Decorating with Art :)

I wanted to hang my recent returns from the ARTchix Studio Blue ATC swap so I could enjoy them a lot more. I thought you might like to see what I came up with . . .

The little stars are courtesy of editing the photo in PicMonkey . . . 
It's a free photo editing program I love & use all the time. You might enjoy it!

I attached the ATCs I received together with blue washi tape on the back.

I had six ATCs that I put together into one strand . . .

To see them all in more detail with credits, please go here.

Then I wrapped the tape around the piece of yarn I use to display art in my studio!
I like how the ATC display came out and I think it goes well with the rest!

On the bottom left is a beeswax collage I received the other day from my dear friend and talented artist, Sharon Borsavage. The package included a gorgeous necklace I ordered (that Sharon made) and my book from our altered book exchange . . . I wanted to hang her collage up right away.

I so love this piece Sharon made for me.
Our altered books were based on the themes of birds and nature!
* It is perfect *

Thank you sweet, talented Sharon!

I had my husband take a couple of photos of me wearing the necklace Sharon made...

Steven gave me the short necklace and Sharon made the gorgeous longer one. 
She calls it Messages. It's made of copper, freshwater pearls and a coral piece.
No wonder I fell in love with this piece! Sharon describes it like this... 
"I feel a true connection with nature with this piece, very serene, organic, and peaceful."
~ see more of Sharon's art-ful jewelry HERE ~

What a great way to decorate with art!!
Hope you have fun doing the same - put up some ATCs or a postcard
and EnJOY!! 

Risk the truth with those you love and give them the gift you would want yourself.
    ~ Unknown

wonderful swap returns . . . .

I thought I would share the really wonderful swap returns I recently received, for your enjoyment! I'm doing a mail art swap on a monthly basis with Jo Urbani and Jewels Welsh, plus I signed up for the ARTchix Studio Blue ATC swap. That was so fun to do - see my ATCs here. Yesterday I received an Awesome BLUE package from Nikki Smith, the swap hostess. Inside were really some first rate ATCs plus extra goodies from Helga, the owner of ARTchix Studio and Nikki -wow!

A huge thanks to the creators of the ATCs I received, such beautiful art. I can't wait to decorate my studio! I was so super psyched to receive one of Helga's ATCs and one of Nikki's too -wow! 


For the mail art, our theme last month was The Language of Flowers. I love how this phrase sounds and in fact have now ordered a book on the subject via a recommendation from my friend Frieda Oxenham. I shared my own mail art here earlier based on the theme the language of the orange blossom, find it here if you missed it. I used photos of my very first Orange Tree that is growing in our yard . . . which now has lots of little green Hamlin oranges growing on it and more blossoms are forming at the same time! But even more fun I think than creating my own mail art was receiving mail art from Joanna & Jewels. 

Jo created the sweetest postcard and envelope using Daisies

Jewels picked the French Willow and a corresponding quote that I really like . . .

You can read more about the techniques she used to create her postcard HErE. Below I did a collage in Photoshop to show you the back of her envelope with the front below on the left and the postcard and the back of it on the right . . .

I hope you enjoy! I also received an incredible package from my dear friend and talented artist, Sharon Borsavage the other day. It included a gorgeous necklace I ordered but also my book from our altered book exchange that we alternated working in... it is really something! I want to add a wee bit more to the book as there are a few blank pages left and then I will share it with you. Thanks for your patience as I wind my way back into my art life. xo lenna

Who so loves believes the impossible.
  ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

ARTchix Blue ATCs

I had the pleasure of participating in the ARTchix Studio Blue ATC swap. I was really happy to see Helga announce this swap as I knew very well that a deadline would nudge me to create (and it did!) Of course time got away from me and everything was sent in on the last possible (deadline) day . . . but on the positive side, I did accomplish making them. The idea was simple: Make 6 Artist Trading Cards using the color blue and use an ARTchix Studio item on each ATC. 

I used ARtchix ART blast playing cards as a base, the ones with birds printed on them.

I started with watercolor crayons around the edges in shades of blue.

Then wet the crayon marks (watercolor) and spread the color around . . . 

I added sayings from various ARTchix word collage sheets and gave all the birds crowns

and I added bits of Transparencies from ARTchix Studio -see the blue edges:

I glued on beads and added a bit of glitter . . .

The backs belong to the playing cards . . . 

 All six of my ATCs scanned . . . 

They are a bit different, not perfect and pretty, but they are interesting, unusual, blue, filled with birds and creativity and ARTchixStudio and fun and experimenting . . . just what I needed! 

