Friday, August 29, 2008

Four Letter Words Blog Contest Winners...

With the long weekend ahead of us, and getting ready to saddle up and "git out o' town", today's post is going to be short but scrumptiously sweet.

Yesterday evening, my best "kitchen table bridge" buddies and I got together for dinner. When I showed up with my "Therapy in a Jar" (a jar that I keep all my art ideas in... art is the best therapy for whatever ails ya ) it really got them curious!

Now what they didn't know beforehand was that they were about to perform an important mission - pick the names of the winners in last week's "mini blog contest" for my list of forty PLUS positive four letter words AND the alphabet file to create their own set of "inchie"alphabet blocks.

Unfortunately, one of our buds was called away "out of town" on a family emergency at the last minute and couldn't make it! So what's a gal to do when she is short one impartial prize picker? Well she just recruits her friend's husband who is staying discreetly out of sight and earshot of "female" chat in the den! He readily agreed to do the honours.

"You can call me Diane," said he with a twinkle in his eye, a sly grin on his face and a cute little wiggle in his walk as he snuggled into place between the gals!

After we all had a great laugh, I took this photo of them enthusiastically waving the names of the winners and congratulating them. (l. to r.) my friend Gail, Diane (aka Pete, Yvonne's husband) and my friend Yvonne. Everyone should be as lucky as I am to have fun friends like these ladies to hang out with!

And the lucky winners are... CRASHING CYMBALS AND DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!

1. Deana

2. Troll

3. Nicki

Congratulations ladies! Please send me an email before next Tuesday with your email address so that I can get your zip file off to you.

Congratulations are also in order to four lovely ladies. Cynthia Powell, Sherre Hulbert, Elizabeth Dawson and Lesley Venable, the "art mamas" on The Artist's Circle and the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art. These four, very talented ladies have just published "Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Arts - Projects & Techniques Volume I" .

This book, filled with lots of fun and innovative projects, is guaranteed to make any mixed media artist's heart just quiver with excitement! Having "hung out" with these ladies over the past year, if their book is anything close to what they have shared with me and other members of the Artist's Circle and The Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art groups, it is guaranteed to be a real keeper. It is so HOT off the press that I don't even have my copy yet (but I am waiting patiently... well sort of) Interested in a copy? You can order it here. Here's a copy of the cover.

And last, but not the least (don't ya just love cliches LOL), make a note to yourself to stop by on Tuesday (once the kidlettes are safely back in school if they are the 'late school returners' in your area) and check out the Recycling Brainstorming Game and the chance to win a mini shopping spree. I shall say no more!! My lips are sealed.

Have a fun filled long weekend. Drive safely if you are on the road. See you Tuesday!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips - More GREAT Storage Tips...

More tips from my (diminishing) pile of post it notes LOL

  1. Use a see through, pocket organizer (used in closets to store gloves, shoes, purses, etc.) to store some of your art supplies. It holds a tremendous amount of “stuff”. You might be able to find one at a thrift store for just pennies, so check it out.
  2. Modular, hanging shoe/sweater organizers with shelves is another idea for storage, especially if you live in an apartment or have a minimum amount of space for storing art supplies.
  3. Re-purpose a counter top paper towel holder for ribbon, yarn, etc. Slide the spools of ribbon onto the dowel and voila you now have a counter top ribbon dispenser.
  4. If you are even just slightly handy with a sewing machine, make a fold up, portable organizer with zip lock bags and fabric. If you don’t want to go to the bother of cutting fabric, a ready made placement works great. Click here for a pattern and how to instructions.
  5. Got an old 3” school binder hanging around not being used? Purchase some large pencil organizers to fit the three ring binder and use them to store ink pads, chalks, pastels, drawing pencils, tubes of glue, eyelet punches, paper piercers, etc.. It’s amazing how many of these organizers you can get into a binder!
  6. You can make your own binder organizers with Zip Lock bags. Just take the gallon sized bags, fold over the ends (the bottom of the bags) a couple of times. Sew twill tape along this edge to reinforce it. Punch holes into it with a three ring binder punch. Great for storing cut outs, collage images, small bits of scrap paper left over from a project.
  7. Use empty cassette tape holders/CD holders to store smaller stamps, postage stamp embellishments, etc.. If you have one of the old wall cassette/CD storage holders, you can keep them all neatly stored on the wall next to your art table.
  8. If you own one of the die cutting machine, use old floppy disc cassettes to store your dies and/or small die cuts you have cut out.
  9. Use a plastic, portable file folder box with file folder holders for storing card stock, paper. An old file cabinet works great for not only storing paper but as a place to keep all of your art supplies together in one place. Large glue bottles, spray paint cans, gesso, oversized bottles and tools such as a hot glue gun, soldering iron, heat gun and hair dryer will fit nicely into the drawers if you partition them off with the adjustable drawer partition in most file cabinets.
  10. A heavy plastic hairdryer/curling iron rack that mounts on the wall is handy for storing your art hair dryer and (depending on the size) a soldering iron close by. Check out the different types of bathroom holder racks to find one that can hold your heat and glue guns.

