Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quirky Collage!

I've been having a lot of fun creating digitally since my craft desk is a mess! Still recovering from my Christmas crafts, lots of glitter everywhere! So here's a few collages I made with Polyvore. It's so much fun! I find that my favorite part is gathering images to use. It reminds me of the days when I used to play Sims and spent hours looking for new home decor and fashions for my sims ;) Well, hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve!

Vamp Moderne by ajr51594

Gothic Bride by ajr51594

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trimming the Tree

Oh dear! I haven't posted in almost a month! Well, the holidays can be like that, right? Wonderfully hectic :) I have committed myself to making a few gifts, not all, I don't think I'm a crafty pro yet! I decided to make ornaments for a circle of girl friends who are all very crafty. Originally I knew I wanted to make things with paper rosettes but I had no idea what they were called or how to make them. That is, until I found two extremely helpful tutorials...
This one required multiple squares of paper that you fold and glue together.
The second one used long strips of paper that you pleat with a fan fold. My poor little hands almost gave out on me with this technique! I would recommend the squared method in the first tutorial to anyone that has tendinitis or arthritis. It's a little bit easier on the hands. So! Here are the results...
This is the Pink Slipper ornament. This poor baby sat unfinished on my desk for weeks before I finally was able to put the rosette on top. From there it only took about 15 minutes to finish! My hubby was stunned and suggested I make another one and "take some time with it" if I wanted to give it as a gift. I guess that's part of my creative process. While it sat on my desk, I was busy "finishing" it in my mind. I knew exactly what I wanted to do... just needed that rosette! I wish you could see the sparkle all over. I did buy myself some silver Krylon glitter spray and this little shoe got a generous dose.

Tis the Season Dear! Or should I say, Deer? I really love this ornament. It has a large rosette, silky green ribbon, tons of glass glitter and a cute baby deer. A lot of this paper came from a scrap swap I did at Swap-bot.com. The deer is a sweet bit of clip art from the internet. I bought the glitter at American Harvest in Pleasanton. Their shop is a true winter wonderland right now! I am not ashamed to say that I was influenced and inspired by the gorgeous art they have in their store.

So, I whipped up ornments #1 and #2 at lightning speed. But what to do about #3? I have 3 crafty friends and I wanted them each to have something unique and special. After perusing Etsy.com to see what the folks there were making, I decided to go with an ice skate design. I found this adorable template on Paper Craft Inspirations website. I liked the curliness of the blade and the high, slim ankle of the boot. I used lavender paper and a whole lot more glass glitter. The "laces" are threaded through white eyelets and the hanger is just silver wire adorned with beads. I intended to make two but, sheesh, one was hard enough! Maybe next year I'll make two for myself :) I especially love the snowflake button. My Mother-in-law bought me a Dress It Up set called Dashing Through the Snow. Boy, does she know how to make me smile!

Right now, all three are on my tree. I want to let each of my friends pick which one they want. I'm very interested to see who will pick what!
My other crafty plans include gifts for my mom... I'll probably post those after xmas so as not to spoil the surprise.
I also have another bottle snowperson to show you! I'll take some pics and hopefully return before the New Year ;)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Crafting

I had the wonderful pleasure on Sunday to participate in a craft class with Cathy Lyn Harrison from Teach Me Art School and Studio. We met at her home in Historic Niles and tried out a project from Cloth Paper Scissors November/December issue. These Sparkling Snowmen have bottles for bodies and each bottle is filled with treasures: beads, crystals, pearls, etc.

Here are my Snow Ladies! They are obviously female because of my unrestrained use of froo-froo and their cute little pillbox hats :)

I have one more bottle that Cathy was kind enough to give me, as well as a handmade snowman head, so I'm not finished yet! The trick is finding enough do-dads to fill the bottle. During this project I was able to try some new products. I used a lot of gel medium to decorate with, especially when we covered the heads with chunky glitter. The whole thing is sprayed with aerosol glitter from Krylon. I really want some of my own!

I am ashamed to say that my pictures have been languishing on my computer, unused and unseen. Last night I made a small step in the right direction by finishing a digiscrap layout. I used freebie kits from Theresa Hernandez, Peppermint Creative, Daniela Peuss, and Connie Prince.

Hopefully, I'll be posting some more layouts in the future :) Have a nice weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The last of the spooky stuff, I promise!

