Friday, April 29, 2011

mail art swap reveal

It has been 2 weeks since I sent my mail art off to Australia, the UK and various US destinations for a mail art swap hosted by Sue Emmerson. I gave you a teaser previously . . . I think everyone has received their mail by now, so I'm going to actually reveal what I did for this fun swap!
The theme is: Where I live.
one of the envelopes and contents -click for details!
I started with a regular manila file folder, the kind found at an office supply store -- or in your file cabinet!! I got the idea to work with a folder to create a mailing envelope from Robin Marie Smith when I was researching for the Mail ART swap I hosted at the end of last year. I found a video on YouTube by Robin called Altered Mail Art that used manila folders -great idea!

I opened up the folder and painted the front and back of it with white gesso because I did not want the plain manila background showing. I think it worked out pretty well. The back of the envelope got a copy of a tourist map from nearby Anna Maria Island. I drive over one of those bridges pictured on the map to take Nia dance classes twice a week in Anna Maria. I copied the map from a tourist brochure 5x and used my xyron to adhere it to the folder.

For the front, I cut out words & images from a different brochure (I picked up 5 of them for free!!). This brochure is designed to give the reader the lo-down on the Sarasota - Bradenton area: the Left Coast of Florida! I added lots of rubber stamping from my box of beach-related stamps with StazOn permanent inks. I even gave the young woman a crown of shells.

Yes, I painted more gesso on the folders and sprinkled real Florida sand on the bottom front corner of all the envelopes! I also covered the sand with clear gel medium later when the gesso was dry to make sure it stayed put and did not cause any problems during mailing.
The back, BS=Before Stamping!
The fronts of all 5 envelopes - not sewn together on the edges yet!
The edges were sewn up on my sewing machine, but first I added parts
of a fishing net that I found last year (empty!) on the beach . . . .
I attached it with a little bit of sewing and a lot of Tacky glue!!
The envelopes drying . . . I ended up working on the floor for this project.
More stamping and netting added to the backs of the envelopes . . .
Her eyes brimmed with tears as she realized there wasn't a single piece of personal mail today!!

I added some of my favorite and very old rubber stamps:

. . . Contents Enclosed . . .
. . . Mail Art Mingles Hearts . . .
. . . See you in the Mail . . .
. . . Oh NO, she sobbed. My mailbox is *choke* empty! . . .

Hope you all enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blue + White China ATCs

Isn't that an interesting theme for an ATC swap, Blue & White China? If you follow that link you can read all about it! My dear (and talented) friend Frieda Oxenham hosts one swap after the other on ATCs for ALL and I join them ALL! She always has great themes that inspire me and she runs a tight ship-meaning everything is done according to plan, on time, and nothing is overlooked! My kind of swap ; 0) I am always pleased with my returns, the chance to create . . . and I get to meet a lot of people I am not familiar with, so it is a lot of fun.

The first thing I did to prepare for this swap was to gather up my blue and white china and take photographs! Above you'll see a small collection of Burleigh Ware that I collected when I worked retail at Stonewall Kitchen in Avon, CT. On a side note, my friend Joy Hancock who is the Assistant Manager of the Avon SWK store is coming to visit Steven and I for a much needed mini-vacation May 19-23rd ~we cannot wait!!!

Burleigh Ware is described as "Hand-crafted pottery from Burleigh is made in England with pride and the same intricate attention to detail since its 1851 inception. Beautiful heritage quality pieces crafted for inheritance." There is just something about these pieces that I adore and working where they were sold I got my pieces on sale. When Frieda announced this swap I also stopped in a local Thrift shop and found the cutest blue & white tea cup for only $3.00! It seemed to match my other pieces well enough and gave me more to work with.

For my ATCs, I used the photos and printed them out onto card stock in various sizes.
Front of ATC #4
Back of  ATC #4

I added a bit of white glitter to the edges as I thought they needed a little sparkle ; 0 )
Front of ATC #3
 I liked using the blue & white China on both the back & the front.
Back of ATC #3

Front of ATC #1
Back of ATC #1
I made an extra ATC for Frieda . . .  I did not specify which one so she could choose whichever one she liked, but I have a feeling she'll pick this one directly below. I copied a photo she shared of one of her blue & white china pieces and created this ATC. It is rimmed with a photo of some of my Burleigh Ware, fun!

Front of ATC #2
Back of ATC #2

Thank you so much Frieda, this swap was just the creative activity I needed! They should be with you soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

family visit!

* me, my dad, and my sister kathy *
My sister Kathy, her husband and one of my nephews were here for an entire week and it was really grand. Pictured above is me and my dad and my sister, as Kathy was getting ready for Steven & I to take her & her family to the airport last Friday. More photos here. I hope you all had a good week last week and visited with your family too, if possible. My oldest son Decklin and his girlfriend Tina are coming to visit in just 2 weeks!!

It is hard to tell from the photo, but I have lost 11 pounds since the middle of February. Above, I think I still look plump! Oh well. I am doing it, it is working, and the extra weight is coming off slow but sure. After talking with my doctor and telling her what I would usually eat (far too many calories!) I started watching my calorie intake with a goal of about 1200/day. I am not writing everything down like I was in the beginning, but I am eating a lot less than I was and I am still eating very well. I feel so much better and will keep at this until I lose 10-20 more pounds! My cholesterol levels are already tremendously better, phew! I am exercising more consistently and I feel much stronger. My sister was even surprised at the amount of classes my mom and I attend!

I will be back soon with some ATCs I made for one of Frieda's swaps!

Today's florida sky . . . .

be well, xo lenna 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

where's lenna?

