daily giveaway - Alpha Stamps

visit the Alpha Stamps blog for a wonderful daily giveaway that you can enter by leaving a comment with your email address - it does not have to be public - on each day's post through 1/1/12. Simply comment each day by 11:59 PST. Alpha Stamps has a great variety of mixed media supplies and the first giveaway with a "beach" theme is incredible! Check out what's offered and enter today's giveaway by commenting here before midnight, 12/26/11. If you are visiting me on a different day, use the top link to reach the main blog and see what's offered that day - good luck!

playing on a summer day

{ art journal July 15 + 16 }

I like how my art journal allows me to play and to try whatever I feel like doing without worry. To concentrate mostly on doing and enjoying! I do love exchanges where I am given parameters and themes as those often help to me get started in my art making.
But there is really something about working on a free theme without any boundaries or expectations, except to try to do "something" for at least a few minutes everyday.
Writing and sharing about it here on my blog really helps me to keep this project alive. I do not think everything I do in my art journal is fabulous -- but the act of being creative every day is most certainly fabulous! And that is what keeps me going.

Last night I added a few papers to my art journal, and doing that suggested to me to add a little charcoal pencil. The scrapbook paper I laid down on the right had a bit of a dark edge and I wanted more.

The leafy paper on the left was a leftover piece from an earlier spread. I liked that paper so much, I could not help but add what was left. I found both papers at Alpha Stamps.

After I drew with the charcoal pencil, I smudged it a bit with my finger. Then I left the journal alone at that point, after spending about 10 minutes working on it. I wasn't done, but I was ready to stop and let my brain marinate about what I might do next!

This afternoon, I added another image of a flower from the same paper still on my desk (used in a previous spread) and a copy of a collage sheet image I had found at Alpha Stamps: Blue Birds. I copied this collage sheet onto a tan piece of stationary as well as a transparency sheet as you can see below. I liked the collage sheet images, but wanted them to look different. I also added more charcoal to both sides of the page, added a ticket stub and wrote what I was thinking while working and smudged the charcoal a bit more. When I was done, I sprayed the page with a matte sealer to stop the charcoal from smudging.

Finishing the spread, I added the repeat of the collage sheet image, this time printed on a transparency next to the flower. Then I went looking for a few favorite quotes to add -click for details. After printing those out and gluing them on the page, I colored the white water color paper in a little with pink water soluble crayons and splattered watered-down Halo Pink Gold Lumiere paint across the spread - I love how that looks!

All in a summer's day, right? How is your summer becoming?
; ^ ) lenna

garden variety swap is complete!

Cat Dodt Ellis won most creative ATC!

Just yesterday, I finished sending out the returns for the Alpha Stamps Garden variety swap I hosted, due last Saturday. This was the largest swap I ever hosted, with 49 participants including me, wow! The artwork that came in for this exchange was truly wonderful, and a first time swap for many. In order to showcase something from each participant, I have created a short animoto video well worth watching. View it by clicking on this link: creative swaps -which will take you there directly.

I really enjoy making animoto videos. It is fairy easy to do if you are comfortable with uploading files. How it turns out really depends on the photos and music you choose, the order of the photos, and of course the effects animoto uses. If you don't like it, you can edit it! This one came out well on the first try - check it out! I hope you enjoy.

Sabine Schneider won 1st prize for most creative postcard -it opens!

a RAK for me

I had a lovely surprise in the mail today . . .
 it had been quite some time since I received a random act of kindness (RAK) sent right to my mailbox.

- a sweet friend whom I have known for a long time, Elaine Akers made me a mermaid ATC (artist trading card) and sent it to me along with some cool netting to play with! ThANk YOu, Elaine!! What a wonderful surprise and a lovely treat. I love the batik you used on the ATC.

