Friday, December 25, 2009

Finally My Very Own Beeswax Tutorial.

As much as I love to work with beeswax I just never have gotten around to making a tutorial that shows how I like to use it best. Finally, I took the time and created the following tutorials that will show you step by step, how to make a beautiful wall hanging out of the simplest of supplies. I hope you will forgive the constant sound of the heat gun in the video but it was a very cold morning and I had a bit of trouble keeping the wax hot enough to work without it. The completed tutorial does take a little while to wacth but I hope you will find it enjoyable.

*As always, remember to pause the music below before watching the videos and enlarge the screen for closer viewing if you wish.

The Finished Piece

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Corner Bookmark Bling!

Just recently I have discovered a most wonderful place just around the corner from my home (who knew!). It is The Goodwill Bookstore.

Apparently this little treasure has been tucked away in my grocery store shopping center and has gone unnoticed by me until now. Anyway, since discovering this awesome place -hardcover books old and new are only $1.99 and softcover books .99 cents-I have been reading up a storm!

With multiple books being read at once, I have been getting very tired of grabbing scraps of paper, receipts, and even...ahem...squares of toilet paper while reading on the potty (you know you do that too!) to mark my place in whatever book I am reading.

With this in mind I decided that I wanted a very pretty bookmark to hold my place but I hate the standard kind that always falls to the ground the second you open the book. Then I found this great tutorial on Youtube that shows you how to make a corner bookmark and so I made the one below for myself. Check out the tutorial and then go make yourself something pretty.

*Remember to pause the music at the bottom before watching the video...enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Don't You Dare!

"That's Right! You just try it...Go ahead, I dare you....wake me up and you just see what happens!"

This is exactly how I have been feeling this entire week that seems like it has stretched into being 3 weeks long! I know that this time of year can get a bit hectic and hard to complete our every day tasks but WOW do I feel like I have been hit by a mack truck. I knew I was exhausted when the image above caught my eye and instead of savoring the romance of it; I felt like I could just scream at the insensitive dude for waking her up!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Kids are something else. Tell me, how are you supposed to discipline children when they are so stinking cute after they get in trouble for something? Below is a letter of apology I received from my 7 year old niece who was sent to her room for snatching a bottle of chocolate sauce right out of my hand to get a better look as her mother and I were discussing its contents.

After sitting in her room for about 2o minutes she emerged with this heartfelt and hilarious letter of apology written of her own volition! It was so hard to keep a straight face as she asked me to read it aloud and accept her apology. Lots of hugs and kisses later; we all had a good laugh.

And all this from the same child who recently wrote a note to her teacher on the back of her unfinished homework that her mother had no idea about..."I couldn't finish my homework because my mom took me shopping". !

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today Is The Auction!!

Update!! Today is the auction for Benson and Claire and we hope you find the time to stop over at A Place To Bloom to view the many great items donated by fellow artists and craftspeople. The auction will run from today 12/10 through Saturday 12/12 so if you can, please stop by and take a peak before it ends on Saturday. It has been so great to learn about this amazing family and participate in the auction as well. I am sure that it has been a great experience for all involved. If you have not already, please take the time to read about Benson and Claire below and then hop on over to The Auction and take a peak!

Many times in life the suffering of others becomes overwhelming and possibly too devastating to think about for any length of time. We tend to look the other way because it is just too painful to ponder over. We feel helpless because of the limitations of our own abilities to help. But then, every once in awhile the opportunity to help someone in great need presents itself right in front of our face and we just know in our heart that immediate action is required. And then we rejoice in the fact that here is an opportunity where we CAN help and make a difference is such a simple and joyful way! That opportunity came about for me today while blog hopping when I cam across the story of these two beautiful children in need.

"Benson and Claire were born with a rare genetic disease in which their liver produces too much oxalate--called primary hyperoxaluria. Claire's condition has progressed much faster than Benson's. She has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old and is on dialysis 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is now on the waiting list to receive a combined kidney / liver transplant. It is expected Benson will eventually need similar transplants. visit for more information about COTA and Benson and Claire's medical journey.

