Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I told you I was drawing a flower the other day. I finished the roses, then decided to paint them instead of using colored pencil. Okay... I'm biting my lip again... but here they are in all their amateurish glory. I have never taken any painting lessons and I really have no idea what the heck I'm doing. I just read art books, and must look at pictures in order to draw at all. My art classes in college were geared toward education majors not art majors, so... well so it shows. The one talent I have always wished I had was the ability to draw and paint. I don't have that natural talent. I simply have shear determination and force of will. This is the best I can do. I'd love to take lessons but the only available painting classes are just out of my $$$ reach. If I lived in more populated area, then maybe they would be more affordable. That's okay, I have many blessings and thank goodness for rubber stamp art ya know! How wonderful to be able to have them to allow us to make our own art. And  you know what? I had FUN doing these!! 

These are all the paintings I've done in the last few months. The poppies on the right were the first. I see many mistakes (I struggle with perspective even though I'm looking right at a picture) but I also see bright colors and they make me happy.

Am I going to hang any of these?  I don't know, maybe the doors. They might look nice on either side of  the collage of Dublin doors. I made the collage in Photoshop after visiting Ireland last year. This is my studio/craft room by the way.
So, why did I take all the pictures of doors in Dublin? Well all the houses in this area of the city are row houses, with connecting walls. Back in the day, the doors all looked alike and when the men came home from an evening of drinking with the boys, they sometimes went into the wrong house. So the women, wanting to keep their husbands in line, painted their doors bright colors. Some men still entered the 'wrong' houses, claiming they were color blind. So the resourceful Irish wives then added elaborate sidelights and palladian windows. The custom stuck and now Dublin is quite famous for its doors.  I found them to be completely charming, so we walked all over the city so I could take pictures of them! As we walked block after block, my son asked if I was going to take pictures of every door in the city!

This frame doesn't really do them justice. I got it because it was on sale.  I think I'm going to mat them in black and stain the frame a darker color, maybe a rich mahogany.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Teabag Folder Directions

I'm making these for all five of my sisters-in-law. They are going inside coordinating Valentine's Day cards. The teapot and cup stamps are from PSX. I've had them for years and still love them. Sure sad that the company went out of business.

The tulip on the card above is a Magenta image and I used Prisma colored pencils on it. The matching teabag card has a Hero Arts tulip, and a nestibilities frame. The Cala Lilly is from PSX and was done with Prisma colored pencils. The die cuts on the card and the teabag holder are both from Spellbinders.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Embossing Folder & Die Storage

Here are pictures of the Die and Embossing Folder storage I discussed in the previous post. I'm quite pleased with how well it functions and the box is pretty, which is a very big plus:) Since I just got my machine last week, I don't have very many dies, so the white box inside is keeping the folders from falling over. (I didn't want to buy 100 folders right now)
I started with plain old file folders, because you can cut them to the size you need to fit your box.

I LOVE pretty boxes and I'm always looking at them in TJ Maxx, Michaels and Joanns (when I get into the city). I got this one in TJ Maxx on sale for $7.00. The inside is covered in fabric as well and the top is even slightly padded.

I love having embossing and die cut materials all in one place, under a cover to keep out dust and look nice and neat.

Each letter-size file folder was cut down to 5 1/2" by 10" which fits inside my box. I got the file folders in Walmart. A package of 25 was around $3.00. All the embossing are in blue and red folders.

The dies are in teal and green folders. The Spellbinders' dies are on sheets of magnetic vent covers. Other dies like Sizzix, are simply placed in the folder. I have room for some extra cut out pieces, and a note about what sandwich to use in my Big Kicks.

Just Call Me Elly May Clampett

I drove into the big city today. I swear, all I needed was a jalopy and a rockin' chair. I was armed with coupons from Michaels, Joanns and Hobby Lobby oh and I had money too! I sold this ugly old ring that was my Grandma's - not the good grandma that I loved, the other one, so there was no sentimental attachment. Anyway, I took it to this jewelry store that bought gold and sold it. Let me just say this.... gold is really really high right now know what I mean? I may live down south, out in the country, but I know that it is $1,700 per ounce right now.

