Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Last week we had an ice storm here in the Midwest. Temperatures hovered near 32 degrees F and it alternated between rain, sleet and snow. It was a cold, white Christmas Eve we woke up to. But what a beautiful sight! I'm trying to establish the habit of having my camera nearby at all times and I'm glad I had it with me that morning. I walked around the yard amidst the frozen downed tree branches. While I snapped away, the ice melted and dripped. The pictures I took without a flash were just ho-hum so I tried "flashing" them. And this appeared. The tree is a swamp maple and I don't know if these are buds or what. (And if they are buds, what the heck are they doing out in December?) The branches are usually way above my head but the weight of the ice brought them down to eye level. It was breathtaking. Each bud was encased in a magical "snow globe" of ice, which magnified their beauty. Within hours the ice was gone and the branches ascended and the world looked normal again. I am grateful I had the opportunity to see and record this bit of magic before it disappeared. And to be reminded... it's always around us, isn't it?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

DONE! Bye-bye Sketchbook Project!

First I thought... I can't do a project like this! I did it. Then I thought... I am NEVER going to get this done in a month! I did it. Then I thought... HOW can I send my original art away permanently? For thousands of strangers to see? I did it. You know what, negative voices in my head? PPPHHHLLLLTTTT! I DID IT! And you can't stop me anymore!!!

Now that my inner dialogue is out in the open, I feel much freedom. Actually, it might be that this project is DONE and over with. Don't get me wrong... I am SO glad that I committed myself and completed this sketchbook. It proved to those negative voices in my head that I could do it. Those voices that said "You suck. You're not good enough. No one wants to see your art. How are you going to fill 20+ pages with a theme of Past-Present-Future? Hmm?" (PPPHHHHLLLTTTT!) I had fun for the most part. Some pages I LOVE. Some pages are just ho-hum. I learned A LOT of technical stuff like... don't put gel medium over colored pencils or your pages will stick together and tear up when you rip them apart. Use matte gel medium to seal pages instead of gloss gel medium or the pages will stick together (except in above colored pencil fiasco-just don't use anything!) Don't use Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue on magazine pictures to the pages... it has too much water content and will wrinkle the hell out of your pages. And NEVER squeeze an old tube of Rub-n-Buff while it's aimed at yourself and/or your furniture. These lessons also taught me how to salvage pages in a creative way when I was ready to toss the book out the window. And it taught me that Rub-n-Buff does not come off of clothes or plastic storage carts.

But the BESTEST part of this whole project are the new friends I made. I like to think of them as the "Sketchbook Ladies" and without their invaluable inspiration, talent, kindness, motivation and sense of humor, I don't think I would have had the courage to finish. Or at least I would NOT have had ANY fun doing this project. I feel like I have known them for years and I hope they will be a part of my life for a long time. You are awesome ladies, thank you!!

Here are a few of my favorite pages:

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Kingdom of Odd

Most of you know I love to Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Well, that involves "keeping" things around in case I need them, right? (Ok... hubby says I'm a huge pack rat!) But take a look at these cute little guys. They used to be CLOTHES. Every since that second issue of STUFFED magazine came out, I've been enamored with Stuffies. And what better way to reuse clothes that would be thrown away? Now, don't get excited... I would never throw away perfectly good clothes, I am a big proponent of donation. But the Stuffies made out the red fabric came from a shirt I bought at a resale and tried to alter so it would fit my daughter. I really screwed it up. So Monkey, Lulu and Olive were born. And then the dutch twins, Skar and Hapi. (All out of one little shirt!). Blue guy Hiram was made from a really ugly pair of blue velour track pants I got at the resale shop. No, I never intended on wearing them but I thought they were so ugly they probably wouldn't have been sold. Ever. So I saved them from rotting in a landfill. A lot of stuffies can be made from one pair of pants... Hiram is going be a big brother many times over. The leopard print Stuffy, Sookie, was made from a perfectly good shirt I bought for 50 cents at a resale. Gulp. Yes, I bought the shirt for the sole purpose of making a Stuffy.

Why do I love making these guys? They are all unique. Sure, I make the patterns myself, and may even use the same fabric (like the dutch twins) but no face ever matches, so they are all one of a kind. Unfortunately I fall in love with every one. I am such a sucker for a cute face.

