Monday, June 30, 2008

Mermaid Inchies

On the Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group Bella Ayers is hosting some fabulous swaps. First I participated in the Fairytale ATC swap and shared my creations with you in an earlier post (scroll down once there, to see them). Now, here are the "inchies" I created for the Alpha Stamps mermaid/bathing beauty theme. We were required to make 10 for the swap; I made a few extras. Steven always loves it if I make an extra for him. I was glad I did make extras when some went missing . . . . WARNING! Do not leave a collection of inchies on the dining room table while you watch an old movie IF you have two young cats in the house! We lost 3 inchies for some time; one was not found until the next morning!

I created these inchies by cutting 1" squares out of a couple of fabric images from the Alpha Stamps Mermaids #2 sheet. Next I added the seahorses (pronged) by punching through the fabric with an awl and then placing the prongs in the holes and securing them over with a hammer. These are also from Alpha Stamps and are called pronged seahorses. To cover up the back of the prongs I mounted the fabric pieces on 1" squares of white corrugated paper. Then I continued to embellish these teeny tiny works of art by adding real shells or pieces of shells, my favorite iridescent glass spheres, glitter, a sea oats picked up on the beaches in Sanibel, FL and a few pieces of sea glass.

Some close ups are below; click on any photo for more detail --
p.s. Steven chose to keep the top right inchie on the right : ) cool!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moon Songs ~ ARTchix Studio Lotto

I think I may have gotten this ATC made just in the nick of time as the deadline is today! On the ARTchix Studio yahoo group there is a Bi-Weekly Lotto where all yahoo group members have a chance to create an ATC (artist trading card) or other small work of art as an entry to win all of the art produced for a theme. Participants upload a scan to a special folder and the host or hostess of the lotto draws one name from all of the participants, randomly. That lucky person wins all the art. Sometimes the owner of ARTchix Studio, Helga Strauss, plays in the lotto -too cool! Click on either image for more detail . . . .

The current lotto theme is 'Moon Songs' or rather, songs about the moon. I could think of a few current songs, but wanted to hear more so I did a Google search for moon+songs and came up with: Parlor Songs - popular sheet music from the 1800's to the 1920's. This sparked my interest and gave me ideas! I saved a number of the sheet music covers I found to m own computer and then printed them out on matte photo paper in a small size.

I really liked the "Teasing Moon" cover, especially because it had a circle in the middle I imagined filling with a round ARTchix Studio image from the Looking Glass sheet, one of my favorites. I did just that to start. Of course this was not enough for me, so I hunted around and found a Lil' Duets Transparency sheet with a few small images I thought would enhance my ATC. I decided sewing these images on would be my best bet since they all were touching the edge of my ATC. I next reached for a Deco Glitter Fabric marker in gold and added a bit of sparkle to the ATC. I finished the back with another ARTchix studio image, this one from the Over the Moon collage sheet, appropriately! I added two strips of ribbon, signed it & smiled!
yours, lenna

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Playing with Mica

On the Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group, the discussion turned to mica . . . Alpha Stamps sells mica, both sheets and crushed. I knew had some tucked away somewhere . . . At the same time, when perusing the Quilting Arts newsletter online, I ran across instructions by Kelli Perkins for making mica tags -check out the instructions HERE. I did a variation on Kelli's instructions by not coloring the mica with alchohol inks as she did, and I used Alpha Stamp collage sheet images as my laser printed images for the tape treansfer and was quite pleased with the results. I sandwiched my transfers in-between pieces of mica and used gel medium as instructed to adhere the transfers. It took a while to dry, but it did eventually, and I was a happy camper!
Then I took my mica/transfer piece and brought it over to the plain notebook that I wanted to decorate. I opted to lay some handmade papers down first -click on the image above for more detail. I attached the papers to the front cover with Tacky glue. Then I adhered the mica piece over the papers with E6000 glue. This glue works great for something non-porous like mica. I added the stream of ribbon with Tacky glue but added the metal roses, magnetic words, bird & other charm with E6000 glue. On the inside, I covered the plain end papers with a different script paper and I created a pocket for my business card as I am thinking of selling this piece!
(I sold it in July, after I brought it to the Bleu Willow shop in Simsbury!)

