Friday, December 29, 2017

Calling All ClubMAKErs!

Almost two years ago I started a group, kind of like a book club, where we alternate hosting, but no books, just creativity.  I didn't want people to feel pressured into making "art" because sometimes that can be intimidating...depending on your view of "art"... so I called it ClubMAKE.  The host can choose anything to "make":  crafts, food, something they saw on Pinterest.
I didn't really expect the response I got, and the nine of us have pretty consistently "met up for making" several times a year since we started.  It has been so fun to hang out, eat good food, drink wine, and bust out the art supplies!  As it happens, we have made more art than crafts or other projects together.  I'm including just a few photos of what I've made so far.  This creative gathering means a lot to me because I sometimes do not take enough time to do this stuff!  But I also think it has helped my friends see that "art" is not that can just play around and enjoy the process even if you don't end up framing the result.  We've all made time to get creative, and that has been a truly positive addition to my schedule.  
I am looking forward to another year of ClubMAKing!

Do you have a group of friends you get together with to just be creative?  
Let me know you were here with a quick comment and thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

More Mail Art

Because I feel you can never have enough art in your mail
...or your life...
I keep making these sewn collage cards.
I use a sheet of Tyvek envelope for my substrate.
The process is pretty simple:
1. Collage a layer of scrapbook paper, art paper, book text, etc.;
2. Collage a layer of magazine images and other ephemera;
3. Sew the collage with different colors of thread (2-3), with different stitches
all over it, leaving a trail of straight and zigzag stitching over the collage, 
framing some of the images/text; making little stars or shapes.
4. Find notecards and postcards with envelopes to use as the base 
(I get cheapies at Target or Marshalls);
5.  Cut up the collage to the card sizes and sew the collage pieces to the cards.

Sometimes I love how they turn out so much that I don't want to send/give them away.
Then I realize that's what I made them for...
and they end up as gift cards, birthday cards, or cards to say "Hello" or "Thank You"
But I've found a solution to my problem...I always scan the cards.
Sometimes I'll use the scans to get printed postcards made by Moo.
That way, I've never let go of them completely and can send the same card again!

Here's the latest collection:

Thank you for visiting!
I always appreciate your comments...then I know you were here!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall Flow

It's time for another swap...iHanna style!  Hanna's DIY Postcard Swaps always seem to happen right when I need inspiration and motivation.  This time,  I started on a big sheet of mixed media paper, got a few steps in, laying down some layers; and then I cut this up and started adding more layers and details.  So each card has a similar beginning, and some similarities along the way, but they all ended up being unique.  It was a fun way to work, because it added a random quality that helped me engage in the moment and work with what was right in front of me, instead of being focused on the end result.  This is always the most fulfilling way for me to work.  I really feel more in "flow" when I am responding to randomness and making little choices one at a time.

A base of collage in neutrals

Black and white paint, more high contrast collage pieces.

More black and white paint, transparent acrylics, pastel, and a "blob" pattern on top.

White wash over some areas to tone it down; then I cut it into 6 cards.

Each cut card got a last dose of collage (torn paper); and then I added some gold leaf.  This was the first time I've ever used gold leaf and it was a learning experience...a fast-drying adhesive is key!  I love the way it looks on the cards!  You can see the whole batch here on my flickr account.

I liked the muted simple abstract feel of this, so once I added the gold leaf, I left it alone

This one got the gold leaf and a lot more stuff!

Here are a few more finished cards:

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Swapping

This year, for iHanna's spring DIY Postcard Swap, I decided to make each card individually, rather than cutting up one big piece of art, as I had for the last two swaps.  This was fun because I had the opportunity to do something different for each card.  Each one is inspired by the colors in the butterfly illustration that is the focal point on the card.  The techniques and materials were similar to those I used in the last couple swaps, starting with collage--I used magazine images, scrapbook papers, wrapping papers, ephemera, and tissue paper with some foil accents.  Then marks and blobs of acrylic paint, and some scribbles and doodles with various media (pastels, pencils, markers).  Finally, I added a foil circle and a butterfly illustration (for spring!), and finished them off with doodling (Pitt pen, gel pen, Sharpie, Whiteout pen).  I made 20 cards even though the swap only calls for 10, but I love having a stash of handmade mail art to send out during the rest of the now I always make extra cards.  For once I was finished with my cards before I even got the addresses...that's how excited I was about this swap!

Thank you, Hanna, for hosting another fun international swap!

Here are some of the cards I sent out (you can see all of them here on my flickr account):


Thank you for stopping by!
Hello and Happy Spring to my fellow swappers!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Hand Writing, Handwriting, and Handmade Mail

Writing letters, actually, hand writing anything, is a very satisfying experience for me.  From making my handwriting uniform and beautiful, to crafting sentences, to expressing thoughts and feelings, to communicating love and sharing joy, hand writing has been, and is, a big part of my life.
I really enjoy it.
So when I learned about InCoWriMo, I was excited about the challenge.  February was International Correspondence Writing Month.  You can learn more about it (for next year) here.  For various reasons, the challenge turned out to be a real challenge for me!  I feel like I wrote a lot more than I would have without the challenge, even if I didn't write everyday.   I sent handmade cards that I had been collecting over a couple years...was I afraid to let them go?  They were pretty!  
(I scanned them before mailing :)
I took writing correspondence as the opportunity to send "pretty" things I had made.

