Friday, October 16, 2009

My Blog has MOVED!

Hello all,
Just wanted to let you know that my blog has moved! The new address is It's bigger and better and will be worth the trip. See you there!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scrapbook Supply Giveaway

Good News! A new blog I am following, Scrapidilly RockS, is giving away a collection of great scrapbook supplies! If you are a scrapbooker or paper crafter, you should check it out!

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Farewell to Cookie Puss

This sucky economy is causing horrible things to happen. All my favorite stores and restaurants are either struggling to survive or have already closed. Pretty soon the only store we're going to have left to shop in is going to be Walmart. Not cool at all.

I came close to tears the other day when my sister and I went into the last Carvel store in AZ and saw the big sign on the wall saying they were going out of business. I have loved Carvel ice cream ever since I lived in NJ, where they are one of the biggest names in cool, tasty treats. I was ecstatic when they started opening stores here in AZ a few years ago, and made sure someone bought me a Cookie Puss every year for my birthday. One by one, these stores closed over the years until there was only one left. Now that one is closing too.

One thing I am learning in the meditation classes I've been going to lately is that in order to not create suffering for yourself, you have to change the way you react to things. So as I was standing in the middle of the near-empty Carvel store choking back tears, I was trying to come up with something positive to think about its closing. I did manage to come up with two positive thoughts. One was that at least they were here for a little while and two was that now I will have one less calorie overloaded treat to eat. But I am still very sad.

Luckily I was able to stock up on Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale before the official closing this Friday, since they are offering them at half price. Mr. Puss is only $13! We bought 4 since they stay fresh for 60 days. I thought it would be nice to bring home a whole fudgie family. Unfortunately, after they are gone I will have to hop on a plane and go all the way to NJ to get my fix of delicious ice cream and chocolate cookie crumbs.

By the way...if you've never had chocolate ice cream blended with chocolate cake mix, you haven't experienced heaven in a cup. I highly recommend getting your hands on some.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sunshiny Day

That's an understatement here in AZ...This was my take for a 'yellow' swap. I have just rediscovered my love for vellum. I happened to buy a sheet of vellum paper a few days before I signed up for the swap so I decided to use it. I also got to use my favorite cat stamp and shrink plastic. All in all it was a very fun project...Hope you like!

Transparency Technique

These are the cards I made for a transparency swap I recently participated in. I decided to go old school and make shaker cards. I used double sided foam tape to adhere the transparencies, then built up the edges around it with modeling paste. I painted them with acrylic paint and used scraps of painted cardboard for the accent paper and confetti.

Monday, July 13, 2009

ArtistTradingCards Home Page

I just went to the ArtistTradingCards yahoo group that I belong to, and low and behold there was my mermaid card featured on the home page. How exciting! And what an honor to be chosen out of all the other talented artists who post their work on the site. I kind of feel a little famous now...hee hee hee....

What a nice way to start off a Monday morning....

Monday, June 29, 2009

More ATCs.....

The above ATCs are for a "Sun" swap. I have quite the collection of sun rubber stamps and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to use them. I learned an important lesson about ink stamped paper and gel medium while doing this project.....which is to test to see if the watered down medium will cause your ink to run. It did on some of my cards, so badly that you couldn't even make out the image anymore. Just a word of caution if you try this yourself.

And these are the cards I made for an "Owl" swap. I was at a scrapbooking retreat playing around with a cricut machine and made the owls and the moon. When I got home I added the brads for eyes and painted big retinas on them to make them look owl-ish.

Gel Medium is da BOMB.....

Although I've heard all the hype about gel medium lately and know how much people love it, I never gave it a try until recently. I always thought my collage paste, as messy as it is, must work just as well.
I was wrong.

I took some get medium and watered it down until it was about the consistency of milk, and had a field day with it. I collaged...I image transferred....I used it as glue...I want to put it on everything I can find.

Here's some of the ATCs I made with my new favorite substance. The first ones are for a swap called "Heat it Up", meaning you had to have something on your cards which required the use of a heat gun. I started with a collage of scrap papers, lightly gessoed over it, stamped and embossed the background design. Then I stamped faces onto vellum or mulberry paper (depending on the card), used gold paint and ultra thick embossing powder for the crowns, stamped a butterfly onto colored paper and cut it out, then finished the cards with miscellaneous embellishments.

