Saturday, February 6, 2010

Artsy Fartsy

I love art, although I cannot paint and I cannot draw. God gave me just enough of those skills to be able to finger paint and draw stick figures in grade school but not a smidgen more. But, I love art. I believe others in the same boat as I say they have an appreciation for art. That's me - can't do it but I sure do appreciate the heck out of it!

One well known painting that my man and I both appreciate is Grant Wood's "American Gothic" - you know the painting with the old dour-faced man and woman standing in front of a house with a Gothic window. So it wasn't too surprising (to me anyway) that when I was taking pictures of my man and the wild child in the barn at my in-laws and we spotted a pitchfork laying around, we both looked at each other and simultaneously said, "American Gothic!" The wild child had no idea what we were talking about, but she cooperated and gave us her best dour face possible. The end result was the picture in this layout which I immediately fell in love with! I came up with the East Texas Gothic title before I even finished taking the picture.

There are two things that I am especially proud of on this layout. The first is how my hinges turned out. Those hinges are from Tim Holtz's grungeboard line. I'm not sure what exactly grungeboard is made of, but it has this god-awful kind of mildewy smell that makes me want to gag a little whenever I first open the packaging! It's some kind of cardboard-like material in appearance, but it has a more rubbery texture to it. Grungeboard holds paint and glimmer mist extremely well and is very easy to work with. You just have to get past the smell which thankfully wears off after the grungeboard has a chance to air out. Anyway, I wanted the hinges to have a leather look to them so I painted them with Tim Holtz crackle paint, using a color called Vintage Photo. Then I very lightly sprayed a light mist of candy apple red Glimmer Mist and immediately blotted with a paper towel. I did this to give the hinge some subtle warmer red tones. Finally, I used a distress ink pad, also in Vintage Photo, and rubbed it across the raised parts of the hinge to add depth. Voila! Faux leather hinges.

The second thing I am especially proud of is my fabric element in the layout - this is proof that you really aren't limited to the stickers and embellishments on the scrapbooking aisles of your store. I used a strip of Aida cloth from my cross-stitching supplies that have been collecting dust in my storage closet for the past several years. To give the cut piece of cloth a distressed look, I used a wire brush (which I "borrowed" from my man's tool collection) and rubbed it quickly along the edges of the material which pulled the threads and caused the cloth to fray. I then rubbed my distress ink pad along the top of the cloth to give it an aged appearance. Simple and easy!

So, there you have it - my new way to appreciate art. I wonder what painting I should try to recreate next? Perhaps Whistler's "Portrait of the Artist's Mother" or Picasso's "The Tragedy." Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Poor Pitiful Me

Okay, feel sorry for me. I have had a horrible cold and have spent the past two days in bed - I would say on my death bed, but that's a little too melodramatic when it really is just a cold.

So, what do you think the worst part of my cold has been? The fever I had until last night? The incredible sinus pressure behind my right eye perhaps? Or what about all the crud in my nose that I can't seem to blow out but which insists on steadily drip, drip, dripping much like a leaky faucet? While it's true that all of those things have been pretty horrible, the worst - and I mean absolute WORST - part has been that I have not been able to work on any new scrapbook layouts! My creative roll has come to a screeching halt and that has really gotten me out of sorts. And it's not like I can take a special cold medicine for aches, sinus pain, cough AND scrapbook withdrawal so I am sitting here pouting and feeling sorry for myself.

I have been feeling better today and actually got out of bed, took a (much needed) shower and wore something other than pajamas; however, my head still feels kind of mushy inside and my creative juices are as stopped up as my nose! So, no scrapbooking for me today. But tomorrow's another day...fingers crossed.

Until then, I am cheering myself up by looking at this layout. It was voted as a finalist into the poll for a monthly sketch challenge I participated in last month on Do you like it?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Yesterday, I created this layout using a photo of my man's father(it's called a heritage layout but also has a vintage feel so I am calling it my vintage heritage - nothing better than combining terms). The photo is mounted on a piece of cardstock which is, in turn, mounted on a piece of cardboard. By the way, cardboard - that's right, regular old cardboard like you find on boxes - is all the rage right now in the scrapbooking world, so save those scraps because you never know when they will come in handy. Okay, back to my story...
Although it doesn't show up very well in the photo of my layout, I painted the cardboard and cardstock with Tim Holtz crackle paint to give my layout a more antique-y feel. As I was painting the piece of cardboard (and getting more paint than I would have thought possible on me), the proverbial lightbulb went off over my head and I had my REVELATION for the day! I said to myself, "Self, why are you painting the ENTIRE piece of cardboard and wasting time and wasting paint when most of it is going to be covered by the picture?" And my self replied, "That's a very good point! I have NO idea why I am doing that!" This may seem painfully obvious to you, and I honestly could not believe I hadn't thought of it before! Helllloooooo! There is NO NEED to paint something that is never going to be seen. So, I stopped painting the middle of the cardboard and only painted the edges that would not be covered by the picture.
My friend and fellow scrapbooking enthusiast, Jana, does something very similar with her paper. If she is layering the papers in her layout, she will often cut big chunks out of the bottom pieces that are covered by the top layers. It saves on paper, and no one will ever know those bottom pieces are missing - unless you tell them!
I'm sure there are lots of other little obvious things that I still haven't figured out. And I would love to hear any story you may have of an a-ha moment that you've had!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dare to Dream

I have this crazy dream that I will share with you. I want to be on a scrapbook design team - badly, really badly. A scrapbook design team is what it sounds like - a team of people who either use certain papers or products to create a layout (or cards or altered projects) OR a team of people who create a layout based on a certain theme, idea or sketch. They provide inspiration to and ideas for other scrapbookers. And they help to promote certain products and/or websites. Most don't get paid anything monetarily but do receive free products to use in layouts - always a good thing! Not why I'm interested, but freebies rock!
I have been toying with the idea of applying to a design team since Christmas-time and keep looking at postings for various calls. My man always says, "The worst they can do is tell you no," and "They may not choose you, but they won't choose you for sure if you never even try." He's a pretty logical guy with a math degree - a mindset that my brain doesn't always get (but I love him for it).
So, last night, I had a choice. I could either read the new bodice-ripper sitting on my night stand or I could actually DO something and apply to one of the postings. And - I did it. Instead of reading all about Claire gazing adoringly into the Duke's eyes and how firm but soft his lips were, I applied. And you know what? It felt good! I took a step forward - I stood up and declared this is not just a hobby for me. This is an art form and a way to preserve memories that I am passionate about, and it is something that I want to share with others. I have SO much still to learn, especially when compared to women who have been scrapbooking for years, but I am hopeful that someone will see my layouts and say, "that girl's got potential."