at home in my studio at last!

Home at last : ) my dear friend Linda Kunsman made this ornament for my husband Steven and I a few homes ago . . . I cannot even remember which one, maybe Deercliff Road? Anyway I love it and have continued to move it with me and give it a new place of honor. Now it is hanging on the armoire in the dining room that holds many of my art supplies.

Today, I have finally unpacked and found a home for all of my supplies in my art studio/office!!! Phew. It is not perfect, but IT IS DONE! I struggled this time with moving into a smaller art room and not having the same "containers" to put things in. It took me six months to unpack and set up, but I have done it and I am so proud and happy.

I took a quick video when I finished today and you can find it here via this link or watch it below if you are reading on my blog. Steven is taking me out to dinner tonight to celebrate, hee hee! I am so looking forward to creating more art. Yes, I have done some, but the last few boxes have been taking up space on my counter and I have not been able to work. It was getting depressing! Now I look forward to trying out the gelli plate I bought a month ago! I hope you enjoy the video with me doing the commentary. I'll be back!

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
   ~ Amelia Earhart

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

our new neighborhood

We took our first walk around the neighborhood since we moved, today. Our new home is much more in the 'country' with miles of fences to keep animals like horses in.

This neighborhood has a Ranch-like feel, very much . . .

We enjoyed the nice sidewalk, safe off the road . . . me & my sweeties, Asia & Chloe.

What?? This is not a horse! 

This llama came right up to the edge of the fence to meet us. Chloe even growled as we quickly walked past! Chloe was definitely really not sure about this llama, who seemed sweet to me . . although I did not get too close either! 

Another photo of our llama friend is found on my blip journal, here.

Do you see Asia ^ here still staring at the llama? : ) Chloe seems to have gotten over the encounter by now . . . this was a good first walk, about 2 miles, with just one small blister on my heel from wearing sneakers instead of my usual crocs!

Thanks for coming along with us . . . . we are making our way and slowly getting resettled. I am concentrating on the kitchen first, my clothes next, and then my studio!!!!! OH! My actual studio space is too small for my big art table so now it is out on the lanai -a screened porch, very large. It overlooks the water and is so grand! More photos as things come together  : )

Happiness is good health and a bad memory.
  ~ Ingrid Bergman

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

creative things

Tomorrow, 2/5 is Conscious Movement here in Sarasota and I am so looking forward to it. This is the closest thing I have found to the modern dance improv I did growing up and for many years after, that I love. The photo above is a Photoshop version of 2 photos I took at the last conscious movement event. I love taking just a few quiet photographs during the hour and a half and then bringing them into Photoshop and seeing how I can tweak them artistically. Tomorrow we may have visitors from St. Pete join us, so I think there will be lots of energy and spirit dancing in the room!

Today, I went to a wonderful Zentangle® class taught by certified Zentagle instructor, Mary Masi. I met Mary through Conscious Movement and Nia classes! Here are the two 3" x 5" tiles I completed in Mary's excellent class today . . .

Zentangle looks like doodling, but is really so much more. From the Zentangle® website, "Our Zentangle method is a way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is fun and relaxing. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages." Find out more about Zentangle here on the website. I found it so relaxing. 

I also visited a new studio and Gallery called Artspace on Anna Maria Island this afternoon. My friend Cheryl who hosted my collage class earlier this week, told me about Deborah and her husband who are opening this awesome space. It is bright and beautiful, with a gorgeous view of the Anna Maria Bay.

The view!! It is above the post office, 101 Bayview Plaza, Anna Maria Island, FL

It looks so good! They are going to have their first show to coincide with the Grand Opening on March 23 and I am definitely going to make a "Spring Cleaning" piece and enter! 

Afterwards, a quick trip to the north of the island . . . 
ahhhhhh . . . i love the beach. 

happy weekend! 

before and after

You may have heard me "rumbling" about the mess in my studio . . . .

I finally could not stand it anymore and I am pleased to show you this instead . . .

a h h h h h h h . . .  
i do love having lots of things around to grab and use when I am working
but in the other hand, sometimes you get closed in by all that, 
don't you agree?

I felt it was time for me to re-boot, as my husband would say! 
happy creating! with love, lenna

from our visit to Selby Gardens last sunday . . . .

moving in and finding art

It is taking me a while this time to move into my studio. I am unpacking all my stored art supplies, but I find it takes a lot of effort! So I do a little, then I leave it be for a while, then I do a little more. I am happy to say I have gotten enough unpacked that i am getting comfortable with creating in my new space.