Thank you Helga and also to our hostess Nikki for organizing - so appreciate it!!


Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
  ~ Anais Nin

guest post on Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer!

I am so thrilled that Julie Balzer asked me to write about the Sketchbook Project for Art Journal Every Day! My guest post was published today (May 18) and you can read it here. This has been quite the week for me, that's for sure. I am also a guest artist on the ARTchix Studio blog, whoo hoo! The Sketchbook Project, Art Journal Every Day and ARTchix studio are all favorites of mine, so I feel quite blessed. If you are new to my blog because of these posts, welcome! I'll be back soon. enjoy your day, lenna

Nothing happens unless first a dream.  - Carl Sandburg

ARTchix Studio Featured Artist

Earlier this year I got an email note from Helga Strauss, owner of ARTchix Studio.
She wrote, "I've been making backgrounds on wood and then cutting them into shapes.... like the hearts. If I send you some wood, would you like to play and make some backgrounds? And then send them back to me and I'll cut them into shapes? Then you can send me a few photos of yourself and your art space and I could feature you as a guest artist on my blog and etsy shop.
I would sell your shapes and send some back to you so that you can enjoy some too."

Whoo Hoo! I said, "I’m in, Helga! I would love to do this!! Making backgrounds is such a fun and creative activity. I'm honored you asked!" After I received the wood from Helga I got to work - or I should say, play- with an early April deadline to have the backgrounds returned to her. Here's a peek into my process of making the backgrounds on wood before Helga transformed them into some very charming shapes!

For the board I collaged with papers, I ripped a variety of papers to start with, click for details.

Helga recommended painting the wood with gesso first to prepare it.
I decided to do a "practice" board. I tried my collage, painting and rubber stamping on
the practice piece first, to see what everything looked like on painted wood.

All 3 boards that I arted-up for Helga are below 

And this is how Helga transformed them! 
They are available for purchase in Helga's ETSY shop! 

The feather shapes come from this collaged board and started with 
the papers seen at the top of the post. The back of the board is painted gold.

When Helga received the photos of my studio for the feature post, 
I think this photo influenced her ideas on what shapes to do! 

I really adore it that she picked up on my love for feathers and transformed 
my paper collage board into wood feathers!!! Thank you, Helga!

available here

The red board with the paper hearts was cleverly made into coral and the bright green board with circles was cut into wee houses. I tried that idea at home with a house stencil that Helga had sent me previously and thought it looked fantastic . . .  

My featured ARTchix guest artist post is here on Helga's blog.

There is a tour of my studio you might enjoy and it is rather fun to be featured there (link above). I have known Helga since she started ARTchix Studio and she is just the best! So many wonderful products to go with such a warm and wonderful person. I am blessed to know her, thanks again Helga! Here are a few more studio pics . . . we took more than needed for the article -these are different additional photos.

Me at my computer desk. Can you tell I like to surround myself with art?

me with Asia & Chloe at my art table

Thanks to my husband Steven for the "studio photography" xo

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. 
  ~ Scott Adams, American cartoonist

where I've been . . .

I have been busy! First, I was away with my husband for a 'small boat meet' last weekend, then this week, I have been writing a guest blog post for Julie Balzer. I believe it will be published next Friday - 5/18. On Tuesday, I took a video of my friend Kathy's Nia class on the beach and edited/published it -use the link above the view it on YouTube. I am quite proud of it!
I'm ready now for Helga Strauss to share the backgrounds I made for her wood shapes -she'll do that on 5/16, also giving a blog post tour of my studio at the same time. So, as far as press, when it rains it pours! : ) Plus, I've been going to physical therapy twice a week to heal my frozen shoulder, geeze. But, I just could not stay away any longer. Last Friday we traveled 3 hours north to beautiful Cedar Key and I took lots of photos, starting with some of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, which spans Tampa Bay and is over 21,000 feet long . . . click on any photo for details!

It really is quite amazing. We got to Cedar Key in good time even though we were towing a boat. Cedar Key is a beautiful little fishing village surrounded by other keys on the gulf side and the home of the Small Boat Meet the first weekend in May. This is the second year Steven and I have gone. This year, we towed our launch Chelsea and Steven tied the single-man canoe my dad made onto the roof of the car. My favorite part of the weekend I'd say, besides taking photos of the boat meet was staying in the beautiful Cedar Key bed and breakfast! This B and B is so lovely -- highly recommended.

See the 2nd floor balcony? That was our room - the Tree House! 
It was outstanding and Alice's breakfasts delicious. 

