Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rethinking A to Z

I have decided to forego participation in the A to Z blogging challenge this year. Computer problems and other time commitments plus a lack of motivation have aided my decision making process.

I have done a bit of art and letter writing lately, but not much computer time.

Washi tape house

Artist Trading Card made with twinkling h2o watercolor, acrylic, modeling paste, ink and washi tape. 
I also did pages in two art journals that I haven't posted yet.

This is a tip-out page. The gutter is on the left and the washi tape acts as a hinge. I used alcohol inks and embossing on it. 

This is the page opened out. I used a gelli-print for the background, sheet music along top and bottom, and acrylic paint with a stencil for the butterfly. The smaller markings on the wings are made with glass bead gel I tinted with primary elements artist pigment. 

Gelli-print background and flowers. The letters were stamped with foam stamps and embossed with translucent gold embossing powder.

This was the second page I did in this journal, mostly just animal pictures from various sources on an inked background. 

Today I sent out 15 pieces of mail--cards, letters and swaps. Tuesday is the first day of National Letter Writing Month, so I anticipate a busy time ahead!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I have been up to...

I have been a slacker blogger this month.  It was my intention to spend a lot more time around here, cleaning things up and getting ready for the A to Z Blogging challenge (click on the banner above to see some of the other thousands of bloggers participating) and warming up to my computer again after a fairly long absence, but it hasn't worked out that way.

I have been writing some scheduled posts (although not as many as I should have done) and preparing for National Letter Writing Month, which is also during the month of April, AND doing my usual swapping on Swap Bot including co-founder responsibilities for a new washi-tape group. My computer had apparently taken on a new personality, and invited hundreds--nay, thousands-- of extra friends to pop in and greet me while doing online chores. :P  That required a few hours of Ornery's time...

I am still writing to several pen pals, and have added a few new ones in the last week or two.  We repainted my studio, I am almost finished with the reorganization of things, and we are gearing up for spring planting in our new raised garden beds.  We have had one thing after another cause us grief in our aquaponics system, and while Ornery was gone last week I wrenched my back (dislocated my pelvis) and spent a miserable week on ice in my recliner.

Today was my first full day back on my feet, and I spent it doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and disengaging numerous science experiments from the refrigerator. Eew.  Things are looking up, now if I can just figure out what to write about for 26 posts!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Aquaponics Update

 The peas have grown quite a bit in a week, but we have noted they are turning quite yellow at the top.  Don't know what that is about, but thinking we will have to do some research.  They started out in pots with some dirt, and we rinsed the roots off to plant them.

 This is a lima bean that came up from seed in the bed.  So far he looks quite happy.  This was planted Sunday.

 The seed starting rack has a decided GREEN cast to it! :)  Lots of plants going great guns in there...

Including these that have had to be removed from the rack because they wanted to climb on everything!!

 The plants on the right are scarlet runner beans, and some sort of melon is on the left.

This is the first bed we sowed seeds directly into.  It has chard, cabbage, carrots, three kinds of onions, broccoli and zucchini. The dark green leaf on the left is the first of the three zucchini seeds we planted.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mail Art, Gelliprints and Washi Tape Feathers

I am moving away from Artist Trading Cards for a while, and my current focus is on preparing for National Letter Writing Month (April) and Blogging A to Z (April).  The sign ups are already closed for NLWM, and there are 128 participants this year.  Each person is assigned a partner, and the only thing they are required to do is write their partner at least one time.  But many in the group will send to everyone, and you are asked to reply to all the letters you receive. Could be a pretty wild mail month!!

So, I decided to go big or go home with my mail, and am working to make every piece I send out something special for the recipient.  One of my pen pals sent me some feathers made of washi tape a few weeks ago, and it has been on my list of things to accomplish ever since.  I finally got around to making a few this week!

The most challenging part was getting the two pieces of tape to meet fully, as that tape is sticky and wants to cling the moment it touches anything else.  I figured out a way to make it work with some permanent Dotto adhesive on a scrap piece of paper.  I laid the tape down sticky side up onto the strip of adhesive and put the string down the middle (I used button thread), then I folded the tape over it.  Once that was done, I trimmed the feather and notched it. They are easy, but a little time consuming, so I probably won't make as many as I had originally planned.