Now... what to do with them? They're not really appropriate for small children because of the buttons sewn on them. I'll probably end up putting some up on etsy (as soon as I figure out how to list stuff!) I'll probably keep a few. Right now they are all sitting on top of my quilt rack. They look a little bit like the 7 muses...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I should be on Project Runway...

...she says with a laugh. Thursday night at about 8:50 my daughter informs me that she's supposed to wear something Christmas-y to school the next day. Well, she has no holiday wear, I generally don't agree with themed clothes, call me a grinch, call me practical. BUT we did have 2 yards of beautiful Christmas fabric we bought several weeks ago. SO... I got out the paper and scissors, an old Christmas tree skirt my daughter has been wearing as a girl-skirt the last few Christmas's, my trusty sewing machine (best gift ever!) and got to work. ONE hour later and she had a beautiful skirt to wear to school for the holiday party. I had her twirl and twirl for the camera. She got dizzy. But it's so TWIRLY. It's basically... well, a Christmas tree skirt! It's a complete circle. With an elastic waist. I like it. She loves it. And she can't stop twirling.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love is a Battlefield

Well, this page looks like a battlefield! I was making a page for my sketchbook journal about the heart, love, science, emotion (all timeless) and ended up with a mess. I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue some thinner collaged pages into the sketchbook. The PPA gave the pages a beautiful matte finish (with no tackiness) but I ended up with a disaster. Serious wrinkles. Think elephant butt here. I had to put the book away for a few days to avoid ripping the pages out. I took it out the other day and on a whim, started sanding it and grunging it up. Then I took some blue, black and red china markers and started scribbling all over it. Being silly. Well, guess what? I like it better now than before, even IF I didn't have all those wrinkles. That just goes to prove that sometimes creating on the fly and not thinking too much about it is good for the soul. I think I'll keep those pages in the book.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ta-Dah! New Look

Whew, the emails were flying today with my girls over at Sketchbook project! Two new blogs were born today, congratulations to Janet and Joanna. I'm so proud of them! I'm not going to link to their pages because I don't want to freak them out. But they took the big step into the blogosphere, with encouragement and a bit of help. Which encouraged me to learn more about Blogger. You know all those tabs and boxes that I ignore because I have no idea what they mean? Well, it's time to learn. I'm watching a tutorial at the moment. Well listening while I type, obviously, because as much as I'd like to do two visual things at once, I only have 4 eyes. (Just kidding.) Seriously, some of it is pretty basic so I can listen while I type. Anyway, the site is called and has TONS of tutorials about everything and anything that has to do with computers/software/www. I'm talking about any software, any subject, any vendor, and any author. They are broken down into manageable sections, from a few minutes long to a total of up to 20+ hours long for the whole lesson. Sure it costs something... but it's worth it for real video tutorials. You can't put a price on education. Besides, hubby needs it for work.

What brought this on? I decided I wanted to put a header on my blog to "pretty it up". I see a lot of blogs with pretty, colorful headers. Well, of course it wasn't as easy as edit: add header because I picked a difficult template. But after playing around in photoshop and trying different things I finally figured it out. I just used a photo I took of our garden angel as my background. One of these days (when I figure out how to use photoshop better!) I want to make a header that actually reflects my artwork. But for now, I LIKE IT!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Her Wings Were Small

Well, after all the great comments and encouragement I received after posting my FIRST attempt at sketching I decided to try my hand at another page. It was funny... I was drawing my Girl from the back and it looked a little funny. My daughter walks in the room and looks at it. She says "the shoulders are too high. Move them down and make the arms smaller." You know what? Without questioning her, I got my eraser and "fixed" the Girl and she looked so much better! Hmm. Art advice from an 8 year old. I tell ya, the eye on
this girl amazes me. She is always teaching me something. I should have her finish my sketchbook, hehe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Random Sketchbook Journal Page

I have been slowly plugging away at my sketchbook journal. I put it on hold the past few days to attend to other business (and because the last page spread I did turned into a wrinkled disaster and I got fed up!) Truthfully, I'm not thrilled with my book as a whole. I LOVE some pages, I'm just "ok" with others. I find that when I force myself to make something it doesn't turn out so good. But this page above was one where I just pulled out some oriental type ephemera and let the muse take me. I didn't think much about it, I didn't force it. I fell in love with this quote by Rumi, which inspired the whole mood of the page. I really like the feel of it.