Here are a few favorite photos I took from the Small Boat Meet!
The Lucas Boatworks "gang" -My husband Steve on the far right

click for more details 

Stan in his puddleduck racer - the blue saill

Steven in Chelsea giving Howard and Phil a tow back to the island (currents)

Doug and Kristan christened their new boat, Ransom II with champagne! 

Doug carved this horse in honor of Kristan's horse, which the boat is named after. 

I love the look of this photo I took. It is like something out of a movie! 
The small canoe in the front is Steven's wee lassie, made by my dad, for him.

boats, boats and more boats, all different kinds from all over!

Steven heading back to Atsena Otie Key (island)
after dropping me back at the B and B!

I took about 300 photos and the majority of them are up on my flickr account if you are wanting to see more. I have had about 675 visits to my set of photos from Saturday because Dave Lucas of Lucas Boatworks included the link in his "boatnuts" email. (That is a lot of visits!) I was also featured on the DoryMan blog which is so cool! So my photos must be okay!! I will leave you with a very very short video I took of Rex Payne, Dave Lucas and my husband having a conversatioon at the boat meet that made me feel like they were speaking another language - Yes, it is a "boat" language I think!

When an artist explains what he is doing, he usually has to do one of two things: either scrap what he has explained, or make his work fit in with the explanation.
   ~ Alexander Calder

she is free

A 5x7 collage I made for a challenge on ARTchix Studio's facebook page -
my entry for the Challenge of BIRDS, EGGS, NESTS and/or CHARTREUSE!!

I did not win, but I love playing in Helga's challenges, anytime. 
I'm inspired by ARTchix's supplies and have been for years and years!

Tomorrow, I will be more free myself, hmmmmmm.   :  ( 

My boys are heading back to Boston in the very early morning hours. We have been lucky to have both of my sons and their wives/partners here with us for 5 full wonderful days. Nothing like having some youngsters around! They range from 26 to 30 years old. Click on any photo for a larger one.

Dallas on my Dad's old John Deere tractor. It's now at Lucas Boatworks and still used
by my husband. My dad used to tow my boys around in an attached cart when they were small.

Liz, Steve, Tina and Decklin checking out a Lucas Boatworks Boat (handbuilt)

Decklin and Liz climbed inside the boat Dave Lucas is finishing!

we went kayaking on the river : )

Then the kids cooked dinner for us!! I'd say miss Asia looks quite interested : ))

Had to cap off the evening with toasting marshmellows : ))
Decklin, Tina and Dallas

I will miss them . . . . even though our house is small for 6 adults and we needed lots more food in the house!!

Love them all, so glad to spend time together. A wonderful birthday present!! xo

our favorite holiday

more than christmas, birthdays, new years or even election day, Steven and I love valentine's day.

I stitched on a canvas leftover from a class
then collaged with various papers
and added eco hearts from ARTchix Studio.

 the finished piece - the words are from an ARTchix Studio sheet: perfect! 

 I added mail art even though this collage was hand delivered! 
I used an envelope I received in the Vintage Note Card Swap from 
Lynda Roddy Ozzauto to hold the collage, but added rubber stamps to personalize it.  

Steven was very excited to give me his gift - he etched these wine 
glasses secretly with moons & stars ;  ) amazing!
He had made 2 for us a few years ago and alas, they had both broken.
Click for details.

Steven made the card too . . . and then added his logo (and a price-ha!)


loving wishes to you & yours -
lenna & steve

4x4 inch collages for an exchange

On the Oh My Gothic yahoo group we are exchanging 4x4 inch collages. Most of the participants are making them into a little book . . . but you could just enjoy them . . . or make into a larger collage. Hmmm, I am not sure what I will do with the ones I have received yet, but I have made two more and sent them off today. My dear friend Frieda in Scotland requested a theme of flowers, yummy! I am sure this will brighten up her cold days when she receives it.

The words are from ARTchix Studio. The flowers I got from Collage Stuff, by Prima. 
This 4x4 is made of paper and fabric.

The 4x4 watercolor card I bought already cut to size from ARTchix Studio -then I painted it. 
Later, I took a piece of sheer fabric (a scarf) and sewed it directly onto the watercolor card. It started like this below . . . .

Then I fooled around with which flowers might work and where the words should go. 
I ended up spray painting the plain white Prima flowers with Perfect Pearls Mists. I also added some glitter glue in the center of each flower because Frieda loves shiny, Magpie things.

