Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Welcome 2012 Give Away!!

I have been wanting to have a Give Away for a long time. I am so very grateful for all of you who visit my blog and extra thank full to those of you who leave comments and tell me that you have stopped by. It really means a lot to me that you take some of your time to say hello!!!!
Now that Christmas is over I am again rearranging things in my studio, in my never ending search fro efficient storage solutions for my methods of creating. Today the stamp wall is coming down with the narrow little stamp holding shelves being replaced by big functional hand me down wooden shelves from Tom's mother's kitchen reno. I have boxed and categorized the stamps that I wish to keep, in clear plastic bins. now all we have to do is locate the brackets that hold up the shelves. Then we will get to installation of the "new" old shelves and much more storage space!!!

In my efforts to FOCUS and SHARE ( my two words for 2012) this year, I plan to Focus on my textile collage art and share all that I learned about other media thru teaching classes and tutorials on my blog.

As big THANK YOU'S to all of my wonderful readers I am offering two small tokens of my appreciation.

A collection of my Sun Printed Cotton Fabrics.

#2 A Great Big Handful of my hand crafted Fabric/Paper resin coated beads in a range of sizes.

All that you have to do is leave a comment for me here, telling me which gift you would prefer and then share with me your words for 2012. I am always so interested to hear what everyone has chosen for their words to live by for the coming year. If you post to Facebook with a link to this giveaway, be sure to let me know as I will enter your name into the drawing TWICE.
I will draw a name from each pool (so don't forget to leave me your choice- beads or fabric) at 6pm EST on January 1, 2012!!
I hope that everyone had a very Happy Holiday Season and that 2012 brings Peace Sanity and Compassion back into the world and that you are all able to climb to new creative heights!!!
Happy NEW YEAR!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Nice Surprise

Early this month a wonderful magazine arrived in my mail box! I had not purchased the magazine but I knew what it meant! It meant that some of my artwork had been included in the current issue!! The thing is, I had totally forgotten that I had even submitted this piece!

This is a canvas piece that I hand painted and assembled at the same time that I created art quilts of my nieces, Mali and Kate.

I am very pleased to have it included in this issue of Sew Somerset and honored to be in the same issue with my friends Belinda Schneider (http://belindaschneider.wordpress.com/) and Caterina Giglio (http://caterinagiglio.blogspot.com/). The work that both of these gals create is beyond fabulous and I hope that all of you will take a few moments, with a nice cup of tea, and visit their fabulous art blogs.
For some reason Blogger is not letting me include links in the body of my posts and I am trying to figure out why so for now , you will have to cut and paste the above links into your browser to get to the ladies blogs - SIGH!!!

I will be back soon with another post a little Christmas Give Away!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Warm Hands for A Hero

It is that time of year again when everyone gets caught up in the holiday hub- bub and often forgets what else is going on in the world. As I get older I have found that I have less and less patience for the overindulgence and the commercialism and the downright greed of some many who feel that they must buy, buy, buy!! Don't get me wrong, I know that this is good of the economy and I create things to sell, but to buy and to get so caught up in the capitalism of the western world to the exclusion of all else, has gotten to be a bit much for me to stomach.
I love to create gifts for those that I love and to let even strangers know that other's care about their well being. It is the commercialism and the totally over the top excess that really gets to me . In our family we are truly blessed to have family members who are living in other parts of the world who are constantly teaching us about the greater planet and it's people and reminding us of how very very fortunate the rest of us are, even in very tough economic times. There are also far to many here on our own continent who are forgotten and marginalized at this time of year, more often than not.
My Sister in Law, Elise, is currently stationed in the wild west of Afghanistan, serving as the head of Women's Education and Health for the country, for USAID. She will not be with her family, who live in Tanzania, for the holidays. She will be working and spending what little down time she has with the troops- one woman among many men from all walks of live and form every experience set imaginable. We are all so very grateful for the group that keep her safe as she travels out into remote country to villages to meet with elders to encourage and advocate for the needs of the female popultion of the the country. Often she is not allowed to speak directly to any of the women but must speak through a male interpreter and negotiate for the education of the women of the village with the male elders. Her crew keep her safe, watch her back, clear out showers and bathroom facilities so she can shower etc. I have discovered that they are all big fans of Dunkin Donuts coffee so frequently, 4 lbs of freshly ground coffee get sent off to let them know, in an very small way, how much they are appreciated. She has been at this job for almost two years now. She was supposed to have a one year tour but decided that she was not ready to turn over her post so she re-uped for a second tour.

