Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Handmade Xmas Goodies and Happy New Year!

I made a bunch of gifts this year. First of all the kids, Mike, and I agreed to each make gifts for the others. That got me thinking of other gifts I could make.

I made these mittens for my mom from an old wool blend sweater lined with polar fleece. I saw ones I liked online, but I didn't see any free patterns. It took about 6 tries to get the pattern and process just right. But I finally got it. In the end, I had so much fun. I couldn't stop. I made a pair each for the ladies at the library, and for each of the kids homeroom teachers. I just forgot to take pics of the others!   :-)
I made this fabric tote for Ethan for, you guessed it, his army men. This was tough! It is ripstop nylon outside with black cotton inside. I used Peltex to keep it stiff enough to stand. OK not a WOW gift but he likes it...and it is filled already!

I made this sketching /art tote for my niece Lizzy. I should have made it a bit taller, it just clears the sketchbook. This is also the brand sketchbook I use. I fill a few a year.
I made Emma a cage cover for her budgie cage. She didn't have a bird yet, but we wanted to be ready. I had grand plans for applique on the felt. I was going to make it into a house, with windows, front door, flower boxes etc... I decided to make it plain felt. Emma is good at sewing little felt softies so I thought she'd like to embellish it herself. We have a stack of felt in tons of colors and coordinating floss. Emma loves the idea of finishing it herself. I did the hard part *grins* 

You can just see in the lower background a  framed card from the
 Etsy seller Smack of Jellyfish. Great animal illustrations, I own 4 of them.  
I can't remember the artist who did the parrot card on the top. Emma has a small collection of framed artist cards. An affordable way for her to add art to her room.

I don't have a photo, but I made for Mike two photo frames made from CD jewel cases. I've seen tons of cool desk calendars sold this way, but I mounted a selection of photos on coordinating paper so he can change them out. The clever bit was my addition of super strong  rare earth magnets to the back. So the frames can sit on his desk or stick to the edge of his cubicle walls. (Yes he has a cubicle...poor guy)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Closer

It's almost Christmas!!! Yeah!

Brrrr it's cold. Unfortunately that means ice. Yesterday I wiped out on a patch that was covered with a bit of new snow. Ouch! Yes I'm sore and bruised today, but It could've been worse.
I'm scrambling to get homemade gifts finished. And I haven't even sent out my cards yet. Ugh! 
More snow on the way....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life is amazing and Last sale of the year

Isn't this so true. Everything is amazing! How many of you out there still watch space shuttle launches. I do when I can. I'm amazed everytime. WOW People can go into space? So cool!

I'll be at the WIST Holiday Trunk show at Lazy Jane's Cafe 1358 Williamson St.  in Madison from 5 - 9pm tomorrow. Stop by, shop, drink, and eat ;-D

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow Day!!!


I had a huge list of things to do to, then the kids were home all day...ok so I didn't get as much one as I hoped.

I think they had a good day. They watch Kung Fu Panda in their PJs, played inside, played outside, and then video game time! Ok So they did do some work. Emma's teacher's sent the kids home woth extra work to do in case school was cancelled. Kind of defeats the fun of a snow day! That's ok, while she was working on that, Ethan and I read. 
I baked gingerbread and regular bread (but it really isn't "regular" at all).

A good day

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I'm Back!

It was good for me to pull back from the online world, but I was getting lonely. I really started to miss the back and forth with my online friends. I just really need to find a way to balance all aspects of my life.

Yesterday I taught my first class. The Plainfield Public Library sponsored a free collaged winter theme photo frame class for me to teach. It was a lot of fun and boy these ladies were good! I can't wait for my next one.
This is the sample I made for the class

Working hard

Student work...great huh!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gone for a bit

I really should have posted this last week. 

I'm going to be absent from the online world for a while. I don't know when I'm going to post again. I can still be reached via email. The link is on the side.
Xanthe :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Artta This World Art Fair

I think Sputnikfest was a hit. I know I had fun. The weather cooperated for us even though we had a bit of a wind. Next year I'll bring the kids. As always, I met some really great people. 

