creativity bubbling: a video/art spaces


Last weekend Steven said, "I'm coming to get you at 4pm at take you out on the river in Chelsea." I was pleased; he was arranging a date! Chelsea is the boat that we bought from Lucas Boatworks about a year ago. It was hand built by Dave Lucas and Howard Heimbrock. Chelsea is an unusual boat because it is powered by a Briggs and Stratton riding lawn mower engine (!) and looks a bit like the "African Queen" with the canopy top. I took a short video and a bunch of photos while out in the boat with Steven and our 2 dogs, Asia & Chloe. I remembered about the video yesterday and enjoyed putting it together with a few photos and some music ~I'm learning! But I think it came out good -most importantly, Steven loves it! If you do not see it below, here's a direct link. Only 2 minutes long and a lovely boat ride. Won't you join me?


Asia & Chloe having a chat?
So that felt very good to be creative making that short video. Then today, I started moving things around in my office/studio space and on my lanai (porch) studio space. Cool! I was happy to be finally interested in trying to figure out how to arrange things related to my art so I can get back to that. I moved a green plastic set of drawers full of interesting fabric & goodies, out of the garage and under my work table on the lanai. Then I thought, why not move those two plastic towers filled with rubber stamps out to the lanai as well? They did not feel like they were working well space-wise in my office/studio, so why not? Here's what I've come up with so far . . .

It is comforting to me because the green drawers were in the same place in my old studio. The strange boat you see there is a barge that has been brought in to build our dock!

The drawers of rubber stamps will work so much better out here where my big work table is, probably where they will be used the most. They were behind the big box on the floor in the photo below. They were pushed right up against the wall in my very messy and unpacked studio. These drawers kind of blocked the flow of things and I am happy I got the idea to put them out on the lanai with my table instead. All of this makes me think about unpacking the "studio" boxes in the garage and finding a home for things in my new space!


Please excuse the mess! I have a smaller inside studio now, but with the addition of the work space out on the lanai, I think eventually I will have a very workable and quite pleasing arrangement. I will keep you posted as things progress.


I'll get there!! wow, here is an apropos quote:

Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing.
~ William Feather


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

creative lenna photos

I seem to be taking a lot of photos these days and I realized the other day that photography is my main creative outlet at the moment. Because of this, I recently started a new blog, creative lenna photos. Check it out if you think you might be interested in artistic photos mostly of natural things like geckos, birds, dogs, plants & gardens, beautiful photos of the beach, flowers, clouds . . . there is a nice mix of things there and soon to be more. Here is a peek at today's entry.

I will be back here soon with a step-by-step of creative swap art project I just finished: 
a chunky ATC!

He who does not cross a desert cannot recognize an oasis.
 ~ Italian Proverb 



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




flickr photos = a milestone for me


Tonight I crossed the 10,000 mark on my flickr photo account, which means in 5 years time I have uploaded over 10,000 photos to this account on my art, life, love, moving, family, animals and more. Wow, I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud! Anyway, I wanted to announce this, so here I am. I obviously love to share my photos!


: ) lenna 

p.s. Thank you for your comments!!! Dave, aka Mr. Cachet asked me: How many posts to go with the 10,000 photos? Funny, I started this blog at the same time I started using flickr and I've written 855 posts here since Dec 2006. Thanks for your support!

transformation: sketchbook project + our garage

Today was a busy day because before I even got working on my sketchbook project, Steven & I spent time together cleaning the garage and unpacking and sorting from our move last September. We had moved so many times since we've been married and relocated to Florida that Steven requested no complaints if the junk (oops, important stuff!!) piled up in the garage in our new home for a while. Of course I said yes because I would hear about it otherwise: "5 moves in 5 years"!!  But we did decide together that it was time - and that we would spend one of our "date days" cleaning, tossing, straightening & organizing so that perhaps I may even be able to get my car into the garage! It went from this:


To this! Wow.

Then while Steven was taking a break before we went out to dinner to celebrate our new found space, I dove back into my sketchbook project. I had been thinking since yesterday about the extended pages I had created by taping 2 sets of pages together, and how I wanted to re-insert them into the cover. I had been laying them into the cover "nested" and realized perhaps in a dream or maybe the early morning hours that I wanted the 4 signatures of pages I had created separate, not nested. This would mean sewing the 4 signatures of pages together, slicing the cover in half and gluing the first and last pages to the front and back cover -eep! I also wanted to "prime" the pages a bit and when cleaning the garage I found a new can of spray primer which worked wonderfully, laying down a very thin coat of primer paint on the pages. 

This was my test piece -always test first!

These are the actual pages now that I have taped them together.

