Friday, December 30, 2011

Be Protected of the Gods

We're nearing the end of one period of time and just about to enter a new period. I've been thinking of beginnings and how a different or 'new' attitude to a same thing, a thing known, can transform it into a new thing, a thing unknown. Like a new period of time, or a new life in fact.

This post inspired me very much this day and so I found myself digging out an egg I'd made years ago from papier mache (I made the mold from plaster of paris from a hand sculpted egg shape) and painted with a coating of gesso and then splattered with a toothbrush with acrylics in lilac, pale and dark brown and a whisper of grey. I'd applied lettering in a phrase in french which I've long forgotten the meaning of and so when I went to google for translation it gave me this: "Be protected of the Gods." So I'm going with that.

May all of you have a pretty fantastic New Years' celebration however you do it. Be safe. Be loved. See you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rolodex Art Love

Right smack dab in the middle of the season's preparations...the gift making and wrapping and card writing and stollen baking...I discover and fall in love with altered rolodex cards.
So I have to get involved immediately with two rolodex card swaps. There's no waiting even for a moment. Here's my first card (I made one similar and mailed it to my swap partner already!)

Here's the underside of the second card I made. This partner wanted 2012 on the card somewhere so I made the "Fig." reference number 2012. That should suffice.

As kismet would have it, two weeks ago I was at my favorite local thrift store and I asked the stock person if they ever get in any rolodex card holders and he said rarely but they do come in sometimes. Well I'd been looking for months actually so I just thought to myself that I'd have to be more diligent. Not even 10 minutes later the worker came onto the loudspeaker asking if the lady wanting the rolodex was still in the store. I was and got THIS holder for $2.99 complete with a full load of cards. New, they cost $60.00 so I'm pretty happy.

This is the main side of the second card. I'd found this old wrapping paper with a pink background and glued that down onto the card and just went from there. The 'butterfly' image dictated the direction.

So it is back to bird making now (home made presents this year!). Nice to see you; we'll talk soon I hope.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Gift of Time

These days when time seems to be at a premium it is even more important to give the gift of it. Time that is. I don't mean humongous chunks of it. Little bits spread out all over the place is what I am thinking of. The tiny moment it takes to give a smile to a person who looks like they might not even have had human conversation for the whole day. The time it takes to notice that the dog tied up by the thrift store is eying your potato chip bag with those hungry eyes and for you to grab a handful and drop it in front of the pooch. The time it takes to listen to a complaining neighbor even though you've heard it a hundred times. I mean to really listen to her. With eye contact. And nods. The time it takes to teach the other neighbor how to make home made bread. From scratch. And so you decide to make stollen because that's what she was wanting to make in the first place. And you share a sip of the brandy used for the stollen, with her.

I'd been thinking of these things lately. Because I don't have a lot of money. And I wished that I could give everybody a box of chocolates and a long-stemmed rose this holiday season. So I give what I can...a bit of time, and something hand made by me. To them. With love.

I came across this post. An impossibly wonderful giveaway where in order to have a chance to win her you must write a bit on your blog about what is meaningful to you this holiday season. This is what is meaningful to me. The gift of time.

Here is a picture of Virginia and I'm praying that she will come to live with me. I love her so.

Hoping that today brings you all that you hope for, *smiles* Norma

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Bar Swap

My package to Orit is being put together and will be in the mails today! Here's my goodies side by side with what she sent to me!

Now that I've taken the photo I can open Orit's package of chocolate. Oh heaven!!

This swap was hosted by LaWendula,a wonderful blog friend who hosts an ongoing monthly paper swap but who occasionally throws in a special event like this chocolate swap.

Giveaway for you!

Well I did complete the altered coaster Seasonal ornament.

And this was so much fun to do. If I had more time I'd redo the writing as my 'hand' is rusty. But I gave it a generous Tim Holtz treatment and wiped it back with sandpaper and gouged it with a knife to age it so now it isn't so strikingly imperfect.

Just leave a comment on this post and I'll draw a name on Sunday December 11th in the evening.

