Thursday, April 24, 2014

ARTful Challenges

    I love a good art challenge, don't you? There are so many challenge blogs to choose from that it's sometimes difficult to keep up so I end up checking out the week's challenges and if something immediately comes to mind I go for whatever I can complete.
                           Do you have any favorite challeges? And if so please do share :).

    I'm always looking to have a variety of cards on hand for any occasion so first up are some cards and the corresponding challenges I will be linking to.

  Sketches are such a great and quick way to put together a card. The DT at Freshly Made Sketches not only provide you with a sketch each week, but they also each make a card using it! This is the card I came up with using this week's sketch:

 Products: large white note card (Canvas Corp.); white card stock; patterned card stocks (Mediterranean Café-DCWV); rubber stamp (Hero Arts); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); Grand calibur die cut machine and Standard Circles Lg. dies (Spellbinders); paper flowers (Recollections); rhinestones.

 I am linking this to Freshly Made Sketches, Simon Monday Challenge blog (theme is "big stamp"), and Simon Wednesday challenge blog (theme is" keep it clean and simple", featuring Hero Arts although it's not necessary to use Hero Arts products).

 The next two cards are also for the Simon challenge blogs although I can only link the same post once.

  Products: turquoise card stock (the Paper Studio); clear stamp (Think Big Favorites #1-Papertrey Ink); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); paper flower and fabric and washi tapes (Recollections); tiny button (Gary Burlin and Co.).

  Products: yellow card stock (the Paper Studio); clear stamp (Think Big Favorites #3-Papertrey Ink); Staz-On Stone Gray ink (Tsukineko); fabric and washi tapes (Recollections); tiny button (Gary Burlin and Co.).

  In this post I shared my new collection and storage for the washi tapes and I've been a bit obsessed about using these pretty tapes :)

  And for Paint Party Friday I'm sharing an abstract practice project. The beautiful art of the PPFrs, along with Jane Davies and Jo Murray have gotten me really longing to go back to it! I've been putting most all my time this year into my drawing classes and lettering practices  and I am enjoying it, but I'm finding my real passion is in mixed media abstract and wabi-sabi painting.

 I went back to a book I had gotten quite awhile ago Painting Abstracts by Rolina van Vliet. Do any of you have it? It is an EXCELLENT book filled with so much content about composition, mediums, color, texture, movement, etc. etc.. There are hundreds of projects and practices to try along with some directions and many examples- I LOVE this book.

 Here's what I started with:

 This  was Exercise 30 about rhythm, design, and repetition using oil pastels only. I used a piece of  8 1/2" x 11" Strathmore  Texture paper for the effect of texture with the pastels.

  After adding color I used my fingers to smear/ rub the colors around. The white circles were added after I was finished smearing. Then I decided to rotate it all four ways. Do you like one way better? Do you even like it at all? Any thoughts? Advice? I have another practice I'm working on and have a few more in mind I can't wait to get to! I have discovered I NEED to do that which I TRULY love and must make time for it despite whatever else I'm working on.

 Thanks so much for your comments and input as always. Can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!

   "Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was." Jackson Pollock


Tuesday, April 22, 2014


   of the washi kind that is. And it's all JoAnne's fault! In one of her classes she recommends lining the journal page edges with washi tapes-for reinforcement and for added color. I have had a small bunch of washi tapes for awhile but didn't use them as much as I thought I should. Not any more! Matter of fact, I got super lucky and the day I went to Michael's they had a 60% sale off their washi tapes. Since I am now also lining my comp. book lettering journal pages with tapes I certainly felt justified in purchasing.

  The whole top row and first three in the second row are the new ones-some paper and some fabric. I bought them along with this perfect container to store them in for-get this-under $15!!! The right set in the second row are designed by Aimee of artsyville. I had won those in a giveaway. I love the designs and colors!

 Here are some of the pages I've been doing in my comp. journal book using lessons in the book The Art of  Whimsical Lettering :

                                                          inside cover and intro page

     I did these pages (as if you didn't guess) when I was at the beach. I never thought a plain ole composition book could be so much fun!! What I'm doing is making each lesson /prompt page on a separate comp. book page then pasting it in my comp book journal with the washi tapes. I do this because being the paper is so thin many of the markers and paints etc. bleed thru. I'll be posting a bunch more later this week if you're interested.

  Speaking of the beach I'll share the other two dinners we had during our stay. You can visit last week's pics and post about it here.

 On this eve Trina made tuna steaks, asparagus and a green salad. Drink of choice I believe was a pinot noir.

                 On the last night I made a chicken piccata. This is at the end of preparation. To see the plated dinner go here.

