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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Latest Cards!

I've been getting some cards ready for Easter, Mother's Day and spring to take to Creative Wellness. Here are a few of them. Can't resist butterflies. Do you like this one better...

Or this? (The faded butterfly is actually poor photography -- it's as vivid as the others and the one above.)

I love the soft lavender-gray ribbon on this sweet girl.

This bunny enchanted me. He looks just right with the pinks.

This bunny, on the other hand, is just so darned cheery, I couldn't stand it!

This rose was a favorite. I found the background paper when I was at Paper Source in Kansas City with Beth!

The poppy is far brighter, bolder.

For the dog fans, something to delight!

This one is clearly for Mother's Day -- it's a little dark and I'm not sure how well it works. But the music was right.

This one is also -- I've always been fond of these graphics.

So is this one. I love this image.

Or maybe another Easter bit?

I leave you with one of my favorite "little girls" -- she seems made for spring!

I seem to be on a roll, which is tremendously fun. Oh, there just isn't enough time!

NOTE: Now at Chopsticks and String, a look at "Mad World," a fascinating biography about Evelyn Waugh and the people and events that inspired "Brideshead Revisited."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Art with Kari McKnight Holbrook

Three days of making art. What's not to love?

Our workshop weekend, held in Haslett, MI, featured Kari McKnight Holbrook, one of the most generous and delightful teachers I've ever worked with.

She was excellent at explaining technique, thorough at answering questions, encouraging even when saying "I think I did something wrong!" And yes, had great good humor!

Her demos were easy to follow and allowed us freedom to be creative while working within the parameters of a workshop setting.

Day One--Acrylic Journal

The first night focused on making a journal using watercolor paper and acrylics, then binding it into the journal itself. Kari demonstrated different techniques we could use on our page, including screens, stencils, stamps and more.

Here's how my page started.

And later.

You wouldn't think it would end up as anything nice, would you? But Kari repeatedly said "Trust the process."

Then we tore it into pieces and stitched it up!

And sure enough, by the time it was bound into a journal, I was delighted!

(I will embellish with beads and fiber soon and finish the cover, too!)

Day Two -- Altered Childrens Book Journal

The second day we were altering a child's book into a journal. Here's what I started with.

This is a pretty time consuming process. Serious amounts of gesso were used to prep the pages and I learned that if if you dry the pages with a heat gun (vs. hair dryer) and have waxed paper underneath protecting other pages, you may have chunks of page tear off. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not. Here's a spread using one of the stamps Kari designed. (The blue, not the overlay green, a second stamp.)

It was fun making patterns in the gesso.

And while I still have some spots I'm not fond of, I can paste things down over the parts I don't like! (I'll share the cover with you when I finish it! And maybe even some of the inside!)

Day Three -- Vintage Vessels

On the third day, we made "vintage vessels" -- boxes covered with polymer and a variety of paints and potions to make an aged-looking box.

I loved doing this. I started with ugly green clay (and a little bit of other colors, too, since I ran out of green!). Those blue bits next to it and on top of the box were made from clay in molds made from a wonderful mold-making material called "Knead a Mold." Highly recommended!

My polymer experience was limited, but with the right stamps, time and excellent teaching (along with layers of a special paint with metallic bits in it, a spray to bring out the patina and a special dark wax to age it), I was thrilled with the results!

Here's the view from the top. You can see the patina is already beginning to come out and should continue over the course of a couple of weeks.

Kari is very big on using materials at hand and being very clever. "Shop your house," she says, showing us cookie cutters, screen, a plastic fork, bottle caps and one of my favorites, a corn plaster glued to a bottle cap that makes a great "dot" stamp!

She was also generous with her materials, sharing powders, paints, stamps, and other things we could try so we could get a handle on whether or not we wanted to invest in them. The class kits had good instructions, suppliers and more.

And Kari's husband Mike took care of us with terrific lunches and snacks! Who could beat it?

What can I say but, Wow! Thanks to Kari's teaching, the wonderful people attending and the joy of creating, I had a fabulous weekend!

Kari posts notice of her workshops on her blog, The Back Porch Artessa. Take a visit! Better yet, take a class! She'll be teaching at the upcoming Art & Soul workshop.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Crazy Good Weather

We're having crazy good weather these days.

The world feels upside down, as though we must be living in Australia!

St. Patrick's Day is always a day for merriment, but it was an odd sight indeed to see college revelers running about in Spartan Green T-shirts and leprechaun hats without the benefit of a jacket to warm them from the cold! Fraternities were having lawn parties, and the streets were full of lovely young things in spandex-tight neon green shiny pants (belly buttons showing, of course!) and cropped tops, making their way down the streets to the next party.

I was in art workshops all day (all weekend, actually). You'll hear more about that in another post -- it's going to take me a bit to synthesize it all! On St. Paddy's day, we got out and I headed to Rick's. I was amazed that even at 7 p.m., it was in the 70s -- it had been in the 80s earlier.

Rick, of course, did his ride, getting in plenty of early miles! When I got to his house after dinner with my art pals, I found him and his Detroit buddy on the patio where they had grilled out. I had a glass of wine with them, and it was impossible to believe we were sitting on the patio in mid-March in short sleeves and sandals!
It probably means bad things for the Earth, but I have to admit I'm loving our early spring and hope it lasts! You can see signs all over -- bulbs beginning to pop up...

...time for long walks at the Ditch!

The forsythia is coming into full bloom, making the walk there all the prettier!

(no Harry yet, but it's lovely!


I've been enjoying seeing the other walkers, their pets, and yes, my duck friends!

The geese are out in full splendor...

...and so are the daffodills!

...My neighbor's Easter tree is a sure sign of spring...

...and so is Rick, hard at work outside!

All this plus garlic scapes! Last fall, Anno gave me a bulb of her home grown garlic and instructions. I carefully planted the individual cloves in a large pot, mulched it (which blew away) and now am waiting for the best garlic in the world!

Gypsy Update

Some of you have asked me how Gypsy is doing. Well, I think the Gyp is a miracle boy!

He's not only eating like a pig but playing like a crazy boy! I smile all the time when I think about his miraculous recovery! He's not much in the posing mood below, but I daresay if I brought out the treats, he would have smiled!

Happy Spring -- maybe not officially, but at least in my part of the world it is, and I'm happy!

Enjoy it while it lasts -- there was a huge blizzard in Flagstaff over the weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gardenviews -- Pink, Green and More!

Long ago I took you to Gardenviews, one of my favorite stores, during the Christmas holidays. Well, we were ready for a road trip on Saturday, so off we went to see what they had for spring! (Check out a nice review of the store HERE)

This store, located in Northville, MI, has the best buyers ever! And the people who do their displays are pretty terrific, too. I loved this one, with splashes of yellow and orange.

There was plenty of pink and green too. I loved all of their faux flowers -- they are better than any others I've ever seen.

I'm not sure which I loved most here -- the flowers or the painted wood behind them!

One of the store employees said that they refused to buy a certain kind this year (tulips, in particular), despite their popularity, because they weren't quite real enough. I loved the peonies -- and no ants! (These came home with me!)

Their outdoor garden ornaments are terrific.

I loved the peacock feathers and bought a few of those to play with, too!

Signs? Well, I adored the Eiffel Tower hanging...

...and this is my motto these days!

I'm getting very excited about our upcoming trip to Paris...

...so I couldn't resist a travel journal!

A perfect day to visit -- if you're in the neighborhood, check it out!

You won't be disappointed!

This post is part of Beverly's PINK SATURDAY -- Link over after 3 on Friday to see who else is in the pink (and green!) this week!

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