So I get in the big, no make that HUGE Michaels and Wowwee! There was so much stuff! I really felt so out of it. There were products I'd never seen before and some I had no idea how to use. The variety was mind-blowing. I kept my mind on what I wanted though, got a couple things but saved the rest of my money for online shopping. I didn't fall for just any ole' thing they had, no huh uh... I want Edgeabilities and Heartfelt Creations dies.  Because of online friends, I know exactly what I want for that new Big Kicks!

I did get some magnetic vent covers and colored folders to make a storage system for my dies and embossing folders. (Their Target had a grocery department by the way.) While cleaning the other day I re-discovered this gorgeous box I had forgotten completely about. It's one of those sturdy fabric covered boxes from TJ Maxx. I bought it last summer on sale for about $7.00. It contained all the research and notes for a book I thought about writing. Out came the notes, and in came folders, dies and embossing folders. I'm in the process of cutting down the file folders to fit inside. Each embossing folder and die will have it's own file, with room to keep some already cut out pieces, and sandwich directions as well. The magnetic vent covers will hold the Nestibilities in their folders.

I've seen pictures of how other people store theirs on large sheets of magnetic material hanging on the sides of desks, cabinets or walls. I think I'd rather have mine covered, to keep the dust out. Besides I want all the dies and embossing folders in one place. Some people collect nestibilities, but the Scottish half of me is too practical for that. The Irish half of me LOVES to shop, you know live for the moment, and carefree. What a combination. My husband says living with me is NEVER boring. Poor man.

Ya know I bet my husband is very glad we don't live closer to that BIG city!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I know that red is a traditional color for Valentines Day, but I'm not traditional, and I LOVE blue!!  It's been my favorite color since I was a very little girl. This card is for another Sister-in-law, and inside the card will be the teabag folder. I'm going to make a teabag folder for the tulip card below too.

Top is the outside of the card and the bottom is the inside.

This is the teabag folder, outside on left and inside on right.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Experimenting With Shading Colors

I’ve been experimenting with shading colors. I used a Magenta flower with a base layer of pink 928. The highlight colors were deco pink 1014 and pink rose 1018.
For the shading I was using the color wheel and experimented with three different colors on the same flower to see which I liked best.  I was loosely thinking of an analogous complementary scheme:
  • Select red violet (magenta) then count two more colors over to the right - violet and blue violet. Now choose a complement by putting your finger on magenta and following the line directly across the wheel to yellow green.

Which do you like best?  I'm thinking the dahlia purple... maybe the crimson red. I think the violet blue, a cool color, is not so good.
I decided to make the experiment into a Valentines Day card for a sister-in-law. I think with the purple background poking out on the right, it somehow makes that part of the flower okay to have purple shading. It fits.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Art Gallery Success!

    Yesterday was a great day:) My husband bought me a Big Shot for my birthday, and I got a check in the mail from the art gallery. They sold a lot of my stuff, yipee! I priced cards at 7.50, Junior Legal Pads for 12.95 and the Post-it Note holders for 10.95. I wasn't sure they would sell at those prices because people on forums sell them for a lot less. For the time and cost of materials I thought my prices were fair, and I guess they were. Maybe, they sold well because they were among the smaller, cheaper things in the gallery? You know as opposed to paintings, jewelry, stained glass, etc. I posted the directions for making the Junior Legal Pads on here a while back. I made my own style of cover because I didn't like the way other covers opened and closed. My Directions

    Yes, I spent that money already too. Joann's has dies on sale and a coupon for free shipping this week. So I naturally took advantage of that deal. I've never had a die cutting machine before and I'm excited about this new toy.

    I've been drawing this week too. I'm working on a flower in colored pencils right now, and then I'm going to do a 58 Ford pickup (my husband's first vehicle). I'm not sure if I'll use watercolor or colored pencils for the truck. I'll post pics when I'm finished. It's weird to be a beginner in drawing and painting at age 50. I always thought I could not draw. Not that I'm any great talent mind you; let's just say I'm passable. I continue to read, learn and practice. It just goes to show you're never too old to learn new things.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Barns, Prismas and Impression Obsession

    I just received my first order from Impression Obsession last week. I chose a barn and a covered bridge by Gary Robertson and they are simply gorgeous! The stamp images are so crisp and clean, with exquisite detail. They stamp like a dream and just itch to be colored! The service was super fast:) I gotta have MORE, my wish list a longer than a country mile! I want the water mill, the old farm bell, an old country school, a window full of flowers, an old wheel borrow full of flowers ohhh their floral images are gorgeous! I can't wait to get my Prismas on them.

