Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

CHRISTMAS!!  Boy, is it ever sneaking up on me fast . . . where did the fall go?!?

Good news and bad news:

NO, I don't have my tree up, presents bought, or decorations beautifying my home yet.  But YES! I get to see my daughter in just 10 days!  Not having her home at Thanksgiving was hard on all of us, so we are really excited for Christmas to have her home from her first semester far away at college. YAY!

I've been working on a few things in the meantime.  First of all, our annual Holiday Bazaar was again lots of FUN, lots of WORK, and gave me some Christmas spending moolah.  I sold almost everything I had, and the few things left went in my Etsy shop (just yesterday...it takes me so long to list stuff).  I'm doing a different version of my soldered shadowboxes, with weathered old watch faces, bits of Scripture from a vintage Bible, and crosses:

Available HERE just in time for Holiday Gift-Giving :-) !

 I still have a few more of those to list.  Need some good sunlight for photos...been waiting for that for a while!  Also I'm finally doing something I've been meaning to do for quite some time now: making miniature prints of my angel paintings for my pendants:

Available in the shop HERE

So far, I've used just two of my angels for the necklaces, but eventually want to have lots more with many more of my paintings represented.  I added a touch of real gold leaf (talk about holding on to stuff forever: I saved up for the gold leafing kit back in 1968 when I was in junior high!  I've been a serious crafter forEVER!!) to the halo:

The gold leaf really catches the light when the angle is just right. Love that stuff! And love how it looks 'crumbly'!

I also participated in a holiday tag swap over at BlissfulARTswaps.  I did a little snow angel, with LOTS of glitter (I'll be vacuuming that up forever :-)):

Trust me... my carpets SPARKLE!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

keepin' it real . . . my MESSY HOUSE!

In three days, my friend Chris and I will host our annual Holiday Bazaar.  We do it every year, the weekend before Thanksgiving, to kick off our Christmas season.  And every year, for about the last 8 years, I tell myself I am NOT going to procrastinate till the last minute nor let myself get CRAZY with projects all over the house.

Once again, my good intentions fell by the wayside.

So instead of finishing my myriad projects, I decided to walk around the house to document the lunacy:
My poor kitchen table...(we've been eating from our laps in the family room for days on end...)
Piles of STUFF, covering the table....along with the sewing machine, and oh yes, my glass-cutting stuff as well

The island has been taken over, too....not a lot of cooking going on these days...
And then there's the table in my studio: my printer is being swallowed up by the jewelry projects in progress...
Oh, and of course my work desk....looks like there might be a couple of square inches to keep working...

I have been having a BUNCH of fun, learning how to etch metal.  It has become very addicting (just what I needed: a new distraction).  I've been combining the etched copper with my soldering, beading and leather.  These double-wrap bracelets should be priced at about $300 each, if I count all the hours I've put into them....don't think that'll fly with our customers!

Well, enough of break.  I GOTTA GET BACK TO WORK!  Just keepin' it real . . .

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I love Fall . . .

I love Fall!!  Here's my little woodland scene for this week's "Autumn" tag theme over at the Tag Tuesday blog.  It was fun to layer up all of the color and textures . . . trying to portray the richness and beauty of the season.

Our lot is so wooded, and we have already spent many hours raking, blowing, and gathering leaves.  And there are still SO many that haven't fallen!   It was easy go outside and gather up mossy twigs to make this little tag's frame.  We have lots of fallen acorns in our yard as well, and one got a place of honor at the top of my tag:

I was driving down our hill the other day, and it hit me how lucky I am to have this view, with the turning leaves and the glorious backdrop of the wooded hillside:

It's so beautiful, and the crisp and sunny days have been awesome!

I'll have to remember this in a few months, when it will be gray and rainy outside my window for weeks on end.

But in the meantime, I love Fall!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I've been in the mood to do some lettering on a tag for a while, and this week's theme over at Tag Tuesday lent itself to the whimsical style I wanted to try.  I found the quote (I Googled 'shoe quotes'...it makes me laugh that we can Google something so specific and have plenty to choose from!), and inked it in a not-too-serious style, then added color with watercolor markers.  The cute die-cut tag is from Core'dinations.  I've had the tiny enameled shoe charms in my stash for years (I still have the matching purse charm!), and they were the perfect touch to hang from grommets I added at the bottom.
Anyone inspired to go do some shopping?!? 
After all, life is short!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'New' Stuff to Play With: Old Watch Faces!

