Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Challenge change and {NEW} goodies!

Still need more photos.....pleeeaaasssee (see post below)!! Just one photo, anything. Anyone can send in, you don't have to be doing the challenge. Come on, it'll be fun:) Thanks! Also PLEASE NOTE: Bonnie and I have decided to have the Cabinet of Curiosities prompts once a week instead of twice and we will continue to go back and forth between our two blogs. Bonnie will post this Sunday and I will post the next. So the prompts will continue for 4 more weeks. Hopefully that will help ease some of the "stress" of the prompts coming too quickly and we can all take a breath and continue to enjoy the process. Also it's never too late to play along. Now that we're slowing things down a bit, we hope more people can join in the fun.

Well, I have some fun new artsy stuff around here that I thought I'd share. I'm always oogling Fleamarket studios wonderful finds, so I thought I'd share some of my fun finds from last weekend. You all know she has a blog now, right? So exciting! I don't go to flea markets, but here in Minnesota we have many estate sales each and every weekend all year long!! It's a treasure trove for finding wonderful vintage artsy goodies:) This past weekend I found this fabulous *mint condition* baby book ($2), pretty pink vase ($1), pile of number game pieces (perfect for these calendars), a Barbie paper doll from the mid-80's with some fabulous clothes ($2) and this fun little "basket" made from old colorful cards and sewn together ($1). Love it all! My kids totally scored too, I got a large doll house with all kinds of fun accessories for $6!!!
Then in the mail, I recieved a beautiful altered composition book by the wonderfully creative Tricia Scott. Just found her blog recently and LOVE her style!!! She also included a bunch of goodies including a couple of cards of her amazing art and some ephemera and such. So much fun! Thanks, Tricia.

On my recent trip to Anthropologie (which, by the way, says on thier web site that they are now going to have a catalog *every month*!!!!) for my new journal, I also found this gorgeous little notebook with Amy Butler print fabric on the front. The inside pages also have bits of her designs. Can hardly stand to write in it. Then I literally almost fell off my chair when I found out that Amy Butler now has scrapbook paper and tons of fun scrap supplies with her patterns, including a scrapbook bag ! This was all featured at CHA this past weekend and is soon to be released by K and Co. I am beyond excited about this!!!! You can see it all here and be sure and click on each collection to see the full array:)

If this weren't enough, I got two brand spankin' new mixed media arts books in the mail yesterday. Yawoza! First off, Kaleidoscope by Suzanne Simanaitis of ARTitude zine fame, has compiled a wonderful mega zine book that is full of eye candy and articles about digging deeply into your creative well and making art that is not just about being pretty, but about true expression. Unusual and insightful stuff. Just got a chance to page through it last night and it is full...I mean really really full of inspiration. Also got my the new book by Lesley Riley called Fabric Memory Books. She has always been such an inspiration for me for making fabric art, which is how I started this whole mixed media art "thing":) Love her work and what a treat to have her explain how to make many different kids of fabric books and projects. A must see!

Ok, must breathe now.....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Call for photos!

Photo by Joyce Ravid

I've been paging through some of my old photography books, some of my favorite online photo inspirations (from the uber creative Sarah Bowen), reading this new challenge on Misty's blog, and enjoying this genius idea. So now I would like to make a call for photos (actually 1 photo) from YOU! To prepare for my prompt for the Cabinet of Curiosities challenge that I will be posting on Sunday, I would love for anyone that visits this blog (who is interested) to email me one photo from their life. It could be absolutely anything.. their studio, their house, outside, wherever! Please send one photo to my hotmail email at and also tell me where you live. I will be using it for my Sunday prompt, so make sure it is something that you would be ok with me using in a piece of art and publishing on my blog. I am always amazed at how blogs bring people together from all over the world. I would love to get a glimpse into each and everyone one of your lives. Thanks so much!!! edit- if you have a flickr account and just want me to pick one of your photos, let me know in the comments section and please give me a link to your flickr page. Thanks.