It had been a while since I had sewn any pages together so I reached for Unique Handmade Books by Alisa Golden. I found directions for a decorative stitch book with weaving that looked like it would work even though it called for 5 signatures and I was working with 4. 


Creating the holes for sewing with a cradle 
so that all the holes will be in the same place. 

The stitching is similar to the Star Book class I have taught many times.

I use waxed linen to do the stitching.

The weaving part was different, interesting.

Finished! All 4 sections (signatures) of pages are sewn together.

Now to get very brave . . .  and cut the cover in half! 




 I trimmed the cover just a bit, then attached it to the sewn signatures 
of pages in the front and back.

There are 4 sections of pages just like the one above in the sketchbook now.



I finished the basic structure by adding tabs to make it easier to pull the folded pages out.

Now I get to fill this sketchbook up! You may wonder WHY I went to all this trouble of preparing the sketchbook like I did? Hmmm, I could have just worked in it the way it was, right? Well, I did that last year. This year I wanted to challenge myself and do something different. Last year I was satisfied to work in the moleskine the way it was presented to me because I had never really worked in an artist's journal before. That in itself was a new experience for me. I feel good already that I took the challenge I gave myself to do something different with the sketchbook. And the HOW will be here on my blog and I will also add journaling to the sketchbook about my process. Thanks for listening, I needed to get this down!

yours creatively, lenna 



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







working on it?

I have switched my online blog back to one of the earlier templates . . . because even though I really like the new dynamic views templates, the problems readers had with commenting and the fact that older browsers were not able to view the new set up, plus no sidebar gadgets were available . . . .well, that made me switch back to the previous template version I had where unfortunately you need to scroll and scroll to read the posts. I would love to return to the dynamic view when it is a little more seasoned. Some benefits of switching are that I created pages for my creative lenna blog, something I had been wanting to do. The About page is newly reworked and there are other new pages too, just look at the top of the blog. Plus, I discovered you can still view the creative lenna blog in dynamic views by adding /view onto the blog's URL. Try this: http://creativelenna.blogspot.com/view/flipcard to view the creative lenna blog in my most favorite way! I love how you can chose and discover so many posts at one glance.

Edit: I have now added the link to dynamic views as one of the pages. Find flipcard at the top of the blog as a tab and click on that when you'd like to explore and discover more of what's here. It is an amazing way to choose what I have shared to look at. I may have come upon the best of both worlds -combining this current style template as the base for my blog with the ability to view the blog in more dynamic ways. Anyway, thanks for coming along with me on this discovery and we will make our way!


yours creatively, lenna

creativity, photos + The Ringling Museum

* my husband, Steven *

Taking photographs and perhaps playing with them in Photoshop elements has been the only way I have been creative since my dad passed away October 1st. I know this is to be expected and I know it is okay that I feel this way.
I understand it . . . and yet, it still feels strange to me not to be doing any mixed media art for this amount of time, about 3 weeks. In general, I am a fairly prolific artist and so, I feel slightly out of step right now. I have been thinking about doing an art journal page - truly, it's just a half a page to finish a journal, or some ATCs. There is also a 4x4 themed piece coming due at the end of the month and I have even been thinking about getting started on my Sketchbook Project 2012. But basically, I keep telling myself that yes, when I am ready, I will start up again with paper and paint and fabric and ink. In the meantime, I am glad to have my camera and the creativity it affords me.

On Saturday, I took myself and my camera to the Ringling Museum while Steven was out using his new paddle at a local messabout. While at the Ringling, I visited their 2 Circus Museums. This was a new experience for me having never stepped inside them before.


Inside the Circus museum, I could not resist taking a photo of myself among the clowns. I especially enjoyed all the posters and the history I learned about the Circus.


After lunch at one of the cafes, I walked through a beautiful Rose Garden on the estate where I took many photos before continuing to the Ca'd'Zan Mansion that belonged to John and Mable Ringling. It's described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, Ca' d’Zan has 56 incredible rooms filled with art and original furnishings. I only saw the first floor and that in itself was quite amazing. It is huge and looks out over Sarasota Bay, Florida.

The Rose Garden 



For Frieda . . . 


A glimpse of the Ringling Mansion . . . 

Inside, looking out at Sarasota Bay

The courtyard overlooking the Bay . . . 

Another view of the front -click for details

Next, I walked towards the courtyard of the Museum of Art, which I had visited before. The Ringling property spans 20 acres! More about the history of the Ringling estate is here. In the courtyard of the museum there was a special dance performance being put on by students at FSU (Florida State University) as part of the Ringling International Art Festival. It was titled, When Art Refuses to Sit Still and be Quiet. The group of young women from FSU danced among the renaissance statues in the courtyard and I was most certainly entranced. I had danced in a similar performance in the courtyard of the Wadsworth Atheneum museum in Hartford, CT when I was a teenager. 





