Wednesday, May 30, 2012

California Here I Come!

Hey Friends I just wanted to share with you my new travel journal - just finished it tonight. We (all 8 of us) are heading out to Newport Beach in a couple of weeks and of course I need a travel journal to take along with me. I knew what style of journal I would be making - I have made this a couple of times before and it serves me very well while I am traveling. I even taught this style of travel journal last summer at the store. Anyhoo - I knew what I wanted to make and I knew the color scheme I wanted to use. I wanted to use all light neutrals and a little bit of blue. I am trying very hard to challenge myself to use more whites and creams and less blacks. As you can see that didn't happen here. I actually tried very hard and sadly I made one using those light neutrals - I hated it, it ended up in the trash. But even though this is not what I set out to make I am very happy with it!

I found some vintage postcards from Newport Beach online and used them in a few places in my journal, including the front cover. I used several different paper lines in this book (Prima, G-45, 7 Gypsies, even some very old Karen Foster from my stash). I was able to complete the whole thing without buying anything! I had everything I needed in my HUGE stash.

 When you open it up you see a journaling pad on the back of the front cover. I made the lined paper on my computer. There are 16 pages in the pad for me to write on while we are away.  On the right, you see the multi fold-out pages. Wait till you see how many fold out there are in here!
Below you see pages 2 & 3 - these pages are great for saving all of that trip memorabilia
 Next you see page 2, the center and page 4. More room for memorabilia and the center opens up to a flip album for photos
 Here are pages 5 & 6 the center and page 4 again. Page 6 has a fun pocket for more goodies to go in.
 Now you see pages 5 & 6 the center and pages 7 & 8
 Here is a close-up of the center. You can see some of the vintage postcards here on the flaps
 This is the photo flip album that sits behind the flaps on the center page
 This is the journal standing up. This is a big book but it folds up nice and compact for traveling. The closed book measures 8"x9.25". It stays closed with a chain closure.
 This is a close-up of all of the embellishments on the front cover. Vintage postcard downloads, G-45 postage, Lace trim and old buttons, Prima pearl swirl, Tim Holtz ornate bookplate and hitch. The chain closure hooks onto the hitch and I hung lots of charms and a few pearls on the chain.
I hope you enjoyed looking at my journal with me. I also hope you will be encouraged to make yourself a journal of some sort for your next trip. It is a fun and relaxing thing to do each night before bed in the hotel room. And it is very rewarding to have your whole trip "scrapbooked" by the time you get home! Well, all except for your photos. I don't know about you but I have boxes of trip memorabilia from past trips that I collected and saved through the years, expecting to scrap them and never did. Five years ago when I started making journals for my trips I find that collecting and saving the trip stuff is so much more meaningful. I take simple supplies with me when I travel (a pen, a 3x5 travel office kit, a Tombow tape runner and some clear adhesive hinges) so that I can attach everything each evening in my hotel room. It is such a joy to look back at these journals, to read and see the story of each day while it was fresh in my memory.
Can you tell I love a travel journal? Can you tell I am trying to talk you into loving them too?
If you are interested in knowing how I made this you an check the tab at the top for Kits and Instructions for sale. I have the instructions for 2 similar journals there for sale (the Disney Journal & the Look What I did on my Summer Vacation Journal).
Well that's all for tonight - Till we meet again. . .  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Class Sample

Hey friends, I thought I'd share my newest class sample with you all today. It is a fun journal with a twist on the "sewing over tapes" binding. I am calling it the "Shabby Journal". This class will be taught at The Occasional Artist on Saturday, July 14th at 1pm.

 Lots of buttons and pearls on this one - in fact there are 45 pearls sewn into the binding it's self!
 The inside has great bristol paper pages. These are perfect for sketching/drawing or writing. Heck, you could even fill it up with photos if you like! These pages are nice and sturdy. And it lays so nice and flat for you while you work in it.
 Each signature is double wrapped in 2 different Prima papers - so pretty!

The edges of the pages are all torn and "burned" - no ink here - they are burned (without fire - that would be dangerous in a classroom setting). I hope you will consider treating yourself to a day out the summer heat to come join us.

