Crossroads

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ve been overwhelmed lately and haven’t had the time or energy to create much of anything.  And I haven’t liked it one bit.  But I have a little time tonight and felt the urge to blog… but what to say, share, do?  So I pushed the “Inspire me” link on WordPress and the image and quote above came up.  Of course, they’re pretty perfect for where my life has taken me right about now.

I’ve been thinking so much about balance, lately.  As I’ve been working to build a new department at my agency, one that I think I would truly love to run, I’ve had to give up a lot of the time I’d been able to spend on my crafting.   Things had gotten pretty stagnant in my last position and I had been able to do it without a lot of thought or effort.  This was a new sensation for me, as I’d always been pretty consumed by work (working in a mental health field can easily be all-consuming).  Luckily, I was able to channel the extra time and energy I had into my crafting and I realized that I’d gotten to really love that part of myself.

The quote speaks to me of my own “enlightenment”, or my moving up in the social services world into a position I’ve  always thought I wanted.  But the “ghosts” that I’m afraid that I’m creating are the possible ghosts of my creative, family,  and spiritual lives.  I’m afraid about work consuming my life once again, as it’s done at so many points in the past.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to do everything I want to do.  But I know there are things I need to do.  These are the things I’ve learned about myself in the past several months of having the creative time I’ve had:

– When I have the time to be creative, I feel alive.

– When I have the energy to participate actively in my faith community, I feel connected.

– When I feel alive and connected, I’m a great mother and wife.

So, what to do?

I’m so scared about being that little house in the picture with the sad title:  “love Don’t live here anymore”.   I’m scared about not being able to balance the pressures of work and life and still make time for the things that really feed my soul.  I’m scared that the career goal I’d always aspired to (moving up in the agency, having the chance to have a greater impact on the lives of a greater number of people) may end up being the thing that makes me into a person I don’t want to be.

How do you balance work and life and yourSELF?

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“Easy-Peasy” Christmas cards inspired by Spike

I’ve been telling myself for months that I’m going to take a page from the awesome “Blog that Spike Built” and start making Christmas cards early this year.  http://spikescreativeside.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-63-many-merry-christmas/.  She is totally cool and a major inspiration- from her Drunken Stampers stuff to her Art Journal pages to this here “Easy-Peasy Christmas Card Pinterest Board” http://pinterest.com/spikescreative/easy-peasy-christmas-cards/.

And I finally did!!!  Here are my first 2:

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And they were totally “Easy Peasy”.  I made a Christmas tree stencil with a piece of heavy paper and then used a stamp I made out of an eraser with 4 circles.  I stamped a bunch of circles in different colors to fill in the template.  For red and green one, I used a Season’s Greetings rub-in and for the multi-colored one I used a “Joy” stamp with Tim Holtz Distress Ink.  The colors for the “Joy” one are actually from the Stampotique Designers Challenge this month: purple, orange, and yellow.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc111-color-challenge.html  I love the color combo!

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My favorite part is the “star” at the top of the tree, which I did with my boy’s borrowed pinky finger.  I used a Sharpie to put a little starburst in it.

I felt like I’m on a roll, so I made a few more today.  I’m actually not really thrilled with the first 2, but the last one totally floats my boat:

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I got my first Paper Pumpkin Kit from Stamping the Moon yesterday and it was like opening a treasure chest!  http://stampingthemoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/paper-pumpkin-limited-time-offer/  It came with a little stamp pad, an acrylic block (which I’ve wanted for forever), a bunch of charcoal gray cards and yellow-polkadotted papers that fit, envelopes, a sheet of flag and accent stickers, and 2 stamps.  There were instructions on how to make a sample card, but I hate following instructions so I pretty much did my own thing.  For the top one, I used a Stampsmith “H” stamp (which I love) with the new acrylic block and then stamped the rest of the letters to spell “Happy Holidays”.  I kind of blew it with the snowflake stamp using a bingo dauber.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  The Christmas tree one is the innards of the stencil I used in the first batch of cards.  I used another Bingo dauber to stamp around it.  Then I used a couple gift stamps, which I colored with my handy dandy Sharpies, a star stamp (that I made with an eraser), and a “Happy Holidays” stamp that came with the above-mentioned snowflake.  Like I said, those aren’t my favorite.  This one, however, is:

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I don’t know why I like this one so much, but I do.  I made the Gingerbread Man stamp with one of my boy’s old erasers.  It had a Buzz Lightyear sticker on it, so it was kind of shaped like a man, and I just carved this little guy.  Here’s my first test page with him:

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Then, I stamped the circles with the circle eraser stamp that I had used previously to fill in the Christmas tree.  I traced the little guy and drew swirls in the circles and then, just because, I stamped a similar swirl in the corner.  I wrote the little phrase on the card and Voila!