In other exciting news, I will be starting a new art journal centered around photos in this lovely new book I got at Anthropologie. The mushroom fabric pocket is also from there, it came on an adorable kids apron, but I just had to use it here. Hope to get started on it and share pictures from inside soon!
Also saw the movie Pan's Labyrinth this past weekend. Wow...quite the show! Go see it. Very intense. Totally gets your creativity flowing.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cabinet of Curiosities {Wonder}

Ok, here we go with prompt #4....does that really mean this is the half way point!?! Thank you for such amazing feedback on these challenges. All of your work is so inspiring and real. If you're still working on other prompts, or just getting started, please don't feel like you're behind or that it's too late. This Cabinet of Curiosities project is meant to be done at your own pace. However you work best.

That being said, now we're going to think about the concept of wonder.....

won·der (wŭn'der) n.
One that arouses awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration; a marvel.

The emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous.
An event inexplicable by the laws of nature; a miracle.

We're going to look at the first definition in regards to art. Who or what is it that inspires you...give you a sense of awe and admiration? This could be a particular artist or maybe something outside in the natural world. Think about a certain style you enjoy, or maybe a pattern or a color pallete. We are going to do a little "lifting" today.

In the scrapbooking world, "scraplifting" or the new term "scrapjacked" is popular. There's even a whole new blog by this name that you can check out here, it looks like a lot of fun! They defined this process as taking a scrapbookers (or other artists) style and "take their style hostage" and come up with your own take on their designs. Reinvent.

For our challenge I would like to open this concept up to lifting any sort of art or concept that arises a sense of wonder in you. Find a certain piece of art that you love. Go outside and be inspired by something in the natural world. Take this concept and go where you want with it. Have fun. Make it your own. Challenge yourself.

I have been very inspired by the work of Lauren Mumford. She does some amazingly creative things with vintage objects and creates her own Cabinets of Curiosities, of sorts. Check out some of her fabulous work below.
Artwork above by Lauren Mumford
I was especially in awe of these amazing glittery box creations by Lauren (below). So I took this as my inspiration and "art jacked" it and came up with my own version. This was really a lot of fun and as you get going, it'a amazing how your own style and creative ideas blossom and the piece becomes truly your own. Can't wait to see what artists you all pick and the amazing pieces you come up with. Go....have fun....and art jack someone!!!

P.S. I'm a librarian, so I always have a book to recommend:) I came across this book called The Art of Wonder: A History of Seeing by Julian Spalding when "researching" for this post. I ordered a used copy and just got it yesterday. It looks absolutely wonderful. (pun intended!) "This book tells the story of wonder- how our wonder gave rise to our religious beliefs, to our arts and sciences, and to many of our social structures."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cabinet of Curiosities {Dream}

It's time for theme #3 of the Cabinet of Curiosities challenge! This prompt is over on Bonnie's blog. What she wrote about dreaming is fantastic. You're all going to have a lot of fun with this one:) My page consists of dreams that I have of traveling and exploring. The black-and-white picture is of me at the age of 19, when I went to Italy on my own for a creative photography class in Tuscany. Talk about a dream come true!! The picture was taken by professional photographer Harvey Stein with his pin hole camera. I've always loved it. Thinking about dreams, I remember back to wanting to be a National Geographic photographer. I think it was the combination of seeing new places along with my love of photography that made that seem so appealing. I guess I'm living a tiny bit of that dream by documenting my daily life in pictures and noting the changing of the seasons through photography. We'll see you back here for prompt #4 on Sunday.

I also jazzed up my banners for my etsy shop. They just seemed to plain...not quite me, ya know?! I added some yummy pink velvet ribbon, a flower on top of the rosette, some more ribbon and a vintage card from my collection to each and now they seem complete:)

As far as the moo cards I shared in yesterday's post. They do take orders from the US. The company is out of the UK, but I am in the US and had no problem. They came pretty fast and shipping wasn't bad at all! You can see some other fantastic ones here and here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Feelin' the love...