Storage Tips from blog readers…

A BIG thank you goes out to all for submitting their tips for this week's edition of Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips. Each of them will receive a zip file of old scanned photographs as a thank you gift from me.

Lela of Striving for Simplicity says "I keep my flowers, brads, eyelets, and buttons together by color in bead boxes. I got the boxes on sale for $1 each. I keep my works in progress in plastic beach tote bags. I can grab a tote and have all of the parts and supplies in one place."

Darlene of Articulation says "I have found through many years of not doing the right thing for me that I finally have a great studio and can find 98% of what I want to find. The reason for this is clear containers, iris carts and more, more, more clear containers. Large, small, drawer boxes and containers!!!

Round laundry baskets are great for long sheet of handmade papers or anything long that you can wind up. Altoid boxes for beads and embellishments, glue item on the outside.
Magazine holders for tablets of watercolor, sketch and other art tablets."

Debbie Baker of My Abundant Life says "My number one storage solution is zip-lock plastic bags - I have a large cane basket (well several actually) that is full of these bags - each is filled with items of a particular sort - white laces, paper scraps, small fabric pieces, trims, ribbons etc etc and it makes it very easy to see them but to also control them, both of which are extremely necessary for creativity, at least for me."

Alex sent this tip: Harbor Freight Tools has a plastic container w/a lid that is attached and lifts. Inside there are 9 or 12 small plastic boxes w/lids. Some are round and some are square, depending on your needs. It is 5X9. I paid about $3.00 each.

Dee says "I save the cartons that you get bottles of Starbucks Frappicinos in and use these to store my pens and markers, and decorative scissors etc.

Cindy of Cynthia Powell had a very useful disposal tip for those sharp knife blades...
"I use an old medicine/prescription bottle to collect dull pins & exacto knife blades that can’t go directly into the trash. When the bottle is full, it and the contents can be disposed of safely.

Well that's it for today!

NEXT WEEK: Playtime! A BRAINSTORMING GAME Stop by for the details. It will be fun and sure to generate lots of ideas we can all use in our art.

Have a great week... see you Friday!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Four Letter Words + a Mini Blog Contest Giveaway...

Ah Friday again... the week has gone by very quickly. It's hard to believe that August has almost come and gone!

Do you like typefaces? I do! I have always had a weakness for funky alphabet letters and vintage typefaces! When I was a kid, I would sit and cut out the letters in magazines... usually the ones that had the recipe my mother wanted on the other side... and make beautiful posters with letters! Had I been born in the early 1900’s I might well have become a typesetter. I absolutely adore the big, old wooden letters, stained with ink from years of use. The grungier, the better as far as I am concerned.

Old, antique typewriters are another favourite. My friend Karen, whose father was a journalist, has a wonderful collection of old typewriters that I just covet!! Unfortunately, we moved around so much (read: keep your stuff to a minimum) that I never did get a collection started. Now they are getting more and more difficult to find or are too expensive for my collection budget! Sigh....

So, that said, it’s not at all surprising that my entry into this year’s Sooke Fine Art Show called “Just My Type” SOLD! A four letter word that was music to my ears! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had completely forgotten to take a photo of it before I entered it. DUH! However, I received permission to go to the show and take a photo for posterity’s sake! Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t that great for photography and we had to shoot upwards to get it. You can see a photo of it, along with some of the process in creating it, later on in this missive.

Speaking of four letter words…

leads me to my latest project called “Four Letter Words”. No, no, not the obnoxious ones (you know which ones I mean)… the good ones… like LOVE, GRIN, WINK, HUGS and everyone’s favourite XOXO! But I am getting ahead of myself.

FLASHBACK… A couple of months ago

The day I came home with a BIG box of blocks that I found at the thrift store for a whole two bucks, my husband wondered if I was … uhhh…off my block… or, at the very least, about to enter my second childhood. Of course, what he has perhaps failed to realize, even after all these years is that I never really left my first childhood! SURPRISE!

When I saw the aforementioned box of blocks, forlornly tucked away on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in the kid’s section of the thrift shop, I knew I had to have them. I had no clue as to what I would do with them but I just knew they had to come home with me. I snatched the box off the shelf and tucked it under my arm. Protectively clutching my prize, I made a beeline for the cashier.

“Oh, are you buying these for your grandchildren?” asked the sweet young thing at the cash.

“No, they are for me.” I secretly wanted to see the look on her face at that remark. I wasn’t about to explain.

The look was priceless! Her jaw dropped as she made a herculean attempt to not burst into roaring laughter. She politely rang up my purchase. She was having a hard time trying to keep a straight face as she handed me my change..

Yep…it was obvious. She too thought I was off my block. I’m bettin’ she had a rip roaring good time at coffee break telling all her fellow work buddies about that “ditzy blonde” who came into the store and bought some blocks for herself. Hey, it made her smile and was probably the highlight of her day!

More on the blocks in a bit….

Fast Forward

Some of my best ideas come when I am doing water aerobics at the pool. Sounds nuts I know but when you are bored to tears with the same old routine time and time again, a gal has to do something to save her sanity. So I think about ART. I take a mental inventory of my “stuff”, think about what I can do with it and go looking for “the story”. How's that for multi-tasking???