I tried something different. I set up a small table at the front of my booth to work on a painting/collage during slow times. It worked out pretty well. I had a lot of kids really interested in what I was doing.    :-)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Busy busy

Wow, This week has gone by so fast!

Kids started school again. It's very exciting for Emma is now in middle school with a locker and everything. Ethan is in 1st grade and unfortunately the poor little guy is sick today and will be absent on the 4th day of school! 

I've spent the week trying to get ready for Sputnik Fest in Manitowoc, WI. So if you are in the area, stop by the Artta This World art fair and say "hi!". Check out the blog here to see the list of artists and crafters that will be there.

Don't worry about the weather, I ordered up a terrific day....please no rain!       :-)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm Published Again! yeah!

On stands tomorrow is Somerset Holidays and Celebrations
Look for my fun Halloween project! It was really great to be asked to write this article. I owe Somerset so much. Every magazine they publish is so inspiring.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Backyard Art Adventures

I'm a bit behind posting news...I've had a few bad days. Headaches and such. Oh well.

Last Sunday was beautiful around here, so I spent the afternoon outside working on artsy fun. I needed some fun painted paper towels for a super secret project. More on that later. 
*hint resin from old post plus paper towels  hmmmm*

So despite the frequent strong breezes, I painted and stamped for hours. Here is a colorful peek :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Henry Vilas Zoo and a day in Madison

This last Saturday we spent the day in Madison. Our first stop was to pick up a cupcake stand I ordered from Jenny Blasen on Etsy. What a cute idea. I never got to meet Jenny, she was hard at work finishing things for her shop.  Though I did get to meet her family. I forgot to take photo of the cupcake stand but you can see it here. Mine is the taller of the two. 

Then on to the zoo. I love this little zoo. It is still free to park, and free to wander around. They even have decent prices in the gift shop. Which of course the kids had to stop at. I ended up not talking too many photos. It happens all the time, I forget I even have the camera with me! Here are a few pics though.......
Capypara...I love him   A huge (maybe 75 pound) cousin to my cavy, Patch!

Prairie dog enjoying a snack.

Bucky badger is here!

Polar bear enjoying a cool shower.

 Time to feed the goats.

We couldn't leave Madison without going to the Learning Shop, Hobby Lobby, Borders, and having a good dinner out. What a long day!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A class with Misty Mawn

The class at Valley Ridge I took this time was "Four Seasons: Mixed Media For All Seasons" with Misty Mawn. 

What a blast! This was a rowdy and fun group. Misty was patient and encouraging. It gave me the nerve to try my hand at some new things. Painting faces! Not me, I've avoided the human form except in a cartoony fashion. I took a life drawing class almost 15 yrs ago and barely passed. Boy was I bad. So I gave up. I know, I know that was the wrong choice. Sometimes I give up too easy. 

I had so much fun on the two faces I painted over the weekend, that I want to keep trying!

The Class

Misty at work

My Autumn painting (11.5 x 9 inches)
This was my first attempt at face painting in at least 20 yrs. 
Not too bad, but I need a lot of practice!

Everyone working hard!

This was my Spring painting/collage called "Containing" 11.5 x 9inches

Friday, August 15, 2008

Off to Valley Ridge and a bit more.

Back to school dotee bird number 5

I'm leaving today for my weekend class at Valley Ridge Art Studio. This is my last class for a while, so I want to really enjoy it!   :-)

This class is taught by mixed media painter Misty Mawn. Check out both her blog and flickr pages. Getting my supply list items together felt like I was going back to school myself.

I'm not quite ready for summer to be over. The kids drive me crazy sometimes and for a brief moment I wish they were in school already. But no, I'm glad they are here with me and I'm crushed when school starts.  

The kids have their new backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and Ethan has a new box of crayons. I guess the fact that crayons are no longer on Emma's supply list is the biggest signal she is getting older. But c'mon are you ever too old for crayons? Never *grins*  That and this year she has a locker. Wow what a change. She's still too young for middle school in my eyes. Emma's only 10 after all. Too fast Too fast!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baraboo Summer Arts Classic

Look at all of these trees! 
What a nice area around the Sauk County Courthouse. 
The ground was a bit dusty, not enough rain recently.