Speaking of "summer heat". . . .those of you that live in the Phoenix area, could you believe the weather today???? It is Memorial Day weekend - time to be hot & sweaty and wearing your swim suit right? I guess the Mother Nature did not get that memo - it was a beautiful day that never got over 80 degrees!!!! That is just unheard of this time of year. But I'm not complaining, it was a lovely day. I spent most of my afternoon teaching my Creativity Wall Hanging class. It was a small class today - I guess everyone was out of town. But it was a fun class and they all seemed to like their finished project. I had a new gal in class today from New Mexico - she was a delight. I hope she will come visit us again.

Gary will be golfing all day tomorrow, My daughter and her family are in Northern Cal this weekend, Mom is house sitting for them and Lizzy and Richard are busy so I guess I will have to find some creative endeavor to keep myself busy with tomorrow. Lord knows I could be doing some cleaning or something else important. . . .nah. . .that's not gonna happen! I need to get my travel journal made, we leave for our family vacation in less than 3 weeks. I am super excited to go. We will be taking the kids and the grand kids with us. We are not doing any theme parks this trip - just relaxing and going to the beach etc. I plan on doing some drawing and lots of photography. Gary and the guys will probably golf one day and the girls want to check out Fashion Island. But it just wouldn't be right for me not to have a travel journal to take with me - I make one for every trip we go on. I love looking back at them. Here is the one I made for our trip last year to Disneyland. I made the same style journal for another trip we took last year (just Gary & I) and I just love this style - it works so well for me. I do all of my nightly journaling in there and I also attach all of the memorabilia to the big pages each night. Then  when we get home and get my photos printed I can add them to the little flip book inside. This way I have scrapped my entire vacation withing a week of coming home. Nothing is lost or forgotten and it's all in one place. This also gives me something to do at night in the hotel room since I am a night owl and Gary is an early to bed kinda guy.

Well, I guess I have rambled on long enough. . . .
I hope you all have an AWESOME holiday weekend!!!
Till we meet again. . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today I Spent My Time. . .

Making This. . .
That's right, it's yet another canvas - I tell ya I am hooked on these!
The quote says: "Today spend your Time doing what you Love" and that is exactly what I did.
I think at some point I might have to make a class with one so you all can share my new found joy.

Have a GREAT Friday and I  will check in again soon

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still Killing Time . . .

Well hello Blogger Friends. I thought I'd share a little bit about what's keeping me busy these days. Seems I have a new creative obsession. That's right - I am really enjoying making these mixed media type canvases. I have made 3 since Friday. Michael's had their canvas on sale this past weekend for 50% off plus they had an additional 15% off coupon so I treated myself to a few.

I made this first one on Sunday before the family came over for Mother's Day. It is an 11x14 canvas and I put an Audrey Hepburn quote on it that says"Nothing is impossible, the word it's self says I'm Possible". I love that quote! I did the background with cut up strips of Sundays newspaper and used up some old Rusty Pickle papers that I have held onto. I also used up some old rub ons that I had laying around. I can't tell you how fun doing this is for me.
This one I made today. I started on it when the girls laid down for their naps today. And surprisingly enough they didn't even try to "help" me when they got up! This one is a 9x12 canvas that simply says "Love makes our house a Home"Once again I used up some old papers that aren't even made any more and I used an old punch I haven't used in forever. I did the 4 hearts coming out of the chimney to represent the 4 of us (Gary, our 2 girls and myself) and I used the # 8 as the door to represent that there are now 8 of us (with grandkids and the girls' men).
I just love quotes and have collected so many over the years. I think these canvases are a great way to display some of my favorites!

