Monday, 30 April 2012

Egads! Toy Planters!

I need this. Now. I think I will be going to the thrift shop after work to see if I can find some plastic dinosaurs to drill into...

Not only are they kitschy and AWESOME, but they are all photographed with succulents. I have a major crush on the succulent plantae. (Remember kingdom, phyllum, class, order, etc.?)

Hop on over to Plaid Pigeon to see all of the animals they have... 

In the meantime, here's a delicious sneak peek!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Diana Trout is My Art Journal Hero!

Ok ok ok - I know I have a few heroes, but today I'm in LOVE with Diana Trout's journals. In this video she talks about the different types of journals that she uses to create her lovely books.

The best part of the video? She shows us her bazillions of art journals. :)

Mega droolfest.

Love you, Diana, Trout! In a purely art-based, silly in-awe kind of way.

Enjoy, Lovelies!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Review: Traci Bunkers' Art Journal Workshop

This is the Art Journal book to rule all Art Journal books.


This book is the BIBLE of Art Journalling.

The Art Journal Workshop by Traci Bunkers.

(I haven't done Traci justice with my photos - some of them are a little blurry...)

This is the most comprehensive guide to art journaling that I have seen, plus it comes with a project-by-project, step-by-step DVD in case you need the extra guidance!

The first sections of the book are very detailed in outlining the tools for art journaling. This is always my favourite part of the book, and I like it when artists tell their readers exactly what tools they use - brand and all! That way we can buy exactly what they are using and experience similar effects. 
Traci's approach to her writing in this book is completely friendly and down-to-earth. I felt as if I was in the room with her and listening to her guide me through the tools and processes that she uses in her projects.

The language in the book is casual and familiar, and I think that this greatly helps invite the reader to be comfortable in themselves and to try the projects that she shows.

More tools - this time on media (mediumS that can be used in art journaling)

You can also see the green "TIP" section on the bottom right of this photo. Most of the pages have one or two tips from Traci on things such as how to conserve materials, where to buy supplies, or how to get the most from the overall experience.
I've left this image blurry on purpose - I want you to get this book and read the steps yourself!!

Each project has at LEAST one spread like this one above. Literally a step-by-step guided tour of how Traci created the art journal pages, the tools that she uses, colours, and techniques. She also gives us a glimpse at the thoughts that go through her head as she creates.

In all, this book was refreshing and timeless. I think that it will serve as a comprehensive and fun guide for art journal beginners and mixed media gurus alike.

I would certainly recommend it and am looking forward to showing you some of the art that I've made that was inspired by my exploration of The Art Journal Workshop.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

WIWO - It's What I'm Working On - Outdoor Lounging

We're re-doing our front yard, and today I'm trying to sketch up a plan for an outdoor double lounger.

So far we've tackled trees, shrubs, bark mulch, rock wall, succulent garden...mega overhaul.

An assortment of succulents... I love their luscious and voluptuous appendages...
My dream is to have an outdoor lounging space. We always have a breeze, so I envision a sort of outdoor bed with billowing curtains and loads of pillows.

I came across this - the feeling that I get from this photo is exactly what I'm trying to achieve.

Cute, right? 
Here are some of those billowing curtains I was talking about:

I can feel the breeze already...
I know that I will have to start with some sort of frame, pick out fabric and get some foam. (I've looked at pre-fab outdoor beds and they're super pricey!)

Yep. I'm going to make my own.

Probably from a stack of abandoned pallets across the street from us.

It will be rustic and simple. And lovely.

Monday, 23 April 2012

DIY Whimsical Handmade Folded Journal

I thought that I would share my process on creating a folded art journal.

It's so easy to make that I'm SURE you'll want to make your own!!

- A piece of posterboard (2 for $1 at the Dollar Store!)
- Your choice of acrylic paints
- Scissors
- Ruler and pencil
- Embroidery thread
- Hammer and nail (to make the holes for "sewing" it together)

The first thing that I did was paint the whole posterboard in colours that I love. I know this looks like a mountain scene but honestly it's just a random splattering of colour.
You can see that I didn't take a photo of this before I sliced it into segments. That is the next step :)

Here is the other side.