I also made a second mica - packing tape transfer piece, see below. This time I used an image from a new Alpha Stamp sheet called Moon & Stars. I just love this new image sheet! Moon & stars is an important theme to me, but the images themselves are just lovely. Again, I used gel medium to adhere the packing tape transfer I made to the mica . . . and then this time, I elected to SEW the piece of mica to a piece of fabric, and old linen of my Nonie's! It was not as hard to do as I thought and it worked just fine, but I do have an old needle on my machine.

I took the mica/fabric piece and I added it to more fabric and batting. I made a 6x6 quiltie on a 'shades of white' theme that I will sew together with lots of other white quilties made by participants in a quilties swap that finished back in April! I have a beautiful stack of quilties in my studio that were given to me for hosting the swap and I really wanted to add one of my own to the mix before doing anything.

I hope you enjoy and this post inspires you to play a bit with different materials like mica. : )

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's beautiful outside . . . scroll down to see!

This past Saturday, Steven and I took one of my dad's own handmade cedar strip canoes down to the Farmington River in Tarriffville, Connecticut. We took the 2 person Peterborough model he made. That day, there was a gathering of members of the Farmington River Club later in the afternoon. The idea was you could go for a paddle on the river first (most of the members are kayakers) and meet up later to celebrate a birthday. So we opted for the paddle first and I was reminded of just how beautiful the natural world is and how very much I enjoy going out canoeing like this. Steven is an awesome paddler; he's still very strong and quite expert from all his years of kayaking & canoeing. I do keep up pretty well and he tells me I am a very strong paddler. I am glad I can help, using one of my dad's handmade paddles.

We put the canoe in at a little sandy beach in Tarriffville that Steven knew of. After shoving off, we paddled upstream for about 40 minutes. I told Steven I did not want to go too far, our first time out this season, so after we went a wee bit farther to satisfy him, we turned around and really zipped back to our starting point in just about 20-25 minutes! So much faster going downstream, not fighting the current. No matter that we did not spend hours & hours doing this - I loved relaxing surrounded by nature's beauty and simply enjoying big billowy clouds, the green leaves and the many flowering trees we passed. The reflection of all of this in the water really spoke to me, once again.

The dogs really have no quams about going into the boat with us. Often Asia simply lies downs and goes to sleep! We get lots of comments from other paddlers or people enjoying the river because of: A) the beautiful handmade boat and B) our dogs riding along with us! Enjoy this slide show of the day . . . a direct link to the slide show in case it is not showing up here on my blog is here -just click on the title: Canoeing the Farmington River. This will take you to the site where I created it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Purple & Green ::: Colour Groupies' June ATCs

Here is what I came up with as my "Purple & Green" ATCs for the Colour Groupies monthly colour combination ATC challenge. First, I started with a collage on paper, actually lightweight purple cardstock. I cut and ripped decorated papers I had in my stash by Stamp Zia that featured green and purple. Then I added rubber stamping, leaves & words, with both VersaCraft and ColorBox inks. I love the stamp saying 'everybody needs art' that I used by CatsLife Press. What that stamp says is exactly how I felt when I was fulfilling this monthly commitment; creating and making art is something everybody needs (or could use!) and I was very glad I was following through with this no matter how busy I was! Creating art makes me feel whole and good. Challenges like this keep me focused and producing. Not always my best art, but it keeps the machinery oiled & working!!!
After making the paper collage part, I decided to sew the purple paper to a fabric backing with green thread, to make it a little different. I am constantly thinking this way when creating things . . . what can I do different with this? What can I try? Most of the time it pleases me and this time it did! You can see my new Brother 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine at work too -I just love the different stitches it produces. ~ Thanks to my Colour Groupies buddies: Frieda Oxenham ::: Debby Harriettha ::: Tristan Robin Blakeman ::: Caryl Hoobler for this great exchange every month! To view all of the ATCs I've made through this exchange follow this link ! Click on any scan for more detail.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

1000 Artist Journal Pages

The book, 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn DeVries Sokol is out -published - and orderable! The copy I ordered pre-publishing many months ago has arrived and I am so happy to say I found 4 of my fabric journal pages included within the covers of this cool book. This happy discovery has prompted me to create a little slideshow widget (in the sidebar: "I am published in") which shows all the books I have been published in since 2001, including this one. If you hover your mouse over each book cover, you can get more info from -just click on the title. I hope you enjoy! Visit the author of the book's blog HERE.

