like I said I've had to cut way back on my pl's. My real life is crazy with two trips that are two weeks apart while I'm also preparing for my son and DIL's Parenthood Shower on July 9th. So far I've made the invitations, a project for the nursery my DIL requested, party decorations and of course we have to have a diaper cake. When I return from my trip I'll be busy decorating and preparing food so no rest for the weary lol. Did I mention that 99.9% of this has to be finished before I leave on the second trip? Yeah, my poor fur baby is feeling a bit neglected lately. :( I'll be sharing those projects in July after I return and rest up some. 

Have a great day everyone! 

Big Hugs,

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tracy Verdugo

Hi there! I hope your week is off to a great start! 

Recently I attended a two day art class with the talented Australian artist, Tracy Verdugo, at Donna Downey Studio's in Huntersville, North Carolina. It was my second visit to Donna's Studio, last July I attended Finnabair's two day collage class and loved it. Donna and Bill are wonderful hosts and this time there was a new addition to the studio, a full service coffee bar with a comfy lounge. Bill Downey makes a mean iced coffee latte. :)

The photo above is what we saw when we walked in our classroom. Every student was given two 24" x 24" canvases to create their masterpieces, a set or art brushes and a sketchbook.

Tracy arrived pulling a rolling suitcase packed with art supplies and began setting up.  

We began our class the morning of Tuesday, May 31st. She started setting up her supplies as we all browsed Donna's gift / art shop and grabbed a quick bite. Donna provides breakfast and lunch plus there's the "Wall of  Candy" in candy store jars that just make my heart sing. Tootsie Rolls are my fave and the jar was full. :)  

Do you see those art supplies below in the corner and along the wall?

Every student has full access to them and Donna doesn't cut corners on art products. :)

After Donna went over some housekeeping issues she turned the class over to Tracy and we began. This photo was taken after we started our first canvas and she was about to do a demo.

For me, one of the main attractions to Tracy's art is her use of color and how she fearlessly works on any substrate. Her approach to large canvases make them feel less intimidating. When you stare at a 24" x 24" canvas it can be daunting. She teaches you how to break it down so you don't feel overwhelmed.

She shared how she has times where she doubts her ability as an artist and that floored me. I like to create art and love mixed media but I often have this ticker tape that runs through my head saying "you're not a real artist" and it shuts my creativity down. Tracy spoke to us about this feeling and how we can overcome it and go on to create beautiful art, with or without an art degree. It was an epiphany for me! I'll take her instruction and sage advice with me forever, thank you Tracy. 

One of our exercises was to sketch some items that inspired us. Tracy found the butterfly on this bag in Donna's gift shop inspiring. There are so many things to inspire and make you chuckle!

There's Donna on the far left and the lady with her back to the camera was sitting next to me in class. Her name is Edie and she's a true sweetheart. She uses a purple and pink wash on her hair and I love it!!! I hope I'm brave enough to do something like that when my hair turns gray or white. :)

This is one of the canvases Tracy worked on during class. She creates art to illustrate and teach techniques leaving her with two finished canvases after class that are for sale. 

In this photo you can see Tracy working on it at an earlier stage. The composition begins to emerge after several layers are applied.

This is my second canvas with the first layer of paint / ink applied. I love the colors but as she says don't get too attached because it's going to change and it does. 

This is the base layer of my first's filled with symbols and drawings in a random fashion that inspired me. She told us not to worry about how everything looks at this point because it will change with additional layers. 

