Friday, April 29, 2011

In the Meantime...

All moms know that you try to make the absolute most out of every single moment of the day. With so many "to-do's" that are just part of the job, the "want-to's" get relegated to those snatches of "meantimes". You know what I mean right? While waiting on the phone you_____ ,while eating your lunch you_____ ,while cooking supper you______. The blanks get filled in with bits like cut out words for your paintings. Or wrote a quick blogpost, or checked fb, or threw another coat of modge podge or paint on whatever project you're working on, or desperately hunt for your son's overdue library books. It's all part of the job. If you can do several things at once you feel like you've accomplished something. If you actually slow down enough to do one thing at a time you probably feel like you're wasting time or not accomplishing what you need to. Maybe it's not just a mom thing, but I know that I recognized myself doing it more once I became a mom.
So today, while eating a late lunch and in the hopes of posting this before I have to pick up my son in half an hour, I thought I'd show you some of the things I've cobbled together during my "meantimes" this week.

New Mixed Media

New Brooch STILL from that pair of old jeans :)
Have a GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SWEET SWEET COMMENTS this week!!!!!! You're all so amazing and I appreciate you!!!

(Phew- 3 minutes to spare!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The COVER!!! My Cloth Paper Scissors Debut!

So I was going to wait to tell you about the article I have in the May/June issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine until I actually had it in my hand.

But I then I had a conversation via texting that changed that. Here it is:

My super amazing friend: Have you seen the new CPS?

Me: Nope. Am I in it? (I was hoping they hadn't cut my article) :)
My friend: You're on the COVER. I'll see if I can send you pics.
Me: NO WAY!!!!!!!
My friend: Yes!!!!!!!

I actually shouted a "YES" then and threw my arms in the air, which really confused my mom, who I was sitting at lunch with. So I got to tell her right away and she of course being my mom, wanted to go straight to the nearest retailer to pick up a copy. It is the MAY issue though so it should hit the newstands soon. I can't wait!!! The article is about taking your art journaling 3d- and creating mixed media art with the actual journal entries. It's the first I've written for CPS and I loved working with them- I'd highly recommend it. :) The video I posted last week on Youtube is actually a companion piece to the article so after you've had a chance to check out the article, head on over to youtube and you'll see what I mean.

Thanks for sharing the moment with me and I would love to have you take a look at my article. Yay!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to get published at Stampington, All about Copyright, and what to put in your Book Proposal- Plus a free E-Book all about Wire!!!

I know I've mentioned Create Mixed Media to you before- it's that fabulous new website where you can learn all about the cool art mediums you've wondered about, or the artists you're curious about, or the techniques you'd like to see demonstrated I've really been enjoying it the last few months. It also has some really interesting things to say about different mixed media related topics. Recently, this article by Stampington's Editor-in-chief, Christen
Oliverez caught my eye. She wrote about the sort of things that an artist can do to catch an editor's eye when submitting artwork for publication. I'm always interested in what the publisher has to say about this sort of thing because I only experience the submission process from the position of submittee (?word). I also enjoyed getting Tonia Davenport's article about preparing a book proposal. Both of these would have been extremely valuable to me when I was first starting out and wondering how on earth to do both of those very things. In the end, I just googled both magazine proposal and book proposal before I sent my first efforts in each area out into the world. Now, having gone through the experience of submitting a book proposal, and submitting art to magazines, I read what the experts say and honestly shake my head that my poor attempts were ever given a second glance. It was definitely a God thing because it was definitely NOT a me thing, if you know what I mean. :)

Another interesting series of articles on the site were written by the fabulous Rice Freeman Zachary about copyrights. It's an area I've become increasingly interested in and increasingly confused by. What can you use? Can't you use anything that's an art material? Isn't that the purpose of people creating art materials? What kind of credit do you need to give for what materials? Honestly, it's a headache I think many of us avoid by either looking the other way, or erring on the side of caution and refusing to use anything that was artist designed. I hate to admit that although I feel like you should be able to use things I'm increasingly avoiding artist designed supplies in the work I intend to sell.

