Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's officially Spring now but today it's sleeting outside. Luckily I have my new and beautiful stamp set, Paris in Love, to focus me on much lovelier things and buoy my spirits! This is the third set Shelley of Singlestone Studios designed for her April 1st release. I LOVE this set. More than any of the other sets this one seems to speak to me. Yes I love the images but I love the way you can look at the images and see a story. As if they are illustrations to some great romance that has yet to be written. There is great music out that will paint a picture in your head while you listen to it. That is the best way I can describe how I feel about this collection of text and images. The rose tossed to the ground, the looming Eiffel Tower in silhouette, the swirl seems like a breeze, the postmark, they all point to a place and a story. Maybe there was a love letter? Maybe some secret assignation between two lovers who's hearts pound as they meet. They don't need to speak, they've written all their thoughts in letters. Now they only whisper little phrases that say nothing but that speak to each heart of a great love.

I don't know how Shelley chose the images and text she did for this set but I really do LOVE how it all comes together in my imagination and tells me this story. The first piece of artwork I did with this set is kind of a memory board of this love story that didn't actually happen. I chose postcard papers and pages from a French-English Dictionary to create the background. Then I added some ink, some paint, and the stamped imagery. I loved the scratched up, mixed media feel of the piece. So I really accentuated that. I added some paper patterned with script that made me think of the love letters I was envisioning. The red acrylic was to add a sense of passion and romance. I think the addition of the wire flower, because of the way it's attached, gave me the sense that this was a sign of sorts. In another form it would have been hanging over the entrance to a cafe but here, it merely points the way to my story of lovers. I really loved how this piece came together and I had a ton of fun creating it.

After this piece I thought it would be fun to make an invitation with the stamps. I created some ink blots, and used a credit card in black acrylic to frame the Tower. Then, because I was having waaayy too much fun with this set, I threw together this little clay pendant. Again it has the roughed up aged quality that just screams romance to me. The final project I have in mind I haven't done yet. But can't you just imagine a pair of white undies embellished with red lace and some of these stamped images? I have to try it! When I do I'll post so you can see what I mean. Trust me, it will be sooo cute you're gonna want your own!

The Paris set, the Tweet set, and the Butterfly Garden set all go on sale TOMORROW- April 1st! To purchase go to www. singlestonestudios.com! Then when you've done you're own projects I would LOVE to see pics!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just a little Tweet

Today's projects were inspired by the So Tweet set of art stamps designed by Shelley of Singlestone Studios! The So Tweet set is much more mod in styling then the Butterfly Garden set I showed you a post ago. SO the projects it inspired in me have a totally different look than the accordion book.

The first project I did was this clipboard. I used papers that Shelley designed, then ripped them, painted over them, and continued to layer them. The colors of these papers are purple, yellow, chartreuse, and pink and all very very tweet. After layering the papers and paint I added some stamps from the Tweet set. I love the birds and flowers. The little birdhouse stamp is adorable as well. Then I stamped tweet all over and then to finish added rub-on's from memory makers (Chloe's Closet).

I love the way you can mix and match the text stamps in this set. Shelley included words like "home", "tweet", "shower", "your so", "baby","our new nest", and "thanks so much". In the birdhouse piece I used the home and tweet stamps but other combo's include "your so tweet", "tweet so much", "tweet shower", "tweet baby", "home- our new nest", and "baby- your so tweet" the applications are endless.

In fact, all the images are scaled just right to really mix and match everything.The tree was a blast to work with and I think stamping a little line of trees- and adding elements to show the change of seasons would be sooo fun. Did I mention I LOVE the versatility of this set? I love the way all the projects I did turned out. My favorite however, is the birdhouse. To create this piece I first glued on torn pieces from an old french-english dictionary I found. Then I painted over the entire piece, adding more or less as I wanted the pages to show through. After this I set it aside and played with the stamps. I used Sculpey and pressed the tulip stamp into it then cut apart the stem from the flower and baked them seperately. That way I was able to paint them red or green with more ease. Plus, when I glued them to the birdhouse I was able to position the flower heads at different angles for a slightly more natural and engaging look.

TIP= When I cut out around the image prior to stamping I left a little border all the way around the image. That gave me the raised outline on all the finished images. SO CUTE!!!!