Here you can see I have even found some of Steven's father's sculpture, which I love. Our house is not very big and so I get to have a few pieces right in my studio for inspiration (they are in front of the window on the left -click for a larger view). Steven's dad Ed was a plastic surgeon and what we would both call a 'Renaissance man'. He drew like an angel, painted, did sculpture, woodwork, ceramics, metalworking, welding . . . Steven tells me their basement had all kinds of set-ups for making molds and casts for sculpture, there was a darkroom, wood working equipment, a kiln . . . Steven describes the basement like a factory where you could produce anything out of metal, clay or wood! Ed Deming taught sculpture for over 30 years. He passed away in 1986.

Ed Deming

Ed's sculptures that are keeping me company in my studio now.

One fun part about unpacking is the things you find, especially artwork like the sculptures above. Not too long ago, I participated in a Vintage Gluebook ATC swap hosted by Mary Green. It was part of the Your Vintage GlueBook online class Mary teaches. As soon as I received my swaps, I knew I wanted to display them all together. I hung on to them . . . and just came across them the other day when upacking. A friend of mine had given me a few Vintage towels . . .  and this is what I came up with to display them in my studio, below.

I used large sticky "glue dots" to attach them to the Vintage towel, what do you think?? The cards I have displayed are by: Frieda Oxenham, Sharon Walworth, Sarah Hemphill, Marilyn Butler, "Lou", and Nan Daly. I simply love seeing these ATCs all together. Mary Green has a new online class which starts today! I will be there as a student because I love her classes and get so much out of them -Click here to view more details!

I also have a few more photos of my slowly moving-in process; photos of my studio and our new little home. If you are curious, you can look at them in an easy to view slideshow, here.  

happy november! 

studio progress

I'm still moving rather slowly as far as unpacking and moving into my studio goes . . . but I have begun. I have hung up a few pieces of artwork and found homes for some supplies, but progress is slow. Chasing away any negative comments (my own!!) and telling myself that the way things are is really okay is the order of the day. This studio will happen, when it happens! It is very unlike me to be creating as little art as I am right now, but again I am telling myself it is okay. It's not like I have "lost my muse". I always feel strange when people say this because I never feel that way, even now. For me, it is more of a physical thing that my supplies are for the most part still in boxes and and I am not "set up" to create like I used to be. I am slow to unpack but I have eeeeked out a few things none-the-less . . . 10 ATCs - Zentangle ones in fact! (a new art form for me). I have done a bit of mail art on envelopes and also sent out one big technique swap. Recently, I organized another large art swap complete with a 22 page lesson, all about mail art. I have also been taking lots of photographs and just yesterday I carved out space on the studio counter and created a 4"x8" skinny page for an exchange I am in. So I know I am really doing okay, even though I am not exactly where I want to be!!!!

One day I'll have photos of an organized studio for you, but for now . . .

we have boxes, piles of stuff and sleeping dogs!

I am finding places to store things.

I do a LOT of art related stuff right here.

The dogs don't seem to care!!

I am imaging it will be a lovely studio when I get settled in and for now I am just making it work! I will happily share the skinny page I made for Lisa Busch in a separate post. Thank goodness for those deadlines and art commitments I have!

zentangle quilt squares and moving

This post on the Zentangle® blog really caught my eye: Quilt squares! Check it out. Oh, what a fun thing to try sometime! The two samples shown on the post were done by Jane Monk with a long-arm quilting machine. Although I don't have one of those, this post is still giving me ideas! Zentangle is still a new art form for me but I love the marriage of the tangles (designs) with stitching. The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at where you can subscribe to their newsletter as well.

In the meantime, with my latest creative swap behind me & sent home, I have finally started unpacking my studio and office area. My family tells me I am the only one who is so hard on myself! Well, I do feel a little bit delinquent taking this long (one month) after we moved to start working on this studio project, but . . . .  there were reasons for my delay and in fact, I just really did not want to start until I was ready to tackle it! The most fun I have had so far is covering the wall in front of my computer desk with recent notes and gifts and some things that were near my desk in other homes I lived in . . .

I have opened boxes of paints, brushes, sponges & gel medium . . .   and returned them to the armoire where I previously stored them.

