stars from scotland

My dear friend Frieda Oxenham who lives in the Scottish Borders, sent me a wonderful gift for my birthday this week! It arrived later than she was hoping for, after my actual birthday, but I so enjoyed opening it when it arrived yesterday. It came in a bright pink mailing envelope with white polka-dots and was wrapped up in a piece of fabric -whoohoo! I'll be sure to use the wrapping too. Inside a delightful little mesh studded bag that held something that Frieda explained to me later as, "I saw this necklace and knew immediately it was meant to be for you what with those stars!"

Frieda and I have corresponded, shared our fabric and mixed media art via many exchanges and shared our thoughts and ideas for a long time. The earliest email I have saved is from 2005! I love seeing this email again because it shows I had not even found her blog or her picturetrail yet! Check those sites out for some serious eye candy!

From: Lenna Andrews
 To: Frieda Oxenham
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 12:40 PM
Subject: happy days for you : )

 Dear Frieda, Just a note of Congratulations!! My, what an exciting week you have had, and so well-deserved. Do you have a scan, or a place on-line where I could see your quilts? I would love to see your larger fabric work!

Fondly, Lenna

 Lenna Andrews, mixed media artist and instructor
 94 Peak Mountain drive, East Granby, CT 06026
Phone/Fax: 860-413-9050
Web Site:

There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
 ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

kind of a silly photo of me, but it shows off the beautiful necklace Frieda sent very well!

It's perfect.
Thank you so much, Frieda!!

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

all she wanted was a paper quilt . . .

. . . and she got it! The entries are still coming in for Patti Digh as she requested, for her 50th birthday on August 16th, but she has made a follow-up post with a wonderful photo - click here to read it and see her paper quilt. I found the little "quilt square" I made for her, right about in the middle of the photo; it looks like this:
Patti wrote the book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally, which I was originally introduced to by my friend Frieda Oxenham, who lives in Scotland and often inspires me. I have read the book at least twice and so enjoyed it. I was happy to be able to participate in Patti's request! My original post on making the square for Patti can be found here, enjoy! lenna young andrews, august 19, 2009.

stars they rise and fade

Click on any photo, and you'll see a larger photo with more detail . . . Here's a close-up of one section of this canvas I painted and collaged for a friend:
This collage on a canvas board is a good example of the background techniques I teach in my collage on canvas workshop. If you've taken the class with me, I am sure you recognize the rubbing alcohol, salt and baking soda on this piece. It is so interesting that I had two students sign up for this online course this same week . . . . I will be away on vacation for the next two weeks, but would be happy to coach you through the collage on canvas lessons after I return home on July 26 if you are interested. See the link above for lots more information. Here is another close-up section of this canvas -click on it for more detail ~
The words you see printed on this canvas are lyrics from two different songs by a Scottish 'psychedelic' folk band that I listened to back in the 1970's called the Incredible String Band! I printed the lyrics out onto paper after finding them online and ripped the paper into usable shapes; then applied the words to the painted canvas with gel medium. I had almost forgotten about this very unusual and interesting band until I caught up with an old friend of mine via email recently and we were talking about music we listened to, back in the day! Here is a photo of the entire collage:

The small image of the woman is one of my favorites from the Over the Moon collage sheet by ARTchix Studio. After all the papers were glued down, I added gold Lumiere paint to the canvas with a sponge. I also sponged teal and violet dye-na-flow paint onto the papers once they were adhered; using the same colours as I used on the canvas for the background so they blended in. Small plastic stars were glued directly to the canvas with tacky glue to fit the theme : ^ )

If you click on any of the photos for a larger view, you should be able to see some of the rubber stamping I did -small stars, with a Brilliance ink pad in Galaxy Gold. To finish this collage, I edged it with a 14K gold marker, signed it, and then sent it off to my friend . . . who just wrote and said, "I love the painting you sent me". Awesome! That makes me happy. Wishing you happy summer days and warm starry nights ~ lenna young andrews ~ July 10, 2009

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

generosity project :: fabric art for my friend Linda Schultz

I am down in Florida right now visiting my parents, but received a lovely email from Linda Schultz last night saying . . .
"I am so stunned by the beauty of the piece you created. It is so
lovely. I think I will shadow box frame it perhaps with some
little treasure or bottle that I picked up.
(I love this idea!)
When the package arrived today and it was like a tonic lifting my
spirits. Thank you! so very much. You can see a scan and a write-up
on my blog:
lindalovesgerry.blogspot.comI was so happy when Linda Schultz responded to my generosity meme! Linda and I have known each other for a long time, and having her respond to this project gave me the chance to create something special for her. Linda love all things Vintage, and in fact, has her own on-line store called: Collage Closet. You can visit her blog too! For her gift I took vintage lace and paired it with a soft burlap type fabric, to frame a silky piece of fabric which backed an ARTchix Studio image (and words) and a piece of floral/bird fabric I had that I thought Linda would like. I added puffy batting and hand sewed beads to the piece. (Frieda's influence!!) Here is a close-up - click for detail. This project has been a wonderful, creative experience for me. I have one more to create, and two more projects to be received and shared! It's been very good all around - I am so glad I did this. : ^ )

