Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I am going to play catch-up with this post, as it has (once again) been awhile since I posted.  First, here are some photos of our weekend... The freezing rain fell almost all day on Saturday.

Since that happened on Saturday we wondered if we were going to have to cancel our family gathering, but everyone except Ornery's mom arrived at 10:00 AM on the dot for brunch, and stayed until about 4:30 that afternoon.  We had a great time visiting with everyone, played a game of Wits and Wagers, opened presents, and ate two meals.

Of course the temperature fell further in the night, and things were quite slick on Sunday, but fortunately, the streets were dry enough for Ornery to get out Sunday to run a couple of errands.  He worked all day Monday and Tuesday, and had today off.  Since mom was sick on Saturday, we took her gifts to her today, along with a few home remedies to help her get back on her feet quicker.  She seemed delighted to see us and so appreciative of the small gesture.

Otherwise, we put away all the Christmas decor, vacuumed the whole house, rearranged the living room, and cleaned up everything that resembled Christmas. I received a gallon ziplock bag FULL of paper flowers from one of my pen-friends, and I spent a few hours on Tuesday sorting them out.  My table is still full of them, as I write this, but I have other things to take care of this evening.

Ornery goes back to work tomorrow, and Elizabeth plans to come over sometime and work more on her loom.  She has a shawl about 1/3 finished, and orders for two more once she gets this one done.  After work, Ornery and I will head to Lowe's to purchase some tools he needs and trays for beneath some of the plants we moved indoors, and then we can get the ferns out of the bathtub and the palm tree from the entry hall into the living room.  Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle!

I still have four letter holders to finish, and two art journals to make, but otherwise, it appears I am caught up on life!  Woot!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life at Zoe Cottage

Here is a bullet point synopsis of life around here these days.  You probably don't really want all the gory details, anyway, right? :)

  • The weather has been gorgeous the past few days--68 for the high Monday and Tuesday.  Rain is coming, and possibly snow this weekend, but I am enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps!
  • We already celebrated Christmas. It was a spur of the moment decision, but the four of us (Ornery, Elizabeth, Michael and I) were all handy, we had just finished the dinner with Michael's parents and opening those gifts, so we just did the rest.  It isn't that uncommon for us to jump the gun, and I am glad that suspense is over.  I will say only one thing about my gifts: I am spoiled.
  • Ornery's brother is here for the holidays, and will be joining the rest of Ornery's immediate family here on Saturday for our Christmas celebration with them.  
  • The aborted visit that was scheduled for shortly after Thanksgiving has been rescheduled, and now my sister and BIL, Mimi and Chuck, will join us just after New Year's to help us with our construction project.
  • My health and stamina continues to improve--or it was until a couple of days ago, but I think it is a temporary setback.  
  • Our next-door neighbors are camping out in their house as all their furniture has moved to their new home.  We are so sad to see them go, but we have the new mailing address and I may end up with a pen-pal out of the move!  :)
  • I have whittled down my group involvement considerably on Swap-Bot.  I have all but quit swapping there, preferring to deal with the Instagram artists instead.  It has been fun to swap with new artists, and some of them are really good!
  • I have been working on selecting my goals for 2014. This year's word is going to be consistency. I seem to be rather scattered, and there are things that fall through the cracks. I might need an accountability partner...
  • One thing I have been trying to be consistent with is spending time every morning and evening in the living room enjoying the Christmas lights.  It won't be long until they are not there anymore, and I so enjoy seeing them!  The timer turns them on at 4:00 and off at 8:00 (AM) and back on again at 5:00 and off at 10:00 (PM)  I don't have to wonder if I left them on overnight, and they aren't on all day when no one is in the room.  
  • Mail has slowed way down, both coming and going this week.  However, since July I have sent out 458 pieces of mail!  
Here are a few of my recent pieces of outgoing mail.  Love those old stamps and washi tape!! :)