And bless Steven, he refinished my big work table for me by sanding it and adding polyurethane to finish it beautifully. I had bought it UNfinished, way before we were married. I think it looks so pretty and will hold up to my abuse so much better now - thank you Steven!! The sewing machine is already set up, and my fabric is stored in clear plastic bins nearby in the garage, so I'm getting there!! It feels good to have started this . . . and I will continue, one step at a time and then share photos here when I am done. I will also be working on my document/lesson about Mail ART for my next art exchange, in-between this unpacking and organzing & will let you know as soon as I am ready to announce that swap on my other& blog: creative swaps. Have a great day!

silk scarf stamping & painting

I had a nice little break from my retail holiday job at Stonewall Kitchen and from the trouble I had with my nose last week by teaching a private silk scarf class to my student Sherri Hennessy (shown with her scarf, right) on Wednesday December 3rd. Sherri recently found me through doing a Google search on-line, and since she lives nearby and is now back into being creative, she has taken 3 classes with me this fall! It is a pleasure to have her in class.

On Wednesday, we worked on taking a blank white silk scarf, stamping it with images and words using a permanent ink and then adding colour with paints. We had fun! Here is a photo diary of our day.

There are two classes scheduled already for 2009 in my Avon, CT studio! Click on the class title for more information:
Wednesday, January 14th (New Date to be announced!):

The Star Book -10am-4pm - new date: April 18th

Saturday, February 7th, 2009:
The Accordion Fabric Panel Book -10am-4pm. These classes were arranged because of student requests. I hope you will join us! (note that my studio is small & space is limited) Please E-mail me with any questions or to register for any of these classes.

Asia helps me teach in the studio! (with sherri's permission, of course)

The blue scarf here is my sample scarf for class demonstration -below, only 1 colour has been added so far and the scarf is very wet . . . Click on any photo for a larger, more detailed photo in a separate window.

To the left is Asia & Chloe with my scarf before I did any coloring at all. They like hanging out in my studio, complete with dog beds & treats : )

Sherri is sponging on colours below. We used Dye-Na-Flow paint by Jacquard ~it acts like a dye:

~my studio is a nice place to work --or to hold classes!

WOW! Sherri was very happy with her scarves - her final outcome, to the right : ))

Studio Classes continue . . .

Last week on Tuesday, I had 5 students over to work in my studio learning image transfer techniques. I forgot to take any photos during class; the photo here is of my own working space, when class was over! To see more of what my studio looks like with students actively working - visit my pictureTrail. There are a photos of some of the 2008 classes held in my Avon, CT studio, in the top left album.

Image transfers are definitely tricky and an all day class (10-3) is a great way to try a number of transfer methods and different materials and get comfortable. It also gave us time for a nice break in the middle of class for lunch (homemade soup and bread, salad) and to look at all the art that has come in for the swaps I host in person. My hope with this class is that students will have a number successful transfers to bring home and use in other projects as well as find the best methods for transfering for them. So many choices and variables!

Upcoming studio classes:

Sunday, November 16th, 2008: Collage - Techniques on Canvas 11am-4pm
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008: Painting & Stamping Silk Scarves 10:00am-1:30pm
Saturday, December 6th, 2008: Painting & Stamping Silk Scarves 10:00am-1:30pm
Wednesday, January 14th (New Date to be announced!): The Star Book 10am-4pm
Saturday, February 7th, 2009: The Accordion Fabric Panel Book 10am-4pm

E-mail me with questions or to register!
yours, creatively, Lenna

wine glass charms - fun!

Recently, I enjoyed getting out into my studio and creating the beautiful wine glass charms you see here. This was one of those projects I would repeatedly think about doing, but didn't do -until now! About 2 years ago for Steven's 50th birthday party, I strung a few beads on a wire and twisted the wire around the stems of our wine glasses so people would know which glass was theirs! When I later found stainless steel rings with a little clasp in a craft store I thought I could improve my design. But this creative task stayed on my 'to do' list of projects for months! I often put it aside for 'later' because I had other more "important" things to do. Well, I finally said, forget it, and I'm glad I did.

(click on any photo for more detail)
I got out the pre-made circular wire pieces that would hold everything, some beads, shoe buttons from Alpha Stamps, shells and beads already wrapped around a head pin. I located my wire tools for bending the end of her circular wire that would hold it all, found "dog tags" and added them to the mix. then I sat down and played!

Take time to have some creative fun today, it will revive your spirit! Any questions, email me!
yours creatively, Lenna Andrews

Alpha Stamps ABC Pencil Box

Created as part of my job as a design Team Member for Alpha Stamps (smile). If you click on this photo you will be brought to my flickr photo sharing account where you'll find lots more views! Below, I'll share how I created it with you .
AlphaS.ABC-box03, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

This started as a plain, stained wooden box. The owner of Alpha Stamps, Leslie Elledge recently published a number of new ABC/School related collage sheets and also new clear Pen & Ink stamps that I wanted to use together on a design team project. This was on my mind as I was unpacking yet another box in my studio from our move last fall. The good thing about finally trudging through the unpacking of what my husband Steven lovingly calls "most of what we moved" is that I am finding cool things I have not seen in months or in some cases even a year & a half (we moved twice!). In a large carton with canvas boards and pads of paper and my label maker, was this wooden box -a perfect match for my idea! This box did not need any prep first, to be able to work on it. *If you start with a rough wooden box or container, I would sand it and stain it (if you wish) first.