I think I'm having a hard time interpreting my theme "Past, Present, Future". My left brain wants to think linear, wants to make comparisons, wants numbers and dates. I've made a few pages like this and they are my least favorite. I think I just have to tell the left side of my brain to shut the h*ll up. I've already decided to design my spreads randomly. (Random. I love that word.) I started in the center of the book and just add pages here and there. I wanted to assure that it wasn't linear. I'm going to take another day off and not think about it (while I abuse my brain by going to the mall on a Sunday a few weeks before Christmas!) I really need to pick up the pace; I want to finish most of it by the end of next week. Because after that the kid and hubby will be on Holiday break and there'll be too many distractions. I think I'll be glad when I finish it... although I have been having major second thoughts about sending this book away!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Birth of....

There was a journal prompt listed a few weeks back on one of my art groups and it's been floundering about my brain, trying to get out. I had done a quick sketch back then and just came back to it and finished it. This is a BIG first for me, using my own words in a picture. I usually use a quote by a famous person or song lyrics to express something. Also a first is actually drawing something myself. I wouldn't call myself a sketcher. I've managed to avoid that class in architecture school. Oh, I've done drawings, tons of them, but they've always been on the technical side using T-squares and rulers and guidelines. That's where my comfort level lies. But I had to get this girl out of my head and on paper so I just did it. I think I did okay with my first public display of a semi-portrait. Someone commented that it reminded them of "flash fiction" and I absolutely love that idea! I'm thinking that it's also a kind of birth... or evolution... I can't wait to see where this story takes me. I've got 40 pages in my sketchbook...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Life is... Just Cold Right Now!

I'm sitting here in the Midwest, freezing my... toes off. If this is an indication of winter to come, I've gotta come up with something warmer to wear. Like an indoor snowsuit. As long as I have my hands free, that'll be good. We're supposed to get snow that sticks next week. The shoveling kind. I can't wait (she says sarcastically.) Don't get me wrong, I love the snow, the trees and bushes and ground covered with pure white. The way it insulates sound and muffles everything...the crazy neighbors tend to stay indoors, no adolescent screaming and Harley's revving. As long as I can stay indoors too and look out my windows at it (while wearing that indoor snowsuit.) Fat chance. Time to find the ice scrapers and snow shovels. But then again, I live in Chicago, it's December. What else should I expect?

As promised, here is another Teesha Moore inspired page from my journal. Honoring... ice cream! Makes me cold just thinking about it. I don't eat ice cream in winter. I usually switch to a bimonthly coffee drink. Like a peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. Mmmmmmm. Those are good. I feel a coffee inspired page coming on....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Budding Artists

The day before Thanksgiving I decided to treat my mom to a matinee movie and took her to see "The Twilight Saga: New Moon". Believe it or not it's been EIGHT years since I've been out ALONE with my Mom. (Hmmm. That's exactly how old my daughter is! Interesting!) We had a great time thanks to my 13 year old nephew who agreed to kid-sit Celia. Of course I had to give them a project to do to keep them busy - I decided they could create a "Teesha Moore Inspired" page. I gave them everything they needed out of my giant magic backpack of art supplies. I LOVE what they came up with! Here is Celia's picture:

I love the way she did the dog's head on the girl's body. And how she put the giant cookie in her hand. Can't really tell from the scan but the background is metallic colored pencils. Matches with all the stars on the page. (She knows "stars" is my little trademark I guess!)

My nephew Jacob is an awesome kid. He is bursting with creativity, he just doesn't know where his niche is yet. He can knit and crochet with expertise. He makes jewelry. He loves to do anything artsy and craftsy. (He's my kinda guy!) He writes stories and does backstage work for his school plays. He is also an awesome chef. There's not alot this kid can't do... AND he loves Twilight! His picture is dedicated to Kristen and Rob (I gave him an OK! magazine to get his images out of!) although if you're familiar with the stars, you'll know those curves are NOT Kristen's! Here's his pic:

It's hard to tell on the scan but Rob's face is polka-dotted with metallic silver dots. It's hilarious in real life, I smile just thinking about it. And the "Doesn't He Sparkle" just sets me off. I think he did a great job.

Don't you love sharing art with kids? I am fortunate enough to share art with my kid everyday but it's special to me to share it with my nephew as well. Love you Jacob!