Now back to my very large Alpha Stamps garden variety postcard swap -uploading scans. You'll find lots of new uploads (beautiful postcards, too) on the creative swaps blog soon -the deadline is Saturday. phew! 

summer vacation ATCs

Caroline Ouzts Hay is hosting this swap through the Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group and I could not resist signing up. The rules were to incorporate at least one Alpha Stamp collage sheet or rubber stamp image and to . . . “ Think Summer!”

lenna406 I used Alpha Stamp fabric images sewn onto sea-blue fabric in a wavy stitch for the front, but backed my ATCs with a watercolor card, gluing the two pieces together. I also used generous amounts of pigment powders to add some shimmer and sheen, which is hard to see here.

back02 The ribbons and small gold shell charms are also from Alpha Stamps.

lenna103The words were cut out of a travel article from a Subaru magazine sent to us!

lenna204The shells were collected locally and the iridescent glass spheres are one of my favorite embellishments.  The “sand” is old ‘weathered white’ PSX embossing powder, glued in place & not heated. I forgot to gather any of the real stuff!

lenna305 Thanks for the fun exercise, Caroline. I look forward to seeing my returns!

guest designer for Alpha Stamps

As I briefly mentioned in my post yesterday about creating Tristan's gift - I have been busy behind the scenes with some artwork I could not show you until it was revealed on Alpha Stamps. I was recently asked to be a guest designer and so I made the following samples below plus the last 2 cards and envelopes shown on Tristan's gift post -the cards with the themes "Be Happy Every Day" and "Botanica". I concentrated on postcards and ATCs for my samples, to coincide with the Alpha Stamps garden Variety Swap I am hosting on creative swaps. It was fun work!

Pink Roses collage sheet on fabric left + right sides.
Graphic 45 'Birds in paradise' paper in the middle.  Pieces are sewn onto a
muslin base, then backed with a card stock postcard back. 

Tulip Slides + ATCs collage sheet  fabric left + right sides.
In the middle is part of a fabric collage I made based on Frieda's Instructions. The
are sewn onto a muslin base, then backed with a card stock postcard back.

 Majestic Tomatoes collage sheet and Creative Scraps-sheet/ Vintage:Garden.
 I started with a text background from an old magazine, inked it with Adirondack ink
to make it look older, then smeared white paint on top of all.

I photo copied a master onto card stock & I am giving this master
to swap participants with their instructions.

 Teresa Collins Travel Ledger scrapbook paper is the base to create my postcard -
Creative Scraps-Vintage:Garden, Graphic 45 Domestic Goddess collection - Farmer's market 

sheet. The butterflies and square lady postage stamp = Graphic 45 Botanicabella. I brushed gel 
medium over the front of  this one. The back is the next scan.

 I stamped the Postcard/Correspondence/Address - from Alpha Stamps.

image is from tulip slides + ATCs sheet, fabric. 3 glass flowers and 1 plum leaf
were hand sewed on and the fabric was sewn to a card stock base with a decorative stitch.
The card stock was painted bright yellow around the edges with watercolor crayons. 

image is from Women + Flowers (paper). 3 small lucite flowers from Alpha Stamps
were painted with a bit of Lumiere (white pearl) paint. I used  watercolor crayons around the
edge first, then a bit more white pearl paint over that and hand drew a stitching line. 

 image is from the Sunflowers collage sheet, paper. I sewed the paper
image onto a piece of fabric with batting underneath, then backed it to
a piece of card stock. 2 paper flowers and 1 glass flower from AS is sewn on. 

 Teresa Collins Travel Ledger scrapbook paper is the base to create my postcard.
I added a large image from the Sunflowers collage sheet. The little brownie running with the mail 

is from Alpha Stamps, the bird & flowers is tissue paper. The back is the next scan.

 I stamped the Postcard/Correspondence/Address and sunflowers-all from Alpha Stamps.
I colored the sunflowers with water color pencils. The button ribbon and plaid ribbon
in the middle are also from Alpha Stamps.  

