Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Mail Art!

Hello! Hello!

On a previous post I talked about a group at Pages In Time, known as Mail Art. The current project of this group is to send altered envelopes -- painted, inked, stamped, enhanced in some fashion -- to another person. It's intended to be another form of artistic expression. I have a few to share with you today! I received two beautiful envelopes from two VERY talented members of the group.

Here is the envelope I received from Helene:

and a super cute stamped image inside:

The second is from Victoria:

and a closeup of her embossing work:

AND, here is the envelope I sent to Helene last week:

Monday, July 19, 2010


Of the bajillion and four confessions I could make regarding myself and my life... Well, I suppose one would be that I actually pick the number bajillion-and-four often as my go-to number for exaggeration. Another would be that I am a total stick-in-the-mud. I like where my roots have been planted. They are familiar and comfortable. Most days I find no reason to do anything different.

Then, I recall that saying about insanity. It's definition, apparently, is in doing the same thing time and again; expecting a different result. This gives me pause to consider the possibilities that come with change. While I'm still learning that not all changes are exactly as wonderful I hoped they'd be, others cause me to stop and be grateful for the blessing of that change every single day.

Take, for example, my son. Yes, my son. Get over it, I'll write about him a lot. He was the best damn change I could have never known I ever wanted. How's that for a Major in Language Arts? And back to my son. It's through his three-year-old eyes that I get to see so many details of life in a new light; changed, if you will. Today, I got to see the toy stand for Woody changed into a crane that lifted heavy loads (also known as the Yo Gabba Gabba bath squirters) all the way from the play room, two rooms away to the dining table I was working at.

Yesterday, I got to watch his understanding of playmates change as he played so well with two other children at a birthday party. That was totally awesome for me. Normally, he bosses me around in the playroom until he gets frustrated and tells me I'm a bad playmate.

He's also changed possibilities for some of our family. On the Fourth of July, he helped his great grandfather change his concept of "the norm" between himself and his great grandchildren. The Norm would be that the great grandchildren tend to shy away from him, as loving and fun as he can be, because of his gruff voice. The Norm of my son's world dictated pretty much the same until that day. It was then that something changed for him and he RAN to his great grandpa with arms open and waiting to be carried to the couch...where he promptly talked off the ear of his great grandpa for a good ten minutes. It was a rare moment that left us all surprised; and gave me a moment to grab my camera and shoot a few photos for posterity.

Because I loved that moment so much, I decided to make this page, inspired by the July 8 Thursday Sketch at Pages In Time. I decided to use part of a Fancy Pants "kit" I created on a whim to create some summer pages. I really like the colors in the My Family collection. The Prima DeVines have been in my stash for a little while now and I've been wanting to pull them out again. The same can be said for the E Line pearls and gems. I LOVE those little guys! The blue flower has been misted (blue, of course) and curled for some depth.

The moment also played a part in inspiring me to try to stretch my roots a bit and take some time job scouting another area of the country. I'll be spending this week planning and packing. I hope to blog at least a few days of this adventure. Of course I'm taking a camera!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Learning Experience

If you're reading this, I'm asking you a few questions.

Are you a parent?

Are you an aunt or uncle who is close to her/his niece(s) and/or nephew(s)?

Have you ever been amazed at the unlikely details that seem to pass down from one generation to the next?

I'm thinking of my son as I ask these questions. I don't know that it's accurate to call him a perfectionist. It IS accurate to state that if he doesn't achieve a goal close to what his parents can do (think, doodling polka dots or staying inside the lines while coloring); he is quickly frustrated and on the verge of tears. (Sidenote, I'm a mean Mom and am not phased by these tears anymore.) If he can't do it "right" then he wants to quit it all together.... He's also three, so in many ways I'm not surprised.

Furthermore, I'm not surprised because I see how he's a lot like me. I have this looming fear of personal failure. I was also blessed with a rich imagination; so I can determine what the worst-case scenario will be and decide I should never try so I don't have to face that fear. If you're asking, it doesn't exactly work out well for me. I'm working on that now.