I can't wait to see what Bonnie is going to post for prompt #3 tomorrow (Thursday) for the Cabinet of Curiosity challenge. I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's fabulous work! I think the prompt I did for Curiosity really challenged people and I love that you all see that as a good thing:) What fun, interesting, dynamic art everyone came up with. Fantastic!! Thank you for all of your great feedback on the challenge and the wonderful words on my creation. This is really a lot of fun! Remember I have links to most of the participants blogs at the right, so be sure and check out what amazing things people are creating.

I've been busy making a few more things for my etsy shop. After having my lovely holiday banner up since the first week of November that I made in Pam Garrison's class at Silver Bella, I decided it was finally time to come down. So I was inspired to make a similar vintage-style banner for Valentine's day. These have fun glitter hearts, sweet roses and a vinyl banner that looks like lace. I made a couple different styles for my shop, so check them out!

I also got my moo cards in the mail with my own art on them. How fun are these?!!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's a girls life!

My sister-in-laws baby shower yesterday was fabulous! The house was decked out in pink, girly splendor. I got the nicest comment from my husband's cousin, who said that our house felt so warm and loving. Aww..very sweet! I also wanted to say how excited I am to see all the results for prompt #2 for the Cabinet of Curiosities. Thanks for all the great comments. So fun to see that people were inspired. Have a great Monday!

This doll is made by Nicole over at Raggedy Old Annies. Check out her blog...her dolllies are just adorable!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cabinet of Curiosities: Prompt #2 {Curiosity}

Wow, the pages you are all creating are simply stunning! Great work and so much inspiration:) Sharon was nice enough to post this wonderful tutorial on starting an altered book using a children's board book. Go check it out! I'm posting this prompt a bit early, because the baby shower is tomorrow and I wasn't sure I'd have time to post. I can't wait! I'll be sure and take lots of pictures.

Now on to prompt #2......

cu·ri·os·i·ty (kyr'ē-ŏs'ĭ-tē)
A desire to know or learn.
A desire to know about people or things that do not concern one; nosiness.
An object that arouses interest, as by being novel or extraordinary: kept the carved bone and displayed it as a curiosity.
A strange or odd aspect.

As artists, we all have an innate desire to create. I know that my artistic curiosity is piqued when I see a piece of art that I really love and I wonder how it was made. I especially find myself baffled when looking at mixed media art that has so many wonderful layers and dimension and it almost feels like magic in how it all came together to make the finished piece.

Are YOU ready to make some magic?

For those of you that are lucky enough to have seen Sally Jean Alexander's fabulous new book full of eye candy and curiosities, Pretty Little Things, you may have tried some of these techniques already. Even if you have, the fun part is that your art will turn out different every time, depending on the order you do the steps. I first chose my color palette for the project. I was inspired by this picture in a magazine. I didn't use the picture in the layout, but it helped me to gather my supplies that all had the same feeling and mood that I was getting from the picture. Supplies you will need: pen, paper to work on, acrylic paints and brushes, gel medium or white glue, pretty papers that you love, old books (for text), magazines (for text or images), photograph, ink, chalk or oil pastels, baby wipes, pencil, rubber stamp and ink pad, sandpaper, scissors, 3D objects (flowers, buttons, ribbon, etc.) and charcoal pencil. Now write the words: PAINT, MAGAZINE, TEXT, PAPER, CHALK, PASTELS, CHARCOAL, PENCILL, STAMP, SCRATCH, WIPE, INK, PATTER, 3-D, WRITE, PHOTOGRAPH, SMUDGE, DRAW, SAND, SURPRISE onto a piece of paper. Cut out each word individually, put them in a bowl and mix them up. First, layout a piece of cardstock, watercolor paper, or canvas that is the size of collage you wish to create. Now you will close your eyes and pull out one word at a time and do that task on your paper. You can preset your limit (do the first ten tasks you pull out of the bowl) or do them all. The first word I picked was write. Write anything, a word, a phrase, or a single letter, any size with pencil, pen, ink, crayon, whatever! I chose to write a little bit about curiosity. Next I chose paint. Apply acrylic paints haphazardly on your canvas. Mix the paint up; don't worry about getting multiple colors on your brush. Next I chose picture/photograph. Tape, glue, stample, or whatever way you wish, attach your picture or photo to your page. This image is from Anahata Katkin. She sells some wonderful books with images to use in collage through her PaPaYa shop.Paper. Use gel medium or white glue to apply torn scraps of text, pretty or antique papers randomly. Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess gel medium so that the paper doesn't wrinkle.