There you have it, why I was so quietly busy!! You can find all of the supplies for the samples I created above on the Alpha Stamps Summer Garden Theme Page. If you have time, I would love to see you in the swap!
  Go HERE for all of the swap details!!
happy day, lenna

Chestnut and Fern

Debby's CROPPED for detail, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

Above is a close-up of one of the Fabric ATCs I made for the "Color Groupies" May combo of chestnut + fern. We did get a little creative with the naming of our color combos this year I'll admit; next, I will be working on Campari and Orange! Frieda Oxenham, who is part of this group along with Debby and Caryl, actually sent me a photo of a bottle of Campari when I told her I did not know the color!!

These ATCs were started as a larger piece of fabric and netting, to which batting was placed behind, while I sewed various stitches in a random fashion. I will add some photos below to show my progression.

fabric, netting and batting pinned together
lots of stitching!
my ATC "sandwich"
sewn together

Adding color - it needed more "chestnut"!

made for Caryl - images from Alpha Stamps

made for debby

made for frieda

This one was made for me to keep. Caryl's, Frieda's
and Debby's chestnut and fern ATCs for me,
will join mine in a special Colour Groupies album.
A close up view of mine - click for more details.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at how I made them!

march mail art

i love mail art! It is hard for me to send an envelope out naked. I always try to add a little something if i have time, but more often than not I'll add a lot! Here is some of the mail art i have sent out in March . . . click on any envelope for more details.

You can see I have a few rubber stamp "favorites" that I use over and over again. I generally reach for StazOn ink, which is permanent, and watercolor crayons. Sometimes I'll add papers, or collage images and transparencies from ARTchix Studio and Alpha Stamps mostly - as I have an abundance of them! The last envelope shown was originally white and I use Dye-Na-Flow inks with a sponge to color it, all in the name of art and fun and a smiling recipient. : ) lenna young andrews - march 29th, 2010

  p.s. I have been doing this for a while . . . I put the envelope shown below, that I decorated and sent in 1975 before I knew anything about mail art - into one of my altered books . . . Wild, huh? This envelope/letter was sent to my first husband, John before we were married . . . the altered book it is in was about our marriage that ended in 2004.
* I almost forgot! See more of my mail art in this set of photos!

Frieda's Vintage Spring ATC Swap

I've had a chance to put my huge fabric-paper collage to use! First, I cut into it and created four Dove Grey and Pastel Pink ATCs for the Colour Groupies exchange I'm in. Photos of those ATCs will be forthcoming, as we wait until they are received before revealing them. Then I cut out more sections to create a bunch of Vintage Spring ATCs for Frieda's Swap on the ATCs for ALL site. Here's what my fabric-paper collage looks like now, with lots of "holes":
The ATCs for this swap started like this -click for more detail -
Then I added more old text, and hand sewed flower and leaf beads from Alpha Stamps on. I also added iridescent glass spheres -also from Alpha Stamps, and one of my favorite embellishments. You should be able to see them below - I made six ATCs (some extras) as only 3 are required for the swap. I think it is great fun to send these off to Frieda, since she was the one who taught me and inspired me to make the fabric-paper base in the first place!  I love working this way. 
I rode my bicycle to the post office to mail these to Frieda in Scotland today and it was such fun! I felt like a kid. Lenna Young Andrews -March 26, 2010

skinny book pages for Trinka

Here is the second front and back "skinny page" that I've ever made as part of the 'Oh My Gothic' yahoo group. Go to this previous post to read more about the group and the exchange: new exchange: skinny pages. The page here is for Trinka Seals in Alabama who had 'Artist's Choice' as a theme, but noted that she liked Maps, Numbers, and Faces of Women. I will start with a close up of the top of the front page . . . Click on the scans for more detail.
This is a fabric page this time, using fabric I hand painted this summer for another project on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Wolfe Island, Ontario Canada. The image above is from Alpha Stamps. Here is the entire front page, 4" x 8". 
Below is a detail of the wine glass charm i added. It was getting a bit rusty after washing the glass because of the metal tag I added. Steven thought we shouldn't use it anymore on the glass, so i put it in my art room . . . . 
it was karma that it ended up on Trinka's page, i guess!

