Sunday, August 28, 2011

Creative Play: What If

One of the best ways I have learned to get over the paralysis of perfection is to ask "What If...?" The key to it working is to just let your natural curiosity come out to play. The purpose for asking the question is not a perfect is knowledge....finding out what happens IF you try something.

To begin with try asking one of these questions:

1. What would happen if I used watercolors on different types of paper?
2. What happens if I tear an edge on my paper by hand, with a straight ruler or a deckle edge ruler?
3. What would happen if I put this kind of ink on acrylic paint?
4. What happens if I mix this color with that color?

You just turn your desk into a Creative Learning Lab. And later, you can start asking more complicated "What If " questions... just by following your natural curiosity.

As you will see in this video, I started with a simple comparison question. I am new to working with Distress Stains, so I began with a simple question "What if I put the same stain on different types of paper?" Once I did that, my curiosity took over...what happens if I add water? What happens if I add Perfect Pearls, What if I tried to use them for watercoloring a stamped image? (trust me...the questions were flowing longer than I could keep the camera turned on).

So now it is your turn. Remember...NO FEAR! You don't have to use Distress Stains...that was just what I wanted to play the "What If" game with - because they are a new product to me.

Here's your challenge:
A. Pick something that YOU are curious about...and just go and PLAY!
B. Keep playing and trying new things as they occur to you.
C. When you have finished take a look and see which of the things you created should go on your refrigerator. It is ok if you want to stamp it, cut it or add it to something else...these are just building blocks...but be sure and find something to go put on your refrigerator because it will act as your reminder that YOU ARE AN ARTIST!
D. Share it with us. We are all learners here - and I can't wait to see what new adventures YOUR curiosity inspires in those of us that are on this art journey together. If you can - create a video and share it with us as a video response to this video on YouTube. If you have a blog, create a post and give us the link down here in Mr. Linky. Or just take pictures and post them on Flickr...and give us a link down below. The point is - we want to encourage each other on our creative journey.

Most of all...HAVE FUN! I have to tell you that even though I am spending most of my time in bed recovering from pneumonia...I am SO EXCITED to see what you create. Be sure and click on the links of the others who have posted - we could all use some encouragement as we seek to become FEARLESS ARTISTS!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Creative Play Series: Introduction

I want to invite you to come into my "virtual classroom" where we will throw off the things that keep us from creating with abandon and just have some FUN! Here is a quick introduction to the series:

And here are some of the things that I will be using in the first Creative Play Series:

Artist Trading Cards (ATC - 3.5 x 2.5)
Collage Stamps
Perfect Pearls
Mini Mister
Plain Muslin
I-top Brad Maker

Please know you don't have to have all of these things...I am just giving you a heads up in case you want to play along with me.

I have the first class taped - but since I am still on strict doctors orders to limit my time out of bed (while I am working on getting rid of this pneumonia) I will hopefully get that edited tomorrow....So until then, I will tease you with the topic...Tim Holtz's new Distress Stains!

If you are interested in getting a copy of the "I Am an Artist" pledge, please leave me a comment with your email address, and I will be happy to send it to you. If you have a color preference, I have it available in Blue, Gray, Pink, Green and Golden Brown.

Those of you on the East Coast and in the path of Irene, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. As I was praying for you and the others who are preparing for the storm, I was reminded of one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Jesus was crossing a lake in a boat and fell asleep - while He was sleeping, a HUGE storm came up - and those folks that were in the boat with Him were REALLY frightened. They went and woke Jesus up...and frankly couldn't believe that He was STILL asleep. When Jesus saw the storm He said two words- "Be Still!" And the storm stopped immediately! Very comforting to know that no storm is mightier than God!

Have a good weekend...stay safe and dry - and save a little time for Creative Play!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Magnetic Storage Boards Tutorials

I did finally get the video edited for the tutorial on how I made the storage boards. I broke it up into two videos so will post both of them here.

Part One:

Part Two:

Materials used:

Hope you all enjoy this tutorial...and please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Magnetic Storage Boards

Hello Friends...

