Thursday, December 29, 2011

art deco atc

this artist trading card was inspired by this art deco door i found online.

the background is acrylic paint on textured watercolor paper...with scratch lines, heat-embossed spiral stamps, and metallic embellies.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the last of the leftovers

i made a ton of this really yummy cranberry jelly from scratch for our holiday dinner, and i've been enjoying it every day since. on toast with breakfast, on sandwiches, or just by the spoonful like a jello fruit salad - very versatile.

so i thought i'd share my recipe, i was pretty much winging it, but there are other similar recipes out there too.

it's really fast and easy to make, and i like the firm texture and golden colors that the mandarin oranges and pineapple add to the mix (don't use fresh or frozen pineapple in gelatin, it won't set). i also love the purplish shade of the blueberries and cranberries combined. i prefer to use canned fruit that's packed in natural juices, and 7-up is all natural flavors now too. using these liquids instead of just more water adds better flavor to the jelly, i think. this recipe makes a pretty large bowl, so you can halve it.

1 12oz bag of fresh cranberries; rinse well
1 cup of organic sugar
1-1/4 cups of water
1 small can mandarin oranges (reserve the liquid)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 regular can pineapple chunks (reserve the liquid)
1/2 can of 7-up soda
2 packets knox unflavored gelatin

soften the gelatin first by mixing it with 1-2 tablespoons of the orange liquid in a small coffee cup. bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium pot. transfer 1/4 cup of the boiling sugar water to the coffee cup to stir and dissolve the gelatin, set aside. add cranberries to the remaining sugar water in the pot and return to boil; simmer a few minutes until the skins pop. stir the gelatin water into the simmering cranberries, then remove from heat. stir in remaining orange/pineapple liquids and 7-up, then mix in all the other fruits. transfer to a decorative bowl or dish, cover with plastic wrap (vent it on one side), and refrigerate overnight to set the gelatin. serve solid by the scoop, or stir it up to serve chunky as shown. enjoy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the thundershower

one of the christmas gifts i received from my mother was this umbrella featuring a really cool painting (1917-18) from an american artist named h. lyman sayen.

his work was a mix of fauvism and futurism; he was also an inventor and and electrical engineer.

from a press release about a 2002 exhibit that included this painting...
the pulse of modern life animates sayen's dancers in “the thundershower,” which foreshadows the decorative patterns of art deco style. sayen studied with matisse in paris and was among the first to introduce avant-garde styles to america.

i love this prophetic 1914 quote from sayen...
modern art… is all spontaneity and requires an equally spontaneous apprehension. to feel it requires a quickening of the spirit. it has revealed to us men of great power. picasso and matisse will, I believe, exert a powerful influence for a long time on painting and sculpture.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

felt needle case

i've seen so many cute handmade needle cases out there lately, so i decided to make one for myself tonight. it's nice to get them out of my pincushions and into a safe spot where i can see the sizes better and it's easy to pull them in and out.

this was super quick to make with some felt squares, embroidery floss, and a cute little dragonfly appliqué.

i fused some fabric to the inside cover to hide the stitches from the embellishments.

i sewed the edges of the inside pages together first, then sandwiched them between the covers with a few french knots and straight stitches.

Monday, December 19, 2011

felt poinsettia

felt is fun and so easy to work with...i made this 6" poinsettia in about 20 minutes by cutting random leaf shapes from a few different shades of green felt, and some small red circles from red. then i layered the leaves on a 5" circle of green felt with aleene's tacky glue, adhered the red berries in the center, and accented with a golden green color of stickles glitter glue. this will be a sweet alternative to a bow on one of my gifts!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

african bead ornament

a few years ago at my favorite annual quilt show (piqf), i bought these cool beads made in africa from recycled glass. i forgot about them until last week when i was digging into my supply to make earrings.

then today i was cruising around online and i saw a picture of a cute button ornament in the shape of a wreath. such a perfect idea for using these out came a little wire, a little ribbon...and a couple minutes later, cuteness for the top of a gift!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

frosty le deux

here's the finished snowman that i started during my recent demo on the cynchronicity live webcast.

visit my my youtube channel to see my demo clip.