While I was at the pool doing my thing yesterday (trying to keep my mind off my one arthritic hip that was creaking and groaning), I eavesdropped on the conversation going on in the “chatty club”. One of the women remarked that she was just thoroughly disgusted with some of the language she hears from young people on the bus every day.

“I just wish they could find some other four letter words instead of THAT ONE!” says the spry and spunky 80 year old sweetheart member of the “chatty club”!

DING! DING! DING! The bells went off in my head as I made a connection to “a story”. When I was working full time in my practice, I used to challenge some of my clients to my list of forty, four letter words. The object of the game was to see how many of them they could use in their daily life between appointments. It was a “game” they really enjoyed with terrific results.

WHACK! BANG! Those blocks… remember those blocks? They popped into my head. EUREKA… I had my next project.

I started “Four Letter Words” yesterday morning after I got back from the pool. Here’s what they look like so far… OOPS, you can even see some of the glue that hasn't dried yet!

My plan is to make 25 of them. They will be covered in vintage paper, then inked. I have some very old book pages in old German type, some nice pages in Dutch, some French and English dictionary pages. The finished blocks will all fit nicely into a cigar box that I have. Once they are done, I will alter the box. The box will be able to stand on its own and display a different “four letter word” on top of the box (imagine that the blocks they are on right now is the cigar box just much taller and "decorated"). The unused letter blocks will be stored in the box.


Want to win a copy of my list of forty, four letter words PLUS the file of the vintage type letters I’ll be using to create them? Just leave me a comment about this posting IN THE COMMENT BOX and check back next Friday. I will draw three names and announce them on Friday. If you are a lucky winner, you will have to send me your email address so I can send the package to you in a zip file. So make sure you check back to see if you have won and then get in touch with me.

Lastly, as promised… “Just My Type”

“Just My Type” came to me, fully formed in a “pool” vision. I could hardly wait to get home to start working on it.

Mind you, it didn’t turn out to be exactly the way I originally envisioned it. I ran into a few little glitches… I couldn’t find some of the “stuff” I wanted for it. In my vision were some old wood letters. When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided to heck with it. I did some research, then made my own. Couldn’t find an old typewriter tin either… so I grabbed a block of wood and an image I had had on my computer for literally years and made my own. The paper in the background is authentic antique paper. It’s the editorial page from the Ladies Home Journal, April 1907 edition. The calligraphy pen and nibs have been kicking around “my stash” for the better part of darn near 30 years! It was a fun piece to do. It came together almost effortlessly. I was pleased as punch with the results. I am sure that it is hanging in a special place on the wall of someone who loves and appreciates it as much as I did in bringing it to life!

Well this posting sure made up for the short one last week! Thanks for your patience in reading this far…CHUCKLE!

Thanks AGAIN to all those who have submitted tips for Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips next Tuesday. I have been so busy “arting” that I have barely looked at my email. So if you have emailed me you may not hear back from me until next week. The weekend is upon us and my husband and I will be away. But rest assured, once your tip is published, you will receive an email from me with a scan of four old photographs. So please make sure when you send in a tip that you also give me your email address.

Tootles for now… see you Tuesday. And if you think you really shouldn’t go messing around with your art stuff right now because…..because…. because….you are hereby given permission to goof off for a bit and go make some art…LOL Blame the unwashed dishes in the sink on me!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips - Storage

Storage Tips for Embellishments, Beads, Ribbon, Craft Knives and (other) Small Stuff

1. Purchase a multilayered tackle box. It’s perfect for small embellishments, it’s portable and easy to store.

2. A pill organizer or empty spice jars are perfect for storing brads, eyelets, snaps, small jewels, etc.. You can sort them by colour and size.

3. Empty, junior size baby food jars are super for buttons sorted by colour or size.

4. A multi-drawered woodworking workshop container for nuts, bolts and screws is a terrific organizer for x-acto knives, blades, bone folders, small tubes of glue, metallic pens, tweezers, erasers, etc.. Just make sure that the drawers are deep enough (i.e. about 6.5 inches)

5. Save those toilet paper and paper towel rolls! Wind your ribbon and/or lace around them and secure ends with a pin or tape. Multiple rolls will fit nicely in a shoe box.

6. If you have ribbon that comes pre-rolled on cardboard with a hole in the middle, purchase a long piece of doweling that will fit the hole and a couple of mounting brackets. You can then mount the doweling under a shelf, place all of your rolls on the doweling and you will be able to just “spin” off the amount of ribbon you need. Alternatively, you can rig up a shoe box in much the same way or thread the toilet paper/paper towel "ribbon/lace" holders from tip 5 onto the doweling holder.

7. Another idea for ribbon storage is to take a plastic hanger, cut through the plastic (about an inch down from the top) and thread your rolls onto the hanger. You can then hang it in a closet!

8. Old prescription bottles make nice little containers for small embellishments. Glue a sample on the lid and you will be able to use the coloured prescription bottle containers as well.

