Monday, May 29, 2006

Yuri's B-day

My friend Yuri's b-day was last week but we weren't able to get together until tomorrow so I have yet again underestimated the amount of time it takes to do something! I've been working on his presents most of this afternoon until... oh, now. :) I made him a bracelet from one of my favorite tin cans of all time, a treacle can from England, and a mosaic mirror. He's Mexican-American and he loves to travel and recently took two large trips. One to England and one to Mexico, I wanted to incorporate these milestones into his present, hence the bracelet and Mexican themes in his mirror. I really hope he likes it. I included some glass pebbles, crowns and a milagro in the piece which should cover everything he likes... jewelry, sparkly-ies and sparkly crowns!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


These are some of my new favorite necklaces to wear. They were the charms I made when practicing in the soldering for Virgins class Sally Jean taught. I really love the simplicity of them but the little girl with the initial charm is a favorite and I think I made it in about 30 seconds just to have something to solder. It just goes to show you that sometimes thinking to much can really get in the way!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Loooong Week

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. This has been a rough week. It's been fun after work, catching up with people but it really makes itself felt when you're only getting a few hours a night. Last night we went to a screening of X-men 3, it was great, but my husband likes to point out that I'm a huge geek... it's mostly true. Tonight, we met friends for dinner and then went to see Kinky Boots. I can't recommend this enough! It was fabulous and I can't wait to get the soundtrack!

This weekend I'm using it for inspiration to make a b-day present for a friend of mine, he'll love it! I also want to make a collage piece using milagros and Mexican ephemera mixed with clay tiles, as he is Mexican-American, and I think he would really appreciate an homage to his roots.

I'll keep you posted. Have a great Friday and a safe weekend!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mom's Collage

I posted back in February a collage I did for my Dad as part of his b-day and it's got his baby picture on it, I think it's really cute. My Mom called a few weeks ago and requested her own collage and I was swamped with several other projects ... and kinda forgot... until now and I finally did it last night when I was having trouble sleeping. Note: staple gunning at midnight when hubby's sleeping is really just asking for trouble! Anyway, I finished it last night and my husband just needs to make the frame and it'll be ready to ship north to Mom.

I should explain that my Mom is ultra-feminine and girly. For Mother's day one of the things we got her was a hot pink polka dotted faux fur lined dog carrier so she could carry her 6 lb bichon around with her... yeah, Nikki and Maya the Akita are not friendly. :) I wanted her collage to be reflective of her personality so this is what I made. Pink and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations and the colors go perfectly with the rose. My mom has loved roses and worn a floral/rose scent for years so I always think of her when a smell roses.

I hope she likes it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mixed Media Herbal Collage

Over the last couple of days I've been working on a collage piece using a large tile I made when I was in my tile making frenzy. I added a button and covered the black clay in pearl-ex prior to baking then I went through several ideas of what to use inside of it. I originally wanted to find a renaissance or Elizabethan period costume and add charms but I decided to search through a reproduction herbal book I have (it's okay to cut up and use for art... Maya chewed most of the pages and completely destroyed the cover when we first got her) and I found an image I liked and added it to the wood base. I decided to keep using my new found border technique with the torn paper, I used vintage sheet music a friend gave me, but added paint and charcoal pencil rubbing to add texture and interest. I finished it off with cut out text of a German herbal and decided I really liked how it turned out.

I'm sure it's still not to hubby's taste but maybe I'm getting closer!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Viola.. I have a mirror!

I finished my brother's mirror today and I'm just letting everything sit up and harden overnight but then it's ready... I'm kind on the ball with Christmas gifts since it's just May but I've been making tiles for two weeks so it does require a little pre-planning. I'm absurdly proud of myself and how it turned out. The thousands of tiny cuts on my fingers was entirely worth it. Now I just hope he likes it. My husband looked at it and said, "that looks like a lot of work" to which I replied "Yep , you hate it right?". He looked very sweet and thoughtful and replied that it was not to his taste but they would love it. So I appreciate that he recognizes the hard work and clearly the hint here is don't make us one and hang it in a high traffic area where he has to see it. :) I want to make a version of it in creams, pinks and chocolates with a Parisian girly twist... we'll see how it turns out.

