Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swaping art for art :)

I got back on the swapbot.com bandwagon recently and participated in 2 swaps! I worked on a third today and thought I should share. Here's a little background. When I first began my love affair with photoshop and digital art, my canvas was usually about 12 by 12 inches. That is the size of a scrapbooking page and also about the size of my typical cafepress design. So,when I learned about ATC or artist trading cards... I was really kinda stumped by the smaller canvas! Only 2.5 by 3.5 inches?! How on earth was I going to work with that? Well, a challenge is usually envigorating so I tackled a few and really liked the results. Shortly before Halloween I joined an ATC swap with a Raven or Crow theme. Ooooo! Fun! But for some reason I couldn't seem to get myself to sit down and do it! Now you all now how much I love crows! I was a little confused by my own reaction. Now I think it has to do with my poor little T-rex arms...

I was not looking forward to manipulating tiny bits of paper, especially with glue on them! I have tendonitis and it sometimes thwarts my crafty urges. Anyway, I immediately felt motivated when I decided to go digital for the ATC. My inspiration came from this goth image from my youth...

Here is "Legacy of the Crow".

My next ATC swap assignment touched on another great inspiration of mine, Ancient Egypt. The host of the swap promised that we would represent many of the gods and goddesses in turn. But here is the first!
"Horus the Great".

The second one is very typical of my style, a little bit busy ;) The Crow card came out as I envisioned it but I was a little startled by the simplicity of my vision. Maybe my style is in flux? You can be the judge of that when I post the PLETHORA of paper rosette ornaments I am creating for Christmas. Heheheheh!
Until then, thanks for reading :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day of the Dead...

Well, Halloween came and went. I meant to post on the very day but I was just too busy! I went to a carnival with my nephews and family. My costume was almost Egyptian Queen but I ended up wanting to be scary (surprise, surprise)! I dug up my fangs and went as a vampire.
I really loved my makeup! I'll post another pic with fangs if I can get it :) Picture courtesy of my hubby at Mask Photo.
Before the spirit of Halloween has totally left us for another year, I want to show you a few more crafts that I labored on this month. They came out just the way I wanted. Of course, I have to give credit to the person who inspired me, Sheila at Cheeky Magpie! Here are the gorgeous crowns she created. I used her template to make one of my own.


This was so much fun! I got sick with the flu in the middle of this and my next project though. They almost didn't get finished in time. The overall feel of it isn't as Halloweenie (Halloweenish? Halloweenesque?) as I wanted but I really love it. Also, the black and white paper was designed by me :) Here's a close up so you can see the bats and dragons. There's also some rib cages and skulls thrown in...

I would definitely do this again, maybe with a harvest theme? Thank you Sheila! But her inspiration didn't end there...

This beautiful banner, spelling out "Beware" just blew me away. It's so lovely but Halloween at the same time! She used velvet on paper. As soon as I read her tutorial, I was all over it. Hidden deep in my closet was some extra orange fabric. I've also been using pages from a very old copy of A Wrinkle in Time to craft with. Perfect! Here's what I came up with...

I stamped on mine instead of spelling out a message. I think next year I will work on it some more, stabilizing the holes for the ribbon and maybe backing it with some patterned paper for extra strength. I want this banner to last for years!
I almost forgot, I did another Cheeky Magpie craft. I had a little trouble with this one. Hoping for some guidance I left a message on Sheila's blog. She got right back to me and was very nice. Thanks! Here are her glam tombstones...

And here is the one that I was able to do. Only one (even though I want a graveyard full) because I don't have the proper cutting implements. You can bet some new items went on my Christmas wish list!

This was also a lot of fun to make. Her template offers five different headstone shapes so you can bet I'll be busy next year ;)
I hope you all will pay Cheeky Magpie a visit. I'm really excited to see what she does for Christmas!
Finally, we arrive at my title project. This is very special to me. In the past, I have created elaborate altars with food and flowers to honor my beloved dead. Today I just want to share their names. I made a layout with various free scrapbook kits from the internet. The ancient Egyptians believed that if you stop saying the names of the dead, they cease to exist in the afterlife. So, praying for them and talking about them is essential for them to continue. Personally, I strive to keep them alive in my heart. Our memories are all that are left of our loved ones and those are precious indeed.

blessings everyone,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Samhain Approacheth!