Understandably, they are in great need of financial assistance for their continuing care. I understand personally the financial impact transplantation care can require.

The reason this story touched my heart so much is the fact that my own father has been awaiting a kidney transplant for several years himself. He has been strong and courageous in doing his part to stay healthy and has become very disciplined in his routine. He must dialyze every 3 hours through the peritoneal cavity at home to remove deadly toxins from his body until a transplant comes. He does this at home every 3 hours of the day and gets a short rest through the night. He has remained active and has really made this taxing routine a way of life. He goes on trips and works on many home building projects and has lots of hobbies.

Because I could relate to what these children were going through, I was so thrilled when I learned that A Place To Bloom would be holding a silent auction on December 10th to raise funds for the continuing care of these great kids! The silent auction will feature many items from fellow artists, bloggers and others who have been moved to donate as well. I will be donating the recently made Chiyogami pendant that I posted about several days ago.

If you can, I urge you to stop by A Place To Bloom for further information on how you too can help, participate or simply leave encouraging comments for the family of these two bright children. Also, another way you can help is to post Benson and Claire's blog banner on your blog or website to help get the word out. The banner is a direct link over to the family's personal website where they provide frequent updates on how the kids are doing, the things they are up to and the daily chuckles they provide for their family. I know for a fact that posting this banner makes a difference because after all, that is exactly how I came across the story of these wonderful children myself!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paper Rose Tutorial.

I found a really neat and easy technique for making paper roses on Youtube the other night. The tutorial required a bit of folding and cutting through several thick layers of paper to get the 8 petaled flower shape that would ultimately create the rose in three layers. Because I am not the most patient of folks; I was convinced there had to be and easier way or at least a way to shorten some of the steps.

Then it dawned on me that I could just use an 8 petaled paper flower punch! I grabbed my Whale Punch from EK Success and punched out three flowers. Then I just followed the technique in the video picking up right after she had cut out the 3 flower shapes by hand. My flowers turned out a little less intricate but I loved them all the same. Click on the photo above to enlarge and see the 3 flowers I made up close. I used them for several handmade cards. I have also posted the tutorial below in case you are interested in making your own beautiful paper roses.

*As always, be sure to pause the music below before enjoying the video.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glass Tile Pendant Panache.

I have been having a blast creating these glass tile pendants for about a week now. I purchased the white glass wafers from where they are readily available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These ones are actually quite large and are about the size of a silver dollar.

Each wafer has a slight magnifying effect which beautifully enlarges whatever image you are using to create with. You can use a variety of materials to create these such as paper, fabric, and transfers.

For the blue one I used a gorgeous piece of Japanese Chiyogami Paper that I have been wanting to do something special with.

The white one was created using a scrap of handmade paper with a black backing that partially shows through giving a unique and interesting look.

The delicate rose one is probably my favorite of all and was made with a colorful rose graphic taken from an old Victorian calender. I love how feminine this one looks and I think it would make the perfect gift for the Victorian art lover.

The process involved in creating the pendants is just a tad bit involved as perfectly sizing your image can be a challenge. Once your image has been sized a liquid resin solution is applied directly to the glass and is pressed onto whatever image is being used.

Next, several layers of the resin are added to the back of the sealed pendant. In between the first and second layer of the back is when the pendant bail has to be perfectly centered so as not to give a lop-sided appearance. The final step is to completely seal the back with more resin to make it water resistant. They have been a lot of fun to create and I plan to make many more and will also put a few up for sale.

Friday, November 27, 2009

1920's Vintage Cabinet Card.

Enjoy this vintage freebie. It is a 1920's vintage cabinet card. Many of these have been colorized for art purposes but it is nice to come across one that still has the original coloring and patina. I plan to use this for a 5x7 canvas collage. I'd love to see what you do with it. Email it to me!