I highly recommend taking Laurie Mika's class if you ever get that chance, she's great about really telling you what works and what doesn't. She's also inspiring and pushes you to work outside your normal comfort zone. Her class was really fabulous so, thanks Laurie!

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Plethora of Tile

So I've taken pictures of the tiles I'm making for my brother's mirror and they have over run the kitchen! As I said in an earlier post I want to have lots of choice to play and swap them in and out. I think the colors are turning out really pretty and I feel especially artistic when I get to play with paint and brushes. The Betty Boop-like tile is for a project for a friend of mine and I like the dice stamp. I put seed beads in for the dots on the die to add a little sparkle...gotta have the sparkle!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mother-in-law's Mother's Day Card

I just realized I never posted my mil's card. I think it's kind of cute to go along with my Mom's card. The only problem is that they're never seen as a pair... oh well, they're a pair in my mind and on the blog. I had a lot of fun tearing all the elements and piecing them together. Ripping paper helps get rid of any frustrations you might've had for the day!

Mentioning of frustrations reminds me that my hubby is being really, really patient with me as I've taken over the kitchen in my making of polymer clay tiles. I have a couple of specific projects and gift projects in mind and I really want to have an overabundance of tiles to choose from so I can pick just the right one. You know, like shoes. :)

He's a very sweet man and even I'll do a post-Mother's Day thank you to his Mom, she did a great job!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Paris Panels

This is what we made in class today for Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. A lot of people made very romantic and vintage family panels but I was really moved to do something focusing on Paris ... maybe I finally got a chance to focus on the theme of the retreat and really embrace the romance and magic of Paris. I had a great time making these pieces and am really happy with how they turned out. I'm really getting the hang of soldering although I'm starting to become slightly phobic about jump rings! I've learned to just be patient and keep working until they work out.

A good friend of mine took the class with me and it was a blast. She's got a great sensibility and is an amazingly talented artist in her own right. She makes gorgeous stained and fired glass pieces. I'm lucky enough to have a piece she made for me. Having a friend in the class really made it fun and helped keep us motivated as 6 collage pieces could be kind of a challenge. I don't usually make that many pieces as once. Sally Jean also encouraged us to work outside the box and do something different than our usual style. All in all, I'm really happy with my finished piece.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Art is being done!

I haven't had too much time to post as I've been over-run with art to-do's with all the good inspiration from Art & Soul. I took Sally Jean's Soldering for Virgins class on Sat morning and learned a valuable lesson that tools really can have a huge impact on your work. I've been really frustrated by soldering (see earlier posts) and jump rings were a nightmare but I used one of her soldering irons and it was a breeze. All her pointers and tips worked great and now I can't wait to make the upgrade. I've gone a little nuts with the art purchases lately so it could be a while before I make the soldering iron investments.

In the meantime, I stayed up half the night last night working on polymer clay tiles. I really am inspired to work on a mirror using the techniques I learned from Laurie Mika. I've even been working on deconstructing the tin cans like Opie O'Brien demonstrated but that will take a little more practice and maybe wrangling the hubby into it.

I am having a great time with the art break but am a little manic in my goals for getting stuff started and just playing. I love my new job but dread going back to that routine and the long hours that make it really hard to find studio time. I love spending the afternoon painting tile pieces while background boards dry and new tiles are in the oven. I daydream about making this work beyond presents for friends with a few sold pieces here and there but I can barely make the time to get a couple of projects a week done and then the flood of questions about how realistic that is and is it fair to even contemplate that kind of thing given the sacrifices we'd have to make as a family... oh well, I have one more day of art goodness with Sally Jean's Mr. Roger's Neighborhood class I'm taking with a friend tomorrow so I'll have even more great art inspiration!

