Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lots of little art.

I've been on a one-track ATC making train the past couple of weeks. To start, I had to warm up after my little break, so I made a set of ATCs trying out some new supplies.

JOANN had a wicked sale - at least 50% off all the stuff I care about...
Papers, stamps, stamp tools, stickers...ugh, it was disgusting, haha.
I got this new flower rubber stamp, plus a set of 3 tropical leaves stamps, finally replaced my dead black solvent ink pad and got some plain card stock on clearance.
Also got some new paints....but paints weren't on sale. Good thing I use the cheap stuff anyway. Fluorescent Purple - I didn't know it was a thing!

I took some collage backgrounds made previously, smeared the new paints on them, then added the flowers, which had been stamped on palette paper and cut out.
And just like that, I was back on the makin' train.

I joined another pick-a-theme swap on ATCsforALL, plus a mixed media bugs swap. I couldn't pass either up, the bug swap especially. 

Bugs so often have to be avoided because everyone and their mother hates them.
They don't bother me, as long as they're paper bugs.
The backgrounds began as a masterboard - I actually made 2 because I had a few swap projects on my to-do list.

The themes for my PAT group this month were dandelion, geology, house shaped & reading/books. My theme is geometric.
The dandelion card is my first successful Mod Podge transfer in years. I must have grown up a bit since the last time because I was patient enough to not screw it up.

I'm also in a group swap on Swap-bot for a mixed media ATC featuring a woman.
The green one will be used for that swap.

The Medieval ladies are from a used calendar I recently got at a thrift store.
It's all Medieval art featuring women and I decided I was going to use them all for snarky art. (Thinking first about my Book of Snark that I can finish.)
The past 2 weekends we've been hitting thrift stores in town and have had some good luck.
I scored a load of vintage postage, plus some other cool knick knacks and supplies.

I haven't done a whole lot in the way of mail art...will have to remedy that with some postcards soon, I think. I did collage this box for a private swap. It went out in the mail today.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Floors and more.

Last time I was here it was just before we had new flooring installed in the living room (plus entryway and hallway). It was one of the top things on our to-do list of home improvements and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

It looks better, smells better and cleans up easier than carpet.
Plus, I really just hate the feel of carpet under my feet.
Like, grossness level 20...UGH.
(I have a lot of feet-related aversions.)

The dogs, however, were none too thrilled with the change.
It's a little slippy for them, but we're eventually going to get a an area rug to help them.
They did like their new beds though.

We can hear their nails click-clacking around on the flooring, like little alarms that they're up and about and likely getting into something or needing to go out.
It's funny, when Cooper (the bigger one) gets excited, his click-clacks speed up, like he's tap dancing. "Click-clacking intensifies" has become an in-house meme saying.

I managed to get some crafty time in while the guys were installing the flooring.
I basically just stayed in my craft cave the whole time. I never know what to do with myself when people are here doing stuff. I don't want to hover or get their way, but I want to be in earshot. I kept busy with a masterboard, then reorganized some boxes and hung up some more art.

The masterboard was a collage of all scrap papers from my little scrap box.
I was going for 10 ATCs, but flubbed cutting and ended up with a short section so I just rolled with it. Four ATCs and 3 square art cards, 3.25" each.
I finished the square cards...will get to the ATCs some other time.

I should make a swap for goof art cards. I definitely have enough.
My confidence in sending random mail art has gone down a lot lately.
There's a lot of worrying about people's acceptance of what I send them or if I have to explain what a thing is. It's a thing. Take it. 
At least with swaps, the explaining is mostly done beforehand.
There's less anxiety when you can meet a set of parameters AND be creative.

Anywho! My folks visited shortly after the flooring was done and we worked on more house projects so I was out of craft commission for a good week+. My mom was determined to get me to not give up on being a plant caretaker. "You can't NOT have plants for your house, Stephanie." But Moooommm, they always die or the squirrels keep digging them up and we're surrounded by huge pine trees and barely get any light. She brought different plant pots of various sizes and colors with her and made us all pick out a plant to fill them...

My daughter got a little carried away and decided she wanted some succulents, too.
She also got the blue delphinium and husband chose the lily.
Which ended up being too big for the pot Mom brought, so we repurposed one from a previous plant I killed. Then he got an ornamental pepper, because shit, why not.
The big pink daisy is mine and she's a beaut. I also picked out a yellow hibiscus which we planted on the hill in the one place that gets pretty consistent sunshine throughout the year.

It's a been a couple of weeks and the kid's succulents got harangued pretty heavily to the point where they only go outside for peak sun hours now.
I tried making a pepper spray to deter the critters - even sprinkled straight pepper from a shaker all around. It wasn't all that effective - I found the little pepper plant completely uprooted one day. Finally I resorted to booby trapping the pots by putting pointy bamboo skewers and plastic forks all around, inside the soil. Also added some pieces of wood leftover from a couple of trees we cut down to block out the little diggers.
It's been about a week since the last digging incident and all's well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Issa dool!

I don't want to just blog about Swap-bot swaps I'm working on...but that's pretty much all I'm working on right now, creatively. Making some nice things, meeting some new peeps. I'm good. How are you?