Here is a quick pic of my "altar" for both Halloween and Day of the Dead. My centerpiece is Eve. She was created in an art for kids class I took at San Jose State. Her body is made by using masking tape to adhere newspaper to a straw. The straw provides the hollow for the aluminum wire to go through and connect all the bones. The newspaper adds the bulk and give you the shape to paper mache over. The hardest part if I remember correctly was attaching her head! Eve was constructed to show our common ancestor. They say we are all descended from an African Woman. I used the biblical myth of Eve to represent her. The green felt around her neck is the serpent whispering knowledge to her. This is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It expresses so much of me and took many days and a lot of new skills to make.

After my pumpkins were done I had a little fun with them :) You can also see the finished Halloween Tree... well, as finished as it's gonna get this year! I wouldn't ever consider it "done", just like a Christmas tree, every year it will change. I think next October I will add some spider webs and garlands of some sort...
It was a great start and now I get to continue practicing! My dear Kevin got me this cute little mini xmas tree! I guess I'll be creating more ornaments and hopefully taking better pics ;)

Well, Eve says, good bye everyone and remember that we are all connected in one big family tree!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Halloween blues...

Yep, I'm gonna miss Halloween a lot! I enjoy Christmas but it's never been a real crafty time for me... I take that back. I tend to make more digital art around xmas where as Halloween has me up to my elbows in paper, glue and pumpkin guts ;) Here is something I made last year for Crafty Curios: a set of winter shirts for ladies and girls. Of course, you can also get the designs on sweatshirts and hoodies. I imagined these being perfect for gals who spend their winter up in the snow skiiing or just sipping hot chocolate. Of course, if the only snow you see is the sparkly stuff at the mall, that's okay too! Here are the Ladies of Winter: Snow Bunny, Frost Queen and Ice Goddess!

I'm not completely done with Autumn though, oh no. We still have Turkey Day to celebrate! Here is a link to a FREEBIE! This is a scrapbooking page kit that I designed called Apples to Apples. It's free for you to download and use for personal scrapbooks and such. Please no commercial use. Hope you enjoy it! Click on the link above to download the zip file! I think it would go nicely with any sort of Fall layout :)Here is a preview of the kit to give you an idea...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Creative and Motivated!

Sometimes it's hard to be both at the same time... especially with the time and energy constraints of modern life. If I look back, I can see that I was most creative and likely to finish a project when I was in college. Duh, if I didn't, I got a bad grade! But I think it was more than that. Us creative folks can be, forgive the stereotype, a little out there and I believe that I personally benefit from structure. This can be self-imposed (but that's like letting the fox guard the hen house) or imposed from outside one's self. Luckily, one of my good friends turned me on to Swapbot.com. It's a great way not only to find structure for your creative endeavors but to meet other artists and fun people all over the globe. You join a swap and you're given parameters for your creation, an audience and a deadline ;) I can't tell you how great this has been for me! Here are the results of my first swap, an ATC swap with a Dia de los Muertos theme.

They are both ofrendas which means "tribute" or "offering" in Spanish and refers to the altars made by families for their beloved dead on Dia de los Muertos. The first one is for my grandma Barbara. The images in the card remind me of her. The perfume bottle for her Avon, the dragonfly for the pair of earrings she gave me and the calaca for the many Albee awards she received for her success with Avon. The flowers are marigolds, traditional altar flowers for the Day of the Dead and also represent the love and joy she brought to so many.

The second one is for my grandpa. His was a little harder for many reasons. My grandma died in 2002 and I think I've had a lot of time to process that loss. My grandpa died in 2005 while I was planning my wedding. In order to make it through that time, I had to push aside many of my feelings of grief and guilt. By making this piece for him, I was able to get back in touch with and release some of that pain. I chose the images based on his love of westerns, his free spirit, his love of his country and his stellar personality. You might also notice that my grandpa's card has a small dragonfly, which links the two pieces together. Also, the wire on his card spells out his call sign: W6UBQ.

There are so many lessons I learned through this project! One was about giving your art away. Yes, I mailed the originals to my swap partner. I didn't have to, the rules specify that you can send high quality copies but something told me that I should. Maybe it was another act of letting go. I'm happy that they will be placed in someone's art collection. I have already benefited through the creation and I don't think I would benefit more by keeping them. Anyway, thanks everyone for reading. This is indeed the time of year when we are going into the darkness. I hope you all find healing there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My first ATC!