I’m going to submit the second batch, that one in particular, to the this month’s Stampotique Designers Challenge: Polka Dots.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc112-polka-dots.html

I originally made the first one for their color challenge but you can only submit one and I really like that one best.  “Run, run, as fast as you can.  You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man.”  🙂  Christmas, here I come!

Challenge entry for The Stampsmith Challenge (and my new favorite stamps)

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I LOVE when neatly decorated packages come in the mail.  It’s always the sign of a crafter sending me supplies or a piece I ordered.  This one from Estelle was no exception.  I’ve been starting to experiment with stamping and loving all the resources on-line (and, of course, at good-ol’ Michael’s).  I found this challenge and knew it would be the perfect excuse to get some new stamps:

http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/07/tsc44shabby-chic-or-vintage-grunge.html

The “shabby chic” and “grunge” themes certainly helped peak my interest!  So, here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge.  I’m thinking it ended up being more of a grunge look.  I usually start out envisioning shabby chic, but then I keep adding more and more layers, pushing things over into “grunge-range”.  This card started out with really pretty circles using a few different yellow acrylics and “floating medium”.  You can see it more than in my last post’s card’s background.  It works amazingly well with shading and blending.  Then, I used one of my new Stampsmith stamps to add this great Anais Nin quote (I love her).  I used the cute heart stamps that I’ve had forever and a Sharpie to make little flowers in the centers of the circles I had made.  Then, I added some roses with the “extra” stamp that Estelle threw in (I LOVE extras).  The coolest thing about her stamps is the intricate details in some of them.  I had no idea stamps could actually be photo-realistic, as well.  I know that I’m going to get better at using them- there’s quite a skill to stamping.

This is where I started venturing into “grunge-land”, I think.  I recently made some spray-ink with acrylic and rubbing alcohol so I thought a little spray would add some more interest.  (Oh, here’s my post in which I made spray-ink, in case you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch/)  Little did I know, but the not-yet dry ink in the quote stamp ran a little with the spray, but by then I was committed to grunge, so it worked out.  Then, I took quote stamp that still had a little ink on it and randomly stamped over the rest of the card.  The black hearts are actually a wooden heart that I used as a stamp.  So, there you have it!

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As a bonus, here’s another ICAD I made this week, I used torn up coin wrappers for it.  Funnily, I used the label from a sheet of letters I got from the Stampsmith to stamp the letters over the top and grunge this one up, as well.  (By the way, the letters are in these intricate nouveau art flower designs- be on the lookout for a project with them soon.)

So, there you have it.  What’s the most unique way you’ve used a stamp/stamps?  I think I’m addicted.

Creative Corners Challenge entry and a new, cool tool

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GLITTER!  Who can pass up a challenge with glitter!?  This week’s theme at the Creative Corners blog is “Let it Sparkle”.  Here’s the link:

http://creativecornerchallenges.blogspot.de/

Now, I’m not a big sparkly person in real life, but in my creative life I think a little bit of well-place glitter glue can absolutely MAKE a design.  (for example: https://craftymadre.com/2013/06/16/icad-drunken-stampers-challenge/) The ICAD (above) is my contribution to the challenge.  I used a background that I made with a couple different shades of yellow acrylic paint applied with a “floating medium” (yes, I finally learned how to use it and I love it).  Then I went over it with a rough layer of gesso using a folded index card to apply it (ICAD all the way, baby!).  I used a few different stamps with “Distress Ink” Black Soot, “Color Box” Curry, and “Craft Smart” Kelly Green.  Some of the stamps I used were from Inkadinkado (the quote and Zeppelin from an awesome vintage collection).  And then, the pièce de résistance was some green glitter glue to highlight it.

