Thursday, June 28, 2007

Art Books

If you read my post yesterday about quick fixes for creative blocks, you know that one of the quick fixes is looking through books. Although I mentioned that the books you read don't have to art/craft related, I personally like to get inspired by reading art books.

So far, I have amassed a nice little collection of art books, some of them "how-to" books, others are "eye candy" art inspirations.

These are the types of books I have on my shelf right now: altered art, altered books, paper, polymer clay, variety/general art and craft, collage and naturals. It's easy to see why I like altered art books - I enjoy working on altered art projects. But why do I have several polymer clay books? I don't use a lot of polymer clay, but when I do, I like to have information about it on hand. When I have a polymer clay issue, I like to look in the books and see what the experts recommend. Also, the clay items in the book are beautiful and awe-inspiring!

In my opinion, these are the two types of art books to buy: the "informative" type, to learn about the kinds of projects one would like to make, and the "inspiring" type, to get the creative juices going! Both of these types of books have their uses, and both would make valid purchases.

Of course, if your finances are a little low, go back and look through art books that you already own. Look at those old books with new eyes, and you may notice something totally different! Also, if you can't afford a new book right now, that shouldn't stop you from bookstore browsing. As you browse, you may see something you'd like to purchase at a later date, as well as eliminate books that aren't your cup of tea. So get out those books, and get inspired!

Altered Art - Bottles

I love altering objects, I enjoy taking an everyday, ordinary thing and jazzing it up! The bottles are about 12" tall and flat on each side.
The beach bottle on the left has torn mulberry and collage papers on the sides, tags with shell images around the bottom, skinny jute and real shells glued around the neck.
The shells bottle on the right has a paper doily and some shell print paper on the sides, plus spiral clips and wire with beads. Around the neck is more wire and beads.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of summer!

Creative Block Quick Fixes

There are numerous ways to try to remove your creative blocks. Notice I said "try to" - not every way works for every artist. Here are some "quick fixes" that have worked for me and/or other artist friends:

1. Get some fresh air and a fresh perspective. Go for a walk, exercise, play with the kids, ride a bike.

2. Go window shopping. Window shopping treats your eyes and brain to new color combinations, shapes and patterns. The stores you browse don't have to relate to art/craft, and you don't need to buy (unless you want to)!

3. Read a book, magazine or catalog. For me, this is like window shopping without leaving home. Again, the reading material doesn't have to be art/craft related.

4. Clean/sort your art materials. Who's work area doesn't straightening up now and then? (I'd say clean another area of your living space, but that may be going just a bit too far!)

5. Do some "anything goes" art. Do something that nobody ever has to see: work on a page in a journal or on scrap material, scribble, draw, slap on paint, glue with reckless abandon, create like a child.

In a future post, I'll list some additional ideas for overcoming creativity blocks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mothers and Creativity

One of my favorite blogs is "Art Junk" by Lia, and today she wrote some things that struck a cord with me. Lia was wondering about why she loves "bits and pieces" and collage so much - she thought it might have something do to with seeing her mother working as a seamstress while she was a child.

Some of the things that Lia describes sound very, very familiar to me, like the part about her mother holding pins in her mouth (my mom used to do that all the time). There was always plentypins on the floor and fabric around our house, as well.

Although there are similarities in our stories, some situations were/are strikingly different. For instance, my mom sewed a lot of our clothes and household items, she sometimes sewed for other family members and occasionally was paid to sew for others. And since my mom sews now for fun and profit (for craft shows), she understands my desire to create for income, enjoyment and expression. Having a mom who supports my creativity makes me very lucky, indeed!

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Altered Art - Book Pages

These are two altered book pages I completed (in real life, the truck page is on the right). The pages are inked with a multicolor dye ink pad first. The truck is raised with sticky foam strips and has a real watch face in the back. The hand and clock are attached with brads and are both movable.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Altered Art

These are some pages from an altered book I completed. It's small-sized children's board book, all about lambs. I left the lamb pictures on, and peeled off the rest. Then I did a lamb-related theme on each set of pages. The one on the left is a "lamb as food" theme, with recipes and utensils. The other is "counting sheep", with a blue/whie sky/clouds look to it.

Creative Friends

You probably have someone in your life who doesn't "get" art /crafts. They don't understand why you "waste your time" creating a project. If there are very many of these "art doubters" in your life, they can dish out a lot of negativity surrounding you and your art/craft. That's why you need creative friends - for positive reinforcement and to neutralize some of that negative energy!

To find creative friends, you could look in your city or town for groups, guilds or clubs in your areas of interest. If you have trouble finding local groups or want to connect on your own timetable, the Internet is invaluable. You already know about art/craft blogs; you may also want to try Flickr groups for picture-sharing (, and Yahoo! groups for discussion or swapping ( Also, try searching for art retreats, conventions, classes and consumer shows. Meeting and interacting with like-minded individuals is the most important part of attending a special art/craft event. Often, friendships made at these events will continue afterward through Internet contact. I have many wonderful friends made through conventions; we keep in touch, and our friendships are strong, although we don't see each other often. Here's to making more creative friends!