Tomorrow I will scan and post my next "Teesha" inspired page. I have to think of about 30 different flavors of ice cream first....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Time to start making the Holiday cookies! This was last year... do you think I should get her an apron?

Well, now that the Holiday season is officially upon us (I refuse to acknowledge it before Thanksgiving is over!) it got me thinking of some things. I know alot of artsy folks love to reuse and recycle items for their artwork and I think that is wonderful! I'm an avid recycler (and my husband would call me a "hoarder") and I love to see things reused in artwork rather than thrown in the dump. Here's an example: TeaBot made by Inka's husband over at Altered Artifacts. Think of all those little metal pieces he saved from the landfill! I know many people who use old books for journals and/or actually alter books into pieces of art. Well, there's a million examples of reusing items. I recently made about six Stuffies out of a shirt my daughter no longer wears.

Which brings me to the subject of re-gifting. Ah, what a delicate subject. I want to know how many people have "regifted" something they got and passed it along to someone else (or gave it away or ebayed it!) I admit it, I did. A few years ago, at a family grab bag, I was lucky enough to get a chocolate fondue set. Of course I was desperately trying to lose weight at the time. My family probably doesn't know the struggles I go through with my sweets addiction and it was a nice gift (and I love you dear family! You know who you are!) But I couldn't keep it in my house. So I ebayed it and probably bought some art supplies or books with the money. Is there anything wrong with that? Once it's mine, I can do with it whatever I want, right? And no one wanted to trade with me...

Then, as I was going through some Christmas boxes yesterday I was reminded of a re-gifting story. I found a very pretty tin, about 3" in diameter and about 10" tall. (I'm thinking a little robot dude in the making?) It used to be filled with cookies. I got it from a supervisor/coworker last year when I left my job to pursue a better opportunity. My last day was a week before Christmas break. I was touched that she thought of me and cared enough to give me a gift. Well, a week later I broke open the tin and opened the packaging, only to be met with a strange odor... the cookies were completely RANCID. Hmm. I looked at the expiration date to find that the cookies had been expired for about a year. UGH. Obviously a case of regifting. It was probably a wedding gift she had in her pantry for a couple of years. I can tell myself that it was the thought that counts... but really? The tin is really pretty but every time I see it, I feel bad.

So let this be a lesson in regifting... ALWAYS check the expiration date on any food item you may give away! That includes the fruitcakes (do those have expirations??) And PLEASE at this time of year many food pantries are asking for donations... DO NOT clean out your pantry and donate expired cans of food! Only give away (to friends/coworkers/donations) food that you would like to get yourself :-) Now go forth and contribute to the economy :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Well, I took the plunge and completed my first spread for the Sketchbook Project. It's called
Revolution. My theme for the project is "Past, Present, Future." A favorite song of mine is "Neverfall" by the Lovehammers. And I've had this awesome image in my files for about a year now (came as an advertisement for a graphics firm.) Here's what happened when I put them all together. Background is a series of acrylic washes. The image was a laser transfer because the original image was a glossy colored picture. The song lyrics are written around the edges of the images. Why Revolution? Well, revolutions have always been a part of the past, present and will be a part of the future. As long as man has free will and a thinking brain there will be revolt and push for change. But my interpretation of this page is exploring the inner revolution we all go through, the need for change and being heard, even if we have to scream; the need to stand up and be counted, to move forward in life. We have to listen to the voices in our head and our heart, be strong enough to pursue the life we've dreamed. "Open up your mind and scream, live a life that sets you free". I think that's a message that's pretty timeless, don't you?

Thanks Lovehammers for the energy and inspiration to conduct my own personal revolution! XO Lisa

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Over The Top Blog Award

I have met such beautiful souls recently in various forums and groups, people who encourage me and inspire me to be creative, and who make me feel safe sharing my artwork. I have gotten such wonderful positive feedback I have to pinch myself once in awhile. A very special e-friend, Toni, gave me this award and I'm tickled pink. When I started this blog I figured it would be a thing I did for myself because no one would read it. I didn't figure on such a wonderful community of like-minded artists and friends who are so quick to offer encouragement and positive thoughts. (I didn't have to reject ONE comment yet!) I want to send out a THANK YOU to all of you who have left comments. I relish every one of them. They keep me going.