*Free to use in your Art only, not for Sale on a Collage Sheet or image CD.

E6000 Whew!

Can anyone recommend another industrial strength art adhesive other than E6000? Working with this stuff has got to be somewhat toxic don't you think? The fumes are highly noxious and I suspect maybe even a little dangerous. I am working on some commissioned glass tile pendant pieces and need an industrial strength adhesive with a little more bite. Diamond glaze has been my resin adhesive of choice as of late but with large glass tiles this is not a good option. Let me hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Paper Flowers.

Remember those crepe paper flowers you used to make in school? I had forgotten all about them until I stumbled across a wonderful artist on Youtube. Her name is Natalie Bramasole and she resides in Belgium where she creates the most beautiful art books and pieces. In this particular tutorial she showed how to make these beautiful paper flowers to add to your cards and art projects. I immediately set to work and created some fun pieces to add to the stack of cards I have been trying to finish and send out.

In the tutorial she shows you how to color your finished flower with Glimmer Mist and Perfect Pearls mica powder which is what I did with this gorgeous sea blue flower. After drying the glimmer mist with a heat gun the flowers become crispy and very manageable. You can then shape the petals in whatever fashion you wish to.

Here is an unsprayed white flower I decided to leave white to go with the toille paper behind it.

A brown sepia colored flower to add to a card featuring vintage sheet music. The pearl in the center is a bit large but hey, you use what you have right?

Here is some glimmer paper I created using two sheets of coordinating card stock to go with the blue flower. I wet the sheets of card stock, wrung them out and dried them with the heat gun. Next I added a misting of glimmer mist and then dried that with a heat gun. The photo does not do justice to the true sparkle and shine that the paper really has in person.

Please be sure to watch Natalie's video tutorial below and then stop by her neat blog for a visit. She has many other video tutorials that I am sure any art lover will find inspiring.

*Don't forget to pause the music below before enjoying the video.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cats And Keyboards?

What is it about Cats and Keyboards? They love nothing more than to stretch out right across your desk and smush the keyboard of your computer. Maybe it is because they like to see the asterisk or the letter M dance across the screen in a never ending fashion until they are promptly whisked aside. Whatever the reason I am convinced that they are aware of the precise moment you begin to read something important. They wait for just the right moment to pounce onto your desk and then PLOP! There they are laying right across the keys.

My little Spanky Doodle has gotten quite good at this little routine and I have given up the fight and I fly my white flag. Nowadays I consider his interruptions as a hint to take a break and enjoy some kitty and me time.

Annoying as it may be, I try and remember how fortunate I am to have such a loving little kitty as my Spanky. He is so affectionate and I owe it to the fact that I nurtured him just as a mother cat would from the age of 5 weeks old. I would cradle him on my chest and simulate a mother's licking routine by rubbing my chin across his face and head. To this day he jumps up on my chest, curls up and ALWAYS throws his little arms around my neck to be loved by his momma.

This horrendous photo (of me) was taken yesterday after I threw my back out as I lay somewhat helpless on the couch. My little Spanky immediately jumped up and threw his arms around me and lovingly comforted his ailing momma. Aaaah to be loved.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Throw Away That Box!!

That's right, I have developed quite the reputation for saying "Don't throw that away...I can make something out of it!" After sharing this delicious peppermint bark with my husband I knew I wanted to make something special out of this cute little box.

Sadly, my Grandfather passed away last year at the age of 84 and as the first year anniversary of his death is approaching I knew I wanted to do something special for his wife whom he married later in life but loved so dearly. This peppermint bark box was the perfect size for the gift I wanted to give her.

Using my favorite medium of beeswax, I covered the entire box and added an image into the still hot wax. After adding a few coats of wax I stamped into the edges all around with an acryllic stamp and then added and embellishment and rub-ons to personalize the box.

Next, I printed out a lovely poem of remembrance and adhered it to the inside of the box and placed a layer of vellum over top of it. To read the poem enlarge the photo.