Here are some "test doodles" I did in my art journal. First, both sides of a page were lightly gessoed. The doodles are done with Glaze pens - they dry shiny and slightly raised, almost like embossing. Then I scribbled over the doodles with watercolor crayons, washed over the crayons with water on a flat brush, let dry. (My journal pages are thin, so they warped when water was added, but they mostly smoothed out.)

We're All Unique!

I love to go blog-surfing, looking at people's arts/crafts blogs. While I was doing this the other day, I was thinking about how many different kinds of creativity I saw. Everyone has their own unique talent. To me, an artist is someone who interprets what he/she sees. Since we all have our own unique vision, we all interpret things in our own special way. "Vision" doesn't only have to mean seeing with our eyes; we also see with our hearts, minds and imaginations. A group of artists can see the same subject, but each one would interpret that subject differently. That is what is so great about arts and crafts!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yard Sale Finds

Hello - Went to some yard sales today, but not too many, because it was getting hot out there! I got a few things, what I call "good junk": four pieces of sheet music that you see in the photo, plus two Christmas issue magazines from 1974. Since these items are not in perfect condition, I will use them to cut up for collages, cards, inchies, etc.

Here's my journal page from the other day - you know, the one that didn't look like it was finished (at least to me)! Using an idea from Nancy B.'s tutorial on her blog, I used everyday items (a pencil eraser, a paper clip end, and a sm. crochet flower) to "stamp" an acrylic background design around the girl. Is it finshed now? I don't know, I'm going to think on it - meanwhile, drop me a note if you think I should add something!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Welcome, summer!

Since it is now officially summer, I thought I'd post my "By the sea" plaque. The base is a large (5" x 7") countertop tile sample. Torn paper, Creative Paperclay shells and paper bathing beauty on cork are layered on the tile, with wire and beads through the hole at the top for hanging.
Creative Paperclay is an air-dry material, so the shells were painted and sealed with a pearl varnish. (If you can't find pearl varnish, add a tiny bit of white pearl paint to your favorite varnish to give it a "pearly" look. Make sure that your paint and varnish are compatible, i.e. acrylic paint with acrylic varnish, etc.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paper, Paper & More Paper


We all know about the fabulous papers available to use today - collage and scrapbook papers, many types of specialty art papers, and lots more. The ones I seem to forget about are the papers not always associated with art.

Tissue papers, both solid and printed, add depth and texture to a project. How about pieces of magazine pages, wrapping paper or greeting cards? Grocery bags, envelopes and shipping tags are other possibilities. Remember to look through your mail for more ideas: all sorts of junk mail, plus postage stamps and postcards might be there.

Papers don't need to be fancy; bits of ordinary lined paper, ledger paper or self-stick notes might be just the thing for your project. Maybe pattern tissue, an old label or a ticket stub would be "just the ticket"! Paper is all around us, we just need to look at it with new eyes!

I put the collage at right together last night. Over an acrylic background, the clip art girl has an outfit cut from magazine/catalog pages. I got inspired to cut shapes using magazine pages from Teesha Moore's journaling ideas on her website. (This collage needs something, I don't believe she's finished yet!) Take care!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Love those adhesives!

Hi there!

Today I wanted to mention a bit about adhesives and glues - it's a hot topic,, because everybody's got 'em, everybody needs 'em for something! My favorite adhesive products are from Beacon Adhesives - they make Zip Dry Paper Glue, Kid's Choice Glue, 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue, among many others.

Zip Dry is a quick-drying, non-wrinkling adhesive on most types of paper, but it's also great for gluing small charms, buttons, etc. on paper projects. Living in a dry area, I find that glue sticks do not work well for me, especially in the long-term. Since I do a lot of paper projects, I use other adhesives as well, such as double-sided adhesive sheets, but the Zip Dry really is a great multi-purpose paper glue! I'm always interested to know what kind of adhesives people use, and why, so if you have favorites, drop me a line!

(P.S. - The photo is of an art journal page I finished last night - no words at all on this one! I pre-painted some journal pages with acrylic a while back, then when I thought this background sort olooked like flowers, I drew in petals w/ a marker, then added the details w/ Glaze pens.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Altered Book Pages

When I make new arts and crafts projects that I can show to the public, I'll add them here. Also, as I find interesting techniques, products, websites or blogs, I'll share them. Here is a project I completed a while back. These are altered book pages - I inked the pages, folded and glued them to make pockets, then added tags with butterfly images.

First Post!

Hello, and welcome!

As you can tell by the title, this is my first post! I've been a fan of arts and crafts blogs for a while now, and I've read quite a few of them. The more I read, the more I wanted to start a creative blog of my very own. You see, I've had a lot of experience with many arts and crafts, and I feel the need to that with others. I don't know everything about all arts and crafts - I'm always learning and growing and trying new things. If you feel the same way, come back here and check out my blog again! Thanks for coming, leave a message any time, or just stop in and say hi!

So far, I have some of my very favorite arts and crafts blogs on my list (check 'em out!), I'll be adding more as I get organized.