Saturday, April 19, 2008

Crazy Over Inchies?

There's a new rage sweeping the stamping and paper-crafting world right now - actually it started several months ago - inchies! These are little bits of art, 1-inch square. When I first began noticing them, I admired all the pieces that I came across online, but thought "what the heck are you supposed to DO with them?!" So, I browsed some more and finally took the plunge and opted in for a swap on Yahoo Group (click here for a link).

The swap has 26 players, each making 26 inchies of thier chosen letter of the alphabet. I chose "H". Here are two that I made for this swap. The one with the heart is my first ever inchie. Although it isn't "bad", I'm not very fond of it. I had a difficult time trying to figure out what I wanted the inchie to say because one inch isn't much space to say anything. This one is very "Valentine" in style ("H" is for "Heart").

But then, I really took a good long look at my friend Robin's blog and the samples she had posted for this same swap and realized that I didn't have to stick to my itty-bitty stamps. I began to look at my larger stamps in a whole new way - to see what portion of those stamps would fit onto this tiny canvas. Once I realized I didn't have to use an entire stamp image on the inchies, the second inchie I designed (see the picture above) began to take shape.

Getting my head around a 1-inch square piece of paper is an exercise in itself, and as I re-examined my stash of images, I was able to design several more. Here are six inchies that resulted from my exercise in imagination. Thank you Robin for your inspiration!

I still don't know what I'm gonna do with these bitty things, though. Some ideas:

  • Make an Inchie Album (for collecting - like postage stamps)

  • Use them in ATCs

  • Use them as accents on cards and/or scrapbook pages

I'm open to more ideas. Please feel free to leave a comment with your inchie-use suggestions!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What I Got in Trade

Wow, I love trading ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)! In my previous post (click here), I offered some butterfly ATCs in trade, and I've already received two in return. Here are the lovely cards by Robin Willis and Sue Shute.

The girl (on the left) is by Robin, and the bird (on the right) is by Sue. Aren't they just lovely?
I can't wait to see what the other folks I traded with send to me. They'll be a nice surprise.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gel Medium Exploration

Okay, it's official. My new favorite adhesive is gel medium! I LOVE this stuff! I've seen blog posts, magazine articles and collage art books mention its use in collage, but I hadn't decided to give it a try until just recently. Gel Medium is scrumptious, and you can do so much with it! Extend acrylic paint's drying time, change the TEXTURE of acrylic paint, glue down collage elements, blend inks into a coating of the stuff on your art piece... the list goes on. And I plan to do a lot more exploring of Gel Medium in the future.

Here is an ATC, using an image from Vintage Resources (it's a lovely site and appreciates a donation for your use of thier images). I inked the white cardstock with blue and green inks, cut out the image and attached her with a thin smear of Liquetex brand Matte Gel Medium. Then, I applied another tiny smear of gel medium to the lower part of the ATC, over the photo image and blended blue ink into it while the medium was still slightly wet. Then I stamped the text and swirls with red and black ink and let it dry.

This lovely little girl image is from Oxford Impressions, stamped with black ink onto matte photo paper, hand-colored using a sponge & blue dye ink and attached (with gel medium) to a brayered and stamped background. The egg and "dreams" are likewise stamped and attached. No "fancy" stuff with blending inks into wet gel medium - just straight adhering to the cardstock.

I really love this Gel Medium stuff! I have the matte formula, and I think I'll have to go get the glossy formula, too!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Variations on a Theme - Pink Butterflies

A few weeks ago, Cindy Elliot-Park issued a challenge to me: re-design the pink journal pages I made (here and here) into ATCs! Well, I absolutely love this technique, and being who I am, I couldn't resist. And once I got started, I couldn't stop. LOL!

Here is a scan of nine of my favorites:

Here's what I did: Paint pink and white acrylics on white cardstock. Allow to dry, then cut into ATC-size panels. Stamp butterfly from Stampington & Co. with various dye inks and allow to dry. Paint over butterfly images with white acrylics and white gesso. The white acrylic will pick up the dye ink underneath, creating a sheer effect. Gesso is thicker and adds the opaque white highlights.
As a "Thank You" for the challenge and inspiration, I'm sending the one in the center to my challenger, Cindy. The others are available for trade, so leave a comment here with your email, or post a note on the SSReflections Yahoo Group, or email me at (put ATC Trade - Butterfly in the subject line, or it may go to spam and be deleted) and I'll respond.
As always, thanks for looking!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Birdy Bookmarks

I signed up for a swap with the SSReflections Yahoo group! It's bookmarks (2 for 2). I had so much fun doing these - I got carried away and made at least 10! Some will be submitted to print publications, so I'm not going to post them now. Some will be given to my daughters - they just went ga-ga over them! I may post them later.

Here is the pair for my swap partner - Judy M, don't look if you want to be surprised!

