Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pink&Yellow ATCs

The Colour Groupies are at it again with another great color combo for this month's ATCs! Our February colours were pink and yellow and I think all of the group members (Frieda Oxenham, Tristan Robin Blakeman, Caryl Hoobler and Debby Harriettha) really enjoyed working with this combination.

I started mine out at home on my sewing machine. I took a piece of pink fabric, added batting to the back and sewed the pieces together, marking out approximate ATC sizes with yellow stitching, see below:

Then I cut them apart. This gave me a good base to start my ATCs with. I was traveling to see my parents in Florida at the time, so I packed a little bottle of glue, a few sentences cut out from an ARTchix Studio Sheet called 'Her Words', embroidery thread and needles, small fabric roses, other bits of fabric, regular thread for hand stitching, silk embroidery ribbon, and some lace I originally got from Frieda as a swap hostess gift!

I must say I really got so much enjoyment out of stitching these ATCs by hand. Below is the ATC made for Caryl Hoobler - She helps herself to happiness.

I worked on these while traveling and then a little more when I was back at home and had some waiting to do, like after my allergy shots, etc. It certainly made the time pass quickly, and I got some very curious inquiries about what I was doing! "What are you making??"

For Tristan Robin Blakeman . . . . I specially modified the words from the 'Her Words' sheet to fit him, so his ATC says, "He makes art very loudly". It somehow seemed to fit him! I am so happy that Tristan loved receiving this ATC and the words I choose for him - he wrote about it on his blog. You can visit! it's linked in his name, above.

For Debby Harriettha . . . . "She has delicious dreams". This just seemed to me to fit Debby especially with my retro daisies embroidered across the front.

... and for Frieda Oxenham "She loves unconditionally", because, I think she does!

Furthermore, I had to make one for myself for my own collection, and it is below. I think the words I chose for my own ATC fit me well with all the talking & writing I do ~grin!

I enjoyed the hand stitching on these fabric ATCs so much, that I am continuing the process for the Colour Groupies March Blue & Green colour combo ATCs !

Thanks again to my friends in Colour Groupies - which is a small, closed group by design, sorry! I love doing these exchanges with you. Two of the envelopes I sent out with the pink & yellow ATCs inside are below . . . one of my favorite things to do. I printed paper address labels, stitched them onto fabric and then used my xyron to attach the fabric/paper label to a dark brown paper envelope. Not shown: I slipped the whole thing in a plastic sleeve and placed self-adhesive postage on top!

To see ALL of the Colour Groupies related posts, follow THIS LINK.

(This post was written last week and saved as a draft until ALL the participants had received their ATCs!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goodbye Nimda!

Just this past week, we sold our sailboat Nimda. She was named after a computer virus by Steven in 2002 . . . so you can imagine what he was dealing with at work at the time. : )

To the right you'll see me, perched next to Nimda after a swim in the St.Lawrence River -in the Thousand Islands, Canada. It was August of 2006, and Steven and I had sailed (on one tack? I think!) from Wolfe Island to Hill Island where the 'Best Man' at our wedding and a great friend to both of us, Garth Gibson has a cottage. It took us a number of hours . . . I think it is 35 miles between the two islands, but we had a good wind and a great time. We will always remember that trip and the storm on the way home! We did get home fine and I learned a bit about sailing . . . . .
Click on any photo for more details.

Steven bought Nimda in 2002 when he was a bachelor and spending most of his summers on Wolfe Island where his grandmother was born. He first saw the hull, which I have now learned is the boat without the rigging, sails etc, at a boat show. He fell in love with it. He was not planning on getting a sailboat that year, but this boat, a Creative Marine 'Skimmer 25' would not leave his thoughts! He purchased one in 2002, and it was the boat Nimda. He calls it a'camping sailboat' and we used it that way. The quarters are small, but nice!

Here is Nimda in full sail. Steven is sailing, taking his cousins out for a spin. So beautiful.

But below, is how I will always remember Nimda ~ at the dock, in front of the Big House (Steven's grandmother's house) on Wolfe Island, with the HUGE Canadian sky behind the boat and the small aluminum motor boat 'Buzzy' in front of her. I love the fact that Steven painted the Canadian Maple leaf on top of Buzzy, after it was damaged in a storm and re-built. Buzzy is one of my favorite boats, and Steven has been taking Buzzy out on the St. Lawrence River since he was a kid. That is Kingston, Ontario, in the distance.