9. Ice cube trays (as a drawer organizer) or empty styrofoam egg cartons are another way to store small embellishments such as photo corners, paper clips, jingle bells or small gems.

10. Store your craft knives in an empty can! Cut a piece of Styrofoam to fit the bottom of the can to hold the knife (and not damage the blade). If you wrap an elastic band around your craft knives, they will “stay put” on your art table.

More ideas from blog readers…

A big thank you to my playmates this week, Moonwillow, Nelly and Susan for submitting the following tips for this week’s Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips. Take a minute to visit their blogs and say thanks. I am sure they will appreciate it! They will each receive a page of old scanned photos they can use in their personal art as a thank you gift from me!

Moonwillow at The Starving Artist Blog sent these ideas:

For storing bottles of all the stuff I use a lot… glue, glitters, re-inkers, black paint, white paint, etc., I use a small lazy susan on my table. I picked it up at the junk store for 1.00 and it works great. ... I just added a shelf to my table (6ft long) and I am looking for baby food jars to use just like men do with the nails, screw, nuts and bolts. I will attach the lids and put my stuff in like beads, charms, etc. and screw the jars on to store right within reach. The shelf is held up with little plastic bins that have been secured together and bolted on. It added height and doubled my shelf space. I got a bunch of plastic shoe boxes at the dollar tree to put stuff in...

Nelly at Bella Nelly Paperworks says:

I repurposed a pampered chef spinning utensil holder to hold scissors, brushes, some punches, pencils, rub on sticks. Also, a pampered chef item is their stone wooden rack. I use it to hold magazines/books I keep close to my desk to refer to. They're both very handy and I love to use unusual items to store my things. Here's a pic of the utensil holder:

Susan at When I am Laughing says:

My friend and I recently found "See and Store" containers, which would be great for embelishments, beads, eyelets, etc. These round plastic containers have magnets on the bottom. They stick to the provided metal stand. The stand is great, because it is shaped sort of like an angled L and sits up on the small end, so takes up less space. The small end of the L can be screwed on to a counter top or table as the set up comes with the screw. I found these at the container store, but they were on sale, and I still consider them thrifty because the set up saves space. If you shop at a container store or office store, always check the clearance section. It often has items that can be repurposed for art storage.

Thanks for checking in today. Please leave a comment if you have found these tips helpful! I appreciate your feedback and it helps me gauge what to do more of, less of or eliminate!

Next week’s theme

Still More Storage Ideas. Click here to send your ideas along to share with your fellow artists!

10 Post it notes down… many still to go! LOL. See you Friday!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Time for a Tale...

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet! The weather forecast is calling for a gorgeous day, so guess where I am going? Yep, I am going to answer the call of the waves and head off to the beach to spend the day with me, myself and I. It has been a busy week and a day at the beach reading, snoozing, nibbling on some fresh peaches, snoozing and dreaming is just the break my creative spirit wants!

Hmmm… thinking about the beach, water and sun brings to mind a tiny tale from ancient Greece that I love. It's about a sea nymph named Clytie. Would you like to hear the tale? I think you'll enjoy it... It's my adaption of a tale told by storyteller Heather Forest.

The Sunflower

Now Clytie was one of the fifty daughters of the sea god Nereus. She lived at the bottom of the sea. She was a pretty sea nymph who wore a beautiful green flowing gown woven of seaweed. She had long golden hair that floated lazily to and fro about her as she moved gracefully from place to place along the sea floor.

One day, one of her mermaid friends sang a song to her about a golden light above the water. Well, Clydie was so curious, she just had to go see it right away. She swan to the surface of the sea and climbed onto the shore. She looked up and saw the golden light, just as her mermaid friend had described it to her in the song. Why the golden light was the sun!

All day long, Clytie lay happily on the shore just gazing at it. As the sun began to set, she turned towards the sea and as she did so, she saw her reflection in the water. Her beautiful golden hair had become yellow petals! And her green gown, why they had become leaves. Her tiny feet had become roots and buried themselves down in the warm earth. She had become a sunflower, a small image of the sun she had grown to love that day.

And do you know that to this day sunflowers turn on their stems all through the day so they can gaze upon the sun as it travels across the sky.

Sunflower photo courtesy of Public Domain Photo

Isn't that a sweet story? I am so glad that Clytie was curious! Everytime I see a sunflower, I think of her and that little story.

Before I close for today... thanks again to everyone who has sent storage ideas for next Tuesdays Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips blog entry! Keep those ideas coming folks... the more the merrier. Personally, I could use some help with good storage tips... my art room is overflowing! So take a minute to put an email together and send your ideas and solutions to me. Thanks a bunch.

See you next week... have a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips

Okay, I’ll be honest… I am notorious for writing down tips I find online on a slip of paper with the intention of transferring them to a notebook for future reference. Well that “transposition” activity rarely happens. You know what they say about good intentions, don’t you? Yah, well my road to the “hot place” is paved with a gazillion post it notes.