So this award comes with rules:
I need to pass this award on to five people, post on their blog to let them know I left this award, and then I need to answer a list of questions in ONE word.
So here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone?… Purse
2. Your hair?… Blond
3. Your mother?… Awake
4. Your father?… Sleeping
5. Your favorite food?… Chocolate
6. Your dream last night?… Nice!
7. Your favorite drink?… Water
8. Your dream/goal?… Happy
9. What room are you in?… Studio
10. Your hobby?… Art
11. Your fear?… Loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Employed
13. Where were you last night?… Home
14. Something that you aren’t?… Satisfied
15. Muffins?… Blueberry
16. Wish list item?… Camera
17. Where did you grow up?… Illinois
18. Last thing you did?… Watched
19. What are you wearing?… Pajamas
20. Your TV?… Off
21. Your Pets?… Dog
22. Friends?… Few
23. Your life?… Unexpected
24. Your mood?… Contemplative
25. Missing Someone?… Yes
26. Vehicle?… Honda
27. Something you're not wearing?… Necklace
28. Your favorite store?… HobbyLobby
29. Your favorite colour?… Blue
30. When was the last time you laughed?…Today
31. Last time you cried?… Recent
32. Your best friend?… miss
33. One place that I go to over and over?… Arboretum
34. Facebook?… unfortunately
35. Favorite place to eat?… Out

Now I get to pass this on to some other bloggers that inspire me with their words and work and general wonderful-ness! Thank you!

1. Cheryl 2. PAMO 3. Amanda 4. Susan 5. Teri

Friday, November 13, 2009

Multitasking at its best

My name is Lisa and I am a multi-tasker. (Is there a 12 step program for this? Maybe all steps at the same time?) I rarely do one thing at a time. Right now I'm typing and listening to a favorite CD thinking about lyrics I can use for a photo journaling assignment. I can't just cook dinner. I have to have a book to peek in or a pile of mail to go through while the water boils. I don't watch TV, I watch TV and have a magazine or book or computer in my lap. I have to listen to podcasts while I walk the dog. It's a sickness.

This has been a week of multitasking and my art room shows it. It's buried. I can't stand it any longer. (Notice there are no pictures of that!) I'm glad I finished up a few projects because now I can clean up and get ready for the next round. I've been thinking about making a page inspired by the Teesha Moore videos I watched. Of course I had to make and paint 4 art journals first. (Teesha shows us how on one of her videos.) One group talked about lettering and challenged us to a practice. An ATC example is above. A few more groups threw out some journaling prompts that sounded like fun. Well, I want to do it all!

My first project was inspired by the prompt "Up up and away!" and involves a hot air balloon. I collaborated with my 8 y.o. daughter. She needed something to work on so I gave her the task of making the balloon out of watercolor paper and paint. She added her family to the basket, including the dog. I did the background and details and the lettering. Let me tell you, my heart was pounding right before I put the first mark down! That's the thing about journaling... I'm so nervous to write stuff down because I'm afraid I'm going to ruin the picture. I'm over it. I did it. I made the first mark. And now you can't stop me. The whole page is above, here's a detail of the basket:

I think it came out nicely. I love working on art with my daughter. She's so free and uninhibited.

My sketchbook project group was posting some pages they did a'la Teesha Moore style. It looks so fun. I love her style, the colors, the funky faces and her lettering. So I whipped up a page. If it doesn't make sense, it's OK. It makes sense to me... and that's all that matters, right? (But it would be nice if ONE person found some humor in it!) Here she is... this is Irma.

I saw the cupcake picture with the word "Friday" on it and it all fell together. As for the lettering...I just did it. I wasn't even nervous. I
was anal enough to lay out a piece of tracing paper to space the words, but that's about it. I think it turned out quite nicely.

Next up... my sketchbook should arrive soon and I can start working on my pages. I completed one whole spread that I will tip-in, and started a few more pages to add to the book. I will post that soon. I am taking an online photo journaling class with L.K. Ludwig. It's starting slowly but I really need to put some pages together. I'll keep you updated on that too. I've got a lot of work ahead of me... it's a good thing I can do five things at once, eh?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Madonnari chalk drawing festival

Oh where to start... Madonnari is an Italian Street Painting Festival dating back to the 16th century where painters transform village street squares into colorful temporary galleries. Well, my little town decided to host it's own "Madonnari Off Main" in downtown Glen Ellyn. This is the second annual, last year we had a little 2' x 2' square my daughter designed and colored. But this year... my favoritist rock band in the world was sponsoring a fan contest, how could I NOT participate? I bought a square for $25, ALL proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House. It was simple, draw a picture that had something to do with the Lovehammers music... the winner gets to have DINNER with the band!! What are the chances... ?

