Saturday, September 5, 2015

step-by-step (sorta)

sorry if you're getting tired of mandalas, but i've had a very long ten days at home nursing my recalcitrant back, and there's only so much HGTV a girl can watch. i've done a lot of pinterest surfing lately too (b/c you can do it laying down, lol!) and seen some incredibly detailed and symmetrical mandalas. i love those, but generally don't have the patience to attempt them. i also always enjoy step-by-step tutorial type thingies on other people's blogs, but again... not really my forte. but at the moment i'm moving slower than usual, so i thought i'd give both of those ideas a go and see what happened!

the finished piece... just so we can see where we're going.

step 1
even when i'm winging it, i tend to trace a lid or a cup 
or SOMETHING that's perfectly round, just so i have a solid base 
to build on. it you like the idea of symmetry, you can also 
divide it into segments, which will help with spacing.

step 2
i've traced over my circle with pen, so it'd have the 
same "hand-drawn" quality as the rest of the mandala.
of course, if you are aiming for true perfection, you 
could use a compass or template to make your small
circles perfectly round as well.

step 3
when i drew the "spokes" through my circle i made
them all the same length, so that i'd have a guide for
spacing as i worked outwards, too.

step 4
something i learned pretty early on is that it usually
backfires to work ahead too far in anyone direction... so
having gone outwards with the last set of circles, i'm now
filling in the spaces between.

step 5
buddhist mandalas tend to have some squares set within circles
and vice versa. also, i felt like this thing was getting a bit
snowflake-y... time to add a little more structure.

step 6
you'll notice there's no detail added yet: no doodles,
no filled-in bits, no patterns. it's mostly a question of
just how you enjoy working, but since those "extra bits" 
are a great way to hide mistakes, i like to save them til 
the end to see where they're needed most! ;)

step 7
one more circle on the outside rounds it off nicely... both 
literally and metaphorically, lol. now's a good time to add petals 
and start thinking about embellishment. 
(or as i think of it, "the FUN part"!)

step 8
it's nice to have some darker lines and some lighter.
you can choose where to put them based on what you
want to stand out the most... OR... on what set of lines 
you've drawn the most wonkily! the dots add interest and 
cover up any messy intersecting lines. after that, it really
is just a question of what you feel like doing. 

step 9
at this point the hardest part is knowing when it's *done* lol!
but in this case, i was pretty happy with what i had, so i
stopped here... and so will my post.

ciao, darlings! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

tic-tac... two?

we're in the second week of ♥JINGLE BELLEStic-tac-toe, with another round of cards based on this board:

i went with the middle horizontal row this time, so i had BRADS + DIECUTS + RIBBON to work with. yeah. i can do that!

patterned paper: basic grey; cardstock: core'dinations; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; peace die: impression obsession; snowflake border die: memory box; ribbon and white sheer flowers: michaels... the latter came from the bridal aisle i think; snowflake brad: oriental trading; border punches: recollections; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, sewing machine

so... which bits are which? well, the ribbon is kind of buried, but i think you can see it, it's blue grosgrain with some snowflakes on it and partially hidden by my two diecut pieces, the sparkly "peace" sentiment and the suuuuuuper-skinny snowflake border. finally there's a big honkin' snowflake brad that came from oriental trading, quite some time ago. i think the packet had three brads in each of four colorways, and i've used all but one set of three, which i suppose we have to admit i'm not in love with. but they didn't get put into the big garage sale clear out, so part of me thinks i should rise to the challenge and USE them, lol. maybe next week? ;)

meanwhile miss stephanie has a lovely card to inspire you, as always. why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and bask in its loveliness? 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

m is also for matisse

...and my lovely friend tracy is big fan! well, so am i, as a matter of fact. this week tracy was talking about matisse's cutouts, and challenged some of her fellow instagram arty types to do what matisse called "drawing with color"... basically to create a little bit of art using only color and shape. since this happened right when i was thinking about mandalas for this week's sisters with heart in art prompt, and since i was specifically thinking about ways to make a mandala without drawing, it seemed like a really good time to see how detailed of one i could make using ONLY punches and scraps of patterned paper. no outlines, no sewing, no gems... just color and shape. i think i did ok, actually! :)

scraps of patterned paper by: basic grey, hambly, teresa collins, american crafts, k and co, sei, prima, girls paperie and... well, i think that's about it; butterfly punches: martha stewart; circle punches: ek success, marvy, fiskars

ok, so... yeah... i suppose it's very slightly cheating to use patterned paper, but frankly that's what i have the most scraps of, so that's what i did. i'm pretty sure the principle would still apply with solid colors of paper, though. maybe i'll have another go at some point? in the meantime, i hope that maybe i've made you think about what YOU could make with punches or dies or... well, whatever you happen to have at hand! ♥

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

m is for mandala...