And down here in Florida, my dad is looking better than ever. We did a "drive-tour" today together to check out possible homes, and will go with our real estate friend to actually view some on Monday. Alas, no offers on our home in CT yet, but I have faith the right person will find us before too long and we'll be on our way here : ) In the meantime, I will try my best to embrace what I have!

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:

"Generosity" ATC received!

click on any photo for more detail Thanks, Patti, for letting me know that another one of my generosity meme projects was received!! This little gift that I sent to Patti Schmid because she responded to my original post, is an ATC that I started creating in my 'water media' class that just ended yesterday. I will certainly miss that class. One Thursday in class, after working on a landscape painting, I wanted to do something a little more 'looser' and free, so I pulled out my Dye-Na-Flow paints and decided to fool around. These paints have a very thin consistency. They are formulated more like dyes or inks, even though they truly are paints. Dye-Na-Flow comes in a wide range of colors and that day I opted for the brightest of colours! My teacher Frank Federico was really 'wowed' at the bright neon colors I used, but he so enjoyed seeing my finished ATCs when I returned the following week!

You can read more about Dye-Na-Flow HERE-the Jacquard web site. For this project I used a sponge and also a fan brush to paint the different colors all over the page. At that point, I had not decided yet what to do with my wild painting . . . . .

When I got home later, the idea hit me to take the entire sheet and cut it up into 2.5" x 3.5" sized ATCs as you see above (all scrunched together). I used my big paper cutter to do this and it worked out great; I got 15 cards from the entire large sheet. At first I did not know what more I wanted to do with them; I had only decided that I would give some to my teacher & classmates, and perhaps give some as gifts for this project. Then, it hit me! I still have all my "LennaLines" quote stamps from when I took my favorite quotes and made them into unmounted rubber stamps to sell. Using the quotes would allow the bright painted background to shine through while giving the ATCs the something extra they needed. I used Fabrico (VersaCraft) ink, which I heat set, in a midnight blue color - less harsh than black, but still with enough contrast. I chose quotes for all of the ATCs and stamped away.

I picked the ATC with the "Art is a calling" quote for Patti because I thought it would speak to her better than any of the other quotes. I do not remember where I got that quote from, Patti . . . it has been in my collected bank of quotes for about 15 years! You can read a whole bunch of my favorite quotes, tucked away on my website. I edged Patti's ATC with a metallic 14K gold marker to frame it, and make it more special. The envelope I sent the ATC in, that you see at the top of the page, is made from fabric! I glued an ARTchix Studio heart on with Tacky Glue as I knew Patti is fond of ARTchix things, and then I used a permanent marker to address it to her. Self adhesive stamps work great on fabric envelopes! So glad you enjoyed, Patti! Thanks for letting me know - this has been a great project so far . . . . I have 3 or 4 more to make and send!

generosity project

Two of the hand made gifts I sent out to the winners of my generosity meme project have been received - so cool! I found it very fulfilling to hear from the recipients personally, that they were so very happy to receive the hand made items I sent out. For me, it recharged my creative spirit to create for them and doing this project was just a very good thing all around!

For Sharon Schutt, I created a small fabric piece with her in mind. She has participated in many of my swaps and we have corresponded a bit. I just now went to her blog and found out she has already written about what I sent & posted a photo of what I made her! She has also decided to do the generosity project, so you really might want to go check it out: HERE.

I created with fabric for Sharon as I know she is a fabric person, and my theme for her was 'HOME' since she told me it is most likely her family will have to move to a new one soon. With teenagers on board leaving friends behind -- this can be rough, so I created a piece I thought would give her positive feelings about the move. Sharon wrote to me and said my gift arrived with perfect timing and she absolutely loved the piece - how sweet! I was happy to brighten her day. To make it I simply looked for fabrics and colors I thought Sharon would like, sewed them together and added some ARTchix Studio images based on her theme- sewing the collage papers & transparencies right on the the fabric with my machine. Easy to do and delightfully fun to make!

For Dottie Mucha, who actually lives down the street from me, I created a small fabric quiltie. I tried to use colors and images I thought Dottie would like --using a romantic transparency from ARTchix Studio placed over white gauzy fabric combined with pink & brown fabric, a little lace and some velvet leaves. ooh la la! Click on any photo for more detail.

