Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Academy Awards Free Printable Puzzle

It's Oscar Sunday in a mere five days are you excited?

I can hardly stand it. I've been busy preparing for the event - 

Spray painting Ken Dolls:

Dismantling trophies (see the base)

Pinning like mad:

And making loads of glorious puzzles for the slow spots, ads, long speeches etc. 
Like this rebus:

or this one:

Where was the 82nd (2010) awards held.

I wanted to make something to share with all of you, so here is a printable of my 2014 Awards Presenters Anagram Puzzle. 

And of course any post about readying for Oscar must mention How About Orange's awesome Bingo Cards.

Do you make a big fuss for the Academy Awards?
Do you have a pearls and pajamas type of party or go all the way and roll out the red carpet?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mermaid Upcycle

When I was at the second hand store I saw a piece of wood that looked like a pickle jar and I snapped it up immediately. My long suffering husband didn't even flinch. He's used to me shuttling perfectly good things out the door in the name of minimalism, simplicity and paring down while dragging home the most egregiously random crap imaginable. 

It was such a neat piece of wood, I couldn't resist. The shape immediately brought matryoshka dolls to mind but it felt too obvious. So I made a mermaid. 

First I blocked out the general shape with paint and a stabilo.

Then I dabbed in some general landmarks with my pinky finger. It's weird that I think of them as landmarks, but it's how my brain works. I thought hair, face, chest and tail were what needed to get in there. 

She went on a diet this step :)

I wanted her hands to be fins but I'm not sure if that came through. Next time I'll add webbed fingers and see if that is better. 

Then I added in shading, texture, pattern, splatter (oh, gold! How I love you!) and stamping. I also extended her eyes, brow bone and gills.

The wood is an inch thick so I was able to wrap some parts to the image around the sides. 
It also stands up on it's own which is nice if you want to display it on a side table.

When my youngest saw her he said, "Cool mom. You have an OC!" I immediately asked for clarification... OG I know, OC? Huh?

Turns out on Deviant Art (his favorite hang out) OC is an Original Character and he thought this mermaid has a similar vibe to my last recycled mermaid project.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Art Journaling on the Go

This past weekend we went on a road trip to Boise, ID. 

I'd been commenting to my family about how my youngest is a much better artist than I am and how I attribute that, in part, to his practice of drawing in every spare minute. In the car, in bed, on his iPad, in line, at movies, watching TV... the kid draws non-stop. And he's always getting better.

I on the other hand tend to wait until the table is clean, I'm home, chores are done, supplies are laid out. See what I'm getting at?

So I tossed a handful of supplies into a gallon zip loc bag and decided to art journal while we drove.

Things I noticed:

1. It's not near as messy as you'd think. I dropped all my scraps at my feet and whenever we got gas I lifted out the floor mat and tapped off all the bits into a trash can.

2. Limited supplies aren't limiting. Not limiting at all really. I did a lot more art and a lot less deciding on which medium was perfect for the job.

3. A spray bottle of water is your best friend. Dirty brush? Lay it on your folded piece of paper towel (or a couple of napkins from lunch, or even a wad of TP) and spray it clean. Need to activate your water soluble crayons? Spray them. A 2 oz spray bottle is tiny enough to include but it packs a big punch.

4. Pre-colored backgrounds are a huge help. Had I brought my usual art journals, they would have had some paint or stencil dabbings already. But this was a SMASH Book that I'd bought, with good intentions and didn't really warm to. The paper is very construction paper-ish so it balls up and wrinkles a ton when you add wet media. All my media leans pretty wet so we were a bad fit from the start. My intention was to make some backgrounds using collage and a glue stick and then tear them out to use in my other journals. It didn't go that way but at least it got me using the book. Starting with their printed graph paper and such gave me just that little boost of visual interest I needed.

5. I do this at home already but it bears mentioning, keep an envelope (mine is a waxed translucent kraft envelope usually for baked goods) with all the bits and pieces you've generated making stuff. For me, anything the size of a credit card or smaller goes into my envelope - gelli prints. stamped but unused images, quotes, wrapping paper, tissue, ephemera (like stamps), the last embellishment in a package... you name it. I also include a few sheets of (folded) book paper, dictionary pages and hymnal sheets so I have some large neutral bits to work with and some punchinella. This provides you a ton of colors and textures to use when you don't have access to your supplies - or you just don't want to haul them out. 

6. Gelli prints, especially on deli paper, are the ultimate stand in for a rainbow of paint colors and an abundance of stencils. With scraps of gelli prints alone I was able to replicate the look of zillions of supplies - while driving down the interstate. I love simple things that look complicated.