ATC stands for Artist Trading Card! I love this idea :) I've been seeing them and hearing about them on scrapbooking sites for a while but wasn't sure if I could work on such a small canvas. Here is my first attempt and I'm pretty proud of it!
I chose the vintage photo because of the look on the girl's face. What a pretty little sourpuss! I attached it to a card that I had painted and stamped. Over the pic, I adhered a snip of fabric with the butterfly and leaf design. The star is glitter and chipboard. The title reads "The Docters said she was just "Too Bright". Is the misspelling of Docters a mistake or a part of the piece? I'll let you decide. The title paper is actually dimensional and rolls up at the bottom.
The story behind the card? Well, as a young teen, my parents got divorced. I was having a little trouble with it and my mom took me to see a therapist. I was off and on "the couch" for many years and I remember at one point a therapist telling me that I was just "too bright", meaning that I saw things in people and in the world that others might not see or might not brood about so much. Ignorance is bliss in other words! I'm not ashamed to say that I've worked hard to become a better person and I definitely encourage people to explore their minds and hearts through whatever means they feel comfortable with. For me, that means therapy and art :) But I still chuckle sometimes thinking about that young girl who stared back at her therapist and thought "I'm too bright???!!!"

bye for now,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Halloween Tree part 2

Just a sneak peek for you this time because I'm still not happy with the pics I've taken of this creation! My hubby did try and help me and we came up with some very atmospheric photos but not quite what I wanted. Here are a few close ups!

As you can see, I'm using everything in my artistic arsenal! Sculpey, beads, wire, yarn, toothpicks (hahahah) and my awesome color printer! Stay tuned for some more pics and of course, more projects! I have MANY irons in the fire right now ;)

Stop the clock!

I wish I could slow down time so we could all truly enjoy and savor this time of year :) As promised, I have pictures of the art that I did for my nephew's Harvest Festival at his preschool. I totally didn't know this but the game we helped construct is called... uh oh. It's gone, I can't remember! Something like pinkle? But a web search isn't helping me here. Oh well, here are the pics, maybe you all can tell me what in the world this game was!

You take a little plastic ball and drop it into the top, it bounces here and there off the pegs and lands in one of the bottom spaces. Now, at a more competitive fair, there might be points at the bottom or you might have to get the ball into one particular slot. But since this was a fun, family festival, every child got a ticket which they could then use to get a prize :) You might be able to tell that the paint ran in some places. I was using gel paints. The upside was that when my nephew helped us paint, I could simply wipe up the extra with a paper towel. As you can see, the downside is that when the boards were propped up to dry... they didn't dry fast enough! Oh well :) Those spots can always be touched up for future festivals. And I have to give credit to my sis who painted the board with the hay bale and pumpkin by herself! We did the tree board together. I have to say that I now feel a little more confident in my free hand drawing skills!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Yep, my favorite season is here and it actually might rain tomorrow! I've already set up my oil incense burner right by my desk. I have a fragrance called "Fall Breeze" from The Body Shop (which I don't think they carry anymore) that always puts me in the right Fall mood. Get's me feeling crafty too! Only I've been working a lot at my day job and haven't had time to craft... until my sister called me to help her with my nephew's harvest festival at his preschool! Yay! She had two white boards about two feel across and three feet wide that were destined to become part of a carnival game. She said it needed some Autumn/Halloween flair! I used these pics for inspiration...

They are all from Microsoft Clipart, how easy is that! Now, I don't consider myself a great free-hand artist but when I have something to look at, I feel pretty confident. So I went to work on those big white boards with just a pencil and eraser and together, my sister, my nephew and I created the cutest Fall scenes! I will post pics as soon as I get them from Sis. I hope you all are taking the time to decorate and celebrate :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tree Hugger :)

I guess it's pretty obvious that I love nature and it inspires my art. When I was originally starting my cafepress shop, walking the dog helped me to refine my ideas. I'd leash up Talon and take a walk to the park down the street from my house. On the way, we'd enjoy the shade of the trees, look for squirrels and I'd practice identifying birds and birdcalls (a little side hobby I picked up from a biology class at SJSU). This is as close as I can get to nature, living where I do. But, I can see Mission Peak from my house and I can see the stars from my balcony. That's enough for me! Here are a few designs I remember pondering as Talon and I walked through our neighborhood.

That last one has a very special place in my heart. I made it for my nephew Bailey when he was just a little guy. If I remember correctly, it was one of my first cafepress designs! I also love Butterfly Maiden because I made that specifically for my niece Zoe :) Even when my initial inspiration is a child who is dear to my heart, I express my feelings with the language of nature. Trees, animals, flowers, they are the symbols that I know best. The Queen of the Underworld refers to Persephone, Maiden of Spring and Queen of Hades. She eats 3 pomagranate seeds after being captured by Hades. This means that she must remain with her husband for a third of the year. The rest of the time she can be with her Mother, Demeter who is the Earth Mother represented in the other design. So many of the ancient myths are about nature but also about us. We forget that we are a part of nature sometimes... anyway, enough philosophy! Nah, never enough. I'm sure I'll talk about nature and myths again ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Halloween Tree...