Then I took some gold shimmer card stock, trimmed it to size and added it to the base. Next, I added a gold locket I found at which sells wonderful charm jewelry that you can personalize with a photo. They also have a great "photo shrinker" tool which allows you to shrink any photo to fit the size of jewelry piece that you have purchased.

I then added a sprig of paper flowers with a velvet ribbon tied at the base and sprinkled a few extra loose flowers into the box. I think she will really enjoy wearing this little keepsake of the man she shared her life with in her later years. I liked the fact that the necklace also has a privacy panel that fits loosely or securely (whichever is preferred) over the photo depending on h0w the recipient would like for it to be viewed.

I miss my Grandfather, I know we all do in my family but I hope this heartfelt little gift brings some comfort to the wonderful woman that he loved so dearly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm In Love!!!

That's right! I am in love with my new bread machine! I have been looking for weeks to find the best bread machine on the market. After doing lots of research and reading tons of reviews for every machine imaginable, I decided to buy the Zojirushi BBCC-X20 Home Bakery System and hope for the best. Wow, did I make a great choice! This thing is wonderful! Better than any bread machine I have ever owned. Just 3 hours after opening the box my husband and I were enjoying fresh baked olive, onion and herb bread!

It was so incredibly easy to use. I love the fact that it has a digital display that is easily navigated. There are lots of options to choose from when deciding what kind of bread to make but to make sure you are not overwhelmed they include a DVD as well as a manual and an idea cookbook.

Most of the other bread machines I had considered before purchasing this one made these funny looking tall loaves instead of the traditional long loaves you would expect a loaf of bread to look like. This machine turned out a beautiful and normal looking long loaf that I considered superior to the less expensive bread machines. It does however take up a bit more counter space than I expected but I thought it was an easy trade off.

Another advantage it has over other machines is that it has dual kneading blades. Most of the other machines I considered only had a single blade and when reading their reviews everyone complained of the same problem of under kneaded and lop sided finished loaves!

So with the cold weather of winter approaching I highly recommend the Zojirushi bread machine if you would like to have fresh baked bread that does not take all day long to make and that will spare your wrists and your nerves! It is also good to know that it is also the machine preferred by professional bakers. It may cost a bit more than the standard store bought machine but with all that it does, how sturdy it is and the perfect bread it turns out; I think it well worth the price.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finally Some Projects!

It sure seems like forever since I have been able to get down to the business of creating something. Life gets busy and things just tend to get pushed to the back burner at times. I've been busy working a few more hours a week than usual and have found myself too exhausted to get into the mood to create.

Finally this week I have found my mojo to create a few pieces just for me! I even created a few pieces to give as gifts as well. I have always wanted to try the simple technique used to create a domino pendant. I used an image from my Flikr pool that was applied with a touch of Mod Podge. Next I added a layer of Diamond Glaze and edged it out in copper foil. Finally I added a few flourishes using a Stazon permanent ink pad to prevent smudging. I topped it off with a few coordinating beads and a satin ribbon.

Here are a few hair accessories made to go in my hair. The hair sticks were made using an extra pair of chopsticks from my last Chinese take out order! These were fun to make and even more fun to wear tucked into a bun or french roll. The hair fork was created using the same scrap booking paper adhered to a raw brass base with a little Mod Podge and bling.

Finally here are some itsy bitsy pendants made using recycled vintage jewelry pieces. The bases were mini cabochons I found on but the center focal pieces were made from broken pieces of vintage jewelry from other pieces. I simply glued them into the centers using a little bit of Diamond Glaze. They are no bigger than a nickel but they are so dainty and feminine and now I am looking for the perfect chains to go with each one.

I have so many other projects to start as well as others waiting to be finished that I just need to buckle down and find the time, energy and mojo to finish!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sooo Cold!!

Can you say FA-REEEZING? The hubby and I decided to throw on our coats and head up the mountain to Big Bear Lake here in California. We live just at the foothills of the awesome San Bernardino National Forest so the drive was relatively short for us. The temps at our house were in the comfortable 70's but when we got up the mountain they were in the low 50's!