Most days they are just stuck to my computer screen. But a funny thing happens. On those rare occasions when I actually *seriously* think about transferring all those lovely tips into a handy “art table” reference book, those post it notes just mysteriously disappear! Not into my book mind you. Not even the garbage can. Nope. They just wander, all by themselves over to that comfy, remote spot on my desk I rarely look at. Yep… out of sight… out of mind!

Oh, I tried doing the “computer thing”. Every time I found a useful art related tip, I would put it into a file in the computer. Then one day my computer suffered a terminal crash. You know the rest of the story.

Not to be undone by technology, I prevailed… I started a new file. Put in a couple of tips I found. Next time I went to open the file, I couldn’t remember the name of the darn file or even where I had “filed” it. That was when I first noticed “senior moments” !

Fast forward….

To be truthful, my true motivation behind starting Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips is self serving. However, it also has a good, healthy, higher purpose in mind mixed into the brew! I figure that if I start sharing my post it note tips with you, I will always be able to
a) find the tips when I want them by printing each “issue” of Thrifty Tuesday Tips for my art table reference book
b) rid myself of the post it notes littering my computer screen and desk
c) learn, do or discover something new IF ….
d) you are kind enough to share your tips with me.. SO
e) we can ALL benefit by having our “collective knowledge” stored online in one spot!
f) perhaps you will be inspired to make a handy art table reference book for yourself too!

An invitation….

I’d love to find some playmates! Do you have some tips you’d like to share? Would you like to play along with this thrifty tips idea in my sandbox? If yes, then…

Over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to tackle some “do it yourself” ideas around the one bug-a-boo of most mixed media artists – STORING OUR STUFF. Paper, embellishments, glues, mediums, trinkets, paint… oh the list is long!

Please consider sharing YOUR STORAGE TIPS by taking a moment to send them to me along with your name, blog/website address and a sub category suggestion in the subject line of the email (i.e. paper, glues, paint, etc.). I will sort them and include them in upcoming Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips!

So what kind of tips make your thrifty heart go pitter patter? Here’s what gets my heart a flutterin’…

If you have been doing mixed media for any length of time, you know this one. We could go broke in the wink of an eye buying stuff for our stashes! So before I go off buying more stuff now, I often look around for tips that will save me a few bucks or pull me out of a hole when I find myself in one.

I hit the jackpot the day I discovered the recipe for making my own stamp cleaner. I ran out of a small bottle I had purchased at the stamping store right in the middle of a project. My “art budget” for that month was sadly lacking in funds. I discovered how to make a great stamp cleaner for a tiny fraction of what a commercial cleaner costs and fortunately I had all of the “ingredients” on hand. Didn’t have to spend a dime!

Now besides finding tips that have the possibility of saving me a few bucks so I can go spend “what I saved” on something else (Oh, I know that sounds like robbing Peter to pay Paul but that twisted piece of logic works extremely well for the thrifty part of my personality LOL) I also like to do my bit for the environment too!

Doing my bit translates into recycling “stuff” whenever I can (using empty Styrofoam egg cartons as tiny paint pots for little jobs) or finding different ways to store all my stuff (empty mason jars for buttons, charms, etc.).

Zooming right along…

Being a believer in sharing first to encourage other to share, I am gonna “clean house” today (pun intentionally intended) I’ll start with a couple of tips around cleaning some of the “tools” you and I likely use most often…


Ever painted the walls in your home? If so, you probably have a paint edger, used to paint the edge of walls at the ceiling or the trim, kicking around in your garage with the paint tools. Snatch it from its lonely, almost forgotten spot and put it to work in your art room!

These paint edgers are made from the same material used in much more expensive “stamp scrubbers” you find in stamping stores. The next time you are in the hardware or paint store, purchase a replacement package for the edger. You can then use it to scrub your stamps after your next stamping session.


The recipe I like best (and I have tried a lot of them) is very simple to make. You can find all of the ingredients in your local pharmacy. It’s a good one if you are sensitive to chemicals or have allergies. This one works well on both rubber or clear stamps.

To one cup (8 oz) of distilled water, add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1 tsp. of baby wash. You can add some rose water to this mixture (makes it smell nice) but it is optional. Put the mixture in a household spray bottle, spray your dirty stamp, wipe off the excess with an old rag or “seen better days” towel. This will remove most of the ink. Now using your “new” paint edger scrubber, spray some of the liquid on it and to give your stamp a good clean.

A few notes about your stamp cleaning brew…

When making this solution, use ONLY distilled water. The chemicals in tap water can harden the rubber on your stamps (makes you wonder what those chemicals might be doing to our bodies huh?) and bottled water still has some traces of minerals that could potentially ruin your stamp over time. In a pinch you could use filtered water but I personally don’t think it would be a good idea long term. You can find distilled water at your local drug store or pharmacy. It is not expensive. You may have to purchase a larger jug of it but you’ll never have to buy another one for a very long time!

You can find baby wash (a liquid “soap” used to wash a baby’s tender skin) in the baby products aisle. I use Aveeno Baby (no fragrance) made by Johnson and Johnson. It’s the same bottle I purchased when my 6 month old granddaughter (she’s nearly four now) came with her mom to visit Gramma and Grampa for the first time. Other brands of creamy baby wash will probably work just as well.