I don't know if "approacheth" is a word but it evokes a certain atmosphere, n'est pas? October 31st, my favorite time of year :) This change of the seasons has been celebrated by many peoples for eons. Who could miss the snap in the air, the darkening of the day, the feeling that we are leaving the sunshine far behind? For the tribes or clans of Europe, who did not have the advantages that we do now, this was a very dire time of the year; Samhain. Winter often meant death. Still, certain cultures celebrated this turning of the wheel as the New Year and used all the magick in their possession to ensure food for the winter, protection for their crops and lives stock and accurate divination of the future. Another reason to love Halloween is because it is an amalgam of traditions, rites and viewpoints. What we enjoy today is such a rich tapestry! An in depth look at Halloween and its symbols is a treasure trove of inspiration for the creative mind. Here are a few creations to get your cauldon bubbling!

Fresh off the boat from Transylvania! This trinket box holds the secrets of Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Tepesh, Vlad Dracula III, Prince of Wallachia. While the west viewed him as a maniacal, blood thirsty tyrant, he is now hailed as a hero in that region because of his defense of the kingdom against the Ottoman Turk Empire. Still, his methods were ruthless. They inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula novel and the man himself has never rightly been "put to rest" as his earthly remains are missing. Hmmm....
The box was covered in paper that I stamped and embellished with scrap art. The portrait of Vlad stands up against a backdrop of the Carpathian Mountains. There is a sparkling red jewel before him and a real feather in his cap. I also decorated the box with dragon seals made from bottle caps. Overall, this was a really fun project. I actually finished it last year but the old vamp retreated to his coffin for the year before I could get him to pose for a pic ;)

The vampire spookfest continues! So, in Stoker's novel, Dracula flies off to London to prey on Mina Murray (and her BFF Lucy). He wants Mina to be his forever wife despite the fact that he has 3 old ladies (literally) at home! He leaves them in charge of "entertaining" his hostage, Jonathan Harker while he goes after Mina, Jonathan's fiance. What a soap opera ;) Anyway, the vampire brides as portrayed in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula (1992) are the epitome of the succubus! Seductive, inhuman, beautiful and ferocious! I created this little shadow box featuring the 3 brides wandering through the graveyard on a moonlit night. They are in search of their next handsome victim, perhaps to lure into yonder crypt. The box is a deep, metallic blue. It was used to hold greeting cards. I removed the plastic in the window and voila! Thank you to my good friend Jeri who passed the box on to me :) I was going to dress this up even more with some creeping moss or a skeletal tree... may have to wait until next year.
Remember my paper rosette obsession? I would not rest until I figured out how to make them! And once I did... oh boy. This double layer rosette features a werewolf insignia in the middle. For some reason I keep thinking of a werewolf "best in show" award... hehehe :) And to show you what I mean by obsession...

More later!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vintage and Coffee

Hello! I know I said I was working on Halloween stuff (and I am) but I wanted to show you a sign I finally finished a while back. I've mentioned before that I have a somewhat protracted creative process. I may begin something and not look at it for weeks! Sometimes the finished product (or a version of it) exists in my head, sometimes not. Everyone has a different creative style and it really helps to notice and accept your own style. In my case, it helps me to remain calm when I see a forgotten project on my table. I know I'll get to it when the right muse comes along. Also, being aware of my own style means that I can challenge myself to do things differently. So, this piece began with two definite inspirations: my love of vintage photos and my love of COFFEE (or should I say addiction...) Before Coffee... After Coffee!

Your results may vary but coffee makes my heart so happy! I go from plain Jane to fabulous lady in minutes! I also like the idea of this sign being a warning to the unwary, typically before the noon hour... hehehe!
Alrighty, as promised, there will be something with a Samhain twist very soon. Oh, what is Samhain you say? You can google it or check back soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here it comes!

The best, most creative time of MY year, and hopefully, of yours too! Yep, the answer is Autumn. I've already had some spooktacular experiences... noises in the hall seem to be something other than the house settling... birds in the trees seem to have sinister intentions. I followed a bird that was making a mournful screeching noise. I circled the tree, trying to spy it's white shape against the branches and sky. As I walked, I heard a groan and a crack. A large limb fell out of the tree and landed exactly where I had been standing!!! The birds continued to screech...
Here for your viewing pleasure is my 2009 Halloween Altar with last year's Halloween Tree as the spooky centerpiece. All I can say is this... watch out for those birds...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Divining Treasures

I am so proud of this piece! I received the pendant as part of a swap on swap-bot.com. I knew it was perfect for a pendulum right away! I went through my collection of beads to find some blues and greens to accent it. I name all my oracles after magickal places but I had a tough time naming this one... was it even of this planet? At last I remembered Lemuria. According to legend, it is a lost continent similar to Atlantis. The refugees who survived the cataclysm that destroyed the continent are said to have migrated and created the great civilizations of the world. So, here we have the Oracle of Lemuria.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Crafty and Green