This soft vinyl is often sold in bolts...ask for it at your local craft store or quilt shop to buy by the yard.

now sing it with me...frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul...


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

more holiday beading

just made another batch of earrings tonight - sold quite a few pair to my very kind co-workers, some were designs that i forgot to shoot...shoot! anyway, thanks to everyone who supports handmade this holiday season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

holiday beading

glass and stone choker
a few of the women at my office asked me to make some jewelry to sell, nothing like holiday shopping from your desk to beat the crowds at the mall! these are the first few beaded baubles i made today, always fun to do. now i need to get some more earring wires...
long and dangly earrings
short and round earrings

Saturday, December 10, 2011

chocolate coma

uni (top) based her atc on the pure imagination song
and cathy made the chocolate lake and waterfall
there was definitely more dunking than there was swapping at our local atc group get-together this past week. with willy wonka as our theme, we thought it was appropriate to enjoy some chocolate fondue. here are the fun artist trading cards that i received from my group.
valerie and i ended up using the same image of wonka's utter exasperation,
and liz trapped a golden ticket under an icy sidewalk  
despite an interesting discovery that the non-dairy version of chocolate chips burn in the microwave, which allowed our host the opportunity to confirm that the smoke alarm works in her new home, we had a terrific time dipping loads of different fruits and snacks into the regular chocolate, as we shared which parts of the "charlie and the chocolate factory" story inspired us to make our cards.
donna made wonka bars and we all got golden tickets

Thursday, December 08, 2011

secret santa

it's secret santa time at my office...our holiday luncheon and gift exchange is tomorrow, always a great day! we each fill out little slips of paper with our names and lots of favorite things. the coworker whose name i drew enjoys scrapbooking, the color teal, and coffee. so i made her this little 5x7 blank board book, with a variety of distressed teal-ish patterned papers inside, that she can put her own pictures in. i placed a starbucks gift card inside. i hope she likes it...and i hope i'm right in assuming she won't read my blog until after the luncheon!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

october atc swap

here's a slideshow of the artist trading cards from last month's swap. there's still time to join us for the november/december swap - the last one for this year! click here for details.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

frosty the snowman

i'm looking forward to demo-ing how to make this little christmas can be used as a tree ornament or a gift tag.

i will be a guest on my friend cynthia's creative edventures webcast next wednesday, 12/14 at 6pm pacific (9pm eastern). i'll show y'all how quick and easy my little snowman is to make with whatever fibers and glitter you have on hand.

click here at showtime next week to join us online for some crafty fun!

Monday, December 05, 2011

willy wonka

my atc group is having a chocolate fondue potluck this week, to go along with our willy wonka theme. i prefer the gene wilder version of the film, so i found this posterized pic of him and printed it on inkjet film. then i layered it the film on top of some backgrounds that I painted/stamped, and secured it with candyish mini-brads. i accented his hatband and bow tie with some glitter and gloss. i really love the expression on his face...a little exasperated, somewhat dazed...i can so relate, lol!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

native people

our november theme for my local atc group was native people. we each chose different areas of the world to find inspiration. when i googled the word "indigenous," the first thing that came up was this image of a huli wigman from papua new guinea. i loved his bright primary colors - yellow and blue face paint with the red on his shoulders, all done up for a ceremonial dance. they had (and have) some pretty unusual customs though, i must say.
clockwise from lower left - donna made an aboriginal drawing, liz was inspired by a muscogee indian legend, uni painted vases in the aztec style, cathy worked with the art from the adivasi people of india, and tarri created an aboriginal fish. we each shared a little of what we learned about the various indigenous people we were inspired by - it was fun!