I started by applying Distress Inks to these very cool pages from old books - MANY thanks to Michelle on the SSReflections Design Team!! After the papers dry, glue them (either in pieces or as a whole) to your bookmark blanks, and then start stamping. The majority of the images are from Oxford Impressions' "The Bird's Nest" sheet.

Judy, I hope you like these as much as I do!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Bad Girls

This past Thursday, I joined a group of ladies who swap ATC's locally. I've joined many on-line swaps for cards & ATCs and other stuff, but this is the first time I've actually met face-to-face with my swap partners! It was so much fun!

I found out about the swap (and was invited to join) at the last minute. Luckily, the theme was "Spring has Sprung", and I had tons of spring-time ATCs in my stash! So, I had plenty for the 10-card swap! I would have been devastated if I hadn't been able to participate.

This was such a good time. We met in the store we all frequent (SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT STAMPING/SCRAPBOOKING RETAILER), and laughed, swapped stories and design secrets - and of course oohhed and aaahhhed over each other's ATCs. Oh, and swapped them!

The photo here is one of the ones that I received in trade. I couldn't decide on a favorite, so I just decided to post the one that was easiest to scan. Many of the others had flowers and 3-d embellishments that would reveal better in photos - maybe I'll take some of them today.

Anyway, this little lovely is by Melanie Joy. She told me it is paper towel died with re-inkers and edged with silver pen. The quote is embossed, and the butterfly gal swings aside on her little brad to reveal the rest of Tallulah Bankhead's quote: "It's the Good Girls who keep the diaries. The Bad Girls never have the time." I love it!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Folks that help your being... best friends

How cool is it to have a "non-artsy" friend appreciate your efforts?! My dear friend, Judi Mac (a self-proclaimed non-artisan - but I think she's neat anyway), was browsing my blog a few days ago and came across the journal page for Wendy P (see earlier post). Judi loved it so much that she called me to gush about it and tell me she wanted one, too! She said she's gonna frame it!

It's just so cool that Judi is so encouraging of me and my artwork. I love her!

So, Judi, here is a journal page for you to frame. It's softer than the one I did for Wendy, but I hope you like it anyway. You help my being.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wednesday Stamper Challenge - Asia (Feb 6, 2008)

Over on Wednesday Stamper for Feb 6, the theme is Asia, so I created this card using an image from Kodomo (the central butterfly block). My husband and I spent the early years of our marraige in Japan - he was in the US Navy - and I just fell in love with the cultural icons and imagery. Although I don't live my life by the Feng Shui principles (they're quite extensive and apply to the relationship between the elements of earth, wind, water and air) per se, I do believe that Asian art and design reflects a certain serenity for which we all strive in our daily lives.

I used soft colors in this card, and I was very pleased to find inks in my stash that matched the scrapbook paper I used! Scrapbook paper is by ProvoCraft (it's probably a pretty old design) and inks are Sage Shadow, Pretty In Pink (Stampin' Up!) and Caramel (Adirondack). The Prosperity seal is stamped in Warm Red chalk ink (ColorBox).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Back in Cyberspace!!

Wow, oh, wow! Three weeks with no internet just about drove me nuts! I missed reading the notes and blogs of my friends and I felt sooooo disconnected! Well, I was! LOL

Anyway, I'm back and it's too cool. I'm gonna celebrate by posting the journal page I made for my friend Wendy Pettifer (click here to go to her blog). She recently had surgery for breast cancer and asked all the folks in the SSReflections Yahoo Group to send a journal page (all in pink) if they wished.
Wendy, you're in my thoughts and my prayers for a successful treatment and speedy recovery! Here's your page, it'll be in the mail tomorrow (I hope):

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Photo Friday

On Thank God it's Friday, the challenge is to use a photo in some art. I chose this ATC I made last year (2007) sometime - it is still one of my favorites, and I cannot bear to part with it.
The girl in the photo is my mother - she was about 2 years old, so it was taken around 1948 or so. My grandfather snapped the photo with his old Brownie camera - he loved that thing! I remember him showing it (or one like it) to me once when I was a little girl. It still worked!
Noone knows what happened to that little Brownie since then. I think I'm going to try to acquire one in working condition. I might not be able to get film for it, but I'd like to have one for the sentiment.

Monday, January 7, 2008

No more Flourishes Saturday - Jan 5 2008

I was over at Outside Your Box Saturdays to check out their challenge site - looks like fun, I said to myself. Then I saw in big red letters a "NO FLOURISH ZONE" sign! No flourishes?! I can't post anything with flourishes? No swirls? My creations look naked without swirls and flourishes!

Well, I really wanted to post to this challenge site - the first one I've posted to - because the challenge was to use three colors of acrylic paint. And I love acrylic paint almost as much as I love rubber stamps. So, I did it. Three items here, and I didn't use one single flourish or swirl!

Truth be told, the swirls were a great trend for a while, but I've noticed quite a LOT of use of swirls and flourishes in all the magazines and websites - and over-use can sadly make a really nice thing a bit tired. I'm letting my swirls rest for a while.