Everyone's talking about recycling, especially crafters! I've always been interested in reusing and reinventing when I craft, mainly as a way to save money. The added bonus is keeping stuff out of the landfills :) Today I'd like to show you some pill bottles I altered even though, technically, pill bottles can be recycled because they're plastic... anyway! They are much prettier this way! hehe :) I used scrap papers, fabric, ribbons and beads. The art on the bottles came from Dragon Magazine, which is another great way to recycle. I love love love cutting pictures from magazines and using them in collage! Catalogs are a great source, too. Just remember, I cannot then mass produce such a work because I don't have a license to the art for that. As artists, we need to know our rights and respect the rights of our fellow artists. Okay, enough of that, heh. Have a lovely summer-turning-into-autumn everyone. And YES, I'm already cooking up Halloween ideas...!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gorgeous Spring Nights...

I've been out walking my dog after dark and the nights are so wonderful! I am often inspired by the silhouettes of the trees and the gradient of the colors in the sky. One of my favorite night animals is the bat. It could be its association with vampires and magic but they are also fascinating creatures besides all the mythology. I was particularly impressed when I learned more about the lives of bat colonies. For example, some bats help each other give birth to their pups, acting as midwives! I've also read that they nurse each others babies even though they know they are not their own. On the other hand, they also carry rabies and, yes, three species of bat drink blood from animals. I think us humans have a natural aversion to night hunters like the bat. They have heightened senses that to us seem supernatural. If we can overcome this aversion, we can see that they are necessary for the environment and can be a source of awe and inspiration. Above is my design "Goddess of the Night." The art is reminiscent of a text book diagram but the swirls and purple are pure whimsy. You can find this design on maternity wear, plus size clothing, women's apparel and gifts at my cafepress shop, Crafty Curios. Enjoy these magical spring nights!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fairies and Toys

I've been wanting to post some pics for some time! The first project is an altered jar that was inspired by so many adorable things I found online. I want to give credit where credit is due! I didn't come up with the ideas all on my own, I reached into the internet and found a huge community of fellow crafters! Here are a few of my favorite inspiration pics! Click to go to the creators' pages :) Thank you to Cedar Junction and Fireflygirl Inspirations at Etsy.com!

When a little jelly jar became available in the kitchen, I went to work on my own wee fairy. I wish you could see the tiny wand I made for her. Only the end of it is visible in her right hand. Also, most artists tend to use butterfly wings for their fairies. I went a different direction and made my own. They are a little rough but I'm proud of the finished product!

Here is another project that was directly influenced by the creative mind of another crafter. Don't they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I wanted to see what this form, a child's block and vintage photos would elicit from my creative subconscious. Unfortunately I can't find where I originally got this image! If anyone knows who the artist is (or if you are the artist) please email me. I would love to credit you for the idea :)

I embellished the block with ink, paper, flowers, bling and some eyelash ribbon on top. The block is vintage too! Fresh from the antique stores in Niles! The little girl is a vintage photo that is visible from both sides. She has the sweetest expression on her little face, very playful. It goes perfectly with a child's toy like a block :) Well, I enjoyed checking in and hope to do so again very soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A New Year!

Hopefully this will be a year of more frequent posting! But I don't make resolutions so, we'll just have to hope for the best ;) Today the weather is gorgeous and that really gets my creative mind whirling. I want to do a few things in the near future: highlight a design from Crafty Curios and show you some idea for future artwork. Also, I may post another collage from Polyvore. I've been hugely inspired by their theme wedding collage groups! Okay, buckle up, here we go!

This design was inspired by the idea that, throughout our lives, we go through many changes. This life journey has often been symbolized by the butterfly whose own metamorphosis is dramatic and, in the end, has beautiful results. We all hope that our own changes will leave us in such a graceful state, blessed with wings to fly above our troubles, lovely on the inside and the outside. The problem may be that changes are often beyond our control. We feel buffeted by winds that our new wings may not be strong enough to handle. Throughout history, cultures have had the idea that certain people can change shape at will (or when the moon is full ;) Is this an attempt to meet the challenges of life head on? Transforming into a shape that might be stronger or wiser or more flexible? We all need to adapt. If the form we are currently in does not meet the needs of our life, it is said that it is much easier to change ourselves than the circumstances. I also like the idea of shifting shape, as in, temporarily taking on whatever shape is needed. We can use masks or personas to get us through, without being false because ultimately, they are all different sides of ourselves. I find this design very appropriate for young people. They are in a constant state of flux on so many levels. Also, the idea of a pregnant woman being a shape shifter is exciting to me! She is working magick by transforming herself and the child inside her. I hope to experience this magick for myself one day.

That's it for now :) I hope you are happily cutting Valentine's hearts for those you love!