One final super cool thing about the site- they are now offering a new  e-book for free. The first e-book was titled Stitched Up and contained projects that involved stitching. Their second e-book has now debuted and is titled Wired Up and contains the Scribble Heart Project from my book, Creative Bloom. How cool is that? SO if any of these little bits of topics interest you- and how can they not- head on over to Create Mixed Media today!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Craft Tutorials

Last year my little boy and I made this cute little Easter tree, we painted eggs to hang from it, and made little orange felt carrots to hang from it's branches. This year, I hate to even admit how clueless I've been to the days of the week let alone marking upcoming holidays. They've all rather sneaked up on me, so today, with my little boy home sick, we decided to do a little last minute holiday decorating. The tree looks cute so I thought I'd repost the tutorials for both it and the little carrots- just as a way to mark the season with you too. Happy Almost Easter Everyone!!!

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Easter Tree
Tools and Materials
a container
a block of styrofoam to fit container
3-5 branches (I used birch)
5-8 silk flower heads (mine were pulled off a stem of hydrangea)
Silk leaves (I cut them from the hydrangea stem)
Raffia or moss (optional)
Hot glue

1. Cut your styrofoam to fit your container. I used an empty paint can for my container and to judge how much foam to trim I pressed my foam onto the opening, thus getting an imprint that showed me right where to cut. Just a little trick. :) Using the hot glue, apply glue to the bottom of your foam and then place in container.

2. Insert your branches by pushing end into foam. If you'd like to add hot glue to the ends you can, it really secures them nicely. I don't because I like to be able to rearrange the branches if needed to get their placement just right. :)

3. Either insert wire ends of silk leaves into foam, or glue them into place with hot glue. Use the raffia or moss to cover any foam that might be still showing.

4. Pull the florets off a silk hydrangea and use the hot glue to stick to branches. To cover the glue and help secure the flower head I either pressed a second flower to back of first, or would wrap one of the petals around the branch to the back and use to cover glue. Do this right away while the glue is still warm.

Add any decorations you have (or make the stitched carrots from last post) and display somewhere you'll be able to soak up it's spring beauty- I have mine displayed as a centerpiece on my dining room table with a little nest and some daffodils. It's an oh-so-easy springtime vignette!

Stitched Felt Carrots
Tools & Materials

1- 8 1/2" x 11 sheet orange felt
1- 8 1/2" x 11 sheet light green
1 -8 1/2" x 11 sheet true green felt
Orange embroidery floss
Green embrodiery floss
Chenille needle, size 18
Tip* Threading your needle with floss before you begin steps 1 and 4 makes the step easier.

1. Cut a triangle from the orange felt and a couple of strips from the 2 pieces of green felt (as shown above). Roll the triangle and then using a threaded needle and orange floss, pierce the bottom point of the triangle. Whip stitch once around point and then straight stitch along length of carrot.

2. Pinch the top of the carrot together to create gather and then stitch through folds several times to secure. Knot thread and clip.

3. Trim the top of your carrot flat. Be careful not to cut through your stitches.

4. Fold each of the green felt strips in half to form loop and hold together. Then bend up ends around the center loops. Using a threaded needle (green floss), stitch through the bottom of this gather several times, from multiple sides so that you can be sure it will keep desired shape.

5. Without cutting your thread, use needle to stitch green felt to top of the carrot. Stitch up and through green felt and then down and through orange felt from all sides until securely attached.

6. Using your scissors, you may cut into the ends and loops lengthwise to create multiple strips.This step is optional but I think it looks more like a carrot top if you do it. Be sure not to cut through your stitches however. Use one of the top loops to hang or stitch a loop of embroidery floss to create loop for hanging.

Friday, April 15, 2011

All the Goodness

Spring has sprung here, although rather reluctantly. It's grey here today but as I look out my window I can see green. That in itself feels amazing. After months and months of the biggest snow year we've had since I was a kid it feels a little unsettling to drive around a corner yet without inching out because you can't see around the huge piles of snow. Our driveway seems twice as wide as it did, and the best thing? When I look up from writing this I can see daffodils blooming and I know that in the front yard my forsythia bush is starting to bloom. That seems so good to me. So today I thought I'd share some more of the goodness I've found these last few days-
First, I have to let you know about the super sweet and really well written review of my book published by Hanna of ihanna. She is an amazing blogger and does fabulous book reviews, I sent her one of my books a little while ago hoping she'd take a look and I was so excited to see her review of it. While you're over at her blog check out some of her projects and her etsy shop. I love everything she does and feel so grateful that she took the time to read through my book and write such an amazing review. THANK YOU Hanna!!!!