Now it is back to the bird making routine around here. See you soon! *smiles* Norma

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Season's Greetings Giveaway

The other day while walking down the ally behind my studio I came upon this wooden butter mold laying on the ground by a dumpster. At least I think it is a butter mold. There's a handle on it and the whole thing is very smooth. So I took it home, scrubbed it clean, and...

Now it is a holder for my calligraphy pens and inks.

So it sits on my work table and of course inspired me to stop what I was doing immediately (bird making) and begin a piece with some sort of script writing (which I have not done for a very long time.) I decided to make an altered coaster ornament for the season festivities. I began by painting a wee angel.

And she will be the center of the coaster and I will finish this piece hopefully today to be given away so watch for the notice! *smiles* Norma

To see what other fabulous artists are up to drop by here!

Nice to see you again, and may this day be all that you hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mario rocks my world!

Here he is at his finest. My love Mario. Every year around this time I dig out the Christmas Season records and let him sing to me loudly. This makes me happy as I am cutting, and gluing, and pasting my home made presents and baking the stollen.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Birds have flown...

I've completed the birds and they are off to the store to eventually live with their new owners. My daughter who is a great photographer, shot these images:

You can see that each bird has its' own number and also a word of inspiration. Now I am ready to begin an altered rolodex card swap. I am so excited about this idea.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making an ornament from a coaster.

Here is the coaster complete but it will need a hanging cord added later. This is one of two ornaments that will be sent to my swap partner in the Ornament Swap hosted by Harmony Road Studio!

To start, add layers of text from any source you like, using Mod Podge or whatever glue you like to use. To the left you can see the coaster advertisement I received in the mail recently. To the right you can see layers of paper. I let the paper overlap at the edges. When the glue dries I just cut the overlaps flush with the edge of the coaster. Later everything will be covered along the edges with glue and glitter. That will seal everything around the edge areas.

Here's some sources of images that I liked: a page from a children's book, and an old Christmas card filled with lovely animals celebrating. I'll use some of these images to guide me.

Here you can see that I've begun painting in the image with acrylic and pencil crayons, and have started thinking about how I want to embellish. In this case, a sparkly branch hanging down from the top of the decoration. I painted in a blue sky background but left areas blank so I could see a bit of the original illustration as I was working. I use used tea bag paper and place it directly on top of the original illustration. In between I place a chunk of plastic from packaging so that I can paint with acrylics right over top of the plastic so I don't ruin the original illustration in the book! What I aim for are two things and two things ONLY. Line and brush strokes. I try not to copy per se. Your painting is not going to be 'like' the original but will have strong lines and interesting brush strokes so will have some semblance of being 'arty.'

Keep your pencils sharp but press very lightly if you are using used tea bag paper!

Now I can really see what the ornament might look like, and I'm starting to get excited. The painting part is finished and I've placed a twig to see what that will look like; and dug out distressing pads and glitter.

Now that the painting part is complete, I'm gluing the image which is painted onto used tea bag paper right on to the coaster which had been covered with text. Again, let the edges overlap the coaster. I use a brayer to get rid of air bubbles.

The decoration is almost finished but I noticed that the sky area up top will be a bit boring so I decide to add some words for interest. Place a whole torn out page from an old book [old books that are yellowed with age are the best] and just type in the margin areas, the words you want. In this case I typed: Yes, we're going to a party-party!

Listening to seasonal movies playing in the background and having a sip of something delicious nearby while you are working is entirely optional!

Thanks for dropping by! *smiles* Norma

If you want to see more art from great creative folk go here! Every Wednesday you can see what people are doing!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ATC: Amelie wearing lace collar

Another old a.t.c. I made for a swap. Just putting a visual up for you while I'm cutting and pasting and gluing on my worktable. This card features scherenschnitte which is so dramatic hey? See you soon, Norma

Friday, November 4, 2011

autumn fairy atc-artdoll

I forgot all about this. Back when I was doing a.t.c.s I did a few in this style. But it holds up well I think. The ivy leaves and burning bush leaves are among my fav. pressed fleurs to use in art.
This little treasure reminds me about fall and fall feelings. Have a great weekend everyone! *smiles* Norma

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One, Two, Three Birds

On my workdesk (well I'm working on the library table presently) are birds, birds, birds.

