Fungus Friday (a la Woodland Whimsy)

Bonus post for today!  After seeing the neat post from Woodland Whimsy that this post is named after, I couldn’t resist.

http://woodlandwhimsy.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/fungus-friday-46/

I’ve just been finding myself noticing a lot of mushrooms around lately.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m noticing them more or there are more of them to notice.  The weather has been pretty perfect for fungus, though, so it’s probably that there are just more of them.  So… here goes:

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That’s all.

Where I Create

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Karen at the “My Desert Cottage” blog has created a great big blog-hoppin’ party where bloggers have shared pictures and thoughts about their creative spaces.  I’m a day late to join (it started this morning) but better late than never.  So here’s the link to the round-up and here’s my “space”.

http://www.mydesertcottage.com/2013/06/are-you-ready-to-be-inspired-again.html?m=0

I call it my “crafting corner”- having taken over a corner of my boy’s playroom.  He doesn’t seem to mind and I love playing in my space while he’s playing in his.  I also kinda took over his little table, after giving him a much bigger table for his Legos/cars/Skylanders/whatever else he wants to use it for. Sitting in those little chairs seems to somehow get the creative juices flowing- maybe it takes me back to childhood a bit.  (I’m going to be in trouble when I can no longer get up out of them, though.)  Oh yeah, that’s a wedding picture of me and my wife on the wall.  I’m the one with the dimples.  🙂  (We LOVED our photographer:  http://proofs.halechannel.com/about)Image

This is a little canvas I started a while ago and just haven’t quite finished, along with some other things that I know I want to do something with but am not quite sure what.  I tried experimenting with using old spices as glitter and paint pigment a while ago, but kind of stalled out with that.
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I love this little roll-top desk that a friend rescued from a curb and bestowed upon me.  I didn’t do much other than clean it up, fix some of the loose joints, and add new knobs.  It’s perfect for my sewing machine when it’s not in use (and the roll top doesn’t really close all that easily, anyway).  Next to the machine is a little birdhouse I’ve been working on.  I saw this idea of using hardcover books as birdhouse roofs at a local artisan’s gallery several years ago and have made several since.  They’re so fun!  As you can see, there are a couple others waiting in the wings.

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I don’t love all the plastic boxes on my shelves, but I do love that they’re labeled AND see-through- it helps inspire me, I think.  But I just made this new box for the ICADs I’ve been working on for the past month and a half.  They’d been just collecting dust on the corner of my table, and I’d seen all these cute ways other crafters had started storing theirs, so I decided to try my hand at making a box.  I used an album jacket that I’d been saving until I found a new life for it (the record having long since been melted into a bowl) and just figured out how to fold and cut it to make a box.  Then, I decoupaged strips of paper scraps and washi tape for decoration and reinforcement.  My favorite part is the little beads I used to make the closure.  I “sewed” them on with some wire I had pulled out of a roll of wired ribbon.

So, that’s my “space”.  Thanks for looking.  I can’t wait to start gawking at everyone else’s spaces on the blog-hop.  I’ll be sure to add links to some of my favorites here.

Inspirational ICADs/Inspirational People

The ICADs I made this week were all from a series of some of my favorite inspirational quotes that I printed out  one day with my new printer, playing with colors and fonts.  I was recently turned back on to Thich Nhat Hanh at a DBT training; a big part of that treatment modality is mindfulness and he’s pretty much the mindfulness guru.

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The first two were made with crayons in a couple different techniques.  The first was just a basic rubbing over a scrap of wire fencing I had left over from a project and the second was from a technique I keep seeing people talking about.  I made a pattern with glue and then let it dry.  The dried glue became a relief for me to rub the crayon over.  I kind of like the technique and it’s so easy.  The last one was kind of a “peek-a-boo” card, using the weaving theme from Daisy Yellow’s ICAD Challenge with a paper bag from PJ Chang’s on top, the quote stapled on the bottom, and (under the quote) a reminder to myself.  I also used the colors from the  2013 Summer of Color 3: Artist’s Choice challenge on Facebook.  (The colors this week are candy apple red and yellow).