More goodness-
 After a couple of weeks of thinking about it my husband surprised me this week by telling me to go get an ipad2 for an early anniversary present. It is a family ipad and I had to laugh because when they were setting it up at the store the apple guy asked if I knew anything about it. I told him my husband had me watch Steve Jobs' keynote about it a few weeks earlier. "The WHOLE keynote?" he said. I said "yup- all two hours" and apparently that was more then a sufficient introduction because he didn't have anything more to tell me. It's our first ipad and it's been super fun discovering apps like flipboard that let me peruse sites, facebook status's, and blogs in a magazine format. Above you can see what my birdfromawire facebook site looks like on it. Super cool! I'm really excited to play around with imovie and some of the other photography and video apps. I'll keep you updated on what I find. Lots of goodness there.

Finally, I'm just feeling so grateful for you. You are some of the best goodness in my life and I love getting your comments. It completely makes this blog worthwhile when I read that a post really connected with your life in some way. Thank you SO SO MUCH!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Continuing to Find My Way

Some time ago I talked a bit about the book, A Savvy Crafter's Guide to Success by Sandra McCall, and how it started me thinking about the different tracks/roads an artist can choose. I was trying to decide if I should accept some proposals to put my art into some local stores or if I should try to concentrate on etsy, the blog, submitting to magazines, etc. What I wanted was a sign of sorts. Something that would help me clarify my direction. As a stay at home mom my time is still fairly limited and I've learned I can't spread myself too thin. I needed to make some choices.

It's funny but not long after writing that post my husband did my taxes. He hates doing my taxes. It's only because he likes me - a lot - that he will do this for me. I could try to do them myself but honestly, that's not something that's even remotely close to any skill set that I possess. So after an apparently grueling day of tax work he came to me and said "Please, can you not sell anywhere but online this year?" I guess it really gums up the process to have multiple shops and art fairs to account for. Plus, I have some income generated from writing, and now the book royalties so my once not so hard taxes are getting pretty laborious to sort out.

I feel for him. He was doing it on a volunteer basis, after all. And I thought this might be the sign I'd been looking for. The one that led in an actual direction. So I thought that this year I'll try it.This year I'll concentrate on my art, my writing and submitting to magazines, and on developing my online presence. And then suddenly, it seemed so much simpler to be me. With this one decision I took all the directions I'd felt pulled in and cut out half of them. By saying, "not now" to some roads I wasn't saying "not ever", and I was freeing myself up to put some concentrated energy into other projects.

What other projects you may ask?

I can't tell yet. But I'm super excited to have somethings to show you soon. And I figure, if I'm super excited than I might have made the right choice. What do you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Learn Something New

Videos are one of those sometime things I've been putting off for some time. I've been wanting to do some tutorials for you all for a while now, just because I think it's easier to learn by seeing sometimes then it is by reading a step by step. But every time I attempt to shoot one something goes wrong and I just don't know enough to know how to fix it. So the promise went "when I get that new ipad THEN I'll figure out imovie and THEN I'll start doing videos for the blog." Yeah. So that just kept on not happening. First, it was harder to get my hands on an ipad 2 then I thought. Then, shooting the video seemed to take two people and making time for it in both my husband and my schedules seemed impossible. I tried to get my 6 year old to be the cameraman once but that REALLY didn't work. Although I have to admit the end result was pretty hilarious. THEN, i couldn't figure out the video software. Sigh.

None of this would matter, but I'd already promised the video to someone. Yup, I was THAT dumb. So today I decided was going to be the day and this morning I rubber banded my iphone to the end of my paper towel holder which I put into a bowl that was atop of a little plant stand on my table- to create a make shift tripod. Then did about 10 takes trying to get it all right in just one take. Some were ok but too long. Some were ok but I'd stumble over my words too much. Or I'd drop something, or else lose my train of thought and repeat myself. Yikes! BUT I'm happy to say that after all those tries, I think I've finally got it right. It's only a little over 5 min. long, and there aren't any "umm's" so I'm calling it a winner. I'll keep working at this video thing though and hope to get you some snazzy looking one's soon. In the meantime... Here it is- My Youtube debut. ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Fling

So I had a fling with spring today. It was warmer then it's been yet (mid 50's= t-shirt weather here) and I spent a little bit of time outside. The tulips are starting to poke out of the ground and the trees have buds. Spring is truly on it's way. At LAST!!! So to urge it on a little I decided to make a couple of spring-y pieces of wire wall art for my etsy shop. I just listed two of the items, the third is still in the works.

