Tuesday, September 29, 2015

oh wooden it be nice?

miss leslie has really been rockin' the challenge titles over at shopping our stash lately and this week she's got another goodie for us in the form of "wooden it be nice" for which we'd like to see... waiiiiiit forrrrrr iiiiiiiiiiiiiit... wood grain or wood veneer items somewhere on your project! woohoo! here's what i made:

patterned paper: crate, bo bunny, my mind's eye, glitz design, vintage sheet music, creative imaginations; vinyl rub-on sentiment: the late lamented and still very much missed EAD designs; wooden hearts: studio calico; shimmery tan cardstock: bazzill; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, scor-tape, scotch gluestick, gluedots, sewing machine

there is some pretty impressive stash-usage here because the little wooden hearts have been sitting in a drawer, in the packet, unopened for... ok, i think possibly since before we moved which is getting on for 2.5 years now. yeah. i needed a push, lol. with regard to woodgrain paper, that's a whole different story, i go through that stuff fast, because somehow it just always looks good. as always when i am paper piecing or mixing patterned scraps i wind up with waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many pieces of whatever the central element is-- in this case it was punched hexagons--. i had a ton leftover, i had another small square of the woodgrain paper and even some additional wooden hearts; plus this cool "XOXO" from a totally different, also un-opened pack of wooden thingies. in these cases i generally think to myself, "i should really make another card to use these up" and then put everything away and move on to the next project. but this time i thought that and actually did it. go, me!

there are many fine wooden-centric designs awaiting you at SOS, won't you give yourself a treat and check those out right now? you can thank me later, darlings! ♥

Friday, September 25, 2015

cue adam sandler!

every year at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we like to take one fortnight and dedicate it to making cards that celebrate the other winter holidays: solstice, new year, kwanzaa, winter time generally, and yes, of course, hanukkah! or, if you prefer, you can get a jump on your holiday thank-you notes! i went with hanukkah, and here's my card:

watercolor paper: strathmore; blue glitter cardstock: dcwv; black glossy cardstock + various shades of blue and yellow distress ink: ranger; silver glitter thickers: american crafts (via miss leslie, ta v much!); silver mylar stars from my stash; outlining pen: faber-castell pitt; machine stitching using coats and clarks heavy duty black upholstery thread; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i saw some really cute menorahs on pinterest a few weeks ago and it occurred to me that i might be able to make a pretty cool card using stencils. i don't happen to have a menorah stencil, or even a candle; but i do have one with skinny stripes and another with rain drops, which made me think i could do this:

...and i was right, lol! do you have a brilliant idea for a non-christmas holiday card? someone who definitely did is miss stephanie, and you can see that just by hopping over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥?! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

show us your smile!

it's tuesday once again and thus time for another fun challenge at shopping our stash. this week we want to see your smile. ok, actually, we want that every week, but this time we'd also like to see an image that features a smile --or the word smile-- on your card. of course, in a pinch, you could substitute grin, laugh, guffaw, chortle, chuckle, giggle... well, you get the idea, right? awesome! here's my card:

text paper from an old dictionary; scraps of basic grey, ki, sei, creative imaginations and doodlebug patterned papers; black glossy cardstock by ranger for my card base, with the scraps used to make the sentiment via an XL tim holtz die; washi: freckled fawn; epoxy heart: stickopatomus; punches and corner rounder: fiskars, ek success; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

do you love the little camera? sorry to be obnoxiously proud, but i made that myself, from scraps! actually, a variation of this card is part of a "free style" paper piecing class i'm teaching at paper anthology* in september and october. i know we all love to paper-piece stamped images, but what do you do when you want to make something for which you don't have a stamp, or you need it to be a different size? for the sweet little camera, i looked at some photos and realized a basic camera shape is actually a couple of rectangles, with some stacked circles for the lens. which made me think, "hey, i bet i could do that with the paper trimmer and some circle punches!" turns out, i was right!

in the same class we'll also make a card with a fun pair of sunglasses (using a copyright-free clipart image as template) and a little landscape that's made using ordinary shapes and dies in new ways. (that one's a version of this SOS card i made in june.)

speaking of SOS, the other lovely ladies over there have their very best smiles on this week too... why not stop by and see those right now?!

