Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sketchbook Pages: Seven (Little) Things I Love

I didn't take too many "in progress" photos of this page, but I really like how it turned out. The colours are lovely, and the layers really hold your attention. Again, like yesterday's page: lots of favourite supplies and techniques and no plan before jumping in.

I started this page almost immediately after finishing the Purple Musings spread. After journaling on that spread, I really wanted to start another right away. Lucky for me, I often mix more paint then I need for a project and smear the rest onto random journal pages. This was one of them. I don't even remember what I used the pinks for originally... regardless, they ended up on this spread (probably over a year ago). Eventually, from another page in the book, some black ink seeped through and made an interesting Rorschach along the top crease (pro and con for taping the spine before using ink!).

Layering washi tape on both pages (and holding it all down with a layer of matte medium) was my first step. I used all my pink / purple tape, along with some black, yellow and orange:
Next, I toned everything down with a translucent collage using tissue paper in a lovely peach (that totally matched the paint!) and handmade paper (packing paper painted with gesso circles and dots). I added some texture with a triangle stencil and some gesso and then pulled out my white Sharpies. I figured some circles would work well with those on the handmade paper, so I drew some in, along with doodles in both white and gold. The seven circles made me want to fill them with words, so I decided to do "Seven Favourite Things". I started out with a grey Sharpie but didn't like the lack of contrast, so I went over the words with black. Some black doodles and black and white rub-on borders and I called it a page:

  1. paint (pinks, leftover from other projects)
  2. black India ink (inadvertently seeped through from another page)
  3. washi tape
  4. collage (tissue paper and handmade paper - hand-painted packing paper)
  5. triangle stencil and gesso 
  6. doodles (white and gold Sharpies)
  7. journaling and doodles (grey and black Sharpies)
  8. rub-ons
  • gesso
  • acrylic paint
  • India ink
  • stencil (triangles)
  • washi tape
  • tissue and handmade papers
  • Sharpies (white, gold, black, grey)
  • rub-ons

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sketchbook Pages: Purple Musings

As promised, here is the first of the three Amber altered book pages I showed you yesterday. The purple one. I started this one on January 12 and finished it two days later:
So happy with how this spread turned out! I had no thoughts on where I wanted to this page to go (in contrast to the Days of the Week spread I will show you later this week)... I just went with it, one step at a time... and so the outcome was a bit of a surprise (but not really), displaying a few of my favourite techniques (and supplies).

Here is where I started:
I started on a pre-gesso'd page and collaged random papers ripped from my desk: lined paper on which I had quickly jotted down some goals for 2014 (using two different pens, as evidenced by their reaction to the gel medium I used as glue), tissue paper in a pale lilac and handmade papers (in a darker mauve and shipping paper painted in blue/white by me).

Next, I layered on some colour and patterns with gelatos (metallic purple) and Neocolour II (watercolour wax crayons in purple, pink and blue).
Then I "drew" some circles in purple India ink and let them drip. Almost immediately, I spotted some black magazine "rip-outs" with white graphics.... so... tear and add (placed but not glued in first photo below). Topped by washi tape, of course:

After that, finishing was a piece of cake. Doodles, rub-ons, doodle/journaling. DONE!

  1. Gesso
  2. collage (tissue paper and handmade paper)
  3. gelato washes and Neocolor II doodles
  4. collage (patterned paper)
  5. India ink circles and drips
  6. washi tape
  7. Sharpie doodles
  8. rub ons
  9. journaling
Supplies used:
  • gesso
  • Golden soft gel medium (matte)
  • ephemera (magazine cutouts / pages, patterned paper, tissue paper, handmade paper)
  • gelato and Neocolor II
  • India ink (purple)
  • washi tape
  • Sharpies (white, silver, black) and black pens (two different Pilot pens)
  • rubons (Christy Tomlinson)
Not bad for a quick and dirty mixed-media sketchbook page, if I do say so myself (and I just did)!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sketchbook Pages: Amber Altered Book

One of my 28 List goals is to completely fill my altered Amber book (by August 2014). I've been working hard at that this month and finished three page spreads in the last two weeks. I'll show you all three in more detail, but here's a sneak peak along with some Amber stats:

Purple Musings:

Seven (Little) Things I Love:

A Week in the Life:

Amber stats:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Project 52: January: Weeks 1 to 4

I decided to try another Project 52. As I've done before, I just want this to be a simple and easy way to push myself to use my camera more often. To keep improving my photography skills. No pressure, no theme. Just a photo a week.