 This next one is an 8x10 canvas board that I did on Friday night after everyone went to bed. This one is totally different but just as much fun to make! It says MartaA. This piece was inspired by my friend Ann. A few weeks ago she was talking about how appropriate it was that the center of my name was the word "art". I had never noticed that before in my whole life! I new that at some point I would have to do something with that. So this is what I did. It was very hard to photograph since the whole thing is metal and the glare was terrible! But you will have to trust me that it looks cool in real life.
 Like I said before I have more canvases in my garage and they are calling out to me! My Mom asked me what I was going to do with all of these "Are you going to decorate the whole store (the Occasional Artist) in your artwork?" Nope - I am keeping these for myself! I told her I was just going to hang them in my studio even though they didn't match. It seems pointless to try to keep it "perfect" when I can't spend any time in there.
But then I started thinking that maybe they would work in the girls' room - it is a Mary Engelbriet room. I took them in there and it was not a great match but it got me thinking. . .
Gary and I have talked about switching rooms between my studio and the girls' room as a way to get me a usable studio and so I don't have to work at the kitchen counter anymore. As I stood there in that room with my new artwork I thought this might be a great thing! We had decided that if we switched rooms that we would dispose of all of the cabinetry in my studio and that I would have to start out with little to no furnishings in the new studio. That I would look for some older, real wood pieces at thrift stores/yard sales to furnish it. It would be a warmer, more eclectic space and will be a work in progress rather than a quickly completed space.
We wont have the girls everyday as of August so it wont be as important for them to have a space and Bryanna was okay with the fact that the girls would play in a space that has made me so sick. And of course all of their Mary Engelbreit stuff will match the black walls in the old studio.

I think I am kind of excited about starting on this new studio space and I am hoping that between doing this and seeing the 3 new doctors I am seeing this week will start me on a path to being well again. So keep me in mind if you hear of any great (cheap) finds on some old wood furniture. And if any of you know anyone that is in need of some white cabinetry I will be getting rid of mine here real soon.

These last few pictures are from Mother's Day this past Sunday. My girls are so sweet, they prepared dinner and dessert and brought it over for us. They made my favorite grilled chicken and strawberry salad with lemon/poppy seed dressing, french bread with fancy olive oil and balsamic vinegars for dipping and we had strawberry shortcakes for dessert.
There was tons of laughter and loud voices - I think my Mom wished they would all be quiet. But I LOVE the noise!!!! It reminds me of when I was raising them and all of the laughing and noise at the dinner table each night.
Bryanna wants to get special group pictures each year on Mother's Day -
her with her daughters (as you can see the girls would rather be doing anything else than get their pictures taken). Me with my 2 daughters, Mom with Me and then all of us together. We managed to get them all taken but not one of them is good! But we tried for her.

 I love my big dinning room table. I love seeing everyone around it. I don't care if we have the table set with my china & crystal eating a beautiful meal or if we are using paper plates and eating PB&J. I just love having them all together! I love that I get to sit at the head of the table and can see everyone's face. I love how Lizzy & Monkey play at the table showing each other their "see-food" (they sit across from each other. I love how Gary and Bug chat and share food (her high chair is next to him). I love how Bryanna just laughs all through dinner. How Darwin always has 2 plates to keep his food separated and not touching. I love watching Richard and Lizzy interact and how easily he has become part of the family. I wont say I love it but it is kinda funny how Mom tries so hard not to watch everyone eat and tries to cover her ears because of the noise, and how she rolls her eyes at the not quite  "dinner time conversations" that are had at dinnertime around here. I guess you could say I just love my whole crazy family!
I hope you all had a great Mother's Day and have had some time to indulge in your own creative obsessions.
Till we meet again. . . .

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Do You Kill Time?

These days I kill time sitting on the couch with a drawing pad and my growing stash of markers. This past week I was having a hard week so I did A LOT of doodling! If you had told me 6 months ago that I would ever be drawing/doodling or anything similar I would have told you that you were crazy! But I must say I really enjoy it and on those days that I don't have the energy for much else, it's a life saver (for me and my family - a bored Marta is a BAD Marta!) so I thought I'd show you a couple of my doodles tonight. . . .

These are part of my "neighborhood that I drew.  These are the first houses I ever drew. Good thing my ambition was never to be an architech!!!

 They aren't perfect but they were a fun to do and better than just watching tv! And if the truth be told, they just make me happy to look at them - it looks like a fun place to live don't ya think?
 (I really like how the frame turned out on the 2nd one)

Then I decided I would work on my shading so I drew a little posie in a pot.  
 My next exciting thing was a new "swatch" book for all of my markers. I ordered some new Prisma Markers that should be here on Friday (YIPPEE) and I also bought a couple new copics at the store. I like having a color chart to work off of. I hate that the colors shown on the pen caps are never accurate. So I made my own little chart on the computer and included all of the color numbers that I have and also the new ones I still want to get. There are several pages and each type/brand of markers has it's own page. Then I colored it in - I even made pages for my watercolor pencils and all of the gel pens I have started hoardeing collecting. It fits really nicely in my new marker storage - it is a handy tool when I am coloring!
 I have a smaller version I carry in my purse to keep me from buying duplicates while I am out!