*paper anthology is a pretty fabulous paper crafting shop located in kenvil, the heart of central new jersey. if you're in the area, you should totally check it out!!! ♥

Saturday, September 19, 2015

there's NO WAY i'm starting another daily art challenge!!!

because much as i loooooooooove ICAD --and strongly believe in daily creativity-- logistically, i cannot commit to anything big at the moment. especially something that lasts an entire year. so why am i mentioning all this? well, because the amazing miss tracy and a few other of my lovely instagram art friends are doing 365 doodles with johanna fritz. and it's a SUPER-fun group, with terrific daily prompts. the great thing, though, is that you don't have to sign on for the whole thing; they totally welcome weekly, monthly, or just whenever-ya-feel-like-it participation. so yeah, i've been jumping in a little bit.

365 doodles: TREE
a palm tree, obviously; painted with ken oliver's color burst powders that i put into a palette and pre-wet; so basically they worked exactly like regular watercolors. if i wasn't already hooked on these, this experience would've clinched it! :)

365 doodles: PRETZEL
colored with distress markers, using more attention than i generally give to blending and shading. 

365 doodles: FAVORITE PEN
i'm pretty much in love with faber-castell's pitt artist pens, in black india ink, especially the extra superfine nib (xs) though i use the whole range. i did the grey shading with tombows, having realized AFTER i did the lettering that of course these pens are black and the lettering is white. ah well, artistic license!

"aloha" was just an extra doodle, again with the color burst powders functioning as watercolors.

this guy miiiiiiiiiiiight be my favorite, a chameleon that i drew on labor day morning, watching HGTV in my pajamas. because *that* is the whole entire POINT of three-day weekends, am i right???!


Friday, September 18, 2015

oldest + newest

one of my favorite ways to use older items from my extensive (ahem!) collection of papercrafting schtuffs is to mix it in with my newest and most favorite bits. it just seems to freshen up the older things, and keep the new from looking too faddy. at least, i hope it does, lol! i mention all this as a reminder that this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we've teamed up with the lovely ladies from shopping our stash to make holiday cards that feature supplies we've owned for at least a year. here's what i made this week:

vintage sheet music and seam binding; old stuff: studio calico snowflake paper, core'dinations cardstock, doodlebug flower sequin, joann fabrics heart brad; lace and pearly trimming: may arts; snowflake border die: memory box; snowflake die: tim holtz/sizzix; glitter paper: best creation; glitter paste: viva decor in "champagne"; flourish stencil: tim holtz/ranger; colorburst watercolor powders in alizarin crimson and merlot: ken oliver; watercolor paper: strathmore; ink: colorbox; black outliner pen: faber-castell pitt in xs; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, scotch gluestick, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

so, old stuff? well, the sheet music and seam binding are vintage and i've had them for a while and i love them both as much as the day i found them* so there's that; but of the actual papercrafting products, the snowflake paper, flower sequin and heart brad have all been around for a bit; easily more than a year on all counts. the "latest and greatest"? ok, yeah, i'm definitely in a stencil phase, especially when used with colorburst powders, which is how i made the ornament. i already loved modeling paste, even before elisabeth at paper anthology turned me on to its more glamorous cousin, glitter paste. holy wow, where has this been all my life?! elisabeth's favorite brand is viva, which is made in germany. it seems like it's a lot pricier than similar products made by dreamweaver and bo bunny... (which are called glitter embossing paste and are also good) ...until you realize that you're getting almost twice as much in a jar. plus, it has a kind of  vintage patina to it, like when you find old xmas ornaments where the glitter has slightly tarnished, which ought to look a bit sad but is actually even more beautiful. (or is it just me who thinks so?? nahhhh... surely not.) anyway, it's good stuff and i'm confident you'll be seeing LOTS MORE of it! :)

speaking of lots more, there is inspiration galore to be found both at shopping our stash and ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ why not give yourself a little treat and check those out!

*at a booksale and rummage sale, respectively. i got a whole (1903!) volume of the former, and an entire roll of the latter. the women who were in charge of the cash drawer at the rummage sale seemed utterly bemused that anyone would even want seam binding when (apparently) now there are much better, easier-to-use products that you iron on, and apologized for the rather steep .25cent price tag. :) 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


i realized when i sat down to post my sketchbook page for this week's sisters with heart in art instagram challenge, that i somehow never blogged last week's page either? duh, lauren! ok, so it's a two-fer, then, woohoo! this week's prompt is "FIRE". somehow i went from doodling flames to the five chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. but that's what i love about prompts... you kind of start with an idea and just see where it goes. 

no real art products involved here except my artist's loft watercolor paints and a faber-castell pitt artist pen with a suuuuuuper skinny nib (it's called xs) 

last week we had "SPOOKY" and again, i didn't really have a *plan* as such (can you tell, lol?!) just a color scheme, a phrase and a whole bunch o'stencils, lol!

