Wednesday, December 31, 2014

For Auld Lang Syne...

HAPPY 2015!!
 Wishing you a New Year 
filled with love and blessings beyond your wildest dreams!!

Thank You all for stopping by my blog throughout this last year!!  In 2015, I'm hoping we can continue to share the creative side of life as well as occasional musings of whatever seems relevant at the moment!! To me, the New Year always feels like we are headed into a brand new chapter of our story, blank pages to be filled with more possibilities than we ever dared to imagine! I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions, I think the added pressure of a public proclamation to make some change in my life is counter productive, sets me up for failure every time! Instead of resolving to change, I prefer to celebrate everything that I already am while believing my best is yet to come!!

Hope you'll continue to stop by, we'll see what unfolds together!  
Until then, Ciao!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lift your voice in song!!

Silent night! Holy night! ... All is calm, all is bright... Round yon virgin mother and child... Holy infant so tender and mild... Sleep in heavenly peace... Sleep in heavenly peace!   

Silent night! Holy night! ... Shepherds quake at the sight... Glories stream from heaven afar... Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia... Christ our Savior is born... Christ our savior is born!
As we move closer to the "Big Day" that we've all been preparing for, I find myself needing to step back and look around at all of the wonders of the season!  I love Christmas... first and foremost, I pray that everyone remembers the reason for the season, to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ... without Him, it is only another winter's day!  Christmas is a magical time of year when it seems the world allows itself to come together in love and fellowship, differences seem to be more accepted, helping hands are stretched out to those of greater need, and a simple smile with a "Merry Christmas" can become a shining light in someones heart on a cold winter's night! Yes, I'm sure to some, it does sound like magic but I believe these are the Blessings available to us all, each and every day of every season all year 'round!!  This is my prayer for you all in the New Year, " hold onto what this season is truly about and make it a part of your daily life!"

Silent night! Holy Night! ... Son of God, love's pure light... Radiant beams from thy holy face... With the dawn of redeeming grace... Jesus, Lord at thy birth... Jesus, Lord at thy birth! 

Merry Christmas to all and Blessings for a New Year filled with everything that your heart desires!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ho Ho Ho...

You better watch out... You better not pout... Better not cry... I'm telling you why... Santa Claus is coming to town... He's making a list... And checking it twice... Gonna find out Who's naughty or nice... Santa Claus is coming to town!

Today's Sing-a-long has made me think... What would Christmastime be without pictures of the "kids" for all of our family & friends to see how they've grown in the past year?! As the proud mother that I am, I'm obligated to conform to this tradition... here's Blossom!! ( The jury is out on which one of Santa's lists that she'll end up on?! )


Oooohhhhh... or NICE!!

He sees you when you're sleeping... He knows when you're awake... He knows if you've been bad or good... So be good for goodness sake!  O! You better watch out... You better not cry... Better not pout... I'm telling you why... Santa Claus is coming... Yes, Santa Claus is coming to town!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Think out of or inside the box? Try Both!!

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks... Dressed in holiday style... In the air there's a feeling... Of Christmas... Children laughing, people passing... Meeting smile after smile... And on every street corner you'll hear... Silver bells... Silver bells... It's Christmas time in the city... Ring-a-ling... Hear them ring... Soon it will be Christmas Day!

My inspiration for today's Show & Tell Sing-a-long came from my participation in a swap on the ATC's For All website using matchboxes as well as recently I saw some wonderful matchboxes that a fellow AFA artist created as a present. I said to myself "(Self), wouldn't those make the cutest ornaments for the tree?" Sooooo, what else could I do but scrounge around looking for the matchboxes that I had left over from the swap and go into action!! 

Below are a couple examples of what I came up with... they really are cute in person (I'm not so sure that these pics do them justice)... don't take my word for it, give them a try! One thing I can guarantee, you'll have plenty of fun!!

"Christy" with the smile of an angel!