Add to the mix, my son is a big fan of the Toy Story movies and characters. He's latched onto many phrases, including one from Woody in Toy Story 2 (when he's looking for his hat, I believe), "Oh, this is a disaster!" This is what he exclaims every time a project is not going according to plan. I'm left to remind him, "It's not a disaster, it's a learning experience."

Last week, he was very interested in recreating drawings of Gingee (the gingerbread man from Shrek); and,later, an alien from Toy Story. Both of these required him to practice his fine motor skills while learning how to draw a 1/3-inch polka dot (the gumdrop button) or simply coloring in the lines (the alien). He's learning and if he concentrates and gives himself a chance, he can start out pretty well. Then he gets excited and loses the motor control; resulting in a large scribble...and tears.... and a reminder that it's okay, that he's learning, that he'll get what he wants if he keeps practicing. In the mean time, I get occasional shots of frowny faces and outright tears. I also get to create scrapbook pages to serve as reminders for him always.

Very little in life is ever going to be a true disaster. Instead, it's going to be a learning experience.

I created this page with the help of the Thursday Sketch at Pages In Time. The large photo is of him pouting because I made him keep trying to practice coloring. The three smaller photos were of him being a total goofball; actually LOOKING at the page and seeing he was doing fairly well and finding surprises, too.

Until I run out of it, I have fallen madly in love with the Oliver line from Basic Grey. To my own surprise, I even like the stickers that came with the collection, so I used an arrow from that sheet to add the title at the top. The gears on the right are Cosmo Cricket; painted red. Evidently I had a gap issue so I added buttons inside the gears to fill them up. Thanks to the preferences of a scrappy friend, I even took the time to sew some thread through them....And as a little back pat for me, I even managed to guess correctly where to push the needle through coming up from the back of the page; didn't pre-pierce those holes at all!

Thanks for looking, and commenting if you so choose. I should have a couple more blogs in the week ahead, too. I'd like to share some more mail art pieces that are part of the Mail Art project at Pages In Time and another page or two. I've missed blogging and would like to get back into a more regular routine.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Barely Crafty Moment

Hello! Hi! Howarya?

Just wanted to take a moment to share a new project that I had started in the month of June. Over at Pages in Time, a group was started with the name Mail Art. I was intrigued and it read as something very different (to me) and fairly easy. It also read like a great experiment. What could I get away with putting on the outside of an ordinary envelope that would still allow the piece to get to its final destination on time? This is my first attempt:

Since there's also an element of fun surprise, I wanted to wait to share this until I knew it had arrived in Victoria's hands. I know it doesn't look like much. Basically, I sprayed the outside with glimmer mist (for non-scrappers, that's a mixture of inky liquid and mica-ish particles for sparkle) in red, grey and blue. There was plenty extra on my spray-area, so I just flipped it over and blotted up the rest. Once dry, I painted a couple white-spots for addresses; and tried to paint-stamp a flower in the lower left corner. Didn't work too well, did it? Well, one has to start somewhere and I can only improve from here, right?

In time, I'd like to be able to create my own envelopes from the paper I already have and add some more interest into the mix. I also want to explore more with texture and dimension...but I want to read up on Federal Mail regulations to be sure it won't get tossed.

Thanks for taking a moment to look. Hopefully, you got a chance to "Ooh" and "Aah" too.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blessed Be

I've started typing this blog on the afternoon of my birthday. It's my hope to publish it either later tonight or early tomorrow. (Sidenote, that didn't happen, did it? The day was awesome and I was too sleepy to finish writing. Instead, it's being posted a few days after the fact. Okay, that AND I was inspired to create a Pile It On kind of layout, thanks to Pages In Time and I needed to put that together, too.) In approximately two hours, I will officially be 34 years old. Woohoo, right? It's certainly not a milestone birthday. It's not even on the fives when counting. It is, however, a special year already. I can tell.

