Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday's Featured Artist- Amber D.

Or, as I like to call her, Bams, but you must get her permission before you call her Bams. See, Bams and I go WAY back. Like to 1984. When she was born. Yep, no kidding, I have known her that long. Crazy, right? Well, not really when you consider she IS my cousin. BUT, do not begin to think that my feature of her has anything to do with partiality, (okay, well, maybe a little bit), because honestly, this girl is talented.

Amber is a college student and a mother to two adorable handfuls of kid energy. She is a wife, a sister, an aunt, and a friend. She has a great sense of humor based in much sarcasm, (my native tongue), and a unique sense of style, which she can rock out in her thrift store and vintage finds.

Amber has a true eye for beauty and that is reflected in her photography. There are a lot of people out there who can take pictures. They go to school, practice, etc. Then there are those individuals who have a gift within to be able to see the perfect shot. Amber is one of those people.

Amber can also manipulate photos into fantastical images. She surprised me by taking a picture of me and turning it into this:

Her graphic designs for her Alice in Wonderland altered book were so amazing to me that I could literally stare at them for hours. For instance, this one with the white roses painted red and the Rabbit Hole that Alice tumbled into.

Or how about simply her art? Yes, along with all of this, Amber is an artist. She has an amazing ability to draw not only what she sees, but what she sees in her heart and mind. This is something she has always been able to do. I remember her drawing a perfect Garfield for our grandmother when she like five years old. 

I love the Walrus! He is amazing to me. Drawing is not something I do well, so to see someone else be able to just sketch something out that isn't stick figures always impresses me. And, honestly makes me a little jealous. 

Take a moment to check out Amber's blog, The Secret Life of an Artist, if you have a chance. She is constantly coming up with new things to show and inspire with. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I LOVE Questions!

I figured I would take a quick break to answer some questions I have received on my blog. I wouldn't want y'all to think they went unheard. In fact, the reason I require my "approval" of all comments is so that I can make sure I read each one. I would feel really bad if I missed one.

Serene and Susan both asked about the drips on the "Favorite Villain" layout from Wednesday's Use What You Got post.

*The drips were part of the original paper. I did not add that, just cut out the specific drips I wanted to add over the mat and photos. You can do something similar to this with a paintbrush and watered down paint that you dab across the top of a page and then hold up to allow the paint to drip. It probably wouldn't look as thick as this border, but I have done it and it looks smashing on velvet brocade paper, (see first photo below). You can also highlight the drips with Glossy Accents, like I did on the music paper below. As I was considering this question, I came upon an idea of mixing some Perfect Pearls or maybe a drop of alcohol ink to some Glossy Accents and seeing if that could recreate the effect as well. This is an untested theory as of yet.*

Susan mentioned on Monday's Random 5- No Rhyme or Reason that she was thinking of picking up Mark, the cute little Weeble looking guy made for the SMASHbooks, yet wasn't sure what to do with him.

*I have Mark and he is totally worth the $2 price tag, even if you do not own a SMASHbook. I think he would be awesome on a layout that featured him with a word bubble, giving advice to whomever is in the photo, like possibly a man who has four daughters? ;) If nothing else, he is fun to look at and make up voices for.*

Serene, also referring to the No Rhyme or Reason Random 5, asked what the Hubs t-shirt said.

*This one is right up your alley, Serene! Or more specifically, up your darling hubby's alley. It says, "The Mighty Marvel" and features Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spidey in profile. Could it have a future as a piece of wall art next to Wonder Woman? Quite possibly, my friends, quite possibly.*

Amber brought up the question, "Aren't you allergic to lilies?" regarding the picture of Lily wearing one on the Simply Saturday in Pastels post.

 *Yes, I am and I have now voiced my Achille's to the world in case someone is looking to do me in. Just a note-- it does take me a while to be affected by their noxious smell and it only works with the Asiatic lilies, like Stargazers and Tiger Lilies. I can lay down in a bed of Callas and be fine. That is because Callas are not really lilies, just FYI. And there is your tidbit of useless knowledge for the day, folks!*

Last, but certainly not least, while it wasn't a question, a number of you wished my poorly kitty to be well soon back on the Busy Thursday post. I just wanted to say thank you for the kind wishes and that she recovered fine. It seems she has ear wax issues, which I am sure is WAY more information than you really needed, and needed to have some drops to make her right as rain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

KISS Wednesday- Using What You Got

This isn't a post about how you should use what you have in your stash. We all know we should use what is in our stash. This is a trick that while obvious, I often overlook or even fight against. It is using your patterned paper to embellish for you. Sounds simple enough, right?

Papers like Webster's and Prima are perfect examples of papers that have so much embellishment already built in for you. How much you add beyond that is personal aesthetic. I did this layout of that goofy niece of mine and I let the paper be as much of a lead player as a background one.

I wanted to use the dress forms on the Webster's paper, so I added a flower brad to the tops of them. For me, this page is very simple in it's amount of embellishing and it's design. It only took me about an hour to finish this one from conception to display, as opposed to the regular two hours plus it takes me to complete a layout.

Another simple page is this one of two silly shots taken at the Eclipse premiere last year. I wanted quick and kind of campy to match the photo, (or more specifically, the photo of me in what the Hubs call a Katy Perry pose), and this Marah Johnson for Creative Imaginations paper kept calling to me.

