Thursday, August 28, 2008

Faux Metal, Design Team project.....and my Dad

I'll start with the raffle atc that I made for Tuesday night's Faux Metal class at Scraptivate which was won by Svetlana. Love this particular technique though it doesn't make for the flattest of atc's so I usually attach a bit of magnet strip at the back of these so they can go onto a fridge or filing cabinet.

A close-up so you can see the dimension of this piece.

The wording on this atc was made by covering a piece of chipboard with silver adhesive foil tape, then a tracing wheel (from a sewing store) was used to make the little marks along each long edge. I then covered the piece with black paint so it would get into the little holes made by the tracing wheel, then immediately wiped off, then my clear words were added last. Makes for a great grungey-style word embellishment.

At Scraptivate, the girls who work there are all given different products to work on design team projects. I'm a little bit difficult in this department as I'm not into all the flowery, pretty products that arrive in store constantly so I think they were pretty happy to find something from the new Cuttlebug range that would suit me this month.

Here is a little peek at what I've done, can't show the whole thing yet as it has to go into the newsletter that comes out in the middle of the month. It's a 5" x 7" canvas and I used texture paste, glimmer mists, silver foil tape, hand-made paper, stamping, swarovski crystals, paints and you'll have to wait to see the rest of it. My girlfriend saw me making it and thought I was being a bit macabre, she said she realised my Dad was really sick but did I have to do something like that? After I explained it was Design Team work I think she was a little relieved.

I can joke about that sort of thing now though because my Dad is doing SO MUCH BETTER!!!!! He has that breathing tube out of his throat now but is slightly frustrated as he can't talk because of the tracheotomy tube. Between lip-reading and a chart we made up with all the alphabet on it we sort of communicate, albeit VERY slowly. He doesn't have fine motor control of his hands yet so he can't write yet and we have to rely on these other 2 methods. His sense of humour was certainly not excised during the operation.

The first full sentence we got out of him, after about 30 minutes of combined lip-reading and the alpha chart was "Did I look like Hannibal Lecter???" (think he meant "creepy"). So once again, there he was making fun of himself and making us all laugh along with him. He also said he didn't like the flavour of the food they were feeding him - you know, one of those feeding tubes down his nose into his stomach that he can't even taste! I told him that I'd said to the nurse he would only like steak with pepper sauce flavour, followed up by apple pie and ice cream flavour for dessert. He laughed at that!

So here's a picture of myself, Dad and one of his wonderful nurses. He was particularly impressed with this nurse, he told us that she told the Doctors to "bugger off" as they all traipsed in while she was giving him a wash in the morning and didn't they realise that patients have to have their dignity! lol

A HUGE thankyou to all the people who left comments and to the girls who sent personal emails to me wishing my Dad and family the best, it really means a lot to know that others are out there pulling for you. I'm sure that all that "get-well mojo" helped in his recovery. Still a ways to go, more time to be spent in ICU, then on a ward, then off to a rehab hospital to get his muscles working again but we are heading in the right direction. Those nurses don't know what there in for now he's operational again!!!! lol

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some art, an award....and my Dad

I managed to get another 4" x 4" canvas done with some inchies on them - actually, they are 1-1/4" square as the inchies were a little small - nice to have a little more room to work on too! This time the colours are black/silver/white. I particularly love doing these in fairly monochromatic tones, think my next one might be frosty blue, silver and off-white....but maybe red, black and white.....oh the choices!!!! Onto some pics...

...some close-ups...

Thankyou to Debbi Baker, Elizabeth Golden and Sarah Schwerin for bestowing this award on me. Gratitude flowing your way girls, it's nice to know I get SOME things right!!! lol

I'm not going to nominate people for this award, but I am going to recommend you visit the various blogs I have listed in my favourite blogs list down on the right. They all have something wonderful to offer, whether it's great inspiration, an insight into their observations of this arty world or fantastic techniques and awesome pictures.

These are a couple of atc's I've done for the previous 2 atc classes I've taught at Scraptivate.

Firstly, Fun Foam - and a little clay face added for good measure!

"Soul" was won by Karen in the watercolour techniques class, an easy watercolour (crayons) method and a more difficult watercolour (tube paints) method was taught in this class. Very difficult to describe so I'm not even going to try, suffice to say it takes a little practice to get this technique so YOU like what you've done! I'm sure the girls think I lie when I say I like their work, but it's easy for them to be overly-critical, I try to explain you are here to learn the technique, THEN go home and practice it....don't try to produce perfect atc's on a first-go!