Look at this pile of rusty, crusty goodness I get to play with!
I just acquired more old watch faces to add to my stash for jewelry making.  The Art & Soul week-long art class event was last week here in Portland, capped off with a vendor night with lots of goodies and supplies for sale.  I don't go to the classes (mainly, because I'm too cheap, plus, I really feel like I've got a lot of the skills down....I just need to get off my butt and DO something with the skills I have now and be busy making stuff rather than sitting in a class...or sitting here at my computer...  But DO I??!!?), but I do try and make it to the vendor night to check out the fun stuff for sale and to chat with some of the artists and instructors.  Besides being stuck on the freeway for almost two hours (arghgh!!) behind a bad crash on the way there, I had a great time, and picked up a few 'new' supplies.

And I love these old watch faces. The cute round one at the top of the pile with the turquoise numbers is a favorite, as are the really old and grungy ones.  Here's what I plan to do with them:
I better get busy!! Time's a'wastin' !!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A BIG Bunch of Tags

I've been trying to do a little just-for-fun crafting once a week with the Tag Tuesday Blog, and here are my recent submissions:
The tag theme several weeks ago was "Windows, Gates, Doors and Portals". This photo of my grandmother (circa 1970 or so) captures the scene we saw so often in our younger years.  Traveling to Grandma's farm for a visit every few years, we knew when we pulled up, we would see her, standing behind the screen door of her Nebraska farmhouse, ready to welcome us inside to feast on homemade bread, fresh eggs, milk from her cows, and sausage from the smokehouse.  There she would stand, too, when we drove away at the end of our visit, a warm smile always on her face.  This tag, an 'Ode to Grandma's Screen Door', is fairly simple and homespun, to reflect Grandma's style, using gingham ribbon and a few daisies.  It evokes a sweet memory for me.

The next week's theme was "Eyes", and, since Gretchen had just gone away to college, I made this tag with her in mind:
A simple rebus, expressing my melancholy sentiments.  I tucked this tag into her first care package sent from home.  The eye, above, is cropped from this photo of her:
She called with a funny story: while carrying her tray in the college cafeteria and minding her own business, a hulking refrigerator-sized football player walked toward her. He stopped dead in his tracks, then hopped backward, stared at her and remarked, "Damn...those are some crazy eyes"!  And then he abruptly walked away, leaving her standing there, wondering if she had just been complimented...or just the opposite!  (It's hard waiting till Christmas before I can see her crazy eyes again!)

The following week's theme was "Wings".  Since I was short on time, I kept the tag really simple, using a print from one of my angel paintings. A bit of fine glitter was sprinkled here and there on the outspread wings for a little twinkle, and sheer, sparkly ribbons were added for the ties.  Easy, peasy, and done:

Next up was a challenging tag theme, "Egypt".  I really didn't want to go with Cleopatra or Tut or hieroglyphics, because those were already being done quite a bit by the other contributors.  Instead,  Bible stories were my inspiration, tales of Joseph and Jacob, Pharaohs, and my favorite: Moses being found in a basket by an Egyptian princess.  I have a wonderful old Bible story book, published in 1923, that has beautiful illustrations, so I scanned and made a print of this depiction of the baby Moses:
When other elements were added, it turned out like this:

Last week the theme was "Beads, Buttons and Bows", and this angelic photo got a little halo of old pearls, shell buttons down her dress, and a big bow from buttery ivory satin ribbon:
(I just love that vintage image!  She is so demure and precious, and the dress is gorgeous).

And FINALLY, this week I made a concoction of a tag for the theme "Tattered & Torn", gathering up crumbling bits from around my studio (which was easy to do, since this room is full of rusty, crusty, tarnished, tattered, torn, aged and patinaed junque...):
The base of the tag is the torn-off front cover of the sweetest little book, just a bit over 3" x 5".  My daughter found it at a junk shop on her travels, and sent it to me (my family knows me well!).  It is gold embossed leather, very old and decrepit, with all the requisite tatters.  The center is wrapped with a sash of rumpled amber-colored silk, which I topped with a rose I made from frayed satin binding.
At the top, I've placed a pile of unraveling vintage fabric bits, and the 'jewel' on top is a grungy and bent old watch face, with most of its finish worn off:

At the bottom, I've put more frayed binding, laced through a wonderfully rusted heart-shaped metal buckle.  I found that buckle in the street one day, and practically squealed! (Rusty, crusty stuff gets me giddy...I'm weird that way).