By the way, I wouldn't even have attempted it without my art partner and 8 year old daughter! Our canvas was a 5' x 5' square of asphalt. That's right. Parking lot material. I had drawn out my design on a 9" x 12" paper the day before and gridded it so I wouldn't be flying completely by the seat of my pants. Dick Blick supplied gobs and gobs of chalk and little brushes and we were on our knees by 10:00 a.m. Here is about 30 minutes into it:

Luckily it was a beautiful warm sunny day, We got some great compliments by passers-by. One lady's observations on my drawing just floored me. She noticed the symbolism and really "got it". Another guy looks and asks "Does that mean what I think it means?" and after a second, I burst out laughing and told him no. He said he had three daughters and just thought that... well, it was a good message anyway. About 2.5 hours into it, the picture looked like this:

It took another hour and a half to put down all the blue and add shading and details to the lettering. I think we used about 10 sticks of blue chalk. And if you dab the chalk with a paintbrush while laying it down, it goes deep into the cracks of the asphalt and really makes the color pop brightly. We were done by 2:00. It took 8 hours between the two of us! And my little partner plugged along the entire time, not complaining about sore knees, loving every minute of it. Here are some details of the picture:

So we checked in with the contest people and got some lunch, and wandered around for a few hours. Here's a weird part (cue Twilight Zone music) We walked by our drawing once and found a bright yellow piece of paper just sitting on the drawing. It was a menu from a restaurant called Bistro Monet. I picked it up and perused it and laughed at the fancy descriptions of the food. We walked around some more. By the time we got back we were informed... we would be having DINNER WITH THE BAND!!! That night! Like, in an hour! Ack. I didn't have time to be nervous. I called my husband and casually mentioned that we would be dining with the Lovehammers, don't expect us home for awhile (there was a free concert afterward too!) Well, I was in athletic capris, really dirty shoes, all my makeup had been sweated off and my hair had a really bad case of hat-head. And I had chalk under my nails. Where was dinner? A REALLY fancy french restuarant in downtown Glen Ellyn, Bistro Monet. (Twilight Zone music again!)

This is the band. On the left is Dino Kourelis. I am second from left, my daughter next to me. Then there's a fan, Marty Casey, and another fan. On the right side is Bobby Kourelis and Billy Sawilchik. Let me tell you... I've met "Rock Stars" before... and these guys were the nicest, most down to earth people ever. It was so easy to talk to them and ask questions. I thought at first that I would be really nervous and not say a word, but it was the opposite, my mouth probably ran too much. They were very gracious with my daughter and included her in the conversations. Several members have kids of their own and they didn't swear once! We were there for about an hour and a half and the time flew by! The other girls in the back flocking Marty Casey were the other winners. I'll be completely honest here... there were only two participants so the band decided to invite us all! (Although I like my picture better, hehe.) I was walking on clouds the entire weekend... because really, what are the chances of ME dining with my favorite band?

About the Lovehammers: Singer Marty Casey was on the reality show RockStar INXS where he came in second (thank goodness... he's too good for INXS!) He toured with L.A. Guns a few summers ago and now he's focused on his longtime band Lovehammers. The band members are all from the Chicago area so they have a nice following here. They do ALOT of concerts for charity and fundraising events, bless their souls. They have raised money for animal shelters, Ronald McDonald House, pediatric cancer research, and various other local charities. Marty Casey's Silver Elements Collection donates money to American Forests “Global Releaf” Ecosystem Restoration Projects.

The picture we drew was imagined from the song "Honest I'll Wait" from the Lovehammers newest CD "Heavy Crown".