If you are a regular reader of my blog , you may remember reading about one of my other hero's, my brother Peter. Peter is Elise's husband and goodness knows her job in Afghanistan would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support and encouragement of her spouse and her two wonderful girls , my nieces Mali and Kate. You can read more about all that Peter is doing , here.

So as Christmas approaches, both of my Hero's, Elise and Peter, have been very much on my mind. I have gathered the Dunkin Donuts coffee, some favorite dark chocolate treats that Elise is partial to, a double pack of Burt's Bee's Lip Balm and a pair of felted wool and cashmere arm warmer fingerless mitts.

I want to sure that my hero has warm hands, even when she has to up late writing her daily reports!!! I am hoping that this meager little parcel will convey to Elise just how much we are thinking of her, praying for her safety, in total awe of the incredibly important work that she is doing and eagerly awaiting her next adventure when she will be reunited with her family for another tour with USAID. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will be able to come state side during the summer so we can at least share a couple of glasses of wine on the deck before she must hustle off to take on her new duties in Ethiopia.

As you go about your Christmas preparations, please take some time to consider what we can each do to better the lives of other's near and far and perhaps investigate how you might involve your family and friends in sharing a percentage of money spent on stuff and looking into some charitable opportunities that can serve to make huge differences for a family living in a very different place and experiencing very different challenges. There are many ways to get involved with helping the families of our service men and women, a click of the mouse will take you to a slew of options. Some of the organizations that I like to support all year long are Oxfam International and Oxfam America, the Heifer Project and Kiva International.

I wish you all a very thoughtful and Merry Christmas and ask that you be ever mindful of those who work so very hard to make this world a better place for all of us and for those who are struggling desperately to attain a small fragment of security and peace in a very overwhelming and often out of control world!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Swap Gifts and "Painting Around" Finished

Day 3, 4, 5 and 6 of our 13 Days Swap!

I was the participant responsible for Day #3. I actually started planning my swap gift way back in October and set about creating the sun[printed fabric for the project then. that is a big first for me- planning that far in advance! I created these Giving Cones from my sun printed damask linen and plastic doilies. I lined the cones with vintage deep green velvet and trimmed them with vintage lace and old buttons and a few beads. I made each one just a bit different with the trims and beads and buttons, as I do not create multiples well!
Day 4 was the responsibility of the awesome and amazing artist and my dear friend Leslie Brier.
Leslie did a wonderful job with her packaging and a little bird told me that her talented daughter designed the bows out of left over holiday napkins!!! Too Cute!
this was the adorable ornament that was inside. Leslie used a condiment cup decorated with sewn and cut crepe paper to form a hot air balloon basket and outfitted the interior with a little bottle brush tree, some vintage trim made into trees and some wonderful vintage images. It looks so kitschy vintage on the tree, I just love it!!
Day 5 was created by my good friend and past On Line group art pal, Ms. Patti G!
Patti brilliantly wrapped her package in some muslin which I will immediately put to use making more sun prints!!

She made a glorious Victorian cone from layers of batting muslin sheet music, silk flowers and cheese cloth. Everywhere one looks you find anew little detail. She adorned the front of my cone with a wonderful black and white image of a little girl holding a doll. Just precious!!!

I just love cones and someday I would love to have a whole tree decorated in different varieties of cones. Patti's art work and style has always been a favorite of mine as it is so delicate and detailed and unlike my loud style! Thank you so much Patti!!
The package waiting for Day 6 was created by the talented artist and gifted teacher Ms Martha Brown. I first met Martha in the same on line group where I met Patti. We have exchanged art work many times and she and I are the ones who hatched the plan to get a Christmas Swap. You may remember seeing some of Martha's awesome sewn art work in magazines such as Sew Somerset.

MArtha always amazes. this time she started off with her wrapping being a recycled heavy duty bag of some sort that she stitched with red thread and then simply stamped with the red 6. Too cool!
Inside was this wonderful glass ornament with collaged paper message that she sealed and dotted with red paint.
On the tree the glass glitters with the lights behind it, so simply elegant and so Martha!!

We have 7 more days to go and I know that I am not alone when I say that it will be hard to have this wonderful exchange end. It has really made the season of giving and caring so much more personal for me. I am so grateful that all of these wonderful artists have agreed to play along with me!!

