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! 

THANK YOU!

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

creative play: it's good for you!

I hosted a prayer flag swap recently, see the results here. It turned out to be a really fun swap, more than I anticipated when organizing it. Many of the participants found they so enjoyed working on these easy to make small flags, creating them with prayers, wishes and good thoughts in mind. There was a huge variety of flags which you can see if you follow the link above. A lot of us said, "I think I am addicted to making  these!"  When Jan Smith added a link to her photos on her blog, she wrote: I'm still addicted to making them...so if anyone out there fancies swapping a shabby style prayer flag (1 to 1 swap) I would love to hear from you.....

So guess who wrote back to her? That's right, me! I figured I would need a break from that tedious job of packing, so I went ahead and agreed to a trade. I knew Jan loved "shabby chic", so I took some fabric I had found and plunged in. These flags are small, around 5" x 8" - so it didn't take long and was a treat for me after a morning of squishing things into boxes and going through oodles of packing tape. While packing up some of my fabric I found a really old piece of cotton print that I made something out of 20 or 25 years ago!!! I also purposely chose one of my grandmother's old linen pieces with cherries on it, very small in size -not sure what it was used for, some type of napkin? I also chose a lace doily & trim for a shabby look. If you click on this first photo, you can view them all in the lightbox . . . . I made 2 layers for this flag, one muslin and one the old cotton print and only sewed them together at the top so they could move freely.


I sewed the doily on only via 1 straight line in the middle so it would flop over.
There is my Nonie's 'cherry' linen piece layered under.


I added a quote printed on fabric (found while packing) for my thoughts 
or wishes . . . and some cotton lace across the bottom



I also cut the floral print so it would be fringed


On the back I sewed a business card


Here it is -Voila! 


I sent this to Jan today . . . it is traveling to the UK so it will take a week or two if we are lucky and she is sending one to me today as well, what fun! My received prayer flags are shown via the link - wow, so many of them! Everyone was so generous and I received many flags as gifts. They stayed up outside for about 2 weeks and are now packed in a box to be brought to our new home.

New home? Yes, our closing is tomorrow morning!!!!!!!! We will move in about 3 weeks to a home on a canal right off the Braden River, and we have decided to rent our current home. I have Nia White Belt Training starting on Saturday that runs long days for a full week. We (mostly Steven!) have some things to do in the new home like painting the kitchen (cabinets too) and all the windows being replaced with Hurricane ones . . . Steven and I have an anniversary (together 8 years) coming up October 25th we'll be celebrating in Casey Key with our boat Chelsea in tow. I still have lots of packing to do here. I really have only just begun! So, that is my story, what about you? I cannot promise to answer but I would so love to hear from you. 

Hope all is well with you & yours. 
xo lenna  

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 day.org 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

4x6 received, wheeee!

What a delight it was to go to my mailbox and find the self-addressed envelope I had decorated for the return of a 4x6 piece of art from someone else in the exchange! I knew immediately that this mail art envelope I did earlier when sending in my own piece, held my return for the 4x6 project. This was orchestrated by the Art House Co-op. You can read about the project here.


The wonderful 4x6 postcard above was created by Carla San Martin in Washington. 
Find out more about her art here!



Who begins too much accomplishes little.
  ~ German proverb



bead swap necklace

Okay. So I hosted a bead swap, rolled paper and fabric beads on creative swaps. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was really amazed at what my participants sent in . . . totally awesome hand made beads! This swap is a little different in that it has 2 parts. After everyone receives their swapped beads, I have encouraged them to create something with what they receive. Then, take a photo or scan their creation, upload it to their blog, website or photo site and share the direct link on creative swaps so we can all be inspired. ; ^ ) Now I'll share what I created because I participated too!


Below are all the beads I received in the swap and a few extras as gifts.
Thank you! Click on the photo for more details.


My own extra beads are on the left with the swapped beads on the right.
I am starting to design a necklace.




look closely if you were a participant, you should find one of your beads! 


