Friday, January 23, 2009

Colour Groupies ATC Album

Colour Groupies Album 001, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

For the past year I have been blessed to participate in a wonderful and colorful exchange of ATCs with 4 other artists who are fantastic and really stimulate my creativity . . .
Frieda Oxenham
Debby Harriettha
Tristan Robin Blakeman
and Caryl Hoobler!

Well, I finally catalogued all the ATCs I had made & received into this album . . . and now it can barely close it is so stuffed! If you click on the picture above it will take you to my flicker photo sharing account.

I look forward to exchanging again this year, on a monthly color combination theme. Soon, I will share my Olive & Mustard ATCs for January, as soon as everyone received them : ) fun stuff!

Click on any photo for more detail!

Paper Theaters

Leslie at Alpha Stamps asked me if I would like to be a guest designer for the new Paper Theater items that Alpha Stamps is now offering - what fun!

So, secretly . . . because I was creating these miniatures before the new items were even available . . . I have made 2 Theaters, shown here.

You will find the Diorama Boxes for making these at Alpha Stamps, and all the coordinating collage sheets can be found on the new Paper Theater page.

The large box I used (with the shiny gold fabric curtains-shown above) is 6-1/8" wide x 5-1/8" tall x 3/4" on the sides, with the glass window measuring 5-1/8" x 4-3/16".

The small box shown to the right is 4-1/4" tall x 3-1/4" wide x 3/4" on the sides, with the glass window measuring 3-1/2" x 2-1/2".

These are a lot of fun to put together!
Click on any image for more detail.

I used foam mounting tape to achieve different "levels" within my theaters. I think my attempts are fairly simple compared to some of the talented Design Team Members at Alpha Stamps.... Wow! There are some amazing intricate and detailed theaters made by the Team. You can view ALL of the Paper Theaters in the Alpha Stamps Gallery - enjoy!

The frame for this Theater (R) is from the Fairy Tale Curtains collage sheet - I just love that cat band! The couple holding the Banner is from the Large Theatre Harlequin sheet, and the columns and arches are from the Large Theatre Jumping Jacks sheet - all of these sheets are found at Alpha Stamps on this page. The dancing couple is from the Dance Costumes collage sheet and the background images behind the arches are from Pierrot #3 -click on the image to see it better!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Studio Time : )

Steven took this photo of me the other night when we were both hanging out in my studio. I am very, very lucky to have such a dedicated space to work in. I do believe our pup Asia agrees! I think because it is still pretty cold here (30's today) Asia was up on my little ironing board. Isn't she silly?? Maybe she thought it was some sort of couch!

I was making a card for my friend Carol Van Gerve. She lives a town away, but does not do any email. This is actually a benefit for our friendship because I both make & receive hand made cards and get cool letters and cards in my real mailbox.

I started by scribbling Lyra water color crayons on the front and back of a "tall" card by JudiKins that I had in my stash. Then I took a wet brush and brushed it over the crayon marks, activating & 'popping' the colors. Click on any photo for more detail.

Steven was looking through some of my papers . . . .

I was glad to have his company!

For Carol's card, I chose an image I had downloaded from Vintage Image Madness (the woman) and 3 transparency images on a postal theme from the mailbag sheet available from Alpha Stamps. I used my xyron adhesive machine to attach these easily to the card.

Yes, I'd say I have a captive audience! : )

Carol's card is ready to be mailed after a short letter and a bit of rubber stamping with permanent ink . . . . on a postal theme, one of my favorites.

I have not been spending as much time as I would like to lately out here in my studio, but the time I do spend there is so reaffirming to me with how it makes me feel that I know I will be finding my way out there again soon.

