Wednesday, September 10, 2014

prepping for creative workshops



Today the delightful Rebecca Gallop from A Daily Something
visited my new studio space to start planning
a creative workshop here in November.
Details coming in the next few weeks.

Friday, August 22, 2014

StencilGirl and Eileen Hull Inspiration Team Blog Hop


Welcome to the last day of the week-long StencilGirl and Eileen Hull Blog Hop!


All this week members of both design teams have been sharing their creative projects 
using the wonderful products from the StencilGirl and Eileen Hull brand items.

Please click on ALL the blogs on the hop list at the end of this post
to see their inspiring projects and to leave comments for the grand prize drawing!
If you have been following all week, you are here at the last project.
But if you're starting here at the end, please go back and catch up on all the great fun earlier this week.

For my project, a cute little art journal was made with Eileen's
  Sizzix Mini Album die, a favorite of mine.



Click here to see the steps for constructing this quick and simple album, 
using wallpaper and baker's twine, made while I was enduring this last fast-paced month of construction in my new painting studio.


The journal pages in the mini album were cut from white Bristol paper 
with Eileen's album die to be the same size as the journal cover. 
On these pages, I used two StencilGirl stencils in layers:
the 6" square Leaves 6 Stencil and the larger Garden Swirl Stencil.

 

Happily, the 6" leaves stencil is just a little larger than the 5+1/2" die-cut page,
allowing the design to float gently off the edges.


Using a Copic marker (YG03), I filled in the leaves with quick strokes
to allow for some natural shading.

Then, keeping the stencil in place, I highlighted with more Copic markers 
(YG61, B00, and Y17) on the tips of the leaves.
It's really easy to fit the Copic brush tip in the small areas of the stencil.


Next, to add some depth to the overall leaf pattern, 
I laid the leafy areas of the Garden Swirl Stencil over top, 
outlining the stencil shapes with a Derwent Metallic colored pencil 
(Green 91- looks blue), then lightly coloring in where the stencil was solid.


Because this was to be a background for writing,
I faded the colored pencil more by slightly erasing it, leaving the faint metallic imprint.
I know, erasing is not much fun.  But if you listen to some blues guitar, you can better 
get in the rhythm of this little life challenge. :)


Now the pages were ready for doodling and writing encouraging reminders to myself as I slowly move into my new studio space.
You may have to enlarge the photos to better see the effect of the penciled stencil in the background.


To see another mini album made using Eileen's Craffiti barn wood and flower wreath stamps, which I sampled when they were first released, please click here.


GIVEAWAY


Such a great prize package awaits one lucky commenter on this blog hop.
Leave a comment on this blog to be entered to win.
All comments left for the entire week August 18-22 on all blogs in the hop
will be eligible for the grand giveaway prize.
One comment per blog post.
Comments will close Sunday, August 24, at midnight Central Time.
Winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 26.

Today's Blog Hop Order

StencilGirl Talk (see days 1-5)
Pam Keravuori (you are here)

Monday, August 18, 2014

new painting studio in august ♥


Photo:  contemplating a day of quiet gratitude

This year I have been totally consumed with building my new painting studio from scratch.  
When the studio passed its final county inspection just over a week ago, 
after a year of record-winter weather delays, local county inspection delays, 
delivery delays, and general custom construction hiccups,
I was deliriously happy, or maybe just plain delirious ...
and more than a little exhausted.
But also so grateful to have a space all my own.

Photo:  early morning after hanging the chandelier crystals

Although there are still things on order, like track lighting and the remaining window screens, 
I am so happy to share with you a few photos of the blissfully quiet and empty
mostly-finished studio -- before the storm of moving in my supplies.

Photo:  back wall of windows facing the forest

Yes, there are a lot of windows in this painting studio!
After raising 4 children during 27 household moves in and out of the US, 
and living in all kinds of houses and climates on several continents,
I knew I needed elegant simplicity, lots of light, and serene green views.


The bead board walls in the small bathroom are made from the same wood planks 
as the raised wood ceiling in the studio.  Before the ceiling was whitewashed and the 
bathroom painted white, the wood planks looked very much like a Finnish church and sauna.


Over the small back balcony that allows me to step out among the old trees
hangs a huge old brass lantern, now rewired, found in Phoenix.
Old theatre lights from Ohio were rewired to light up the entry landing.


The side entry stairs look like a runway with the county-mandated lighting on each step.



The 1920's Deco farmhouse sink sat in its shipping crate in the middle 
of the floor while it waited installation as my work sink.