Then I made my way into the art museum proper . . . 




The painting below is by my great uncle, William Glackens.
I stood in front of it for quite a while.





I am enjoying using my camera and figure I will be back to my 'usual' creativity before too long. I am simply feeling a little more quiet than usual, which is to be expected. I do talk with my mom a lot, as well as my sister and my husband Steven and it seems we are all just moving through this life changing event of my father's death at our own pace. Do not worry, we are as fine as we can be. With love, lenna

p.s. I am not sure if the comments glitch has been fixed, but I did send notification there was a problem. If you get to a blank page when publishing your comment, please use the back arrow, open up the comments again and you should see your comment there ready to be published. So sorry for any inconvenience!

If you'd like to see more of the courtyard and museum, about a year ago Steven & I visited the Ringling together. Afterwards, I created this 4 minute Animoto Video - fun to watch & create!

more of my photos here . . .
creativelenna. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

Les Paul guitar google doodle

You may have come across this yourself, but just in case not, you will want to go check out Google's search engine today -June 9th, 2011. Google often has some spectacular doodles but this one, in tribute to Les Paul, is a strum-able and in most countries, a record-able guitar, fashioned to look like Google's logo. Simply amazing! So creative.

In looking for more information on Les Paul, I found lots of articles online about him and the special Google logo doodle today. Les Paul died in 2009, but today would have been his 96th birthday. He was the designer of the solid body electric guitar bearing his name, a "state-of-the-art" guitar. You can read more in this Washington Post article. My favorite find was this 10 minute video below made in 2007, following Les Paul on a 'typical work day' when he was in his early 90's.



My parent's had a lot of Les Paul playing when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, so it was sweet to delve into this history and learn more about him. I absolutely adore Google's doodle logos. The John Lennon one is a favorite and the more recent Martha Graham animated doodle was really my absolute favorite. It is beautiful and I have a personal connection to anything Martha Graham as that is the dance technique I studied for many years. Although today's doodle is interactive and amazing! I did try recording my guitar 'strumming', so here is my unprofessional, but fun and fast recording! Lenna's take 5 ; ^ ) Have fun!

skinny page on Martha Graham

For the front of Heather's skinny page: part of a painting, 'Martha Graham
dance class' by Paul Raphael Meltsner was printed onto fabric. The inks were
manipulated with water + shimmer mist. A quote by Martha Graham was overlaid.
I belong to a yahoo group where we have been exchanging skinny pages sized 4" x 8" - once a month for a little over a year. March was my month to make a skinny page for Heather, whose theme is Women who dared. Yes, I am a wee bit late, but Heather assured me, "Please take your time. I'm not at all worried about you being late. Whenever it arrives, it will be welcomed. So looking forward to your interpretation of my theme." Thank you very much, Heather!

It took me some time to think about what woman I might like to create my art around. You did not have to have a specific "woman who dared" in mind, but that was the direction I wanted to go. After talking it over with my husband some weeks ago and doing a search online, I came across Martha Graham. Of course! Perfect. Quoting the introduction of the PBS program on her in 2005: "Martha Graham’s impact on dance was staggering and often compared to that of Picasso’s on painting, Stravinsky’s on music, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s on architecture. Her contributions transformed the art form, revitalizing and expanding dance around the world. In her search to express herself freely and honestly, she created the Martha Graham Dance Company, one of the oldest dance troupes in America. As a teacher, Graham trained and inspired generations of fine dancers and choreographers. Her pupils included such greats as Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and countless other performers, actors, and dancers. She collaborated with some of the foremost artists of her time including the composer Aaron Copland and the sculptor Isamu Noguchi."


I studied the Martha Graham Technique for many, many years with my teacher Truda Kaschmann, who taught this technique to my sister and my mother too, not to mention countless others. I knew of Graham of course, but I never realized what pioneering and daring a woman she was until I set out to do this piece of art for Heather. Thank you again, Heather-truly. You have opened my eyes to so much more about her!

I started by gathering materials and searching for quotes, images and writings about Martha Graham. I found a few paintings by Paul Raphael Meltsner that really drew me in. I have since learned that he was a contemporary of Everett Shin, who studied painting with my Great Uncle, William Glackens! This is beginning to sound like 7 degrees of separation . ..  but anyway, this struck me as very interesting. And since this is a gift to Heather, I did not worry about using a copy of part of this painting to represent her theme.