Hope you are having a great weekend! I have been working my way through a "to do" list that is clearly longer than the weekend will allow for me to get done - but it is still very satisfying to put a check in the box next to an item. Even though I am a great fan of technology - my "to do" lists are still old school...a handwritten list with little boxes next to them - stuck up on my refrigerator for easy review!

Three of the items on my list were to 1) Finish shooting the tutorial on how I made my magnetic storage boards, 2) Get the tutorials edited and posted on YouTube and 3) Figure out a way for you to purchase a blank magnetic board or order one that is already made.

I have finished taping the tutorial...and will get it edited and posted tomorrow - actually it will be two videos...I wanted to give you a LOT of detail on the techniques that I used...even if you don't want to make one for yourself, the techniques are FUN to play with so I thought you might enjoy seeing them in detail.

And now, I have figured out how to let you order your own magnetic board in the format you choose.

The first way is for you to just order a blank so you can make your own. I realize finding a board with enough iron in it for it to hold these heavy dies is actually pretty hard to locate. A cookie sheet (I tried using several different versions of these a couple of years ago when I was creating a magnetic Advent Calendar for a class I was teaching) almost always has too much aluminum in it to hold the dies securely. I have several blanks still available from that project class and thought I would make them available to you. The blank is bare steel with rounded corners and a pre-drilled hole for hanging.

The other two options are Magnetic Storage Boards that I will make for you...based on the two versions that I created for the tutorial.

One is made with pre-printed tissue paper...I will use some 7 Gypsies kraft tissue paper and a make each one unique with tissue tape and stamping. I will not be adding the shapes sillouettes like you see in this picture because you will want to arrange those for yourself or may not want to add them at all.
The second version is made following the steps I show in my video tutorial...stamped and collaged tissue paper with additional stamping done to add depth to the finished board.

If you would like to order one, please just select the version you would want from this drop down menu - during check out you will have an opportunity to add a message - so please use this area to tell me if you have a color preference and I will try and match it as closely as possible. Remember, each one will be unique and one of a kind.

Magnetic Board Options

I still have five Flat Rate Shipping Boxes filled with scrappy goodness that you can purchase as well...Each box is different, filled with paper, embellishments, stickers, trims and anything else that will fit!

I have heard from some readers that the PayPal buttons are not working correctly and others are finding they work fine - so I will do some research. If you have a problem, please leave me a comment with a way to get hold of you and I will send you a PayPal money request. Sorry for the inconvenience, I am sure there is just a setting that I have wrong...will do some research.

Ok - so I am off to go put a check box on my To Do list...and call it a night! Have a great Sunday! Will be working on getting the tutorials posted be sure and check back!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Benefits of Creative Play

Do you consider yourself an artist? When I first started getting interested in scrapbooking, cardmaking and other paper crafts...I thought of myself as a CRAFTER....not an artist. And when I think back on it - it really seemed like there was a difference...a crafter was someone who just likes to MAKE stuff....and an artist was someone with SKILLS!

I so don't believe that anymore!

I think almost everyone I come in contact with is a CREATIVE person...and most are ARTISTS. My definition of an artist is anyone who gives free expression to that part of themselves that is creative. Maybe you are an ARTIST who makes music. Maybe you are an ARTIST who bakes cakes. Maybe you are an ARTIST that paints pictures. Maybe you are an ARTIST that paints pictures with words...or a camera...or with paper and glue.

The biggest hurdle I had to get over in order to see myself as an artist was fighting the paralysis of perfectionism. Everytime I sat down to create, I found myself worrying that I could make a mistake...that if I weren't careful, I would MESS IT UP! Hogwash! I finally had to say - "you'll never be an artist if you don't ever CREATE anything!"

If you have taken one of my classes, you know that I start every single one of them with "the pledge!" It goes something like this (it is never EXACTLY the same way twice)...picture everyone with one of their art tools held up in the air.

I am an artist. For the next few hours, I pledge to forget about perfection and focus on having FUN! I can spill paint, smear ink and tear my paper and I will STILL be an artist. I can't make a is all fixable and when I am done I will have a work of ART....because I AM AN ARTIST!"