Magazine. Tear a part of a page out of a magazine. Use gel medium or glue to adhere it to your collage. Wipe with baby wipes to remove areas of paint and ink. The more you rub the magazine, the more ink comes off and the more distressed it appears.
Sand. Sand the surface in various spots to remove layers. Select the grade of sandpaper you wish to use. Be sure and sand when the paint is dry.
Text. Tear a page from an old book. Use a sentence with at least three consecutive words from anywhere in the text. Also, create a new sentence using individual words that you cut from the page and rearrange.
Pattern. Create a pattern with any medium. A pattern is something repeated at least three times.
Chalk/oil pastels. Use randomly to color areas or create lines and shapes. 3D. Add a dimension object (or two..or three..) to you page. Let your imagination run wild!
Charcoal. Create depth by sketching, outlining, drawing or shading with a charcoal pencil. Rub it on the edges of the torn paper. I first used charcoal pencil on a piece in my class with Carolyn Peeler at Silver Bella. She said she had learned it from Sally Jean. Wow, what amazing depth this gives. I love it!!!
The final slip that I pulled out was stamp. Choose any rubber stamp and any ink and stamp as many times as you like. I stopped here, feeling like my page was complete. The remaining slips are: Smudge- wet your finger and wipe your artwork to create smudges. Draw- use pencil, pen or ink to outline something already on your collage, or draw a new shape. Scratch- scratch your artwork using a awl, craft knife, scissors. You may scratch randomly or a pattern in the surface. Surprise! This is a freebie, you choose the task. Do something you've already done or something you've never done. Explore!
That's it! Here's my finished piece. Have fun and let your curiosity run wild! Be sure and post your link in the comments so that we can all take a peek at your wonderful creations. We'll see you over on Bonnie's blog on Thursday for prompt #3.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Thanks very much for all your kind words on my new goodies for my esty shop:) Well, for our first theme {explore} in the Cabinet of Curiosities Challenge I just couldn't get past thinking in 3D. Exploring for me means picking up rocks and driftwood on the beach, going off the beaten path on a walk in the woods. It may mean a journey far away or just outside my door. It also means exploring different sides of myself, pushing myself to try new things. So after going through all of my own oddities and curiosities lately, I decided to take a little "flight of fancy" (birds have always symbolized exploring for me) and fill up this sectioned off shadow box frame I've had sitting around for years. I picked pieces of this and that from travels I've had, items that have come to me from other peoples travels and dreams about exploring that I hope to do someday. It all came together in this assemblage. Fun stuff. Definitely a different way to make art. Very meditative.

So what is assemblage art?
A collection of persons or things : GATHERING
The act of assembling : the state of being assembled
An artistic composition made from scraps, junk, and odds and ends (as of paper, cloth, wood, stone, or metal) b : the art of making assemblages

If you'd like to know more about assemblage art, check out some of these links.
A brief history of assemblage art
The amazing assemblage work of Lynne Perrella
Found art by Janet Hofacker

See you here on Sunday for theme #2 of our challenge!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Indulge yourself....

Today is the day, indulge yourself...why not?? First, hop on over to Bonnie's blog because the Cabinet of Curiosities challenge starts today!!!! We have quite a large group signed on. It's not too late to come out and play. This is going to be so much fun! Check out day one. Hope you're inspired. Then go break out your art journal, notebook, sketch pad, or whatever you have designated for the challenge and create! When you're done, and have posted on your blog (if you have one) be sure and leave a comment on Bonnie's blog so we can all enjoy one anothers work. I also have all the links to participants blogs on my side bar if you want to take a peek. Then on Sunday be sure and stop back here, I'll be posting the next theme.