To start, I looked through the new collage sheets and chose images I wanted to work with that would fit on either the sides, top, or inside lid of my box. I cut out more than I would need and played with their placement by trying them out on different places. I decided to begin with the inside lid that you see above. I chose an image from the chalkboard sheet (Y & Z) and one from ABC Books #3 (A,B, C,D and ABC).

I thought about HOW I wanted to attach these paper images to the wooden box and decided upon Yes Glue. From my experience Yes Glue is one of the best glues to use when you really do not want the paper you are gluing to buckle, and especially if you will be covering the paper later with some type of medium. I trimmed the images to fit the inside lid space and used an old credit card to spread the Yes glue on the back of my images (it's almost like a paste). Once in place on the box I used my bone folder to make sure the paper images adhered to the wooden lid securely and I let the images dry.

I decided they needed some 'framing' -- so I reached for some ribbons from Alpha Stamps:
a 3/8" dark brown velvet ribbon that I ran vertically on either side of ABC and then a 3/16" reversible tan/rust ribbon I found in Christmas Set #1 that I used around all the edges of the lid and images. To attach the ribbon I used a thin line of tacky glue on the back, cut to size, and then pressed the ribbons into place. See the photo above.

Next, I turned my attention to the outside of the box. The large main image on the top of the box is from the new Alpha Stamp collage sheet Animals in School. I really wanted to use this entire image along with the "S" text; I think it is so cool! By doing a little trimming it fit nicely. I went ahead and made decisions about additional images from this sheet, the Chalkboard sheet and the ABC Books #3 sheet. I trimmed the images to fit the available space on all sides of the box and once again used Yes glue and a little burnishing with my bone folder to make sure all of the images were secure. One of my favorite images is from the Animals in School sheet, called "kittens in school" . . . probably because at this time we have 2 kittens at home. I think that's what makes this image is so endearing to me! I will use it to show my next step in creating this box. (see the back of the box below)

I wanted to 'age' the images (and the box) a little bit so I used brown acrylic paint and a rag. By rubbing a bit of paint on the edges of the paper collage images & also some areas of the box and then before it dried, rubbing some of the paint away with a damp rag -this gave the box the 'old' look I wanted. Since I liked it, I went ahead and did this process all over the box!

Next came rubber stamping. To combine both collage and stamping for this project, in line with my theme, I grabbed the new pen & ink set of clear stamps from Alpha Stamps to use. Because these stamps are perfectly clear, when I mount them temporarily on clear acrylic blocks, I can see right through to whatever I am stamping, a blessing when working on a project like this. I used a black StazOn Ink Pad which is a Permanent ink and just right for a wooden box! You will want to practic first at least on paper. Permanent inks are different - tackier (stickier). Practice first and make sure you have a re-inker handy to refresh your ink pad as needed. With unmounted clear stamps such as the pen & ink set I worked with here, you have the option of stamping without the acrylic block and bending the stamp around the corner or re-stamping (clear=easy to line up again) if you did not get the entire image the first time. Check out the corner below by clicking on the photo. Not my best 'around the corner' stamping, but fun!

The final thing I did was use my heat gun all over the box to make sure all the ink was dry. Then I used a self-leveling matte medium by Golden for the nice sheen you see all over.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my process & you try this project out yourself! If you would like to view a slideshow of all the different sides of this box, go to this page and chose 'view as slideshow'. p.s. my husband says he's stealing this box for his art pencils!

new home & studio update

I have been wanting to organize, upload & share photos of our new home & my new studio for a while . . . . but something else always seemed to take precedence! Then, when we kept not being able to close on the house because the owner wasn't ready, I began to wonder IF we would ever close and be able to stay in this new home we had found & loved.
Well, it all worked out and on the third try (3x's a charm!) we closed on the 13th of November. We put our former house on the market on the 13th of August, moved on the 13th of September (we sold in 2 days!) and we closed on the 13th of November -- all too wierd I think, but okay with me as everything worked out in the end. I have created some new albums of our new home & studio so if you are at all interested you can go to my flickr photo sharing account & see them. That links show all the sets of photos I have in various albums so you can pick & choose what you might like to view. I hope you enjoy! lenna