Here they are- a flower,
and a little bitty bird on a branch- So Sweet!
 Happy Spring Everyone!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simple Jeanius #5- " Waist not... Pocket Purse"

Back again today with the fifth tutorial in this upcycle your old jeans challenge. Who would've believed so much blog material could be found in a single pair of old jeans. :) So far I've got a cute little headscarf, a funky fabric cuff, a super cute little denim ring, a chunky yet comfy necklace and now this... a little pocket purse. The jeans into a purse concept is something I've seen before so I actually wasn't going to do it unless I felt I could put my own spin onto it. I think I've done that with this little purse. First, it's smaller then the other purses I've seen, as it uses only the right back side of the jeans. Second, I cut off the waist band to reuse it as the purse strap. Again, because of the parameters of the challenge I set myself, I've tried to stick to only using what I could find on that one pair of jeans. The jeans by the way are getting pretty bedraggled. I thought I'd show you what they look like now. Still there's some good material there yet so I'll have to start thinking up my next couple of projects. But for now, I give you.....
All that's left of the original pants :)
The "Waist not... Pocket Purse"
Tools and Materials
Pair of old jeans (specifically back pocket with leg fabric, and waist band)
2" x 2" square of fabric with brass button attached (preferably from waist)
Embroidery floss in dark blue

Red Staz-on ink

Step One: Cut off the waste band of your jeans and then cut off the belt loops. Set aside. Then, cut a rectangle that's approx. 8 1/2"wide x 12" long. Fabric piece should include the right back jeans pocket and back fabric of leg. (In the pic above you can see the left back pocket with leg fabric attached. I already used the right for this project when the pic was taken.) You will need to trim the fabric into a more regular rectangle shape. Fold the fabric in half length wise and then using an iron, press a seam all around the edge of the fabric.
Step Two: Then, cut a second piece of fabric that is approx. the same width but only 8" in length. Position fabric, facing up, inside purse as backing as shown. Fold over seam at top back of bag and slide fabric beneath. Using needle and thread stitch through fabric tacking edge down.
Step Three: Using a needle threaded with embroidery floss, back stitch the left and right edges of the purse shut. Beginning at the top of each side.
Step Four: Place the end of the waist band that does not have the button hole beneath the top fabric on the far right side of the purse and stitch to top fabric.

Step Five: Place the fabric square that has the button still attached on the far left side of the front of the purse and stitch around edge to secure. Then slip buttonhole end of the waist band over the button to secure strap.


Optional: I added decoration to my purse in two ways. First, I stamped the fabric with Staz-on ink and one of my hand cut stamps before I began the purse. Second, I added little jean rosettes and stitched leaves to the right side of the purse. Again, these two steps are purely optional, I just thought they'd be fun to try and might look cute. Feel free to add embroidery, or other stamped images or to applique to your purse. Just have fun!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Simple Jeanius #4- Bloomin' Sweet DenimRing

I have this little ring. It's cute and sweet and so so comfy to wear and I love it. :) This ring builds off of two previous tutorials, the necklace and the cuff. In the necklace tutorial I demo'd how to make a ring out of a piece of inseam. The cuff tutorial shows you how to cut the little flower shapes out of the denim jean fabric. This ring tutorial is sort of a mini tutorial because it really doesn't take much time or many steps to put one of these together. Especially if you already have the ring and fabric flowers cut. I'm going to post a sneak peek of next week's bag project at the bottom of this post. Have a great weekend and why not take a couple of minutes to sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy the tutorial!
Bloomin' Sweet Flower Jeans Ring- Tutorial
Tools and Materials
Ring form made from inseam of a pair of old jeans
Flower shapes cut from a piece of old jean denim
Red bead or button
Embroidery floss in dark blue
Needle and Scissors

Step One: Following the steps in Tutorial #3- denim necklace, cut a thin piece of stitched inseam from a pair of jeans and fitting it around your finger for size, stitch closed.

Step Two: Time to layer the blooms. For more dimension I cut a super small square little piece of inseam from my old jeans and placed this between the two blooms I had cut out previously.

Step Three: Using a needle and thread knotted on one end I stitched up from the back of my little stack, through the layers and then back on down. Repeat a couple of times and then add the little bead or button on top and stitch through that and back down.

Step Four: Then placing the bloom where desired on top of ring (I put mine slightly off to the side of the ring's seam so the blooms didn't stick out quite as much), stitch through top of ring form and then back up and through the bottom layer of the bloom. Repeat a few times, slightly varying where you stitch through the bottom of the flower and where you stitch to the ring so that it's as
secure as possible. Then slip it on and enjoy!


And here's the little sneak peek I promised- coming soon as a tutorial ! Happy Weekend Everyone!!! :)