Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Owl and the Pussycat

Once again I am sitting on a pile of projects that cannot be shown. Again, I am showing off a swap item before it's proper peeking time.

This little piece is based on the nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussycat written by Edward Lear. I seem to have misplaced all of my 27 rulers so I'm estimating that the piece measures 3". And once again I had a fight with the E6000 adhesive in which there was much swearing. I think the moon may have blushed from the blue streak of my foul mouth ;)

Graphic 45 By the Sea > Splash
Layer Cake Paper Mache Box Set
Bag of Shells
White Plastic Pearls
Jute twine
Blue glitter
Vintage owl and cat images from The Graphics Fairy
Handmade polymer clay moon
Glue, paint and all that stuff...

Sunday, March 16, 2014


So we bought this wardrobe from an online auction. Our winning bid was $10. When we arrived at the auction site to pick it up we were asked if we were sure that we wanted the items we won. We assured them that, 'Um. Yes' Yes, we would gladly pay $13 for a wardrobe and working chest freezer.

This is that wardrobe.

It sat like this in my studio for a few days. The more I looked at it, the more it reminded me of a passage to Narnia. That was it! I was determined to transform this into some sort of gateway to a magical wonderland. Then my husband reminded me that the kid was without a closet in in his room and needed a place to hang his fancy clothes. Poof, just like that my Narnia dreams went up in smoke.

"Boy, what colour do you want your wardrobe?"


Ug. Not a fan of purple so I wait a few days and ask again because I KNOW the answer will be different. Sure enough, by the time we visit the paint section of the hardware shop he's changed his mind and to blue.

And as I'm painting the wardrobe whispers in my ear.... "I'm not a passage to Narnia you ninny, I'm a time and relative dimension in space." It's a TARDIS! I grab the boy and explain the situation to him. He's not entirely a Whovian but can certainly appreciate the situation that has presented itself.


Excellent! We have lift off. Permission to create a geek closet has been granted! And so we end up here... it's not completely done but its well on the way and I thought I'd share the progress.

The mirror and wood insert doors will be replaced over the next couple of weeks, as will the hardware. The kid is most excited about finding a light for the top. But what really matters is that the kid is happy and finally has a place to hang his suits (and hide his junk when I tell him to clean his room).

ETA: Here's a Tom Baker doctor portrait that I painted EONs ago. It's still floating around here somewhere.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Making messes with little artists

I love making with kids. While some may be blind to the absolute beauty in the artwork of children, we could all learn valuable lessons from the makings of young artists.

Despite their differences... boys, girls, shy, funny, loud, neat, messy... they all seem to leap over the hurdle of creative inhibition and are fearless in their making. They explore new mediums with true curiosity, like tiny mad arty scientists.

They will not be rushed or forced. "Are you done yet? Is it finished?" Kids relish the process of making. With little tongues sticking out, they focus on the task at hand and the clock be damned!


Want to make some messes with little fingers? Here are few tips for creative exploration with younger kids:

• Give as little direction as possible. This may sound silly but by providing only the necessary instructions you encourage creative play. Absolutely help when asked, but give them the opportunity to do it for themselves.

• Work in stages. Putting a huge variety of materials out all at once can be overwhelming. By working in stages you can ease in new materials and techniques.

• If you are worried about mess don't provide glitter, glue, stamp pads or paint. If you don't mind being messy, plastic tablecloths, paper plates, and sponge brushes make messy work a little more manageable.

• Don't put anything you don't want used within eye-shot. Kids have a built in radar for the most expensive, the sharpest, messiest or dangerous objects. If you don't want it used, keep it hidden.

• Offer a variety of materials to work with. Stamps, paint, buttons, tags, paper, trims, ribbons, stickers, tape, scraps. I like to always provide at least a few nice quality supplies because I think it's important for them to have that opportunity if possible. Children can absolutely tell the tactile difference between inexpensive and quality supplies. Even as adults it's nice to have a crafty treat once in a while.

• Expect everything to be completely obliterated. It's just easiest to have this mindset from the get-go.

• Bring extras. At the end of every workshop I have done with kids, many want to make seconds. Because time is usually an issue, I tell them they can take some supplies home to make another there. Kids are great and generally not very greedy.