I got texts, emails and even one "correspondence" (a sweet card) from my recipients, 
which was really nice.  It's fun to set something in motion like that.  It's meaningful...a connection.

It's also what I love about iHanna's DIY Postcard Swap!  She's got another one in the works for March, everyone!  Go to her blog, sign up for her newsletter, and you'll receive the announcement in your invitation to start an artful correspondence of your own.

Here are a few of the cards I sent.  First, I collage onto a sheet of Tyvek envelope (it's strong, yet thin, for sewing).  Then, I sew over the whole collage using different thread colors and various stitches, creating more patterns, texture, and interest.  Lastly I cut up the collage and sew it to notecards and postcards, and match the cards to their own coordinating envelopes.  They are all one-of-a-kind.  Cutting up one big collage creates mini collages that have a whole new identity and's very fun to see how they turn out.

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Do you like to hand write..notes, letters, journaling?
Not everyone does, and that's understandable.  Tell me about your life in hand writing 
by typing ;) me a message in the comments below!  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Honestly, We Weren't Thinking About Who Wasn't There

I marched in San Diego on January 21.  It was an amazing, positive experience.  I was surrounded by happy, kind, thoughtful, activated people.  It felt good.  On the bus ride home, I was excited to get home and watch the news...for the first time in a very long time.

What made it thoughtful?  We all asked and answered:  "Why I March."  It wasn't just a mindless following along, and it wasn't totally based on fear or emotion (though of course these last two played a part).  And, no, to all those who voted for Trump, it wasn't because I was disappointed my candidate didn't win.  When you answer this question, you have to access the higher part of your brain, the reasoning part of your order to explain your reason....your "why."

My "why" is hugely personal...based on my values, but I'm learning that I need to make the personal political, or the fix we're all in isn't going to be fixed.

I believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all of the federal laws that have been enacted to ensure equality for all.  He embodies and advocates (based upon his own words and actions), misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, white nationalism, racial and ethnic profiling, restriction of voting rights, government regulation of women's bodies, discrimination based on religion, and aggression.

I like to have all the facts before I form an opinion.  It's about personal integrity for me.  I need to know that the information is real, true, and from a reliable source.  He is a brand, and has defined reality for himself and those around him for decades. He is preoccupied with his image to protect his brand. His misrepresentations and puffing* may have a place in business dealings, but they have no place in the White House.  He serves us! But it doesn't appear that he can conceptualize this, much less act accordingly.  At a minimum, he's still serving his brand, not us.  More sinister is the possibility that he has a bigger agenda which he is pursuing in complete disregard, even defiance, of the rule of law.

I believe in the ethical performance of my duties.  I believe the President, of all of us should avoid conflicts of interest, and act ethically and transparently.  This cannot be said of Mr. Trump.  He treats important conflicts of interest, and weighty ethical issues as mere technicalities.  They may seem unimportant (to some) on their own.  But here's the problem:  It starts with hiring "extras" to stand in support of him when he announces his candidacy, continues when he refuses to disclose his tax returns, compounds when he does not divest himself from his business holdings, is amplified when he appoints family members to his cabinet, expands when his appointment for Secretary of Defense is ineligible to serve lawfully (but gets appointed anyway), increases when he denies the Russians interfered with the election, gets even worse when he lies about election fraud, and becomes appalling when he attacks the free press and the First Amendment.  Some new conflict is added on every day.

If I stand for these things, I need to stand up when they are in jeopardy.  And that's why I marched.

Maybe there are some women who think they don't need to march.  It's a lot easier to post a rant than put yourself out there for what you believe in.  It's even easier to cut and paste that rant onto your own Facebook page.  I don't know who (or even if anyone) accused non-marchers of being a "disgrace to women."  No one at the march I attended (almost 30,000 people) accused anyone of this. Honestly, we weren't thinking about who wasn't there!

Here's another thing I stand for:  Personal responsibility.  If you're fine with not marching, if you stand for everything he stands for, and you are happy with the way things are, take responsibility for that, and stand by your own beliefs. Tell me your "why" - your reason, using that higher part of your brain.  I'm willing to listen to reason.  Don't avoid questioning your own actions by attacking us, and don't call someone who is marching for her beliefs a "whiner."

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.  -Gordon A. Eadie

*Puffing  -  n. the exaggeration of the good points of a product, a business, real property, and the prospects for future rise in value, profits, growth.  Since a certain amount of "puffing" can be expected of any salesman, it cannot be the basis of a lawsuit for fraud or breach of contract unless the exaggeration exceeds the reality. However, if the puffery includes outright lies, a legal action for rescission of the contract or for fraud against the seller is possible.