Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Medieval Girls

Photo by my daughter - 2nd from right

This is a photo from my daughter's project on Medieval Clothing. We are preparing for our Medieval Faire and Feast which is our grand finale for our school year studying Konos History of the World Vol 2 - Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages. She is doing a project on clothing in the Middle Ages and had some of her friends dress up in our dresses and did a photoshoot.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Being Creative # 10 - Our Biggest Fears

This is the last of Amisha's topics for us to blog about at Gorgeous and Fun Things  Being Creative Blog Party. It is #10 - our biggest fears. Am I creative enough? Am I good enough? And some more of such big beasties......

For the first question - "Am I creative enough?" - funny, I don't worry too much about that one. I have a strongly held belief that every person is creative - because we were all creative as children. It is more about uncovering or rediscovering our creativity. If you ever used crayons to sketch a picture in Kindergarten or built a castle with Legos, or created a playhouse out of leaves, twigs and pine straw, etc. - then you are inherently a creative person! We have just become so organized and rigid and accomplishment-oriented in order to survive as adults, that we have smashed down that creative little inner person. So for me, I feel that somewhere deep down inside, there is that little creative person pushing to get out. My job is just to figure out how to relax and play again! So that is not a fear that I struggle with.

Next is "Am I good enough?" - Again, I don't worry about that one either, because I just don't care if anyone else likes what I do. I just do it for myself and try to have fun. My enjoyment comes from experimenting, learning and occasionally liking the outcome. It makes me happy to just be doing something creative and expressing myself in a way that I haven't used in many years. I haven't been published, and frankly, I don't think that I have anything unique enough or good enough to get published. But maybe someday, I might, if I keep on giving myself permission to continue exploring and practicing and playing. But for right now, it is just about the personal enjoyment. So that is not a fear I struggle with either.

Ahhh, but there is one big, bad beast that I do struggle with often, and that is the big GUILT word. I struggle hugely with feeling guilty about taking time just for myself to do something that is just for me and is purely for enjoyment. I'm not selling, accomplishing, performing, cleaning, helping others or whatever else I feel that I "ought" to be doing. Instead of cooking dinner or grading papers, I might just be playing in my little creative spot - and often I feel guilty! My heart races and I start to feel anxious, like the housekeeping police are going to come and arrest me! I am thankful that my dear husband continues to encourage and affirm me in my creative efforts. However, he is a type-A personality that is ALWAYS accomplishing something, so I feel inferior to him. He tells me over and over that I should not feel that way, but that is my biggest fear, I think. And that is that I will not be accomplishing something "meaningful".

To overcome this, I have set a goal that I will be creative at least 20 minutes every day. I have been faithful to that and I am starting to shove down the Guilt monster.

And the other monster I deal with is the "too much stuff" monster. I feel like I am a hoarder of stuff - I have such a huge collection of supplies and ephemera and magazines and books. This summer I plan to whittle down my stash in a significant way, because truly, it becomes a hindrance to being creative. My dad was a true hoarder of stuff, so I want to be careful not to let my stuff overwhelm me. This is where there is a line you walk between seeing the beauty and usefulness of every little thing and not saving so much that you can't find anything or have a place to actually create. Hence my goal of decluttering my stash as soon as school is out. I hope to share my wealth with others and throw away the junk!

Lastly, I will share with you my latest creation. I actually just love this one. It contains a picture of my very creative Grandmother and my son when he was very little. She was a great inspiration to me and one of my greatest cheerleaders.  I made a color copy of the photo and added it to one of my altered book/art journals.

The right hand page is actually not completed, but I have done the layers in the same colors so that the two pages will be unified and coordinated.

Mamaw, Me and Ryan

I want to thank Amisha over at Gorgeous and Fun Things for hosting this blog party and for giving us really thought-provoking things to blog about. Her Mr. Linky is going to stay open so you can still join in the fun by just posting something that you have done creative. I love that it can be anything without a time table or format. Hop over and see what she has going on and say hello!
Being Creative Blog Party

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter! Pink Saturday

This weekend we celebrate the most important event in human history! The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow at daybreak we will celebrate Easter. Because Jesus died and rose again, we all can have hope of a future - not just here on earth, but for eternity in heaven. Praise God for his immeasurable grace!