"Holly" with an attitude! 
Strings of streetlights, even stoplights... Blink of bright red and green... As the shoppers rush home with their treasures... hear the snow crunch... see the kids bunch... This is Santa's big scene... And above all the bustle you'll hear... Silver bells... Silver bells... It's Christmas time in the city... Ring-a-ling, hear them ring... Soon it will be Christmas Day... Soon it will be Christmas Day!!

As always, I'm happy you stopped by... Until next time, I hope you'll make time to Sing, to Laugh and to CREATE... Blessings!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Star light, star bright... let your creativity shine tonight!

We Three Kings of Orient are... Bearing gifts we traverse afar... Field and fountain, moor and mountain... Following yonder star... O Star of wonder, star of night... Star of royal beauty bright... Westward leading, still proceeding... Guide us to thy Perfect Light!!

Just a quickie Show & Tell Sing-a-long... Today we are featuring the ever popular "Star"... What would our Christmas Trees be without them? Although stars can be made from just about any material you choose to work with, I have chosen to use paper! Your choice of paper and white glue along with the crafter's best friend, a pair of scissors, are all that you will need to create these wonderful holiday icons!!

Below is a version of the lacey looking Swedish or Polish Stars... it is made with 12 strips of paper ( 1/4" X 7" )... each side is made up of 6 woven strips then each side is attached together to create the star's points. I think that you can see how to easily construct it by looking at the completed star in the picture below! If further instruction is desired, you can find several versions with detailed instructions by searching "Swedish or Polish Stars" on the internet.

This star was made from cardstock -  any medium weight paper can easily be used

Below:  This featured Star is a polyhedra - a 3-D geometrical figure.  It's hard to see in this pic but it is approx. 5" X 5" X 1 1/2"(thick). There is a wonderful website  - -  it features 100's of polyhedra models & downloadable templates that are available for free. If you like an occasional creative challenge, I think this website will give you just what you're looking for! To be honest, the star is relatively easy compared to some of the other models. 
I do have a few others in the works that have me a little stumped & frustrated... No, I will not give up (I just need to step back & regroup)!!

Made from gold glittered scrapbook paper - 12"X12" sheet makes 2 Stars

Thanks for stopping by... until next time, Blessings to you all!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Get wired for the Holiday Season!

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer... Had a very shiny nose... And if you ever saw him...You would even say it glowed... All of the other reindeer used to laugh & call him names... They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games...

Today's Show & Tell Sing-a-long is all about adding a touch of bling to your Christmas Tree with simple ornament designs of wire & beads!  If you're anything like me, you probably have a box with a stash of beads that you have been collecting with the idea that someday they'll come in handy. Well today is that day!! (to be perfectly honest, I have many other boxes with treasured "someday" supplies!) I love to play around with wire, it's easily manipulated into shapes without too much physical strength or tools. It comes in a variety of gauges (sizes) and colors that can bring any idea you may have to life! There are no templates needed and no rules to follow, just jump right in... twist it, curl it and string a bead here or there... each ornament will be an original work of art to shine on your tree! 

Below are some examples of Wire & Bead Ornaments to help "jump start" your creative juices... just one thing to remember, Have Fun!!

Copper Wire w/ Glass Beads

Aluminum Wire w/ Wood Bead

White Vinyl Coated Wire w/ Glass Beads

 "Mobile" Ornament - each of the 3 levels balance & move with air currents
Then one foggy Christmas Eve... Santa came to say, "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"... Then all the reindeer loved him... And they shouted out with glee... Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer... You'll go down in history!!!

 Thanks for stopping by... it's always more fun to sing with others!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dress your Holiday Trees with a touch of whimsy!

Dashing through the snow... In a one horse open sleigh... O'er the fields we go... Laughing all the way... ha ha ha ha ha... now everybody sing!!

Surprise...Our Show & Tell Sing-a-long continues with the Christmas theme ( just a heads up, you can probably assume this will be the case until Santa shows his jolly little face in the neighborhood! ) The ornament ideas that are being featured today were made out of porcelain clay but you can also use polymer clay or paper pulp. I have used all of these and received excellent results as well as some wonderful differences unique to each medium.