Then, I made this little letter booklet for one of my pen pals.  I had made some envelopes from vellum Elizabeth gave me, and since it is see-through, I didn't want my handwriting to show through the envelope.  I had also cut up some scrapbook paper to fit inside the envie, and trimmed the edges with my deckle blade so they had the same amount of edge showing. Then I added washi tape to dress it all up.

Here you can see the inside, and where I added a couple of my feathers. :)

Another project I did this week was this altered file folder.  I used some of my gelli prints to decorate it up, then went through my piles of stuff to find embellishments.  Finally, I stitched it up, and mailed it naked (without an envelope).
You can see it has a variety of things on it; junk mail, punched stars, tiny puzzle pieces, some lace, twill ribbon and (of course) washi tape!

Next, I did a quick page in my art journal using some mail from Heifer, Intl., and Baker Seeds. I was happy with the page, even though it looks rather quiet for my usual style! It certainly suited my mood that day.

Yesterday I spent a few happy hours with my gelliplate and an assortment of paper products.  Here are some file folders I monoprinted directly onto.  I have already begun embellishing them, but am not in any hurry as they are not for any particular project, just to have on hand in case I decide I want to send one to someone. I cut each of the folders down, so there are two parts of two folders, and another piece that was cut off the folder above.

Then I also printed on a bunch of recycled chipboard and coverstock from some old spiral notebooks I cannibalized to use for stationary.  The only piece I threw away was the metal spiral from the notebooks!

Here the postcards (all 5"X7") are already embellished partway, using an assortment of things I have had for ages, or else they were sent to me from various people in swaps.  It felt GOOD to get rid of some of the stuff I had been hoarding! :)

And last, but certainly not least I printed onto some A2 envelopes to use for NLWM.  I was in a swap for mail art using gelliprints made with cheesecloth, so that is what made the cool designs on the top few envelopes.  I could have made a hundred of these, they were so fun!!  I think I ended up with 13 altogether.

Today is cold and rainy here, so we are doing indoor projects, but hopefully we will get to work outside tomorrow.  I am sure ready for spring to settle in here in earnest! We have a LOT of seedlings coming up in our aquaponics beds, and the peas are tall enough that we have had to raise the lights already.  The seedlings on the starter rack are also going great guns. It is so fun to watch them grow, and I love that everyone who goes into that room sings, hums, or talks to the plants.  :)  What a fun family project this is turning out to be!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mail Art and a few ATCs

Here are a few ATCs I made this week. The first two are experiments with glass bead gel on some gelliprint backgrounds, the other was using some black paper I had painted on with twinkling H2O watercolors.


The light really reflects off the shimmery paints, so you can't see the colors well in the photo, but they were pretty cool! :)

And here are a couple of postcards I made with some fun backgrounds I made using bubble wrap and twinks.

 This first card is for a swap with the theme of circles. I got a couple/few on there...

This second one is for a swap with my friend in Scotland who does awesome doodle drawings.  Lately she has been on a bird kick, so I made a card to trade with her using birds.  These are all but one of my bird stamps, and as many other bird embellishments as I could round up!  (including two bird washi-tapes!)

Peas are Planted...

We put the peas from the grow rack into one of the aquaponics garden beds on Thursday night.  Friday I took this photo; some had already grasped the strings we hung for them to climb on.  :)
Dave is plumbing in the last bed this afternoon, and yesterday we planted seeds: in soil, on paper towels for the aquaponics garden, and broadcast into the grow stones. Theoretically they will sprout and come up just like they would in soil.  Here's hoping! :)

Mixed Media Art

The request was for some flowers in lots of colors.  Here is my response.  It is going to a pen friend in the Philippines.
 This piece is 8X10, and for the flowers I used a page from the journal I bought when I first got my twinkling h2O watercolors.  I had traced around some chipboard shapes and tried to paint flowers using all the colors I had at the time.  They were just scattered around on the page, so when I was asked to make this, I cut out all those flowers and dressed them up a bit with some glitter.  Then I cut leaves from a page I painted with greens for that purpose, and a vase from a bit of black paper I had experimented on to see what twinks would do on a black background.

I still had some flowers left, and a piece of this cool background paper, also painted with twinks this past week, so I made a 5X7 sized card for a friend.
Still on that flower kick...

Art Journal Pages

This week I worked in two journals, here are the pages I did.

I have been on a flower and garden kick lately, can you tell?