i missed the last couple swaps, so here are the cards i received from my friends for the october theme, lucy in the sky with diamonds. there was so much imagery to work with in the lyrics of that song!

and here are the cards i got for the september swap, the theme was origami.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

come to our encaustic workshop!

encaustic painting by patricia baldwin seggebruch
i am over the moon about this news...i am hosting an all-day encaustic workshop, taught by artist and author patricia baldwin seggebruch (aka trish baldwin). her new book (pictured below) is a must-have, btw!

if you aren't familiar with encaustic, it's a form of mixed media art that involves melted beeswax...tint it, paint with it, trap stuff inside it, transfer images on to it, swirl it wet, carve it dry...sooo much fun!

date:  tuesday, november 29, 2011
time:  3pm to 9pm
place:  concord, california (address provided upon paid registration)
price:  $100 + $10 supply fee

how to register:  email me at with your full name, address and phone. you can pay via paypal or mail a check...we will work out payment privately over email.

maximum class size is 12 people - so take the day off work and register soon...all skill levels welcome, and newbies too!

"Encaustic, the rich, organic medium of painting in melted beeswax, is ideally paired with every other medium and material brought to it. As an artist, author and instructor I bring my deeply impassioned experimentation in this medium to students worldwide. In this workshop, I'll hold nothing back...bringing to participants alternative materials like TAP, Lutradur, Pinata inks, PearlExwood icingstencils, and shellac. I'll demonstrate various techniques, provide instruction and feedback, and you'll have plenty of painting time. You can plan to walk away with several finished paintings and a whole new love for and understanding of the medium of encaustic."   — Trish

what you need to bring:
  • 8-10 boards—no larger than 8"x10" (such as unprimed wood art panels, or wood panels cut at the hardware store, or encausticbords)
  • ephemera or embellishments that you'd like to try in the wax
  • craft apron if desired
  • everything else is furnished by us for your use in class - wax, colors, unique surfaces and mediums, tools, equipment

don't miss this incredible workshop with a wonderful teacher...can't wait to see you!
encaustic painting by patricia baldwin seggebruch

Sunday, October 23, 2011

quick card

just a little fun with a 7 gypsies victoria paper stack - i haven't made any greeting cards in a while, but i'm feeling the tickle to make some again. i do love themes around flying, journeys, being free. i also am diggin' the longer narrower format for a #10 envelope. i offset the score and placed a border paper on the inside to peek out to the front. click the pic to enlarge.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

under water

these are the atc's i made for this month's theme with my local swap group...lucy in the sky with diamonds. of course i interpreted this theme quite loosely, using just the fact that this beatle's song lyrics are about dream imagery. the backgrounds are from under water pictures i took from a snorkeling trip in the caribbean several years ago. being under water feels like dreams feel, kinda sorta. then i added some rainbow swirl film and some sky colored embellies, including one tiny "diamond."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

theme for october atc swap

i took a couple months off from hosting my online atc swap, and i'm ready to get back to it! the theme is autumn leaves - all the details are on the atc swap tab at the top of the blog. i included several leafy links for inspiration, too. all are welcome to get creative and join in the fun!

btw, this little image grid shows off snippets of four different autumn greeting cards i made years ago.

Friday, September 23, 2011

day of the origami

these are the atc's i made for my local group for our september theme, origami. the die-cut skulls have little origami hats that i folded from japanese art paper. i had made the hats first, but then couldn't find the right kind of head to rest them on. but then i was inspired by my visit to casa artelexia, this really fun shop in san diego. many thanks to andrea for loaning me the awesome punch!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

encaustics rock!

my first experiment with encaustics (painting with wax) - so fun! this is a 5" board with batik fiber art paper, glass fragments and various pigments. i love how you can slather on layers and trap things in the wax, and then move it all around with a heat gun to create color patterns and reveal what's underneath.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

you had me at baaaa...

i do believe i've fallen in love with a goat. several goats, actually. how could you not fall in love with this grin?