Below: These ornaments were made from porcelain slabs being pressed into mini tart molds (approx. 2" to 3") with added coil embellishments. After the 1st firing, the bisque pieces were airbrushed with underglazes and fired for the final time. Each ornament is actually 2 separate pieces that have been attached back to back with adhesive. They are hung by a ribbon tied around the center seam.

Whimsical Holiday Ornaments - Porcelain w/ underglazes

This is an example of my "Hedouni" ornaments - made in sets of six.

Bells on bob tails ring... Making spirits bright... What fun it is to laugh & sing... A sleighing song tonight... Oh, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells... Jingle all the way... Oh, what fun it is to ride... In a one horse open sleigh!

Hope you'll stop by for our next Christmas Show & Tell Sing-a-long!!
Until then, Blessings to All!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble, gobble, gobble...

 Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

Today officially kicks off the Holiday Season... a time to gather with friends and family, a time to reminisce of those not with us while making new memories to be shared for many years to come.

No matter what each of our personal circumstances may be, I pray that we can all feel the peace and joy in recognizing and giving thanks for all of the gifts that surround us everyday of our lives.

God Bless You...Today & Always!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's a perfect time to sing & dance!

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful... Joyful & Triumphant... Oh Come Ye, Oh Come Ye to Show & Tell...

( Yes, you guessed it!  I love Christmas Carols and it's the one time of the year I can usually get away with breaking out into song anytime I choose!! You are lucky though, I have not figured out a way to add audio to my Blog!!)

But I digress.. our Show & Tell today is a fun way to include some interactive ornaments to your Christmas trees. My "Dancing Elf" is just one example of the characters that you can create to tempt everyone's "inner child" to come out & play!! 

I started by creating a basic puppet style figure of an Elf out of 140# watercolor paper. I  decorated his body with Spectrum Noir markers w/Ink details.  I then attached all of his limbs with small brads, the key here is to not tighten them but to leave them loose enough for the "Dancing" motion as you pull the attached strings down... see below, here is a view of the back side of the Elf. As you can see there are 4 strings that are attached to the very tips of the arms & legs. The strings are then gathered and knotted at the base of body & again about an inch farther down, this keeps strings from getting in the way of the movement... refer to pic, it really is a lot easier than it sounds!  

Back side of "Dancing Elf" - notice the string placement
Below is the finished "Dancing Elf"... all you have to do is tug on the hanging strings in a downward motion & he will jump, as you release the strings he goes back to his standing position... do this repeatedly and he will dance his way into your heart!!

"Dancing Elf" in relaxed hanging position
"Dancing Elf" in jumping position when string is pulled down
Hope you give this idea a try... as previously mentioned you can make a variety of characters, just let your muse run loose and as usual...Have Fun!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Joy to the "creative" world... got ideas?

Well, As they say "variety is the spice of life" (whoever "they" are?) but I do completely agree. The Christmas theme that I find myself being drawn to is a perfect chance to show off the kind of creative "variety" that can be used this holiday season! No matter what your artistic interests are, I'm sure you can take your favorite medium and come up with unique & fun ways to share your talents with your family & friends... believe me, they will appreciate the obvious time and effort that your artwork reflects!

So, today I have another little Show & Tell that I hope might spark those creative flames into action! I have a close friend that is a wonderful artist that specializes in print making. Her etchings, woodcuts and block prints leave me speechless each and every time I see her latest works, her talent is definitely an inspiration for me. I recently took part in a Block Print Swap on ATC's for All that reminded me of my own creative limitations in this field. Although I found myself frequently frustrated, I did enjoy the challenge, as well as it reinforcing my "awe" of my friend's considerable talent! After a few discarded "blocks", in the end I did manage to create a very simple design that I felt reflected my very best effort for the swap.

"Vino" Block Print
Since then, I have been inspired to create hand carved stamps using the leftover supplies & tools that I gathered for the swap. I came up with a few simple Christmas designs as well as adding words for an additional element that I could use in making ornaments. The style of the ornament is very simple and lends itself perfectly to showcase the printmaking design used. Sometimes it's true, "less is more!"    