The beads come from all over the USA, and also from Germany, Netherlands and Ireland.





Thank you to all my participants!
My necklace has at least one bead from each of you ; )))
The earrings I'm wearing are paper beads made by my friend Sharon Borsavage
who was also a participant in the swap - mwah! 


I think this looks great and will always remind me of this fantastic swap.
If you are a participant, I can't wait to see what you do! 

small art from big paintings

For the past three years I have been exchanging art with a group of talented women through a private yahoo group. This year, we've been exchanging 4x4's. Many in the group will take these 4x4's and make a "chunky" book. I'm not sure what I'll do with these wonderful small works of art but for now they are out in my studio in a basket, where I add to them as they come in. I simply enjoy looking through them. Such inspiration! The idea of our exchange is to create on someone's chosen theme and have someone create for you on your theme every month. I needed to make 2 of these small 4x4 inch works, one for March for Heather Robinson and one for April for Karen Owen. I started creating by taking 2 of my painting exercises I did in the abstract art class I'm taking and used my x-acto knife to cut out 2 small 4"x4" sections.



That was actually quite fun to do! To pick and chose a part I liked.


The green one is for Karen who gave us the theme "artist's choice" but let us know she liked birds and nature, among other things! I concentrated on those two.


I must admit, I kept it pretty simple as I liked the background and did not want to cover it up too much. I thought Karen would like a touch of gold so I chose that for the leaves and edged the 4x4 with a metallic marker. I also splatter a few dots of gold and stamped a saying . . .. 

Wander where there is no path


Heather had a theme of Fantasy Garden, doesn't that sound delicious! 
For her, I decided I wanted to do packing tape transfers of flower images. I thought this would keep with her theme but let the painted background show through a bit . . . 

To do packing tape transfers place clear packing tape over the front of your chosen magazine or catalog images (thin paper like that is best). Overlap tape if necessary. Burnish the tape to the paper well and drop into a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes or so. Gently rub the paper off the BACK of your tape/paper sandwich until all the paper has been removed and just the image remains attached to the tape! 



I added watercolor crayons around the edges, then wet to activate.


I finished heather's 4x4 with rubber stamping and an appropriate quote.






This is the end of my commitment to this group and even though I so enjoyed creating for and receiving from them, I will not be continuing with the next session. I feel I need a break from some of my regular scheduled exchanges in order to give myself time to explore some more personal art. I am not sure what direction I am going in yet, but as my husband Steven says, he can tell I am restless . . . searching . . . and I think he is correct. I tend to think perhaps in some way, it has something to do with my father's passing last October. I also think taking classes with Bill Buchman has excited me and open my eyes to other kinds of art I can do. I have a desire to do more painting and collage in perhaps a larger scale than I usually work - I'd like to explore this idea . . . . so, we'll see! 

Thanks very much for stopping by! lenna 


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. 



* Paper and Fabric beads *

There is plenty of room in this art swap I'm hosting on creative swaps, if you would like to join us! Please visit this post: New Swap - Paper & Fabric Beads for all the swap details. A slideshow of some of the beads I've made for the swap is below. You can view this very full screen by clicking on the arrows in the lower right corner after you hit 'play'.



These are so fun to make, I will definitely be trying some more.
Swap beads are due march 24 - Hope you can join us!


New swap I'm hosting on Creative Swaps!

It took a bit of playing, learning and organizing behind the scenes . . . but now I'm finally ready. I've just announced a new swap you can join on my creative swaps blog -which is dedicated to the art exchanges I orchestrate between participants from around the world! It's so much fun. This time we are making and swapping Paper and Fabric Beads - just click on the link to read all the details! Included in the registration fee is a 14 page lesson I wrote on making rolled fabric and paper beads. Below are some of the beads I made and used in the step-by-step lesson. Hope you'll be joining us, the swap registration remains open until all spots are filled!










It will be great fun and easy to do with the lesson I have put together. 
Visit creative swaps for all the info!