Another photo of Nimda is below, in her new home with her new owner in the Clearwater, Florida area! I am down in the same area right now, visiting with my parents. Our friend Mike Corrigan who owns the Wolfe Island Boat Shop, sold the boat for us, trailered it from Wolfe Island, Canada to Clearwater Florida, and took this photo. Unfortunately, we just were not using Nimda enough to warrant the cost of storage and upkeep, not to mention getting her ship shape each season when we only have one or two weeks a year to use her.

Here's Nimda, now living in Florida . . . .

These days, Steven prefers to borrow the 16ft Melonseed sailboat that my father built beautifully with strips of wood. My dad stretched the 15 ft plans when he made it. This hand built boat is spectacularily beautiful, and people always comment on it. Once we ended up in the tail end of a parade in Cape Vinvent, NY on the way to Wolfe Island. The Melonseed was trailered behind us and another one of my dad's handmade canoes was strapped to the top of the car. The people there for the parade were clapping & smiling. Steven absolutely loves how the Melonseed handles, as he does all my father's handmade boats. Below you'll see a couple of photos of Steven & the pups sailing the melonseed on the St. Lawerence river in front of the cottage on Wolfe Island, and then another picture of him taking the sails down in the rain after docking.

Another beautiful boat!

I think we will still be sailing the Melonseed for quite some time. It is named Wind Dancer . . .

Good bye to Nimda!

You were really a great boat!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sew Somerset!

Early in January of this year, I received an email from Amanda Nolan, the Managing Editor of Sew Somerset and also a number of other Stampington & Co publications. It seems she found my Journal Quilts on my flickr photo sharing account and absolutely loved them! She wrote asking me if I would be interested in submitting to Sew Somerset, and of course I wrote back and said, "yes!". I had not gotten around to putting them all together as one big wall hanging yet (a little good karma there?) and so I asked which she particularly liked. Amanda promptly wrote back with a list of 8 she'd love to see if they were available. She wrote that she loved their creative style, and thought the art selection committee would like them as much as she did ~how lovely!

I choose 10 Journal quilts to send in with very brief instructions, and promised more details if any were selected. They were mailed to the Stampington office in California on January 5th. Stampington received the package on the 8th of January and on February 5th, I had an email with the subject: Selected for Sew Somerset! They selected 5 of my Journal quilts for a technique-based article in Sew Somerset, which will be available June 2009, wow! In the email were details of the article they needed me to write of approximately 800 words. With 5 little quilts and the whole experience to write about, I had trouble sticking to 800 words; in fact I wrote over 1,000! I did edit my article before sending the final version, and I know the magazine will too. So everything will work out just right I am sure.

I am very pleased about this and look forward to seeing the article in June! If for some reason it cannot fit, it will be published in the winter edition, which comes out in December. I will not tell you which 5 they selected, but you can make a guess by either looking at them in my Journal quilt set on flickr or by following this link to all the posts I wrote on this blog about my challenge (to myself) to create Journal quilts on a weekly basis. I am still thinking of a challenge to give myself this year . . . my friend Frieda Oxenham is almost - almost done with her 100 ATC challenge (99 as of this date) and I find it so exciting! She was a huge inspiration to me, to give myself a challenge of any kind, at all. Thank you, Frieda! Find her blog HERE and enjoy!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

happy birthday to me!

One of my favorite photos . . . me and my mom in 1957, the year I was born. This was a fabric page, a "quiltie" I created for Theresa Hall in the ARTchix Studio Fabric RR I hosted back in 2005. This particular photo of me & my mom has made it's way into many pieces I've created.

I have been enjoying a most wonderful birthday! Last night Steven & I went out to dinner with dear friends and they treated us to a most delicious and fun time. Carol and I share birthdays by just one day and she and her hubby took us to a place we had never been to before. We all had a grand time.

Today has been a quiet day and I have been catching up on work, which was what I wanted to do before I go to visit my parents in Florida on Tuesday for a few days. I talked to both my mom & my dad today. Dad sounded so good - Steven had a long talk with him too, about boats and computers! Dad goes for the 2nd part of his Interventional Radiology treatment on Wednesday, which requires a bit of a stay in the hospital for the day, so I am glad to be there to help out. This is all part of his battle against liver cancer . . . and he is really doing so well it is amazing. I am a lucky woman to have been born 52 years ago to Dale & Priscilla Andrews. Steven says he really has the best time hanging out with them, and I don't know how cool my parents are (I do!).

Speaking of Steven, my love - he made a wish come true for me today with his birthday card for me. Oh, how I laughed when I opened it! Some background for you: Steven is always joking and affecting personalities for our two cats, Star & Farfel -because even though they are brothers with very similar markings, they really have opposite personalities.
(and bodies!)