...and coincidentally "inspired by mandalas" is the prompt this week* for the sisters with heart in art instagram challenge. so today i'm going to show you some mandalas i've made over the years and we'll talk a little bit about the form, answering such questions as, "do you have to follow a lot of rules?" (no!) and "are they hard to make?" (NO!) and "can i make a mandala if i don't like drawing or doodling?" (yes!!) ok, so here's what i'd call a pretty basic hand-drawn mandala:

nuthin' but black pen on white paper... which is all ya really need
(a bit wonky, as well, which doesn't bother me)

as far as i know there are no rules for the making of secular/decorative** mandalas... which are the ones i'm talking about. although, for that matter, even if there were rules, i'd be totally in favor of you breaking them!  :)

on the other hand, I LOVE COLOR!!!
(ps: using a gridded paper helps with symmetry, if you like that sorta thing)

probably the most common decorative mandala structure you see around is more or less a series of embellished concentric circles... sometimes they look like flowers or snowflakes, or even a bit like the spirograph art i loved in childhood. often they are filled with zentangle-esque doodley embellishment. they can be mathematically precise or really loose; they can be colorful or not. if you do a google image search or pinterest search for mandala, you'll get a nice sampling of ideas. i've also made my own mandala pinboard, just because... ok, there's no real reason... except that i've been having a bit of a back issue over the last week, and may have become slightly more addicted to pinterest, lol.

this is my very first stamped mandala, from icad, 2012
(remember what i said about not drawing?)

tammy of daisy yellow art*** has done loads of unique, AMAZING and inspiring mandalas over the years, and it's thru her (during my first year of icad) that i got into them. she has doodled, collaged, even stamped tiny images or letters in circles!

another non-drawn version... punches this time!
(and arguably waaaaaay too much stitching but it's easy to get carried away, kwim?)

which brings me to the issue of drawing, which i realize not everyone enjoys. sooooooo... can you stamp or stencil a mandala? yes! can you make one out of stickers or punches or paper flowers? YES! for that matter, you don't have to actually make a mandala as such. we've deliberately called this prompt "inspired by mandalas" to make it as fun and easy and loose as possible, so please go ahead and make this into something fun for yourself! seriously, having now looked at a few mandalas, go and do literally ANYTHING you'd like, darlings!

a square mandala? ok, maybe it doesn't quiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite work, but i still kinda love this one!

having said all of the above, i want to tell you a secret: for me, mandalas turned out to be the thing that made me enjoy drawing for the first time since i was about seven. i feel like they're a great intermediate step between doodling and drawing. i suppose it's because there are enough standard shapes (circles, petals, scallops) to get you started, but you can also branch out any way you'd like. you don't have to worry about making them look "real" or dimensional, etc; and as you can see by my own "body of work", lol, a little wonkiness doesn't seem to do them too much harm! so if you find yourself with a little extra time, grab a pen and some scrap paper and maybe have a little go... you don't have to show anyone...

my attempt at a triangular mandala came out more like "picasso's pizza" but it was FUN, so i defend it staunchly!!! :)

on the other hand, for anyone who'd like to assay the "typical" mandala, i'll be posting tips, tricks and new examples over the course of the next week or so. i'm also happy to answer questions here, via email, or on instagram! the biggest hint i'd give from the get-go is to always work from the center out, and possibly start yourself off by tracing around a cup or bottle top so you have a nice solid/symmetrical circle to build on. after that, just do... whatever happens!!! :) :) :)

the peacock mandala got its own entire blog post, last fall
(and is still quite a favorite of mine!)

need more mandala examples? (she asked, expecting the answer, "omg NO!!!!!!" lol) here's a clip art one i used on a card; here's one drawn with black and white pens on a bright background; here's one that i used a set of nestabilities flower dies to create mandala layers out of pretty papers; here's one that illustrates my "off page" stratagem to avoid symmetry. 

*guess whose turn it was to pick the theme??! ;)

**there's a whole separate category of buddhist mandalas, which don't have rules as such, but tend to follow a certain structure and contain recognizable iconography; they're kind of the buddhist equivalent of stained glass windows in a church. here's a wikipedia article that gives a sort of overview of those, with some nice illustrations. 