A few ATCs

I keep telling myself I am not going to swap any more until after Christmas, but then I see something I would like to add to my collection and I have to make more to keep my end of the swap!  So, Monday I gathered up all the tiny bits of paper from recent projects that were just too dear to throw away, and made a master board on a piece of wrapping paper.  The piece was big enough to make nine ATCs and here are the results.  A different style for me, to be sure, but they all traded out within a couple of hours, so I guess people must like them! :)

Some New Wood Projects

Ornery and I have been working on a few Christmas gifts, and while he had HIS part mostly done weeks ago, I have been dragging my feet on starting my part.  This week, I had run out of time, so here are the first three.  The rest will likely happen after the holidays, but who knows, I may get wild and finish them off before that!  :)

Two things close to my heart are MAIL and ORGANIZATION!  So, these little wooden letter holders which deal with both those things AND enabled me to use some art and craft supplies, seemed like a pretty cool gift idea to me!  I hope the recipients like them!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Whoop! A New Printer!

It isn't all up and operational yet--as in I can print MS Word documents but not Publisher--but after our Canon i9900 bit the dust a few weeks ago, I went on the hunt for a printer that would enable me to print from anywhere in the house.  Theoretically this one will do that, and it will send docs to the fax portion via wifi, but so far it has to be plugged in with the usb cable to actually create a print.

I need to buy some laser paper, as all I currently have is ink-jet compatible, but at least I was able to print out my Christmas letter today, so I may get all my cards in the mail by the weekend!  That would be nice.

Christmas will be here before we know it, and I am SO ready!  All my gifts are bought and wrapped, and there is already dust gathering on them. :)  I know what a lot of them are, but that does not decrease my desire to have them in my hot little hands!  I am also looking forward to our second Christmas with Michael in the family.  I think he may be my close rival for kid-like anticipation for the holiday.

Just two more weeks!! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Washi Tape Art

Washi, washi, washi!!  That is the cry at my house when a new batch arrives, or when I have it out working.  This week I made two washi-tape fish.  They are Rainbow Trout! :D

 This first one is about 9 inches long.  It was for a private swap, and has some fun text on the back about where it was caught, by whom, etc.

This one was a request from a pen-friend in the Pilippines, and has blue tapes on the other side.  Of course I failed to photograph the second side before I mailed it...

I used old ratty file folders for the base, then freehand drew the fish on them.  I tore little strips of washi tape--about 3/4" long, and put them down, overlapping the outer edges, then I folded the overhang under to the back.  When I glued down the other piece on the back it sealed the edges and helped keep things from coming apart.  Then I added the glitter in all the different colors.  Both fish have "lips" and if you look closely you can see them. The eye on the second fish is also made from washi tape--it is the wheel of a bicycle.

Happy Art Swap

One of the things I have recently started participating in is a swap I found on Instagram called Happy Art Swap.  Once a month, each participant sends in 4 cards 5X7 size with original art on it.  The organizer shuffles them up and sends out three to each participant, keeps a set for herself, then sends extras to various people.  Here are the cards I made for the December #haswap.

 This first card reflects my love for the written word--snail-mail, pen-pals and the like.  The "letter" is stamped on, then I hand wrote the text.  The other little post card image is also stamped, as is the metallic embossing on the upper left and lower right corners.  The pen was an embellishment in a packet from K&Co, the stamps from my stash, and the green seal I put on with sealing wax.  There is a tiny bit of washi tape on the top of the letter--because almost every single letter I send has washi on it somewhere!

 The background didn't turn out quite like I had wanted it to, so I added the edge of the map to cover some of it up.  No problem!  It set the tone for the seaside feel of this card.  Again, the trees, and I think the letters if I recall correctly are all K&Co embellishments.  I added distress stickles glitter to the palm trees.

 This card, framed in washi tape, has a little card in the upper corner from a winery and is written in Russian.  The flowers were all white when I started, but I painted them all with twinks.  I used little rhinestones for the centers as I didn't want to put brads through the heavy illustration board that I made these cards from.