I collaged and layered fabrics until I was happy with the arrangement and then started sewing pieces to the hand painted background fabric with my machine. When I had finished all of the sewing, I fused the front and back fabrics to a heavy interfacing called "fast 2 fuse". I had never used this before but picked some up because my friend Frieda Oxenham often talks of it, or something similar! I enjoyed using it. I could do my work separately on the fabrics, and then iron it to a sturdy base. voila'! Here's the other side:
Machine stitching, tiny Starfish, a Canadian "Toonie" and brass gears from ARTchix Studio. Below a close up of a gel medium transfer onto fabric printed with computer code. I did this front & back.

yes! hidden treasures can be found in art exchanges! I am happy to have the commitment to create a skinny page monthly for another artist on a theme of their choice, and receive from a different artist based on my theme of Love. Earlier this month I received a gorgeous fabric shinny page from Trudi Sissons in Alberta, Canada and Heather Robinson will be adding a page to my collection for February! lenna young andrews - February 13, 2010

while the cat's away . . .

While the Alpha Stamps web site shipping staff is taking a break for the Holidays, owner Leslie Elledge is having a really super give-away every morning (12/26/09 - 01/03/09) of very cool Alpha Stamps products through the Alpha Stamps blog! Quoting from the blog:

"Starting on Saturday, December 26, 2009 (through Sunday, January 3rd, 2010), I’ll post a Giveaway on the blog every morning, and you’ll have until 11:59pm PST to enter. To enter all you’ll have to do is leave a comment on that day’s blog post (don’t forget to leave your email address, too, so I can contact the winners!)* After midnight I’ll randomly pick the previous day’s winner."

Go and make a comment and have a chance to win! http://www.alphastamps.com/blog
Thanks, Leslie!

art and fear and friends

~ Above is a close-up of a small art quilt i made for my dear friend Frieda Oxenham, as it was her birthday last week. Earlier, i was relating some thoughts about creating (in general) to Frieda in an email; we were discussing the book, Art and Fear. I wrote to her, "I don’t have much fear anymore for jumping in & creating (except a little when I think of making something for you!!!!!) but I still got so much out of that book (she had recommended it). I copied two passages that had a lot of meaning to me, here they are:

"The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a 'serious' education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies. Yet for some the desire persists, and sooner or later must be addressed. And with good reason: your desire to make art -beautiful or meaningful emotive art- is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age 90 Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Stravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting." . . . .

. . . and in another section of the book, this: “in a supportive environment –one found, more often than not, within the artistic community itself- approval and acceptance often become linked, even indistinguishable." ~ from Art & Fear, David Bayles & Ted Orland."

So! When I wanted to do something special for Frieda for her birthday, I would say that I hesitated slightly on exactly what to do for her because she is such an accomplished artist. When her birthday was becoming imminent and I was lamenting not doing anything for her yet, Steven suggested I give her some unusual and interesting things to work with - good idea, I said! Off to my studio I went with the intent of gathering things for her when I came upon the lovely image above, which I believe it is a Waterhouse painting? Helga Strauss of ARTchix Studio has this image on a transparency sheet. I took the transparency and color copied it onto a prepared fabric sheet; this I had done previously, and the image on fabric was already in my supplies in my studio. When I saw it I said, perfect! Look at this woman, really loving and savoring those roses. It said "Frieda" all over it! At that moment I said to myself, why couldn't I use this fabric image to make something for her birthday? It was the spark I needed.

