Thursday, January 9, 2014

Home Alone

After company for Ornery's birthday and a full week of overnight company, Ornery and Elizabeth (who had the flu earlier in the week) are finally back at work, my sister and brother-in-law are on the road headed back to Tucson, and the house is empty for a few hours, except for little ol' me!

The construction project, while fraught with challenges and accidents, is mostly complete.  We have a wall, French door with knob and lock, window, power, (which was quite a feat requiring a new breaker box, ceiling outlets, wall outlets and a new exterior porch light, exhaust fan motors...) HVAC connected to the main house with return air vent, exhaust fans and insulation overhead and in the wall.  The green-board sheet rock is up on the inside wall and other than a bit of sanding, ready to paint. The exterior hardi plank siding is up and also ready to receive paint.

There were weather related issues to deal with throughout, since the entire country experienced record breaking cold temperatures.  Fortunately, we had a propane heater, and borrowed Ornery's mom's double burner model, so the guys were able to pour the floor leveling material (required to install the door on a level surface) and dry the joint compound on the sheet rock so it could be sanded.

CW spent about 10 hours in the attic on that coldest day since 1912, and was so cold when he finally came down his feet were too numb to balance on the beams and he almost fell through our bathroom ceiling.  The only actual casualty was the staple gun he had in his hand which he flung in his effort to grab hold of something to break his fall, and because of the deep insulation, he was unable to locate it.  The project was rather hard on staple guns.  I think they ended up breaking/buying 3 or 4 by the time it was all done!

The blown insulation was a three person job requiring two in the attic yelling instructions to the third person in the garage tending the machine.  In the end I think they broke that as well as part of Ornery's shop vac.  Other than those casualties, however, I haven't heard of any other disasters.

Ornery is delighted to be so far along on the project, although he has a whole lot more work to do before we are close to ready to start planting any seeds, but overall it was worth the wait for CW and Mimi to be able to come.

Mimi did a lot of the cooking while they were here.  She is more of a foodie than I am, and frankly, I tend to just throw something together at the last minute and hope for the best.  Not her!  We ate high on the hog for a whole week, and that without gluten, sugar or (for me) any dairy or nightshade foods!  Other than the cooking, however, I had her steadfastly occupied in my studio making her first Artist Trading Cards, some greeting cards, and on the last day, prints on my new Gelli-plate printing plate.  Of course I was occupied in similar pursuits, and have a few photos to show for my week's worth of absence from the blogosphere...

Elizabeth finished the green shawl she had on the loom before Christmas, and came over one afternoon and started this new one for Michael's sister.

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 The first day in the studio with Mimi, we got out the Twinkling H2O watercolors and painted assorted random papers.  Then we played with them.  This ATC was made using some emboss resist (chicken wire stamp) and the Twinks.  I was all set to swap it until Mimi said she wanted one just like it, so I gave it to her. :)

 This is a post card for a SwapBot swap called Gift-wrap Mail Art.  I used tissue paper for the background, added washi tape and flowers, sealed it all with gloss gel medium, and then added the flowers, brads and eyelash yarn on the right side.  I was going to send it "naked" but in the end put it inside a clear plastic sleeve for mailing.  No point in clogging up the mail machines, right?

 After we finished with the Twinks, I showed Mimi how to use Alcohol Inks.  This background paper was just a slick white paper I added various ink drops to.  I applied the felt applicator to parts of it, and used a coffee stir stick to "blow" to make the runs.  I stamped a jar image on some silver vellum, added the gold cap with liquid pearl, and stuck on the little asparagus spears I had in my stash.

 Then I decided to just get busy and make a few ATCs for trading.  This one is using some new papers I got for Christmas in a 6X6" paper pad.  Nothing extraordinary, but certainly fun!

 I ended up sending it to one of my pen-friends inside this card.  I found the stamp of the little chick in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby on the day Mimi and I were sent on some errands for the guys.  We took a rather long side-trip to HobLob and spent my Christmas gift card (plus a bit more) and Mimi bought some yarn for Elizabeth to make a shawl for her, along with a few fun paper crafting items.

 Another card I made using the paper pad...

 Then we got out the modeling paste and silks acrylic glaze.  This was my first attempt at using a rubber stamp on the surface of the paste.  I didn't care for the result of that part, but by the time I added inks and silks to the ATC, I was pretty pleased with the final product.  It traded right away, so someone else liked it, too! :)

 After my success with the modeling paste on the first one, I decided to just get several cards out and play with it some more!  This one (and the ones following) were painted white with acrylic paint, then spritzed with Dylusions spray ink.  Then I applied modeling paste through various stencils, some of which I mixed with the over-sprayed ink on the mat, then highlighted with silks acrylic glazes.  And a bit of Stickles, glitter glue.  The little butterflies are punched out of scraps...

 This one uses just little spots of the modeling paste, a little tab I cut from some QuicKutz dies, a torn bit from one of the papers we painted with Twinks, some washi tape, and a wire tree. I used silks around the edge of the card to add a bit more dimension and sort of frame it.

 This one was probably my favorite.  The white acrylic paint on the surface of the card mixed with some inks left the base pretty shiny.  The modeling paste has no shine whatsoever, so you can really distinguish the outline of the stencil I used as an imprint.  I added drizzles of silks over it and around the edge, then I used a heat gun on it to make the paint bubble up.  When it cools, the uneven surface gives an interesting texture.

The hearts are cut from scraps of old Russian sheet music I had in my scrap box, and I edged them with gold stickles.
 For this ATC, I squeezed some modeling paste onto the surface of the card and used a notched tool to drag through it and give it some shape.  Once it was dry (and very WHITE) I decided to add some Key Lime Silks acrylic glaze.  I applied it with a stick, so it is pretty thick on the surface of the modeling paste, but it is almost eye-popping bright under the lights.  I love the shimmer of those glazes!!

 For this ATC I used a clock stencil with some colored modeling paste (mixed in some ink from the overspray) then sealed it with gloss gel medium.  The other accents are washi tape, Tim Holtz metal embellishment and Eyelet Outlet doggie brad.  It is my last dog brad, and I think I may need some more of those!! :)

Yesterday, which ended up being a bonus day since they were able to stay longer than originally planned, Mimi and I got out my new Gelli printing plate.  We started out using my acrylic craft paints but quickly discovered that we liked the look we got from the Silks much more, so we ended up going back and applying silks to all the first prints we made.  After they were all dry, I cut them in half so we each got to keep 1/2 our work. It was time consuming and very messy, but we both had a great time with it and I am sure I will get it out often to make background papers for future projects.

So, that was my week!  I will post photos of the before and after garden room once we get a little further along.  I would like to get some of the mess cleaned up before I put photos out there for general consumption! :)


JoJo said...

So many beautiful ATCs!!!! I am currently going nuts b/c I cannot find the first 2 ATCs I made a couple years ago. They were hanging around on my craft table for ages and I thought I finally put them in a scrap book but I've looked high and low to no avail.

Julie Steed said...

Tracy, I found you! You have been busy, busy. So sorry about the staple guns. We have the same insulation in our attic. I store boxes up there and am quite sure that things have fallen out on occasion never to be seen again.

Lovely artsy work you've been doing! What fun to have a play with Mimi in the studio.