 This last one is all about the new year.  Lots of fortune cookie strips in the pocket, and all of them offer good wishes.  The words were all cut from junk mail. :)

I don't think I posted the November cards, and since they got deleted before I was able to download them, I borrowed the picture Sandie posted on her blog.  Here is the November set--my first ones ever. :)

Artist Trading Cards and a Little Update

Life is interesting, and sometimes it takes different twists and turns.  For the last several years I have been practically inseparable from my laptop.  It was rare that a day would go by without me spending several hours on it either writing, or just cruising the interwebs.  Well, I got this little tablet computer, and it has enabled me to have INSTANT access to things!  I don't have to wait for the computer to boot-up, then for pages to load, etc.  It has spoiled me something fierce!

Since I haven't figured out a really good way to upload blog posts to it yet, I am terribly behind on posting.  I have also had a hard time maintaining so many different blogs, instagram, facebook, and so on, so I have mostly been posting to Instagram--a feature that is also a great thing about the tablet is that I don't have to use my phone's data plan!

So, I have decided to merge all my special interest blogs into one, and have my Instagram, Swap-Bot, and Blog names all the same--I am orneryswife everywhere! :)  I hope to eventually get my favorite posts ported over from all my other blogs, but during the busy holiday time is not the best time for that.  For now, I am leaving up the other blogs.

Now, on to the last several Artist Trading Cards I have made.  Each card is 3.5 X 2.5 inches.
A friend sent me a short note on a memo that had the bird and flowers on it, another friend sent me the little diecut purple flowers which I highlighted with liquid pearls to change the color from purple stems to green. There is other liquid pearl scattered around on the flowers, and glitter around the edge of the whole card.  The background is painted with twinkling H2O watercolors.  The text is some sort of Arabic, I think. :)

This and the next one were sort of a reaction to all the Christmas themed cards I have been doing.  I was getting tired of red and green, and the whole Christmas theme, so I rummaged around through my scraps and came up with some black and white things... ideas are never far from the surface when there are such fun things to work with!

My first "New Year" themed card!  I haven't had many uses for those silver letters--I think they came with a page kit I bought a few years ago.  They fit just perfectly on the little bunting!

This background was made by another swapper who sent it to me as an extra in a SwapBot swap.  I added the flowers and the washi tape, the rest was already there.  The flowers are punched from paper, then coated with Glossy Accents to give them sheen.  They weren't dry yet when I took the picture.  The stems/leaves are freehand cut from a piece of paper with Washi Tape stuck to it.  I am really in love with the way it turned out!

This ATC was an experiment on so many levels!  I had been hankering to do a bit more paper weaving, so I cut strips from several different papers I had painted, and wove them together, then selected all the other embellishments from my stash.  The tiny little squares are from the ends of the weaving, and when they fell onto the card, I decided I liked the look and added a few more!  It looks like confetti. :)  The dragonfly is a diecut from K&Co.

This is very similar to a card I did a month or so ago.  It got rave comments on Instagram, and I figured if they liked it once... This time I added lace instead of ribbon, and the feathers are way cool, two spotted and one striped! :)  The black stem of little flowers is from the same swapper (and is the same diecut in a different color) as the purple in the first ATC in this group.  And, of course, I added a bit of Washi Tape at the bottom.

This little house ATC is for a Mixed Media group swap.  I used book pages with text in Italian, Arabic, and Russian, some punchella, (discard from making sequins) Washi Tape, and some cotton for the smoke.  For media, twinkling H2O watercolors, pen and ink, and distress ink.

Lots of little strips of torn book pages and map on this twinkling background!  I used Silks acrylic glaze on the puzzle pieces and alcohol inks on the little letters that were not the colors I wanted! I freehand cut the heart (would love a little punch in that shape!) and coated it with glossy accents.  Then I added orange glitter around the edges.  It is very colorful!

This is one of my favorites! (which is why I called it magical!)  The little flowers and dragonfly punches were from a swapper who sent them as extras with her amazing swap.  The book page background is in Italian, and painted with several colors of yellow twinks, with a little orange added it.  When it was mostly dry, I placed on it a piece of bubble wrap that had been on a dark blue piece of paper and was still wet.  The result was quite fun, and the colors don't seem to show nearly as well on my computer as they did in person.
This is the second illustration from this little book about Polly I picked up for free at my accountant's office.  He also owns a used book store and has shelves of books you can take for free at his tax office. Thank you, I believe I will!  This one I used my twinkling H2O watercolors to add the color, and I liked the way it turned out quite well.

