Monday, January 30, 2012

guest tutorial: Melanie Testa makes ...

My good friend and fellow artist Melanie Testa is currently a vagabond blogger. Sad for her - lucky for us. We wish her blog a very speedy recovery. In the meantime today I have the great good pleasure of hosting her fabulous

Artspark heARTfest tutorial

 Here she goes.....
If you haven’t noticed, I am having blog troubles, yup! it is totally broken! But that doesn’t mean I don’t have fabulous friends that don’t want to help  blogless girl out! And don’t worry, I will have a new blog and web site soon. So let’s all thank Lyric for helping me bring a Tute Toot Tutorial to you for our Heartfelt Blog Hop.

When I was a girl, I loved going to the pharmacy around Valentine’s Day to purchase a plastic wrapped box of Valentines. They would come with little envelopes and need to be torn down to size along perforated edges. This was so very exciting to do, and going home to make an envelope out to each person in my class was excitement beyond measure! So I present a tutorial using stamps, sweet imagery and perforated edges.
You will need:
Paper to print on
Sticky back fun foam
Exacto knife
Tracing paper
Stamp pads
plastic ruler

Fun foam is the way to go, create a stamp (or 4) that fits your valentine design. My valentine’s are 2x3”, so my stamps fit within this size. I drew my design on tissue and rubbed it onto the foam.
Cut your design. 
Peel the backing off the fun foam and adhere to acetate or a backing of your choice. I put my tracing paper wrong side up underneath my acetate.
Pencil in a grid to size and begin printing your stamps, using stamp pads, within the grid.
Using the Pattern Wheel and plastic ruler, perforate your design along the penciled grid.
Fold and tear your valentine’s apart.
Write a special message on the back of your design and start giving your special Valentine’s to your best friends, buddies and and of course, your most cherished loved one(s)! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tutorial: Lovin' my Thermofax Screens

It’s my turn!
Artspark’s heARTfest tutorial blog hop

Let's make a sweet little valentine postcard
Valentine by Lyric Kinard
I’d like to show you how my little love affair with my Thermofax screens can be put to good use. 

I've had these collage backgrounds ready to go for a while. They are old watercolor studies (and I do mean old - like from 20 years ago!) that I've collaged with some worn out sheet music. I stuck them on with gel medium and then painted over them with some watered down acrylic paint. Gesso would have worked just as well. I just wanted to knock back the colors and the strong printing just a bit.

 Next I took my favorite black pens and doodled random hearts on paper, scanned it and printed it out in three different sizes. I was thinking of creating an overall background texture with this doodle. Nothing too regular or controlled or overpowering.

I send each print of the doodle through my wonderful Thermofax machine along with that green mesh fabric. The heat rollers burn the carbon in the toner through the emulsion coating on the screen.

It's almost magic how that happens. It's a little addicting.

I usually tape my larger screens to a frame to make them easier to deal with. When I'm printing yardage I like to be able to lift the screen with one had while it still has big glops of paint on it and move it to the next paint location.

Smaller screens are simply "bound" with duct tape to keep them from curling. 

I mixed up some pink acrylic paint - ProChem's ProFab textile paint, since it was within easy reach. I pulled out some cloth to play with while I was at it and printed away. I ended up only using the medium and the large screens for the collage. I got a little lazy and let the screens smudge on some of the prints. No worries.

Next comes some focal point imagery. I doodled some more hearts and then got sidetracked for MUCH too long - playing with funky new fonts ( and words. I don't always have a plan in mind before I begin a project. 

Time for some more thermofax screens. I cut out words and arranged them on a piece of paper in order to maximize my screen material. The stuff isn't cheap so I hate to waste it. I made sure to leave enough space around each word or doodle so that I could cut out and tape them.

By the way - if you find yourself needing these screens, I've added them to my thermofax shop.

This time I chose a medium contrasting color instead of a lighter color. Purple just happens to be one of my favorites so purple hearts it is! When a screen is taped instead of framed. I like to use a foam brush and just mush the paint through the screen like a stencil.

Lynn Krawczyk has some fantastic video tutorials for how to do this - and she sells some pretty awesome screens!

Last step? Choose which fun message you want to share with our valentine. These are cut into 5x7 cards. I can write on the back, stick on a stamp and drop them right in the mail. 

Super SWEET eh?
Valentine by Lyric Kinard
And yes, dear readers, I do.
Valentines, Lyric Kinard
I love you!

Life is too short not to just say it out loud.

If you are in love with any of these screens you can purchase them here.

