Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Year in Review

I did this last year and I am going to do it again as a reflection of what I've accomplished in 2008. These are my Top 10 favorite layouts this year. I have grown so much as an artist in 2008 and have been lucky enough to design for several teams: Crop Addict, We B' scrappin, and Scrap N' Art ezine... I won Bad Girls Top Designer contest and guest designed for them. I hope big things are in the works for 2009! I'm on a roll and I'm feeling so blessed about it all. This is the year for change (not only in politics) in our house with a new baby arriving soon and Mark starting Kindergarten (maybe) in the Fall. I'll be staying home until September and I hope that the baby is a good sleeper and allows me to have some scrap time to continue my growth. I plan on starting a visual journal while I'm home and vow to do at least one page a week this year! Okay, so that seems obtainable. Now, onto a recap of my year's creations:

This one is my favorite from the Top Designer challenge. I am a sculpture by training and I was trying to add dimension to my page and capture a feeling of wonder and warmth. There is a multitude of techniques used here. I printed the photo of my sono on grosgrain ribbon (this is a technique that I invented!), ripped the top layer of the cardboard base off and added paint, papers, and gold leafing to it, the wings of the "butterflies" are metal and distressed with a texture hammer, and I sewed the nest using wire and ribbon onto the cardboard. I love this page... I am going to frame it for the baby's room in a shadow box.Butterflies of my Heart

This layout is one I made using the handmade paper from this summer. I took a week long workshop with a very wellknown local artist and created sheets of handmade paper in her studio. This is one of the pieces that I used from those. I used glimmer mist to create the masked swirls in the background and outlined them in black marker to emphasize the shape a bit more. Then I used modeling paste to create the raised dots with sequin waste and painted them. The lines were made with painted cardboard stamped onto the page and then foam stamps for the title. I love this photo of my son on a beach in Florida from our trip. It always reminds me of the peace and calm I felt that day.Calm
This next layout was done on cardboard again... I've been very into the recycling of mailing boxes in order to do my part for the sake of art. I altered this photo using filters in Photoshop to create an aged and distressed look. It is my hands forming a heart over my belly at 4 months pregnant. I am now less than 4 weeks away from this miracle and still putting faith and time in the almighty's hands. It truly is a miracle that we can give birth and I'm anxious to meet this little man. I used Bad Girl's December kit here and was the guest designer for that month.
Faith & Time

This is another Top Designer layout that was inspired by Cari Fennell... not for the design, but just her prompt was to layer elements and boy, did I LAYER! I had a great time making this page and the photo of my son from a visit to our local zoo did wonders to inspire me. He looks so serious and sullen here, but he was just taking a break and watching the ponies and donkey intently. I love using orange lately and all the elements here are some of my favorite things. Touches of paint and texture are found thorughout the piece. It's a modgepodge of stuff and I love it!
Layers of You

I created this page on cardboard again (see a trend with me lately?) and collaged papers, metal tape, and inks/ paints over the surface. Then, I added the photo, which is printed on ribbon of my hands over my son's hands. As a mother, I am bound to my child through love and instinct. I love the passionate and gothic look to this page. It's another Top Designer piece.
Ties that Bind

Think Pink is one of those pages where I just wanted to try some new things on it. I altered the hue and saturation of the photo in Photoshop and printed the journaling on transparency to layer over it. Again, I used masks and Glimmer mist here in the background. I also used more of the handmade paper from this summer. After layering, I stitched the edges of the photo to hold the transparency and the edges of the page for unity. I created various butterflies around too. The journaling is about being a woman good and bad.

Think Pink

I did this page with a photo from Florida of me. I feel so at peace and tranquil on the beach. It just erases my worries and makes me feel at ease. I used colors here that compliment and punched butterflies from Hambly. I also used cork as a textural element. I love the feel of this page.

Temporarily Tranquil

This one is for the Bad Girls Dec. kit Guest DT spot and I love how it came out. I printed this photo on muslin and of course grunged up the cardboard. This is my new favorite size for pages; 6" x 12".
At Peace With Myself

I love the contrast with the black background and the colorful threads. I just had to do something that made me not obsess... I just had fun with this one! Love the photos and my design here. This is one I will pull out to look at again just to remind myself to just have fun with the materials!
Stop Obsessing

This isn't a page, but it's a piece of sculpture or altered art that I made as my final exam piece for Top Designer. I am so happy with this piece. I used wire hangers for the cage and really just poured my heart and soul into this one. I hope that I can do another one and start a series of these.
The Guilded Cage of Motherhood

Okay, so there you have it. My top 10 layouts for this year. I think I've just recently found my style and am getting comfortable with playing with materials and letting mistakes turn into art. I hope my creative mojo stays with me for this coming year! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bah Hum Bug

Yesterday we got so much snow that we had a SNOW DAY! I love the feeling I get from finding out that school is cancelled. Just like when I was a kid. Being a teacher, I have mixed emotions about it. At first I'm excited! Then, the "Oh NO! That means we'll be one day behind in our lesson plan". Oh well! It's a great day to snuggle in and get some Christmas projects done. I can't post the pics yet of the finished pieces as those that have yet to receive them might see them before they are surprised. So, I'll post them later in the week.

