Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's!

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much I love my husband. These two pictures are a means of me showing him how special he is to me. This first one is how I imagine we would have looked going out for New Year's as kiddies. He looks so spiffy and I, in my tiara, only have eyes for him.

This next one is a tribute to him and his mommy. They looked so much alike. She passed away 12 years ago and we miss her smile and her sense of humor. She was a great mother-in-law.

There once was a beautiful young woman. She grew up and had a handsome son. She stayed around long enough to show me how to take good care of him and I thank her for it.

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Please stay safe and leave all that partying to the professionals. We usually stay home and watch the ball drop on the telly. (well, not literally on the telly, but that famous event in Times Square) I'm not sure if we will even be able to stay up that late. Either a nap or a big cup of coffee may be in order.

Tomorrow is a new day. Promises and resolutions will be made. That's part of the fun of traditions. In the upcoming year, I want to take even better care of the Hubby and myself and do lots, and lots of art.

I love having all my friends come and visit me here in blog land and I hope to have tons of interesting things to report and I might add some fun things in the next few weeks. Perhaps a word of the day or a joke or something like that. We all need somewhere to go where we don't have to be so serious. Just remember to keep doing what you love and remember that you are worthy. Follow your dreams and keep it real.

Have a great night and once again, stay safe. We love you and send you New Year's blessings.

See ya next year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A few scribbles

I can't seem to find anything noteworthy or interesting to say, so I will show you these silly little drawings that I did over the holidays.

This one, I'm calling Rafters, was inspired by a scene out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Charlie is looking out a hole in his floor.

This one is just a scribble, doodle type drawing that I like to do to try to think outside the box.

I like to try to draw perspective type things, things that look real, then perhaps on a second glance, don't really make any sense. I love to draw gears and holes and shelves...that type of thing. Who knows what might appear. You might notice that I love mouse holes and always try to include one in this type of drawing.

I'm not sure if I will post before the new year, if not I hope you all have a safe and happy one... but now that I think about it, that seems so far away, I probably won't be able to wait that long. Take care and check back when you can.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

T'was the night before Christmas...

Yes, it's finally here. Soon the holidays will be over. I'm thinking about taking a few days off from posting, but I'll still be lurking and skulking around reading your blogs and maybe stopping in to say hi and I hope you'll do the same. In the meantime, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and leave you with our official family portrait for Christmas 2008.

I think you will agree from this picture, that I have good reason to be thankful for being able to spend the last 21 Christmases with this wonderful man. So from one of the happiest and most grateful couples you know, we say Merry Christmas to you all. Whether you have friends and family to visit, or just fond memories of them, enjoy yourself and be mindful of the reason for this wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Minute Treat

It's a last minute party and you want to take something quick and yummy. All you have in the house is graham crackers, peanut butter, oreos or some other cookies and a bag of chocolate morsels. You can go several ways. You could just melt the chocolate and partially dip the cookies and have something like this...

Or you can make sandwich cookies out of the graham crackers and the peanut butter and break them into "individual" servings. You know how there are four crackers to a panel... that will make the next step much easier. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, or with a double boiler and dip the oreo cookies and the peanut butter crackers into the chocolate and cover them completely. Place them on wax paper to set up and you have such a yummy treat that people will swear you spent all day in the kitchen. Sorry that I couldn't find a picture of them, but they will look so good, that folks might even think you purchased them here.

I first found out about these two treats in a candy shop at the mall years ago and decided that I could duplicate this at home. Now they are all the rage at Gourmet Shops and I even noticed a blog called The Recipe Girl, that has a similar treat. You could really dress them up for the holidays.

Well, that's all for tonight. Stay warm and cozy and try to keep your stress level down by taking the easy way out when looking for a last minute treat.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Past

My friend the Funky Art Queen, is having a Christmas contest. You are supposed to post one of your pictures from a Christmas long ago, and tell about it. I am still looking at my box of old pictures and I know there are tons of Christmas pictures in it, but I haven't gotten around to sorting through them yet. In the mean time, I will show a picture of the one and only time that I drew and hand lettered our Christmas cards. I only sent out about twenty, so it was not hard at all. I remember sitting on the sofa, in our old apartment and doing these cards. I worked at a printing company and had someone cut navy blue linen cover weight paper to size. I found some heather green envelopes (there at work, also) and did all the artwork and writing in a silver gel pen. I even put a hallmark on the back that read Christmas 2000.

So, even if I don't get around to posting any pictures of Christmas past, this is a memory that means a lot. So, if you can find time, hop on over to Leslie's blog and say hi.

Take care and stay away from the mall. Go to CVS or somewhere like that for last minute stocking stuffers and gifts, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This week's art...

The first of today's art is a Christmas tree made with the rubber stamps. If you notice, (click for a closer view) I stamped the entire tree design with a Christmas tree rubber stamp and colored in all the little trees and sky with copic markers. It was time consuming (I watched almost all of 2 movies while doing it) but very relaxing and almost therapeutic.

