Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's that time of year again

Yup, just like last year I will be taking a break from blogging during the winter holidays and the coming of the new year. It's my annual little break from the world, to get back to me, myself and I (and this year there's a new cat involved too, haha).

Starting tomorrow I will have a two week vacation and I want to skip on all my online artsy stuff for that time, so I will be going no mail on my yahoo groups and putting a hold on this blog too. I will be back the week of january 9th!

I will of course check my mail from time to time, so if you have a question or remark about anything, feel free to e-mail me at c.m.j.winkelman[at]home[dot]com.

Wishing you all a wonderful christmas and an amazing new year. Hope to see you again in january for more artsy fun! Until then! Love, Caatje

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like

Well, my sewing machine has been working overtime (and so have I) to get them finished, but here they are: 30 christmas cards all ready to send out! Don't they look colorful all together like that.

I am so relieved they are done. I love stitching paper, but when you're kind of working against a deadline it also becomes a chore and the chair at my sewing machine is not really a good one, so my back starts to ache pretty quickly.

Maybe I should put a new chair on my wishlist for the new year. I do like sewing a lot and I would get more done if I could sit more comfortably. 

I love how the cards turned out though. And also how they are all unique and still follow the same kind of format. I'm thinking they would make a nice gift for someone. An idea to put on the back burner for next year.

I hope the people who receive them will like them too. I myself love receiving handmade cards. I like it when people put in that little extra.

On an non christmassy note, which is probably only interesting for the Dutchies among you:  I will be a guest blogger at a dutch blog this week! I have always wondered about how guest blogging works and now I get the experience of being one. Very cool indeed! ;-)

It's a blog called Round Robin Notebook and is mostly about and for a group of dutchies who are sharing a round robin notebook experience and art journaling. You can find the blog here. I will be posting on Monday (today), Wednesday and Friday.

I was very honored to be asked and I hope the readers of that blog will like my posts. Please take a look if you want, 'cause they have had some wonderful posts in the past and also some very interesting guest bloggers.

On the cat front all is well. Peer is so sweet, but also a little reckless sometimes, especially when he smells food. He just literally jumps right into things! ;-) But already we are enjoying nice cosy couch sessions together where I read and he cuddles up next to me. Boy, I missed that!

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy week!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meet my new furry companion!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that in september 2010 I had to say goodbye to my cat DJ and in last april I had to do the same to his sister Mara. You can read about it here and here if you care to take a last look at the two sweetest cats that ever were.

Because I was so attached to them it was really hard to let them go. They had been my steady companions for over eight years (I got them when they were seven years old) and it was strange to be without any furry companions all of a sudden. I knew I would eventually get another cat, but I also knew I wasn't ready for one right away. So the past eight months I have been catless.

But no more! Slowly but steadily I started to look around, visiting websites of animal shelters and I even got some offers from people to adopt cats or kittens (which I refused). And at some point I just knew that this time of the year would be a good point to adopt a new furry friend. This has nothing to do with the christmas spirit, but with the fact that I will soon have a two week vacation and the new cat and I would have some time to get to know each other without too much interference.

Anyway, yesterday was the big day! I went to the city of  Leeuwarden and visited the animal shelter over there. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of cats they had available. About 120 cats reside there right now and most of them are found somewhere and never claimed by their owners. Unbelievable, because most of them are also absolutely wonderful. So before I say anything else about the cat I took home with  me I would like to call out to anybody who considers taking in a cat to go an animal shelter first and see what's available. So many really cool cats are looking for a home that it just broke my heart that I could only take one. I must have seen dozens of cats who I would have been just as happy with.

In the end however I chose this one:

Hello, blogsy people, I'm Peer!

This is Peer! For you non-dutchies, it is pronounced as 'pair', not the English 'peer'. The people at the shelter named him so and I think it fits him, because there's a Dutch expression that goes something like "he's a good old peer", which means "he's a good old chap" ;-). Peer is also a first name for males in this region, so it fits him double. ;-)

I chose him because he was the first cat I saw in the first cat room that really stood out to me. He was demanding attention even through the glass window he was behind. After that many more cats appealed to me, but I simply chose him because he was the first. All the others would probably have suited me just as nicely, but it was impossible to make a fair choice other than on instinct.