After gluing on the clay pieces I stamped on the bird on the roof,the text, and the butterflies using my ink pads. The leaves of the branch I stamped on with acrylic. The doodling was all done with a black wax pencil. Then I went back over the entire piece with more white and added some purple paint to highlight- which I then brushed right over with a bit more white to blend it in to the rest of the piece. Finally, I used my black wax pencil to doodle in the butterflies' flight pattern and to add a few more finishing details. I'm really lovin' how cute it is. By the way, should you want to make your own birdhouse, I purchased the wood form complete with the little fence out front, from my nearby JoAnn Etc. for under $5 bucks!

For more information and actual images of the stamps I used check out www.singlestonestudios.blogspot.com. Shelley has been posting sneak peeks all week along with photos of projects created by the other design team members. So go and check it out to see all the cool frames, tags, and super trendy cards YOU could make with this set!!! The sets will be available for purchase April 1st!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Fab 5- Update

My time the last couple of days has been devoted to creating some sample projects for Singlestone Studios new line of ART STAMPS! It's been nice to have the chance to get back into the paper arts. Although I couldn't leave it all behind- many of the sample projects did get a little sculptural. Shelley, of Singlestone, designed these beautiful stamps. Lucky me, as a member of her design team (the fab 5) I was able to get an advance copy of the stamps and then told to run with them. PLAY!!! I think I did a total of 6 projects. I tried to vary between easy and wild. But the birdhouse was just me having some fun. Shelley will be introducing the stamps this week along with projects from the other design team members as well. Her hope is that they inspire other artists to create their own fun and imaginative projects. SOoo.. check them out! They go on sale April 1st and for the sneak peek check out Shelley's blog.

I think for pics I'll show you a few each day as she unveils the stamp set I used. There are three sets. The first, Butterfly Garden, was very easy to use. The stamp images are beautiful and vary in size- which was helpful. I created an accordian book with pictures of my son Jasper. He loves to pick me flowers- and he knows he'll always get a hug and kiss for them, so as he presents them he braces immediately for the hug. He didn't quit when the flowers died either. He's been breaking off the seed heads all winter and "surprising" me with them. It's pretty cute. It was really fun to get a chance to put together in an album the different pictures I have of him with these flowers.

A quick note- the papers I used in the book were also designed by Shelley. They coordinate with the stamps and will be available as downloadable PDF's sometime in the near future. Using the two together made this project really simple to design.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Art as Usual

Art as usual is a motto I came up a year or so ago. It happened by accident- just a few pieces of text lying next to each other on the table. I thought about it for a moment and decided it described the way I want to live my life. I want to make art the usual for me- so I think a lot about inspiration. I also want to surround myself with art. To do that I've created some pieces that are functional but attractive enough that they work as stand alone sculpture as well. I started with some jewelry displays. Then I went to town on a lamp base and shade I'd purchased. Next I turned my attention to the mess of papers and ephemera I clutter up my house with. Ticket stubs, photos, cards, articles from magazines. I always have a ton of paper sitting out. I like to display them but I don't like to clutter up my fridge or counters with them. I set up a vision board in my art room and that helps tremendously but I still needed another solution. SO I started to create wire photo card holders. There were a few on the market at the time but I didn't see anything that was as whimsical or sculptural as I wanted. So I started to play. The first one was pretty abysmal. It actually didn't function well at all- and I was going for FUNCTIONAL art. The next attempt I loved, and since then I've created quite a few unique designs. They work great, they have a purpose, but each one is lovely enough without papers to work as a piece of art.