The other cool thing I used on this card is my new “Stamp Press” from Fiskars:

http://www2.fiskars.com/Crafting/Products/Stamping/Easy-Stamp-Press

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I saw Aaron on Imperfect Impulses use it in a tutorial and fell in love.  And then, my lovely wife got it for me!  Here’s him using it (with home-made foam stamps- how cool is that?!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoIiFTjDYzs

The funny thing is, in a previous post of mine I was bragging about my new Fiskars weeder (https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/07/perfect-day-for-working-in-the-lawn).  This company really needs to pay me for all the advertising (or, I should invest in them because they make GREAT products for all my favorite activities).

So, a lot of link-backs to previous posts, references to other blogs, and product references in here.  What do you think?

A few more ICADs- on the home stretch

ImageI saw a “recipe” for making spray ink on a blog recently and decided to try it out.  Not only would it be a money saver, but it would also be a way to upcycle come spray bottles I already have and a new technique to try- TRIPLE WIN!  Here’s the blog with the really simple instructions:

http://crippledpapercrafter.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/good-luck-going-away-gift-and-homemade-spray-ink/

I started out all these cards with a little spray-ink from the first bottle I made.  The only glitch I found was that the spray-nozzle seemed to get clogged up after not too long.  I think I’ll have to clear it out with water pretty frequently.  When I started out, I didn’t have as much paint in the solution, but it wasn’t very dark on the page, so I guess the clogged sprayer is the price I pay for wanting more color.  I also used the tulle to make some texture on the card with a brush in the same color paint.

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I had printed this little poem/blessing on a card with my new printer when I was testing it out a couple weeks ago.  It had come to my attention when I saw a blogger post a request from Jan to let people know that it was actually her work, rather than the work of someone else it was mistakenly being attributed to.  Here’s that post:

http://masterbard.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/because-i-love/

And here’s a link to one of Jan’s blogs:

http://paintedprayerbook.com/

I love Jan’s work and am going to a retreat being sponsored by my church that she’s leading in the fall.  I can’t wait.  I used the washi tape prompt on this one for just a little more color, but I didn’t want to do too much to it because I think the words are just beautiful as they are.ImageImage

These last two I just made for fun.  The Dr. Seuss quote is one of my wife’s favorites so I’m going to put it in a little frame for her office (and the rainbow wording is a big theme for us, for obvious reasons).  I tried using some “floating medium” I had around but couldn’t really figure out what it did.  I have to check out some tutorials and try it again when I have some more time and patience.

The last one is just a quote that popped into my head with the combo of the “ocean” and “bicycle” prompts.  I kind of messed up the bicycle wheel, but it’s only an index card, after all.  After the spray clogged, I just took the cap off and started flicking and wiping the straw on the card.  I made a little washi tape fish and then put on the reverse of the fish for good measure.  (Who’s ever seen an ocean with only one fish?)

Here are a few other ICAD posts from some of my other favorite bloggers:

http://pixelknitsponderings.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/index-card-a-day-2013-week-6/  – She used some spray-inks this week, too.  I love all the techniques she tried, especially her scrap washi heart (I need to start my own scrap-washi collection, now.)

http://defineyourjoy.com/2013/07/14/this-weeks-index-cards-2/ – I know I’ve already linked to Natasha’s cards but I just love them and her daughter is still doing them right along with her.  She was just published in Altered Arts Magazine, which is the coolest thing in the world.  (She totally deserves it.)

http://imperfectimpulses.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/idle-impulses/  – And here’s another blog I recently started following.  I especially love his art journal stuff and I’ve watched a bunch of his tutorials on YouTube.  They’re not only fun to watch, they teach great techniques.  Here’s his YouTube channel:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjU04ybwhaF0OyvQp-4Y1Eg

Thanks for looking.  Two more weeks of ICAD… what will be my next “challenge”???

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.

Because I love Jan Richardson…

Beautiful blessing, and Jan deserves credit for every bit of her amazing body of work. I’m so excited about being able to attend a spiritual retreat being led by her this September.

The Bardic Circle

Because I love Jan’s work, her paintings and her poetry alike, I’m happy to repost her request…and this beautiful invocation for your day today. Love from the Bard!

“Recently discovered that a blessing that I wrote has been traveling around Tumblr and beyond, which is cool, except that it’s being attributed to John O’Donohue. I love O’Donohue’s work but would like to stick a pin in this blessing as being mine. Please share!”

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you

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