Hope you had a great weekend guys.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Art and Soul Retreat

I've gone to two classes at the Art & Soul Retreat here in Dallas and they have both been fantastic! Thursday was Linda & Opie O'Brien's Tintastic which was amazing. I purchased a small anvil for the class and used! It's awesome to now own and utilize and anvil... seriously, I may have crossed into some kind of weird cartoon twilight zone with my love of my new anvil. I'll have to take a picture but for now, I've got photos of the class and the bracelet I made. This experience was amazing as these are two unbelievably talented people who have a real passion for art and creating. They were encouraging and inspiring so it made for a wonderful environment... take their class if you ever get the chance.

Today, I took Laurie Mika's Mosaic Icons, also fabulous, and I have tiles in the oven as we speak. Laurie did a great job of teaching us to trust the process and if we hate it, wipe it off and start over. She has a great spirit and truly encouraged all of us. I'm really happy with how my project turned out and am trying to keep up with all the great art ideas she's inspired.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Slow and steady

I'm working on this philosophy for a few days to see how it goes. I usually do things in a fit of frenetic energy and then am wiped out and veg. I'm working on taking it slower and working on a few cross-functional kinds of things like art and cooking for next week when I'm too tired to do it at 7. So far, it's kind of ok. I had dinner almost completely done tonight because I made it last night but I'm now cramming in Mother's Day cards because I didn't do it last night... so maybe not so ok. :)

Here's my Mom's card... good thing she doesn't know about the blog! I was in a vintagey floral feeling, which is very much my Mom, so I hope she likes it. Tomorrow, hubby's Mom's card.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

... and this is Abby

I had my test on Friday and it was about what I expected. I had to get blood drawn multiple times, 6 times over 5 hours, and it doesn't sound too bad until you realize "you only have the two arms (Malcolm Reynolds in "Firefly"... my husband's right,I'm just a big geek...)" and after about the 2nd time, they get a little sore so by the time I got the 3rd draw in the left arm, even the technician freely admitted that this was going to hurt. She was right. Also, I'm getting this test because I get all wonky if I don't eat at certain periods of time or if I don't eat so the test is administered after a 10 hour fast (overnight) then you drink sugary syrup that takes like orange kool-aid made with cane syrup and don't eat for another 5 hours... not good. Go figure that they warn you that you're going to be nauseous ... they left out cranky, irritable and exhausted. I crashed hard when I got home but the very sweet husband came home to take care of me and I had the puppies laying over me as extra lovey blankets... can't beat that. I'm working on getting over being a whiny baby but my arms are still bruised and I'm thinking of developing a needle phobia... yeah, working on the whinning right now. Sorry.

I'm hoping to get back to the art work tomorrow. I've made a few collage pieces I want to add to beaded necklaces and I hope to get it done tomorrow.

I need to get past all of the test ickiness to get jazzed for Art and Soul. My first class is on Thursday with the O'Briens so it should be a great class. I'll post pics.

As for the subject line, this is my other baby who was our first puppy and she's really gorgeous. Abby is also super soft and thinks she's a 10lb lap dog. It's kind of funny to watch her try and curl up on hubby's lap.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Say hi to Maya

So I had to go to the dr's office today for a routine med check... basic stuff. But I gave her a little bit off an update on how I feel and now I have to have a glucose tolerance test (drink sickly sweet sugary stuff and get blood drawn after each dose.... 6 times) and an upper GI (drink the icky chalky stuff while they move you around to see, via x-ray, how the liquid moves). I know this isn't a huge deal and that lots of people are way worse off but sometimes it just feels like a lot and I really think it's okay to whine a little about getting blood drawn 6 times in a row within a few hours and I'm guessing only from my right arm since my left has no veins worth sticking so this is me being not happy with little art to show for my troubles.

I am however, posting a picture of one of our puppies, Maya who may be one of the sweetest beings on the planet. Abby is adorable but at her core, she's her own puppy but Maya, Maya wants nothing more than to make you happy and give lots of kisses... and this is how you know it's going to be okay.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Italian Post

That's what I think of when I look at the piece. I'm hoping to make it the centerpiece of a necklace once it's soldered with jump rings. I love this set of stamps from Stampington that has faces, tags and tickets since they work great on lots of things. This one couldn't have been easier and the hubby pointed out that I'm getting better at these... high praise there (seriously!).

My photoshop has gone wonky so I added these without cropping. It's the front and back of the same piece.