This was another one (hour) and done. Nothing too over the top, just a glimpse at that few moments in time. I used my cutting blade to cut out some of the red drips from the top and slid the polka dot paper and the photos underneath.

Pretty underwhelming when you think about it, but I find many times that I pull out a piece of patterned paper and I struggle with how I would be able to work photos into the existing print without losing any of the main parts of the pattern. For examples that utilize the papers, as well as feature fantastic embellishing for true works of art, check out either Webster's Pages or Prima. The members of their design teams are crazy talented.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This is a layout of my cousin that I made while in Tennessee last weekend. I used mostly elements from a Scrapping From The Inside Out kit that I won recently. I pulled out the large floral paper, which is by Basic Grey, and though I wasn't sure I really wanted to use it for this photo, when I read the title of the paper, I just knew I had to. It was called "Tire Swing."

This is a rather pale type of layout for me, but the photo itself is vibrant, I think the pastels allow it to take center stage without a lot of competition. The borders on the bottom are the bar code strips from the Crate Paper base, (light blue), and from a sheet of Sassafras Lass, (cream scallops), used in another project. I also used my Epiphany Crafts epoxy maker to make some flower centers from the reverse side of the scraps of "Tire Swing." This title is Thickers.

I cut a partial frame from the top of "Tire Swing," then picked individual blooms to pop-dot over flowers in the frame to make it 3-D and left a large petal going off the page. Unlike many of my other layouts, this one should still fit in the page protector, though it will hang out the top.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday's Random Five- No Rhyme or Reason

Hello, readers!

I am back from beautiful, (humid), Tennessee and finally recovered to a point of being my original self. Here are five random things on my radar that are truly random.

The beautiful retreat house in Normandy, TN. 
(Note to self, angles ARE your friend.)

Meet Huey, short for Huge, one of the resident cats at Hatch Show Prints in Nashville, TN. I doubt they need a terrier on duty with Huey in house.

Still amazed that we are looking down the barrel of 5, (FIVE!!!), years together.

Totally loving, yet completely intimidated by my new SMASH journal from EK Success. I want to make it fabulous and I want one in every color.

And just when I felt like I was pretty talented, I see something beyond words amazing like this hand painted piano from The Junk in Our Trunks. Seriously? Just the idea to do this makes my ideas feel novice. This is phenomenal. No need to put a vase of flowers on it, you have the perfect poppy that will never die right there. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

KISS Wednesday- Heroic Canvas

Hello, readers! The Hubs and I are back from (very) sunny L.A. We decided to use the long weekend to play tourist in the City of Angels and I have to say, we both had an awesome time! I know L.A. gets some serious flack, but I have to say there were a number of things that L.A. has that I would put W-A-Y above my local stomping grounds, like customer service for one. But I digress.

For today's Keep It Simple, Silly post, I am featuring a canvas that needs a total of five things to complete. You need a t-shirt, Mod Podge, a foam brush, scissors, and a canvas. That is it. Add a few hours to harden and this is a quick project for some original home decor.

It started with a t-shirt that I loved. The image on the shirt, that is, not specifically the shirt itself. I bought this Wonder Woman tee at Comic-Con four years ago, (don't judge), because I LOVED the relief type image and the touch of bling. Yet, I had only worn it a handful of times, so I decided I wanted to figure out another way to keep the image but make it more useful.

I used a 12x12 wrapped canvas with deep sides because I wanted to have the image wrap around the sides as well. I like the look of canvases that have the image continue around to the sides. I cut the front of the shirt from the back and positioned her where I thought she looked best, while making sure I had enough material to cover all edges. I pulled the shirt front off and spread Mod Podge all over the front of the canvas.

*Now let me add a side note here. I had recently purchased Fabric Mod Podge and thought this was the perfect opportunity to try it. I started with it and realized as it dried, it creates a shiny, hard finish to the fabric. This was not the look I was going for, so I decided to change to the Matte Mod Podge to seal the art.*

I laid the shirt on the wet surface, positioning it so that the edges could be wrapped and that it was straight. To wrap the edges, I added more Mod Podge to the edges of the canvas and wrapped them at the corners like you would wrap an edge of present. I stepped away and let the base coat dry.

For the top coat, I used Matte Mod Podge and I tapped the foam brush across canvas to pull up the nap of the fabric. I did run the brush over the rhinestone areas and then followed by wiping them lightly with a paper towel so that the bling stayed sparkly. I was trying to get a more soft, hazy canvas look as opposed to a shiny glass picture look. The first coat actually caused some odd white spots on Wonder Woman's hair, so I applied a second coat and focused on those areas. Once it dried, it was exactly like I wanted and even The Hubs was impressed with how it turned out.

Here is the side view so you can see the edges that I was trying to get. 

This was such an easy and fun project that has great impact. The Hubs does wear hero shirts and when they get kind of raggedy around the edges, I am going to do this to them as well and make an entire series. I think this would be wonderful for a little kid's room and it is fairly inexpensive if you get the canvases on sale.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Simply Saturday in Pastels

Yes, pastels. You know, those soft colors that I am not particularly fond of? Well, here is a layout in all that soft goodness. My newest niece. And can you guess her name just from the picture? Yeah, I am tricky like that.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday the First!

Here comes the holiday weekend! Hope that you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday. Oh, and make sure that you read the rules of any parks that you happen to go to. You wouldn't want to follow the rules. ;P