Glycerin is often used commercially in beauty products and better brands of bathing soap. Pharmacies stock it in smaller bottles because the medicinal use is to relieve chapped skin, minor burns or for minor cough and throat irritations. If you don’t find it in the “cough medicine” or “chapped skin” product aisle, ask a clerk. Be prepared to tell them what it is used for… some of them seem to not know what it is!

Why does this recipe use glycerin?

When I first came across this stamp cleaner recipe on the web (I don’t remember now where I first saw it), I was curious as to why glycerin was called for in the recipe. I asked my husband, who, “in his old life” was a chemist and he said “Probably to condition the rubber, keep it from cracking or going hard.” Well we certainly want to prolong the life of our favourite stamps, don’t we? Make the effort to find glycerin.


I could just kick myself in the butt every time I forget to clean my glue brush when I am working on a project! I don’t know how many dried on, glue encrusted brushes I threw out before I discovered this tip: Soak it in GooBeGone overnight. The glue softens right up and you can then get all the “gunk” out of it.


I keep some HAND liquid soap in a container next to my “brush cleaning sink”. Once I have removed most of the water soluble paint from my brush by swishing it in a container of water, I squirt a little of the liquid soap in the palm of my hand, swish the brush in it, rinse it well under running water and set it aside to dry. With very little effort and mess, my brushes (and hands) are as clean as a whistle when I am done.

Well that’s it for today. See you Friday. Now go clean your (ART) house… LOL!


P.S. HELP!!! If anyone has a tip for cleaning burnt on glue off a teflon iron, I’d sure love to hear from you. I really messed up my iron this past weekend when I accidentally put my iron down on some heat and bond I was using to adhere some fabric to a piece of cardstock. What a mess… I have tried everything I can think of to get it off and it’s still a mess!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Thank You Gift from me to YOU...

Yesterday afternoon my curiosity got the better of me. I checked my blog visits for the past two weeks and discovered it was over 1,000! WOW! I nearly fell off my chair LOL. I adjusted my "specs" thinking I may have misread it (or needed a quick trip to the eye doctor to get my eyes checked) ... but nope those were the numbers!

My goodness gracious (ah! you can tell that I once lived in the southern U.S. can you?) in my wildest dreams I never expected all the tremendous warmth and support, wonderful visitor comments and lovely emails I have received since starting the blog a few short weeks ago. I am just delighted, humbled and (slightly... well that's an understatement) overwhelmed at such a response... it is a wonderful gift and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I pondered all yesterday afternoon as to what I could do to show my appreciation. I must have thought of a million things... some doable... some not.... my brain was definitely working overtime. I finally settled on a download of some scans of very vintage pages from an 1889 Delineator Magazine for you to use in your personal art.

This particular issue of the magazine is very special to me. It was given to me by my storytelling friend Lori who lives in Portland, Oregon. It belonged to her grandmother, who, judging by the date of the magazine probably inherited it from her mother. Lori told me at the time time that it had sat in a trunk for years and years and even though it was literally falling apart from age, she wanted me to have it. It was such a wonderful, generous gesture on her part to gift me with this magazine... she knew in her heart I would treasure it and I surely do.

The old ads, recipes, stories, "common sense" suggestions and fashions in this publication are absolutely priceless! For someone like me who loves Victorian dresses, hats and "old stuff", it is a goldmine of information. There is even a "Studies in Fine Arts" column.

Here's something that will sound familiar to us "artsy fartsy" types:

"Glazing and Scrumbling"

A mention of Glazing and Scrumbling being made in a former chapter, we give here instructions how to do them.

Glazing is done by laying on a thin film of one color to modify the tone of the second painting. The finishing tints must all be warm in tone, light or dark, as occasion may require. Do not paint too fast and always use small brushes. Use scrumbling where it is necessary.

Scrumbling is passing an opaque tint lightly over the work. Use a bristle brush for the purpose, mixing white with whatever that is required. The brush should be lightly filled with color and drawn quickly over the surface. (Sounds like a form of dry brushing to me!)

A love for the work, a constant and faithful study of Nature and her examples and much practice and careful attention to details will insure good results." (Boy, ain't that the truth!)

There was, of course, in every magazine of the day, advice columns. The lady who wrote for the Delineator, anonymously of course, certainly had a sharp tongue in spots and she didn't mince her words either. She'd be hunted down and strung up by her pigtails on the nearest clothesline if she tried getting away with it today!

It was her "job" to warn the ladies of the day against "participating in idle talk or gossip" or giving them a "scolding" about the perils of "lacing too tightly", admonishing them in no uncertain terms for their "poor etiquette and manners" or just chattering on about everyday "acceptable" fashion to give the wearer the appearance of the "demure and dignified" and suggesting they adopt the "Puritan girl of long ago, a style that is becoming to most women... "

So there you have it ladies... I don't know about you, but I think I'll stick to my blue jeans and t-shirts for "daywear". Can you imagine sitting at a computer in a full length dress (sometimes with up to 10 yards of material in it), a dustcap (oh my!), two or three heavy petticoats, a corset, corset covers, drawers and chemise? Puritan Girl be darned... I love comfy! GRIN!