'Round about three or four years ago, I was reading the blog of a very good friend. She was writing about her own birthday and how happy she was. At the time, and even up until recently, I was so NOT about celebrating my own birthday; and noted as much in my comment. Bless her heart, she reamed me out for setting a bad example for my son. At the time, I blew it off, but I suspect it stuck with me deeper down. Don't misunderstand. I'd still share in the family/birthday dinner. I'd still enjoy the cake. I'd even smile as I unwrapped a present. I just wouldn't get excited about the monumental day. I took the gift of life -- especially that very first day of life -- for granted. I just wanted the day to pass. I didn't even really want the gifts I'd gotten because I was pretty sure I didn't deserve them. They've always been outstanding treats; just couldn't figure out why I was being honored with them.

So why was this particular birthday different? Why did I wake and start singing (mentally) "Happy Birthday To Me! I'm older than 33! I gave birth to a monkey and he slept later than me!" Why did I, on the night before, actually say, "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" when my mom confessed she couldn't wait any longer to give me my present? Why did I say, "By all means, keep the boy happy!" when my husband confessed mid-afternoon that our son insisted on getting me a present, wrapping it and yelling "Surprise!" at me?

My best guess is that I'm finally getting a part of the mystical "it" that explains life.... Only part, mind you. In the past year, I have noticed and remarked on the blessings of my life and actually being blessed in general more than I had in the 30-ish years that preceded them. I've said "Thank you" more often (though still not often enough); both to the people who have blessed me AND to the clouds and blue skies up above. I have accepted more often that there is a reason for some of the less joyful moments to happen and that I just might learn that reason soon enough. I'm beginning to truly believe (rather than pay lip service) that every single day is a tremendous gift. That there is beauty everywhere to adore, cherish and be grateful for.... That the color purple is an amazing thing.

Finally, being born is a big deal; and I'm so grateful that I was.... Even if it means that I need to get my keester off this couch and go get the laundry out of the dryer now because nobody else will.

As I mentioned above, this page was inspired by the Pile It On Challenge at Pages In Time. My goal was to incorporate four separate ideas into one page, plus a button. I'm thinking I need to come back and add detail photos, too.

For Lacee's Shabby Chic: I tried to keep pink, brown and white as the main colors by painting a brown border on white paper, then sanding it down, inking the white lace (flower) with pink ink, glimmer misting (a coffee color) the pink paper flowers and using white pearls as their stems...loads of distressing here.

For Barbera's Pearl: Again, the pearl stems on the flowers below.

Denise's Distressing: sanding the paint, roughing up the edges of the patterened paper

Lisa's Go Green: The button in the center of the lace flower was about to fall off of a jacket I was inspecting last week; so I cut it off (no longer a fan of the jacket as-is anyhow) and repurposed it. I also backed my journal spot with some cardboard from a delivery box. The journal spot itself (while I don't think it counts as recycling) is a bit of pink paper that I used as a crafting mat while painting the white paper, inking the pink strip behind the spot and misting the paper flowers. Since I'm not a regular user of pink, and I don't have a crafting mat, this often happens.

TFL! I'm starving and in need of a real breakfast.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pretty Pretties and a little encouragement

Good Morning! How does this lovely first day of July find you? It finds me a bit better. If I'm in the mood to drool over pretties, then this must be so!

First, I'd like to share some information for a good friend of mine. Her name is Courtni. Who knows, maybe you already read her blog. Her young son, X (that's an abbreviation, not an effort at anonymity), has been hit by the acting bug and seems to have landed his first gig! Woohoo, right?! Now, everyone agrees that if he's really going to go for it (acting as a career) some lessons might be nice and the family is working hard to raise the funds.

Tomorrow, July 2, they will be hosting an auction for crafty goods (cards and whatnots), other items, and services provided by reliable friends and family to help their son follow his dreams.

I'm still waiting on my friend to share the links to I can pass them onto you, but here's a heads up if you're so inclined and are a fan of auctions.

In other shoppy news, if you're crafty I've just spied some really cute chipboard embellishments, thanks to Page Maps.com. Check out the linked blog to get some ogle time and maybe even participate in their challenge.

That's all for now. Tomorrow I might be able to post more and am hoping to finish up one project and hit up a few more pretty soon.