Inside the book you will find these journal pages and . . . 996 more!! Click on any picture here for more detail. The other side of "Love is a verb" is to the right:

To view all 28 fabric journal pages I created in 2007, follow this tag/link -scroll down, and choose 'older posts' when you get to the end of the page.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Colour Groupies May ATCs: Bronze + Maroon

_May-BronzeMaroon006, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

Each month this small group of 5 creates one ATC for each artist in the group based on a colour-combination. In January we worked with Black & Gold, and in February we reached for Hot Pink & Orange. This March we were working on Brown & Robin's egg Blue and in April we used Sepia & White! I find this really is a fun challenge and I look forward to it every month ~ Thanks to Frieda & Debby for organizing! At first I was stumped for what to do with May's colours, but then went about creating them in my usual way: I gathered relevant things! I looked for anything bronze or maroon I could find and then played with what would work. I enjoyed using the corrugated paper as a base and found bronze triangle shaped clips, little bronze hands from ARTchix studio, tiny bronze brads to hold things together and tiny bronze beads to add to the ATCs. The images are printed on vellum and I think come from Lost Art Creations. If you click on the scan above it will take you to my flickr account where there are lots more photos. I created these weeks ago, but because they are to be a surprise - they need to be received by everyone first before we can show them off!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tip Top journals -for Terrie

This is the page spread I did for Terrie Lightfoot through the Tip Top Journal exchange we both belong to. Last summer, Frieda Oxenham and Debby Harriettha invited me, Terrie and 6 other wonderful artists to join them in this exchange. Each month we create a journal spread for a different partner on her chosen theme. Terrie's theme is Medieval, a theme that I am not too familiar with. So what did I do? I started with a search on the web to see what I could come up with for Medieval. I found an intriguing painting of the Tower of Babel and some other Tapestry designs. I gathered the images of the women (on the right side page) from an old issue of ARTitude Zine and found my Stampsmith Medieval Tile rubber stamps.

I do not usually work with a Medieval theme (I even had to learn how to spell it!) so this was a challenge for me, but one that I enjoyed. I started with a Google search to see what might inspire me . . . I love the Tower of Babel that I found! I printed this on a sheet of Sheer ExtravOrganza fabric, but left the backing paper on to give the image more oomph -- ExtravOrganza is very sheer and see-through. I planned where I was ging to place my images and used 3 kinds of Lumiere paint as a background behind them. I used a paintbush to apply Bright Gold first, then Bronze and then a newer light green colour called Citrine to all the edges and wherever there would not be an image. After the paint dried, I used a few Stampsmith Medieval Tile stamps with VersaCraft ink, which I heat set. Some of the stamps were used as a background and 2 stamps were used to make focal pieces. There is a little bit of text in the middle of the left page that you may not be able to read –it is a definition of the Medieval time period. I used beads and gold threads to decorate around the Tower of Babel and I got very messy with the paint . . . Steven was laughing at a brush stroke of gold paint on my upper left arm when he came home! He said I really "got into" my work : ) I love the other pages that have been created for Terries book and my page spread is a bit different; it doesn’t focus on a larger medieval portrait. I love that look but felt it was not something I could do! Instead I needed to gather a lot of smaller related things & work them together with my usual collage style, adding beads, paint, beads etc.

Just today, I found out Terrie had received the page spread I did and she loved it . . . . she wrote to the TipTop Journal Group:

"OMG! I received Lenna's pages today and they are simply DIVINE!!! I love your collaged pages! The beads, the gold thread and the Tower of Babel image is just FAB!"

~ Hooray! I am so very glad to hear that!

Monday, June 16, 2008

wine glass charms - fun!