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This quote from Ghandi is of my favorite of all time.  I actually just used blotting towels I’ve been accumulating on my craft table, ripped them up, and Mod Podged them on as the background.  I played with some “WordArt” in Microsoft Word to make the quote.

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For this, I played with oil pastels (another new material for me).  It’s such a visceral approach to art: the feeling of the material on my fingers.  I love it and definitely need to keep playing with them.  And I continue to be inspired thinking of our recent trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in DC.  He was truly an amazing man.

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This one was a combination of the dried-glue-relief and the crayon rubbing ideas from above.  I wrote the word “fruit” with the glue and then used crayon over it.  I tried using several colors in a rubbing over the wire mesh, moving the card just a hair for each new color.  It kind of made a muddy color, rather than the rainbow effect I was looking for, so I ended up covering most of the card with collage.  I raided one of my National Geographics for the images.

Here are the Facebook links to the ICAD and SOC Challenges:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/daisy.yellow.ICAD/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/116928415059733/

They continue to be so much fun, and are really encouraging me to do at least one creative thing a day.  It’s a habit I really think (hope) I can keep up.  I’m also learning so many new styles and techniques from the other participants who are posting their work.  It’s such an amazing variety and there are so many talented people out there!  They’re inspiring, too.

Mandala Monday- Best laid plans

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Happy Mandala Monday!  Just like I’d decided, I started my mandala on Sunday this week.  I actually cut one of my beautiful lilies (they die so fast anyway) and some flowers from giant hostas in my front yard.  I collected some blueberries and “mystery berries” from a bush that seems to be growing out of one of my blueberry bushes (I actually have to find out what that plant is because I’m debating whether or not to cut it down to save the blueberries or let it continue to grow).  Here it is, in case anyone has any ideas:

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So, I got my berries and buds inside and was thinking of using a plate as a background, like in this beautiful mandala post from Patty:

http://bitze.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wet-july-mandala-monday/

I was starting to think about an arrangement when a little friend crawled out from inside my lily.  Now, I could have kept thinking and arranging, but I was in our bedroom and had this terrible vision of the bug flying around all night keeping us awake and my wife begging me to kill it.  (I’ve been doing all my work in the bedroom this week because the temperatures have been in the 90s and it’s the only room with air conditioning.)  I quickly scooped up the flower and brought it outside to try to free my new friends (there were actually a couple in there).  The mosquitos started eating me alive and those little buggers just didn’t want to abandon ship, so I gave up and left them, and the flower, outside.

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That left me with just the hosta flowers and the berries, so I made a simple design and called it a night.

I woke up the next morning, Monday, and was thinking what I could do with my mandala- print it and draw something in the center, try to recreate it, start over from scratch.  I had to drive to the eastern part of the state to go to the funeral of my pastor’s wife’s father, and I thought about my little empty mandala on and off for a lot of the trip.  It was a beautiful drive and I was able to stream Pandora on my phone the whole time (not always possible driving through some of the more remote areas).  As I was leaving the funeral, I saw this beautiful Peace Pole outside the church and knew at once how to complete my mandala.  They have always moved me, and today’s was no exception.

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So, here’s my offering:

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I’m wishing peace and comfort to my pastor and his family; peace and comfort to us all.

Perfect day for working on the lawn!

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Yeah, so I was being sarcastic. It’s been in the 90s all week. And before that it alternated between torrential downpours and heat waves. This has been quite a summer, and it’s only just begun. But, I’m having our new shed delivered on Thursday so I have no choice but to brave the heat and get the area ready.

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Here’s the “before”. I’ve been using it as a “junk corner”, partially to kill some of the grass and weeds growing there and partially because I needed somewhere to put my junk. Luckily, about 3 feet around the fence had already been part of my garden and had a huge pumpkin vine growing there last year. That just needed some basic clean up and weeding.

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This handy-dandy “Fiskars” weeder is my new best friend, compliments of my lovely wife. It’s super easy to use, doesn’t requiring bending over, and all the work is done by foot. There was a bit of a learning curve and it works on some weeds better than others (it’s a dandelion annihilator), but I absolutely love it. The best part is that it gets the whole root. And I have not been paid to advertise this thing. (Though I wish I had.)