This next one started out from a picture of my grandmother at age 16. It sort of morphed into someone else wearing her hat and blouse, but you get the idea. The size of the hat got wonky but that's ok. It is mostly done in traditional watercolor pencils and my new Inktense pencils. The colors in the inktense pencils are so dark that I am not used to them yet, they are very experimental for me.

What holiday art would be complete without an elf? Since I love using markers, I first drew in my images with a very hard pencil and then went over them with India ink markers. (The alcohol markers don't bleed when combined with India ink) and then erased all the pencil lines. After coloring in all the areas and highlighting with gel pens and paint pens, I re-established the outlines with a bolder India ink marker for a comic book look.

Well, that's it for now. Off to get a pedicure. It's raining here and cold, so I have to figure out a way not to mess up the polish on my toes. I usually wear sandals afterward, but not today!
So there is my new art. Take care and know how much I appreciate all my friends, blogger and otherwise.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Friday!

Since getting the digital cable, I have been watching television and staying up past my bedtime. Whilst I dance around to my new music channels, I have been decking the halls. I celebrate the season of Christmas differently than I used to, and my decorating style has changed over the years. Sometimes I go for the "less is more" variety, and that's what I'm doing this year. Here are a few tips to allow yourself to be festive without going overboard.

Sometimes putting your very own reindeer antler/Santa hat headgear on a favorite stuffed bear, makes for a cute decoration. (Don't worry, he'll let me wear it later)

Draping white lights over your hubby's collection of glass chickens looks quite festive...

The addition of a few Christmas ornaments on a low shelf, next to a night light looks cute, also.

Of course, Christmas wouldn't be the same without the traditional songs, sung to the traditional Holiday Rat...

Don't forget the kitchen (that's were we spend a good deal of our time, anyway). Just hook an ornament onto the curtains and you have an easy decoration. Add some holiday dish towels and you have decorated your house in a festive, but in my opinion, somewhat understated way.

Yes, my kitchen is purple..


I enjoyed all the ideas that you gave me for the rubber stamps and I have tried several things. One of the things I did, was a picture using the rubber stamps as holiday elements and drawing a little house, and just coloring in with markers and inktense pencils.

I had fun doing it and as my late Mom used to say, "it kept me off the street". We weren't wild kids at all, but for some reason, she always thought this was extremely funny to say.


In addition to decorating my house for Christmas, I always wear Christmas jewelry. Here are some of the things I have been given over the years...

And here are some of the things that I have made
(edit: not all this year, though)

If you are a jewelry maker, you already have the main components for holiday jewelry. Jewelry findings, such as pin backs and clip or pierced earring wires are a must. Add some jump rings and perhaps an inch or two of chain and you can make quick, easy and pretty snazzy jewelry.

You will see that I found a skirt pin with some loops on it, that made a good sweater pin, but remember to always check and make sure the pin won't leave a big hole in your favorite garment. I usually test the pin part on a similar piece of cloth, or in a seam or area that isn't visible. If the pin has a burr on it, a bit of sandpaper will take care of it.

I sometimes use miniature Christmas tree ornaments for earrings. You can usually find them at the hobby or craft shops and by removing any string or wire that is already on them, you can easily attach them to a jump ring and an earring post or wire.

Polymer clay is perfect for making holiday jewelry, you can stack red, green and white sheets of conditioned clay and form into ribbon candy. You can swirl red and white clay into all sorts of candy cane type things and, since I am into wreaths, I fashioned a little red wreath and added some green leaf cane slices.

The possibilities are endless, as this post seems to be. Sorry for rattling on and on, I'll do better next time. Anyway, remember you can make your house and yourself seem festive and get everyone in the holiday spirit and not have to spend a great deal of money. Take care and keep posting all your decorating ideas, I'm having a ball reading them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look who came to visit...

I went to my post office yesterday, and guess who was waiting for me? This darling paper doll.

(here she is waving at you from Christmas Hotel, where she is staying)

I won her at Sandy's blog giveaway last week. I cannot tell you how beautiful she is in person. Sandy is the most fabulous artist and I'm not sure she gets the recognition she deserves. Please visit her blog and check out her marvelous art and catch up with her and her wacky sense of humor. She is offering yet another giveaway, and I think she is so kind to offer her art to us in this fashion. Sandy is a great artist, blogger and now I feel quite honored and proud to call her friend.

OK, I 'd better stop, for fear of embarrassing my friend.

In case, you think that I have been an absent bloggie friend this week, it's because I got an early Christmas present. HDTV!!! I have wanted it for some time, but we decided to wait until there were more shows being broadcast in HD. Several years ago, when she moved across country, my sister gave me her old home theater set up. We just never got around to completely setting it up. Now, my hubby is setting everything up. It's not a new system, but really nice speakers and such. I hope the neighbors don't report us to the noise police. Imagine that, older cats like us blasting out music, movies, and such, like teenagers. It is so awesome, dude.

I will be back later with some art and maybe a holiday craft or two. We'll see, so take care and don't stress out so.