We were sooo cold. I managed to stuff all of my hair (and man do I have a ton of it!) up under my hat and that warmed me up a bit. My husband had only grabbed a light hoodie jacket on the way out the door since we had planned on bumming around all day long. Boy was he sorry once we got up the mountain.

We enjoyed a great lunch at Boo Bears Den where the food was delicious and extremely affordable. After lunch we drove all around town checking out the shops and antique stores. We pulled over at the lake and checked out the ducks as they fiendishly dabbled in the shallows for something to eat with butts bobbing on the surface.

It was nice to get away and just spend the day together with nowhere to HAVE to go and nothing to HAVE to do. Don't we all deserve to do that once in awhile?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I've been a just a wee bit out of the loop the last week or so. You may have noticed my posts' becoming fewer and fewer and even a little dull. No, I am not tiring of my little just so happens that my computer...CRASHED!!! If you have ever had the misfortune of this experience then you know what a horrible and inconveniencing drag it can be.

Things, however, are looking up as my smart, handsome, intelligent and sexy husband also happens to know how to switch out the bad stuff in my computer for the good. Now that it is all bandaged and fixed up I can get back down to the business of blogging and creating. Yay!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Look Out Marlon Brando...You're Next!

I stumbled across this technique while cruising Youtube for art inspiration and this technique just amazed me. You could really use any photo for this but a repeated image photo like the one used in the video really seems to make a statement.

I happen to love photos (and film) featuring a young Marlon Brando. Not that I am opposed to the work of his later years but it just seems to me that the huge body of work he did before "The Godfather" (which I refuse to watch because of the violence) goes under appreciated. Marlon took a huge amount of studio head shots during his career and I can't wait to get my hands on a few of them to try out this technique on.

There is an antique mall that I love to spend time in that has an entire section dedicated to nicely arranged and well preserved, classic film, head shots. They are all taken on glossy 8x10's and are just perfect for this project. The video is a little over six minutes but well worth waiting to see how she arrives at the finished piece. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Be Afraid!....Be Very Afraid...Then Get Out That Credit Card!

The wonderful world of Etsy can be a fabulous resource for the mixed media artist to fulfill their commissioned art needs. However, sometimes it is nice to find other resources that rely on a bit more of a stable business premise. This is especially true when purchasing large orders of supplies to fulfill commissioned art pieces where a single checkout procedure would make far more sense. This is especially true when you have projects that must be completed and delivered under a pre-designated time frame.

Recently I stumbled across an awesome supplier called Ornamentea! They specialize in just about everything for the mixed media artist be it collage, Steampunk, or bits and baubles. The only area that they seem to be a bit lacking in is the vintage ephemera department but one can always go to Flikr or one of the other copyright-free vintage image resources out there for that.

I recently purchased several of the filigree items and cabochons for personal imagery jewelry pieces and WOW! was I impressed with the quality! Even the raw brass pieces needed only minor polishing before beginning to work with them. They had a variety of cabochons, cameo settings and bases as well as that darn 10oz bottle of Diamond Glaze that I have been searching all over the world for!

They also had a variety of other resin setting agents but I have always preferred the Diamond Glaze as it is far less toxic than some of the other resin products on the market and should I someday decide to have children I certainly wouldn't want them to be born with a third eye or something simply because I used copious amounts of toxic resin products in my artwork...LOL.

Bead Caps! Can I just tell you about the HUGE variety of bead caps I found there! You know how much I love creating vintage inspired hatpins...I was doing a happy dance all the way to the check out page after finding these babies. They have everything from raw brass to sterling silver findings in this category. Especially when you are making vintage reproduction hatpins do you need authentically aged looking hardware such as these.

This place was also a STEAMPUNK artist's dream! If Steampunk is your specialty then you will be thrilled to find that you can purchase your components in bulk! For a set price you will get everything you could possibly need to create collaged canvases, mixed media jewelry and everything in between. For all that you get I found the prices to be extremely reasonable.