The second set is for a swap called "Monkeying Around". For these, I painted the background with several shades of green acrylic paint, then used gel medium to transfer photocopied images of monkeys that my friend Dave took at the zoo. That part was super fun. Then I finished them off with stamps of leaves and a butterfly and put some fun flock around the edges to make it look like they are hiding in the jungle.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What I'm Reading

I just started reading Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery. Based on the reviews, I thought this would be a great place to start in my quest to become a successful artist. I'm only through the first 30 pages or so, but I have identified with everything I've read so far. I've always known that I am an artist at heart, but pressures from society, among other things, have lead me down the career path I have taken instead. I always said I am not a business woman, although that is what I do for a living. Yes, I can do it, and even be good at it most of the time. But I have no passion for it. I have never woken up in the morning excited to go to the office to see how much I can sell or how much money I can make for the company. I just get through the day waiting for quitting time to roll around so I can head off to ceramics class or home to make a scrapbook page. Never does a day go by without my thinking about how I wish I could be creative for a living. I truly believe that would be the key to my happiness and fulfillment.

So...back to the book. One of the artists interviewed said something like this: "Even if I could make a lot of money doing something else, I wouldn't. That would be like marrying someone you didn't love because he had a lot of money. Not only would that be unethical, it would be cheating your soul". (I can't remember it word for word, and the book is not near me right now so I can't tell you exactly who said it. Let me know if you want details and I'll be happy to get them to you). When I read this, it took my breath away. It made me look back at my whole professional life and think about how and why I got to the place I am today. I really do feel like I have been cheating my soul. It also made me think about a conversation I had with my Dad in his backyard about 15 years ago, after I had just broken up with a guy who was supposed to be the love of my life. He said the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a husband is whether he can provide security for me, not whether I love him or not. I guess he was trying to make me feel better, but I remember thinking that I would rather die than spend my life with someone I didn't love just so he could support me. But that's another story.

So now as I am faced with losing my comfortable job at the end of August due to a restructure, my mind has been racing nonstop trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up (which will be in about 2 1/2 months). My mind keeps going back to art, and I know if I don't at least try to make it happen I will regret it for the rest of my life. I believe that being laid off is a sign that I need to move on to something more purposeful; something that will make me truly happy. But how to go about that and not end up living in a cardboard box on the curb is something I have yet to figure out. I will guarantee one thing though...I will be trying my hardest to find an answer. I guess I could always try to find that guy with lots of money and have a loveless marriage just so he can support me...

Just kidding.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Scrapbook Getaway

I recently joined a group on called Sensational Scrappers of the West Valley. I wanted to join to make new friends with artsy people who share my passions. This weekend was my first experience...we went to a timeshare at Scottsdale Links Resort for the weekend and scrapbooked like madwomen. My friend Jennifer went too, since she is my partner in crime when it comes to all things scrapbook related. We were a little apprehensive going because we didn't know any of the other girls and didn't know if they were psycho killers or anything crazy like that. The minute we walked through the door, though, we knew that we were going to make new friends and have a blast. The two girls who hosted the event were totally awesome and outdid themselves with contests, door prizes and goody bags. And they had the greatest personalities too! They were crazy, but in a good way. We were all so sad to leave and go back to reality. The good news is that they are going to have more of these getaways and since we went to the first one, we get first dibbs on the rest. Can't wait! I'll post pics of what I made while I was there once I unpack everything. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Swap A Day.....

I never thought I'd be able to keep up with making cards for all the swaps I joined, but I was able to complete cards for 3 in the last couple of days. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it....Man, this ATC fever really hit me like a ton of bricks. Here are some of the cards I made for the Elemental, Mermaid, and Sea Shells by the Seashore swaps...Hope you like!

PS I should point out that the stamp I used for these Mermaid cards was designed by Paula Best. She has the coolest stamps in the whole wide world! She doesn't allow people to use her stamps on projects that will be sold, but since ATCs are always traded and never sold, I should be okay.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two New Swaps

Here are some ATCs I made for 2 new swaps I joined. First is 'Turtles" and the second is "Goth"...