I googled this phrase hoping to see some inspiration and maybe even a tutorial. I found that there are many variations, not all of which are my style. For instance, I don't really want a black and orange version of a Christmas Tree! I may want a few ornaments but I'm not sure if that is going to be the main reason to have the tree. I've also seen Easter Trees that are made specifically to hang collectible ornaments... hmmm... So, let's review my choices...
I could get some gnarly branches from the trees at the park and spray paint them black...
This example leaves the branches natural and uses cobwebs and orange lights to make it more Halloweenie. Also, the bucket is cute, very country. OR.... I could make one out of paper or cardboard.
This tree from HGTV is made out of plywood, but couldn't I do something similar with thick stock? Finally, I could go all the way and use paper mache or some other sort of sculpture to achieve the most detail and the most realistic effect. Also, pipe cleaners and wire seem to give that twisted, crooked, bony hands reaching for snow white in the forest look!

Okay, I think I'm gonna go look for creepy branches at the park... if I don't find any, I'll know that it's time to head to the craft store!!! oh darn ;)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Bride

I was actually a summer bride but I've been involved in two very special fall weddings. The first was my sister's wedding in 2003. It was a beautiful Catholic wedding with a classic style. My sister took care of many of the details herself and created a truly memorable work of art! I was very inspired by her conviction to stay true to her own sense of style and followed that with my own wedding even though our styles are radically different. I had the pleasure and honor to sing Ave Maria at her wedding and will never forget those precious moments. It wasn't until after my own wedding in 2005 that I began creating my bridal line of CafePress designs. I remembered how, although my sister's wedding was in the fall, she did not use fall colors. She had always wanted Blue and Lavender so, that's what she used! I was also adamant that the details of my wedding, big and small, be reflective of who Kevin and I were during that time, and not be influenced by some arbitrary rule that didn't apply to us.

The second special Fall wedding was that of my good friend Penny to her hubby Mario. I was flattered and terrified by the fact that Penny had asked me to officiate the wedding! Her wedding was in beautiful fall colors but was deeply influenced by Penny and Mario's unique interests and spiritual beliefs. There were some grumbles from family about their non-traditional approach, but in the end, everyone was swept up in the spirit of love and celebration. Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

My bridal line is dedicated to the idea that every bride and groom should have free reign over their wedding plans. It is their special day, one that will always live in their memories. I envisioned the t-shirts and accessories being worn while dress shopping, creating the bridal registry, making favors and of course, bachelorette parties or bridal showers! I also created a line of post-wedding shirts for the honeymoon and beyond, for whenever a bride wants to relive that special day.
So these designs are for those brides that don't mind being unique and standing up for their choices (so basically all you modern ladies out there ;) For instance, my friend Corissa got married at the Renaissance Faire in full Renaissance garb! It was spectacularly original and definitely true to her style. I also know a bride who wore a gorgeous red gown! Don't let anything stand in the way of making your wedding day (or any ol' day) truly yours.
until next time,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Witchy Jar

As promised, I have photos of a craft project today! The witchy jar I'm going to show you was inspired by many things I saw other great artists doing on etsy.com. For example, I love witch balls, glass orbs you hang in your window to catch bad spirits or witches (who come in the window I guess??)

I also kept seeing seed pods from sweet gum trees all over the ground as I walked Talon (my doggy). As I kid, I always called these witch balls. I imaged that a witch had captured some kind of fierce bird and magically imprisoned them in the pod, only their beaks sticking out desperately cawing and snapping.

Finally, I love the look of vintage/old fashioned/primitive Halloween decor. Here are some examples:

So, my little creation is a cross between a witches ball and a potion jar...

Inside is a black papel picado. Mine is very simple, nothing compared to the intricately cut decorations, kind of like a snow flakes, that are used during El Dia de los Muertos, Mexico's festival for the dead. The papel picado I made is decorated with silver glitter. As a side note, El Dia de los Muertos is a huge creative inspiration for me and I will be sharing more related art pieces as we get closer to that time of year (Nov. 1,2).
Also inside the jar is one of those sweet gum seed pods that I scented with some essential oils. The outside is decorated with a variety of beads, eyelash yarn and feathers. I also made special embellishments like the bat pendant and a small, stamped tag on the other side. I'm really proud of it! Just to let you in on my creative process, this poor thing took me a month to finish at least. I usually don't know what my object will look like at the end so I make it up as I go along! I rely a lot on filling my head up with images from etsy, art blogs and catalogs then waiting for whatever comes out... Anyway, I've enjoyed creating this post for you all :) Please forgive my photography, hehe. My pro-photo hubby will surely be giving me some pointers in the future!