I printed out a variety of photographs, images, paintings and quotes onto paper, fabric and transparency film. I collected a 4x8 piece of flat batting and a soft piece of washed canvas-like material to work on. Heather likes earth & jewel tones, history, quotes and words so I knew I was on the right track. She also said a horizonal page was fine with her, leaving room on the 4" side for holes. I started with the fabric print of the Meltsner painting and wanted to add to it -- so I spritzed, dribbled and dropped both water and Perfect Pearls mist on to the fabric... the ink from the inkjet printer is not permanent so doing this makes the ink migrate. When I liked how it looked I layed this fabric print over some flat batting, onto the canvas fabric and sewed just the edges, leaving the edges raw and the fringe hanging.


Then my sewing machine stopped working - eeeep! Here I am, late with this project that I've only just started sewing and now my machine has stopped??? oh no. Fortunately, between my husband and I we figured out there wasn't anything wrong with my machine, just the foot control piece. When I unplugged the foot control from the machine and used the manual start and stop buttons on the front of the machine -my sewing machine still worked perfectly! phew.

Over the manipulated fabric print of the painting, I added 2 quotes by Martha Graham that I had printed onto a Transparency film. The second, longer quote I printed out 3 x in a row to make it more like wallpaper. I attached the quotes on the transparency film by stitching the clear film on both the top and bottom with a straight stitch.

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep  the channel open." — Martha Graham

"The only sin is mediocrity." — Martha Graham
For the other side of the skinny page, I used photographs I had manipulated in Photoshop elements. I am just learning about this program but have fooled around in it so much that I have become adept at putting a couple of photos together as layers. That is what I did with both of these images, which I then printed on fabric. The image on the left is a portrait of Martha Graham with another photo of her dancing behind it -you may only be able to see her hand, across her own forehead. Click on the image for a larger image. The image on the right is 2 different photos of dancers performing in the Martha Graham Dance Company that I melded together into one image. I like how it looks like she is gazing at her dancers . . .


I added water to this side too, you can see it on the right . . . Then I added another Martha Graham quote printed onto a transparency by sewing it to just the edges of the skinny page. I also added some bright trim to the bottom of this side to correspond with the dancer's bright dress. The trim and the main fabric images were glued on with Sobo fabric glue. Then I knew I was done!

“I wanted to begin not with characters or ideas, but with movements . . .
I wanted significant movement. I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted
it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge.” –Martha Graham

One of my favorite quotes by her:
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion." 
— Martha Graham

Thanks for sharing this art journey with me -I will be sending this women who dared skinny page off to Heather on Monday! This is my favorite kind of art to make: art with meaning, feeling and emotion.  
; ^ ) lenna

iHanna's Postcard swap 2011


A few weeks ago I saw a link on someone's blog about a Postcard swap that iHanna was hosting. When I went to her site to check it out, I learned that I was visiting "the blog of a Swedish woman in love with creativity." That sure made me smile! Then I found out I had visited iHanna's blog just in time. I had only one day left to ask to be included in her postcard swap! I signed up and Hanna sent me a list of 10 people from around the world to send to. My Job? To create 10 hand made postcards and send them on their way. Off they flew this afternoon and here is how I made them!

I took a scan of the back of a vintage postcard and combined it with
iHanna's Post Card Swap logo in Photoshop. Then I added my message!
The postcard back was complete.

I flipped the postcards over and stamped a BIG fish from Fred Mullet
using a StazOn permanent ink pad.

I tried out some new acrylic inks I bought after reading about them in
Quilting Arts magazine - FW by Daler Rowney. I spritzed with water too!
These inks are different-more pigmented than Dye-Na-Flow, which I usually use.
some of the colour patterns made from spritzing and sponging.

I added Perfect Pearls interference powders to the wet ink  . . . 

I decided to over stamp the fish with wet pigment ink and to emboss it
with Psychedelic embossing powder - wow!

some of the results -look at it sparkle!

I added a hello from Florida  . . .  this is a very international swap.
I sent my postcards to Japan, Finland, Texas, New York (x2),
Australia, Utah, California, Sweden and Germany!!

more stamping with a favorite Magenta stamp.

The backs got a little messsy with all my inking and sponging on the front,
but I decided I love it!

I added MORE rubber stamping front and back and I was done!
Off to the post office I ran because tomorrow was the deadline to send!
I have already received 3 wonderful postcards from California, London and Devon, UK! Please visit iHanna's blog for more creativity and visit her post: Share the Poscarding Joy to view links to many other posts like mine! Have fun ; ^ ) lenna

another version -This too shall pass

This is the Rube Goldberg version of This Too Shall pass by OK Go, a band I love for their talent and uber creativity. Earlier this week I shared a Notre Dame marching band version of this same song! This video is well worth watching just to see the "machine" they created for it. There are even 4 short videos describing their process making the set -you'll find them as related videos when this one is done -click on YouTube at the bottom to see them. I hope you enjoy!!




lenna