loads of ranger distress inks here, some heidi swapp alphabet stamps, and a lot (A LOT!) of stencils, mostly tim holtz ones. oh and a doily

everyone is welcome to join the fun, and you needn't be an art journaler; you could stamp, draw, paint, write poetry, do handlettering, collage, take photos... all media and all formats are welcome and there are some really fun folks hanging out, so i think you'd have fun! ♥

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

outta this world

another stunningly fab title and assignment from shopping our stash this week. the challenge? make a project that is "outta this world" by which we mean, it has an alien on it! what qualifies as an alien? well, anything driving a rocket or spacecraft, i suppose; any characters from scifi telly or movies; most types of monsta ...and david bowie, obviously. not into the idea? ok, then, howsabout something more celestial: sun, moon, stars, planets... ok c'mon there has to be *something* in this paragraph that sounds good to you! i s'pose it goes without saying i went with a space/monsta/alien type dude.

alien based on this pattern by cathy blackstone; texty stars and grungy circle stamps: dina wakley/ranger; star stencil: carabella designs; yellow ink: ranger archival; blue ink: ken oliver's colorburst (in a few colors) + ranger distress inks; pleather, foam (both recolored) and fabric thickers: american crafts; patterned paper: basic grey + a scrap of vintage ledger; long lost googley eyes + tiny yellow gems: michaels; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, gluedots, sewing machine; watercolor paper: strathmore

does it surprise you that despite having loads of awesome pre-made monstas, including carved stamps by my friend gina and digistamps by my friend jess, i paper-pieced a completely new guy based on something i saw on pinterest?! yeah, me too! it was partially because --after a prolonged and increasingly aggravated search-- i found my container of googley eyes, some of which are quite large. also, i had an idea for a background that was pretty inky and detailed, so i needed a plain-but-substantial alien to inhabit it. and finally, i confess that i pretty much built the whole idea around the sentiment, which i pictured in several different styles of thickers; so again... it needed to be a pretty big card. it's a pretty busy card, too, but i really like it!

there's more outta this world goodness over at SOS... well, there always is, but it's slightly more literal this week, lol! off you go, darlings! ♥

Sunday, September 13, 2015

bird + leaves + stencil + colorburst

here's a card that almost got away! i blame the fact that when stephanie was here we had soooooo much fun playing with paper, ink and various other art supplies that things like taking photos and blogging just sort of fell by the wayside.

bird image and text paper taken from two different falling-apart old books; aspen mini template: the crafter's workshop; earth tone colorburst powders: ken oliver; burnt orange cardstock: core'dinations; glossy black cardstock: ranger; outliner pen: faber castell pitt in xs; sketchbook paper: canson; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

this 6x6" aspen tree stencil was already one of my all faves, even before i discovered how beautifully it worked with ken oliver's colorburst powders, but YOWZA i love it even more now! this particular version actually uses the template more like a stamp; you know how when you use a stencil with wet media, in addition to getting color on the paper you're stenciling, there's usually quite a bit that gathers on top of the template itself? well, thanks to a post of dina wakley's that i read a few years ago, i started "blotting" the extra color up with a piece of scrap paper or cardstock; and sometimes i even wind up loving the "blot" page more than the thing i was actively working on, lol! this was one of those times. since i already had a gorgeous forest, i just needed a sweet little dude from a vintage bird book and some sort of frame, for which i employed leaves diecut from an old book with pages that were just a teeeeeeeeeny bit glossy. loads of machine stitching ensued et voila!

the daring cardmakers' september elemental challenge is "fall in love with autumn" for which they'd like us to select at least three facets this luscious inspiration board; i've chosen the colors, the leaves, and the combination of white + trees that we can see in the lovely pic of the fence.

meanwhile, the ladies at our crafty corner are kicking off their very first challenge by celebrating autumn leaves, so i thought i'd pop in and join them!

i can't resist one more pic: this was on IG already, but not blogged; remember how i said photos kind of took a bit of a backseat to all the fun stephanie and i were having? the proof of that is that here's the ONLY pic we thought to take of the two of us together, i'm kinda kicking myself about that, but still i do love this pic of our twenty ink-stained, multicolored fingers!!! ♥

i've been incredibly lucky throughout my life to have found friends i can laugh with, cry with, eat with, talk with, work with, play with, and especially make art with; the fact that eight or so years ago i managed to find one particular friend called stephanie with whom i could immediately do ALL of those things, despite the fact that we live 1000 miles apart, just totally blows my mind... in the best possible way!!! ♥♥♥

Friday, September 11, 2015

jingling our stash??!

