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

thank you

Thanks to everyone for the many messages of good luck and happiness in our new home, but I really must send a special thanks out to Jewels and Frieda for brightening my new mailbox with these lovelies:

(smile) Thank YoU!

Things are coming along at our new home, slow but sure. It is a beautiful spot so it makes the work worth it, but still, it is so much work to pack and unpack! I will get there, and do enjoy seeing things take shape. In the meantime even though my studio is not set up yet and I have to work on that, I am starting to think about creative art projects. The furniture is arranged, kitchen and bathrooms set up, the clothes, sheets & towels are in place too and now I am starting to think of other more arty things. A friend of mine mentioned the Ning Group The Creative Underground and an online year long class offered through them called: 52 weeks of creative abundance. It did not take me long to decide to sign up! Class starts December 21st and is very reasonably priced, with a discount through Nov. 21st (only $52!!). Go check it out and see if it's for you! I am so looking forward to it. 

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
  ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

by the sea chunky ATC

I had never heard of a "chunky" ATC before until I read about it on Lisa Busch's Collage Stuff Blog -go there to check out just one of her beautiful samples. Lisa owns a business called "Collage Stuff" where she sells wonderful collage stuff!  I often find just what I might need for a project and also, collage items that inspire me to start something new! And Lisa runs super art swaps through her yahoo group - check that out too! I learned from her that a chunky ATC is a variation on a trading card made on a wood block, 2.5" x 3.5" x 3/4" wide. This was a one-for-one swap, sending directly to the person Lisa signed you up with. Here is what I came up with -a bit of my creating process. First some gathering . . . I have collected lots of lovely shells living in Florida!
 I did not have to, but decided I wanted to paint my block white. I got my blank chunky wood ATC from Collage stuff - follow this link and scroll down a bitThey are high quality pre-sanded blocks.
I used Goop glue (E6000) to secure the various shells.
The little gold sequin stars I got from Collage Stuff, the pearls were a broken bracelet.
The dictionary page came as a gift from Lisa with my last order -perfect!
Now my chunky ATC has shell "feet"!
For the back, I wanted a business card that had a copy of "Shell art" already on it.
(ATCs I created for another swap)
But Lisa wanted the back arted up too, so I stamped various images on white tissue paper using permanent ink. When adhered to the block with matte medium under and over, the tissue paper melts away. Only the image remains!
From the side . . . 

From the top!

The front, from the top. The crinkly wire wrapped around is from collage Stuff.

That was sure fun to do! Thanks, Lisa for the inspiration and organization.
My chunky ATC is in the mail as of yesterday, swimming it's way to Andrea in Texas. I have already received a beautiful chunky ATC from Gloria - what a great swap!

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
  ~ Chinese proverb

An exchange with Frieda

It is always nice to exchange art with friends, but especially lovely when exchanging with someone you have gotten to know over time and whose art you admire so much! This wonderful envelope from Frieda Oxenham landed in my mailbox late last week. We are doing a very loose exchange of art without any set themes - or rules about what to make - and we have up to 3 months to respond when something is sent. Frieda and I both used to be in a monthly ATC swap together called Color Groupies. That exchange is over now and so this is helping to fill that void.
I love all the postage stamps and the rubber stamping Frieda did on the envelope. I have not gotten a lot of mail like this lately, so opening my mailbox and finding this envelope was a real treat for me and a definite mood lifter! Thank YOU, Frieda!! Hmmm, perhaps I should be sending more mail art out - if I want to receive more? Inside the yummy envelope was a photo card produced by a fellow blipfoto journaler whom we both subscribe to. What a treat!
Inside the card was a handwritten letter, which I especially cherish in this day and age and a wonderful fabric ATC, hand stitched and beaded by Frieda. What a cutie pie she is -then & now!
Frieda has written about how she made this ATC on her blog. Hand made felt is her base!
You may remember I sent Frieda an ATC and mail art envelope in May, at the start of our exchange. I wrote about what I made here, and below is a quick photo of my envelope and ATC.

Now I will have to think about what I will make next for Frieda. Another ATC? I miss making them on a monthly basis, so perhaps yes! I could respond in July or I might wait and create something in August when we are traveling to and visiting Wolfe Island, Ontario. The cottage is directly in front of the St Lawrence River and is such a lovely spot for art making . . .  

Again, thank you Frieda. Your mail and art was just what I needed.  I am also quite honored that you squeezed this exchange in among all your other art and quilt work! xox 
Make sure to visit Frieda's blog and blipfoto, amazing.

Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand above: Kindness in another's trouble, and courage in one's own.  ~ Diana, Princess of Wales

A friend . . .