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So, now I just have about 20 square feet of grass to dig up. The good thing is that I have about 20 square feet of ground that needs grass in other parts of the yard. The bad thing is that it’s 92 degrees and feels like 101. Did I mention that?

So, there’s no “after” yet because its not “after” yet. But it will be… soon. (Unfortunately, probably not soon enough.). I’ll keep you posted!

UPDATE: End of day two. I’ve certainly made progress but still have so far to go… and a busy work week to top it off. Well, as Dory would say: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Swimming, swimming, swimming.” (Swimming sounds SO good right about now!)

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ANOTHER UPDATE:  It’s DONE!!!  I finished in the nick of time (and in the pouring rain- with a tornado touching down about 20 miles away).  Here’s the rest of my work:

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And here’s the wonderful contractors’ work:

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We Have a Shed!!!  (next step… paint)

A day late for the Drunken Stampers’ Challenge

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I’m a day late for last week’s Drunken Stampers’ Challenge (as the title implies) but I’ve been picturing my card all week so I had to make it. (And the last one was clearly not the last one as an earlier blog of mine applied.) Here’s the link to the challenge so you can see the great submissions:
Drunken Stampers Challenge #134 – Enchanted | Drunken Stampers
http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/drunken-stampers-challenge-134-enchanted/

I used my new Canon PIXMA MG8220 printer to print a bunch of photos from Times Square that I grabbed from the internet. (I LOVE this printer. It’s wireless, can print right from my phone, and prints amazing quality photos. It copies and scans, too, so the possibilities are endless. Part of the hold up in making the card was trying to get the thing set up, so it was totally worth it.)

Anyway, I cut out some buildings and cars from the photos and pasted them on a charcoal-y piece of scrapbook paper (which was pasted on a card). Then, I cut out the picture of Snow White from a Golden Book that I’ve been cannibalizing. I tried to draw a manhole for her to come out of but that part doesn’t look as good as it does in my brain. I put a couple stickers on and the text from another page of scrapbook paper. In case you haven’t figured it out, the challenge was the movie “Enchanted” and/or fairy tales (so I did both). I must say, I kinda love it (and I also loved that movie- it almost made me miss living in New York… almost).

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I had an extra photo of NYC and had to make a birthday card for a friend, so here’s what I came up with. It’s her 35th. That’s a big birthday, right? Who remembers that movie with Michael J. Fox: “Bright Lights, Big City”? Another great movie.

Decoupaged Dresser Do-over (and an Armoire)

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This dresser was my first furniture purchase as an “adult”.  I bought it from a woman in my friend’s  dorm at Parson’s when I was staying with him during the summer after college.  I hauled this thing around NYC to 3 different apartments and then an apartment and 2 homes in Western Mass.  It was desperately in need of a makeover.  (It was probably in need of a makeover when I first got it, but all I did was chop off the legs so it would fit under my loft bed with a clothes hanging rack over the top.)

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So… I spent a couple days decoupaging pages from “Thoreau: On Education” on each of the drawers.  It was actually a really easy project.  I sanded it down a little (mostly just to get the grime off) and then just slapped on the pages.  The hardest part was actually just keeping dog-hair out of the glue while it dried.  I like the little illustrations from some of the chapter title pages that I snuck in there.

 

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This armoire was even more desperately in need of a makeover.  I originally intended to strip and refinish it when I bought it, but as I got to work I started realizing that a lot of the wood was veneer.  IMG_4703

So instead of stripping, I painted and covered it up.  The top is actually a really deep purple acrylic (that looks brown in most light).  The cards are from a set of Penguin Books postcards that I got on Amazon (I found the link in a neat wall-art project on Pinterest).  I laid out a kind of a pattern with the cards, took them off in piles, and then started decoupaging them back on.  To hold them down while they dried (because there was a bit of a relief design that I had to cover up and because they REALLY wanted to warp), I laid my all my wife’s cookbooks on top of them for about a day.  A couple new knobs, a ribbon across the bottom and voila!

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These were both fun, easy projects and it’s almost like having new pieces of furniture.  They’ve really brightened up and added interest to our room.