My sister and her family (minus one nephew in college) have been visiting me + my husband Steven, and my parents. We've been quite busy! My sister lives in Connecticut, where Steven and I used to live before moving to Florida. The morning after Kathy arrived, my mom and I were planning to go to a Nia dance class and asked Kathy if she would like to come too. She took modern dance classes just like my mom and I did for many years, so all 3 of us went to Nia together. What fun! I do enjoy this new class my mom has introduced me to very much. It includes creative thinking and movement, much like the dance classes I was raised on.

walking behind my mom & sister on the way to Nia dance, Anna Maria Island, FL

But, I do enjoy the Zumba fitness classes I have been taking so much because they are different - with Latin music, dance steps that are a challenge to me, and a lot of energy and fun, much like the Jazzercise classes I taught 20 years ago when I owned a franchise. Yes, it's true! I was a Jazzercise instructor for 7 years.


So we all went to Nia on Friday and Kathy & I went to Zumba on Sunday. After that class I told Kathy that Mom & I were going to Nia on Monday and I would be going back to Zumba on Wednesday. Did she want to come? She said, "Boy, you guys exercise a lot!" : ^) we got a good giggle out of that. We have enjoyed being together for a number of dinners and swimming in my parent's pool.

my dad, sister, mom, brother in law, and husband - all together!

reflections in my parent's pool

my brother in law and husband
(and my nephew in the pool!)

reflections on the wall near the pool

Kathy and her family went out fishing on Tuesday and caught enough Grouper to feed all 7 of us! That is my favorite fish and fresh caught it is fantastic. Steven cooked it for us most deliciously with panko breadcrumbs over at my mom & dad's and we had it with a delicious cold vegetable soup my mom had made earlier. When Asia & Chloe needed to go outside I would happily take them, along with my camera. This is why . . . .

crinum tree lily in mom + dad's yard -click for details

beautiful gardenias

one of mom's gardenia bushes

mom said PLEASE pick some gardenias -so I did!!

My mom's "jasmine room"

There is so much to see at my parent's home, so many gorgeous things to discover, it is no wonder I am taking so many photographs these days! I am also still playing a lot with photoshop elements and I am uploading one photo daily to my blipfoto journal. If you miss me here because I am busy, you can always find me there! A lot of my creative energy is going into photographs these days. Add to that a number of students I'm coaching through lessons and 60 swap participants, well! There is only so much of me to go around!! I do have a skinny page to do which I am looking forward to working on, the last one that needs to be done. There are colour combo ATCs for May upcoming . . . I will reveal my Mail Art once it reaches the UK and Australia and I have ATCs for one of Frieda's swaps to do! So I will be checking in! I did not want you to wonder . . . know I'm dancing, taking photos, spending time with my family (they are all coming here for dinner tonight!!), organizing swaps and teaching plus creating a bit of art. ; ^ ) Love to you! lenna

a banyan tree, by lenna

Saturday, April 16, 2011

new york article

Not too long ago I was contacted by Tess Elliot, a writer for the New York Examiner. While working on an article on printmaking and rubber stamping on fabric, she had found one of my fabric stamping tutorials online. She wrote to ask me if she could add a link to my tutorial in the article she was writing for the Examiner. I said sure!

Tess's article came out recently and although brief because she had to keep the word count down, it is well written and . . . it links to my tutorial, whooo whoo! You can read the article here.
: ^ ) lenna

mail art project/swap

Me holding envelopes from Yvette Snowden and Laura Hummel!
At the end of last year I hosted a very large mail art swap with 50 participants - wow! That was fun. One of my participants from Australia, Sue Emmerson continued to correspond with me after the swap was over. She said to me, "I would love to continue with the mail art I've also put out a few feelers to see if anyone would be interested in a small bi-monthly mail art swap group. I'm also taking notice of who sends their note cards (for my Vintage Note card swap) in a mail art envelope so I'll get in touch with them too. It would be so exciting to get some interesting things in the post box instead of bills, and more bills! And it's just as exciting to send off mail art!" : ) A woman of my own thinking! Sue later asked me if I would like to join her mail art swap and I said yes! (I love mail art). Sue was doing the organizing and all I would need to do was to participate bi-monthly sending out 5 envelopes and receive luscious mail art in return about every 10 days! I think I could handle that!!

In March, I wrote about receiving mail art from Sue and also Linda Freeman, whoo whoo! You can find that post here if you missed it.
All of our mail art for March & April is based on the theme "Where I Live". This a great theme and a lovely way for us to get to know each other better. In April, I received mail art from Yvette Snowden and Laura Hummel, both of whom are from Maryland. It really brightened up my mailbox and made me ever-so-happy I was doing this. Thank you to Sue especially and also to Laura, Yvette, Linda and Joanna!

My April Mail ART!

What made me even happier was to get down and dirty with paint and ink and collage and my sewing machine and produce some Florida style Mail art envelope for these women! I am not going to share the whole project yet . . . I want to give them all a surprise, but I will give you a tease of what's to come!

hmmmm . . .. what fun!
I love mail art!
And I got the really friendly post office person when I mailed these, what a blessing. Theresa loves it when I bring in mail art to be posted (probably brightens her day) and was even calling over her co-workers to come check my envelopes out!

: ) more on my mail art after it is received!!
happy weekend. My sister & family are here and this is a great thing. Tomorrow, Kathy & I are going to a Zumba class together, and we both went to a Nia dance class with my mom on Friday! My dad is doing okay. Yesterday he was super tired (chemo) but today he went to the Cortez Traditional Small Craft Association Festival with my mom, my sister & my brother-in-law. They showed off my Dad's craftmanship by bringing the Melonseed Sailboat he built. My husband Steven was there too of course, with his wee lassie sailing canoe.
A good time was had by all. Hope you are doing well!
sending love, lenna


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