A friend is someone who will do a personal art exchange with you, hee hee!
My good friend, Frieda Oxenham and I have been exchanging our art and our thoughts since 2005. We've never met in person yet because we live across the ocean, but we've developed a good friendship through our many exchanges. Two of the groups we were exchanging small works of art with recently wrapped up their exchanges. I felt bereft in not having Frieda's art and her snail mail letters in my hands on a regular basis. She is very busy and involved with both her award winning art quilting and her mixed media art but we figured a loose, open exchange with a long response time might work for us. I decided to start with an ATC for her and made myself one as well (similar, but different) as a mirror of what I created for her that I would keep. Frieda has received her ATC now, so I will share both with you! Click for details.

Frieda's ATC is on the left - the one I made for myself is on the right.
Frieda's has a "friend" rubber stamp on it that is quite correct!

For this small ATC I wanted to use one of Frieda's favorite colours, yellow. I reached for a piece of "fabric paper" that I created two years ago. I attempted such a large piece of fabric for this project, I have plenty leftover!! This was not planned when creating my ATC for Frieda, but so appropriate because it was Frieda who taught me how to make fabric paper in the first place!

I ran an ATC size card through my xyron adhesive system and then pressed the fabric paper onto the card. I used a strip of yellow fabric with an additional piece of fabric paper on top and attached it to the card by beading tiny seed beads onto the card. This type of beading is what I would call a "signature" of Frieda's fabric art. i was trying to create something that would make her smile!!

Then I got Frieda's latest letter out, sat down, read it and composed my response.

"Hi Frieda!" 
I was taking photos for A that day . . . 

Mail art for Frieda, who always appreciates it! 

'Till next time!! 

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
  ~ Vincent van Gogh

green paper collage challenge

Over at Green Paper Mary Green hosts a collage challenge every month. She provides 3 images from her extensive collection and you can make anything you like using at least a part of all 3 images. It is a fun, creative challenge and I try to participate whenever I can. For the April collage challenge I decided to make an ATC. I printed the images to fit on 1/4 of a page instead of a full 8 1/2 x 11" page. I think this size worked, what do you think? I used Adirondack Color Wash in lettuce, a brown watercolor crayon and a rubber stamp that has been in my collection for 20 years! Of course I cannot resist a little metallic marker!

click for more detail

This was fun, thank you Mary! 

melon and mauve

I created 3 months of ATCs for Colour Groupies right before my father passed away. I truly believe I knew his death was imminent and wanted to finish my commitment for August, September and October so I would not feel pressured to create when my family needed me. Of course, my colour groupies friends would have understood, but this was how I felt at the time, and now I am glad the ATCs are done. This post concentrates on the October combo of melon and mauve. Please see the previous 2 posts for the September and August ATCs.

I really used Crayola Crayons. A lot of fun! 

I also used Crafter's Workshop Stencils from Artistcellar.

And a circle template

I added a bit of wet watercolor . . . 

Some images and stamping . . . .

some writing . . . . 

A scan of the finished ATCs.
The images are from ARTchix Studio.

Thank you for visiting. 

grey and powder blue

The September ATCs for Colour Groupies were based on the combo grey and powder blue.

I started with a playing card and added grey & powder blue paper. 

To create these I utilized paper punches and played with the placement of the elements. I must admit I was a bit behind (the end of September was near) but I was happy how they turned out. More info on ATCs in general is here.

pale pink and butter yellow

Pale pink and butter yellow was the color combo for the month of August with Colour Groupies, a small group of friends who create ATCs (artist trading cards) for each other on a colour combo theme every month. I believe this is the 4th year of exchanging for us. When all the ATCs have been received throughout the US, Canada & Scotland, then we can reveal them. These particular ATCs were fabric ones. Click on any photo for more detail to see how I created them.

I hope you enjoy, they were fun to make. 

raw umber + royal purple

Directly above is the ATC I kept for myself, as a remembrance of what I did for our Colour Groupies July theme. This time our color combo was Raw Umber and Royal Purple! For the "Colour Groupies" exchange I belong to, I make 5 ATCs (one for each person in the group) every month. Sometimes it takes me a while to post about them as they need to reach their destinations first and then I need to remember to do it! 

I started with a full sheet of paper, brown textile paint and a combing tool . . . 

After the paint dried, i used my large paper cutter . . .

that made it easy to get them ATC size - 2.5" x 3.5"

I made extras -one I used for an ATC swap on creative swaps!

I added Lumiere paint in purple to all of the ATCs, various images from ARTchix Studio, trims and iridescent glass spheres from Alpha Stamps.

for caryl hoobler

for frieda oxenham

The backs - very simple

for tristan blakeman

for debby hariettha

I am working on my August color combo now ~ pale pink and butter yellow. Frieda's are done, sent and received (delicious!!) and you can view them here if you like!

i am . . . august atcs

Over on my other blog, creative swaps where I host ATC swaps every month, interspersed with other fun things like mail art postcards, little books etc . . . we have a theme for our August ATCs of "I am . . . " The idea is that the participants will fill in the blank after "I am" and we will get to know each other better. I often participate in my own swaps just because I really want to. It gives me a chance to trade for some other artists' fabulous work, it gives me a deadline and an idea, which = more art made by me! Creating always seems to calm me. The act of making something keeps me happy and centered. Perhaps it is my therapy. ; ^ ) Below is what I did for the swap - a long post with 6 ATCs and some step-by-steps so I'll keep most of the photos small. Click for details.

