Thursday, November 29, 2007

My ATCs: 7 "Altered Text"

After reading a post on CMP Circle about Altered Text I surfed the web to learn and see examples of this ‘new to me’ art technique.

I was so inspired that I grabbed an old book and using my paper cutter, randomly cut pages sized exactly to ATC size.

I brought these to bed and while sitting in bed watching TV before going to sleep instead of staring at the screen I altered these. I used Berol Prismacolor pencils.

Later I adhered them to a stiff background. They seemed so unpolished that I added a layer of clear UTEE (Ranger brand ultra thick embossing enamel) which gave it a ‘glass like resin’. The scans look nubby or bubbly or and that is why. In real life they have a smooth yet nubby texture which makes them more tactile.

It was fun and liberating to do these just for the fun of it. These were not made for an ATC swap.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My ATCs: 6 Using Stencil Technique

Below are ATCs I created in November 2007 for an ATC swap using a stencil as described in Bernie Berlin's book "Artist Trading Card Workshop". These were all swapped out through for a swap that I hosted.

Title: You May Be Surprised

Scraps from magazines and canned tomatoes, used postage stamp and text from old children's reader. Butterfly image source not known.

Title: Possible Start

Scraps of paper from junk mail, magazines, old children's book and stencil of fruit bag.

Title: Love

Image from a collage sheet from the company Autumn Moon Paper Company.

Stencil is a bag that held avocados.

Title: Darth Vader

US Postage stamp with old ticket on background of glossy paper with alcohol ink coloring, rubber stamping, and stencil with acrylic paint.

Title: Beetle

Image from an old field guide.

Title: American Flag

This contains a photo that I took and then altered with bleach. Flag image from a 1950s Girl Scout Cadette Handbook, cancelled postage stamp with scrap of black paper I rubber stamped with bleach. Paper is canvasette I hand painted. Stencil is a plastic fruit bag.

This is the book which tells the emboss-resist technique, Bernie Berlin's "Artist Trading Card Workshop".

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My ATC: One of the Few Thinking

Artist Trading Card created by ChristineMM in November 2007.

Background hand painted with acrylic paints on recycled cardboard cereal box. Fruit bag used as stencil with more acrylic paint. Snippets from old magazines and used postage stamps collaged onto it. Note one postage stamp is of the Lawrie sculplture of Atlas in Rockerfeller Center titled "Wisdom". The time stamp was also carefully chosen. The square is from a children's book illustration and signifies 'reaching' or 'grasping'.

Facts + reaching/grasping + time + thinking = wisdom.

'One of the few thinking' is how I feel lately in several areas of my life which are totally unconnected to the each other.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Made Some Purchases of Art Supplies Today

Today I made three purchases for stuff for me. To have fun with. To do something for me for a change. Knowing that some relatives will be giving me cash for Christmas, I’m spending it ahead of time.

For over a year I have wanted to teach myself screen-printing on cloth. Last week I noticed that AC Moore’s old screen-printing kit was $90 (yikes) but a new one is $55. Today I used a 50% off coupon to buy that for myself. Yippee!

And while there I snagged the latest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors as Amy had been talking about it on the Creative Mom Podcast Episode 72. I have never purchased this magazine before.

Today my Amazon gold box offer came up with “Mixed-Media college” by Holly Harrison and I snapped it up at a larger than normal discount.

I ventured into Home Depot (I hate that place) to find the fine grit files I need for metal crafting. My husband claimed to not be able to find them on two past visits. One brand would have cost me $20 and the other was just under $10 so I got the cheap set. I now have everything I need for doing more metal crafting. (I am using Metal Craft Workshop as my guidebook.) I also was inspired to buy this now as last night an idea for a new project sprung to mind…

Today also I bought a two hole punch for metal crafting. This way I can use the quiet hand held punch instead of my husband’s drill or dremel tool. I have a fear of power tools. I used Dick Blick online as the two Dick Blick stores that used to be near me are closed up. I see they have it for about 50% less than some online specialty shops.

And I added to that reason for ordering, some oil based Sharpie markers which I read in Art & Life will write on top of oil pastel crayon or water soluble oil pastel crayon for journaling. It comes in white color too which looks cool on top of happy bright colors. It said in Art & Life that they are hard to find in shops but that sold them.