I showed my birds to a store owner (consignment) and she placed an order for 24 birds on the spot. I've 10 days to make them!

See the fluff on the table in front of them. Those are the armatures of birds. You can imagine they take hours and hours to make.

I make them because I love them. Each has a quote for inspiration, such as: Fulfillment is found in daily life; and, Every moment is an opportunity; and, I am ready for life's surprises. These quotes are on the body but each bird always has a number with a separate word of inspiration that are hanging from the leg. It's my artsy version of 'banding.'

Well thanks for popping in! *smiles* Norma

To see more fabby worktables filled with wonderful things go here!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Altered Matchbox Swap!

Karla! You outdid yourself! I received the Halloween package containing the altered matchbox you made for me. I cannot even describe all of the goodies in there. How did you ever stuff them all in that package?! Granted some lovelies were on the outside as we were allowed for this swap, but really it is amazing what you managed to fit into this goody bag for me!

I love my Halloween chic flat paper artdoll. Her face is oh so green with a delicate golden shimmer overlay. Her spider logo on her top is fabby! Spiders rule!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the bit inside of the covering case she came in and the paint decor you gave it is spookily chic! Love the gold trim. Your recycling design sense is over the top. Love the paint chip idea.

You can believe I am going to brew a cuppa 'Autumn Spiced Tea' [pumpkin spice] while I sit and enjoy the small accordion book you made with a matching cover for it to snug in to.

The variety of jewellery and boxes and tidbits are delicious! I have a little 'day of the dead' vignette set up in my hallway and the fuzzy leg bejewelled spider has joined the frey there. The spider captured in the tin is great too!

And I will put the special stash of glitter to good use around here.

Thanks again Karla! You are a creative force!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A surprise mail day!

You know there must be some lovely quote I can find to describe the wonderful feeling a friend gives one! Just by being themselves; who they are! But then they go and 'do' somthing that just adds to the good feeling and so it is with a lovely art friend, Firuzan. Look what she surprised me with in the mail the other day!
The package was ripped open (by me in a state of excitement) and inside, a treasure stash of fabby things: handmade jewellery made by Firuzan, and wire sculptures that are so small and so sweet that she also designs and makes, a bracelet of curled cinnamon bark and one of whole cloves, lovely tidbits of seeds, seedpods, dried berries and acorns (Turkish acorns with hats very different from Canadian ones!), a hand sewn silk bag with delicate tassels on the drawstring filled with glass beads (they look like fisheyes),

and a little package of whole coffee beans that smells like chocolate, and a big bag of already ground for a turkish coffee maker coffee (real Turkish coffee!!),

and a stone in the perfect shape of a real egg,

and 3 more heart rocks! Well 2 heart rocks and one that I think may be green glass. It is a perfect green heart that is transparent in a wave-swept way. These I will add to my bowl of heart rocks that Firuzan had already sent to me a few months ago!
She also enclosed a greeting card with a warm message, and pictures of her magical garden, and flowers, and gold edged leaves and all wrapped up in tulle! Olive green and brown tulle.

My heart is bursting with joy! Thank you Firuzan!

To see her art and magic spot go here!

p.s. I found a quote. There are many suitable but this one spoke for me today:

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul"


Thursday, October 20, 2011

And, all the leaves must fall...

Today I did something I've been thinking about doing for years and years. And the years pass by and I have to wait for another year to do it. I've wondered what it would be like to press leaves from one sole tree and put them in one spot as an installation so to speak. A friend had told me about an installation she attended where the artist had collected and pressed leaves so that they completely filled a file cabinet pull out drawer. Each drawer had a different species of leaf! Can you only imagine!!!! It's haunted me for years now. I want my own cabinet of leaves. But if I get enough of one kind to maybe store in a box, that will be my version of the installation idea.
Here's the chosen (maple leaf with smallish and fancy shaped leaves) tree:

Here's one bag of leaves. Hundreds it looks like. Who knows. I didn't take the time to count because by the time I got home the leaves were beginning to dry out and curl and not want to easily lay flat in a book. I disgarded a bunch because of this.

