Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Children Can Create Art Out Of Anything

Last week my children shouted to me that I must come see what they did.

Here is what I saw when I entered the bathroom.

My children can find ways to make art out of anything. I loved this sculpture.

I love it!

This is creativity at work. My older son designed it, he likes symmetry (and he realizes that and has talked with me about how he likes to use symmetry in both his artworks and in his LEGO building creations).

Some may think this is weird or silly, but I see this as an example of the creative process at work. I love that my children get these ideas and feel free to run with them instead of being worried that I'd be angry that they did this or that someone may criticize them for doing this, call them weird or odd or some other negative thing.

I snapped the photo immediately. We left it to show my husband who didn't quite know what to think or say, then I had the kids put everything back on the shelves where it came from.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My ATCs: By The Sea Swap

I made this collage for a swap with a theme of "By The Sea". I sized the base to perfectly fit 9 ATCs. After the collage was done I sliced it into 9 ATCs.

The base was made with magazine ads from a travel magazine which my library was giving away for free. Some if it wrinkled a bit which bugged me.

It looked too bright so I added a layer of white gesso. That was too thick so I rubbed it off with a paper towel. This left a thinner film and also it made it look distressed. The wrinkles then looked good.

I then went through my scraps and ephemera to add bits to the collage. As you can see I used used postage stamps. I used little round pieces of tissue paper from the party aisle of the dollar store (sold as confetti).

Lastly to fill in blank spots I rubber stamped some seashells and other random images with Staz-On ink.

Note I bent over to pick something up and accidentially inhaled the Staz-On ink. This made me a little dizzy and I felt weird for nearly two hours! The package warns to not inhale the fumes, I can now attest that is not good!

I had fun making this mixed media collage.

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My ATCs: Fairies

I made these two fairy themed ATCs in March 2007.

Both backgrounds were made a while back with acrylic paints on watercolor paper using the scraping technique with an old credit card.

Both images were from a children’s book mail order catalog of Dover Publications.

One image was turned into a packing tape transfer.

The other image was just glued to the background.

I picked the backgrounds to match the colors.

I picked where on the background to put the image with scrutiny. I made one look like she was flying with color coming out behind her. I made the other look like she was on tip-toe on a flat surface.

I pondered a while as to whether this needed a word or some other embellishment. I liked it the way it was, thinking the background was busy enough.

I sealed it with Golden Acrylic Gel Medium on soft gloss.

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My ATCs: Gesso and Magazine Images Technique

Last month I tried a new technique which I learned from the book "Artist Trading Card Workshop" by Bernie Berlin.

The gist is that you secure a magazine image to a sturdy background and let dry. Apply gesso thinly and let dry. Outline parts with a Sharpie marker.

At that point you have two options. You can either give it another coat then let it dry then outline parts with Sharpie marker. Or you can skip that step.

When you draw with the Sharpies you can highlight the actual things or make up new ones. For example you can simplify the clothing, change the hair, etc. With the gesso you can block out the background to make it solid.

Last you take water soluable oil pastel crayons and color in sections. You smear that and rub it in with your finger.

I have used the fatter Sharpie marker and the very fine point Sharpie marker. I have used one or the other and sometimes I used both on one image.

With the coloring in, I even changed one woman to have blue skin. You can do whatever you want!

It is quite fun.

While doing this my children begged to join in. I let them do whatever they wanted. At the point they asked to do it the gesso was already applied and dry. They did the outlining and the coloring in.

Note also I tried two techniques, one is to do the second coat of gesso but not to re-outline the marker, this left a greyish cast instead of dark black. I also tried one with a colored Sharpie marker.

If you feel confident with your drawing ability you can just paint the gesso onto a surface then draw your own image and use the water soluable oil pastel crayons on it.

So here they are.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hooray: Received “The Moonlight Chronicles” From PaperBackSwap.com Today

I am so happy that finally someone posted “The Moonlight Chronicles: a wandering artist’s journal” by Dan Price to PaperBackSwap. I had this book on my wish list for a number of months.

I did a little happy dance when it arrived in today’s mail.

I look forward to reading this before bed tonight.

Dan Price is a man who is a father who keeps a journal with hand drawings, photographs and text to describe what he sees and what he is doing. In this little journal he shares what he experienced when he was traveling around the United States. He originally published his journal writings in self-published zines and later was offered a book deal.

PaperBackSwap.com is a free internet site where you post books that you are willing to give away to other members. You then get other books from other members. It basically works on a 1:1 swap basis, you give away one book to earn one credit which you later use to get one book. There is a wish list feature in which you can list books that you want which presently are NOT available to order from another member. If you join and list nine books you immediately are granted one credit to use immediately as a sign-up bonus. Also if you link through from my blog here and then sign up using my online name of ChristineMM then I will get one book credit for a little referral bonus. I thank you in advance if you do this. I use PaperBackSwap to get books about art, crafts, children’s books and books for me and my husband to read. It is a great site. The bottom line is that each book costs you about $1.60 as you pay the postage to send a book to someone else then you pay nothing when a book is being sent to you.