***if you type "mandala" into the search feature on the daisy yellow art blog you will find TONS of inspiration for beautiful mandalas that can be accomplished at any skill level!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SOS217: put a bird on it

occasionally at shopping our stash miss leslie sets a challenge that is soooooooooo up my street that i almost feel like i'm cheating. and this week's "put a bird on it" is definitely one of those times. what can i say? i like birds. i also have a number of family members who like birds too, so it's a pretty easy motif for me to build a card around. such as this one that coincidentally happens to be right here:

vintage sheet music, bird illustration and text from my stash; old pressed chipboard frame from the dollar store, i think... it was bright green so i painted it a bit more neutrally with a little craft paint. weird old flowers and leaves that were either given to me or came in a vase i bought at... you guessed it... yet another garage sale, lol! bling flourishes: recollections; stencils: heidi swapp and stencil girl; distress inks: ranger; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, uhu gluestick, sewing machine

i love photos and paintings of birds. i own quite a few stamps and stencils of birds. i've even been known to draw doodley little birds myself. but my all time favorite kind of bird to put on a card is a vintage illustration. when i'm at book sales and garage sales, i specifically look for the most battered old copies of bird books, just because they contain loads of gorgeous illustrations which are the perfect size for cardmaking, as this little chickadee illustrates pretty well, i think. for this card, i painted up a little pressed chipboard frame i found during the great clearout; threw a couple of shades of distress ink through some leafy stencils, and made a little collage that i framed up on some beautifully patina-ed vintage sheet music. i'm kind of glad that my mother's birthday is a few weeks away, so that i can sit this on my shelf for a bit and admire it, she said modestly! :) :) :)

there's lots more avian goodness from my dt sisters at SOS... won't you treat yourself to a little hop over there? ♥

Friday, August 28, 2015

let's play...

...tic tac toe!!! and not just any tic-tac-toe, let's play ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ tic tac toe and make holiday cards that use three-inna-row from any row (or column, or diagonal) on the official board:

i chose the vertical column in the center. to wit: bling, diecuts, snow. is there anyone who's been on my blog more than once who is surprised that "bling" was my first choice? nobody??! well done, darlings! here's my card:

anna aspnes' snowy map overlay printed on an inkjet transparency; patterned paper: hambly, basic grey; vellum: glitz design; snowflake die: spellbinders; bling: recollections + heidi swapp; brad: american crafts; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; doily from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, yeah, it's BUSY... even for me, which is saying something lol. possibly even too busy, but a pretty good example of what happens when you force yourself to finish something when really, you're too tired. so why didn't i toss it and start over? i confess that when i first started making cards, i tended to get rid of the ones i didn't love. and then at some point i was forced, because of time constraints, to bestow card i reallllllllllly hated and was actually embarrassed by. and it turned out to be the person's favorite thing i'd ever made them! (??!?!?!) which blew my mind. but it just goes to show you that everyone's taste is different. so now my policy is: it's a handmade card... it's got interesting ingredients and unique features... it will brighten someone's day. in this case, i'd add the bonus elements that it fits the "tic tac toe" brief and it's a fair-n-square version of the paper players sketch (challenge #259). so there! :)

stephanie has chosen the top horizontal row (santa, bling, stamping) for her card this week, and the results, as always, are impressive. check it out, darlings! ♥

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

mixed media flower frenzy? yes, please!

i'm having so much fun with the sisters with heart in art instagram challenge, i can't even tell you how much! this week's prompt is "flowers, florals, botanicals". i did a sort of a funky art journal page, with a biiiiiiiiiiiig honkin' flower on it; but the challenge is open to EVERY type of art, so if you paint, draw, doodle, make cartoons, write poems, do hand-lettering or well... did i mention it's open to every type of art, lol?! and for that matter, you don't have to use the theme as literally as i have. i really thought i was just playing around while deciding what i was going to do and the next thing i knew, i was makin' this:

the center bit with the flower was actually a piece of scrap paper i was using to wipe the ink and modelling paste off while i was making a completely different mixed media thingybob. this one, in fact. i'm not sure if it's done or not. but i like what's there at the moment, so i'll probably leave it for bit and see what i think the next time i look at it. 

meanwhile, my favorite part of the BIG flower is the sewing. there's a lot of machine stitching. a lot. sometimes when i sit down at the machine i just get into a groove, and that's what happened here. it's very loose, as you can see. no hand cranking at all and all done in one go without stopping to break the thread. on cards i like the stitching to be pretty neat, but it's fun to just wing it sometimes!

my other favorite part is the circle of silver-flake-encrusted tiny paper flowers in the center. i found a ton of tiny flowers when i was doing my clear-out for the papercrafting garage sale up at paper anthology last weekend.* i thought about getting rid of the lot, but i actually still like them, and it occurred to me that i could be using them a) with a fairly free hand (b/c there are LOTS, ppl!!!) and b) i could be trying them out in less traditional ways. i feel i've covered both sections of that brief with this page; and i'm pretty sure the fine folks at making memories (who made+sold these refined and elegant blossoms) never saw this comin', lol! and thus i shall sign off contentedly for now. ciao, darlings! ♥

*it was awesome, by the way; in all respects! i sold a lot, i bought a few awesome bargains, and i had an absolute blast! if you live within driving distance of kenvil, nj, you should TOTALLY get on the list for the paper anthology newsletter b/c the garage sale is an annual event, and next year you'd know about it early enough to *sell* as well as buy, if you wanted to... just sayin'... :)