My dad has been sick for almost a year now with heart problems (a pace maker and coronary stent put in after a replaced valve a few years ago), colon cancer, liver cancer, e-coli infection, arthritis in his back, an infection of his heart valve, an ulcer, kidney problems, and most recently an infected gall bladder. Sheesh! Is my dad strong, or what? The very, very good news is that the colon cancer was removed and the liver cancer is now in remission after a course of chemotherapy. My dad came home from the hospital on Sunday after a recent stay for his infected gall bladder and heart problems related to the pain of the infection. I will be going to visit my parents in Florida on Sunday (1/25) for a few days . . . . Hallelujah! My mom & dad are both really looking forward to another visit from me as my dad's long illness has been so stressful for them, and I am so looking forward to being with them again. The past few months I truly have been wishing and hoping that Steven and I could move to Florida to be near my parents. I would say I was almost begging Steven! But it really is not a workable option for us at this time with the job market down there and housing market up here. It has been a struggle for me to see this because I wanted the opposite to be true. It took some time, (I am quite stubborn and driven!) but I realize the truth now and have accepted it. Thank you, Steven. xo -you are the best.

Our plan is, instead of moving, I am going to get myself down to see mom & dad whenever and as often as I can! And Steven as often as he can too. It is the next best thing. Thanks for reading & listening. What a journey.

Friday, January 16, 2009

snowy days

Chloe is a fine example to show you what the days in CT have been like lately . . . click on the photo for more detail, wow! I think you can tell, Chloe enjoys eating snow . . . and 'swimming' in it too. Unbelievably, this morning we woke up to -1 degrees! Yikes, that is so cold. I put on long underwear on under my work clothes. . . . yes, I am continuing to work just a few days a week at Stonewall Kitchen : )

We did go for a walk yesterday even in the cold temps. I needed a break from writing (and writing!) a new online lesson for my collage on canvas techniques workshop. It was about 11 degrees when we went out. The pups & I only lasted about 15 minutes though, as my fingers were cold, even underneath Thinsulate gloves and the poor doggies' paws hurt if they walk on the salt put down on the road to melt the ice too much. It is difficult to walk on the edge of the road when the snow is piled high! The best part was when we got back to the house and the dogs ran around, chased each other, ate snow, and rolled in snow!

You can see that because it is so cold, the girls are sporting fleece 'coats' made by my husband Steven and myself. When I first put the coats on the dogs, it is quite comical because they stand there like statues, not quite knowing what to do! But then as soon as I get them moving, they seem fine, and hopefully warmer too.

The coats were made from a pair of old fleece pants Steven was tossing out. I made the bulky coat that Chloe is wearing -the old waistband of the pants is around her waist, and Steven made the fashionable lizard suit Asia is wearing out of a pants leg. Silly, but fun, and cozy! There are more photos in the winter set on my flickr account - stay warm!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

December's Blue & Gold ATCs

I realized today I had forgotten to upload my December 2008 ATCs for the Colour Groupies to my blog. We keep them a secret and don't show any photos until everyone in the group has received them. Sometimes I have scans or photos hidden away and simply forget to upload them! But I know these ATCs have been received by everyone now, so here they are. Click on the photo for more detail and a larger picture.

We work with a colour-combo challenge every month, and for December the colours were Blue & Gold. I brought supplies specific for this theme with me to Florida when I visited my parents Christmas week as I had not made my ATCs yet and the month was closing in!

The cards I used for my ATCs this month were already cut-to-size canvas paper I found at my local Blick's art supply store. They came in a package of 10 by the register and advertised the FUN of making Artist Trading cards. You can also find this online at Blick's.

The canvas paper made for a lovely surface to work on. I chose clear stickers from the Seaside Slides sheet I found at Alpha Stamps, as the stickers featured a lot of blue and were ocean related, matching my theme. When designing these ATCs, each one was given a clear sticker either vertically or horizontally. I rubbed the sticker into place right on top of the white canvas paper. I had also brought along reprints of Music scores, which were reduced in size and featured a lot of blue with a golden moonlight theme. These reprints and the marbled blue & gold paper were added with Tacky glue - I had brought along a tiny bottle just for this! Next, I added 2 colours of blue to the white canvas paper that was still showing, by scribbling with my water colour crayons, then activating and 'popping' the colours with a water brush. This tool is great for travelling as it holds a good amount of water right in it's barrel. The last thing to be added to complete my blue & gold ATCs was to add a small amount of gold German scrap border to each ATC with Tacky glue.

A close up of the extra ATC I made for my own collection:

It may need a word added to it, before I place it in the Album . . . . I did not bring any stamps with me when travelling this time.