• RELAX! Art, craft and creativity isn't always about a pretty end result. Sometimes it's just about the joy of gluing this to that. Don't pressure, don't push, don't criticize. Guide, praise and play. Offer help, give suggestions, but don't be grabby and do not take over and do it for them.

Finally, a word of thanks to the little artists that came out today! You were so much fun to work with and your blocks are amazing!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Late nights and sticky fingers

I was up late last night. Really late. Late even for me. When I finally went to bed it was after 4 in the morning. When I woke up this morning my hands were still sticky and rather inky from my late night crafty escapades.

It can't be helped! I was on a crafty roll. Everything was going swimmingly and I had to finish just more thing... and then one MORE thing... and then... well, you get the idea.

I can't show you what I was up to or the work in progress, although I think I'm safe to post a 'Before' picture.

What do you think? What would you do? What do you see when you look at this thing-a-ma-bob?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Whovian WIP and more art blocks

A while ago we bought a beat up old dresser for $10 and as it sat in my studio I began to envision it becoming some sort of wardrobe to Narnia. After daydreaming for a while I was told reminded that perhaps it was more important for our boy to have somewhere to put his clothes. I agreed... reluctantly.

So the boy chose a shade of blue and I set to work. Mid-way through painting I realized that the dresser was not a portal to Narnia...

... but a TARDIS in waiting! So over the next short while this messy thing will (hopefully) become a very cool bedroom time machine.

Something I have completed are this set of art blocks. They really are the most fun things to make and you should definitely give them a try!

These blocks are all embellished with Typography and Good Ol' Sport from Graphic 45.


Lastly, a reminder that I'll be hosting a kids' workshop for making mixed media art blocks this Friday at the Brighton Public Library. If you're near, stop by and let your budding artist get their mess on!

ETA: The art block size is... 2.5" x 3.5" x 1.5" Just cut segments that are 2.5" wide from a 2x4 and they'll be the perfect size. I have no idea why 2x4's aren't 2x4.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Graphic 45 Typography Print Tray

It's National Craft Month in the good ol' USA and I'm proud to take part and spread the crafty love with Graphic 45 and this project...

...an altered print tray embellished with loads of fabulous junk (or 'la junque' if your pants are fancy) and the magnificently classically graphic Typography.

I love altering things, making assemblages and mixed media pieces. The process I go through when creating most of my mixed media pieces is almost always the same. Prep, base, gather, play, layer, finish! If you hop over to today's Graphic 45 blog post you can play along with an easy peasy tutorial!

Supply list:

Small wooden printer style tray
Acrylic paint
Ink pad
Misc items for embellishing: wooden spools, wire, twine, Glass Bottles and vintage vials, buttons, miscellaneous rusty bits, old pen nibs, metal letters, Tim Holtz Clock Keys, metal brads,  Reversible Round Metal Number Tiles, Scrabble tiles, metal corners

Monday, March 10, 2014

Warming up with pretty cards

After that stretch of focus on the 221B tins (psst, another will be listed on etsy some time this week) I'm ready to get my mess making mojo back and move on to other projects. A bit of a warm up today making a few cards before starting in earnest and altering a few bits and bobs this evening.

I'm planning on doing some card tutorials for Graphic 45 and thought a practice run might be the ideal way to get those juices flowing again. So I grabbed a 12" sheet of Coredinations colour core stock and chopped it into three bits to create three different sized cards.

All of these were created with Botanical Tea. I love this collection. It makes me long for summer and hot breezes with Tom Collins by the pool :) My favourite of the bunch is this one...

Dreamy butterflies and gorgeous Petaloo flowers... swoon!

Products used:
Graphic 45 > Botanical Tea > Botanical Tea
Graphic 45 > Botanical Tea > Spring Duet
Graphic 45 > Botanical Tea > Just Because
Graphic 45 > Botanical Tea > Love Notes 
Botanical Tea Tags & Pockets
Botanical Tea Banners
Botanical Tea Chipboard 1
4 Inch Paper Doilies
Signature Series / Graphic 45 Lights
Coredinations Graphic 45 Lights - Precious Pink

Signature Series / Graphic 45 Lights
Signature Series / Graphic 45 Lights
Petaloo Hydrangeas n Mixed Blooms Chantilly-VelvHydrangeas - Cream 
Petaloo Whites  Botanica Blooms - White *THESE ARE OUTSTANDING!*
Self adhesive pearls