Then, when you've got another minute, check out my etsy shop. One of my new years resolutions is to add items more regularly to my shop. After combing through my vintage stash for some fun swaps that I'm in, I decided to share the love and made up a few of these Valentine's goodie boxes. What a treat for the eyes!! They come with bits and pieces of this and that from my stash. Some of my favorite stuff:) Plus, you also get all the chocolate that originally came in the box and a handmade Valentine's card. Can't beat that!

So treat yourself today!! Enjoy:)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Challenge update...

Artwork by ArtsyMama
Some of you are getting more and more curious about the Cabinet of Curiosities challenge that begins on Thursday (see post below). Those that have signed up are anxiously awaiting whats to come and some are on the fence wondering if they're ready to make the commitment. First off, this challenge is meant to be fun. To get your mind fluid and in creative "mode" and to get you creating something every couple of days. We will be doing two prompts per week. Bonnie will post each Thursday on her blog and I will post here on Sunday's. The prompts are going to be very open-ended. You can really do what you want with them. Whatever you're feeling passionate about at the time. You could do an art journal, a written journal, an altered book, scrapbook pages, whatever suits your fancy. I have this vintage magazine rack that I've been wanting to use to showcase some art. So for each of the prompts I plan to work on a sheet of 8x11" watercolor paper and place each piece in one of the holders.

Anyone can participate at any or no blog. You can do any or all of the prompts. If you make something inspired by the challenge and post it on your blog, we would love it if you would leave a link in the comments section so we can all check it out and be inspired by one another. what the heck is a cabinet of curiosity??

Cabinets of Curiosities (also known as Wunderkammern- or cabinets of wonder) proliferated throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. They emphasized the exceptional, the rare, and the marvelous, attempting to encompass the results of both nature and art. The term "curiosities" referred not only to the unusual nature of the materials collected, but through its root word, "curious", to humankinds desire for knowledge.

Before the Renaissance was born
Curiosity was scorned
as part of human pride.
But with the new age,
Curiosity raged.
And the cabinets opened wide.
Upon unlocking the cabinet door,
All was visible
ceiling to floor.
Every inch a wonder
at a single gaze.
A collection of oddities
arranged to amaze...
Think about in your own life...what do you collect...whether materially or in your mind? What objects and ideas could you use in your art to reflect your world? Gather some of your favorite supplies and some oddities and decide what type of "cabinet" you would like to make (book, individual sheets, art journal, etc.) Bring your curiosity and an open mind and we'll see you on Thursday!
*I have added a running list of links to those participating on the side bar. That way we can check out each others work along the way. If you want to participate and don't see your link, please leave a comment.*

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Very Exciting Invitation...

Art by Sunny Koch It's Sunday night, lots going on. Emails going back and forth between new art friends and old. New ideas, new layouts posted, lots of creative fun. My guest designer for the week spot is now posted over at Pencil Lines. Check me out:) The work that the other designers did with my sketch is truly amazing! Also, my new blog friend Bonnie posted an interview with me over on her blog.

Bonnie and I are also up to something very exciting. In the spirit of Rhonna Farrer's 21 day challenges that she used to post when she blogged, we've decided to co-host a brand new art challenge! The theme of the challenge will be
A Cabinet of Natural Curiosity. Doesn't that just get your mind swimming with creative ideas?!! Curiosity is the food of life. Fill your heart and go! This challenge will be about delving into yourself. Pushing your limits of creativity, exploring, discovering, nature, wonder, and inspiration. Each day you will be given either a picture, a word, a sentence or even a link to check something out we found. How you interrupt what we give you is up to you. This challenge is about inspiring each other, learning, growing, stepping out of your box and being creative.
Art work above and below by Sunny Koch
Bonnie and I will take turns to host the challenge, so you will be posting your links either on my blog or hers depending on who's turn it is to host the challenge for the day.

You can do this if you are a digital scrapper, paper scrapper, if you paint, draw, doodle, whatever! There are no specifications or qualifications. First timers and those without blogs are more than welcome to play along. Bonnie and I will be doing the traditional version: paper, paint, glue...down and dirty real art supplies. We will be taking the challenge along with you. There are no rules, except to have fun and enjoy the process!

