Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fun Summer Project

Jane Davila, the facilitator of the FANE group I meet with monthly, had an idea for a fun summer swap project.  All the participants put some craft items into a brown lunch bag and then we all swapped bags.  I won't show you what I put in my bag, but above is a photo of the supplies I received: some stamps, some glass beads, and some soft paper flower embellishments.

The next step is to create 20 small pieces (4"x4 1/2") which we will bring to the September meeting.  We'll swap them so we each have 20 different small pieces, each made by a different artist, to put into a book or wall hanging.  Even though I have other larger projects to work on, I thought it would be fun to jump right into this so I'd have the whole summer to work on the pieces one at a time.

When I saw that big flower stamp, I immediately thought of yellow-centered daisies on a blue background (I love the summery freshness of a blue, yellow and white color scheme, don't you?).  I scrounged up some plain PFD fabric and cut two small pieces, enough for the swap.  To keep the daisies white, I decided to start with Batik-EZ, which is a resist.  I sponged it on and stamped away!

Here is the white fabric with the flowers stamped on:

After the Batik-EZ was dry, I mixed some Setacolor transparent paints with water and painted it all over.  I splashed on some yellow and a little fuschia, then painted in some bright green lines and swirls. Finally, I painted all the background blue.  Here's what it looked like after it dried and I washed out the Batik-EZ:

 I decided to add some more white by stamping some additional daisies over the top.  I used some real daisies as stamps, as well as the large daisy stamp and another from my stash.

This is what the final fabric looked like.  Isn't it pretty?  The batiked daisies really look like a real batik!

I ironed some of the fabric onto some heavy fusible interfacing (like Timtex) and cut up a few squares.  I even did a little free motion stitching and added the words "be happy" with some stamps.  I'll spend the rest of the summer stitching on some of the beads and paper flowers from the bag to individualize each one.  I think they will make nice pieces to swap!  And I'll have something small to take with me on vacation, or when I have a few free minutes here and there.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sneaky Art

I recently came across the book Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight by Marthe Jocelyn. It has some great ideas for creating things to hide around your house or in public places in sort of a pay-it-forward way, just to give a family member or even complete strangers a little lift.  It features ideas like leaving a lucky penny, below

creating a tag to tie on someone's locker or backpack,

or even this cute little cup dangler as a surprise on someone's morning coffee!

I plan on using these ideas for a teen craft class at the library in late July.  But meanwhile, I had coincidentally found these little gift tags on the discount rack at Michaels and started adding my own touches to them with stamps, gel pens, and watercolor paints.  They fit right in to the "Sneaky Art" theme, so I left some for the girls to find in the bathroom the other morning.

I had even left a few of these cup danglers around, some at the circulation desk and this one here at Youth Services.  I made mine with paper and glue-on plastic jewels instead of Swedish fish.

When I got into work Monday morning, I found this at my computer:

What a great pick-me-up from my partner-in-crime, Gail!  Just what I needed on a groggy Monday morning!  Then I went out to open the YS desk and I found this:

And another one on the opening checklist clipboard:

 Even in the supply drawer!  That Gail is too much!

It made me want to make a bunch more tags and notes to leave around the library, the house, even the grocery store!  It just goes to show you how easy it is to spread a little joy around. All she used was a printer and a pair of scissors and she made everyone who sat at the desk this week smile!  So go out and buy (or borrow) Sneaky Art and leave some love notes and little arty gifts for your family, coworkers, anybody!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Made it! For Real!

I just found out that "Mother Nature"s Summer Tunic" was juried into the "Summer ARTiculated" show at the OSilas Gallery!  Only my second ever juried acceptance, so I'm thrilled!  So happy I pushed myself to submit something!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Made it (Sort of...)

I made the deadline for the "Summer ARTiculated" show at the OSilas Galllery at Concordia College, although not with a new piece.  Even though I wanted to create something new, I found myself unable to push myself and went with "Mother Nature's Summer Tunic," from last year's FANE kimono challenge, and the "Sea Horse Trio," the totem from the challenge in 2012.  Here are the photos I submitted:

I'm glad that at least I made the effort to submit; As Wayne Gretsky once said, "You always miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Outdoor Decor

Now that we're finally getting some beautiful weather, I'm back in the garden, planting and watering.  As you can see from the photo above, the "Fairy Garden" area is kind of taking on a life of it's own.  I've found a few small-scale perennials that I've added around the base of the tree:  Irish moss, sweet woodruff, verbena, a mouse-ear hosta, and a mini violet.  Since the area is small, just a few plants makes it look fairly filled out (although there's still plenty of room for growth!).  I found some small glass pieces at the craft store that made a nice little stream and had fun balancing some rocks to make a little bridge.

I've been meaning to create some kind of arbor over the little pathway that goes between the fences and I finally sat down and crafted this one out of copper wire and various beads.  It adds just the right touch of color and whimsy, sort of like jewelry for the garden.  I like it!  Sometimes I think I'm a little crazy for spending time doing things like this, but we all need to play, right?  Well, this is how I play.

 I love how the grass around the garden has been growing in and greening up, but it makes the garden itself look more brown than green - so I've been adding some things to change that.

In addition to buying a few azaleas, a fern, some bleeding hearts, and columbine, I've been   transplanting hostas.  Below is one I moved near the trumpet vine, which is finally sprouting up, and another that my parents brought after dividing it in their own garden.

I also added some trailing petunias to the spilling pot.  Last year I only put in one plant, which didn't survive the heat while we were away.  This time, I planted two, hoping one will grow up while the other grows down, to create the spilling illusion.  And I've been more conscientious about watering!

Finally, here's my latest garden ornament:  a little mermaid!  Isn't she cute?  I found her at the famous Stormville Flea Market last weekend at a bargain price (I think because she is missing her arms), but I couldn't resist her sweet face.  She keeps an eye on our two new pond goldfish, which are often hiding among the rocks.

It's so great to be able to escape down to the peace and quiet of the garden again!