Honest I'll Wait
Whatever gets you high will never get you through your worries
Affection that you feel, the pain inside your skin can't bury
If this road that you take is three times luckier
The earth is gonna shake and the restless souls will come for you.
Honest I'll wait, till the wave crashes over me
In wide open space, your sound fills the rest of me
No matter how I try, I can't escape this way I'm feeling
No longer run and hide, I turn and face the wave that heals me
If this road that you take is three times luckier
The earth is gonna shake and the restless souls will come for you.
Honest I'll wait; honest I'll wait
Till the sun refuse to shine, honest I will wait.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I won! (and other stuff I'm workin' on)

I am SO excited... I found out Sunday that I won the Twinchie Lottery over at TheLatestTrendsinMixedMediaArts yahoo group! The Twinchies I made for the lottery were posted here a few weeks ago. I've never made a Twinchie before and of course had to try one. I had no intention of winning cause I've never won anything before. Well, that's not true... I won an "Air America" tank top in a "Why I Love Mel Gibson" contest about 15 years ago! Don't laugh... it was before he went crazy and immoral. OK, I guess I also won dinner with my favorite Rock Star dudes for making a pretty chalk drawing in the street. Actually, I think I'll write about that next time... But I digress. I am really excited because over the next few weeks I will be getting 31 Halloween twinchies in the mail from various awesome artists in the group. Seriously, how cool is that? I need to come up with a project or some way to display them all. Maybe an advent-type calendar for the month of October? Every day a door opens to a new little picture? Hmm.

In other news... I've loaded my plate with committment for the next few months. I signed up for a sketchbook project with ArthouseCoop . People from all over the world participate. They send us a 5" x 8" Moleskine sketchbook (80 pages! gulp!) and we fill it up with sketches, drawings, collages, etc. of a particular theme given to us. Mine is "Past, Present, and Future". The due date is early January and I haven't gotten my book yet. I've decided to make a few pages that will later will be "tipped in" the sketchbook when I get it. Once they get the book back, it goes traveling all over the country to different art galleries. People will be able to look at it, touch it, flip through it. After the national tour it will be part of a permanent sketchbook library, where people can go and check out the books like a regular library. The downside is that I won't get to keep my sketchbook, but the upside is that I will be sharing a part of myself with the world. Another upside is all the wonderful and talented artists I'm meeting through this project. I am going to try and post my progress, if I make any, LOL.

I am also very excited to be taking a "Point and Shoot Journaling" class with L.K. Ludwig, who is the author of some very cool books on Journaling, including True Vision, Collaborative Art Journals, and Mixed Media Nature Journals. These are all really good books and she's a wonderful artist. I've been looking for a class to take... and I LOVE taking photos and this just clicked. I'll try to post my progress here too.

I really want to work on posting more often, but I don't always have something new to post. So I guess I'll go into my artbox archives and pull something up. Today's image is an ATC I made for a Misty Mawn type ATC swap. And I'll post soon about my summer adventure involving lots of chalk, a parking lot and a fancy french dinner with my favorite rock band.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Message from Jack...

This is Jack's way of wishing you a Happy Halloween.

Most people who know me well know that I just don't get into Halloween. It kind of creeps me out. I hate opening my door to people whose face I can't see. Sure, the princesses and little witches are cute... I don't mind the cute part. I don't like the gory, bloody, scary part. The world is scary enough. But that said... I know a lot of adults who really get into Halloween. Maybe it's the opportunity, for ONE day, to be someone else. Turn into our alter ego. Someone we would never dare to be in real life. It gives us permission to "try" on other persona's, walk on the wild side for one night. I've never had the opportunity to go to a real adult Halloween party. The only time I've dressed up in costume was as a teacher. Really, how exciting is it to be a Ty Whale Beanie Baby? Or a 1960's hippie (too real?) Maybe I'm just too repressed. I was thinking... IF I would dress up in a Halloween costume, I would be a beautiful witch or Fairy Princess. They're kinda the same thing, right? Or maybe a Wench. I played a wench once at a church benefit dinner (don't ask). That was one costume where my assets were flaunted! Ha! I'm rambling... Just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween. And buy the good chocolate candy... just in case there are leftovers...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making Some Memories (and Nightgowns)

Well, last Monday we all played hooky and spent the day in downtown Chicago. Hubby had a seminar to go to and my daughter and I tagged along. While he slaved away in class, C and I went up to the observatory in the Hancock Center (that's educational, right?) We learned about how the building was constructed and saw the beautiful views from the 94th floor. We got up there in 8 seconds in the world's fastest elevator! This is a view of the Sear's Tower:

We also rode the glass elevator in Water Tower Place Mall. That was only 9 stories but you could see all around as it zoomed up. C described it as "delightfully scary."