Star is a real 'bruiser' . . . he weighs more than Farfel, he is always hungry and will steal Farfel's food whether he is looking or not! Star is very assertive and will jump on you if he wants to without warning. He meows quite loudly, as if he is demanding things to happen. He is a beautiful cat, and I would say Star is Steven's favorite of the two . . . .

Steven is always joking around to me that Star has a beer belly, smokes a cigar, is quite the 'manly' guy, and often times has him making rude remarks! Steven even uses different 'voices' when he is vocalizing their thoughts . . . . and always makes me laugh with these characterizations!

Farfel on the other hand, is long & lean, and loves to walk the 'balance beam' on the cat scratching post Steven made... and does this very well! Below is a photo of him chasing a fly in my office!

Farfel mews quietly, his fur is soft and silky, he is extremely sweet and very affectionate, he is always looking for pets and nose rubs, he is very graceful and acrobatic - totally the opposite of Star. Steven likes to characterize him as being 'into' yoga and aerobics, home decorating, as very sweet and very sensitive! It is just so amazing what personalities you can come up with for your animals when they show you just a few traits!

Since Steven does such a good job embellishing their personalities and used to draw cartoons all the time - I have been begging him, pleading with him, trying to bribe him to DRAW for me what he verbally jokes about with our two cats! To tell you the truth I almost forgot about this plea and did not expect it to happen . . . . and then, Steven gave me my birthday card today & this is what I saw (below).
WOW! I laughed SO much!

First the envelope, because it is funny since I turned 52 today . . . .

And then, the card! Now, you probably won't find it quite as amusing as I do, but I just had to share this. Thank you so much, Steven. I have had the best birthday! Of course, click on any photo for more details.

: ) lenna


new online workshop/new swap

I have been quietly working behind the scenes . . . . . and it has produced a new online workshop: Collage Techniques on Canvas -- plus a new swap to match it, hosted on my creative swaps blog. It has been a lot of work, but well worth it I think! I am proud of what I have put together and I hope you enjoy it, as well. The images on the sample collage shown here, for my on-line workshop are from Alpha Stamps - check it out!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I only made two valentines this year! One was for for my friend Carol, who lives nearby. We carry on a bit of correspondence through the postal mail, as Carol does not have Email. I like to try to do different things for her, and so I decided to make an envelope and enclose a valentine. Click on any photo for more details . . . .

The images on the envelope and the valentine are from Alpha Stamps, the Mailbag sheet - which is 1/2 cardstock & 1/2 transparency! Before I stuck the transparency down, I wrote Carol's name on the card and then attached the transparency image over her name, using my xyron machine. This is one of my favorite ways to attach transparencies. It's easy to use, and the adhesive works very well.

Here is the finished envelope for Carol, to the right . . . . I love the Victorian "Greetings Sincere" I got from Alpha Stamps and added to the envelope. It's perfect!

.... I also made a valentine for my husband, Steven :^ )
It was actually more of a note enclosed in a decorated envelope with a copy of a favorite ATC (of his) that I made a few years ago for a "family" ATC swap I hosted. Borrowing my idea from Carol's valentine, I made this envelope and enclosed a note. But the very best part of Valentine's day was receiving a hand-made card from Steven. He says valentine's day is one of his favorite holidays as that is when he gave me our engagement ring!

Steven spent some secret time out in my studio when I was not allowed in. I marveled at the things he found in my collage boxes, especially since they are quite a mess. You can see what he came up with, for me, below.

He used some of my favorite marbled paper, lots of extra photos I had on hand, and he even rubber stamped a few hearts and a valentine greeting inside. I do thank my lucky stars for him. As quirky as he is (and me too) we are still the best match!!

I hope you had a lovely valentine's day too.

Accordion Fabric Panel Book

AccordionPanelBook1,originally uploaded by creativelenna
On February 7th, I enjoyed teaching a fabric accordion book class in my own studio in Avon, CT. Above is a close-up scan of the front cover of the book only; there are 4 double-sided accordion pages in total. For lots more photos of the book and the class I taught, check out the set of pictures or the slideshow on my flickr photo sharing account. The sample book above is sized 4" x 6" and was created during my class as a demonstration. The original book I made below is 5" x 7" and was published in the Art of Fabric Books by Jan Bode Smiley, 2005. I was (and am) very honored to have my accordion book placed on the back cover of her book as well as inside. Click for more details!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

William Glackens and The Eight

When I returned last week from visiting my parents in Florida (before we moved there), this beautiful postcard from the New Britain Museum of American Art was waiting for me. The postcard announced an upcoming exhibit of a group of well known artists called 'The Eight'. My Great Uncle, William Glackens was a part of this group! The members of the Eight were: Robert Henri, Arthur B. Davies, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, John Sloan, and George Luks. If you click on the postcard to your left, you will see a section of William Glacken's painting, Breezy Day, Tugboats, NY Harbor, c. 1910, second from the left.

