Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Not Get Into Fisticuffs!

...but we can certainly get into making a funky fabric cuff! After months of painting all kinds of folk art, primitive and cutesy girls, I had an urge to totally change directions and make an artful adornment for my arm. I did a little research and found this awesome tutorial and wanted to get started right away!

I also remembered that my lovely and talented friend Claudine Hellmuth had done a how-to video on creating a convertible brooch pendant with her StickyBack Canvas product. So I took her flower idea and used it as a jumping off point for this fabric cuff. Her technique made it super easy and fun. The base of the cuff and the flower are both made with StickyBack Canvas (oh, and I saved the extra strings to make the little nest of fibers there).

The cool thing about StickyBack is that... well... it has a sticky back! So I peeled off the backing and stuck my cuff onto a piece of muslin that was a half inch wider than the base. Just to create a little interest around the edges. Of course I'm doing things totally out of order because I was just so excited (and kind of making it up as I went along)!

And then it was time to add some accent flowers. I wanted to alternate between the stamped StickyBack Canvas and the muslin, but when it came time to add my second flower... the perfectionist side of me had a few questions. What if the placement is off? What if you come up short? Or it's not centered? So I had an idea! I took the waxy paper from the StickyBack and used it as a non-stick base for my flowers. I put down some tacky glue, made the flower the exact size I wanted it, and let it dry overnight. Peeled it off the next day and.... voilà!

A perfect flower I could place anywhere I like! Just a little Tacky Glue to affix it to the cuff... and we're on our way!

Made more flowers. Picked out some vintage baubles to accessorize. I sewed the buttons on. Oh, and I don't know how to do a button hole on my sewing machine yet, so I just cut two slits in the fabric. Hey, it works. More flowers. More fiber nest thingies...

Picking out jewels and beads to match was lots of fun. Went through like a gazillion combinations. And sewed them on very carefully. It took many decades to acquire all that junk.... ahem... I mean, jewels.

When I was done I had completely surprised myself. I thought. I searched. I gathered. I conquered. One of the things about the internet that I actually love...  You can think of something you want to do... sit in one place and do tons of research... and find what you want to create... and then get to create it right then and there! Ahhhh... impatient crafters... we are saved!

And look at all that textured goodness. Isn't it just yummy! I love the tattered and worn look this funky fabric cuff has. Combined with vintage goodies from my stash... this new accessory is going to get worn out in no time. Or is that worn in? Hmmmmm.....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Have My Cake and Paint It Too...

One of my most recent journal pages started out with a sweet theme and just got sweeter from there! With cake as the subject matter... can I really go wrong?

If you know me, any form of pink and teal or blue can be a predictable starting point. This time I thought I'd add a little brown and cream for good measure (a baking reference...get it!).

I had actually painted the cake on the page before the girl was there... part of my brave new strategy of just doing something and not worrying about how it will end up in the final composition. But, I have to confess that I liked it so much, I didn't want to cover it up.

So, of course when I added the girl, she had to be eyeing up that slice of chocolate cake with strawberry frosting. Mmmmmmm. I see that little smirk on her face! She's totally thinking.... MINE!

When I create these pages, I like to alternate painting, drawing, embellishing and pasting stuff on. I kinda sorta randomly pick from my ephemera pieces that just look good on the page... like this number 5 from a flash card. I think I chose this because the nicely aged cardstock went well with the polka-dotted scrapbook page next to it. And because 5-year-olds like cake!

But then i found this cute little spanish language flash card that had a 5 on it... and so I added that to the piece as well. And I just love sounding out (say it with me now...) OO-nah moó-CHA-chah.

Even more delightfully delicious ephemera kept finding its way to my cakey journal page and this one was probably my favorite. The celebratory birthday girl and boy were precisely placed over top of the music page so that the words "be good" appeared between them.

It's funny how when I'm working on a page, it feels like I'm on auto pilot. Not in a bad way. But I just make moves and then work with what's there. Then I make more moves and add more, tweak more and play more until the layout is pleasing to the eye.

But when I look back at all my detail photos, I see dozens upon dozens of carefully calculated decisions... a warm wash of paint here... some extra glitter there... a pencil scratch here... a candy wrapper there.... or the smallest of elements that really felt good at the time. And then I remember what a joy it is to create in the moment... even though my goal is a finished page.

So I guess I can have my cake and paint it too!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Music To My Hands...

Okay... so if you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I've kind of been a little obsessed about painting faces in my art. I'm trying to figure out my own style and in the process have pushed the boundaries a bit on how to go about actually painting. Why not, right?
I've been doing a lot of odd things lately to try and get out of my comfort zone, and this project was no exception. I took an old painting I wasn't very fond of and just painted right over top of it! That was a first for me. But with each exercise, I'm learning to let go more and more.

Recently, I tried painting an entire piece with just my left hand. So this time I thought I'd paint a girl using just my fingers. Good old fashioned finger painting. I figured (or should I say... fingered) that it would be pretty low pressure with low expectations... like kindergarten! That sounds like fun. It actually gave her face a lot of depth, dimension and texture. Yay!

I dressed her in purple, allowing the background to show through a bit. Not sure why, but I was building up layers slowly (still using my fingers only!) and liked it at this point. I wanted to add something, and this torn music sheet title fit in perfectly with the stripes in the background. Plus she looked a little sad, so I thought the title was perfect. Learning not to question everything to death... I just pasted it down!

The scene needed a little something more and so I added a cardboard house.

Now that the left side was taken care of... the right side looked a little bare. I had these lovely peels of cardboard left over from the house — having torn them off to expose the corrugated texture beneath — and so I decided to turn them into a tree.

Okay... so the left and right were taken care of... but now the top seemed a little empty. So I added a little folk artsy crow. And last minute, I decided to utilize some of the extra music paper and give him a song to sing. Love it when those unintended ideas just pop up based on the materials I'm using. Good times.

When I stepped back and looked at my finger painting as a finished piece... I was in awe over how primitive it looked. It wasn't exactly my intention to make it go in that direction... but all that tap, tap, tapping of my fingertips... and smearing lines of paint with my hands made it so.

I really did feel like a kindergartener and getting my hands all messy with paint... not caring if one color got on another... and just going with the flow... was a spectacular lesson in letting go.

So... there goes my everything.