Below are ALL of the ATCs I received on the theme for December ....

Please visit the colour groupies sites!
Frieda Oxenham
Debby Harriettha
Tristan Robin Blakeman
and Caryl Hoobler

: )))

Saturday, January 10, 2009

january 2009 - Ice pictures

january 2009, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

Inspired by steven's winter night picture I took a few daytime ones . . .

Friday, January 9, 2009

Winter Night Pictures - Ice on the Trees

1.8.09 Winter Night Picture, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

I cannot take credit for this photo . . . as my husband Steven took it, just last night : ) He went and got his camera and tripod when he saw what the moon was doing to the trees in our front yard after a recent ice storm. I think it is such a cool photograph! He has inspired me to take some myself . . . Hopefully any ice or snow storms will stay away from us for a bit - we have a belated Holiday party here tomorrow with my son Decklin, his girlfriend Tina, my sister Kathy, her husband Dan & their two teenage sons Dale & Ian, and my mom's brother -he's 85 years young, my Uncle Stan!

happy weekend to you!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

making things . . .

Over the past week or so I have spent a lot of time out in my studio making things! I just have not posted about this until now. I've been working on canvas boards and stretched canvas, using paint, paper and creating small collages. I think I will see if I can sell some of these finished pieces either locally in one of the shops, or maybe even online. Some of these canvas collages were made specifically so I could photograph my process, step-by-step, for a new online class I am writing. I've had a few requests for my 'Collage Techniques' class that I teach in person to be made available as online lessons. I am very happy to say that project is well underway and I hope it will be finished soon. You can find all of my on-line workshop offerings on my teaching website: A Little Creative Space.

I had bought a number of very small stretched canvas that I prepared (before the holidays) by painting with either white or black gesso. I thought they might make nice valentine gifts! With that thinking in mind, I painted small hearts in a variety of sizes using Lumiere paints. I also cut out some paper hearts. This was a fun project! After painting, I thought my little canvases needed a bit more oomph, so I found some words from a discarded magnet set and added those with goop glue. You can see the finished pieces below.

The larger canvases (ATC size - 2.5" x 3.5") have a little stand or a hanger, and the smaller ones (1.5" x 1.5" ?) I turned into magnets - what fun!

The other larger canvases I did for my online class are full of my collage techniques - see them below . . . you can click on ANY photo for more detail.

I will write more on these later!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Steven's gift for me :^ )

Steven made etched wine glasses for me for Christmas! They are a little hard to photograph because of the way the light bounces off of them, but I think this photo works pretty well. Click on it for more detail. Steven had never etched glass before, but that did not stop him. : ^ ) He purchased some glass etching creame from the Craft store nearby and did our favorite pattern of Moon & Stars . . . . as you see in my very special wedding and engagement rings below that Steven picked out for me.

Thank you, Steven!
I LOVE this gift, especially that you made it yourself.

ATCs for the Alpha Stamps swap I'm hosting

This is my husband Steven's favorite ATC, of all the new Alice ATCs I made recently for a swap I am hosting, due in February. I wanted to try at least one of the images from the I Wonder clear sticker sheet I got from Leslie at Alpha Stamps (sponsoring this swap with prizes). Such a cool sheet!

The base of this ATC is a Fabriano watercolor card. I added to this base a b&w card stock Alice image with words from the Is That Alice sheet. The clear sticker image of the white rabbit was placed on top of that, with black watercolor crayon on the bottom of the card and around the edges, and Elmer's glitter glue in silver to accentuate the edges. The words at the top, 'down, down, down' are also from the same clear sticker sheet. When everything was dry, I decided to give it a coat of Golden's self-leveling gel medium which is slightly glossy.