  And today my drink of choice is a large bottle of filtered water which I fill (or almost fill) each morning and drink throughout the day. A great way to keep track of how much water I drink :)

  Linking up to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Stands for Tuesday. I'll be around to see what everyone else is drinking...

  " We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to top ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."        Ray Bradbury

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter

  I was MIA at Paint Party Friday last week, one of the very few times I've missed...because I was at the beach!! Not once did I look on a computer so it was a nice break to be "unplugged". My girlfriends and I mostly went to do a thorough Spring cleaning of the house, and we worked very hard but also took the time to walk on the beach each day, and enjoy fabulous dinners we took turns cooking in the evenings.

          It was so wonderful to be able to have breakfast and coffee on the deck each morning.

  After some hours of cleaning we took nice walks on the beach and found a few special treasures:

  There were many horseshoe crab shells-mostly baby ones which we hadn't seen here. Kinda sad. They must have been swept ashore by stormy waves and weren't able to make their way back to the ocean.

 We ate very well each night, had a bottle of wine with our dinners, and then champagne on the last night to celebrate all our hard work in making this gorgeous house sparkle and shine again.

 I made a Panko Mustard Crusted salmon, green beans with lemon vinaigrette and red quinoa with spinach and mushrooms one night.

   And on the last night I made Chicken Piccata, sweet potatoes and spinach sauteed with garlic, white wine, olive oil and lemon.

 And best of all we didn't gain a single pound because we worked it all off during the day:)

 I did manage to get some simple lettering practice pages done in my journal but that will have to wait til I photograph them. In the meantime this is my April calendar spread done as prompted by the Draw Your Awesome Year class.

  The initial Pitt pen layout:

  and with the watercolor paints added:

                              I am caught up and the days are journaled in up to today.


  To all who will be celebrating the Easter holiday this Sunday, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous day. I will be hosting a small, very casual dinner for some family and a dear friend. But I will be stopping by to see as many of you as I can in between preparations. Thanks to EVA and Kristin for hosting Paint Party Friday, along with all the inspiring artists who share their creativity with all of us!

                   " April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."     William Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beverages and More at the Beach

  A special thanks for your thoughts and comments last week. As you know, I mentioned going to the beach and did not have the time to reply personally to anyone. During my beach time I chose to be "unplugged" except for having my cell phone on. Photos to follow.

  I am linking this card I just made to the Simon Monday Challenge Blog whose theme is "Winged Things" this week. They offer a new theme each week along with a random drawing to win a $50 gift card to their shop! And the DT always has the most beautiful projects to share around the themes.

 Products: white card stock-the Paper Studio; patterned card stocks-Café Mediterranean Stack-DCWV; paper flower-Studiog; clear stamp-Think Big Favorites #3-Papertrey Ink; bird stamp set and punch-Stampin Up; Onyx black ink-Versafine-Tsukineko; die cut machine and dies-Spellbinders.

 Needless to say , the beach getaway was awesome!! We had wonderful weather. We worked HARD Spring cleaning our friend's beach house all together, top to bottom. But we also took some time to walk on the beach each day, and end our evening with a delicious healthy meal (mostly), conversation and wine :)

 Beverage of choice in the morning was Starbucks coffee and breakfast on the deck each morning-what a glorious view eh?

Our first walk down to the beach. I stopped, looked down for some shells and found this beautiful starfish with that small white shell attached! There were numerous small gatherings of reeds etc. that reminded me of nests so I staged the starfish on one for this photo.

 And we came across this vignette while walking:

  There were many horseshoe crab shells lying on the beach-many of them babies which we'd not seen before. There must have been some nasty storms that brought them too far on the sand to get back to the ocean. I did bring a shell of a little one home.

 Of course there were plenty of various Eastern shore birds sharing our walks with us:

  We took turns making dinners in the evenings. Here are two of the dinners.We ate VERY well.  I'll have more to share perhaps in a post on Friday-if I get to the editing.

  First night I made mustard Panko crusted salmon, green beans with lemon vinaigrette, and a warm quinoa salad with spinach and mushrooms. The second night Lynne made a spring mix salad with slices of roast chicken breast topped with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette. Of course, after all our hours of cleaning we did reward ourselves each night with a bottle of wine for dinner. And did I mention-the oven wasn't working! The next two dinners we had were just as special but you'll have to check back another day for that.

 And there was nothing like watching the sun set on the bay side while preparing the dinners...

  We are blessed to be frequent guests in this beautiful, welcoming home with such spectacular surroundings and to consider the owners such very special, long time friends. It was a privilege for Trina and I to be a part of restoring this home to it's true sparkle and shine. To the power of three!

