PagesPat's Ponderings

Friday, March 20, 2020

An Icy End to Winter

I just had to start up a new stash of Christmas cards, and what better way than to use a stamp from Bugaboo? The image is called Craby Cat Christmas, and I LOVE IT!! He;s just like me, when I need to get out in December and it's just too farn cold and the roads are too slippery.
Besides this crabby but cute image,I used  papers from Decosse's Dynamite Doodles:
September Kit Splatter Paper 1,

and embellishments from DDD Snow Much Fun Snowflake Glitter Edge
and Snowflake Button

Bling, Bling

 That comfort zone is quite a distance away now, as I try my hand at leather crafting. I used a Leather Kit to sew my own Messenger Bag, but it was SO BORING. No embellishments, no trim, and the edges were just cut leather. The crafter in me refused to call my messenger bag finished at that point. I'm the type of card maker who has problems with white space.
So I brought out some supplies: adhesive jewels, strands of pearls, strands  of beads, leather cement and jewelry glue, gold and silver cording, etc. I visited designer purse websites. Hey, if you want to see crazy blinged-out purses, just Google couture accessories and handbags. You'll go nuts (and laugh a lot. At least I did!)
I decided on my own pattern based on my supplies. I really wanted to finish the edges of my bag, so I went with the strands of twisted metallic-colored seed beads. The leather cement worked better on that. It stuck well, and was still flexible. I had more of the same strands, and my strap was created by linking pieces of leather that looked like figure eights. I found I could weave the same beaded strands through the entire length of my strap. One end went down into a side pocket so that I didn't have to worry about cutting it and having all these seed beads flying off. At the other end I attached a key ring and created a tassel from gold cording (see photo below).
Once the front flap of my bag was open, a blinged-out phone pocket is reveled. I also added strong magnets and covered them with shimmery paper. The bag will stay closed and the added metallic paper will stay on. The bag has three compartments inside,  and the width of my purse is 2 inches. That edge at the top of the inside there bothered me enough to place a strip of adhesive jewels to finish off the look.
I received the leather kit from an organization called Help Heal Veterans. They receive donated money and craft supplies and kits and offer veterans several kits at their storefront. I've volunteered my time to teach a card making workshop there for veterans that was well received. The staff often make and display samples from the kits that are available, and I noticed that there was no sample for this messenger bag, so I offered to bring it to the store so they could display it.
If you have any extra money and are looking for a new place to help out, check out Help Heal Veterans. You can go online, and many VA Hospitals will have a HHV storefront located nearby. I came in one day looking for a little relief from taking care of my hubby while he was living with ALS. I can never thank them enough for their support and their offerings.
Challenges I am Entering:
Please forgive me, I scheduled this post for the 20th, then forgot to come back and link it to the challenge blogs!
Ike's World Challenge Blog- Out of Your Comfort Zone (Leather craft AND Jewel/Beadwork)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Sally Sells Seashells...

In January I flew down to Florida to visit my son and his family. Coming from the frigid winter Chicago was enjoying  suffering through, it was heavenly. One of the best activities we shared was going shell collecting at different beaches off the Gulf Coast. As soon as I saw this one, I knew I wanted to try my hand at painting it.
At first I tried water colors, but the paint just pooled in the ridges and the smooth, non-porous surface didn't allow the colors to blend. Next I tried acrylic, and it wasn't until another artist clued me into the trick of adding a little glue into the paint was I able to get some of my colors to blend. It was still a time-consuming, teeth-gnashing effort. It doesn't have as much dimension as I would have preferred, but I still am proud of my first attempt at painting on sea shells.
So proud, in fact, that I entered it into an Art Exhibit for veterans. I don't expect to place, as there were about 20 participants in the Acrylic category (the awards ceremony is in April), and some of those canvases were masterpieces. But I am putting my artwork out there in the public eye, which for me, I would never have dreamed of showing anything to anyone other than family and friends three years ago. I'm growing...

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Pop the Cork

 Sometimes you have to look for inspiration, and sometimes, it stares you right in the face. One evening I was early, picking up a to-go order at the local Olive Garden restaurant. While waiting in the bar area where my meal would come out and I would pay for it, I struck up a conversation with the bartender, a very nice man named Sergio. We talked about our dogs (mine was in the car with my daughter. While talking, I happened to see this large glass column of corks from all the wine served throughout however many months it took (it was a mammoth column).
Just before my food came out, I asked Sergio what happens  to all the corks collected in the column.When he told me they threw them out, my Muse went into hyper-drive. I explained I was a crafter and would love to take some of the corks and create some art with them. While I paid for my order, he took the column of corks and emptied most of them into a paper shopping bag (their to-go bags are not small!).
As I thanked him, he asked me what I was going to make. At the time, I had no idea, and that's what I told him. We laughed and I promised to show him something that I created. My first attempt (above) at working with cork resulted in a nice trivet, which I often use at dinner time. Although there were plastic corks mixed in with the "real" corks, I didn't think they would take the heat from any hot pans  or dishes. I used some Stickles on the edges just for a little shine.