Recently, I enjoyed getting out into my studio and creating the beautiful wine glass charms you see here. This was one of those projects I would repeatedly think about doing, but didn't do -until now! About 2 years ago for Steven's 50th birthday party, I strung a few beads on a wire and twisted the wire around the stems of our wine glasses so people would know which glass was theirs! When I later found stainless steel rings with a little clasp in a craft store I thought I could improve my design. But this creative task stayed on my 'to do' list of projects for months! I often put it aside for 'later' because I had other more "important" things to do. Well, I finally said, forget it, and I'm glad I did.

(click on any photo for more detail)
I got out the pre-made circular wire pieces that would hold everything, some beads, shoe buttons from Alpha Stamps, shells and beads already wrapped around a head pin. I located my wire tools for bending the end of her circular wire that would hold it all, found "dog tags" and added them to the mix. then I sat down and played!

Take time to have some creative fun today, it will revive your spirit! Any questions, email me!
yours creatively, Lenna Andrews

Monday, June 9, 2008

Back from Florida & some new art!

-at The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota
We have returned from our trip to Florida, and as I mentioned on my Creative Swaps Blog, it is at least as HOT here in Connecticut as it was in Florida! Not to mention we have no air conditioning at the moment-yikes! We never needed it when we moved here last September and it definitely needs servicing because the air that is coming out just isn't cool enough! We have someone coming to look at it tomorrow . . . . Anyway, we had a really nice week off together; visiting my parents, helping them with a few things, taking my dad to his therapy, helping my mom take her TWO very big dogs to the Vets . . . One day Steven paddled around in one of my dad's hand built cedar strip canoes. The canoe my dad has in Florida is a Wee Lassie 2, a little bigger than his single-man Wee Lassie my dad built for Steven in 2006. Steven, being a boat loving guy, also got the small sailboat, a micro cruiser -15ft, that my parents purchased last year, all cleaned up and ready for sale. My dad even came out and helped Steven do this, and was a lot of help, Steven says. It's a beautiful little boat and the photo of it below will show you what Florida was like while we were there.

It was beautiful! Hot and sunny, but there was A/C and a lovely pool to swim in, which we did, every day! I was so glad to see my dad. What leaps he has made since I visited him in the hospital and rehab/nursing center last March. He is moving around by himself with a cane instead of using a wheelchair or a walker. He gets tired quickly, but he is going to therapy a few times a week to get stronger. Again, thanks to everyone who has kept my dad in their thoughts & prayers.

Steven snapped this photo of me & my dad while we were there!

I also created a few ATCs while I was
there that I will share with you. I like to bring along a small case with a few supplies; papers, card stock already cut to size, a few collage images, glue & scissors. I pack this in my checked luggage these days. It helps me to have a creative outlet when I'm away from home. First, I made an ATC for a friend. It's very simple, just some ripped mulberry paper, an ARTchix Studio collage image and a few rub-ons (7-Gypsies) I found at Alpha Stamps. Click on the ATC in order to see it better!

Steven and I were fascinated by the Banyan Trees . . . . this was taken when we were at the Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.

While I was there I created the ATCs shown below for an Alpha Stamps Fairy Tale Swap hosted by Miz Bella on the Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group. I really enjoyed making these and took my time with them because I was on vacation. I employed the white pen my friend and artist, Carla Kurt gave me and LOVED the effects! The ATCs all showcase Alpha Stamp images from the Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale collage collection. The fabric leaves are from Alpha Stamps as well -I love them! On every ATC I placed a small fabric scrap, a gift from one of my swap participants -Janice Perkin from the UK. I added a bit of foreign -maybe German?- text on top of each piece of silky fabric. There were a few watercolor crayons and a water brush in my case, so I added some colour to each ATC. We only need to make 6 for the swap -- I made a couple of extras!

We had a really good visit!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I came home from visiting my parents (more on that soon) to find an email in my Inbox that said . . . .
"Your Interview is Live" ~WOW!
About a month ago I was contacted by freelance writer and artist Alyice Edrich who asked me if I had time to answer a few questions . . . I said yes, and this interview is the result.
Alyice is doing a series of interviews and I was quite complimented to see she had also interviewed Claudine Hellmuth. : ) Alyice did a very good job interviewing, and I hope you enjoy! Yours, lenna