Just those few simple words seem to help both me and my students to lighten up and change our expectations. See it really is as simple as is all about the expectations. Are you EXPECTING what you make to have to meet some standard of perfection....or are you focused on expressing that creative part of yourself in a way that tells a story or expresses an emotion?

I love a quote by Pablo Picasso...."all children are artists...the trick is remaining one when you grow up!" Oh yeah...that is so true. When we were five we thought everthing we made was refrigerator worthy...but somewhere we lost that idea that the very fact that we created it makes it it has to be PERFECT! Honestly, I rarely am moved by a piece of art that is usually doesn't tell me a story....and rarer still is a perfect piece of art that reveals the heart and emotion of the artist. So I am a fan of "imperfect" is so much more interesting!

One of the ways that I battle the paralysis of perfectionism is to set aside time for intentional PLAY. If you watch my YouTube videos, you know that I often end with "and I hope you will find some time this week to PLAY!" Trying to make ART is hard...playing is very freeing! I sit down and have no intention of creating a finished product. I just want to see how this ink reacts with that paint...or how a particular tool creates texture on the page. Whatever I make, may end up in the trash...or be put aside to be incorporated into another project at a later date. The point is, because I don't have any expectations other than to just "see what happens" - I can't be dissapointed. Most of my tutorials have come as a result of some creative play - an hour or two that I just sat down in my studio and messed around with tools and products to see what they do. It is like PRACTICE for an artist. You end up with new "tools in your artist's toolbox" that you can pull out when you need to get a certain result...and because you have played around with the technique on something that has no consequence...when you try it on the "REAL PROJECT" you can use it confidently.

The other thing I do is to try a new technique on something an ATC (Artist Trading Card) or a tag. Nothing scary about something that is 2.5 x 3.5 inches. If I don't like it, I can just paint over it or tear it or paste something down on top of it. No worries! I recently visited the blog of one of my FAVORITE artists Julie Fei-Fan Balzer...and saw that she was doing this same thing...only on CANVASES! oh yeah....she took a canvas that she made last week and just reused it...some of it showed through...some of it didn't....but she just boldly went right over it....NO FEAR! Check out her post on her blog about that won't be disappointed.

Here is a video I did last year showing you some examples of things that I had created during some Intentional PLAY. As you will hear in the video, I hadn't had much time for creativity - so instead of denying my artist's heart ANY expression because I couldn't really create a MASTERPIECE, I just took a few moments every night to go and PLAY! Check it out...

I do hope that you have a great rest of the week...and will take some time to PLAY! Because you, my friend...are an ARTIST!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sizzix Shapers Die Storage - Sneak Peek

You may remember my post a few days ago where I showed you how I have been storing my Sizzix Movers & Shapers Dies...and there they are in one of my FAVORITE enamelware dishes...but that dish slides onto a shelf...and well....out of sight really is out of mind with me...and I LOVE these dies and want to use them more. So I have been working on a solution...and I now have the "prototype" completed. Because the Movers and Shapers Dies are magnetic...I realized that I could make a metalic board for them that can hang on the wall beside my desk...totally in view when I am working. Here s what it looks like.
This really is just a sneak peek....because I am working on a tutorial...and after showing it to a couple of friends, they have said they would like to buy I am working on how to do that in case you want one too. The trick is that your "board" has to be metallic with enough iron in it to allow the magnets to stick to it...and I have a few of them left over from a class I taught a couple of years ago (An Advent Calendar with magnetic dates)...thin enough to not weigh too much and with a hole predrilled for hanging from a hook or adding some ribbon.

So...I will finish up the video and edit it in the next day or so. I like how it turned out....hope you do too! Have a great second half of the week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Goodies and An Idea

Can you believe that these yummy Ranger goodies were in my mailbox when I got home today? Me either! I got my design team package today...and these were part of it! I think I actually let out a "WHOOP!" This Summer's CHA was filled with so many products that I fell in love with...but in the category of paint and ink....these three have been at the top of my list. If you haven't seen them before....the big tub - is Rock Candy Crackle gives a clear crackle effect to anything you paint it on....LOVE it for making tags and adding some OLD looking shine to them. Also there is the new Snow Cap Alcohol Mixative....I cannot wait to play with it. Just like the metallic mixatives (gold, silver, copper) it will ADD to the depth and texture when you are using your alcohol inks on acrylic, glass, ceramic or metal. Fun sure I will have some ideas to share soon! And finally...the Picket Fence Distress Stain just makes me almost GIDDY! I have had fun playing with a few of the new Distress Stains - and they are super fun. You can check out my YouTube video here where I used them to create some tags that I am using on the cards I am sending to a friend in Afghanistan.