    This one is called Daylilly Barn G1155. It reminds me of the barn on our farm back in Indiana where some type of orange daylilies grew wild along side the road. I've entered it in the "Oldies But Goodies" Challenge on the Impression Obsession Blog

    This one is called Covered Bridge Scene
    When I was a little girl, there were several covered bridges in southern Indiana.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Shoes with Tailfins Vrrooomm

    Prada's new spring line includes a group inspired by 1950's automobiles, called “Greased Lightning.”

    Gee, my idea of fashion footwear is Keen, SAS or Birkenstock. Why on earth would I buy a pair of comfortable shoes for around $100 when for a mere $1,400 I could have 4 and a half inch heels that look like a car. I mean seriously, what WAS I thinking?
    You can buy them at Bergdorf's
    I wonder if DH would be turned on at the sight of me wearing rocket boosters on my shoes? Then there would be the sight of the price tag which would quite literally send him into congestive heart failure. Or the sight of me tumbling to my death from 4 and a half inches.

    Seriously, how does one walk in 4 ½ inch heels? It must change your gait and your posture. I bet the air is different up there, you could get nosebleeds, or altitude sickness. Prada could make even more money selling insurance policies to wear these shoes.

    Playing with Prismas

    I was taught to use colored pencils while in college. I can still hear Dr. B saying, “no tree is just one shade of green, you must layer colors, don't give me coloring book pages.” I don't have a lot of drawing talent. I can draw, but it's nothing special and I really don't love it, so rubber stamp art suits me well.

    Coloring rubber stamps presents some challenges, like size and the fact that the image is already drawn and stamped in one color. A popular approach among stampers is to use Gamsol to pull color from one part of the image to other, leaving some white to serve as the light source. This kind of contradicts what I was taught, because there is little or no layering of colors. I continue to struggle with applying a light source in a stamped image, and try to learn new things that help me improve. I find it hard to leave a bit of white for the highlight when I'm layering multiple colors in the small space that a stamp image provides. I watched three colored pencil videos this weekend. They each have a slightly different approach. 

    One uses a bit of pencil, no layering of colors which allows for a lot of white for the light source. Inky Antics
    The next one uses a couple colors, a bit more pencil on the paper, which still allows for a bit of white for the light source. Gina K
    The last one uses multiple pencil colors layering them for vibrant colors.. Instead of leaving white for the light source, the lightest color in the layers is the light source. Hero Arts

    The last one is more like what I do, and what I admire in other people's work. I really like the vibrancy and depth that layering colors provides. I now know that I can't leave white paper for the light. I'll continue to use a lighter shade, white, or subtractive color with an eraser.

    So, now I'll focus on WHERE to put the highlights! I was discussing this with my friend Dina Kowal, and she shared her general rules on shading from her blog:

    Shaded areas:
    areas that appear to be further away or curving away
    areas that are lower
    areas that appear to be behind something else

    Highlighted areas:
    areas that appear to be closer or curving toward me
    areas that are higher
    areas that appear to be in front of something else

    The three images above are North Woods. An online friend and I exchanged images. Thanks Silvia!!

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Messy Messy Messy!

    You know, a while back I posted on a forum about my art/craft space being neat...

