Monday, June 26, 2017

From Inspired Blessings

 Back in February, my mom passed away.
My nephew John collected some of Mom's shirts and
slacks and sent them to Inspired Blessings. 
You can find them here on Facebook. 
They turned the clothes into these beautiful
memory bears!
The body is made from one of Mom's shirts.
The ears, feet, arms, and bow are made
from a pair of slacks. 
 Such a wonderful memento!
John had bears made for the children,
grandchildren, and a couple of the nieces.
This plaque is special, too!
 I like that each bear is tailored to the person
receiving it. 
 Yeah. This totally made me cry.
Thank you, John!
And thanks to Inspired Blessings.
You are exactly that!
What a beautiful way for me to remember Mom.
This outfit was one of her
'Doctor' outfits. 
I need to find just the right place to display her!
After I stop crying.

The Creator's Leaf

Sunday, June 25, 2017

This Week in Maine

 It's a beautiful week in Maine.
We've had some rain, but we've had some
beautiful sunny days, too!
Mark has been able to get some fishing in.
My little garden (it came with the house) is in
full bloom. Every day there is something new.
And I don't know what most of it is.
Above is some Queen Anne's Lace.
We have a ton of it. 
Growing like crazy and it's beautiful!
 I posted these pictures on Instagram and asked
if anyone knew what these flowers are.
I'm told this is a peony.
By about 15 different people so it must be true.
I tell you - this iPhone 7 was a great decision!
These are all cell phone shots.
Pretty much my whole blog is one big cell phone shot!
But just look at those water droplets on that flower!
 And on this shot of some buds.
We just have the one bush of peonies,
but there must be 15 buds on it.
 And what is a post about Maine without a shot
of dragons??? Our neighbor Mike called my dragon
hollow my "little slice of heaven" and he is so right!
This is one end of my bench. There is a dragon at
the other end also. Hand carved with a chain saw
from pine tree stumps! Not by me but by a fellow
in Florida.
 As we drive we see field after field of crops.
Mostly potatoes fields.
That's the going thing up here.
It's amazing to Mark and I how fast the crops grow.
We can almost see them grow as we drive past. 
This field edges up to our property.
All those white/cream things you see in the dirt at the
bottom of the photo - those are rocks. 
There are rocks everywhere up here!
You can plow and plow and plow and you will
never get rid of the rocks.
And today is just one of those days when
I have to wear my crazy cat lady shoes!
(Those socks have giraffes on them.)
I'm not one to settle for plain and boring.
Thanks for sharing our week here in Maine!

The Creator's Leaf

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mixed Media Fun

Mixed media can be a lot of fun!
It can also mean a lot of different things.
Here is a piece I completed this week
with some steps to show you how I made it.
 I began with a simple 8" x 10" piece of wood I purchased at Walmart. 
We are limited in shopping options where we live. 
Thankfully Walmart has a little bit of everything.
I used Folk Art paint that I had on hand,
but I expect it probably also came from Walmart.
I painted a complete cover with the darker pink.
I forgot to cover my board in gesso first.
Doing that helps your paint not absorb into
the wood, which causes you to use more paint
to get good coverage.  
I put the lighter pink on a styrofoam plate and used
a wide brush to stroke the paint on here and there.
The streaky brush strokes give your piece texture.
 Impatient person that I am,
I went straight to the texture paste
and some stencils I like a lot!
These tiny ones called Dinky Stencils
are ATC size. I use them all the time.
I used a palette knife to spread the texture paste
through the openings directly on to the
board. Just spread them on like cake icing.
Be sure to clean off your stencil before that
paste turns into concrete. 
 I used four different stencils.
Notice how I positioned the heart stencil
off the side of the board.
The brick wall stencil - I spread the texture
paste only in the middle of the stencil. 
Same thing with the larger bales-type stencil
in the lower right corner.
There is no rule that you must use the
entire stencil. It's your project. 
You make the rules.
 So I forgot to take a few photos, but let me give
it to you in a nutshell what I did next.

* I used a couple other colors of acrylic paints,
squeezed a bit of each onto a plate,
then used my fingers to spread that color
randomly onto the board.
Some horizontal smears,
some vertical smears. 

* I thought I covered up too much of the numbers,
so I took a small brayer and rolled white paint
across the top of the board.
Up and down and across.
I focused on the numbers.
Sloppy brayer-ing gives more texture.

* Then I had too much white on the hearts,
so I used a brush to put more pink back onto
the hearts and give more balance to the piece.
 Our art journal prompt in 
Zentangle All Around
this week was to use part of an old book
page or a piece of sheet music on our journal spread.
* I opted to make my board count as my art
journal this week and added bits
of two separate sheet music paper in the open
areas of my board.
 In case you don't know how to do that -
it is a super simple process.
I hand tore the paper edges so they could
get a better grip on the board.
I coated the back of them with 
Golden Gel Mediums - Soft Gell (Matte) 
and placed them where I wanted them to go on 
the board.
Then I used a wide paint brush and brushed
more gel medium over the tops,
making sure to seal down those edges.
As it dried I painted on one more layer.
Just to be sure.
Then let it dry completely.
There are many kinds of gel medium on the
market. I prefer the matte because it dries . . .
well, it dries matte. Not glossy.
And this particular brand is not sticky once dry.
I can also use it as page prep in my journaling Bible. 
 * When I was digging through my collage drawer
looking for sheet music, I came across some
cute dinner napkins that my friend Cindy gave me.
I hand tore a section of flowers from one napkin.
I couldn't paint the gel medium on the back of the
napkin piece because it would have torn.
So I painted the medium directly onto the board,
tapped the napkin piece down into it,
and painted more gel medium over the top,
sealing down the edges.
I think I actually did three layers on the napkin piece.
Just to be sure.
* I wanted to add some more 'layers' so I used
another stencil and stamped purple and green through it 
to place some random sections of dots and leaves.
 * Those music sections were too white,
so I smeared some watered down hot pink
acrylic paint over them. 
Still not finished.
Not 'complete' enough.
* I used a micron pen and tangled some lines
and dots around the bricks in the brick wall. 
* I used a squeeze bottle of liquid pearls and made
lines in the bales section to make it look more
* A couple different size medicine bottles
made excellent stamps to layer some black
circles around the board.
* I used the flat bottom edge of a binder clip 
to make some blunt rectangles of 
black here and there.
Actually, I realized this technique would
work better on flat paper, than it did
on bumpy board. 
* I used a couple different colors of liquid pearls
to dot the flowers in the napkin, and the centers
of the bales section.
* I used more liquid pearls to make the dots along
the edges of the board. 
* Lastly I used my fingers again to make some of
the white areas a little brighter.