As you know I have been working to clean out my studio and get it organized and a great place to be inspired and creative. One of the things I have needed to find a new organizational solution for are my Movers & Shapers you can see in this picture, I have been piling them into a long skinney vintage enamel ware dish. Because they are "out of sight" I am less likely to use them....and tonight I had an idea of how to store them in a way that I will see them, enjoy them and definitely USE them more. I am off to go finish that project...and will do a tutorial video in the next few days to share what I came up be on the look out!

Hope you are having a FANTABULOUS week. Over the weekend, I also received several packages of cards to send to my friend, Jason, over in Afghanistan. I talked with his sweet wife and he is doing well...but continues to realize that so many of the young soldiers over there need encouragement. I love when there is something tangible I can do to help and I so appreciate the kindness of those who have said they want to be a part of it too! I am still planning on sending the box of cards to Jason the first week of there is still time to send me your cards.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Long Overdue

I had a great surprise on Saturday night. Some of you know that I was doing a Scrappy Yard Sale on Saturday...since I have so many wonderful goodies that need to go to a good home. What you may not know is that inspite of the fact that we have had NO RAIN for weeks...although we have had a 30% or greater chance of rain quite still has not rain. So I was not the least bit concerned when on Friday the weather report called for a less than 30% chance of rain....silly me! We were not set up more than an hour before the rain began to fall! I was blessed to have set up under a car port...but everyone else was out in the open we all scrambled to get multiple tables of everthing from ski jackets to CDs to antiques either covered up or pulled under the car port! It was CRAZY! And of course the sky would fool totally cleared up - making us believe that we should drag everything back out again! I am laughing now - because we were quite the comedy show if you had had a front row seat to watch all our antics! By the time we decided to call it quits, we had lugged rain sogged boxes and bags back and forth a dozen times! Of course, all the folks that would normally have come to the sale had the sense to stay home! So - needless to say, when I got home I was exhausted - wet - tired and cranky! LOL I wanted to go take a shower and crawl into bed....and I ALMOST got to! But Royce had a surprise....he had gotten us tickets to go to the Grand Ole Opry! When he told me...I didn't even hesitate....I said 'Let's go!" See, I have lived in Nashville for a LONG time...but we have just never gotten around to going to the Opry and it is high up on my "bucket list!" High enough that even as miserable as I was - drenched through to the skin and aching all over - I asked, "do I have time to dry my hair!!?!?" LOL Add to that, it was the night that the Oak Ridge Boys were being inducted into the Opry! Can you believe that they hadn't been already?!?!? I know this will date me - but just hearing an ORB song takes me back to my college days! In my humble (but accurate opinion) - this was long overdue!

And - I want to share a new artist that we heard that night. His name is Jacob Lyda...and check him out - he will be making a splash on the Country Music Scene. I am going to share one of the songs he sang on Saturday...I hope you enjoy!

It was just so much fun...and I quickly recovered from my totally NOT FUN Saturday yard sale! I am resheduling the yard sale for a week from this Saturday (we are supposed to have rain again THIS Saturday too -- and I am NOT taking a chance!). I do still have a few "Surprise Boxes" that are available and ready to be if you haven't gotten one - and still want one, let me know as I have 5 that can be shipped out at a flat rate.