We also walked the Magnificent Mile to the Chicago River (which runs backwards, we learned.) We visited a Church with gorgeous stained glass and beautiful architecture. Had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (my new favorite restaurant, YUM) The highlight of the day was when C could finally buy her American Girl doll. I didn't pay one cent towards it, she saved up her allowance for a long time. The final $20 came from a huge lot of her Magic Treehouse books I sold for her on ebay. I have never seen her so excited. She picked Kirsten, a little pioneer girl from the mid 1800's. Now of course come the accessories. Holy Cow. This is clearly where AG makes the bulk of their money! When I saw Kirsten's nightgown for $24.00 I'm thinking... uh, I could make that! Ahem. Challenge on. Here's the final product:

Let me tell you, it's MUCH easier to buy the darn thing for $24.00. It's worth every penny! If I add up my time at a decent working rate I'd have to sell the nightgown for about $90.00. I had all the materials so that was no cost. I broke a sewing machine in THREE pieces (and thought I broke my $$$ sewing machine! Panic!) I ended up hand sewing some very thick areas and the velcro on the cuffs. I actually broke a hand sewing needle too. Yikes. But it did turn out great if I may say so myself. And there was one VERY happy little girl tonight when I presented it to her. Just that was worth the hours I put in. Of course now I'm printing off the pattern and instructions for Kirsten's School Dress...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

GlueBot Challenge

Over the summer my friend Leigh introduced me to GlueBots. I had never heard of them and when I saw her pictures, I was completely enchanted. Her GlueBots were intricate, whimsical and adorable. Then she was kind enough to send me an original and kind of challenged me to try it. Well, of course I couldn't resist. So one day my daughter and I grabbed some catalogs and scissors and set to work. My 8 year old's is the one with the blue background, mine is the white background. I think they both turned out great! Here are the results:

What I learned: This is a lot harder than it looks! It took us a long time to find the right elements for our little creatures. But it took us even longer to cut them out! Patience, you need LOTS of patience and really good manual dexterity. It gave me a whole new appreciation for Leigh's GlueBots, because hers were even more intricate than mine. I understand some people find it relaxing and meditative to focus on something so closely. Huh. I don't think that's me. I am an extremely patient person, you have to be to work with kids I work with. But, I think when I'm working with art I need to bury my patient self and get something done. (I get impatient waiting for paint to dry!) I didn't find it too relaxing either. So... I'm glad I tried it and I may make a few more in the future but I can't see making a whole bunch of them. I'll leave that to the professionals.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wisdom... out of the mouths of babes

My daugher and I were talking about our day and snuggling together the other night. The next thing I know she's saying something that brought tears to my eyes, it was so sweet and profound. I knew I had to write this one down, to remember when she's a teenager and is driving me crazy. So I made a page in my art journal to savor it when I need a mental hug. Here it is.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Festival Time!

The big kickoff for Fall Festival time in our family is the first weekend of October. Oregon, IL hosts it's annual Autumnfest and Parade. It's become a yearly ritual, no matter the weather or apparently, our health. This year it rained a cold misty rain all Saturday, and Sunday, Mom walked around with Pneumonia (granted, we didn't know it at the time!), nephew was sick, sister was coming down with the flu. But nothing stops us from hitting that HUGE used booksale where we stocked up on piles of books for the winter. Picture it... books, rain, umbrellas... all outdoors. The Fest has hundreds of arts and crafts vendors and of course I migrate toward all the pretty, glittery, shiny stuff. I LOVE fused glass pendants and handcrafted jewelry. I refrained from buying any more glass but I did buy a silver ring at the South American booth. It's really cool, it's a silver band with stars etched in, but the coolest part is that the inner ring of stars spins. (Say that fast five times!) That's all I bought this year, except for cinnamon roasted almonds, yum!

The parade is one of the longest parades around, almost 1.5 hours. It's also one of the best parades with all kinds of cool floats, groups, and marching bands. And of course flying tootsie rolls. We came home with a bag full of candy. I remembered to take some pictures this time. I LOVE my little camera, the pictures came out a lot better than I thought they would.

This was at the very end of the parade. I love the sacked out kid! It's how alot of us felt after the long day, but unfortunately, we had a 2 hour drive home!