At least I have a different swap project this time. An art doll (I keep typing dool) inspired by Junker Jane dolls. I've always liked the funky, junky dolls and never thought to even attempt one in paper. The swap is in a group that focuses on projects utilizing recycled materials, so it's even more approachable and I figured what the hell.

After a few days of hemming and hawing, I sketched out an extremely rough template which I used to cut the doll out of some salvaged cardboard. I decided she was going to be a clown. These dolls are quirky and borderline creepy anyways, let's go for it.

I saved the template and used that to cut out the dress, too.
I didn't use any new papers for this. I pulled from a box of culled scrap papers I use as envelope filler. And I used a sewing pattern to give that aged color.

Details were added with paint pens; shading with pencil.
I used spray paint for her face make up.

Then hair.
Bright-ass red hair.

I took a coffee filter from that morning's coffee, let it dry in the sun and then dyed it with spray inks. Then it was layered on her and shaded it with pencil, too.

Last was the face. At this point I still wasn't totally blown away with how she was coming along. This was my first doll and I was just winging it. Meh. But I had to see it through so I cut and ripped eyes, mouth and a clown nose from scrap papers hanging around.
The last detail was her teeth, doodled on for the hell of it. I almost fell out of my chair I laughed so hard. She was alive!

That was that. I had to keep her. Her name is Lucy.

I fiddled around a little more and made a second doll that was skinnier and more closer to looking like a Junker Jane doll. She was so-so. Her name is Beth.
I ended up going back and making a clone of Lucy by tracing around her on some more salvaged cardboard - a Little Debbie box, so her name is Debbie.

All together, the creepy goof sisters, Lucy, Beth & Debbie....

Debbie's hair was made from the paper towel that was under the coffee filter as it was dyed.
The teeth kill me. It's ridiculous.

Tomorrow we're having new flooring installed in the main living area, which means the living room needs to be completely undone and magically disappear by then.
Fun, fun.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring is sprung.

I was able to work on some Spring ATCs like planned. For a Grumpy Gus, I sure do enjoy the bright happiness surrounding Spring. I made it a big project last year, too. This time around I am hosting a Spring themed ATC swap where the assignment is to create 3 cards and feature a specific element on each card: a tree, a flower and a critter.

To start off, I made two 5"x7"-ish masterboards in bright green and pink. The cardboard was leftover from recent postcard making sessions. I covered each piece with b&w papers, text page bits and some postage for texture. Then they were colored with washes of acrylic paint and spray ink.

Then I gathered bits and bobs of Springy things: die-cuts, images, words. I've been using a small tray that was part of packaging for some appetizers we got for Thanksgiving to hold small bits for ATCs. If I need to stop what I'm doing and work on something else (which happens all the time), I can put the bits in the tray and safely off to the side instead of just shoving them over somewhere to eventually get lost.

I finished my tree, flowers and critter cards first. Then came the others, just for fun. Maybe I'll compile them into a zine, like last year's set.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another "what I've been making" post.

The Altered Art Ladies ATC Swap came and went. We ended up with 12 participants. After Friday's mail run I was able to swap out the cards and get all the returns packed up and sent out in Saturday's mail.

I made sure everybody got a different art lady - nobody got double Fridas. 😄
I thought it was a stellar turnout of art and think everybody will enjoy their returns.

Unless something else comes up, I hope to make this a quarterly swap, with different themes. I think that gives enough space to keep it interesting and not burn me out (like a monthly swap would do).

On other swap-making fronts, I've been making a bunch of ATCs and postcards.
This postcard was made for a nature-lover in Germany.

I was getting a little impatient finding swaps on Swap-bot, so I asked a bunch of people for private swaps. They're my favorite kind of swaps anyway - no stress about who your partner is going to be. Plus, I always do better one-on-one, socially speaking.

This postcard was made for someone who likes 60s-70s retro design (like me!).
I don't come across other people who actually like that design period all that often, so I had a lot of fun gathering things for this collage. I had to get a larger substrate to fit more elements.

Then there were some ATCs...

A gnome for another private swap.
A lot of the elements on this one came from catalogs.
In December I requested a bunch of catalogs for collage fodder purposes.
Pottery Barn, CB2, those random novelty companies...
Some are duds, but some have interesting bits.

These were made for a John Tenniel, Alice in Wonderland ATC swap...

I ended up bailing on the swap because a couple of people looked a little hinky.
But the good news is 2 were traded on ATCsforALL so it wasn't a total loss. 😜

For a stamped image ATC swap - the 2 moons went to each of my partners (the 2 suns were traded on AFA). This is my favorite stamp set in my collection - scored at the creative reuse center for 2 bucks (I think?). I stamped the images on some paint palette papers; the backgrounds are ripped bits of French text pages colored with spray inks.

NOW I'm working on some Spring themed ATCs for a swap I'm hosting on Swap-bot.
I'm trying out hosting small private swaps with a limited group of people I know as an alternative to the other, slightly more challenging options on SB.
I just wanna swap art, jeez.