Hope you've enjoyed this fun little project.
Keep your eye out for

(my mouth is watering already)

1/30/2012 Kelli Nina Perkins
Felted Heart Soaps
(Is it just me or are they too gorgeous to actually USE?)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Work in Progress: Boro Skirt

Over the holidays we took all the kidlets down south for an absolutely fabulous week at Disneyworld.
That's a good 20 hours of total driving time and I consider it time will spent. I'm very fortunate that Mr. Almost Perfect likes to drive and I don't get carsick so there is a lot of nice open time for hand work.

boro in progress - Lyric Kinard
I've decided to cover all of the raw seam allowances on the outside of the skirt with hand stitching. There are still a number of seams left to go - and then I'll consider it wearable AND washable. I don't think it will ever be "done" because I can think of a million things to add to it. A canvas in progress. A stitched journal. Art in motion. A continual "to-go" project.

If you would like to listen in - Rice Freeman-Zachary and I talked and giggled about this project, among other things on her podcast: Notes from the Voodo Cafe.

Rice (rhymes with "Lisa") is talented, funny, and articulate. If you have a few minutes it's worth the time.

And.... day two of Artspark's

tutorial blog hop

tomorrow look for

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Artspark's Tutorial Blog Hop

Artspark presents
valentine tutorial blog hop

today the lovely and talented
presents instructions on how to make
this beautiful Valentine's Day card and envelope

mark your calendars for these upcoming tutorials

1/28/2012 Lyric Kinard Lovin' my Thermofax Screens
1/29/2012 Judy Coates Perez Chocolate Peppermint Cream Heart Cakes

1/31/2012 Melanie Testa 
2/1/2012 Tracie Lynn Huskamp  Valentine Message Pillows 

For Your Inspiration: Texture in the Sand

Monday, January 23, 2012

Artsparks Valentine Tutorial Blog Hop

Get your HEART on~ Valentine Tutorial Blog Hop

1/25/2012 Jane LaFazio Sketchbook page to Valentine Card (& envelope too)
1/26/2012 Traci Bunkers
1/27/2012 Diana Trout Woven heart valentines card
1/28/2012 Lyric Kinard Lovin' my Thermofax Screens
1/30/2012 Kelli Nina Perkins  Heart-shaped felted soap
1/31/2012 Melanie Testa 
2/1/2012 Tracie Lynn Huskamp  Valentine Message Pillows 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Student Spotlight: Palmetto Quilt Guild

What a wonderful place - Hilton Head Island is absolutely beautiful.
What a wonderful group of students!

I am SO lucky to get to do what I do!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For Your Inspiration: Suess-land

but first ... go check out the goodies I'm offering in conjunction with 
I'm also offering her readers a little - or maybe a big - sale offer on my Bead It DVD.

Now - wouldn't you love to be a designer for a Dr. Seuss amusement park?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fiberart for a Cause

Some of us find small ways to make the world a better place.
Some of us do so in a BIG WAY!

Once again the lovely and talented Virginia Spiegel is raising funds for cancer research.
She is hoping to raise $7,000.00 to add to the $215,000.000 she has already raised for this cause.

You read that right. This woman knows how to make a big difference. She gathers people
we to her who also care deeply about fighting cancer and organizes them so that wonderful things happen. Here is how the fundraiser will work - and I'll let you know how you can help down below.

Foto/Fiber 2012
90 Photos AND 90 Fiber BONUSES 
Gold Donor Day - February 15, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $100, choose a photo by
Virginia A. Spiegel, Karen Stiehl Osborn, or Cynthia Wenslow
and choose a Fiber BONUS by a specific artist
from the following list of fiber artists.

Regular Foto/Fiber - February 16, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $50 and choose a photo by
Virginia A. Spiegel, Karen Stiehl Osborn, or Cynthia Wenslow.
Your Fiber BONUS will be chosen at random for you
from the following list of generous fiber artists.
Artists donating Fiber BONUS include: 
Natalya Aikens,
Frances Holliday Alford, Pamela Allen, Liz Berg, Sue Bleiweiss, Nancy G. Cook, Jane Davila, Vivika DeNegre, Diane Rusin Doran, 
Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Leonie Hartley Hoover, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Lynn Krawzcyk, Jane LaFazio, Susan Lenz, Jeanelle McCall
Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Musgrave, Gail Myrhorodsky
Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Cate Coulacos Prato, Yvonne Porcella
Wen Redmond, Sue Reno, Lesley Riley, Cynthia St. Charles,
Susan Schrott, Suzanne Silk, Lura Schwarz Smith (with Kerby C. Smith),
Sarah Ann Smith, and Terri Stegmiller