This was the kids craft area right behind my booth. 
I loved listening to the little excited voices working on their art!

I'm a couple days late, but last Saturday I was in Baraboo, WI. I have never set up at or shopped at the Summer Arts Classic so I didn't know what to expect. Wow, what a nicely put together art fair! The organizers and volunteers were the best. The day was perfect, people were really nice, but sales were slow. I guess this will not be a record breaking year *sigh*

I just don't think people have as much extra income to spend on art....I sure as heck know I don't! Either way I was glad I went and I will apply again next year. My next art fair is in Iowa for Artapalooza on Saturday September 13th in Cedar Falls. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Inspired by Ruth Rae and crafting in odd places

*edit* I added a couple close ups on my flickr page 
See how shallow the water is! I'm standing on the shore while taking this shot.

I recently purchased Ruth Rae's Soulful Doors DVD. I love her work and I frequently haunt her blog. This is a fun project! I highly recommend her DVD. She is a good teacher and explains the process well. 

I didn't have a chance to try anything out until last Friday. Mike had the day off to go fishing. At the last minute we all decided to go. The kids and I would swim, he would fish. So I had about 30 minutes to gather a few things. I had no book to read so I thought to make my own "Soulful Doors" project. I already had a few dotee doll materials packed in a small box. I grabbed cheese cloth, scrim, ribbon and lace. I dyed them apple green using acrylic paint. I shoved them in a bag wet to dry out later. 

So here we end up. On a small beach on an island in the Wisconsin river. A very shallow spot. I hung the wet dyed fabrics out to dry and I sewed away. The kids swam and I sewed (and got sunburned). I tried to stay loose and intuitive using only what I brought with me. 

It turned out very different from the DVD project. Not as fancy I guess, but I was able to finish most of it out on the water. I had to make the bird at home and finish the Teesha Moore inspired stitching at home. Then I painted and old frame, removed the glass and stitched my finished piece onto watercolor paper.

Now I need to figure out how to adapt what I've learned into my own style, something different???? Isn't that the challenge? To take what you learn from others, expand on it, and make it your own.

At about 5pm I went home but Mike and the kids fished until dark. They did well too! The kids caught enough Crappie, White Bass, and Catfish for two dinners    :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happily Ever After...

This past weekend, my youngest brother, Thadd got married. 
I adore Krystle and I'm so glad they found each other! They both looked so good. Thadd in a brown tux with ivory shirt and tie. Krystle in this gorgeous ivory dress. More than one little girl at the reception wanted to be near the "princess".

OK so NONE of my photos turned out...ugh! I need to get some from the photographer.
For now though The newlyweds...

Look at that grin and those dimples!

This was the "guest book" I made for them. I painted tree branches from my yard ivory. Add to that a couple of clay pots with cement, white xmas lights, and turquoise tulle. The guests added their congrats and greetings to handmade tags with fun pens. Then each tag was tied to the tree. Now I'm going to bind the tags into a book for the happy couple.  
I know these are all grainy photos.... On the tree were two glittered and feathered birds. They started out as vintage plastic birds to cover xmas lights. I closed the large hole made for the light, I gave each a good dose of glitter, a feathery tail, and a beaded hanger. Now I just need to bind the tags into a book for the happy couple. Cute huh!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

resin experiment

I've been wanting to try out resin so I finally took the plunge!
I made this ring using an old key. I have tons of keys, some very old and some not so old. Either way I keep collecting them.  My background is metalworking, so I thought "no big deal" I'll hammer it around, add a found object bezel, then done! Whoa was it tough! I injured my wrists and while back and that is why I stopped working in metal. Even with frequent anealling this was so hard to form! My hands, wrists, and arms were sore for days! Ouch.
I also realized how dull my metal skills have become. What sloppy soldering ugh! I am so out of practice. Well I forged ahead and finished the ring anyway. 
I wanted to keep it simple so I just added painted paper with the word "LOVE" That is the key to life isn't Yes it is sappy, I know. 
I am happy with how it turned out in the end. After all, it is all part of the learning experience.
I made a few other resin filled goodies that day, but I'll save those for later   :-)