Birthday Card Ministry

So… I’ve been loving making these cards.  I keep thinking I’m going to stockpile cards so I have a bunch to choose from whenever an occasion comes up, but as soon as I make one I want to give it to someone.  I just so happen to go to a church with a huge congregation and every month the “Carillon” (kind of like a newsletter) lists all the congregants’ birthdays for the month.  So I decided to start sending them to people in the church.  I can do them for other occasions, too, like weddings and funerals.  There will always be some occasion to make a card for.

Here are the ones I made today:

ImageI went with this theme specifically for the Drunken Stampers’ challenge this week: Beaches.  http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/place-beach-drunken-stampers-challenge-136/  This “term” their themes are People, Places, and Things, so there are tons of possibilities.  I had so much fun with the 3 cards I made for their movie-themed last term.  I love the way these ladies think.

Anyway, the “Life’s a beach” is kind of a play on “Life’s a (some other word that begins with ‘b’ and ends with ‘ch’)”.  Unintentionally, but perfectly enough, I stamped the “e” upside-down on my first one.

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I used a couple stamps from a cheap set that I just got at a local discount store for the “Have a Great Day” and palm tree (with this challenge in mind).  It didn’t stamp very well (I guess I know why it was at the discount store) so I went over it a bit with my trusty Sharpies and also added a couple coconuts while I was at it.  I used my awesome stamp-press to put down the letters for “Life’s a Beach”.  I used Distress Ink for the black, hence the “distressed” look, and combinations of stamp-pads, magic markers, and Bingo daubers for the tree and sun.  The sun is one I made recently and am still pretty proud of it.  (Here’s my post about that, if you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/08/i-made-a-stamp/)

I’m also going to enter it into Our Creative Corner’s “Words, Words, Words” challenge: http://ourcreativecorner6.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/words-words-words.html.  This will be my second entry for that challenge (they allow a max of 3) and my first entry also had a little mistake in it.  I hope they don’t think I mess up everything but if they do, that’s okay, too.

Art Journal Sketch Challenge

I made my first art journal page in a long time last night and now I’m hooked.  I used to do art journaling therapeutically, but it’s not something that I’ve felt I needed recently.  I’ve found so many beautiful art journaling blogs that have inspired me to start again.  I found this challenge on a blog that I like and thought it would be fun to enter:  http://liftsummercrafts.blogspot.com/2013/08/challenge7-art-journal.html?m=1

It’s a sketch challenge, and the sketch in this one is a work of art in and of itself.  It has so much interest and detail that the only thing that really makes it a “sketch” is that it’s gray-scale.  Nonetheless, it was really fun to work from.  Here’s what I made:

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I made the background with watercolors and a stamp using yellow ink.  Then I used some random papers from a scrapbook pack I’ve had for ages and some washi tape to make the rectangles.  I still didn’t know what I wanted to put in the “frames” but in looking through my magazines, I found some words that really spoke to me in a catalogue for a spiritual retreat center, Genesis, that I’m going to a workshop at this September.

The photo is of a statue on the retreat grounds and I used pencils to color it in a bit.  I started out with just light blue wings on the angel but then started adding more color, turning them into butterfly wings.  Butterflies are such a spiritual symbol for me- representing beauty, serenity, and resurrection.  I also did some doodles with Sharpies to add some of the dimension that the sketch had.

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I really can’t wait for the retreat.  It is with Jan Richardson and her husband, Garrison Doles.  They’re a poet/artist and musician, respectively, and lead spiritual retreats throughout the country.  This one is called “Mapping the Mystery” (where the work “mystery” comes from).  They are able to approach spiritual life through creativity, which really speaks to me (for obvious reasons).  This is one of Jan’s blogs:  http://www.janrichardson.com/.

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.

Fun collage ICADs

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I was in a training all day yesterday and came home completely brain dead. I sat at my craft table and making a collage seemed like about all I could do. I have a box of cut outs from magazines that I keep for just such an occassion and just started going through it. This is what came out. I have no idea what it is but that’s half the fun. The words aren’t a quote but they seem to sum up my mood well.

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I was having so much fun that I wanted to make another. I used a little verse from a book of children’s poems I got for a dollar. For this one, I used a cut out from a pattern envelope, a cut out Highlights magazine, and glitter glue. Who doesn’t love glitter glue?

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The training was on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  I’ve been to trainings in it before but this one was free and I needed the continuing education credits. The mindfulness aspect of this technique is especially interesting to me and I did learn a few new techniques. The neatest part was the quotes from Thich Nhat Han sprinkled throughout the PowerPoint.  I love readings from him and they always speak to me in some deep way. This one literally brought me to a mindful state just by reading it and hearing the bell in my mind. Sense memory can be so powerful.

Here’s another one that really spoke to me:

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This is so important to remember.  I see some of these quotes in future ICADs.

Peace.

Celebratory ICADs!