Last week I was asked to create a free standing card holder. I had kind of started to play around with that in the altered book/ wire garden format I posted pictures of last week. But she was interested in keeping it all wire. So this weekend I tried creating a couple. I thought I'd post a photo and see what you all think. I have another almost done that has a bird and nest entwined in it as well. I'll take a photo of that soon. These designs were inspired by the customer who was requesting something custom. I love it when people offer me ideas. It's been a great source for me. Soo...if you have ANY ideas about what I should transform or create next- I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prioritizing With Perspective

Recently I've been gifted with an amazing amount of orders in my Etsy site. Which I love! But I've also been given the gift of a Thursday morning Christian Artist's group, a wonderful family and friends, and most recently....AMAZING new art stamps. OK so the last one doesn't seem to fit with the others but the stamps have just been taunting me. "Come use me- Come play...." To which I respond, "Sooon, after I finish my orders, the chapters I'm supposed to read by tomorrow, the craft project I'm putting together for my mom's group, and life. "

This morning I met with my artist's group and we talked together about focus. It's something I struggle with constantly. I need to be focused on a project in order to finish it. I also need to be able to give my husband and son the attention they need. The orders for the shop- I need to focus on those because this is my beloved business. So how do I do it? How do you do it? How do you give the necessary amount of focus to all the important things in your life?

Currently, I prioritize. But I'm not sure that's the best way to manage it all. I don't know about you, but my priorities get out of whack pretty easily. Right now the orders are getting the most of the time and attention I can spare from my family. Then, other "commitments" I've made are prioritized according to due date. Finally, any reading I have to do. Self-development comes last. It's squeezed into the very beginning or the end of the day and frankly that seems to cut my husband out all together. So I'm not happy with this. But I think we all do it. One thing I've learned over the years though, is the importance of keeping perspective. In the proper perspective my health and development would move to the top. Because we would all agree that it's way more important to give our car an oil change than a car wash. Right? Maintenance is necessary for us as well. If we spend all of our time pushing ourselves and take no time to pause to catch our breath and grab a coffee then we soon find ourselves running on fumes.

This morning in my artist's meeting I was able to look objectively at my week and asked to consider the things I had done. Just taking that brief time to reflect (and drink coffee) was completely inspiring. I spent the rest of the day recharging. I went to the craft store and library with my son. I looked through some craft books I've had waiting for me forever, and I started to play. I used my amazing new art stamps to create a project, I started to work on a birdhouse photo holder that I think will be amazing, and I spent an hour playing "kitty" with my four year old son. Giving him some of the one on one attention he needs during the day. It was a great day! Now, instead of spending the night perusing Etsy and Flickr or working on some orders, I am going to go upstairs and pick out some windows and doors I like with my husband. Of course, I'm going to bend a bit of wire as I look( multi-tasking); but we can't get rid of all our bad habits in one day- right? :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Shop Items!!!

I posted a couple of new items in my Etsy shop this afternoon. I thought I'd share them with you. The birdcage is a completely new design for me. I love the silhouette look it has to it.

The second item is a variation of the altered book photo holder I shared with you a couple of posts ago. Much simpler but still loads of style. I like the blooms as is but having the option of using it as a desk accessory is just so fun. I love functional art. So here are a couple of photos-one with the postcards, etc. and one without. Hope you like them!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today I think I'm just going to bring you up to date on a couple of projects I've been working on . The first is the lampshade at right. I'd promised I show it to you once I'd finished the stitching on the shade. SO here it is! Hope you like it!

The second project is this altered book wire photo holder. A large description but I can't really think what else to call it. I got the idea to use a book as a photo holder a while back but couldn't really figure out the how and why's of it. I love books and didn't want to alter them too much. I like the look and feel of books as is. So I wanted to use the book in it's form and not just pull the cover off or rip out the pages.

Here's the first attempt. I opened the book and drilled through it so that I would be able to insert some wire flowers. I sold one of these flowers lately and before I shipped it out a made a few more to have on hand for future use. While I was playing with the form I realized that the blooms would actually work as photo holders. They're more decorative then the one's you usually see but they had the same basic twisted and looped form going for them. So they work.

The look of the first one was pretty austere but I kind of like the way the organic blooms are coming from the text. BUT there wasn't much color. In my mind I was thinking the color in the piece would come from the photos displayed on it. But it still didn't seem arty enough. Then my oh so brilliant friend took a look and suggested I cut out the butterfly and somehow make it flying up from the piece. Then I added some more stamped images and the flying butterfly. I like the look of it now. Has that altered book feel going for it. And the butterflies made from text are just kind of cool. I actually stitched the paper to the wire form. Something I hadn't done for a while. It has a different look than fabric. Very crisp.

But I would LOVE to get some feedback on this. It's a new product and I'd like to develop it and try selling it in my Etsy site. So.... what do you think? :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Butterflies on My Brain...