this week my two favorite blogs... ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and shopping our stash, obviously... are teaming up to give you one assignment with two link-ups and a chance at two lovely prizes. sound good? i thought it might, lol. i bet you can almost predict what we're going to ask for, can't you, darlings? especially if you remember a similar team-up we did last year? yepper, the jingle belles part is to make a christmas card (well duh, lauren!) and the SOS part is to use something from your stash that is at least a year old; oh yeah, and you need to tell us what that item is, so we can marvel at how cleverly you've used it! in my case it was reallllllly easy because, as you know, i have TONS of old stuff and i love to use it up, so apart from my glossy white cardstock cardbase, every single thing on this card is at least 3 or 4 years old... minimum... and some of it's nearly old enough to vote!!! :)

furthermore, since miss stephanie and i had the very great pleasure of spending crafty time together last week at my house, the two of us decided to add a little *extra* level of challenge to our own cards by using the exact same stamp. which DEFINITELY qualifies as senior stash, being as how it's from D.O.T.S. --a stamp co that's been gone for at least a decade; and the stamp wasn't new then! i confess that this part of the gig was nearly my undoing because stephanie is almost always more organized than i am, and is absolutely always a faster worker than i am, and she got in first with a gorgeous card that just happens to use two of the ideas i'd been counting on: handmade colorburst papers and lots of bling! so i had to get creative... or rather... more creative!

one of the first things you notice about this stamp is the fact that it has a bunch of horizontal layers within the tree. what would happen if i stamped the tree on several different scraps of green paper and pieced them all back together at the end? as a matter of fact, the results were super-cute, but when my tree didn't quiiiiiiiiite fill up the green panel, i thought i was sunk. and then it hit me: if i was adhering separate layers to each other anyway, why did i have to stop at just four? so i didn't! problem solved.

i've used the layout of sweet sunday sketch #285 to guide the placement of my stash-based schtuffs. i was fairly faithful, apart from the fact that i played with the proportions of the elements!

there are two places to check out more SOS + JB design team cards this week; namely shopping our stash and JINGLE BELLES♥. so off you go for lots of extra inspiration! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

upon reflection...

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "mirror, mirror" and we want to see something reflective on your card. i used metallic chipboard letters and this cool silver mylar deco tape. plus a little bling for good measure!

color burst pigment powders by ken oliver; watercolor paper: strathmore; bling: recollections; silver chipboard letters: mambi; white foam thickers: american crafts; reflective silver mylar deco tape of unknown origin (dear tape manufacturers, do you have any idea HOW MANY repeat customers you're losing by not putting your brand name on the inner cardboard roll thingie that holds your tape? seriously, how can we thank you for making something awesome if we don't know who you are??!) ink: stewart superior; pen: faber castell pitt; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

the lovely miss stephanie was here for a few days and we did some serious eating (of shake shack burgers, amongst other treats!) some serious shopping (at the very awesome paper anthology!) and some very seriously UN-serious playing around with art supplies at all hours of the day and night. so basically, it was like a slumber party for crafty grown-ups; or you could call it ♥heaven♥!

we're both a bit hooked on ken oliver's color burst-- it's basically powdered watercolor pigment that produces the most vivid colors ever, as my background papers and festive star will attest! for the right-hand side, i used 3 or 4 different shades through a stencil; for the left-hand side i used a couple of shades of blue and green kind of randomly on watercolor paper; the star is made from a scrap of dictionary paper i used to blot a totally different essperiment involving blue and purple, so it's considerably more muted. there doesn't seem to be a *bad* way to go with these, though. 

another great use for a sketchbook is writing down all the ideas you have when there's no time to be crafty. then when there *IS* time you'll remember all the stuff you wanted to try! (for this lettering i used the colorburst powders exactly like regular watercolors and they worked brilliantly in every sense of that word!)

i didn't wind up with many *finished* items apart from the mirror, mirror card, but then i consider these "art camp" experiences to be a time to have fun and just play around with new supplies rather aimlessly. afterall, that's the only way to learn!

just a few of my essperiments from this weekend; as you can see pigment powders, stencils, modelling and embossing pastes, stamps and vintage paper all played a prominent part. (so did sushi, burgers, and the best smoked pork ribs i've ever had in my life, but sadly none of those lasted long enough for me to photograph them, lol!)

something i learned a long time ago is that miss leslie is awesome at making inspiring sketches that i will enjoy, and her CSSC#8 is no exception:

miss leslie is also rather good at making cards... as are the rest of the lovely SOS ladies... won't you stop by and say HOWDY to them today?! ♥♥♥

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 made my very own mandala pin board. i've 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, and needing to take breaks in between activities, 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? ♥