7. Mod Podge, Matte Medium, Collage Pauge... pick one and bring it. Once my collages were 95% of the way there I pulled out my tiny bottle of decoupage medium and applied it to the pages by squeezing a little dab onto my finger and rubbing it into the page. I tend to get my hands in there anyway so this wasn't all that weird for me. But it was very controlled, not a drop landed where it was not intended, and the medium makes the deli paper 'melt' into the page so all you see is the painted patters. It also stuck down errant bits and edges as well as sealed the neo-colors so my black pen would write over them. Since you're rubbing in the glue you apply a very thin coat and it only took moments to dry. Which is a good opportunity to look out the window and enjoy the view a bit.
8. Don't worry about completing things. Get your background in, maybe do a little fleshing out of your focal image but don't stress. Each pages I made took only a few minutes to finish once I got home and most of that was adding a unifying paint color and some splatters. I was a lot more 'done' than I imagined at the time and not stressing too much about the final product took all the pressure off me while creating in the car.

9. Don't forget your basics. For me that includes Cutter Bee scissors, gesso, Mod Podge, Neo colors, spray bottle, paint brush, black and white pen, paper towel and ephemera. Here's all I brought:

Thanks so much for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Art Journal Live: Window

One of the things that Dina Wakely says, that I've been doing for years, is that two pages are as easy to make as one. My experience is that I tend to make two backgrounds, side by side, and then finish one and save the other one for a later date. It's nice to not have to haul out your stuff twice and you can experiment more with the color scheme.

This is the second page I made following the instructions in the Art Journal Live video. You can see the branch page here.

Windows have such meaning, I think they'll be cropping up in my work a lot more this year. 

Nice seeing you :-)

Thanks to all the winners for sending me your addys. I went directly from pneumonia to the flu so I am two days behind in posting your prizes. My apologies. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Monthly Moments Trading Card Challenge

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I'm back with another challenge celebrating Papertrey's 7th Anniversary. This time we're making a trading card.

Here's the details:

We are pleased to introduce The Monthly Moments Trading Card Challenge!!!  Based on the old ATC trading card days, you are challenged to do something amazing with a 3x4 flat card!  Stamp it, layer it, embellish it any way you wish!  Then share your creations here on our InLinkz list!  Your 3x4 trading card can be adapted for a scrapbooking layout or something that could be attached to a card front.  

As you can see, I've already attached mine to a card front. Normally I'd use it in my PL but I needed a card :-)

The base of it is a Becky Higgins PL 4x3 grid card that I use to mop up my stencils. It gave me a gorgeous fuchsia, orange and yellow base to start with. Then I added Delightful Dahlia Additions, some flush with the card, others popped up with dimensional foam. 

To finish it I added the quote and some sequins. 


Valentine's Card:

Neon Rock 'n' Roll Envelopes of Ephemera:

Please send me your mailing address at nicole maki at me dot com and I'll get your envelopes in the mail.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine's Cards: Love Notes

Only one week until Valentine's Day!

We don't actually celebrate V-Day but I do love an excuse to send cards to friends so I made up a few. 

Hearts are my favorite shape so when the Simon Says Stamp Challenge was Love Notes I couldn't resist.

Usually when I start making a card I dabble with this and that until the idea comes together. In this case, I made several related cards until I found the design I loved best. 

It all started with the quote: 

"Hearts are wild creatures, 
that’s why our ribs are cages/."

 As soon as I saw it on Pinterest I had to use it. In fact, I printed off a whole sheet of them -
 this V-Day found it's theme.

So I made this one. 

And then I tried it horizontally and with a felt heart instead of the three mixed-media punched ones.

And I tried washi tape and two hearts fussy cut from dp.

And I had a scrap of this glitter paper that I tried out too... it got a little messy when the ATG wouldn't stick and I had to ModPodge it all together. I regret attaching the front to a white card as the edges are gessoed and it looks really cool. On a darker card it would show up, this way it's lost unless you are seeing it in person. 

So I went a somewhat different direction and gave this horizontal card wings. It's very glittery and fun.

But in the end, it was a variation on the first card (aqua book paper instead of aqua dots, stitching on punched hearts) that was my favorite and if I was to make multiples this would be the one I'd choose. 

For me, it's more fun to work on a design in a way that creates lots of mail to share than to just tear things apart looking for that one best idea.

Which one's your favorite? 

Let me know and I'll pop a valentines or two in the mail for a couple of you lovely readers.