My second cork project is the one I gave to Sergio. I found a pattern for creating a bunch of grapes and made two, one bunch of green grapes and one of purple. I added greenery and twine with which to hang the grapes. I think they look sharp, and Sergio certainly seemed impressed with them.
I still have a ton of corks, but will probably visit Sergio soon for another bag so I can build up a good-sized inventory in case I choose to take part in a craft fair this year.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Shadow Boxing

Halloween has to be my favorite holiday, and my favorite way to celebrate the day (other than pumpkin carving/decorating) is creating a Halloween Haunted House Shadow Box. Every time I visit a thrift store, I'm on the lookout for shadow boxes, or things that could be made into shadow boxes. The base shown here today was a thrift store find that cost me $1.99. It started out as a wooden silverware divider.
Turning it sideways, I was able to balance my skeleton on an abandoned skull, while juggling three smaller skulls (that would have been where I'd have put my forks). Due to my generous inheritance of crafting supplies, I now have enough tiny Halloween figures, stickers, buttons, charms, etc., to make at least a dozen or more creepy shadow boxes.
I've even started facilitating shadow box workshops at a local antique store that supports local artists. I supply all  materials and shadow boxing is a favorite workshop offered there. So I finally found a way for my passion to (help) support my art!
Below are a few shadow boxes I offered as samples for previous workshops, to inspire participants
Both shadow boxes are single compartment frames. The black framed one above features a column of giant skulls guarding the doorway into a witch's castle, with a sinister skeleton welcoming the unsuspecting visitor. The black cat should be a dead giveaway, but I watch too many horror movies...
The white framed box below features a view from the outside of both the landscape,eerily watched over by a misty skull. The view of the house foretells a witch's supernatural power over the house (the giant spiders don't help the ambiance).
:A few details about the supplies I used: the haunted house is from a Christmas clearance sale on miniatures at a Dollar store.  I painted them black and rubbed the edges with a little silver ink. The backgrounds are printed on plain print paper from websites like The Graphics Fairy.

My first Haunted Shadow Box House took me a week to finish. It was shaped like a house with a lot of little cubbies which I filled with background papers, sometimes adding cardboard to vary the depth of each cubby. It measured over 24 inches high and about 18 inches wide. I sold it to the owner of the antique store for a good price, and she brings it out every October to lure her customer into coming in and signing up for the Halloween workshops. Here's a pic:
So now you know I have a kind of creative fascination with Halloween and the macabre. I'll leave you with one last piece of holiday artwork. It's a table centerpiece for Dia de los Muertos.
 Top, and side views

Friday, March 13, 2020

Exploring New Creative Outlets

When I've snagged bits of time to relax and craft, I've been poking holes in my comfort zone. Today I wanted to show you what I'm dong with Sea Glass.
 After checking out Pinterest for inspiration, I thought I'd bring my own personality into my canvases by water coloring the backgrounds before creating a sea glass scene. Who doesn't like a starry night,right? Here's a better perspective of the artwork.

While I like my starry night, I think my favorite so far is my jelly fish below. What do you think? 
Everyone in my family has a different favorite. Here's one more, last one, I promise!
I plan on creating more. These I created with a bag of sea glass I snagged at a local thrift store a couple years ago and happened onto them while de-cluttering and organizing. Before giving the bag away, I thought I'd try my hand with them. I just bought some stones from the dollar store to see what I can make with them as well...

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Carving Out Time to Create

The New Year has really brought about big changes in my life. My time is now centered around family, especially my mom. I am also paying attention to my own health and well-being, incorporating doctor visits for the both of us, errands, and more time spent together. And of course, with all this comes a major overhaul in my plans for the year ahead.

After inheriting 2 carloads of crafting supplies, I decided that less is more. My house isn't made of elastic and no matter where I stash my stuff, it takes more time looking for it than working with it. But I can't get rid of the best remedy for stress, my crafting, so I have made a mission statement for this year that incorporates all the changes I have gone through and that I need to make.

The biggest goal in my mission statement is to maintain BALANCE in my life. No one thing should overtake any other thing. For instance, I am in the midst of major de-cluttering. My craft room is becoming a guest bedroom, and my basement needs to be more than a storage place for all my craft supplies. The work I've already put in and still need to put in must be balanced with my daily workout, my obligations to my mom, my daughter and my dog, my appointments, my friendships, and my need to relax, meditate, and create

Which leads me to my newest artwork. I call this Create Your Own Universe, for which I created a fluid acrylic paint base. I added sea glass to recreate the formation of a new planet, and heightened the look of a "galaxy" with charms, jewels and beads.

P.S. (That inheritance I mentioned? After sorting, I ended up with 8 bags donated to a local school, 6 bags donated to a local thrift shop, 2 garbage/recycling bags full of junk, and a tidy amount of  items I could use myself.)