Below you will find three smaller photos of the pages I selected with the download link for the zip file. Because the magazine pages are large, I re-sampled them down to a smaller size that will fit a standard sized printer. Enjoy!!

Before you download, please remember these pages are for use in your personal art ONLY. I respectfully request that you do not post them on any website, forum, flicker, etc.. If you would like other art buddies or friends to have them, please send them a link to mystoryART and this post. Thanks for your cooperation.

Download here

Thanks again for stopping by for a visit today. May the Chinese luck of the "8ths" be with you today. See you next week...


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Little Things DO Make a Difference

Today is my hubby's birthday and I was struck again by the joy we can all bring to others just by the little things we do.

My hubby is not a morning person. He comes to life when the clock strikes 10 p.m.! Getting up in the morning is not one of his favourite activities. But he also loves a great cup of coffee. If there is anything that can get him up in the morning, (nagging has never worked with him GRIN) it's the wafting waves of java drifting towards the bedroom.

Many years ago, I discovered the secret to enticing him to get up... I just bring him a cup of freshly brewed coffee and wave it under his nose. It's actually become my secret weapon for getting him up on time for work during the week or playtime on the weekends...LOL.

This morning I added a little surprise to his coffee cup... a helium balloon with Happy Birthday on it, tied to the handle. I placed it on his nightstand, gave him a quick peck on the cheek and went rushing off to the livingroom for the next part of the "birthday surprise".

I heard a big chuckle coming from under the covers. He was awake and had discovered the balloon. That was my cue!

For the past year, I have been taking piano lessons to bring my "tinkling on the ivories" up to a new level. I will never get to Carnegie Hall... but that is not my ambition. I just want to play the songs I like and have them sound like something other than a third grader banging away on the keys producing noise! And this morning was my day to shine.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been diligently practicing "Happy Birthday". Now that might sound rather mundane... but the difference is I have set the tune to a "jazz rendition"... did I happen to mention that I like jazz???... and this morning was the debut of my piece as a birthday surprise.

Well I have to admit that I didn't get through the whole thing perfectly but the clapping and cheering from the bedroom at the end of my "mini concert" made up for a few little mistakes along the way. He was totally delighted. The grin on his face and the big "thank you" hug when he came into the livingroom was just the icing on the... uhh... birthday cake.

A happy man walked out the door this morning humming Happy Birthday and licking his lips. The smell of his favourite birthday cake... Amaretto Cheesecake... tickling his nostils, baking its way to perfection in the oven brought a BIG smile to his face!

Yep, it's the little things that money can't buy that often bring the greatest joy not only to the receiver but the giver too!

I think we can all get caught up in day to day life and forget how important it is to let people know we care about them through our actions and the little things we can do. Here's a favourite little poem of mine that I'd like to share with you today called "Before It is Too Late" by Frank Herbert Sweet.

"If you have a tender message,Or a loving word to say,
Do not wait till you forget it,But whisper it today.
The tender word, unspoken,The letter never sent,
The long forgotten messages,The wealth of love unspent:
For these some hearts are breaking,
For these some loved ones wait;
So show them that you care for them.
Before it is too late."

Go spread some love in the world today... do something little for someone you care about. I can guarantee that it will make a difference to YOUR day!


Friday, August 1, 2008


I'm doing the happy dance all around my kitchen! My art piece in the Sooke Fine Arts Show has a *SOLD* sticker on it! I am absolutely thrilled and humbled both at the same time! My "baby" art piece, called "Just My Type" that I laboured over with love and attention is going to a new home to live with someone who appreciates "her" just as much as I did! How cool is that???

Where's the picture of it? Well that was an OOPS! I forgot to take one of it before I entered it. However, I have received permission from the 'powers that be' to go into the show this weekend and take a photo.

My hubby and I jumped around like people possessed when we found out... what fun that was! His comment once we settled down (well that's an understatement) was delicious: "Well darlin' that will buy you a lot of glue."

I shall enjoy the glue!


Painting and Gel Transfers on Pellon

Happy Friday! Welcome back to Part 2 of foolin' around with pellon! Before we get started today, I'll answer a few questions that came up for some folks.

Q. What is pellon called in the U.K.?
A. It goes by the tradename of Vilene. It is a heavy interfacing used to stiffen up cuffs, collars, etc. and is available in most dressmaking/fabric shops.

Q. Can I use heavy FUSIBLE interfacing?
A. Yes you can but with a couple of provisos. If you want to print on it with a laser printer, be aware that when you fuse the pellon to the freezer paper (you need the freezer paper as a "carrier" for your printer), it will be permanently bonded to the paper and you won't be able to remove it. For some applications, i.e. cut and glue to another surface, that may be desireable. It will make your "fabric" very stiff. Remember that laser printers are hot and you don't want to get any of the "glue" on the working mechanisms of your printer. Proceed with caution!