Lastly last week my older son went through nearly a whole pack of 50 pieces of wire coated with colored plastic making sculptures. I had purchased it probably 4 years ago and put it away and never touched it and while reorganizing craft supplies he saw it and used it. He had a blast. So I splurged on a pack of 200 or 250 wires this time (I forget the exact amount).

So there you go, happy me with art supplies in hand or on their way from UPS. 

I have not been making many ATCs lately. I am slowing down on ATC swapping until after the New Year. I have one swap left on Swap-bot and I have to do my November CMP ATC exchange (and December when that rolls in). I really am feeling a desire to work with metal and do some new crafty things.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Season 4 of Project Runway Starts Tomorrow

I was late to get in on watching Project Runway having missed the first season. I stumbled upon it during season two and immediately set a Season Pass on my TiVo to watch it. A great thing about the show is that it seems to repeat a zillion times so if you miss an episode you can easily catch back up again (especially if you use a DVR to record it when it repeats in the wee morning hours while you peacefully sleep).

I am not a follower of fashion. I'm not so much interested in the show because of the focus on the fashion industry, haute couture or anything like that.

What amazes me the most about the show is the creative aspect of the designers themselves. I cannot at all relate to how people can have talent like that. My own brain and talents are so different that it is interesting for me to watch and hear their thoughts on the creative process. I cannot at all imagine clothing in a 3D image of my own personal creation. I know nothing about fabrics and how they 'lie'. I still don't get what 'across the grain' means. I don't know how they can make their own clothing patterns or design right from the fabric, cutting as they go and stitching. I applaud that they all have such a unique style, that they are so creative and unique and that they are individuals.

I like to watch people and see how people act and react. I like to see people under pressure to do a task and see what unfolds. I find it interesting to watch people with super huge egos and wonder how they ever got that way.

I also LOVE the fact that these people are 'going for their dream'. I like to hear the stories of how some wanted to be designers but their family members told them they'd never make it yet here they are with true talent and on the show possibly on the road to making a living in the clothing design industry. Bravo to them! (No pun intended.)

The show is always full of drama and colorful personalities. The backbiting and gossiping is not always pretty and I don't like that aspect of the show. They sometimes swear and so the show is full of 'beeps'.

My kids have watched some episodes with me. We talk about when people talk nasty to each other's faces; have fights, how they handle conflict and also how they talk about each other behind each other's back and how that is not good.

So anyhow, Season 4 begins tomorrow. The show airs on the Bravo network.

I've got my TiVo Season Pass started. Yippee!

Will you be watching?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rushing to Catch the Sunset (Photo of the Day)

In Cape Cod in October...

While in the house I looked up to see clouds that looked to be shaping up for a great sunset.

"I'm going to the beach to see the sunset and take photos", I said to my husband.

"I'm making dinner and it will be ready in five minutes", he said.

When your husband makes dinner (from scratch) on a regular basis one should not complain when eating said dinner conflicts with a spur-of-the-moment idea.


So I ate my dinner quickly, with frequent glances out the window and noted that the clouds looked colorful.

As soon as I was done I proclaimed, "I'm leaving! Who wants to come?" I threw my dishes to the side of the sink. (Yes, my husband cleans up the dishes as well.)

My younger son jumped at the chance.


So we rushed to the beach. Driving down this road a wee bit above the speed limit and hoping to not hit a dog walker or child, I saw this sight before me.

I wondered a bit if this was a bit like after dying, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel?

I parked the car and we ran out and saw this:

We had just missed it, another sunset-watcher said, the sun had been a big red ball descending down to the horizon.

Well, it was still a sight to behold, it was still lovely and I'm glad I saw this.

I can only imagine that if a person could actually live in a home overlooking the ocean and could have a chance to see views like this daily as well as having the fresh salt air breeze so often, that life would be very good indeed. Even if one's home was bordered by a public beach where sunset watchers came each evening to catch the view.

That is, life would be good only if a person took the time to actually notice such 'simple pleasures'.

While in Barbados we had a friendly cab driver, taking us to the beach. I commented on the lovliness of the beaches and asked if he went to the beach often, proclaiming his luck at living in such a paradise. He said he was so busy working that he only got to the beach two or maybe three times a YEAR with his family. How sad is that?