Below is a pic showing the supplies used to make the featured ornaments: hand carved original stamps, Speedball brand water soluble block printing ink, cotton muslin fabric, polyfill stuffing (not pictured) & assorted ribbon. 

Viola! Original Hand Stamped Ornaments... "Little Pillows" can be made in any color or shape of your choice!  They are very light weight so they can be hung on any size tree or decoration and the design is on both sides for added exposure.

Below:  Using the same stamps, I decided to carry the look over to creating more gift tags. On these, I used stamp pads instead of block printing ink but you don't have to switch. I printed the designs on white card stock then attached them to leftover pieces of scrapbooking paper that I had made into tag shapes with a ribbon attached. There's plenty of room to write on and sign your name.

Thanks for stopping by... There's more Holiday Projects and creative surprises on the horizon, I hope you will check back to see ... (I'd better get to work!)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tag, you're it!

Just a little Show & Tell for today's post... With the Christmas Season starting to creep it's way upon us, it's inevitable that our art projects begin taking a holiday theme! There's no snow on the ground as yet but the 12 degrees that the thermometer shows and the even colder chill factor from the morning wind definitely has reminded me... 'tis the season to be jolly (bbuuurrrrrrr) !!  So in an effort to stop whining about what I can not change, I decided to just go play & art the day away!!

Today, I decided to create name tags to put on packages. Yes, I do know that at the local $ store there are plenty of tags to purchase with no effort... to all of my fellow artist's out there, you understand that "the fun is the doing!!"

Below, you'll find pics of one style tag that I really have fun doing... the first pic is of blank tags that I made from the back cover of an empty sketch pad, then  covered in the kraft paper from a lunch sack... repurposed & free!!

Blank "Kraft Paper" Tags - approx. 2"x4"

Next... I created these "little angels dolls" on 140# watercolor paper and painted them with Jacquard Dyes & Gel Pens with Ink detailing.

Angel Doll Figures
Next... I attached the Angels to the tags with glue, added some background details and a ribbon tie! The dolls have been positioned on the tag, leaving a space to write the name of the person that the present is for. ( Notice... bottom right corner) 

Finished Christmas Angel Tags

I guarantee that your family & friends will be thrilled to receive your thoughtful and unique Holiday Gift Tags... Let your imagination soar, anything goes! "Tis the season to be CREATIVE!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whatever your mood... there's a shape for you!

After my last post, I decided to continue making Janoodle Cubes using some of my favorite color combinations. After finishing the last one, I thought about cutting out a few more when I became inspired to change it up a bit and try another shape! I really like triangles so I set out to create a "Pyramid" template. Lucky for me, after all of the brainstorming to create the cube, I was still in that "engineering zone" of thinking and it was much easier to come up with my design!

Below is the template that I came up with... it is 2 1/4" at the base of the pyramid, you might remember that the cube was the same size. I used 140# watercolor paper again, two pyramids fit on a 9"X12" sheet. 

Pyramid Template

Flattened Pyramid for mailing  *
* Refer back to the previous post about the "Cube" for instructions on attaching the side seam which will enable you to send your pyramids in a flat envelope! 

Voila! Janoodle Pyramids - I attached a cord through the center for hanging

Both shapes look great together, mix & match for a fun presentation!

Below are a few more Janoodle Cubes in a variety of color combos!

Happy Creating... most important thing, is to have fun!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Does your world feel a little flat lately... see what a Cube can do!?

Recently while following a "thread conversation" on the website ATC's for All, an idea that was being shared caught my attention. The object of my interest was examples for making "paper cubes" that could be used to paint or collage on for a 3-dimensional project.  I tried out a few of the suggested ways to construct the cubes but in the end I decided to design my own. My main objective was to create a one piece template that could be mailed flat in an envelope, something that the recipient would not need any tape or glue to put it together, a design where all they would need to do is tuck in the top & bottom flaps to enjoy their art gift! After a few misses, I came up with a hit! The end result was made on a 9"X12" sheet of 140# watercolor paper, the finished cube measures approx. 2 1/4 inches.