Class Day One (not all of the students are pictured)

Feel free to skip this paragraph if you want but I gotta get something off my chest...
There were two women who totally disrespected Tracy, as a teacher and artist, in our class. It got so bad that Tracy stopped class instruction and began working with us individually on the second day as she'd obviously reached her limit. I was seriously frustrated and downright mad at these inconsiderate women. You would think they would've had enough sense to realize what they were doing. Apparently they were too self absorbed to notice their effect on anyone. One of the Nancy's (yep, same name) started the first day, first 15 min of class, when introductions were being made by stating that she refused to work on the canvases provided. Okay, fine no problem but then she continues and said that she'd be using techniques she learned in another artist's class and might incorporate some of Tracy's. Seriously!!! For one thing she paid for those canvases and this was not an inexpensive class, secondly why bother lady even coming to this class if you're obviously not there to learn from this artist?!? I got the last seat when I was at Finn's class last year and what's infuriating is that I know people who wanted to attend her class but couldn't because it was sold out. Then these two "Nancy's" show up with NON STOP complaints, talking out loud in a disruptive manner, whining and so much more that I'll spare you from. They sat next to each other and definitely fed off one another. I can't tell you how bad I, as well as the rest of the class, felt for Tracy! I continued to work on my first canvas but mentally I'd shut down and several of the ladies left early the second day. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. People who know me in real life know what I'm talkin' about. I'm over rude people, period! Shame on both of you!!!
(Disclaimer: Bill (Donna's hubby) wasn't aware of what was happening in the class bc he was training new coffee shop employees and setting up for our breakfast and lunch times while Donna was out most of the time with real life mom stuff like her daughters athletic banquet one night and other stuff that a mom of 3 has to attend to. She allows the artist to hold their own class using her facility and pretty much stays out of the way. She did pop in once and overheard an episode by one of the "Nancy's" and she shut it down. That was interesting to say the least, all I gotta say is don't mess with a Jersey girl lol. Wish she'd been there the whole time!). Okay, I'm going to take a deep breathe and move along...

This is as far as I got on my second canvas...didn't even touch it the second day. There are two layers of paint/acrylic ink and I added a few symbols and words. Not sure where it's going from here but as Tracy said...just step back, look at your art and see what you can see emerging from it. I learned helpful techniques in this class which will be with me always. :)

A bit reluctant to show you my first canvas tho...I went with the suggestion of a monkey but honestly I wasn't "feeling it" and clearly I didn't commit to it. Partly because I don't know how to draw monkeys and it was a struggle trying to make him appear. Poor fella and that bird on the bottom right has a really long neck lol. Good gravy!

Early layer here...

I took a wrong turn adding the coconuts to a tree that clearly isn't a palm tree LOL...I tell ya I was stressed. Couldn't stand all the drama that was going on and when I said I mentally shut down..well now you know I did. Ha Ha

It's okay though because as Tracy's only paint. Right! I can fix this and I will when I get back in July. ;) Easy peasy!!

For now, I plan to totally enjoy my upcoming 30th anniversary trip with my hubby and the baby shower I'm hosting for my son and DIL on July 9th. Luckily I made notes in class and I do have access to Tracy's online workshops. 

Tracy is a wonderful person, a great artist and teacher. It was a pleasure to meet her and I encourage you to take a class from her if you have the opportunity to. Thank you so much for everything Tracy and safe travels home this week. xxx

BTW, see that awesome elephant behind us?

This was her second class project and I absolutely love, love, love it!
Maybe my internal struggle was that subliminally I wanted to do an elephant (bc I love hers so much) but I boxed myself in with one of my layers....hmmm...I'll be pondering that and how to fix it.

Have a great week everyone, wherever you are. :) 
Thanks for hanging in there with this long post and I hope you'll check back on Wednesday when I share my May Outgoing Pocket Letters. There will be scheduled posts throughout my bloggie break so hopefully you'll find some inspiration along the way and I may pop in and share some photos of my adventure. Also if there are any spelling errors please overlook, spell check was on the fritz with Blogger today. 

Big Hugs,

Friday, June 10, 2016

Incoming May Pocket Letters

Thank goodness it's Friday!!!