What will you need:

1. A book to alter or blank book or 12 x 12 pages

Your book will be your "cabinet." What kind of book you use will affect what kind of book you make. If you want to add lots of lumpy natural stuff, make sure your book can handle it. Here is one example of Pam Garrison's that is oh so awe inspiring! Here is a post on choosing a book that I wrote when I hosted my Book of Dreams project.

2. You need to commit to this, so you have to sign up here in the comments section or on Bonnie's blog before the 18th January 2007, that is when we will get started. The challenge will be hosted on both blogs. Here and at Bonnie's. She will begin the first post, I will do the second and so on.

We are not 100% sure if we should host it for 8 days consecutively or if we should do it three times a week. So we are putting the question/option out to you. When you sign up, please state your preference, whether everyday for 8 days or fewer times a week over a longer period of time. Since Bonnie lives in South Africa, if we post a challenge each day, you will actually be getting a challenge about every 12 hours, because of the time difference. **edit: We will post challenges on Thursday's and Sunday's on our respective blogs. Hope that will space them out nicely.

The details will follow closer to the time, all you need to do is sign up for it, get your gear ready and be ready to start the 18th.

If you have the time, read this post by the **amazing** Nina Bagley. The pictures are absolutely stunning and the prose gets to the heart of it all. Here is part of it..."bottom line is that i am what i know, and i need to remind myself of that fact day in, day out. and i don't know much, which is why i am so drawn to the sweetness and innocence of nature that surrounds me: the woods don't nag me if i stray a bit too far off the beaten path, or linger too long at the window in the sun, or stare at the leaves at my feet for an inordinate amount of time. nature knows i'll put those moments to use, somehow, someday, some way, and i need to remember to listen to the natural world around me when it whispers in my ear to breathe. rather than worrying about whether or not you all will get or understand what it is i'm trying to say, or even whether i'll understand what point it is that i'm trying to make on this slow, quiet, steady afternoon, i should stop right now, turn off this computer, and go outside. take a breath. look up. look down. turn around. somewhere in there is a bit of inspiration, and a bit of enlightenment, and even a bit of encouragement. and whether or not we all make the same pieces of art from the same pieces of nature is not the point. the point is what we all choose to say with what we make..."

Wewh, that's a lot of stuff that's been swirling around in my head. Now for some fluff, I uploaded a bunch of random pics from around my house on my flickr page. Have a great night!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Layouts~ Elsie's Challenge {week #2}~ Confession

Thanks for all the fun shower ideas!! I'm definitely seeing life through rose colored glasses lately. There is soooo much pink out there with Valentine's Day just around the corner! Kinda makes planning a baby girl shower pretty easy:)I made this layout today, total free form and fast. Looks a little strange, but I think I like it. The picture is my daughter showing me her hands after finger painting. It made me think about how life can be messy--in so many different senses of the word. The phrase Life is what you make it at the bottom of the paper prompted me to journal around the photo matte about how life can be so many things (including messy) and it's all up to you! I did this in my ongoing challenge to myself to scrap more of my pictures. So I'm following along in Elsie's 52 Scrapbook Challenges book and posting a challenge each weekend. Elsie's challenge for {week 2} is Focus on one photo: Convert a favorite photo into a black and white image, use it as the focal point on your page.This layout I'm super excited about!! It's pictures of my sister and I that were taken over the holiday break. She lives in San Diego, so I only see her a few times a year. Spending time together is such a highlight for me:) I was honored when Ann(i)e over at Pencil Lines invited me to be a guest designer for this week. However, I had never created a sketch of a layout before, so this was definitely out of my comfort zone:) I reluctantly sketched an idea and submitted it. Dear Anne said to go for it! So this is what I came up with. The sketch, layout and a little bio will be on this site on Sunday. So check it out:) It was a really fun challenge. Thanks Ann(i)e!!

Oh yea, and check out what Shimelle is up to now!!! Come and play along....