I've got butterflies on my brain. Maybe because I can feel them so much in my stomach right now. This week has been spent doing some serious brainstorming. I'm trying to come up with some new projects and although I had a ton of ideas I didn't really know where to start. So I did some sketches, and planned some things out step by step on paper. Some of these ideas came about because they were variations of other projects I've done. It was just a matter at looking a little differently at what I had already made. Like the lamp. I found out this week that the lamp I was planning on using in one publication couldn't be used as I had already published it somewhere else. These were two different formats and for some reason I didn't put two and two together that published is published regardless of the format. The lamp was a great piece and I was actually counting on it wow-ing the publishing folks into loving my work. Alas, I can't use it. So back to the drawing board. Except this time instead of allowing the ideas to just come to me I'm forcing it a bit more. It's a challenge th0ugh and challenges are good for forcing growth. Bird's nest and birds lamp design out- butterfly lamp in. I can still use some of my same techniques and the lamp base but the look had to be completely different.

I thought it might be fun to actually wrap wire around the shade this time and use some paper instead of the fabric. But the look just isn't right. I don't hate it-(I actually like it a lot) but it doesn't have the polished look of the first lamp. So Jeremy to the rescue! We stood in front of the lamp and just started to brainstorm together and I think the look on this next lamp is going to be a little closer to my birds nest lamp and have the same polished look but is still different. I'm excited to create it. The sketchbook page at the top of this post has a little sketch I did for myself to remember what I planned. And I did like the wire and paper butterfly shade and I think I'll work a little more with it and maybe add some stitching. But it's going to have to wait for me to get this other lamp done and ready to be shipped. Tomorrow being the weekend I'd like to think I'll have some time to do this but we've got a ton of stuff going on and I don't know when I'll have the time. But the more I get done the less stressed I'll feel about the whole deadline. I guess the solution is to stop blogging and go work! But I did want to share some of the work I've been doing this week with you. When I've finished the next incarnation of the butterfly lamp I'll post it and you can all let me know what YOU think about the two. Thanks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Staying Connected

Blogs, facebook, e-mail, convo's, the ways I connect with others has really changed in the last few months. It's been nice. I write much more now than I did and I find I really enjoy writing. But it's interesting to me how all this communication has changed my life. To understand how huge a life change this has been for me you need to know that I was one of the very last hold outs on e-mail. People sent it to me but I checked mine once every 3-10 weeks. In the beginning it was once every 3-6 months. Once people figured out they'd have to call me to check my e-mail if they wanted me to read their e-mail- they didn't e-mail again. So I didn't get much that was all that interesting to me. It was just one more chore to deal with. No fun at all. When I decided to go for the shop thing on Etsy one of the considerations my husband made me think about was whether I was willling to commit to checking my e-mails and replying to those that came in. To the average person this would not have been a consideration at all but for me.... I had to actually think about it.

Now I find myself spending a lot more time on the computer. I check my e-mail 2-3 times a day. I started to send e-mails myself and now I love to see my inbox full of new content. I like to know what's going on in people's lives. I like to be in on the joke that's going around. I like the feeling of connection that fosters. I have a friend I chat with almost daily but have never met. That's just cool!

When I jumped on the facebook wagon it was a blast to reconnect with people I haven't' seen or talked to in a good 20+ years. My grandmother is one of those rare people who has a talent for staying in touch with friends. I am horrible at it. She is in her mid-80's and still gets together for coffee with ladies she taught with at her first teaching job after college. She has always taken the time to write, to develop group relationships, to drive completely out of the way to visit an old friend. And she treats her new friends in the same way. Maybe that's the secret. She doesn't seem to prioritize anyone. She sees every relationship as important no matter how old it is and because she stays connected with her friends she stays interested. Maybe that's the key. Maybe someday I'll just ask her instead of trying to guess. I bet she'd like to tell me.

Enough writing for tonight though. My husband just walked in and gave me that headshake that means I'm not using my time wisely. At least that's how I'm interpreting it so I am off to sculpt and sew! I'll post some of my new creations next time. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Abundance is....
being able to buy 4 rolls of wire when I can find them!!!