Once the posterboard was dry, I measured four equal sections.
Fold the sections to make different sized pages. I found it helpful to make a main fold to act as the spine, and then play around with different sized flaps for added whimsy on the pages.

Here is a close-up of my book after I stitched it together. I put some washi tape on it to add some colourful flair. The binding is made from three holes punched into the spine, and then embroidery thread passed through them and secured tightly.

After everything was stitched together, I went to town with washi tape and fandy edges. I just used my scissors to cut some interesting edges on some of the pages...

I cut the edge of this page to include a heart as a built-in tab on this flap.

The most important part of making this type of book is to have FUN!

Now that it has been built, I can fill it up with musings and collage goodies!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Part Two: Collage Journeys by Jane Davies

Fun with Fonts

I love words. Big words, small words, some as big as your head!

I also love typefaces and fonts.

In Jane Davies' Collage Journeys there is a whole section on collaging with text!

I always have a magazine lying around, so I thought I would give it a whirl and see what I could come up with.

A photo of the introduction to Davies' "Using Text in Collage" in Collage Journeys.

Of course these bits, being from magazines, are all over the place in terms of colour and font - adds to the whimsy, I think!

I would like to try one using all black and white text...

Here is a close-up of one bit.

 Thanks for the inspiration, Jane! I am certainly on the way to creating my own collage journey!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Book Review: Collage Journeys by Jane Davies

Today I want to tell you about a new book that I'm exploring:

Collage Journeys, by Jane Davies (A Practical Guide to Creating Personal Artwork).

You can see by my art journal's blank page underneath that this book inspired me to dig right in and create!
 Collage Journeys does just what it intends: guide you on a journey of creating personal artwork through collage and other mixed media techniques.

The pages are highlighted by Davies' own collage work, each with a full description of technique and materials.

To be perfectly honest, I have such a hard time reviewing books because I usually can't refrain from trying the techniques out before I can finish going through the book's pages.

Doesn't this collection of green tones inspire you to get your journal out and start collaging?

That's what I did. I went through the nearest magazine and started clipping out colourful pieces that drew my eye.
A close-up of my own collage - inspired by the colours in Jane's book.
After I had pasted all of my clippings together, I scribbled a bit with crayon and then smoothed on some washi tape. My collage pales in comparison to anything in Jane's book, but it was a fantastically fun time! 
This book got me out of reading and into creating. I actually didn't finish the book because I got so excited to clip and paste!!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WIWO Wednesday : Another Artform to Explore...

I've recently learned how to crochet.

My friend Sue gave me some tips and then I scoured YouTube for more pointers.

I'll show you what I've been working on once it's done!!! :)

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this amazing piece of art that Sue crocheted. THIS is the piece that inspired me to make my own afghan...

Aren't the colours and patterns amazing?? She made this 30+ years ago...and it's still fabulous today!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Thrift Store SCORE!

There is a World Serve Thrift Store on my way home from work.

My car likes to turn in there all by itself.

I swear that I have nothing to do with it.

Here is what I came across last week!!

  • An AMAZING lamp with fibreglass shape in mint condition: $9.99
  • A vinyl carry-on bag complete with inside pockets: $2.99
  • A patterned train case missing the mirror but oh-so-cute: $2.99
  • A milk glass soap dish with marble base (I think I'll use it to hold earrings): $1.99

SCORE!! :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book Review - Journal Spilling by Diana Trout

I had always wanted to read Diana Trout's Journal Spilling and was lucky enough to borrow this book from a friend.

The cover itself looks yummy and inviting, doesn't it?

When I initially flipped through it, the things that attracted me the most were the artworks of Diana's that peppered the pages.

Not only does Diana show us full art pieces and how they are created, she also decorates the pages with whimsical lines and figures.
I love the whimsy in the details. This spread is one of many that goes into detail about supplies for mixed media.

I love this spread - it depicts perfectly the general style of the book with step-by-step photos and instructions on archiving the effects that Trout gets in her artworks. This is the type of art book that I LOVE since it shows exactly where you can go with each step.