Finally, I apologize for not being a good blogger this week...but I have been working some long hours - and when I have gotten home, I have been working on a commissioned work for a dear friend. Her granddaughter is PRECIOUS...and she wanted me to do some projects for her before her trip this weekend. Below is a VERY bad picture of the framed collage (I took it with my phone) - and I didn't get a picture of the other project...sorry!
I am also finishing a mini album that I am doing for a friend with THIS beautiful paper...I LOVE IT! - so hopefully will have a new video to share soon! Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Every Card Deserves to Be Unique

Materials you will need:
Ink: I used Distress Stain - but you could make your own with water and Distress Ink ReInkers
Stamping Ink: I used a couple of colors of Archival Ink by Ranger and Vintage Cream from Papertrey Ink
Tags: A small to medium tag will fit on an A2 size card
Stamps: I used several Tim Holtz stamps to create background texture and a focal image
Cardbase and Scraps from your stash

I was trying to come up with a way to make a LOT of cards without them looking like they were made with a cookie cutter - and this is what I came up with! Right now I am using this technique to make cards for a friend of mine who is stationed in Afghanistan to share with fellow soldiers that do not get mail or cards from home. I am writing a personal note in each one - and will trust Jason to know which one is meant for the particular soldier that needs it.

I know that there is a program called Operation Write Home...and it is terrific...but the focus of it is to provide the troops with cards that they can send back home...and what I want to do is send cards to soldiers that are scared, discouraged or homesick and just need a word of encouragement. My friend that is there will personally deliver them to whomever he feels is in need of a touch of kindness from "home." I am honored to do this - because I feel so very blessed to live in a country where men and women are willing to risk their lives so that we have the opportunity to live free, worship as we choose, work hard and have that hardwork pay off and where we don't have to fear reprisal for an opinion that is not popular with a government we didn't elect. I know I rarely sound this solemn - but I was reminded again over the weekend as I heard the horrible news that a helicopter crash took the life of more than 30 soldiers who were in the prime of their life. Our freedom isn't comes at a great cost...and I don't ever want to take it for granted!

So if you are interested in helping me with these cards, please leave me a comment and be sure and give me a way to get hold of you. I will send you my address in an email. My goal is to ship a big box of them on September 1st...and would love to include any that you would feel led to make. Please make sure and write a personal note....they can be birthday, thinking of you, or thank you notes...and they don't have to be long - just a personal note that when the soldier gets it, they will know that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE thought enough of them to take the time to write them a note.

On a lighter note - this technique would also be great to use when making a year's worth of birthday cards, a set of thank you notes to give as a gift to a friend, invitations, or any time that you need to make "several" of something that you still want to be unique and one of a kind.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a FANTABULOUS week...and will find some time to engage in some CREATIVE PLAY!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Scrappy Garage Sale

I am making great progress on "Project Clean Studio!" I have managed to pull EVERYTHING out of my studio and the guest bedroom (where my What You Make It - kit inventory is kept) and have sorted it into three piles:

Keep (only my very favorites, tools I use regularly, new things to share with you this fall).
Share/Sell (Lots of yummy things here...some of you have already been sent boxes via RAKs and Goody boxes that you have purchased)
Toss: These items either went in the trash or a box to take to Good Will or our Community Center.

I got braver the longer I worked on it...kind of like that tv show "Clean Sweep" - my "sell and toss" piles got larger and larger. I finally realized that I want to only have those things that inspire me - or I intend to use available in my newly organized studio and office...and that it would be great to let others enjoy the items that didn't make the keep pile. So, I hope to be able to do a video soon of my reorganized space...I am keeping that as incentive to keep working on it a bit day by day.

I am having a Scrappy Yard Sale on Saturday....with lots of themed collections, embellishment collections, stamps, ribbon/trim samplers and tools. If you live near Nashville, you ought to come out and find some goodies for yourself. We will be starting at 7am - Adams Auto is located at 15115 Lebanon Rd, Old Hickory TN 37138.

I still have a few Grab Boxes available too...filled to the brim with papers, trims, embellies and mini album base boards ($50). If you want one, please let me know before Saturday (give me your email address so I can send you a PayPal invoice) as I will be taking them to the Garage Sale to sell as well.

I am going to be so glad when this project is over and I can get back to my "regularly scheduled" creativity. Ahh - but most good things require I will be back at it tonight. I also want to say a HUGE "thank you" to all of you who have written me notes of encouragement - and left me ideas to keep me motivated during this process. I have tried just about ALL of them! And will certainly be using several of them AGAIN as I push towards the finish. I will be announcing the winner of the give away later this check back!

What is that ONE project that you keep putting off?