To match the wide-plank white oak floor and keep the look from being too heavy,
the library nook has sturdy white oak shelving.


Finally the protective film and shipping labels were removed from the windows,
allowing the sunlight to shine through.




After months of delays, it was an all-out push to finish the studio by the end of July.
We didn't quite make the deadline, but here we were late into the night,
hanging crystals on the chandeliers that drift down the middle of the raised ceiling peak.
We figured out the formula, in case you want to try:
One studio chandelier, two hundred+ crystals, two people, two hours. :)

As my friends tell me, it will take its own good time to feel moved in.
The contractor will be back a few more times with back-ordered items.
I've been pushing and shoving my old green drawers and the drafting table 
and cupboards here and there to test what works.
Meanwhile, my middle son and his young family have been living with us
while he finishes his hospital rotations.
And my youngest son is getting married at the end of August, 
holding the ceremony at my oldest son's jazz bistro, The Beehive, in Boston.

So, let me know if you can rush right over and just visit
and share how wonderful the studio space feels before it get filled up.
Actually, I think I should have had the "studio opening" while it was still
completely empty, because I love it so much that way. :)
 However, the "studio opening" as such is not yet ready to be announced.
Plus, stay tuned for local classes and guest artists teaching in the studio soon.

And may you all have the blessing of a dream coming true!


Monday, June 23, 2014

eileen hull's mini-album die with sizzix


Although I still don't have access to my art supplies while my studio 
is in its last weeks of construction (the painters are re-scheduled for next week), 
I bit the bullet and went shopping for a little more . . . 
not too much more, though, since I do have stacks of stuff,
all of which I'll have to move!  :)   

But enough to start a really quick and really easy project,
using a few papers and scraps, some twine, a knob,
and Eileen Hull's new 
Eileen's Scoreboards XL die will cut through matboard (or chipboard 
or thinner leather) to make a nice sturdy cover.  
The die is also scored along the fold lines, allowing for several depths of spine.  
Plus the die has an indented space to hold any small magnetic die shape with which  
to cut a window in the cover, if you wish.


After die-cutting my cover from matboard, 
I cut a piece of wallpaper large enough to wrap the outside of the cover, 
gluing the wallpaper around to the inside for finished edges.  
Wallpaper is a fun book cover because it is so pliable.  


For the end paper, I die-cut and trimmed down a piece of patterned card stock,
then glued it in place to secure (and hide) the wallpaper edges.  
The cover then folds easily along the pre-scored lines.  
Since I wanted a thicker album, I folded on the two end score lines to make a deeper spine.


Next, using the same die and a collection of patterned scrapbook papers and 
smooth white bristol paper, 
I die-cut the pages for the mini-album.  
To do this, start with papers cut to measure approx 6x12",  then fold each one in half 
and place the fold along the appropriate score line on the die
(depending on the size spine you've chosen).  
Be careful to place the fold just to one side of the score line, so the fold stays uncut.  

For this album, I die-cut 16 papers for 8 signatures of 2 pages each.
For neatness, I die-cut an extra page the same size as the album,
folding it to match the spine, and used it to enclose the signatures.


To attach the die-cut signatures to the album cover, 
I threaded lengths of thick baker's twine through each signature 
and tied them along the spine.  So easy and colorful!
And I can still untie and rearrange the pages as I fill them.




To decorate the cover, I collaged a few scraps of paper, 
punched a hole with my Crop-a-Dile, and inserted a Tim Holtz knob.


The inside title page is white bristol paper on which I lightly gel-transferred
some blue sky in a couple wispy layers, yellow numbers to simulate the sun,
plus some random areas of type, 
all torn a bit haphazardly from some handy Time magazine pages,
then wrote the month, drew a little bird,
 and added my initial on a Dennison label.


During these last few weeks of studio construction,
I hope to fill the pages of my new mini-album with quotes of encouragement
and thoughts of patience,
as I anticipate building my creative "nest" in my new space.


Hope you are enjoying a lovely month of June!

EDIT:  
This hot afternoon (25th) included some waiting time in the car, so I came prepared for a quick doodle in my new journal.  Here's my encouraging reminder for the rest of June, including a serendipitous water-drip emphasis from my Starbucks iced tea cup.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

studio restart button


Around here, the big news today is that I finally pushed the restart button on my "new studio" construction project.  The contractor has been fired (not a simple thing to do) and the head of the company, who remembers my original vision from almost a year ago, has taken over the endlessly-lingering schedule.  With grace and energy, he acknowledged the problems and has promised speedy solutions.  Finally, I can stop butting heads on every single design and materials decision!  It's been tough trying not to be pushed into a conformist square hole at every step, first by the county, then by the weather, and then by the exigencies of standard modern construction.