 You are welcome to join in any Tuesday at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's for T Stands For Tuesday. And don't forget to bring along a cuppa (anything).

     " The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."  Wyland

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's A Henley...

   teapot that is!!

  Last Tuesday I shared photos of my lunch and shopping at Donegal Square in town. If you missed it you can see it all here.  LuAnn and I both ended up buying this medium sized original Henley teapot. Believe it or not, with all the tea we drink around here I don't own a single teapot so I think I was justified in this purchase :) I also bought some loose leaf decafe Irish tea which is what I was enjoying here along with a new recipe I made for a Spanakopita Quiche.  Both the tea and quiche were excellent!! Even hubby liked the quiche very much (just please don't tell him there's fat free feta in it-he claims he can't stand feta cheese:) The teapot holds enough for 3 nice mugs of tea. And the Irish Breakfast blend has a nice strong, malty like flavor. If in the future I should have to give up my caffeinated Starbucks I would definitely accept this in its place.

 As for some art I just have a few painted backgrounds I did with leftover paints I had on a palette:

  That's all for now. I have been very busy planning, preparing meals ahead for hubby, cleaning, doing laundry, packing some clothes and food ingredients to take for the days I'm in charge of dinners- AT THE BEACH!!! My two girlfriends and I are heading to Fenwick Island , DE for 4 days of girl time! I haven't been to the beach since last Sept. so although I will miss hubby and our dog not being with me I just cannot wait to breathe in that salty air and get my feet wet on some long walks along the shore. I'm sure I'll have some great photos to share next week. Until then, happy "T" day everyone. Feel free to join in with your favorite beverage of choice at T Stands For Tuesday with Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

   " I cannot imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."   Chuck Swindoll

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hooray For April!

  What joy to see nature blooming again. It won't be long before we are finally surrounded by the greens of the trees and grass and the colors of the soon to be blooming flowers. I found the perfect quote to end today's post that says just how I feel :).

 Note about my giveaway-I have tried to contact Susi since my  "winners" post and have not heard anything back. I will give it one more week then I will have to choose another winner for the domino kit.

 The theme at Inspiration Avenue this week is "show off your marigolds". I don't have any yet this year but I do have a photo I took last summer of them:

   And then  I took a bit of time to play with it digitally in PSE 10:

   I used a blue color fill, "glowing edges" effect, then "color dodge" in layers. What a dramatic difference! Kinda reminds me of an electrical storm.

  My March calendar spread is complete for my online class and also Kate Crane's Calendar Project. This one was a lot of work-time consuming but worth it in the end-I love all the color! I have begun April's but it's not quite ready so I'll share that next week.  

  I also completed another drawing lesson page.

 Filled in with water colors:

  That's about it for now. Joining up with Paint Party Friday along with Art Journal Every Day as well as the two challenges I mentioned above. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      " Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."        Doug Larson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Irish Lunch and Tea

  Last  Thursday my friend  and I finally were able to get together to have my birthday lunch (thank you LuAnn!). We went to our favorite Celtic place in town-Granny McCarthy's Tea Room which also houses my favorite shop-Donegal Square. This is where I bought my Scottish mug I shared in a post a few weeks ago.

 The first thing you see when you come up the stairs from the shop is the bakery/dessert case :)

                                                                  I KNOW!!!!
 These are THE best-very traditional in flavor and taste and not very sweet-my favorite kind of indulgence.

  But we did have lunch and tea before splitting a little something:
  We both had the turkey melt on brown bread and shared a sponge cake filled with strawberries and cream. The tea we shared was a pot of a berry/herbal blend called Casablanca and it was so good! (We both have to have decafe). You can buy the loose leaf teas they have on the menu. More on that next week:)

  Here's a collage of the tea area, the tea menu and the bar/pub:

  Then we meandered around the shop. So much to see!

  The bottom right photo is of the owner Neville Gardner with one of the two Glen of Imaal terriers he and his wife own and show. This is Fergus. Cormac was with his mum that day. Often when I visit the pups are somewhere either in the shop or out at a table with Neville on a nice day. I love that many of the shops in town are doggie friendly and that they put out bowls of water in the warmer weather.

   I was tempted to buy one of those pots I took a close up of-just because it makes me giggle. But I didn't. LuAnn loves the color pink and she adored the pink teapot with the piggies on it. But she didn't buy it. We both did however buy something else which I will share next time with Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends for T Stands For Tuesday! I think you got your fill of things for this week:)

       " It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'what about lunch?' "     Winnie the Pooh