#1. I am a mother
I started with a photo of me & my sons -1995, for this ATC.

Added white paint (gesso) with my finger and watered down Adirondack butterscotch color wash in preparation for adding to the ATC.

I added sunflower sparkle Perfect pearls -
this is why I want to clean OFF my table, I keep reaching for the same things!

 almost there . . .  

The charcoal pencil heart finished it.

#2. I am a teacher
I started with a scrap of actual instructions for making "quilties" from one of my lessons. I glued it to the base but also sewed around the edges with a needle I dedicate to paper. I added transparent decorative tape and wrote my "i am" statement in black sharpie marker.

I printed a photo on transparency film. This photo is 10 years old, from a class I was teaching at Adventures in Stamping in Cleveland, Ohio. It is kind of a funny photo, but shows my enthusiasm for teaching!

 I placed it where I wanted it (so you could see my eyes) after running it through my xyron and  then cut off the extra. Burnished it with my bone folder. To finish, I lightly spritzed Adirondack lettuce Color Wash.

#3. I am still this 19 year old girl
I had a previously painted and stamped ATC blank I wanted to use. I did them back when I was making Yellow & Black ATCs for Colour groupies -same technique -paint, salt, different colors.

I knew what I wanted to say, but not quite sure how. My husband and I brainstormed about it and then I settled on the phrase and tried it out in various fonts. I placed the photo over the mesh stamp but then used a white pen to continue the pattern on my leotard. 

#4. I am a dancer
I started with a transparency of my teacher Truda Kaschmann. I thought an image transfer would be nice, but when I tested it by lifting a corner I did not like the way it was coming out. So I placed it back down on the ATC and burnished well so the gel medium would adhere the transparency to the watercolor card. 

I also used a quote printed on a transparency and run through my xyron by Martha Graham. Dance is the hidden language of the soul. Truda taught me Graham technique for many years and Truda is a huge reason why I feel I am as creative as I am! She always had me thinking about what I could do differently, what could I try . . . she was an amazing blessing in my life. She died when I was just starting out with my jazzercise franchise (dance based fitness). I was 29 then and still visited her classes. I started with her when I was 9 years old! I went on to dance with one of her students after that. 

I added water color crayons which worked nicely on the watercolor card. Some of the color slipped underneath the transparency but of course, I like that! I believe I spritzed denim Adirondack Color wash on this very lightly and as I did with all of these ATCs, I sprayed them with a sealer. I used gloss this time, which is unusual for me.

The last two, #5. I am a big sister and #6. I am still in love with man are done on canvas paper mounted onto a Bristol paper ATC. Both started with watercolor crayons and you can see the rest of the process below.

adding more watercolor crayon . . . 

how that crayon added to this ATC . . .

Below are my two sets for the swap.
You can read more about the swap here.
There is still time to join -they are due September 3rd!

thanks for your attention if you have read this far!
: ^ ) lenna 

1000 posts for me on creative swaps!

Yesterday, I announced a special giveaway on my creative swaps blog to celebrate writing 1000 posts! I know that seems like a huge number, but it is because I write a post for each participant, sharing their swap artwork for every swap we do. Plus, I started using that blog to record and share the art swaps I host back in 2007. Please go to this post on my creative swaps blog to learn more about the giveaway and how easy it is to enter to win! Sunday evening, August 14th is when I will draw for 5 prizes.

I made 3 ATCs especially for this special giveaway. I have photos of all the finished ATCs and for one of the ATCs, I took step-by step photos. Let me share them with you!

ATC #1 -fly

ATC #2 -smaller moments

ATC #3 -works in progress, step-by-step
 I started with an illustration board ATC by Strathmore. 
It is much thicker than card stock.

I put the ATC through my xyron machine which put sticky adhesive on one side of it. 
I pressed tissue paper down on top of the adhesive, crumpled and wrinkled.

I added Citrine Lumiere paint on top of the tissue papered ATC.

I got out my Perfect pearls pigment powders, which do not need a binder 
-they will adhere to the wet paint. First I tapped on Berry Twist with a dry brush.

Then Perfect Gold.

I edged the ATC with a Krylon 14K gold Marker. I really like the way 
the simple addition of tissue paper gives this ATC texture. 

To finish it, I added rubber stamping & embossing.

Hope you'll stop over at creative swaps and enter to win one of these ATCs, 
or a huge collage pack hand picked from my stash, or a free registration to one of my creative swaps! Visit this link:

: ^ ) lenna