I can't believe that Christmas is 2 days away. Where has the time gone? Why is this year flying by so fast? I'm feeling a bit Bah Humbug this year in regards to the holidays. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE this time of year, BUT... I'm not loving how fast it all is coming and going. The malls are MORE crowded and the snow is piled up so high. It's a gloomy and cold December. I am VERY pregnant and feeling very slow. So, this fast paced world is just making me feel even slower. I can't catch up and I can't help feeling helpless. I am uncomfortable and starting to really dislike the aching hips and waddling that is slowing me down even more. I just want to nap. Of course, that doesn't happen much with the holidays and a 4 year old. I skipped the 12 Days tradition this year too. I know Mark won't remember, but I feel guilty all the same. It's a tradition and it went by the wayside this year due to lack of time, effort, and energy on my part. I'm sad about that, but some things had to go. I am glad it is vacation time, but with all the hustle and bustle I'm feeling rushed and grumpy.

I have to remember that it's not about the gifts and not about the stuff, but about family and friends. I have to remind myself that I have a new life waiting to be born in the new year and that I have lots to be thankful for. This year is going to be one of change, patience, and love. I am going to focus on my blessings and try to be patient this year with myself, my family, time, and my destiny. What will 2009 bring?
Will the year come in fast and slow down for me to savor the moments or will it just pick up the pace and leave me holding on for dear life? I can't fight it either way. I have to be flexible and open to all it's possibilities. THere is little choice in the matter.

Patience... that is my word for the year... 2009. I have to exercise more patience and let things be. Just go with the flow and try not to buck against it all so much.

Love more and not fight so much. Make priorities and try to be patient with others who don't have full realization that they can't control time or events that are beyond them. I want to find peace with my dreams and goals and family. Learn to love them with all their flaws and talents. Try not to be judgmental and defensive. It's gonna be hard especially in the face of certain sleepless nights and trying times with a new baby in the house and a 4 year old that is certain to resent the little brother at times.

I can only do so much and let others help where I can. I can only give love and time when and however possible. I will do this for me and for those I love. I will be patient at least in practice. It's going to be a work in progress...

This year I will start a journal and remind myself daily or weekly of my blessings and of my commitment to being more patient.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

5 Fave Friday

I have slacked off for this week... well, not really SLACKED off, just no free time. I have had something every night this week. Parties, workshops at school, grades due, and doctor appts. I am beat! I got together with my girls (Cari, Amy, Sherry, Bon Bon, Kathy, Marty, and Nicole) for a fun, holiday gift and cookie exchange. I had lots of snacks, sweets, laughter, and scrap goodness. I didn't get home until well after midnight! I'm dragging today. We have my work holiday party tonight and I need to go to the mall for some maternity stockings and a pedicure! I hope Matt doesn't give me a hard time about it. I need a little pampering! I'm feeling huge and not very pretty right now. It's only about 6 more weeks until my due date! The panic is setting in, not because I'm afraid of the impending birth, but because I have so much to do BEFORE he comes! I have to do so much at school to prepare for my leave and then at home to prepare for baby!

In between panic attacks, I am scrapping or HOPE to be. I just got my LAST Design Team kit for Crop Addict. It is truly fabulous! I will share sneeky peeks after Christmas! I think it's the best kit from Crop Addict YET!

On the Bed Girls front, I am Guest Designer this month and I shared sneek peeks last post and now here are the entire layouts!
Okay, now for my 5 favorites this week:
1. Sparkling Grape Juice that looks like Champagne from Wegman's. I LOVE this stuff. It's my holiday substitute for wine. I can't drink alcohol due to being pregnant so this is my stand in. While it's nothing like my Semi Chardonnay that I covet, it is a good festive substitute and I feel like I'm not being left out of the party. I have at least 2 bottles on hand all the time now. The White is fabulous too because it is so like Champagne (cheap champagne, but bubbly no less).

2. Heidi Swapp Mirror book... Ooooo I love this little beauty. I haven't gotten one yet, but I am dying to get my hands on one!

3. Handmade paper making: I taught a workshop as a result of a grant I received from my school district to allow me to take a summer workshop with Margie Hughto. I had 5 participants in the workshop and we made paper! It was fun, messy , and creative and not all of them were art teachers or artists. They were science teachers, special ed teachers, art teachers, and a student teacher. It was wonderful! I took pics but they are on my laptop, so I'll upload a few pics later.

4. Good FRIENDS... I love my girlfriends! They are the sweetest most generous girls. We had a cookie and gift exchange last night and I had a blast with them. We laugh our head's off and lose track of time. They are the best! They even volunteered to help with my shower alongside my mom... totally volunteered... I nearly cried! I can't ask for better buds! LOVE YOU BARBIE BITCHES!

5. Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Verbana hand sanitizer... okay, so throughout this pregnancy I've been a bit obsessive about my handwashing. I am now using this little gem. It smells heavenly and is not drying my hands as badly as the school's soap!

So that's the scoop this week! Have a great weekend!