Until today, progress has been mostly one step forward and two steps back for months.  The contractor made several arbitrary decisions that couldn't afford to be undone.  Fortunately, others have been resolved.  For example, ugly lighting boxes built out from the wood ceiling have once again been recessed and hidden; boxy cladding has been removed from the beams; standard fake-wood molding has been removed from around the windows and the windows smoothed into the walls as originally requested.  The real-wood baseboard-molding battle has gone on for weeks as I insist on my simple but not standard stacking idea.

But I'm persevering with my thinking-in-three-dimensions exercise, even as I try to relax and unclench my jaw.  Maybe the "only-three-more-weeks" refrain I've heard since January will now be true.  Here's a little photo update:

Front south-facing wall with Palladian-style windows and west-side entry

Raised wooden ceiling (a little like a Finnish church) and exposed beams

Back north-facing wall of windows

Back wall opened to the spring forest

Another view of the forest from the back doors

Vintage deco sink for my painting work space

Books waiting to be transferred to my new space

Let's hope this is the end of being tied up by delays and steps backward.  If my studio is really finished and ready to start moving in by the promised three weeks, you'll be the first to know! 




Saturday, May 31, 2014

must life rhyme?


Like many others, I've been re-reading the remarkable poetry of  Maya Angelou. Like many others, I have a certain faith in the turgent power of poems.  Occasionally, I draft a poem myself.  When I started writing poetry, I used the long-hand, crossed-out, legal-pad approach.  Instead, here is today's quick-tap burst, posted quickly in a fit of foolish bravery, destined most likely for revision, rather jumbled like my life right now.  Heh.

Must life rhyme?
Does a shelf need book ends?
Or can our words tumble and climb
From unruly disorderly pens?

Must my story be true?
Do I need to check all the facts?
Or can my evolving point of view
Be elegant and still be relaxed?

Should we stay in lanes
For aligning the politically correct?
How uniformly far will the marching campaigns
Follow feather-plucked and hen-pecked?

Must we drive by on speed-pass?
Shall we take time out to ponder?
Or at day’s end, will I querulously ask
Where was my heart's hot wonder?


Friday, March 14, 2014

new design team with eileen hull


Shortly after Eileen Hull and I met in 2012 and realized we were almost neighbors, we quickly concocted the lovely idea of teaching several classes together with her fabulous 3-D dies that she designs for Sizzix.  Our first class showcased her Sizzix Pro house die, perfect for making a holiday house or village.  With my first class sample, I had such fun painting and lettering the house that I was totally hooked on using Eileen's magical dies to build things I could use as an alternative canvas.


Today, I'm excited to be a member of Eileen's new Design Team for Sizzix, happily "tasked" with finding more ways to incorporate my style with her new dies.  To introduce ourselves, we designers are sharing some of our previous projects and style approaches.  For me, it's appropriate to start with another class project taught with Eileen using her heart box die.  My class samples included a painted candy box (above) and another deeper box that I built up from the same die and covered like a suitcase with a hinged top (below).  It's pretty amazing to me how much you can manipulate her dies, changing materials and adjusting for many uses.  Oh, and the paper flowers on both boxes were made from another Eileen Hull die called flower layers w/heart petals.



Since I love to doodle and letter (including in my art journals), I'll be looking for more ways to do so on my Design Team projects for Eileen.  Below are samples from my doodling class "Doodle Ink" taught at Handmade U in Omaha (next semester is coming up), another sample from my lettering class "Doodle Amour" taught at French General in LA, followed by some doodled song lyrics.





More of my doodling efforts are included in Jenny Doh's Craft-a-Doodle book and in Amy Powers' many crafty Inspired Ideas ezines.  


Right now, but hopefully for not much longer, all of my painting and journaling and die-cutting supplies are stacked in teetering piles in my dining room while my new studio is being built.  It will be a dream made real for me to finally have a place to paint and create without stealing time and space, often running out of both.  And what fun to be on Eileen's Design Team to start things rolling, just in time for this long-awaited spring!

Journal page in progress





You, too, can share your favorite projects and join the monthly "Art with Heart" kickoff challenge hosted by Sizzix Designer Eileen Hull and Design Team coordinator Amy Bowerman.  Just link your blog post to Eileen's site for a chance to win!