Today I will share with you just a few "pinks" in honor of Easter. First is my little thrift store bunny that welcomes my guests in my entry way.

Next is a two-page spread in one of my altered books. It is still a work in progress, but I think it is turning out beautifully.

And here are close-ups of each separate page.

Left Page
Right Page
These pages are in an oversized book - actually an old atlas - that I am loving working on. I first gessoed the pages, then applied a decorative napkin with matte medium. I then cut out the beautiful ladies from a calendar I had for last year. To pull the ladies into the overall spread, I added the big pink roses you see with an old rubber stamp set I have from Stampin' Up and then added more detail with a dark pink marker.  I have a few more elements I plan to add, but I thought I would show you the in-progress pages.

And lastly, I will share with you the rest of my Vintage Bunny and Chicks book from my swap at Altering Without Limits Yahoo Group.
Page by M. L. Perlow

Back of Page by M. L. Perlow

Page by Carolyn Kropp at

Page by Deb Patrick at
Back of page by Deb Patrick at

Page by Ellen Gray

Back of Page and Front Next Page by Ellen Gray

Back of Page by Ellen Gray and Inside of Back Cover
Open Book to Show Wonderful Dimension in Book

There - that is the last of the wonderful book that I have been sharing to celebrate Easter. Books were bound and covers provided by Deb Patrick at

Please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound and her Pink Saturday Blog Party to see many more wonderful pinks today.

May you all be richly blessed this Easter.
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Being Creative #9: Big and Small Ideas

"Big and Small Ideas. Things that I have come to learn along the way," is the topic for the Being Creative Blog Party over at Amisha's place at Gorgeous and Fun Things.  Stop over and check out other Big and Small Ideas being shared over there. I think you will learn something useful!

I usually smile when I look back at my first altered books because they look so - well - like a beginner made them. And that is just what I was. I think the biggest thing I have learned it that I need to be intentional and just make art, or I won't get very far.  Experience is truly the best teacher.

Another thing I have learned is to just have fun. For me, making art is not about impressing anyone else - it is just for my own enjoyment. That keeps it fun for me. I don't have to perform for anyone. I am actually shocked when someone actually likes what I do. My two daughters have been my biggest cheerleaders. That gives me a lot of joy, as well. When they really like my work, I am sort of incredulous, but happy just the same.

I am like Amisha. I tend to do a lot of different things. I jump from one thing to another, because I am easily bored. Lately I have migrated from doing as much in altered books and more into art journaling. Last year I was all about felting old sweaters and making purses. I think I just love to learn new things. I love trying new techniques and seeing how it all turns out.

Now I will share a project from a couple of summers ago. My daughter and I make this tray from an old frame, some paint, hardware and some scrapbooking paper. I love how it turned out!

This tray now resides in my daughter's shabby chic apartment. We did several layers of paint - black and then white. We put vaseline on the black before painting on the white in places where we wanted the white to rub off to achieve the worn look. I think this is one of my favorite projects.

Gorgeous and Fun Things

Friday, April 15, 2011

52 FLEA: Romantic Prairie Style and A Give Back

52 FLEA: Romantic Prairie Style and A Give Back is having the most wonderful give-away of this book. Stop by her blog and read her wonderful review of this book. If you love all things family and simplicity and re-purposed and heirlooms, you will love what she wrote.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Altered Book Cover - Angels

This is the cover of one of my altered books. It is a book about angels.  I hope to add a title to it, but I'm not sure how I will do it yet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Being Creative #8 -Tools, Tips and Technology

This week over at the "Being Creative" Blog Party at  Gorgeous and Fun Things, the topic is "Tools, Tips and Technology!" What are you favorite tools? Do you ever feel like you are cheating because you are using some tool?