Friday, May 22, 2009

More ATCs

I found the scans of my Andy Warhol cards, plus recently finished my Paper Doll and Time Flies cards. Here are some of them:

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Skeletons in my Closet

Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine had a reader challenge called 'Skeletons in Your Closet' and I submitted this piece. I didn't get selected for publication, but it was fun making my piece and now I have a decoration for Halloween. I must admit it was pretty weird sewing a skeleton when it was 102 degrees outside here in AZ, but it was fun anyway...

This is the front...

This is the inside.....

First ATCs

About a month ago, I became very interested in Artist Trading Cards. For those of you that don't know what they are, they are 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 mini works of art. You can use any medium you want, but the majority of the ones I have seen contain some kind of collage. The best part about these cards is that when you are finished making them, you get to swap them with other artists. So not only do you end up making your own art, you get art from other people. I think it's the coolest thing ever, and it gives me something new to use my art and scrapbooking supplies on.

So far I have participated in 3 swaps. The first was titled 'Psychadelica', second was 'Andy Warhol' and the third was 'Eiffel Tower'. I've signed up for about 6 more so I've got a lot of work to do.

I have been making a few extra cards to keep for myself for each swap theme. Here are some pics of what I've done so far....

Hello, My Name is Laura...

Hi Everyone! (I say this assuming I will have followers someday)

I thought the first post on my new blog should tell you a little about myself and my history with arts and crafts. I have always loved to be creative, ever since I was a little girl. I got this trait from my parents who were always making some kind of craft. My father had his own wood shop and loved to make furniture in his spare time, and my mom was an avid crocheter, sewer, and needlepointer (I also like to make up words). I started off with coloring and drawing and had more crayons and markers than any little kid should have. We would rent a table at my school's craft fair every year and make all kinds of silly little crafts to sell. I even set up my own 'store' in the corner of our basement and would make anyone who visited our house (mostly sisters and nieces) come down and buy the stuff that I made. It was called Laurie's Handcraft Corner and I got made fun of by the other kids on our block (who would be outside playing kickball every day) for having it. I didn't mind much though, since I would take paint and papers over a stinky, sweaty game of kickball anyday. I can sit for hours with art supplies in front of me and never get bored of making things.

In high school, I took every art class our school had to offer. I was pretty good at painting and drawing (or at least I was told I was), and won a few awards in art shows I was featured in. Even though I got good grades in all subjects, what I really wanted to go to college for was art, and I was accepted into Montclair State University as an art major.

Because I was a real brat during this time of my life and didn't want anyone telling me anything, I decided I didn't want to go to that school or be an art major about a year into the program. I didn't like having to complete projects by a certain deadline or having to make them in a certain way, and art history class was enough to make me want to shave my head with a cheese grater. Plus all my friends were going to Rutgers and I would spend most of my time down there visiting them. So I decided to transfer to Rutgers and become a biology major, which was my second favorite subject and one I thought I could make a decent living with.

I stopped creating art for a long time after this and graduated with my biology/marine and coastal sciences degree, moved to AZ where there is no ocean, and got a job in the grocery industry. So changing majors was a really good choice (dripping with sarcasm).

In the last 5 years or so, I have totally been reunited with my love of art. Around that time, I signed up for a ceramics class at the local community college. Since then I've taken the class about 10 more times and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I also discovered the fabulous world of scrapbooking and have collected enough supplies to last me two lifetimes.

In the last year or so I've become completely obsessed with almost everything artsy. It's all I want to do. I have been refinishing furniture, making and stringing beads, signing up for ATC trades like a madwoman, entering mixed media challenges in art magazines, altering everything I can find, garage sale-ing to find things to alter, making tiles out of real and polymer clay so I can mosiac stuff, cleaning out of their craft instruction books....I even turned a room in my house into a craft room and put a TV and computer in there so I can multitask.

Looking back, I should kick myself in the butt for not continuing to be an art major back in college. Then maybe I could be making a living doing what I love instead of trying to sell truckloads of peanut butter and salad dressing to the local grocery store chain. Hopefully one day that will all change. But I digress...

Anyhoo, that's pretty much it about me. I look forward to showing you what I've made, hopefully you will like it.

Catch ya later,