Doesn't this title look like it's on real masking tape? This page and others instruct us on how and where to get supplies for making mixed media.

Another thing that I love about this book is the personal tidbits that are included at the introduction to each technique. Diana makes her own artwork come alive with her clever wit and casual banter.

After going through this book a couple of times, I feel that I have the technique and confidence as an artist to create the types of artwork that Diana shows us.

Once I worked through a couple of the step-by-step lessons, I began to find my own way with the creation of artwork that includes my personal flavour.

This is DEFINITELY a great book for any of us mixed media artists: techniques, supplies and inspiration galore!

More about this book in the coming days :)

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My Compass Rose

Remember this post and the amazing Mixed Media Mapmaking book Personal Geographies by Jill K. Berry?

In the book, Jill guides us on making a compass rose to reflect ourselves and our own lives.

I worked on one this past weekend.
When I am lost, I rely on the things in my compass rose to guide me.

Clockwise from the top:
Heart - Family/Friends
Painting Palette - Art (my sanctuary)
Two Figures - My Community (my blog friends - YOU - and my Sisters in Art Society co-members)
Paw Print - Chloe, my cat and other animals that bring joy to my life
A symbol - a representation of another group that I am in
Leaf - Nature and the joy that I get from being outside
Apple - My identity as a Teacher

Here it is on the page with my pretty washi tape bordering along the top.

Here it is in progress before I coloured it and added the bordering circle.

and breathe...

I'm taking a few days off of blogging to concentrate on my art.

I have two large projects going on at the moment and I was thinking that I could use some of my blogging time to create!!! :)

I do have a couple of things that I will share with you this week, but please please please don't be too hard on me if I don't blog every day! :)

Thanks, lovelies!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

I've Been Nominated for an Award!

I'm so honoured to be given this award - the Versatile Blogger Award. I was nominated by Pippa at Pippa Passes By. It is so exciting for me to be given this award since I've only been blogging since last Fall and have been working SO hard! Thanks so much Pippa! And thanks to The Versatile Blogger

Here are the rules: If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
  • Thank the person who gave you this award, that’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog, that’s also common courtesy.
  • Next, select 5 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • Nominate those 5 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  • Finally, list 7 things about yourself.
Here are my nominations (I hope you go visit them!)
  1. Mary Ann Moss over @ Dispatch from LA, an amazing blog that I read every day! I love her spunky attitude and her art journaling. 
  2. Debra Cooper over @ A Little Imagination and a Pile of Junk, who inspires me to do collaborative art!
  3. Diana Trout over @ Diana Trout's Blog, an amazing artist and author of Journal Spilling - a favourite book.
  4. Violette over @ Violette's Creative Juice, a blogger, artist and author of Journal Bliss, another favourite read.
  5. Annabel over @ Deux Ailes Pour Voler (Two Wings For Flying) an amazingly talented artist who makes me laugh with her enthusiasm and makes me oooooh and ahhhhh over her mixed media work.
My list of seven things about me.
  1. I'm a high school teacher of French and Art - my favourite ages to teach are 13 and 17. 
  2. I still consider myself a newlywed although we've been married almost two years. I am so greatly and deeply in love with my soulmate, John.
  3. I'm hooked on blogging, Facebook, and sharing art through other online venues.
  4. I have a small art studio in the attic with a window facing North. When I'm in there, I feel at peace.
  5. I love to read! My favourite book of all time is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  6. I am also a music junkie - my five favourite bands are Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Badly Drawn Boy, the Smiths, and Joy Division (all from the UK, funnily enough, since I'm Canadian!)
  7. My biggest dream is to have a baby and raise him/her at home while doing art and blogging to pay the bills!

Friday, 6 April 2012

What is an Artist?

I need to get a few things off my chest.

Last weekend I was at a health retreat, and while I was there I built and filled up an art journal. I showed a lot of it to you yesterday.

While I was working away and listening to the presentation that were going on around me, I felt others watching my work and looking at what I was creating. This happens often when I create in public and I like it.