I don't often think of what I use as "tools" but more as "supplies", of which I have way too many! The tools that I use most often include my scissors, my paper cutter and little foam paint brushes. Those are things I use over and over. I have a pair of Cutter Bee scissors that I use all the time. I love them because they are small enough to cut fine lines and they have a coating that doesn't get sticky. That is very important, since I am constantly using glues, tapes and gel medium in my art and I hate it when scissors get gunked up and don't work well. I use my paper cutter when I need to make straight cuts. It is a life saver for that sort of thing. And those little foam brushes are great for laying down gesso, acrylic paint and washes and are disposable. (I do reuse them until they fall apart - but they work really well for what I do with altering books and journals.)

Another important tool that I use quite often is my rubber stamp supply. I find that there are so many wonderful stamps that make great additions to the pages I create and it is hard to duplicate that effect. They work so well for layering and adding interest. I use all sorts of images and have many alphabet sets that are wonderful for adding words or sentiments.

Altered Board Book in Progress
 This is a picture of a project in progress on my desk and you can see many of my tools around. Here I am altering a board book. I first sand the pages, then apply gesso and then apply any color I like using acrylic paints. I am not sure what my theme will be for this book. All I know is I want it to be happy!

Below I will share an altered book 2-page creation that I completed a few months ago.

In the first step, I used gesso to apply some tissue paper that came in a Fossil purse that I had purchased. I just loved all the keys.

Next I used acrylic gel paints and an ink pad to apply color. I used my trusty foam brush to apply the gel paint and then used a direct-to-paper technique just rubbing the ink pad directly onto the paper. I like to use this method because it highlights the wrinkles in the tissue and add great texture and dimension.

I applied a torn piece of scrapbook paper across both pages to add a horizon line. I then cut out random circles of various papers, using my Cutter Bee scissors and glued them to the pages. I added a circle of acrylic paint in the center and a line of paint to represent the flower stems. I also dry brushed some additional colors onto the page in pink and turquoise. Finally, I outlined the circles and added the stems using a black Sharpie marker.

I may go back later and add some words when the mood strikes me. But this is the final product at this point.

Many thanks to Amisha over at Gorgeous and Fun Things for keeping us motivated to do something creative and encouraging us each week. Stop by her blog and enjoy her wonderful posts.
Gorgeous and Fun Things

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Vintage Bunnies & Chicks II -Pink Sat.

Today I am joining in with the Pink Saturday Party being held over at Beverly's at How Sweet the Sound. I am going to show a few more pages from the completed Vintage Bunnies and Chicks Book swap that we did over at AlteredWithoutLimits (AWOL) Yahoo Group.

Page by Cathee Stegall
It is hard to see the wonderful dimension on these pages through the lens of a camera, but this page has beautiful prima flowers, tags and handmade paper that give the page a wonderful, textural touch.

The page on the left is the back of the Best Friends page and the right is another wonderful page of musical bunnies. The music page has a pocket with a tag.

Page by Terry Glover

Here it is showed with the tag exposed.

Left Page by Terry Glover

This is the back of the page and the back of the tag - Awesome details!
Page by Ellen Gray
Here is a close up of the next page.

Page by Ellen Gray
And the back of the page.

These ladies did such an awesome job with their pages. My friends have all been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them. They are all so tactile and beautiful. I will be posting more of the pages as we approach Easter. Stay tuned!

Beverly has asked us to highlight a special blog we have visited and today I would like to highlight Pat over at  The Artful Diva.  She has the most wonderful blog and often has great instructions for her projects. I am just loving her wonderful art journaling posts. Maybe you have met her during your Pink Saturday ramblings, but if not, please stop by and enjoy perusing her wonderful blog. I know you will be blessed and inspired!

If you would like to visit more wonderful "Pink" party posts, head over to How Sweet the Sound and visit some wonderful and talented bloggers. And don't forget to stay tuned for more pages from my Vintage Bunnies and Chicks book.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Writing Down Ideas - Being Creative #7

This week's topic at the "Being Creative Blog Party" over at Amisha's Gorgeous and Fun Things  is "Writing down ideas? Do you do it? Do you like it? Does it help?"