Monday, December 8, 2008's cold

First off I want to say thanks to my bloggie friends that had rubber stamp ideas. I have already completed several things. In addition to doing stamp art, I needed to revamp my outdoor decorations. I usually just put up a sleigh bell wreath with a ribbon for a very low-key, rustic look. This year I got out my box of goodies to dress the wreath up a bit.

I did a thorough house cleaning of all my stash, which included excess Christmas trims, earlier this year. I was actually surprised to find that I had saved a box that had a bunch of good stuff in it. All it takes is a pair of wire cutters, and a few other bits of fancy stuff to change a very rustic wreath into a bit of holiday glimmer.

It was quite windy and cold, but I got my wreath up with no problem. I don't do a lot of decorating, but I do like to do something for the porch and lights around the lamppost. Maybe next year I will go all out and do something really elaborate. In the meantime, this is my take on the traditional holiday wreath.

Take care and stay warm and cozy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Help, I need ideas

I am fresh out of ideas. I don't know what to draw, to make, to knit...I'm just at a point where I don't know what to do next. I keep thinking rubber stamps, but I am not much of a stamper. I wish I were. The thing that brought me to our little art group was a meeting about rubber stamps.

I bought these cute holiday stamps in hopes of learning how to use some images other than my own. The artist that gave us our instructions that day was great, I enjoyed the meeting and looked forward to her doing another demo. Unfortunately she never came back. After having done a demo myself now, I realize how stressful it is and how you never think you did a good job. Ahh, I digress. Anyway here are my stamps, I need some ideas. They can be really artsy or just common knowledge stuff from the stamp artists out there. The stamps are all (except that Merry Christmas one) on one inch sized blocks.

I'm willing to step outside my comfort zone and do something I normally don't do. I just need that push. Come on and give me some ideas. You know so much more about this than I do. I need help.

That's it for now. Have a great day and stay warm and happy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No Sew Wreath/Candle Ring

These instructions apply to either a wreath or a candle ring. For my wreath I used a wire coat hanger, bent into a circular shape and pre-wrapped it with a base fabric, in a quite haphazard fashion, to get some extra bulk. You could used this technique on almost any circular or oval type base and just adjust the length and/or width of your fabric strips. This technique is very open to interpretation and personal styles.

To make my candle rings, I chose black craft wire and cut it to about 12 inches. I closed up one end into a circle with my pliers, but this could also be done around a dowel, the end of a paint brush, or...your choice. I bent the other end into a hook that will be placed into the circular end.

I cut strips of green felt and a burgundy fabric into lengths of approximately 6 " by 1". For me, anything shorter than six inches is difficult to tie. You can also cut random length strips and trim them after you make the ring. For a larger base, your strips must be longer. Do a test before cutting your strips.

As a quick guide for the number of strips, I took the length of my wire (12") and cut 12 of each color, into 1" widths. The bows "fold" to about half their width when tied, thus making room for 12 of each.

I tied with only one overhand tie, (not a knot), all the green strips to the wire. You will note from this picture that I cut the ends on an angle to give them more of a leaf appearance, your preference here.

Next I tied the burgundy strips in between each green strip, moving each green piece up a bit to accommodate the next strip. The bent ends of the wire keep the strips from popping off.

After tying all the strips on, I hooked the ends together and wrapped a broken necklace around the ring for some added bling. This step is completely optional, and depending on your choice of trims, you could repeat a theme that you are using with other decorations.

Then I placed the faux candles in the faux candle rings and there you go. "No sew" candle rings. Really easy and you have so much flexibility with this. Just remember to cut extra strips, just in case. You're good to go. You can make these as neat or as "homespun" looking as you choose.

That's it for today. Talk soon.

Watch the puppies

For those of you who are at home now, try to check out these puppies, they are wild.

That's all for now. Be back soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Reveal

For those of you who haven't already figured it out...Faux Candles!!!

After putting on two layers of texture paste, in an icing type fashion, I let them dry overnight. I made tops and bottoms from polymer clay (pearlized white) baked them (the texture paste was not compromised in any way) and poked a hold in the tops and glued in a piece of cord to look like a wick. They look so good up close, this picture just doesn't do it justice.

Hubs and I are off to run around some, I will post the steps to making these darling candle rings when I return. I used the same method I used on my rag wreath, just on a smaller scale.

That's all for now, be back later!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moon Frown

Have you been reading about the Frown face that is showing up in the sky tonight? Jupiter and Venus are aligned with the moon in such a fashion that they look like the eyes and down turned mouth of a frown face. I couldn't get a decent shot, so I called out the pro. Here is DH taking a picture of the sky. It was completely dark outside, so I just trusted my digital to find him and poof! There he is...

This is what it looked like at twilight from our vantage point. This first shot has a bit more clarity to it, due to the amount of light still available...

About fifteen minutes later, we went back out into the front yard and tried again. The darkness kept the digital from focusing, but it really does give the "face" a cool look. In the picture I took of hubby, he is actually using an "old style" 35mm camera. We'll have to see how those come out.

Well, that's all for tonight. I put the second layer of texture paste on my project and after drying overnight I should be able to finish it up. So hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday, I will unveil my mystery project.

Take care.