This last ATC is from a little grouping of flowers my daughter drew for me and I painted with twinks.  It was almost too big for the ATC, but I didn't lose much of it. I placed it over a piece of paper I found folded and wrapped in plastic beneath some washi tape samples someone had sent me.  I thought it made a fine background for this!  Finally I added the little lady bug brad.

Christmas Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

I have not posted any photos for a long time, so I am playing catch up today.  In order to better access them later, I am dividing the themes up a bit, so here are the Christmas themed ATCs I have made so far this month:
 For this first one I traced around some American Crafts plastic die cut shapes to make the ornaments, then cut them out of a vintage map I had painted with Twinkling H2O watercolors.  I hightlighted them with liquid pearls and also made the little ornament tops with some.  I drew on the string.  To make the ridges in the ornament tops, I drug a straight pin through the wet liquid pearl.  It looked quite authentic!

 Two more ATCs featuring the painted vintage map.  Here it is a background behind the storebought snowmen.  The Merry Christmas is from a confetti pack!

 I have had these poinsettias for several years--these are the last three from my stash!  I used some Smooch ink on the leaves to give them some shimmer, and stickles glitter on the top flower.  The background is some I painted with Twinks, I got the dots by laying a sheet of bubble wrap over the wet pools of paint and letting it set for a while. 

 More twinks painted backgrounds, and the tree is punched from the same map I have been working with for a while.  I added lace and washi tape, plus a very old button embellishment.  (it's not vintage, just several years in my stash!)

 Thhis one has copper embossing on it, copper glitter, and I would have used other copper accents, but decided to not go too overboard. :)  The plastic trees are by American Crafts--another item I have had in my stash for an age!

 The little VW Bug cut out was an extra in a swap I received, I tied the little tree on with some baker's twine.  I giggle each time I see it, thinking how hard it would be for the driver to get out with all that rope tied onto the car! :)

 For this one, I used a Russian text book page painted with Twinks, cut out the angels from a book page that was sent to me as an extra, and added the cross and pearl/lace embellishments.  The cross has been in my stash for over 5 years, just waiting for the right time to surface on some project. 

 I actually made two of these, and after I took the photo, I added another reindeer that looks like it is leaping or flying up around the top of the tree.  It balanced it out better.  I also added more "ornaments" to the tree with some red glitter to tie in the red scarves and noses of the reindeer.

 More vintage map and sheet music, and a lot of tiny scraps leftover from several other ATCs.  I just love layering those little torn pieces--whether washi tape or paper!

 I hand cut the ponds from a piece of metallic card stock, and all the rest is also freehand.  The penguins are JoLee's embellishments, and I knew when I saw them in the store they would be perfect for some cute ATCs!

 This is the second puzzle piece ATC I have made from this puzzle, and have since made two more that I haven't photographed.  It's fun to put together the puzzle to find the scenes that will work on such a small space. 

 This one is just ridiculous!  I named it "Rudolph's Family, or Origin of a Species."  The white deer were from a window cling that comes from those gun toting organizations, and was meant for a car window, I suppose.  It was vinyl, and I am not sure how well the glitter stuck to it.  I added the mustache, googly eyes (which make anything funny!) and the little moose cut outs.  In all it was just pretty fun to make, and I laughed at it several times.  :)

 Nothing special about this one--just scraps of book pages and music cut for a swapbot swap.  I sprayed the background with Tattered Angels glimmer mist.  The snowflakes are cut from a roll of deco tape I got from Hobby Lobby.

Several months ago I received two backgrounds from a swapper who made this one.  I added the map circle and little trees all cut from painted book pages and sheet music.  I had quite a bit of that paper, and was getting as many things out of it as I could!

So, that is my latest Christmas ATC collection.  I think I am about done making them--Christmas themed that is! :)