Truthfully, I would have to say that I very seldom write anything down, nor sketch out ideas. I have done so on rare occasions, but it is definitely not a habit. Probably the closest I come to that is when I flag an idea or a layout in a magazine that I really like, but so often I forget to go back and look for it.

So I think that this is an area where I might really gain some benefit. It has only been a short time that I have been making art on any kind of regular basis. Before about a year ago, I was very sporadic and made art primarily when I was on vacation and had time to do it. But over the last year I have tried to be much more intentional in being creative on some sort of consistent basis. So I think I will begin to make an effort to write things down. We'll see how it goes. Maybe next week I can give you a little update! : )

Now on to my creative effort that I am going to share today. I just want to share a couple of backgrounds I've been working on and a page from one of my altered books.

First are a couple of background pages that I made from instructions in Strathmore Visual Journal Workshop 2 called "Start Where You Are" by Linda Blinn. I made my own sprays by adding ink to water in spray bottles. I then used some items that I had around as stencils. This is done in my water color pad. I'm practicing before I put something into my actual Art Journal - sort of a "journal for my journal", as one lady in the workshop put it.  Maybe this will turn into my idea and resource book for writing things down!

Spray inks over assorted home objects - item on the right is a paper overlay for scrapbooking.
Used spray ink over household items

I used a doily, heart tag from clothing item and I picture of a woman that I cut out from a book. The blue in the right hand lower corner is some metallic blue water color that I brushed on. Upper right is just some white plastic mesh I had around the house. Again - this is my "journal journal".
I don't know what I will actually end up making on these pages, but it sure is a fun beginning!

Altered Book Double Page Spread - Red booklet on right opens up.

I already posted this picture in a previous post, but I wanted to show the booklet opened up. See below.

Booklet opened
Front Cover of the Book - work in progress- I used a map of my beloved home state of Mississippi as the background!

Book Spine - I'm using the various countries in the book as my page inspirations.
So there you have it - some of my work from this week. If you'd like to see other posts on Being Creative and Writing Things Down, head over to Amisha's at Gorgeous and Fun Things. You might find you want to join in the fun. It is a great inspiration and very gentle and affirming. I love it!

Being Creative Blog Party

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Vintage Bunnies & Chicks Book - Pink Sat.

This week I received my final version of the Vintage Bunnies and Chicks Book from our Swap at the AlteredWithoutLimits Yahoo Group - and it is awesome - beyond beautiful - and above all my expectations. Each and every page in the book is worthy of pouring over and soaking in all the wonderful details. Each lady brought something special and unique to the party. I am going to share a few of the pages this week in honor of Pink Saturday. I will be sharing more pictures on future blog posts, so come back and visit soon. I have just loved being in these swaps because it really stretches me to get out of my comfort zone and also to complete something! So without further ado -
Front Cover of the Book by Deb Patrick at
Inside and the first page - this is my page that I submitted.
Next Page - "Spring" by Cyn Chapman
Next Page - Easter Greetings plus Tag! by Rhea Freitag
You can see the backs of the previous pages - requirements were that the backs were to look nice & include their name and state, but did not have to be decorated or embellished. Most of the ladies did a beautiful job on the back, as well.
Tag Extended
Next Page and Back of Previous Page with Tag Extended
Close-up of the next page by Jo Ann Duplantis
I wish you could see the details on these pages - they are awesome. The one above has tiny little beads added to the center of the flowers. I love it!
A View of the Book Open so you can see the dimension
The requirements for the book were that the pages had to be 6x6 inches or less and have a picture of a vintage bunny or chick somewhere on the page. The Yahoo group coordinator - lovely Deb Patrick at ArtZhodgepodge, did the covers and the binding and sending out of the books. She did a lovely job! Hop on over to her blog for a treat and tell her I sent you.

I am linking up with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for another wonderful Pink Saturday. You can stop by her blog and visit many wonderful ladies and their Pink Saturday posts. Pink is not just a color, it is an attitude!

And don't forget, I'll be posting more pictures of this fabulous book next week for Pink Saturday!