Here's a teaser. I did a few in the microwave press. It gives you an idea of the colors. Quite a lot of yellows and rich reds. No greens whatsoever. I do love the combination of rich dark green with deep strong yellow. This tree does not provide those. Nothing is perfect hey?

My goal is to use the leaves as a resource for color choice(s) in my artwork.

Nice to see you again,
Thanks for dropping in! Talk soon,*smiles* Norma

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bird Construction Zone

On my worktable (ahem! I mean my daughter's dining room table) is the panorama that is bird making in progress!
This pink robin is awaiting a coat of black paint on its' beak; then a light sprinkling of silver acrylic. AND the all important coating of glitter along its' back. Then it'll be banded (number of bird) and will be ready to fly! Well, after the legs get a coat of something that will cover the yellow string and shiny metal, and a hanging thread strung, that is...

Cut, sew, glue, cut, sew, glue, cut, sew, glue...

An early starling joins the fray! Each bird gets its' own armature!!

I am so excited! I finally scrunched up enough nerve to contact a retail outlet to see if they might be interested in selling my birds...and they want to meet me to see them in person. I'm nervous and excited all at once. So I am in full on bird making mode. BUT MY DAUGHTER GETS BACK TOMORROW! (Can you hear the pounding timbal in the background? No, wait, that is my heart!) Time to clean up!

Thanks for dropping by! *smiles* Norma

To see more fabulous artists who show us what is on their workdesk today, drop in here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Flock of Seagulls

Make that one seagull, one starling, one dove (use your imagination~he's generic), and two house sparrows.

What's wrong with these pictures! EVERYTHING! And that is why they made it to this post. Because today is 'Failure Friday!' I came across this post and just loved it so. This very day I'd planned on saving some failures in my bag; and so timing is everything here. In actual fact, I've already 'saved' a lot of what is wrong but I keep giving away the birds I make so never have any on hand. First, all beaks get a kiss of silver or gold acrylic. I mean a 'kiss.' All eyes are no longer a seed bead because they roll over. Now I use bugle beads that have a flat plane to rest on. And I've developed a technique for construction so that the eyes don't have to go through the ordeal of being manipulated through a sewing machine phase. Believe me they don't want to have to go through the sewing machine phase. The best 'save' is the seagull feet. I was originally (this is my very first prototype in fact) going for feet that kind of bend back (you know how pathetic bird feet are of deceased birds? The kind that pull your heartstrings) but these are ridiculous. I wanted some bulk in the legs so wrapped them in fabric. Forget that noise. I've figured out the feet on my birds.
Each bird I make has a number (like on real birds who are banded with a metal ring on their leg) as well as a word or two of 'inspiration' such as JOY or LOVE, etc. These are inspirational birds after all. I painstakingly hammered the metal letters to spell the word on used aluminum can metal. Forget it; they break in two in no time at all (by the way for folk who are reading this who have received one of my birds as a gift, I apologize for the breakage; if it's happened to your bird). Now I am going to try banding them with paper. It's a work in progress let's just say.
The glitter is heavy and rubbing bare in some places. Wrong kind of glue. I've got that sorted too! And that dove? Skinny as a rail. Maybe he is not a dove after all. We'll have to see.

So there can be a lot wrong with one's art. Someone once said something like: "Art is just figuring out problems." I like that.

Thanks for dropping by! *smiles* Norma

p.s. for those wondering when their birds will arrive; know I haven't forgotten you!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Witch

She is waiting to be made. Her bits and pieces surround her earlier today.

She stands made. Looking out of the gothic window at who knows what? A magic pumpkin coach arriving to take her to a party perhaps.

At the window in the next room a bride catches her breath.

Thanks for dropping by to see what I am working on today. To see other fantastic artists pop on over to this site. Every Wednesday it is a party!

*smiles* Norma


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