Q. I don't have any freezer paper and can't find any in my local grocery store. Is there something else I could use?
A. Yes. Attach your pellon to a heavy sheet of plain paper (cardstock is too heavy!) with a temporary adhesive. Use sparingly... just enough to have the pellon stick to the paper. Print and then remove the paper (you may have to tug at it to get it off) Once again, proceed with caution. Be careful that the adhesive does not extend to the edge of your paper. You don't want any excess to "roll off" and muck up your printer drum or rollers.

Now on to today's fun in the sandbox... Let's start with all the art materials you can use on your printed pellon.

Q. Can I paint on Pellon?
A. You sure can. You can also use pencil watercolours, markers, oil pastels, acrylics, distress ink, blending chalk and lumiere.These are just some I have tried, there are likely more. When your Pellon is coated with InkAid or Golden Digital Grounds, they work extremely well. Spraying distress ink with a little bit of water gives an interesting effect on non treated (i.e. no InkAid)pellon surface. Alcohol ink doesn't work well on pellon. I haven't tried it yet but you could probably also dye it with strong coffee or tea. Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Here are two photos of samples I did: In the first one, the leaves are done in watercolour pencil, outlined with an ink fineliner and the "S" is done in Lumiere. In the second, this b&w print is done on a laser printer and just touched up with some Lumiere (the gold buttons) and a blue marker.

Q. I printed some pellon "swatches" on my inkjet but now I'd like to add a graphic or photo? Can I do a laser or photocopy transfer to pellon?
A. Yes, you can. Just make sure that your pellon is treated with InkAid. InkAid will settle the fibers in the pellon and create a smooth surface to work on. I haven't tried using photo transfer paper, but it might work. My only concern with this type of transfer is that your iron must be very hot to transfer the photo to the fabric. Would the pellon melt or distort? I'm not sure but it is a possibility. If you do try it, let me know! I'd be interested in hearing your results.

How to do a Gel Transfer to Pellon

Here's a photo of a cute baby that was gel transferred to a pellon swatch that I printed on my inkjet.

Print your graphic (or get a photocopy of it). Make sure that you reverse any lettering in your graphic program before printing. Cut the graphic out. Trim around it leaving the slimmest of borders.

Using your index or middle finger, LIGHTLY coat the printed side of the graphic using Golden Soft Gel. Use a light touch, in a circular motion, over the entire graphic. When the graphic is coated all over, let dry for about 5 minutes.

Repeat the process only this time notice that the gel that you are putting on slides easily but is not slippery. It takes some practice to get just the right touch and right amount of gel but once you master this, you'll never have trouble with gel transfer again! If it feels slippery, just keep spreading the gel around with your finger until it feels slightly dry to the touch.

Next spread another thin film of Soft Gel to the surface you want to transfer to. You will have to work quickly because you want the photocopy transfer to "stick" to the surface you are transfering to. Notice I said "stick", not slide! If it is sliding, you have too much gel on it. Let it dry for a few minutes and try placing it down on your pellon again.

Once your transfer is placed face down, burnish it with a bone folder or the back of a spoon to get a good bond. Be careful though... you don't want to move the transfer nor do you want to tear the paper backing. Okay, now what?

Get a damp piece of paper towel and place it over the back of the transfer to soften the paper backing. Let it sit for a minute and take a peek. Do you see a mottling effect on the back of your transfer where the paper is being softened? That's GOOD! Very gently begin moving your middle finger over this softened area. You want the paper to begin rolling off to reveal the image below. Work slowly and gently. Gel transfers require patience but they are so worth it in the end!

Once your paper backing is all off, you may notice some "white fuzzies" around the edges. You can very gently work at removing these (depends on what your background colour is) or you can use a dab of Dorland's wax over the transfer to remove the last little bits and protect your transfer at the same time.

So what the heck is Dorland's wax? Well, it's one of those art supplies that I think everyone should have in their art "toolbox"... I love this stuff! Everytime I use it, I think back to when I was a kid watching my auntie dip her rag into a can of solid floor wax, spread it evenly on her hardwood floor, letting it dry and then buffing the floor with a soft cloth until it shone so brightly you could just about see your smile in it. Oh, the smell of that wax was wonderful!! Her floors were beautiful and protected from 'wear and tear' for another couple of months! Well Dorland's does exactly the same thing for your gives it a wonderful finish and protects it. There are lots of uses for it. Check out some of these tips on USArtQuest.

Well that's it for today! I hope you have enjoyed this "art adventure" with me in my sandbox.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Please leave me a comment. Comments give me a way to gauge what to do more of, less of or eliminate all together.

Oh and by the way, I'd like to start an art tip of the week section and I could use your help! I don't know about you but I love reading art tips. I know lots of my art buddies do too. I think it would be great to have them all in one place, don't you? If you have any art tips that you use that could benefit your fellow artists, please consider sending them to me at sharonhouse at (@) I will certainly credit you so make sure you include your name, your website address or blog so I can include a link.

I sincerely appreciate hearing from you and many thanks for stopping by my blog! We'll have another play date soon... I promise.

Have a playful, artful weekend... see you next week.