Photos taken by ChristineMM at Thumpertown Beach, Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, mid-October 2007.

Reorganizing Art and Craft Supplies Today

A goal for today: declutter the dining room.

Challenge: the dining room table is covered with art and craft supplies, the things I use nearly every time I make art.

We have a broom closet that I use for a craft closet. I have realized that the best thing to do would be to first go through that closet, declutter, or put away into the basement, the things I rarely use. I then will take the supplies I use most often that clutter the dining room table and put them in the closet to be out of the way yet to still give me easy access to them.

So today’s ‘to do’ project is first to go through the craft closet and declutter and rearrange. Then, to tackle the dining room table.

(The kids are busy with a new educational math computer game which gives me time to both blog and do this project.)

Thanksgiving is coming so I need to get the dining room emptied out!

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Made Stencil Technique ATCs

I woke up early the other day, wide awake (5:00 am). I got right up, in the pitch dark, and made about a dozen ATCs using a stencil technique. These were for a swap I’m hosting on Swap-bot in which we’re making and swapping ATCs using art techniques from the book “Artist Trading Card Workshop” by Bernie Berlin.

I scanned the completed ATCs. I have swapped out the ATCs already.

I hope that soon I can find the time to edit each scan to make it in an ‘up-loadable state’ and then I’ll share them here on my blog and on my Flickr photo album.

It was fun to make these ATCs, it felt great to make some art!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rush Hour Traffic in the Rain (Photo of the Day)

I am so grateful I don't have to travel in rush hour every day.

Photo taken by ChristineMM on the Merritt Parkway, Rt. 15, Hamden, Connecticut during the evening rush hour on a night in October 2007.

Haiku Monday 11/12/07

Cub Scout Leadership
Slid in my record keeping
Today catching up

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Splendor (Photo of the Day)

I was overcome by the beauty of this.

This beach has historical significance regarding the landing of the Pilgrims, being the beginning of The Great Beach mentioned by Henry David Thoreau and erosion has revealed a 4000 year old Native American habitation site. You may read details here.

Photo taken by ChristineMM, Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in October 2007.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Haiku Monday 11/05/07

We didn’t quite know
If that breath was his last one
Finally it was

It was my first time
Seeing someone pass on
Right in front of me

I am so happy
That we were all by his side
Loving him. Good-bye.

Hospice staff was great
I don’t know how they do it
Always around death

The worst thing of all
Is seeing someone suffer
It is just not right

But death was welcome
The suffering is over
He is in peace now

The wake is today
Lots of Kleenex will be used
I’m bracing myself

All haiku by ChristineMM 11/05/07
Haiki for CMP Circle Monday Haiku prompt

Itching to Make Art

After so much greiving and so much time around lots of people I am itching to create and make some art. That is a healthy and good stress reliever for me.

It will have to wait until I have the time, though.

But I did squeeze in a little bit of haiku writing today for the CMP Circle Haiku Monday prompt (see next blog post).

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sitting Vigil

I am torn about privacy and how much to share. I wrote a long blog post however I don’t think I’ll publish it.

My kids are sleeping late today. After they wake up I will take them with me to sit vigil at my in-law’s home. My husband is already there.

My father-in-law is dying of Cancer and they are using in-home hospice services. We plan that his death will be in his own home surrounded by loved ones. The house will be lively and full of people and that is how he liked things and how we would have wanted this to be, this is a typical thing that Italian-American’s do.

This is all happening very quickly and it has been said that he may pass over this weekend.

If you would like to pray for my father-in-law and our family, we would appreciate it. My in-laws are devout Catholics if that means anything in your prayer. I myself am praying for my father-in-law to have less pain and suffering, for this suffering time to be short-lived. I am praying for strength for my husband, who is very close to his father. I am praying for my disabled mother-in-law to make it through this. I am praying for my own self to be able to be here for my husband and for me to be able to parent my children through this.

UPDATE: My father-in-law passed away in his own home with many family members, including me and my husband at his bedside this afternoon.

I found a great website about the dying process of those suffering with Cancer. It is published by the Mayo Clinic and can be read here.