Over the course of the weekend, a couple of people came up to me and complimented me on my work.

I was of course thrilled to receive compliments, and endeared by their thoughts, but some of their words upset me greatly.

One woman said "oh, I'm a scrapbooker too!"

A scrapbooker.

The word itself makes me shudder.

When I think of scrapbooking, this is what I envision:
a carefully planned, neatly displayed collection of precisely cut items that are highlighted with precut lettering and adorned with stick-on embellishments.

I don't mean to offend the scrapbookers of the world. I can definitely respect the ability to choose like elements and place them carefully together to create a cohesive presentation.

I, however, despise the craft of scrapbooking. I don't believe that it is art. I can concede that it is a type of craft, but I see it as being far from the realm of art.  

To be called a scrapbooker is like reading the latest novel almost to the end and then realising that the last chapter has been torn out. Or like spending all day cooking an elaborate meal for your spouse and having them arrive home after stopping at a drive-thru for dinner.

It's not ME. It's anticlimactic and maddening. What I create is so different. I got my back up right away and
became defensive and borderline snotty.

I love my art. Mixed media can include scrapbooking supplies, but includes so much more. paint, gesso, inks, fabrics, threads, ephemera and pretty much any other medium that I can get my hands on at a given moment.

The complete lack of consciousness and depth of self that I achieve when I am in my work - This is what I love about mixed media.

I would LOVE to hear your reaction to this post, and your thoughts on the two different types of creation.

Also, if you care to have a friendly "discussion," about the "art" of scrapbooking, please feel free to email me! I love to engage in banter and I may be ignorant to something that you know very thoroughly!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Another Handmade Journal!

Just a few shots at another journal that I'm currently filling.

It's only about 16 (maybe 18?) pages long, but I've been having SO much fun creating it, building it, and altering it!

Washi tape and a wavy border add to the overall whimsy...

A bit blurry, but I love the effect of the "grass" that I cut into the edge of this page!

So many layers here! The heart tab, wavy border, and washi tape are so fun here, and really add to the creativity of the book.

A little library pocket on the second-to-last page can hold little messages...And notice that some of the pages have flaps that fold open to extend the page.

Some detail on the back cover (goes over to the front cover too). I tied it together very simply with some colourful embroidery floss.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WIWO Wednesday - It's What I'm Working On

I feel like a Decor Diva!

This past weekend I decided to wallpaper a backsplash in our kitchen.

I'm TOTALLY kicking myself that I didn't take a before photo...

But here it is after!
It matches perfectly with the original 50s cabinetry and new stainless steel appliances.

It's vintage foil wallpaper that a friend of mine picked up at the thrift store!

Doesn't it look great??

It only took about an hour. The hardest part was cutting around the window and light/socket switches. Still, an hour for a new look in the kitchen is definitely time well spent in my opinion!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Drumroll Please...!

The Winners of the March Pay What You Want Giveaway are....

Grand Prize: Hand-built art journal for you to fill with love and wonder
Winner: Pam Parker from Australia! Congratulations!!
(Please email me and we'll arrange receipt of your prize!)

Second Prize - a Pay What You Want Leaning Package for you or a friend
Winner: Magriet van Tol from the Netherlands! Congratulations!
(Please email me and we'll arrange receipt of your prize!)

Third Prize - 30 typewritten words mailed to your door!
Winner: Joanna of Fiddlesnips! from the UK! Congratulations!!
(Please email me and we'll arrange receipt of your prize!)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Filled Up and Lovely!

Here is a look at my revamped Duracell box shelving that it's FULL!

The little creatures are called Dunnies.
They are bought as a blind-box purchase, meaning that you buy an individual Dunny in a box without knowing which design is inside. 
Many artists have designed their own Dunny and these designs have been adopted into the regular Dunny rotation. 

There is my favourite one - a Dunny tree with disagreeing ears and a little bird.  Isn't the artwork fantastic?

This one also has disagreeing ears and is more rare since it has an elephant's trunk. 
And don't forget the absolutely fabulous backdrop for the Dunnies - the aqua display box!