today was the first day of my vacation and the first day using my brand new fancy schmancy camera, so i'm posting the pics i took that i like the most.

i started my day with a visit to becky and jorge's beautiful 20-acre ranch. becky and i have been friends since about 1974 when we were in junior high school. they have goats, horses, dogs and a cat, and huge amazing oak trees. good times!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

tangle challenges

two of my friends turned me on to challenges this past week in a zentangle group i belong to on facebook. julie, a long-time friend from my high school gang, suggested a tangle that represents the end of summer. leslie rahye, a fairly new friend that i made online through craft webcasts, passed along a challenge to make a tile within a tile.

so i combined the two challenges into one 6" square drawing. the end of summer is represented by an origami pinwheel in the center. you need the fall winds to make a pinwheel work. i added a partial sun in the center with patterns around it that include apples, rain, lightening and vines. the square center of the pinwheel is the tile within the larger tile of the outer border.

it was very relaxing to draw, and it was fun trying out some new patterns along with my favorite "standards." tangling definitely untangles the wires in my brain for a while!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

july atc swap slide show

here are the artists who paticipated in our july swap. we are taking a swap in august!

Monday, August 15, 2011

cherry blossom atc

my pal lisa sent me more of her yummy handpainted atc papers (she rocks!!) and this pink one was perfect for a ATC swap I'm doing with a woman in Thailand. i love this pretty cherry blossom stamp, which i colored in with copic markers and gave the blooms a bit o' bling in the center. the splattery effect of the paper is such a nice background for this little tree. click the pic to zoom.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

painted journal cover

for my friend mary's wedding day, i gave her a blank journal with a painted cover...she and her new hubs will be living in spain, where she will be enjoying some spurts of creativity as she explores her new community. so i think she'll enjoy having a special book to write, draw and scrap in.

i started with an 8" blank board book (click the pic to zoom in) and built up layers of stamp ink, spray ink, ultra-light lutradur, and acrylic paint. i bound in some watercolor paper interleaves with ribbon. With the extra pages (and a non-expanding spine), it can stand up on a table like a display of her creative explorations.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

a little origami

we tested our paper folding skills the other night, i haven't done origami in years. a tulip, a pinwheel, a seagull, and a party hat. it was fun - for the party hat i crinkled the paper first, i like the texture a lot.

click the pic to zoom in.

august 5 is the deadline if you want to participate in my july atc swap - all the details are on the atc swap link at the top of the blog here.  the theme is spark!

check out the fun we had with the june swap...all are welcome to join in the fun each month.

Friday, July 29, 2011

birds, birds, birds!

artists names - clockwise from upper left: tarri. vanne, cathy, liz, vanne

here are the wonderful bird-themed atcs i received in my swap last night  - click the pic to zoom in.

the most fun part of our monthly swaps for me (besides all the eating and chatting) is telling each other exactly how we made our cards. i always come away with a greater appreciation for everyone's creative efforts, as well as ideas for new techniques or materials after hearing their experiences.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

atc club tonight

my poor neglected bloggy, it has been weeks! anyway, tonight was my monthly local atc group get together. mmm, we ate sushi, and mozzarella sticks, and fruit salad, and chips, and chocolate, and cookies...oh, um and yes, right, we swapped atcs too!

our july theme was birds. i used these gorgeous handpainted papers that my friend lisa gave me because her wonderful brush strokes felt feathery to me. I sliced them up and glued them down to my white foundation card with the cracks showing. then i stamped this southwest-style "mimbreño chicken" image on top and heat-embossed it with white embossing powder. i like how the cracks almost look like there are wires of a cage or fence on top of the bird. click the pic to zoom in.

we also got an origami lesson from liz - we each take turns teaching the group something new. we made cute folded hats, seagulls, pinwheels, and tulips. we're skipping our august meeting to accomodate vacations, then our theme for september will be...origami!

tomorrow i'll share the other bird atcs i got from the group.