Of course this is very exciting to me! The exhibit runs March 6 - May 24, 2009 and the museum is only about 20 minutes from here (when I lived in CT) in nearby New Britian, CT. You can read about my great uncle's work held permanently in this museum here. I've also done a bit of research and writing about William Glackens, including locating some of his many paintings & drawings online and including them on my web site. I am happy to say I was named after his daughter, Lenna Glackens.

Mustard & Olive

Here are all of the Colour Groupies Mustard & Olive ATCs -the color combination for January 2009, that I created in December. In fact, I think I started them at home and worked on them while visiting my parents? I can't quite remember because I do that a lot! It's easy to travel with ATCs. Just gather up a few related supplies in a plastic bag & take them along with you on your trip! I found I was even allowed to take small scissors on the plane, by looking the regs up on the TSA site. Taking scissors was not allowed for a while, but it's very helpful to me if I can.

Anyway! Everyone in the group has received these ATCs so I can share them with you now. Sometimes I make paper ATCs & other times I choose fabric for this monthly exchange, depending upon my whim. This month's ATCs were made from paper, or rather a cardstock shipping tag that had been tea-dyed. I enhanced it further by sponging mustard acrylic paint all over the shipping tags, which I then cut down to ATC size.

First I gathered 'paint chips' -samples of paint I had considered for painting our walls, in shades of olive green. I layered them in an interesting fashion on the shipping tag base. I used my xyron adhesive machine to apply adhesive to the back of all of the paint samples, and left the paint colours on the chips visible when possible. To the right is the ATC I made for Caryl Hoobler, and below is the ATC I made for Debby Harriettha.

For the images I choose various fabric collage images from Alpha Stamps, except for Frieda's ATC. I think that was an old image I had found elsewhere in one of my collage boxes. I thought it fit her perfectly with the garden scene and the dogs, so I could not resist!

I also used clear stickers from Alpha Stamps Seaside Slides on some of the ATCs - you'll find them on Caryl's above (in the bottom left corner) and on Tristan's ATC below (across the middle -on bottom left). I added olive green embossed paper, torn to size, and took one very wide piece of satin olive green ribbon and cut it length-wise so we could each have a section on our ATC!

A few word stickers from a scrap booking sheet were added to finish them . . . Here is the one I kept for myself, below right.

Again, thank you to my Colour Groupies friends for all their inspiration, commitment & friendship. It is so FUN to be starting a second year with you!
Frieda Oxenham
Debby Harriettha
Tristan Robin Blakeman and Caryl Hoobler!

some florida sunshine

I was in florida last week . . .

this plant lives in my parent's yard in Florida . . . it is HUGE!
I remember having something similar as a small houseplant, here in CT, some time ago. My visit to florida this time was brief and cut short by a winter storm warning up North . . . I ended up coming back 24 hrs earlier to avoid a bad snow and ice storm with possible flight cancellations. My parents are about an hour from the Tampa airport and I now rely on a service to pick me up and get me back & forth. But even though this was a short visit, it was a good visit, none the less. My parents are always happy to see me and vice versa!

My dad looks a lot better than he did in December when he was going through chemo for his liver cancer and feeling so poorly. Amazingly, he is in remission now and just dealing with an infected gall bladder -what an incredible man he is, for all he has been through health wise this past year . . . he still has a sense of humor, my mom says! In a couple of weeks he will start Interventional Radiology with Dr. Grubbs to help keep his cancer at bay.

One day while I was there I took a long walk around the neighborhood as I usually do and snapped these photos around my parent's house, first. Click on any photo for more detail.

My dad made this canoe shown below . . . The bayou is right there, next to their home.

So peaceful . . . . My mom is a great gardener and creates beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Can you believe I picked all of these sweet oranges, yummy star fruit, delicious grapefruit and beautiful lemons shown below, right there on their property? I did, yum!

Look at this tree I saw in their neighborhood . . .

wow. I will happily return to visit again, enjoy more sunshine and time with my parents, February 24 -28.
It looks like I need it, don't you think?