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Doing a Photo Scavenger Hunt Now

Today I was busy taking final photos for a photo scavenger hunt swap I am participating in. This is the first time I am doing one of these scavenger hunts.

We were given a list of items to choose from and we must send at least ten photographs of those things to our swap partner. This swap is being held over on Swap-bot.com.

I am behind on working on this swap due to health problems with my grandmother. However tonight I am selecting the final photos, uploading them to Costco’s photo printing service and will pick them up tomorrow and get them off in the mail a whole one day before the swap close date. My partner lives in England and I think it is fun that this is an international swap.

Perhaps when I am finished I’ll blog the scavenger hunt list and the photos that I sent.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One Trip to Michael’s Craft Store

I made one trip to Michael’s Craft store yesterday after not going there for well over a month. Again this was related to driving by the store on my way to and from the hospital. Again since I was alone and able to browse freely I went in, with a 40% off coupon in hand.

I was disappointed to see that this local store did not carry the Ranger line of alcohol ink products. I was hoping to buy some blending solution.

But there were some great things in the dollar aisle that I wanted to share with you.

The dollar bins were full to the brim!

They had a set of 6 paper, thick coasters decorated with wine images. These could be altered very easily and used as gifts.

There were about six different types of small journals for $1. They ranged in style from hardback book style, to hard covers with a wire spiral. The downside is I am pretty sure they are all lined paper not blank. They were sealed in plastic so I couldn’t see all of them; the lines were not visible on the sides of the pages either. I wish they would make them with blank paper! Still I bought two hardback journals. Some of the designs were pretty floral designs with a vintage feel and wine images. These hardback covers could also be easily altered if you desire.

There were many different styles of note cards at 10 for $1 with many styles that mesh with my style. They also had a few different note card sets with “Thank You” written on them, in styles that I liked.

I bought one very small notepad with a built-in little pen which I plan to keep in my pocketbook.

They also had a lot of different puzzle and activity books for kids but I didn’t buy any.

They had tiny photo albums that I thought might be perfect for holding ATCs. I bought one but when I got home I found out that they are just a fraction of an inch too short for the long end of the ATC. If these were good for ATCs I intended to buy a few more then to alter the covers to look more appealing to my eye.

Lastly they had new sets of foam cube stamps in themes of horses and others with spring flowers on them. I didn’t buy any but they were cute.

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Two Visits To My Local A.C. Moore

I had not been to my local A.C. Moore in over a month. When making art I have been using up what I have here.

Trips to the hospital take me right past the A.C. Moore store (and Michael’s Crafts, too). The combination of being near the store and being child-less at that point made me stop in to shop.

Here is what I found at my local A.C. Moore.

1. They moved the huge book display from the area near the doors/cash registers and I can’t find those books anywhere in the store. Hmmm. I was going to use a 50% coupon to buy a book if they had some of the new books that I am interested in buying. No such luck.

2. They were reorganizing the whole rubber stamp aisle. I overheard a customer ask what was going on and the staff member said new stamps were arriving and they were overhauling the entire aisle. The next time I went in those shelves were only about 30% full, so the new shipment has not yet arrived.

3. New pricing is up for rubber stamps including an alphabetical pricing not the color dot, hooray. It drives me crazy when the dot on the stamp is not on the chart and usually the stamp is charged a higher price than what I thought it was.

4. Nearly all of the punches in the brand “Whale of a Punch” were on final clearance at 50% off the original price. I love these in the shapes of circles and squares. They are nested so that they sell, for example, 7/8th inch square, 1 inch square, 1 1/8th square, 1 ½ square, 1 3/8th square, etc. What a deal. I wonder why their line of nesting punches is being downsized?

5. I bought for the first time, Ranger alcohol inks. However they were out of stock on the blending solution so I am not sure how that will impact me if I use it without that blending solution. Wish me luck.

6. I am disappointed that they don’t carry Jacquard Lumiere paints. They are on my wish list and I was hoping to get them for 40% or 50% off.

7. They had a big set of chipboard alphabet letters which I would like. At $17 for the pack, I’ll wait for the 50% off coupon day.

8. I see that a bunch of the materials in the scrapbooking aisle were on final clearance for 50% off. Those supplies are also used by ATC artists and in other non-scrapbooking artists. For example there were photo corners, brads and lots of other doo-dads.

9. I don’t buy stickers, but there were a lot of them on 50% final clearance.

It seems to me that there are a lot of changes in inventory going on at A.C. Moore.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Attention Star Wars Fans: Time To Vote For A Star Wars Postage Stamp

If you like Star Wars you may want to mosey on over to the USPS.com site and vote for your favorite Star Wars postage stamp. The voting began on March 28th and the stamps will be released on May 25, 2007.

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