The bottom of the tag is fringed with scraggly crocheted trim, to add one more "Tattered and Torn" element (because we all know more is more:-))

And speaking of MORE, thank goodness there are NO MORE tags to show you. 

Until next week, that is.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BOO! Halloween Necklaces

I added a bunch of spooky Halloween soldered charms to my Etsy shop tonight:
These were all made as class samples for Halloween Charm classes I taught in the past, and I pulled them out over the weekend and dolled them up a little with added soldered dots and crystal dangles. 
There are little witches...
and creepy skulls and skeletons...
and wicked little Halloween-y cut-out words.
(And I also wanted to play around in Photoshop, and figure out how to make these photo grids...thank you for bearing with me!)

I am suddenly in the mood for candy corn and fun-size Snickers. . .

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tag--You're It!

The last few days have really been CRUNCH time, trying to get everything ready for my daughter's departure to college.  There are 6 large suitcases and duffel bags out, being filled with WAY too much stuff....I think she is in for a rude awakening next week when she tries to fit all of her things into her T-I-N-Y dorm room!  We leave in a week.  Gulp.  So much to do, so little time...

Which is why I have NO business making crafty little tags for the tag challenge I've decided to join over at Tag Tuesday....but I find that when I have way too much to do, I always like a little distraction (do you like the way I'm justifying my procrastination?!?).  These are tags I made for the last two weeks' challenges:
This week, the challenge is "Complementary Colors", and I chose to do a blue/orange tag. I colored a print of a vintage image of twin girls, using Prismacolor pencils (which work so well on matte photo paper, look rich, and are very blendable).

Each girl holds a complementary-colored butterfly (cutting around the girls' thumbs was a challenge!),  and the perfectly two-toned butterfly was added at the top.  I only glued them at the center, so the wings could be folded up a bit for some dimension.
Last week , the theme was "Wedding", so I made this frothy little concoction.  Played around in Photoshop to invert a fancy clip art frame and lettering to white on dove grey.  I cut out the inside of the frame and behind it,  added a vintage photo from The Graphics Fairy.  I found that pretty lace on some ugly garment at Goodwill, and have had it in my stash of goodies for a while.
I made a teeny-tiny bouquet out of some ribbon roses, then added a few rhinestones for sparkle. 

And now, back to PACKING.....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