Edited Post: I found another pl I received from April that arrived in May :)

Hi everyone, today I'd like to share the incoming pocket letters I received from my Pocket Letter Pals during May.
It's always a great day when happy mail arrives. :)

First up is the pl you see above and it's from my pal, Katrin, who hails from Germany. We exchange pl's regularly on a personal basis and she's become a special pal to me. Sometimes we set themes while other times we just surprise each other. This was a surprise altered art pl with a touch of Alice (as in Wonderland). She also incorporated two of my fave colors- red and black-and used Bo Bunny's fab paper collection - Star Crossed.
The result is a pl that I absolutely adore!!!

I love the stamps and images in this collection. :)
Katrin sent me some fabulous goodies and truly spoiled me, thank you sweet friend.
I love everything!!!

The next pl is from my pal, Deb, in Maine.
 We did a personal swap with a steampunk theme and she used some of my fave G45 papers.

She created the miniature steampunk figures which are so fun!
Fantastic pocket letter Deb, thank you! I love my goodies too!! :)

The 3rd pl is from my pal, Sarah, in Ohio . 
We were partners in a private group swap and the assigned theme was to use 9 faces and decorate each one differently.

I love each one of these incredible faces.

Look at the detail she added and the small shaker embellie is so cool. :)
Thanks so much Sarah and for my wonderful goodies too! 

Last but not least is the April pl that I received in May (after my incoming pl post).
It's from my pal, Jennifer, in Minnesota .

We did a personal swap with a spring theme and I love the soft colors she used. They remind me of ice cream for some reason lol.

The pretty flowers and butterflies speak of spring to me and I love the paper she used.
 Thanks Jennifer for my beautiful pl and goodies!

One more pl....from my friend, Aparna,  in India. We swapped spring themed pl's in April and it arrived in May...put it in the stack to be photographed then moved it and it was lost in the shuffle. Sorry Aparna, it's here now and I love it!

Sorry about the glare but hopefully you can see how adorable this pl is. Love the row of burlap pockets in the middle and the fun shaker on the bottom row. I happen to love butterflies, flowers, birds and ladybugs so this one makes me happy. Thanks again Aparna!

Each of my wonderful pals send me fab goodies to play and craft with and I appreciate you so much!
Thanks for always making happy mail a terrific day!!!

Okay I'm caught up with my incoming pl's, hope you enjoyed seeing them. :) I'm currently taking a break at PLP's but I do have two pl's to complete and mail out this month. I just couldn't squeeze them in last month with all the crazy stuff happening and I really appreciate my pals patience. I found out yesterday that Katrin's is caught up in U.S. Customs and hopefully they'll release it and send it on its way soon. We've had good luck so far but my package was a bit bulky this time. Oops, they frown on that. Sorry!

Have a great weekend everyone, it's my first one at home in weeks and I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit! I'll be back Monday with photos from my recent two day trip to North Carolina for the Paint Mojo art class with Australian artist, Tracy Verdugo. See you then!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

L is for - Things Beginning with L

We are working our way through the alphabet at ABC Christmas Challenge and we're up to the letter "L". I went with the obvious choice - lights - but there are plenty of options like lanterns, Santa's List, lamp post, label = tag, holly leaves, logs (in Santa's fireplace) and my teamie Sue suggested last minute shopping which I love as well.

This sweet image and sentiment is from Taylored Expressions Wings of Joy stamp set. I colored it with Copic markers and I added snow (Stickles) to the roof. All of the designer papers are from the Echo Park -Holly Jolly Christmas- 6x6 paper pad. I used a We R Memory Keepers Stub corner punch on the image panel and added a polka dot bow to finish. 

I stamped the inside sentiment on pink dp from the same paper pad and layered it to the tan cardstock base. For a finishing touch I brushed gathered twigs Distress Ink around the edge.

ABC Christmas Challenge Sponsor

Prize is 3 images of the winner's choice.

To see more inspiration from the design team visit the challenge blog here
Looking forward to seeing your "Things Beginning with L" Christmas creations!

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