Steven says he really likes the composition . . . although, I have to admit I don't think about composition all that much -I just try to make the pieces work when I am creating it! He also liked that it is b&w -very different from the warm colors I usually favor. Steven added that the rabbit looking off and away lends to the idea that there is more of a story here, and there is! A great link to read the Alice in Wonderland story on-line, given to me by Alpha Stamps owner Leslie Elledge is here-check it out:

This red ATC uses an image from Alice Covers - a very stylized book (play) cover. For this one I started with the same watercolor card and glued the image on with YES glue. I added red watercolor crayon around the edges and activated the crayon with a wet brush. When that was dry, I glued on my favorite glass spheres from Alpha Stamps - these are the larger 4mm size. I swear I am addicted to using these! This ATC also received a coating of Golden's self-leveling gel medium.

You can click on any picture for more detail.

The Rabbit ATC, left - uses an image from the Alice: The Trial.
I chose a transparency sheet version. The Alpha Stamps collage images are so nicely available for you in your choice of: Card Stock (heavy paper), Fabric, Transparency, or Clear Sticker -wow!
I wanted to work with a transparency print, so I picked out this wonderful image from the collection. I laid the transparency down on the card, but did not attach, and added water color crayon to the areas around the rabbit. I left most of his body, legs & head plain white (no watercolor painting) for interest & contrast. Then I got out a few heart shaped brads and used my hole punch and hammer/setter to hold the transparency in place, leaving one corner with no brad at all. Steven enjoyed the gold heart at the rabbit's neckline the best of all!

The "Tea" themed card to the right is a fabric ATC. I used a fabric sheet collage image from Tea #2 and I backed this ATC with some of my own hand painted/dyed fabric. Sandwiched in the middle is a small bit of cotton batting. I also left the paper backing on the fabric collage image to give it more body.

In the right corner is a small transparency image from the Alice: The Trial sheet. This time I used a small amount of Tacky Glue to attach this transparency securely to the fabric image. I also utilized rubber stamps from the Teaspoons Clear Stamp Set on this card. The edge of the plate makes the design across the top and the teaspoons, cup, and word 'Tea' that can be seen are from this wonderful set. I stamped everything with black VersaCraft ink, heat set my stamping and painted in some of the areas with Pearl White Lumiere paint, adding a hint of Prisma glitter! Decorative stitches from my Brother Sewing machine finish the edges.

Lewis's Beautiful Tea is a fabric and paper ATC. The base is a watercolour card and the main image is a fabric collage sheet image, also from the Alpha Stamps Tea #2 sheet. i just love this unusual image! I have also used some clear stickers from the I Wonder clear sticker sheet. There is a transparent faux postage stamp of Alice with cards on the bottom right, and the words "ALICE IN WONDERLAND" are from the same sheet. I used a brown water color crayon around the edges and wet it to activate and 'pop' the color, and then I used a 14K Gold marker to quickly add the gold dots and splatter some smaller dots all over the card. You can click on any picture for more detail.

If you add all of the cards shown here to the 4 other Alice Alpha Stamps ATCs I made earlier - you'll see I have created my own 9 ATCs to swap, amazing! (I usually work closer to the deadline*)

I wanted to participate in my own swap and also show you the kind of variety you could create for this swap with all of the choices Alpha Stamps offers. As of the date of this post ~ January 2nd, 2009 - there is still room to join us and the ATCs are not due to me until *February 3rd! Find the swap details and the PayPal sign-up/registration on my creative swaps blog.

: ) lenna

P.S. for more views of these and other ATCs I have made, please visit my ATC album on flickr.

from Dallas & Liz in Italy . . . Buone Natale!

~ Just sharing an email and photo from my youngest son Dallas and his girlfriend Liz, who are in Italy for the school year doing internships at the International School of Trieste . . .

"Merry Christmas, Buone Natale! We just got back from Venice yesterday. We tried to call you guys on Christmas, but unfortunately my phone was not picking up service where we were. We had a wonderful Christmas in Venice and just spent the day in a lovely sea town in Slovenia called Piran. I hope that you all had a nice Christmas! We missed you! We are sending some pictures of our travels over the past week. XOXO, Dallas and Liz"

We miss them too, but glad they are having this adventure : ))

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A happy and creative new year to you!

~ from Star, Chloe, Asia, Steven, Lenna and Farfel!

I am not sure how, but we got this photo on the first take, amazing! We are sending our best wishes for a wonderful and creative new year to all my blog readers and swap participants!