I glued the flowers down with Tacky glue and was happy with the arrangement. 
 I hope you like it, Frieda . . . it is on it's way!

I also made a 4x4 for Debby on the theme of vintage children : ^)

I chose many more images than I would need, just to see what might inspire me. 
These are all pretty much from ARTchix Studio!

I also had a number of already painted 4x4 watercolor squares to choose from. 
After preparing for my collage class I had leftover paint. Instead of throwing it out 
I brushed it onto the watercolor squares. 

I chose a square and started playing with the composition. 
I ended up cutting the background away from the 3 girls. 

I added a layer of handmade lace paper for texture. It mostly disappears when added to the watercolor paper with gel medium, but I thought the extra wisps of paper fiber would be good.

A part of a pen shell adorns her hair and silver star tinsel that my friend and Nia teacher Kathy Oravec gave me, because she thought I could use it! She was right :  ^ ) I also added glitter and silver metallic marker splashes.

the back was finished very simply . . . That was fun! 
Now this is on it's way to Debby : )

I must say I have noticed, and maybe so have you, that I have not been doing as much mixed media artwork since my dad passed away, October 1. My creativity has continued to surface - taking photographs almost daily and also through lots of movement and dance: Nia classes, Conscious Movement and Dancing gratitude that I have found here in Florida. I am still doing a few things with mixed media and so I do not worry about the smaller output, just notice it. I imagine something will happen to fire me up and push me into more creativity when the time is right! I hope all is well with you. I am truly fine, except for a hole in my life. I miss my dad. 

'Vintage' for Tag Tuesday

The theme for the past week on Tag Tuesday has been Vintage! I am getting mine in at the very end of the last possible day, but that is okay! Let me walk you through how I did it. Click on any photo for a larger one.

I had a vintage looking postcard Tag I got from Lisa at Collage stuff -
I thought that would work well for this theme.

I glued the old dictionary page down and
inked the edges with distress ink - pumice stone 

I sprayed it with water to distress it some more!

This is what it looked like when dry.

I added the image of a woman, originally from ARTchix Studio
but is now printed onto watercolor paper.

To finish my tag, I added the lace and a small shell I found yesterday
while visiting a wonderful beach with my husband.

Go visit Tag Tuesday -there is tons of inspiration there!  Plus anyone can join in after emailing our hostess Carolyn. See how to join us in the sidebar once you get there : )

ARTchix Studio is 10

ARTchix is 10 years old this month, how can that be?? I remember when Helga Strauss started ARTchix Studio! Her collage sheets and art supplies have been a staple of my mixed media art for 10 years. I am so happy she created a masterboard and asked her blog readers to create something with it for a blog challenge. Read Helga's challenge here -find out more about masterboards. Now extended till Nov. 8!! Details here at the end of the post : )

I took Helga's challenge and used her art to create a card for her celebrating this special birthday. With much love & thanks to you, Helga!  xoxoxox lenna

local art meet

When I went to my local art supply store here in Bradenton, Florida on October 2nd for a Zentangle ATC swap, I met Susan Stewart. The group was small, so it was easy to talk and I discovered that Susan was just learning about Zentangle like me . . . and she was an art quilter -wow! We exchanged emails, and after a small  delay because Susan's first email went into my junk folder . . . we made a date to meet, have lunch and share some art, oh what fun!

Susan had explored my websites + blogs and told me in an email she loved the "shades of white" quiltie swap I hosted in 2008. So, I found them in one of my boxes, unpacked them and brought them along -Susan was so pleased!

Susan brought her more of her Zentangle ATCs to show me. She had tried adding color to these and was quite pleased. They look great! Click for more detail. 
Susan brought some of her art quilts to share :  ))))


I shared an ARTchix fabric Book RR I hosted in 2004-2005.
This fabric book  includes a page done by Helga Stauss, owner of ARTchix Studio! Susan had been to the ARTchix website and was excited to see this book and learn more about RR collaborations. 

Lastly, I shared all extra quilties given to me plus some I had traded by participating myself, in the "shades of sunshine" quilties swap, hosted in 2008.