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There were a couple pretty cool birthdays this week.  My favorite: Eric Carle.  I love his illustrations and I feel a special affinity to him because the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is on the campus of my Alma Mater.  They have an amazing craft room that has different projects all the time.  I think I love it even more than my son.  I made that first ICAD as a tribute to Eric Carle, using collage that seemed reminiscent of his work.

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The second birthday is of Antoni Gaudi, an amazing architect.  The Google-doodle for that day was so cool that it prompted me to look up more of his work.  It’s so organic and colorful, and I found the quote that perfectly described his work.  I happened to have a background for a card just waiting to be used and this seemed like the perfect way to use it.  I made the background while I was experimenting with some pens that I never really liked.  I broke some open and blew the ink onto some cards.  It was really fun.  I used Sharpies to draw a somewhat abstract representation of his kind of architecture on top of the ink blots.

I made a couple boo-boos on this card, though.  I added an “o” to the end of his first name name and then, when I was adding the ICAD date and # I was accidentally holding the card upside down.  I guess sometimes things are so abstract it’s hard to remember what they actually were to begin with.

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This last one was just a day of pure celebration!  Yesterday, the Supreme Court found part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.  Not only is this just a really amazing moral victory, but it’s also going to have really positive, concrete benefits for thousands of couples (and couples-to-be) in the US, including my wife and me.  There are still other battles to fight, but this is an amazing step.  For example, while my marriage is legal in our home state of Massachusetts (the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004), if we were to move to a state where it wasn’t legal, it may not be transferred and we could lose many of the rights and privileges we have.

I knew I wanted to make an ICAD about it (albeit a quick one because I spent most of the night celebrating with my family and friends).  I immediately thought of this quote (one of my favorites from our recent visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibit in DC).  In researching the specific wording, I found that it was originally attributed to a minster from Massachusetts (not surprising).

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I hope these cards are as inspirational for you to see as they were for me to make.  Enjoy!

Mandala Monday

Shoot!  I thought I uploaded this before but it didn’t take.  Better late than never…

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Here’s my contribution for today.  I was expecting a long day at work and then had to go get a new phone (an excursion that I had no idea would take 3 hours!).  So, I decided to try to make an electronic mandala on my phone.  I opened up my Pic Collage app (a favorite) and imported some pictures.  I started with 4 ICADs I’d done last week  with similar materials/techniques (all starting with a failed attempt at using a 3D stencil with gesso).  I used those as the 4 “corners” of my circle.  Then, I cropped a photo I took yesterday and made a kind of star design using several copies of it.  The photo is kind of a funny story:  I got this pinata for my parents’ surprise 50th Anniversary party at church.  When I went back the next day, I happened to notice it hanging from a stick outside the dumpster.  I guess the sexton couldn’t bare to chuck it.  I call it “Resurrection of the Backyardigan”.

The mandala came out somewhat psychedelic looking, but the shape is strangely appealing to me.  And I was able to use images of a few cards that I didn’t really like to make something pretty interesting.  Mondays are always so hard to find time to really concentrate on anything, I’m starting to think I should actually plan ahead a bit and make my mandala on Sunday (and then just post it on Monday).  That wouldn’t be cheating, would it?

Catching up on ICAD

ImageHere are my next 4 ICAD projects.  They actually all sprung from the first one, which was built around the proverb:  “Bloom where you are planted”.  I was looking through my magazine word and image collection to do a collage, knowing that I’m not great at drawing and wanted flowers (for obvious reasons).  I couldn’t find the words, so I got out my Geli-stix pens (with this week’s theme being “ink”).  I don’t know why I still have those pens because I’ve never liked them.  They only work intermittently, so I have to go over and over the lines and it wasn’t the look I was going for here.  Oh well.  I tried drawing some flowers on it, but didn’t like those much either.  I can’t throw anything away (hence, the pens) so I decided to experiment.  I screwed open the pen and used an Xacto knife to cut the cylinder that holds the ink.  I tapped, and blew, and flicked the ink all over my little card.  It was so fun.  So I opened up a couple more pens.  Then, I took a couple other cards and blotted up the extra ink, giving me backgrounds for 3 more cards!  And these are my final products:

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Of course, the last one is the the original card.  (Remember, I can’t throw anything away.)  I went over the original lettering with a silver and a black sharpie.  I guess my little card did bloom, after all.

The best part of the story is that I posted another card on Daisy Yellow’s ICAD Facebook page, saying that I really didn’t like those Geli-stix.  Another person in the group suggested that I gift them to her, because she would use them.  As I was going through my aforementioned magazine word collection looking for the first quote (that I ended up doing a lot of word-by-word and letter-by-letter) I found the quote from the Bhagavad Gita… a perfect way to use one of my inky backgrounds.

This whole exercise was certainly an “adventure of the mind”.  I love how things work out sometimes when I open myself up to whatever the Universe might bring me.  THAT’S the source of all creativity, I think.