I stitched the fabric image to a piece of hand painted fabric from my peace banner project; I made lots of extra painted fabric when i did that project, much to my delight now. Then I gathered the olive green velvet leaves and arranged them around the image; these were glued down with E6000 glue. I hand sewed on two carved shell flower beads from Alpha Stamps and then I added bits of broken abalone shell to the woman's dress. Frieda has told me she is often like a magpie, being drawn to glittery and shiny, luminous things . . . . so I also reached for two colours of iridescent glass spheres in 2 different sizes, also from Alpha Stamps and added these to the piece with tacky glue. The gold fabric which serves as the back of the piece and a frame of sorts, came to me as I was searching through my fabrics; it seemed appropriate for celebrating the treasure of a good friend.

The small words on the bottom of the image read, "admired and loved"(ARTchix Studio) which is how I know Frieda feels about roses, and how I definitely feel about her. We have know each other perhaps 5 years now, maybe more, and even though I have not yet traveled to Scotland and she has not yet traveled to Connecticut, I feel it is safe to say we have a long and slow growing friendship that seems to deepen every year through our artistic and personal sharing. Happy birthday to my dear friend! How lovely to be working on this post in preparation for the quilts arrival in Scotland and have Frieda email me in the middle of writing it and say, "Dear Lenna, your present is here, it arrived today and it left me totally speechless, so it's just as well I'm typing this!" I do believe she liked it! : ) oh happy day, from lenna young andrews on September 5th, 2009 (my son Decklin's 28th birthday - wow!)

My last "generous project" in the series

Wow, when I decided to copy the "generous project" from Patti Digh and offer anyone who responded to my original post the chance to receive something handmade by me . . . I really had no idea how doing this project was going to be so good for me! In preparation for putting our home up for sale and on the market this spring, we cleaned, tossed, had two huge tag sales, did more cleaning and got a dumpster- did more tossing all in an effort to simplify things for our big move from CT to FL, whenever this happens -soon we hope! For a good part of April and May 2009, my attention was everywhere else besides creating art! So, I must say thank you to all those of you who responded to that post, gave me your contact info and allowed me to stretch myself and create without a suggested theme! I had to think about what you might like, jump in and create, and it has been simply awesome. To see everything I created for this project, please click on this link/tag. This same post will be right at the top and then the others will follow.

Here is what I made for Vickie Trancho, who is one of my longtime creative swap participants that I know loves images from the company Alpha Stamps, where all the images in the project below are from! I created a type of accordion book/card for her. Click on any image for more detail. After the photos, there is more info on how I made this.

To make this for Vickie, I took a multiple accordion style black card I had on hand and made it fold into just 3 sections. I took my Alpha Stamps fabric sheet images from The Ball 1, English Rose, and Over the Garden Wall and my paper collage image from Tall Castles, and ran them through my xyron machine to make each of them into a sticker. I affixed them to the card where I wanted them so they would tell a story. Then I got out my rubber stamps and a Brilliance ink pad in Galaxy Gold. This showed up nicely on the black cardstock. I used a hatch-mark stamp by Magenta and a very old stamp (origin unknown) of a leafy vine. Steven thought the paper came already done like this! I used my 14K gold marker around the edges of the images and I also splattered a bit of the ink on the card. Then I added a bit of gold ribbon, gluing it in place with E-6000 glue, for a tie closure. The velvet leaves on the front are also from Alpha Stamps, and truly are there for a "creative recovery" from a small stamping error! They look good anyway, so . . . . . I am smiling! I imagine that Vickie has received this by now, or she will soon, and I hope she enjoys it!!! lenna
p.s. On July 13th I received a sweet email from Vickie:

Hi Lenna,
I just picked up last week's mail from the Post Office. What a wonderful surprise! You know I love fairytales!
Thank you so much. You are a very special person with a grand, loving heart. Have a good summer!

Much love to you and yours,
xo, Vickie

Art Quilt Received : ^ )

This is another gift that I made and sent out for my generosity project, and this is definitely a special one. I was so pleased and so happy that my very good friend in Scotland, Frieda Oxenham, responded to my original post. That meant I had my chance to be extra generous, and create a special gift, just for her!