And now for something completely different!!
Several weeks ago three art friends and I gathered in my studio to try a Painting Around exercise that I wrote about here.

I had a few moments the other day to add some finishing touches and today Tom helped me hang it over the fire place in our family room. One of these days we must paint that end of the room as the walls surrounding the brick are a deep green- it makes the end of the room very dark and it has been this way since we moved in. If this wall were not two stories tall I would have painted it myself, but this is definitely one of those jobs that we need a pro for! This painting, which I ahve called "Painting Around", has definitely brightened up the spot and more over it makes me HAPPY!!!

Below you can see a detail shot.
Next weekend Karen, one of the other painters in this project, and I are going to introduce this idea to our art Group and see if we can give it all another go with a much larger group! That should be very interesting!!! Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Starts!!! our 13 Days of Christmas Swap

13 Packages of Artful Christmas Happy!!!

This has been a long while in the making!! Several of my art pals and I have been wanting to do a Christmas Swap for a long time, we always seem to think of it when we see other artists unveiling their swaps around this time of year. This year we actually managed to get our acts together and plan a swap in time to share with each other at the First of December. Well, almost!! Almost for two reasons, Reason #1 being that we were in search of artists to join us who we knew and who we knew would follow thru . In so doing I managed to loose my list of those we had invited, as I had offered to organize the swap, and ended up having 13 fabulous Art Friends to join in. So it is officially the 13 Days of Christmas Swap!!!!! We DO like to be different after all!! Reason #2 for our different sort of swap was the fact that not all packages arrived to their destinations at the same time. So we waited till all packages were in hand before we opened our first Gift!
Initially each participant made 13 individual ornaments or small art gifts, wrapped them and marked each package with their assigned number. then each artist sent their set of 13 items to me to swap out, then I sent each artist back a box that contained one of each ornament/present from 1-13.

At this point I was sorting all the packages into each person's box! No interruptions allowed!!!
The tower of boxes grew and grew!!! I got help getting it all to the post office.
Then we all waited.
Martha's box finally arrived in Toronto and the Opening began!!

Yesterday was our First Day, so we opened Package #1 from the ever amazing Barbara Burkhard!!!

Dear Barb and I ahve known each other for several years and we became good friends as we were both members of a wonderful on line art Group for several years. I knew that I wanted to have Barb be a part of this swap as soon as Martha and I decided that we had to have one!! Fortunately for all of us , Barb said that she would love to partake. This was Barb's lovely package. Almost too pretty to open.... I said almost!!!

Nestled in that lovely box was this delicate glass ball filled with crystals with a transparency with a wonderful snowman image printed on it. the transparency fit perfectly in the glass globe and is the same image as the card atop the package- clever girl!!!! The ball was topped off by the gorgeous silver ribbon and a lovely little silver bell with the sweetest clear sound! The ball was nestled down into a wonderful felt and lace, snowflake encrusted cuff bracelet!! What an amazing package!
Barb has certainly set the bar quite high for this swap, but I am not at all surprised this is just how my dear friend Barb is- an amazing and generous and loving heart!!!!
Thank you so very much, Barb, for joining us in our swap. What a way to begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is Barb's wonderful ornament hanging on our tree. This weekend I am going to make time to dig out my special tree that I use just for my art ornaments. After several years of being in several groups I have gotten quite an amazing collection and they all deserve a very special tree. In fact I might have to get a bigger tree!! I am also going to have to work at getting a better picture of this ornament- this one is a bit tricky to photograph.

So today, December 6 was day 2 in our 13 Days Swap. Package #2 was from my good friend Mary Zimany. Mary was another member of the art group that both Barb and I belonged to and she was also quite anxious to revive some of our wonderful art fun from years past.

As I knew she would, Mary apid attention to every possible little detail!! I just adore her packaging! She used a wonderful piece of sari silk yarn to tie the bag closed and i am sure that she knows that this scrap will be going into some fiber project soon!! :)
This was inside! (Please overlook the white dog hair on the red carpet, Buddy the dog just ran thru and left some of himself behind!)

I love the way Mary made use of this darling little glass topped tin to create this wonderful scene. She coated the outside of the tin with colorful alcohol inks and hung the tin from a soft green velvet ribbon and a lovely lace rose. Perfection!!! The two sweet little girls spreading their prayer for Peace On Earth is a very special addition to my collection. Thank you so very much, dear Mary!!
So tomorrow we will all open Package #3!! Stay tuned!!!


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