By Sunday evening I was feeling a bit more energetic - but not enough that I wanted to clean the floors etc. I had this 16x20 canvas in the garage and I decided I would try a little
mixed-media project. This is not something I typically do - but what teh heck
I started off by just throwing paints on the canvas. Then I decided to tear up and adhere old book pages to it. Then I remembered all of the fun vintage images I have collected digitally the past few years and I picked myself out some "Lady Friends" Then I decided I was not happy with teh background so I painted the book pages with white paint - still not happy with it. Now it was time to break out some pretty, floral cocktail napkins and some Prima s/b paper I got last week

This is so far out of my regular way of creating so it took some time to get it where I was happy with it. So here it is for you all to see. . .
The funny thing about this is that the whole time I was making it I was thinking to myself what am I gonna do with this when I am done!?! I was talking to Kathie on the phone today and I was telling her I might just toss it once I finished it. She of course did not like that idea! So I guess now that it is finished I will send it to her to hang in the shop. I also promised her I would post it on my blog once I was done. So here ya go Kathie - what do ya think?

Below are some detail photos for you . . .

SSo that's about all that is going on around here. Have a great week friends!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

UPDATE: The Beast has Been Released!

That's right - my patio is wonderfully safe again. I called my dear hubby at work and he rushed home to save me.
He carefully scooped up the beast and flipped the jar over to contain him while Gary examined him.

 Once Gary was through examining the beast it became time to chase me around the patio with the open jar!!!! But then it was time for him to get back to work so he took the beast with him, for show-n-tell and then to release.
Gary will NOT kill anything. He catches and releases everything! Don't get me started on this character flaw. . . snakes. . . mice. . . bugs - oh see, I got started! Anyhoo the beast is gone - Gary is letting him loose somewhere in the desert around here - far away from my patio! And I can now return to my regular smoking activities outside!

till we meet again. . .

The Beast on My Patio

Late last night (midnight) I walked out onto my patio for a smoke and look at what I found. . . .

 At first I thought it was a bunch of hair from the girls or something. I threw stuff at it and it didn't move. So, I got closer. . . NOPE!!!!! It was defiantly NOT HAIR!
I had never seen anything like this before and I don't mind saying I was scared to death! But I could hear Ron, my Bug Man's voice in my ear. He always tells me if I see something try to catch it or cover it with a jar to show him. So I ran in the house and found a jar and carefully covered it. This action woke the stupid thing up and it started jumping around (enter a little panic here now).
 Next item on my to do list was get the camera and take pictures to send to my Bug Man so he could rescue me from the beast on my patio. As soon as the photos were taken I sent them off to Ron for identification. But it was the middle of the night, hours away from being helped and feeling a bit itchy thinking about the beast on the patio and wondering how many more were out there! So I Googled "Big Black Spiders" I saw lots of creepy spiders but none like what I had captured.
This morning when I got up I went to check on the Beast, hoping he would be dead under that jar. Nope, he was still very much alive! So I just had to call Ron to make sure he had seen what was lurking on my patio. He had not checked his email yet, but as fate would have it he had not left to go out in the field yet. He pulled up my email and told me right away that the scary beast trapped under a jar on my patio was a "Tailless Whip Scorpion". I have lived in AZ my whole life and have never heard of or seen such a thing. He assured me it was totally harmless just "gnarly to look at". He also told me to look it up online so that I could reassure myself (he knows how I am about creepy things). So, I looked it up and sure enough Ron was right about everything - it is a Tailless Whip Scorpion and it is not harmful. But that does not mean I will be letting it go anytime soon. He will stay a prisoner until my husband can get here to KILL the Beast on my patio!

I know this is a strange post but I am home alone and it is kinda freaking me out to think he is out there. I am so glad we don't have the girls today - they love playing on the patio and I would never keep London away from this thing. Monkey would run screaming but not my London.

Well, till we meet again have a great day!

PS - if you need a good exterminator you gotta call Ron (I call him my Bug Husband) at Arizona Dragon Slayer - he is the best (623) 584-0696