Dottie wrote to me, "Thank you. What a beautiful surprise. I didn't expect anything so soon. I am so pleased with your "meme" for me."

: ) It was my pleasure! More notes and sharing as they are received . . . . .

tapping into generosity - winners!!

Okay! Here it is, May 29th and I have had 8 people respond to my "generosity meme" post where I offered to make something by hand for five people. I was to choose 5 names from those who left a comment to that post, by today . . . but instead . . .

Congratulations are in order to everyone - all 8 who responded: Vickie Trancho, Linda Schultz, Andrea, Frieda Oxenham, Dottie Mucha, Patti, Sharon Schutt, and Vicki Page -- because you have ALL won! Whoo whoo!

Everyone who commented will receive something handmade by me, sent by the end of the year -if not sooner. This will give me something creative to work on while we go through the process of showing and selling our home. I already have just about everyone's snail mail address because of participation in my Creative Swaps, but I do need Andrea and Patti's snail mail addresses, so I can send their handmade something to them. Please email your mailing addresses to me! You can find my email address on my profile page, and again, Congratulations! I look forward to creating something for each of you & then sending it off. Don't forget to let me know you when have received it. You can read more about this wonderful idea here! : )
Happy May 29th, from lenna

tapping into generosity

Note: I am extending the deadline to enter this generosity meme - see below!

I have swiped this idea from Patti Digh's blog! She posted it a while ago but I was caught up with getting our home ready for sale. Now that the project of "home ready-ing" is done for the most part and our house is actually on the market, I can breathe a little bit and find I'm looking for a few reasons to throw myself back in the studio!

My friend Frieda, who lives in Scotland, turned me onto Patti Digh when she reviewed Patti's book called: 37 Days -Life is a Verb on her own frieda quilter blog -one of my favorites. You can learn about the book on Patti's blog -I have read it myself and really loved it. The idea I am presenting/swiping from Patti is a generosity meme, in which you offer to make stuff for five people. To be one of those five, respond to this post below in the comments section. At the end of the Memorial Day weekend here in the USA ~ On May 29th, I will assign everyone who commented a number and then randomly choose (5) people that will get something made with my own two hands -- that's the generosity part!

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully…
I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. No refunds… and no exchanges!!!! What I create will be just for you, and handmade with love from me. It will be created sometime in this calendar year (2009) and sent to you, and when you receive it, you will need to let me know it has arrived.

I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world that I'll decorate and send to you through the US postal system. It will not be something cyber. It may be strange or it may be beautiful. I may even create something totally unbelievable and really surprise you!! It will be handmade, it could be any size, and it will be created from my heart in any medium I choose. I may take my time or I may make it quickly. I reserve the right to do whatever comes to mind when I create something for you!

The original meme requires you to post this text (or similar) into a note/blog post of your own and then make 5 things for 5 people who to respond to it. I’m not going to require that of you. If you would like to do this generosity meme too, that would be great. I encourage you to participate and generously create, but it is not a requirement in order to enter and win. As Patti pointed out, this isn't just for artists--it's for everyone. She says we are all artists, and we're all able to create something precious for another human being. Patti wrote, "One of the most gorgeous things I've ever received was a small box of precious stones from a child I met once--she made it for me, assembling it, cherishing it, giving it. You can do the same."

So, if you are interested, please leave a comment below and I will publish them as I am able with all our house showing appointments, etc. I'll draw five names from those submitted as a comment to this post by 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 25th (extended to) Friday, May 29th. Whether your name is drawn for this meme or not, I do hope you'll comment and play, participate, make, and give! Post this meme on your own blog, tweak it as you like, or put a sign up in your office and find a way to be involved. What fun!

I'll announce the winners on May 29th -- you'll need to send your mailing address to me if you win: lenna [at] creativelenna [dot] com - in order to receive whatever cool art I will make just for you ... if you don't, I will have to choose someone else ... I am really looking forward to this!!!!!

wine charms . . .

I am not doing a lot of gift giving this year . . . well, a few purchases from Stonewall Kitchen (where I work part-time). Check out their website! The Stonewall Kitchen sauces, jams, sweets, savories, etc. are so delicious, and made so well with wonderful fresh ingredients . . . . . m m m m m Mmm! It is very easy for me to work there and extol the virtues of their products (smile).

I am also making a few little gifts. Wine charms are easy to make and so much fun, too! I picked up the round wires inexpensively at a craft store, then added beads from my collection, and voila! Steven & I use our set of wine charms all the time. We put them on our wine glasses for a party a couple of years ago and just never took them off . . . . we love them. They look so pretty and serve a purpose too. You can add shells, charms, danglies to your beads -really, whatever you like or think your recipient would like. Have fun!
click on the photo for more detail!