Here are the first four weeks:

Week 1 : a new piece from an artist friend (Deana)

Week 2 : supplies on my craft desk

Week 3 : the cute Norfolk Island pine on my window sill

Week 4 : a favourite winter ornament (Jim Shore)

Already, I'm seeking better light, though I must confess I'm looking forward to the brighter sun of spring!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter 2014 Goals

Well, I wasn't going to do this... but winter is here for another two months. So... I guess I should post some winter goals:

  1. Read the eight books on my winter reading list.
  2. Go skating as often as possible.
  3. Get back into yoga.
  4. Make soup from scratch.
  5. Organize paper in office (go through filing system).
  6. Go through clothing and donate everything I don't wear or doesn't fit.
  7. Cook recipes from November, December, January and February Bon Appétit magazine.
  8. Make and blog a Valentine's day craft.
  9. Paint / experiment with Josée's guestbook painting.
  10. Finish two blocks in the 2013 Woodland Sampler.
Nothing too extravagant... nothing I can't accomplish. And completely in line with my 2014 and 28 List goals. Bring it on, winter!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happiness is Making Friends

First off: my mom is obsessed with snowmen. In a good way! (Well... not according to my dad, but that's just a bit of an inside joke: he and my brothers make a point of "counting" them each year and there are definitely over 100...) Many of her Christmas decorations feature snowmen and if they aren't too "Christmas-y" then they stay out for the whole winter season. In fact, she even has some that stay out year round because they're so cute. And a few of them have names...

OK, that makes it seem like a bit of a problem, but it's all in fun! And invariably, she receives at least one more snowman each year as a gift. This year, as soon as I saw this pattern in the 2013 Holiday Crafts magazine, I knew I had to make it for her. It was perfect!
All I could think while stitching this up was what my dad's reaction would be: "they've learned to multiply!!!" Hahaha!
I used good quality linen in a natural colour as the background and various embroidery floss from my stash. I stayed almost true to the pattern, altering a few things here and there to suit my taste (the top tree branches weren't supposed to be crossed like the rest, his scarf was supposed to be striped red and green, the white should be light blue and his nose was bigger and less cute plus the small differences arising from tracing a pattern to paper then to fabric).

Mom's reaction? Priceless! (Yes, I believe she cried when she found out I made it!)
So good! Definitely makes me want to create more gifts for birthdays and holidays this year!

Did you make any gifts over the holidays? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Word of the Year

I finally settled on my word of the year for 2014 (pun intended!).


This word came to me almost immediately when I first started thinking about what my word for 2014 should be. I hummed and hawed over it for weeks though, unsure about the negative connotations often associated with the word. "Settling" for something or someone is often thought of in a bad way - if only one put more effort or initiative or something into "it", then "it" could be so much better.

But settle means so much more than that, so many positive things! And no matter how long I spent on, I just couldn't find a better synonym for the feeling I was going for.

This year is about settling for me - in all the best possible ways: settle in, settle down debt, settle into a healthy routine, settle down, settle. Basically, settle into being an adult (instead of the kid-pretending-to-be-an-adult, as I often feel). Time to grow up (again, in the best possible way)!

What's your word of the year?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013 In Review: Photos and Sketchbook Pages

Now, I must admit - these photos (and photos of sketchbook pages) were chosen directly from my Flickr account. That means they are only part of the photos and sketchbook pages I've posted on this blog. There are many more to choose from - but honestly, just the thought of going through them all exhausts me completely. So here are my favourites that are easiest at hand! 

Favourite Photos 

Hyacinth - February 4

She Background - February 25

Window Garden - April 23

Bow River - May 15

Drumheller - May 20

Humber Arboretum - July 14

October Sunrise - October 27

Winter in Verner - December 26

Favourite Sketchbook Pages

Goddess, Sketchbook Collaboration - January 12

Grow - January 26

You Make Me Smile - February 14

She Art Sketches - February 19

Mr. & Mrs. Lapin - March 18

Ducklings - March 21

Eggs - April 14

Playing with Gelatos - May 7

July 9 - Feel Good

Sunset Fields - July 15

Experiments in White - August 25

Using Up Paint - September 29

Colourful Instincts - October 1

Positively Serious - October 27