Drawings for Fiber Art throughout the event.
All patrons of Foto/Fiber 2012 will also have multiple chances throughout Foto/Fiber to win fiber art donated by:
Leonie Hartley HooverLyric Kinard
Lynn Krawczyk
Yvonne Porcella
Susan Schrott
Mary Ann Van Soest
Crescent by Lyric Kinard
If you'd like to help out we'd love for you to help spread the word. There's something in it for you too.
Win one of these great prizes:

Inside the Creative Studio,

donated by its author, Cate Coulacos Prato.

A $25 Gift Certificate from Fiber on a Whim
A pack each of TAP and ExtravOrganza donated by Fiber on a Whim

Just e-mail Virginia(at) each time you share the news about
Foto/Fiber 2012 by using a logo, adding a signature,
posting to FB, your blog, or your fav lists, tweeting, etc. Multiple entries encouraged.

here is a link to images and info for you to include!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: One Word

I try to keep my goals for the year as simple as possible. Last year I wanted to begin each day with a prayer of gratitude and practice discipline. I did OK but not great on the first goal but not well at all on the second.

ah well.
First the success. My mantra has been "it's ALL good!" Even when I'm crazy I remind myself that the things making me crazy are all GOOD things. I'm very blessed to have a wonderful family, stable finances, and to have art in my life!

I still procrastinate then get completely stressed out over every deadline. I still fritter away my art-making time - usually by getting sidetracked on the computer. I'm doing important things - but not the MOST important things.

When I analyze my shortcoming (notice I didn't say "when I beat myself up about failures") I think the "practice discipline" thing is too big, too nebulous. 

This year I'm going to keep the same simple goals but I'm going to rephrase it into something that will help me with the practical application - both of being grateful and of learning to practice discipline.

It boils down to one word.

Wake up each morning and do what is most important FIRST!

For me that means:
  1. getting the kids off to school.
  2. spiritual practice (reading, prayer, meditation)
  3. exercise (gym or running 3 days minimum)
  4. MAKE ART (1 hour minimum)

Before I answer email. Before I write blog posts or articles. Before I ship stuff out. One hour to make art. If I put the most important things first the rest will certainly take care of itself. 

I played around on to make a pretty word-cloud of my priorities. 

I'm going to print one of these and post it on my bathroom mirror to remind myself. I'll probably need to post other reminders all over the whole house. New habits can be difficult to implement for me so I need all the help I can get.

What are your goals?
What is your word?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge: January Theme

I am happier than a little puppy dog with two tails to wag to be involved in The Sketchbook Challenge again this year. It's been a wonderful way to challenge my abilities and to be involved in some small way with your lives and artwork. Sometimes I struggle with a theme - and that's good. You don't learn much if you don't struggle - if you don't try things that are beyond our current abilities our outside of your comfort zone.

But this month?

I absolutely LOVE this month's theme!

I doodle ALL the time. 

I have my sketchbook with me pretty much all the time and I tend to have trouble paying close attention to something if I need to sit still. I end up fidgeting enough to bother other people. I seem to listen better if my hands are busy. 

I'll doodle while I'm waiting for a meeting to start, or during the meeting. During church I pay better attention if I doodle something about what is being said.

I doodle on the airplane or at home or any time I am trying to wait patiently for something or somebody. 

Hey, maybe doodling makes me a better person? Or at least makes me tolerable to be around. I used to simply simmer and fume while I waited for people who were late. Not any more.

So I'm wondering - what is the difference between a doodle and a sketch? I think doodles are time killers, aimless wandering with a pen in hand. But sometimes my doodles are very purposeful. Sometimes they are looking out the window at a crazy little group of Cardinals. But that could be called sketching - maybe trying to capture the essence of the thing you are observing?

Sometimes doodling is playing with a new tool. I'm in love with my japanese brush pen - learning to control the flow of ink and make thick luscious lines or tiny delicate ones with the same tool. Or is that a learning process as I master a new technique?

Sometimes something I see will capture my attention and imagination and I quickly sketch it in. Is it a doodle because it is quick? Or perhaps because it has not end purpose? It's not necessarily trying to be something.

Sometimes I doodle what I see out my window as I'm talking on the phone. It's a sketch of a landscape through a window but it's also killing time so it might be called a doodle. I don't think it really matters.

What do you think the difference between a doodle and a sketch is?
Does it matter?