I'd like to thank all the wonderful girls who've left me comments and emailed me privately about my Dad offering their kind words and support at this time of uncertainty. It's been 7 days since his operation and he is still in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at RPH. He is still on life support and tomorrow they will be performing a tracheostomy so they can remove the breathing tube down his throat and attach it to the front instead. It breaks my heart to see him struggle with this tube and he coughs constantly trying to dislodge the foreign object that is causing his gag reflex to kick in.

The nurses are wonderful, constantly monitoring, adjusting his medication and talking him through everything they do to him. He just wants to be left alone to recuperate....that's my theory anyway. We are just playing the waiting game, it's oh so hard to do but we hope each day is going to be better than the last and if wishing could make him better, he'll be well on the way to recovery soon. A nurse told me today that good things happen slowly in the ICU and baby steps is the way to go for him.

A blog that I visit often is Seth's, The Altered Page. He's just recently done a third round of The Pulse, a wonderfully inspiring line-up of all sorts of artists. I was blown away when Seth emailed and asked if I would like to take part. Check it out, there's bound to be some people you haven't heard of but will be glad to know! The link above takes you to the particular page with the list of artists, this link takes you to his latest postings.

Monday, August 18, 2008

an ordinary man...

He is not a famous actor, nor a world-class athlete, or someone who gets written about in newspapers or appears on tv, but he is a generous, giving, gentlemanly gentle man, always quick with a witty retort (usually at his own expense!), a mentor, a diplomat who could calm warring parties into seeing things from both sides. He is my Dad. Yesterday Dad had an emergency quadruple by-pass and at this moment lies in the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Perth Hospital hooked up to life support machines. There were some doubts as to whether he would survive the surgery and a nearly 50% chance of him suffering a stroke during the procedure. So far all has gone well and as a friend of mine said "wishing him a speedy and boring recovery".

Some of you may have read in an earlier post how generous a spirit my Dad has when he found that he was unable to go on our mega-trip because of his ill health, he gave his trip to my best girlfriend so she could enjoy it with us. He told my Mum she still had to go as he would feel even worse if he thought she would miss out too. The highlight for Dad was that Joan had a fantastic time and he was truly, genuinely pleased for her. He's known Joan since we were in high school together 37 years ago so she is like a 2nd daughter to my parents.

I don't generally write much personal stuff on my blog, but I just wanted to say (and write) out loud, "I'm not ready to lose my Dad"!!! I know everyone loses loved ones, all 4 of my grandparents have passed away, as well as a cousin (much too young!), but losing a parent is a pain that we must all go through at some stage in our lives and this scare has come too soon for me. Give your Mum and Dad a hug and tell them you love!

Not much arting has been done in my house in the last few days but I found when I did my last couple of atc's, they were reflecting my sombre mood. The first one is winging it's way off over East for someone else and the 2nd one, well....think I'll keep this one as a reminder of this week of my life. You can blame my Dad for my sense of the absurd and my Mum for the pragmatism. I still remember as a small child watching Monty Python's Flying Circus with my Dad and my Dad, brothers and myself cracking up at each scenario and Mum sitting there wondering what we were finding so funny. I'm sure he'll see the funny side of his hospital stay in a month's time too!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Inchies!!! (plus some atc's)

As promised, I took my camera to work and took some photo's of the large canvas that Audrey put together after being in a swap. Not this many actually got swapped, Audrey just wanted to do it large scale so made up the rest herself to complete this huge size! It looks awesome and everyone that comes into the store comments on how wonderful it is!

This is what it looks like sitting on our counter...
Here are a couple of close-up shots...

These next inchies are ones that I've made just yesterday. Addictive little buggers these things! You think, "oh, I'll just make a few", and before you know it, you've done more than a dozen!

My Saturday atc class just gone was on using the fabulous transfer medium, Sheer Heaven. It is a paper-like product that you run through your inkjet printer - and yes, any inkjet will work! Print your images (I can get about 14 for atc's onto one sheet), cut them out, spritz image with rubbing alcohol (NOT the 92% one, think it's around 70%???). After spritzing, lay down onto your absorbent receiving surface - watercolour paper, card stock, book page, scrapbook paper etc, burnish all over in circular motions with the back of a spoon for around 10 seconds, peel off and voila! A beautiful transfer! I usually use watercolour crayons to scribble around the edges in co-ordinating colours to complete this. This is available at Scraptivate.