And if all that wasn't enough, Ornamentea also features an external blog separate from their official website that features tutorials, ideas and tips from like minded mixed media artists to gain inspiration from. Remember, the prices are reasonable, the shipping fast and the overall experience much better than shopping Etsy for supplies from individual vendors. Be sure to check them out and give me some feedback about your experience with this awesome company.

* Post Script.

After re-reading this post I realized that I may have given the impression that is not a good place to shop for mixed media supplies and I now realize how that impression could ruffle a few feathers. This was certainly NOT the impression I was wanting to give.

Etsy is a wonderful place to acquire needed supplies indeed...heck, I even have my own Etsy shop! What I was trying to say in my own inarticulate fashion was that those looking to buy a variety of supplies all at once might likely prefer shopping at this new supplier.

Unfortunately with Etsy if you find 10 different supplies from 10 different vendors you will be required to make a separate checkout transaction with each vendor for thier individual store's products and that can be a time consuming hassle if you are on a time crunch.

Also, if you find that you have an issue with your purchase after receiving it then customer resolution is dependant upon your conversations with a single person's interpretation rather than a customer service department with predesignated policies and procedures. In the past these two issues have caused me a bit more stress and effort than I have wanted to deal with when purchasing larger quantities of supplies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hey! Didn't I used to create art and post it here on this blog? I have the faintest memory of doing just that sometime ago....LOL!
OK, now it is time for me to quit clowning around and finally get some projects done so stay tuned for some really cool things that I have got coming up soon.
In the meantime I will do as my Dad always used to say and
Quit -a- yackin and get -a- crackin!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Heart Just Ached...

It was called Ladies In Lavender and it was a story that I don't think I will ever be able to forget. My heart still aches for its prominent character, Ursula. I watched this movie recently and was moved to tears by many of the heart wrenching moments of the film. It stars two absolute legends of English film, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench who happens to be my favorite female actress of all time.

The story takes place in Cornwall England in the pre-war era of the English sea coast. I will not go into all of the details of the film but I will give a brief overview so consider this your spoiler alert! if you wish not to hear the details.

Ladies in Lavender. (2004)

Janet (Maggie Smith) and Ursula (Judi Dench) are two aged sisters living on the sea coast of picturesque Cornwall, England. Janet's husband was killed in the first war many years before and Ursula was never able to marry for one reason or another. One morning after a fierce storm a young man washes up on the shore after falling overboard his ship sailing to America. The sisters take him in and nurse him back to health where they learn that he is Polish and speaks almost no English.

This was the part of the film that just had me blubbering in tears. It took me a while to catch on but I began to realize what was happening. Ursula who was never married and has now grown old begins to awaken to feelings of love and romance that she has never experienced before, for this young man. You can imagine how carefully and sensitively this had to be portrayed in the film so as not to give an unsavory impression. It was beautifully presented and my heart just ached for poor Ursula who had begun to experience love for the first time in her life although it would never come to be as it only exists in her mind and heart. The young man has no idea of her developing feelings but Janet soon catches on and tries to reason with her very emotional sister to no avail.

Not only is the film a moving portrayal of unrequited love and raw human emotion but it is also a cinematographic pleasure to watch. Every scene is filled with coastal beauty as well as the indoor scenes that are filled with beautiful antiques, vintage millinery, teapots, china and cottage adornments. I ended up watching the film a second time just to savor the clothing and accoutrement's of the era that are very visible in the film.

The film is also filled with beautiful and emotion stirring scores and violin pieces which will bring you to tears from the shear beauty of them all by themselves! In the film Andrea (the young man) is an amazing violinist and this ties in wonderfully with the overall feeling of the movie.

So there you have it, ladies! The next time you are in the video store and need a good chick flick to help you get out those bottled up tears, be sure to look for this wonderful piece of movie mastery called Ladies In Lavender.