Below: pics showing the creative progression of my Janoodle Cubes!
My one piece template - 140# watercolor paper

 Completed Blank Cube 

I chose to decorate it while flat - Jacquard Dye Wash

Next, I "Janoodled" the details w/Ink

At this point you must attach the side seams together. I use two-sided tape but you can use any method that you choose. In the picture below you will see the front & back seam, I always apply the tape to the back tab then place front tab onto it and press firmly. This is the only attached seam there is.

 Attach front seam to back tab - ( I used a blank for you to see better)

Flattened Cube for mailing - place in envelope as is
Recipient just has to open and fold in top & bottom flaps to form Cube!

Janoodle Cube -  to display, I have included a cord for hanging that tucks under the top flap
Hope you enjoyed this project and that you'll give it a try. With the Holiday Season on the horizon, I think these would make wonderfully creative and unique "cards" that can double as an ornament!! Let your imagination loose & have fun!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A rainy day, cup of tea and a table full of Art Supplies... does it get any better than this?

Just a little rainy day Show & Tell... With all that I've been up to in recent months I have found myself missing the familiarity of my normal everyday routines. It felt really good to just spend the day doing what I do best, Janoodling... for those of you who don't know, a Janoodle is what I have named my own special style of doodles

I have had several inquiries lately about the watercolor paints that I use in my artwork... I actually use "dyes" instead of paints... Jacquard Dyes for Silk Painting, the colors are very concentrated and water soluble. Their intensity can be controlled by using more or less water... the colors are always clear and bright, unlike some paints that can become "muddy" looking when mixed together! As they say, a little goes a long way. I have been using the same bottles for literally years... I had given up painting on silk several years ago. When I started doing ATC's, I  brought them out of retirement and gave them a new "purpose"... I'm hooked, they are perfect for the results I look for in my artwork!  
Here's a picture to show the label, just in case you want to check them out!

Below are some Janoodles that I created today using Jacquard Dyes on 140# watercolor paper... the background colors are bright yet translucent , perfect for ink detailing!

Have a Blessed and Creative Day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Venetian love story from an artist's point of view...

Buon Giorno... well, we've made it to our final installment of My Venetian Adventure ... I hope that I've in some small way succeeded to convey just how awesome this encounter has truly been!  I set out with hopes of having a fulfilling artistic experience and it exceeded my expectations far more than I believed possible. I found myself in a magical wonderland where time had stood still, where the art of mosaic was still revered by all and continues to provide the obvious visual beauty needed to bring to life storytelling for the ages!

Venice has had an extraordinary effect on me since having visited on a previous trip... the minute I stepped out of the train station along the Grande Canal, something touched my heart and has never let up! I have planned this return journey from that very first moment and I feel blessed that no matter how long it took, it has happened!! I didn't think it possible but my love of this magnificent city has deepened beyond belief... dare I dream of returning again?

Below you will find pictures that reflect the "artistry" found in everyday life as you stroll the streets or float the canals of this truly one-of-a-kind city!

Love at first sight - Grande Canal in front of Train Station
Gondolas waiting to be taken out!
Work Boats resting after a busy morning of deliveries!
Dorsoduro Neighborhood - quiet beauty!
"Golden Arches" -Italian Style!
Come on in!
Carnavale - Handmade Ball Masks
Papier Mache Animal Masks
Venetian Ironwork Gate
Moorish Style Balcony
Canaregio Neighborhood Villa

Street Food Italian Style
Yum... simple ingredients, perfect flavor!!
Caprese -  aged balsamic as thick as fudge
Fresh Catch of the Day
What's not to like?
My Favorite - Fegato alla Veneziana - No, I won't tell you what it is!!
Heaven on a plate!!

Thank you for letting me share My Venetian Adventure... Arrividerci!!