And called it done.
Before I messed it up.
If you scroll back up to the top,
you can see what a long way this project came
from where it began. 
What a super fun process!
 Walmart. It's where the cheapo boards are.
In the craft section. 
It was the only thing I purchased for this project. 
The Creator's Leaf

Monday, June 19, 2017

Getting Sketchy - June Continues

 One of the things I like best about my Facebook group
Zentangle All Around
is the way we share our practice work each week.
I call this . . . 
Getting Sketchy!
It's a time for us to show what we worked on
in our sketchbooks or journals that week. 
 Not looking for perfection,
not even completion.
Getting sketchy does a couple things:
* it shows that no one is perfect,
* it forces us out of our comfort zone - big time,
* it requires us to 'practice' and learn,
* it allows us to encourage each other,
* it allows us to learn from other people's work,
* as a result we each learn, we each stretch ourselves, 
we each learn valuable skills.
 I like to try the new tangles I found online that week.
I don't always like them and I won't always use them,
but I do have a record now and I can find them
again if the desire hits.
 Someone commented recently that my
Getting Sketchy posts looked perfect.
I'm here to tell you that isn't always the case.
Case in point.
I thought the steps to drawing Baymax were super simple.
Until I actually tried them. 
The shape of that head took me for-stinking-ever!
 Baby Groot was a little easier. 
And I like him better anyway. 
I did manage to get the two of them together
without them looking awful.

Getting Sketchy!
It's where it's at!
Are you ready to stretch and learn?
Come join us on Facebook in the group
Zentangle All Around!

The Creator's Leaf

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wonder Woman Journal Page

This week's art journaling prompt in 
Zentangle All Around (FB)
was memorabilia. Any kind of tickets,
fliers, posters, any paper work that
would remind you of a fun time!
Mark and I went to see Wonder Woman this week
and I really enjoyed the movie!
So I thought - what a perfect thing to journal!
This is my completed page.
Not hard, not fancy, just enough.
I began by printing out the poster
on a sheet of card stock and trimming it down. 
I printed it the size of the pages in my journal.
Or close enough.
Next, I used some of Tim Holtz' 
Distress Ink and inked the edges of the card
stock. Super easy to do. Just run the ink
pad along the edge of the paper. 
There - you can see it a bit here.
I used a color that would work well
with the other colors in the poster.
I found a piece of scrapbook scrap that
would work well with the idea of the theatre,
and adhered my ticket to it.
Inked that edge, too.
OK, so I figured too short on my poster
when I printed it out. No problem.
I snugged it all the way to the top of the
page and adhered it in place.
This left a little over 1/4" of blank space at the bottom.
I used some washi tape to cover that gap -
realizing that most of it was going to be covered
up with my ticket anyway. 
I centered the ticket and stuck it in place. 
This is what I had up to that point.
Zentangle All Around requires some amount of
tangling on our pages somewhere, so I decided
to fill in those Justice League letters behind
Wonder Woman with my tangle Line Dance. 
Behind her legs where the color was lighter -
due to the sun - I used a grey micron and
continued the line dance. 
And called it done.

Not a hard page by any means,
just a simple one that anyone could do. 
And I get to admire my ticket/memorabilia
and remember how much I enjoyed the movie!

The Creator's Leaf

Friday, June 16, 2017

Distress Oxides - It's a New Thing

 Distress oxide inks from Ranger.
They are new for me. And I like them a whole lot!
These are my first experimental backgrounds.
 It was a simple process, really.
I worked directly on a craft mat.
In case you don't have one of these -
you need one!
Available at Michael's, or Hobby Lobby,
anywhere Ranger products are sold -
they are a type of plastic mat that colors don't 
permanently adhere to.
Anytime I work with wet media, 
I work on a craft mat.
When I am finished all the color that got on 
the craft wipes off with a paper towel,
or a baby wipe. 
No stains.
 To make these tiles, I stamped the distress oxide
ink pads directly onto the craft mat, then
spritzed them with water.
After that it was a simple matter to just
rub the tile into and through and over
the wet, colored area.
 Then I sat the tiles aside to dry.
The oxide ink is permanent once it dries.
For a couple of the tiles - particularly this one above -
if I didn't like the results, I just put more color on 
my craft mat, wet it, and re-pulled the tile
through the color.
You can tap it down into splotches of color,
if you like that better.
Then sit it aside to dry.
 The colors aren't as bright as I normally like, 
but not everyone likes their colors as bright as I do.
 Before I tangle on these, I will buff them with a
paper towel to remove any residual, loose ink.
I don't feel any to the touch,
but it never hurts.
I am sure there are many other ways to use
these distress oxide inks.
Hopefully I will share more with you 
in the near future!

The Creator's Leaf