Frieda was picked as one of the 'winners' for this particular project I blogged about, and so soon afterwords I set out to think of what to create, especially for her. This was a bit of a challenge for me because I respect her so much as an artist, and I found it was a little intimidating. She has won so many awards for her art quilts and she is also such a generous and prolific artist in the mixed media world! I festered about what to do for just a bit . . . but I knew I wanted to do something with FABRIC for her and something that had meaning for her and also for me . . . and definitely something she would like!

Finally, I started by simply choosing bright batik fabrics that I imagined Frieda would like - as she has mentioned her love of bright fabrics before. I ripped out a 12"x12" section of two different fabrics; pink & purple! Then somehow, I got the idea of doing something related to her garden. Probably because Frieda has been sharing so many beautiful and appreciated photos of the flowers in her garden in Scotland as of late on her blog, which I have so enjoyed. Occasionally, if a larger version of a photo was available, I would copy it and save it to my own computer for reference or possible use later. While creating this art quilt I remembered I had a very lovely photo of what I believed to be one of Frieda's gardens when the daffodils were in full bloom. I got the idea to print that photo out onto fabric and incorporate it into the art quilt I wanted to make for her.

I ripped out another rectangle of the pink hued batik fabric, gathered some batting, and also the Alpha Stamps floral and leaf beads I had on hand. This made very much sense too, as Frieda still is, and I was, an Alpha Stamps design Team member! I took the top two pieces of fabric with the batting behind them and sewed them together. Then with a decorative leaf stitch from my sewing machine, I added the garden photo printed on fabric. To the top right corner, I added a small bird image from ARTchix Studio's garden sheet collection. I could not resist hand-beading some teeny tiny beads around this image, mimicking the beautiful work Frieda does on ATCs and her larger quilts.

It still needed something! So, I sewed the Alpha Stamps jeweled flowers, leaf beads, and added the pearlized stick pins from Alpha Stamps .... I knew I also wanted to add words and had to think for a while before I knew what I wanted to say. Finally! Meet you in the garden! I decided to rubber stamp this, as Frieda says she learned how to stamp on fabric from ME! I practiced a little and then went to the main fabric. because the batting was already in place it was a little tricky, but it worked. I was happy because what I wrote/stamped could be interpreted in more than one way. It could be the little bird saying, "meet you in the garden" or it could be Frieda saying to her husband John, 'Meet you in the garden', or it could be ME in CT, USA ---saying one day, Frieda, I will meet you in your Garden!! : ^ )))

I got an email from Frieda today, a week after I sent the art quilt out, and I will share with you what she said:

"Oh wow, I could barely believe the wonderful package which was handed over by my postie today. What a beautiful gift and I so love the picture you've used of our garden and how you combined it with the gorgeous batik fabrics. And I do so hope that one day we will meet each other in the garden as your text suggest!! Saying thank you, really does not seem adequate, but at the moment it's the best I can do!! Thanks again so much, from the bottom of my heart!"

: ) she need say no more! I am smiling. What a fantastic project I 'larked' into! Here is a close-up scan, click on any photo for more detail:

Vintage Romance fabric ATC swap

This swap is hosted by my good friend Frieda Oxenham, on the ATCs for ALL site. When I saw that Frieda was hosting this swap via a post on her blog I wrote her immediately even though I was on vacation in Florida! Could I join? Yes, there was room, and so I quickly produced 4 cards - 1 for the swap and 1 as a hostess gift for her. Frieda's are infinitely more romantic than mine . . . . but, I had fun creating mine and hope they are well received. I would call my ATCs for this swap "Modern Vintage Romance" because while they use romantic vintage fabric images from the Alpha Stamps "Kisses" sheet, the background fabrics are decidedly modern!

These ATCs began as one piece that I fused together with timetex interfacing in the middle and cut apart into 4 ATCs. I did this while taking a workshop with Elin Waterston - more on that later! After cutting out the 2.5 x 3.5 pieces, I added the Romantic fabric images from Alpha Stamps and stitched away to my heart's content on each one.

Thank you, Frieda!!