This and That...

~~~If you are looking for my Where Bloggers Create STUDIO TOUR, go here.~~~

I just joined the group that blogs over at Tag Tuesday, and posted my first tag today.  I miss the collage challenges I was doing over at Green Paper, so this will give me that creative outlet instead.  The tag theme challenge was "Travel" and here is my tag:
I started with a great vintage illustration of a couple about to embark on a trip.  From the looks of their clothes, I'd guess it to be from the 60's, back when traveling by airplane was quite an event and meant dressing up for the occasion (Sweats and flip-flops?  Never!).  Their cut-out image was placed on a vintage map of Europe, and behind that I added a Roma Pass saved from a trip I took to Italy a few years ago.  An old stamp from Spain went in the corner, and a dictionary definition of "explore" was added, along with a little brass handbag charm to complete her chic ensemble.  A compass is at the top, holding the ribbon ties that match her coat.
 Makes me want to go on a trip!

In other news, after a long hiatus, I got back to teaching a little jewelry class here in my studio last week.  A group of 12-year-old girls made sweet little glittery soldered charms for a birthday party.  It has been a long time since I had a class, and it was a lot of fun! Here are the girls, proudly showing off their little creations:
Their initials went on one side of the charm, and a glittery word went on the other side. We had a "Bella", a "Sparkle" and a few "Twinkle"s, all surrounded with German glass glitter.  So cute!
I'm now spending the next two and a half weeks helping my daughter purge and sort and pack for her big trip across country to start her freshman year at college. Whew...what a challenge!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where Bloggers Create 2013!

Hi and WELCOME to my creative space! It's nice to have both old and new friends drop by!
I'm pleased to be participating again in Karen Valentine's 5th Annual Where Bloggers Create Tour (Click on the link to visit lots of other artists' inspiring studios. See list in her sidebar).  Since my space hasn't changed that much since last year, I decided to freshen things up on a bit on the blog with a new photo of myself and a wider main column to allow my photos to be larger.  Just little tweaks, but it feels cleaner to me.  But on with the tour!  Come on in and let me show you around...
As you enter the room, there is a long counter with file cabinets below and shelves above.
I'm lucky to have a room dedicated solely to the artwork I do both professionally (illustration, graphic design, textile design)  and 'just for fun' (jewelry, mixed media, collage).  I'm showing you the "company's coming" version of my space--in real life it is MUCH more chaotic, with several projects going on at once, and messes left everywhere. I am a hoarder collector of SO MUCH stuff, this room is pretty packed full.  And what doesn't fit in here, is stashed in other parts of my house, much to the chagrin of my patient family. I can't help it....I love so much crafty stuff!  And, like most of you, I love to be surrounded by all my treasures!
Can you tell I like little houses?  I store treasures and supplies inside my vintage doll house.

Old game pieces, my stash of pearls, and other trinkets crowd the shelves.

Precious old photos of my mother-in-law and my dear old dad (how great is that cowboy outfit!?)

A tiny guardian angel perched on top, watching over the stash
 Beneath the big house are a couple of smaller wooden houses.  One of them has hooks inside and is just perfect for my etsy jewelry inventory:
The bird hooks below hold samples for the soldering classes I teach.

My Etsy inventory is low right now...but I'm busy making new items!  Check back soon.
As we keep going to the right, you'll see shelving, cupboards, and filing cabinets holding lots of supplies.  Like many of you, I like to collect old baskets and cases for storage.
I added these cool old metal cases last year, and finally got around to filling them up with jewelry supplies:
I've dedicated one shallow shelf to my collection of cute face cups.  I'm always on the lookout for more:
Baskets on the shelves hold stamping supplies, soldering equipment, and more.  The vintage white doll case holds glass and cutting tools.

Continuing along the wall, I have closed cupboards plus my photocopier, printer, and computer. 
Next to my computer monitor, I've hung some of my mixed-media angel paintings.  I scan the originals and from them make wood-mounted prints and cards.  I usually have a few of these paintings in the works.
The french doors lead out to a small balcony, ao even here in rainy Oregon I get lots of natural light.  The pennant banner above the doors is also part of my blog header, and welcomes crafters who come to my studio to attend my collage and soldering workshops.  In a couple of days, this space will be invaded by 6 twelve-year-old girls, making glittery charms for a birthday party.  Glitter, glitter, everywhere! (sorry dear husband, I know how much you HATE glitter!)
Lots of collage supplies fill these shelves: old books, sheet music, maps, wallpaper, etc.
The baskets hold textiles, trims and laces.  Then there are my tins full of old postage stamps, and cute wooden boxes filled with old buttons sit below the little window.

My drafting table is the hardest thing to keep organized.  As I work, I am just MESSY, and end up doing my work on any tiny clean surface I can find.  The built in light box is invaluable, and its glass top is great for xacto-cutting.

Next to the desk is a storage closet.  More hoarding lurks behind the door, in a semi-organized state--bins full of this and that:
The inside of the door holds several illustrations done for Simplicity Pattern Company.  I spent years as art director of Daisy Kingdom, Inc., a fabric, craft, and publishing company based here in Portland, until it was bought out by Springs Industries, and they did a great deal of licensing with Simplicity.  I still do freelance illustration and design for them and other clients.
Sorry this photo is so murky!
This is a clearer example of the type of illustration I do for sewing pattern companies.
Well, that's the end of my tour. Thanks so much for visiting and seeing where I work and play.  I'm so looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks peeking inside your creative spaces.  So many kindred spirits out there--and a special thank you to Karen Valentine for hosting this wonderful event where we can all hobnob with each other!  Again, I'm so glad you stopped by, and I'm hoping you'll leave me a comment and let me know you dropped in!  And I'd love for you to become a follower...a girl can never have too many friends!

 And now, I'm off to go snooping inside your studios!