So this first atc is using a Sheer Heaven transfer for the image on the right hand side. We also have new in at the store, mica flakes! This stuff is just beautiful....drizzle on some diamond glaze or glossy accents, sprinkle on the mica, shake off excess and let dry for a magical, subtle, sparkly effect!

Another new product we have in is Ranger Antiquities Frosted Crystal embossing powder. It looks like it's clear, but after it's been heat embossed it looks like frosted glass! It's what I've used all over the background of this stamped image below as well as on the little image up the top. That's the light reflecting on it that makes the little image glow so much. Also added a little mica flakes for her tears.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Assorted work - canvas, card, atc's & how to track your blogs!

At the end of this month (August) I'm going to be teaching an inchie class using a 4" x 4" canvas as a base. As inchies are notoriously small I've decided to cheat a bit and make mine 1-1/4" in size so I can fit 9 of them onto the 4 x 4 canvas. We have an absolutely wonderful example of a MEGA-INCHIE canvas in at the store (Scraptivate) that just shows how fabulous a whole lot of little inchies can look when all grouped together. It was put together by Audrey after both she and I had participated in an inchie exchange with another online group. I have yet to do anything with mine as I'm a little over-awed at how Audrey's has turned out, a hard act to follow! I'll take my camera to work to get some pics and post them soon....promise!!!

In the meantime, here's some shots of my smaller canvas. If you're in Perth and want to learn how to make one of these using all sorts of techniques, give us a call at the shop (9444 6626) to book in!

The whole thing with all 9 of the inchies...

These next 2 are raffle atc's for a couple of previous classes that I forgot to post earlier. First is "Regal" for the Textured Backgrounds class - Svetlana "won" this one.....hahaha....sorry, private joke. ;-)

"Serene" was won by Mel at the Faux Tin Type class last week, yay Mel....she pulled her own raffle ticket out! No, not rigged at all, just a lucky pick! That's our story and we're sticking to it, right Mel??? I've used the Ranger Crackle Paint in Tattered Rose on the background of this one.

I've been lucky enough to be the recipient of several on-line awards recently, so I'm going to list them all here together. It's very, VERY hard to narrow down single blogs for awards so I nominate everyone who's listed in my favourite blog lists to the right. I learn something from virtually every blog that I visit and I think that it's important to remember to share, share, share what we learn. Kind of a "pay it forward" type thing with our collected art knowledge travelling the globe and infecting (in a good way!) other unsuspecting blog surfers who stumble across our sites with the love of art in all it's glorious forms! Man, what a long sentence!

So a HUGE thankyou to the following talented people for bestowing these awards...

Thankyou Audrey and Jenny (Crozza) for the Brilliante Weblog Award...

Thankyou Nancy for the Kind Heart Award...

and Sam for the BFF Gold Card Award...

On another note, I've had several conversations with friends about the unfortunately demise of Blogarithm, a neat little program that helped you keep track of all your favourite blogs and sent you a daily email when they updated. Alas, it is no more. Darn it when they try to fix something that isn't broken and then it's REALLY broken for good!!!

So now I use bloglines. You simply input your favourite blogs, then you can keep track of who's updating easily on one page. The easiest way I've found to do this is by adding your bloglines page (after subscribing, so it links to YOUR bloglines page) to your links (in favourites), then when it opens up it has a list of your blogs you've subscribed to and if they are in BOLD, then that blog has been updated. Click on the blog and it'll open up on the right hand side of the screen and if you want to leave a comment, simply open the blog by clicking on it from this right hand side. I've also added a "sub with bloglines" link to my links bar so if I happen to come across a blog I really like, within a couple of clicks I've added it to my bloglines list. Easy! It's actually easier to DO than to WRITE. Confused? Questions? Ask me and I'll try to be a little clearer.

Onto more cousin Corey and his wife Kellie are expecting their first child. I attended Kellie's baby shower last weekend and I made a card for her. As you know, I'm not really a card maker at all, I tend to just try to think of them as BIG atc's. I used a picture of an unborn child and printed it on transparency, xyroned (that must be a word!) it, also printed the quote on transparency and gave that the same xyron treatment and attached them both to some nice pale green paper. I also used a couple of cuttlebug chipboard corner embellishments which I painted using the new in at our store Twinkling H2O's Radiant Rains in a dauber. The colour was Olive Gold (I think? it's the only olive green one), beautiful olive with a sheen of gold shimmer just like the fabulous Twinkling H2O watercolours but much easier....dab, dab, dab. Here's the front and then the inside with the quote.

The West Wing is about to start....bye....