    This is NOT neat! I mean look at the tiny little space where I'm actually working. The rest of the desk is covered with stuff.  And  you should see the futon on the other side of the room! On one end of the futon are the Ireland scrapbooks that I finally finished, in the middle there's a pile of stamps I want to sell but am too afraid to use PayPal, and current projects take up the other end. Geesh! Oh, so why am I afraid to use PayPal?  No matter how many people tell me they've had no problems, I am NOT going to give anyone any bank account numbers - identify theft is too much of a pain in the neck. So this pile of stamps has been sitting there for over a month.  It's crossed my mind to post it on a forum and ask for money orders only, but I don't think anyone would be interested.  Then I think I could trade, but that would be a hassle. I could just keep them, but I need more space and these are images I just don't use. So they just sit there, waiting for me to do something with them!  This is sooo not like me.  I'm not usually so indecisive. Actually I'm almost never this indecisive!  I think this early retirement thing has just messed up my mind! lol   I'm not even supposed to be on early retirement. I'm supposed to be using this Masters Degree to get some ridiculously high paying job that I love. I did have a job with a Government funded agency.  I took early retirement, the federal grant funds dried up and no job. (Stupid economy) I've had offers, but relocate out west or to DC for a job?  What exactly would I do with my husband and our home? Everyone said, "oh get your masters in some technology field, there are tons of jobs out there for the computer savvy". Stupid economy tanks just when I get the degree! And WHY is there a train on my desk?

    Are you neat or messy in your art/craft space?  Or, like me, do you think you are neat and really aren't?

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Small Calendar

    Even though I needed a small calendar for my desk, I wanted a little bit of space to write in. I couldn't find the size and shape I wanted, so I made my own in Microsoft Word using a table.

    The calendar is put together, the images are all stamped and I'm working on coloring each month's image with Prisma Colored pencils.Yeah, I know the year has already begun, but it's for myself and that's okay. That's the nice thing about early retirement, no schedule to speak of, no commitments:)  Below is what I have colored so far. The scans are slightly blury because the coil doesn't allow for the calendar to lay flat on the scanner bed. My old scanner/printer was never bothered by this. However this new Canon is very picky. It's a good thing she prints such awesome quality photos or I might have just traded her in! You did notice that I referred to my technology as 'her" right?  That's because a male piece of technology wouldn't not have the advanced capabilities.  I think of typewriters as being male and computers are female. :)

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Pantone Color Trends

    The color of the year is Tangerine Tango.

    Okay, so sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but I didn't realize that color trends were applicable to art too. Pantone - I thought color wheels and palettes that's what I remember from art classes. Oh no, not any more!
    Did you know there is an ap for your phone for capturing, creating and sharing color palettes? And, get this... you can even get your Visa card in one of the color trends! For the report click here.
    17-1463 Tangerine Tango 
    13-0759 Solar Power 
    18-3628 Bellflower 
    18-2140 Cabaret 
    19-3953 Sodalite Blue
    14-0116 Margarita
    14-2808 Sweet Lilac
    14-5420 Cockatoo
    16-1120 Starfish

    Of course I had to find out how these colors translate into Prismacolors! Prisma's already on it, and they have a list on their website.
    Tangerine Tango meet Pumpkin Orange
    Solar Power meet Yellow Ochre
    BellFlower meet Parma Violet
    Cabaret meet Process Red
    Soladite Blue meet Denim Blue
    Margarita meet Celadon Green
    Sweet Lilac meet Greyed Lavender
    Cockatoo meet Light Aqua
    Driftwood meet Warm Grey 70%
    Starfish meet Sandbar Brown

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Christmas in Colorado

    We spent Christmas visiting our son and had such a wonderful visit!  The Rocky Mts. were so lovely, very different from the Smoky Mts. not too far from my home.  Denver is such a big city! Wow! You have to understand that I live in a small city and have lived here most of my life, so it was such a treat to visit such a place.  The population of the Denver metro area is 2.4 million, y'all - there are only 4.5 million in the whole state of SC! The shopping was to die for:)
    The mall had a Western motif with timber ceilings, boulders, waterfalls, and hard wood floors! There were no benches for sitting, instead they had groupings of leather sofas and chairs and a fireplace!! Lots of artwork depicting the landscape of the area before it became a city.
    Coldwater Creek, Nordstroms, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and tons more. There was a whole store for Vera Bradley!! Tons of sales, and an awesome selection too:)
    Mule deer
    You can drive by a Target or a Bed Bath and Beyond, and five minutes later you pass another one! I bet there are 4 Walmarts within a ten minute drive from my son's house. It was such a nice new, CLEAN city. Needless to say I was very impressed.
    Minning Camp

    Elk on the side of the road.
    Rocky Mts.

    Minning Camp