It was a really fun couple of hours and a delicious lunch, plus now I have a new local friend  :   ^ ) Thanks, Susan!

butterfly artist trading cards

How I managed to sneak in making these ATCs, I don't know! I think it had something to do with my son Dallas who is here visiting us, zipping off to the local thrift shops. This is one of his favorite things to do, as I would say he has eclectic taste in clothes! He came back a few hours later with a number of $5 ties (as in men's neck ties). He likes to wear them when he is at work in the school library (in Italy). He also found a lovely sweater for his fiance' Liz (they just got engaged!!) from the "British Colony of Hong Kong" and some new argyle socks! But I digress . . . Dallas' time away on the day of the mailing deadline prompted me to fullfil my wish of participating in this ARTchix swap. The requirements were to make 6 ATCs using either the Hot Butterflies collage sheet, the Cool Butterflies collage sheet, or both! I chose the download option from ARTchix Studio a few days ago which meant I got a download version of my collage sheets immediately. I printed out the Cool Butterflies on a prepared fabric sheet and the Hot Butterflies on a sheet of matte brochure paper with my ink jet printer, and got to work!

one of my fabric ATCs - the fabric sheet was stitched
with interfacing behind it, then a paper card was slipped
in between the front and backing piece for stiffness.
the back of the ATC above
one of my paper ATCs cut from a section of the Hot Butterflies
sheet printed on paper, although the butterflies on top
are cut from the Cool Butterflies fabric sheet I made.
the back of the one above.  The "paper" ATCs were done
on a canvas-paper base.
Two fabric ATCs. I cut sections of 2.5 x 3.5 pieces of the collage sheet printed
 on fabric and added words from ARTchix Studio sheets & extra butterflies
for dimension - click for more details.
the back of the two ATCs above came from a large piece of
fabric paper I painted and collaged earlier this year.
Two paper ATCs done on canvas paper. On the left: watercolor crayons and
a transparency of a photo. On the right: handmade paper, watercolor crayons,
pigment powder and rubber stamping. Click for more details.
the back of the 2 ATCs above

I am so glad I was able to make time to participate in this swap! These collage sheets were calling for me to work with them. To see all of the entries for this swap, check out the Butterfly Artist Trading card album and enjoy!

bob dylan song lyrics ATC swap

I have joined another song lyric swap (just couldn't resist). This one is being held on the ATCs for All site, check this site out! I've joined a couple of ATC swaps hosted there by my good friend ~ and partner in crime (art, that is!) Frieda Oxenham -but this was the first time I joined a swap hosted by someone else there. I must say it's been nicely organized and well-run - I'm impresssed. I have really enjoyed working with song lyrics as a theme recently, and this swap is a Bob Dylan songs/lyrics theme! Let me show you what I made . . .

image: Vintage Image Madness

image: ARTchix Studio

photo booth pic: me at age 20

image: Vintage Image Madness

I created all of these on canvas paper which gives a lovely texture but is kind of floppy, so I added another piece of cardstock with the swap info to the back. I used watercolor crayons in my typical messy style, on both the front and the back, along with dylan's lyrics (or bits of them) from some of my favorite songs. Bob Dylan's birthday is May 24th, the day this swap is due! I enjoy chosing the lyrics, figuring out how to illustrate them and creating the composition including the lyrics. I have made a new 'set' of all of my "song lyrics" ATCs, click here to view these ATCs (and more) in a nifty slide show! : ) lenna

complimentary colors - twinchie challenge

On My ARTistic Life last week, Helga Strauss gave us a new challenge: "Make a twinchie (2" square collage) with complimentary colors." She wanted them uploaded by Monday -today,  May 10th -eep! I believe I just made it in under the wire . . .  I chose brown + blue as my complimentary colors and started by drawing blue circles with my trusty watercolor crayons on a 2" square of watercolor paper. I thought it looked pretty cool, just like this:

But since this is an ARTchix Studio challenge, I wanted to add something artchixy! I had recently downloaded the new Cool Silhouettes collage sheet and printed it onto a clear Transparency with my Ink Jet Printer. Don't you think it was the perfect choice? I love it because it doesn't obscure my complimentary colors.

Fabulous fun, Helga! I look forward to your next spin of the color wheel  : ^) lenna 

A monochromatic 2" x 2" collage

Over at My Artistic Life Helga gave us a challenge of creating a monochromatic (one color) twinchie.
2" x 2"
I took a 2" square piece of watercolor paper paper and covered it with 2 different sized squares of pink fabric, using Tacky glue to attach the fabric to the paper card. Then I used a watercolor crayon around the white edges of the paper square and on top of the fabric too; with a wet brush I activated the crayon. I found a section of a large fabric paper collage I had made & stamped with pink mark, cut a snippet and layered that on. There is also a bit of a pink paper Helga made for her master board challenge, underneath part of an inchie she designed: "desire, discover, dance". I finished this tiny collage with a bit of pink lace edging from my large fabric paper collage and a good amount of pink glitter. Thanks, Helga!!