This is my extra seductive pose!

He is incredibily sweet and affectionate. In fact he's so affectionate it's hard to get away from him. He demands a lot of attention and purrs all the time. A funny fact was told to me by one of the shelters staff. When Peer was being checked out by the vet it was impossible to get a good listen to his heart, because he simply purred too loudly! I would say his heart is working just fine then! ;-) Here's a cat who's so sweet he beat the stetoscope with his charm.

Other than his behaviour showing how sweet he is, we don't really know much about him. They don't know where he came from and who he belonged to and because of this they also don't know what his age is. I'm guessing he's not very young and not very old. Somewhere between 6 and 8 years probably, but who can really say? 

Am I cute or what? Pet me! Pet me now!

It was really exciting bringing him home and I was a little nervous too. No matter how sweet he is, it's like bringing a stranger into the house that you still have to get used to. Unfortunately for him he got seasick on the ferry and I felt so sorry for him. He was behaving so wonderfully and kindly and then the waves just reduced him to a bundle of misery. Luckily he felt much better as soon as he got into his new home.

He wasn't nervous at all and immediately claimed a spot next to me on the couch acting as if he'd lived here for ages already. Slowly I introduced him to the entire house and he knew within five seconds where his food could be found! Turns out he's a great food lover, which inspired my sister to say he will fit perfectly within our family! ;-)

I make a great blogging assistant too!

So, now I can change my profile again and say I live with one cat. How we will get along in the future will be a matter of time. We still have to get used to each other as I have to get used to the fact of having a pet again at all. It's all coming back to me slowly! ;-)

Hope you liked meeting Peer and hope you have a wonderful artsy weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A little test

So I have a smart phone. So I have a blogger app. So I have retro camera too. And so I have to test all of this. :-) Some scenes from last weekend.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What are you up to Wednesday - part 33 (woyww 132)

High time for another Wednesday post, especially since I skipped last week. This week the desk in my studio looks like this, a bunch of paper scraps.

Better late than never I have finally started working on my christmas cards. Most of last night was spent picking out papers and loose elements that I wanted to put together on a card, and folding cream colored paper into the base of the cards. The cards will be square shaped.

Above is my first try for a lay out for one of the cards. I guess you could call this my test card. I really wanted to do stitched cards this year, so....that's what I did! ;-) I love stitching paper to paper. I have no idea why, but there's just something about it that just really makes me very happy. It took me a while to figure out what look I was going for, but eventually I had a concept that I liked which involved a patterned paper background, some loose paper elements and a piece of ribbon. I stitch those together and then stitch the little collage on the card. So far I have only finished three cards.

I really like how they are turning out. Each card will be unique, but all done in a similar style. I will make about 30 cards in total, so I still have 27 to go. I'd better get going tonight, 'cause I want to have them finished this weekend so I can send them in time for christmas.

Hope you are all having an artsy Wednesday too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The first spreads from ROD2

There are so many people who have taken the Remains of the Day (ROD) class with the wonderful Mary Ann Moss that looking for images of them is a piece of cake and might actually put you into sensory overload. So many beautiful journals, so many different ways to interpret the class instructions. Not one journal is the same. I love looking at them and if you do too I strongly advice you to enter the words 'remains of the day journal' into google or flickr. You will be rewarded with hours and hours of eye candy.

But...what is somewhat harder to find is what people actually DO with these journals after they finish making them. How do they fill them up? How do they journal in them? What do they use them for? My first ROD journal was filled last spring and I showed some of the finished pages over here. At that time I hadn't taken up the habit yet of showing all my journal pages, the way I did with the altered atlas. But now I have started using ROD2 I wanted to show you the progress of that journal as I am using it. In order to give you a little impression of what I've done  to fill the pages I intend to show you the 'before' and the 'after' pages of the journal.

Now the before pages already have stuff on them, because that's how the journal is made. If you want to see all the spreads of the journal the way they were before I started journaling on them you can go to my flickr, where there's a special set dedicated to ROD2, right over here. I will add the used spreads, after I fill them up, to this set as well, so all of ROD2 will be together in one set.

About time I stopped talking and started showing you some pictures. Here are the first eight spreads of ROD2!

















As you can see I add writing, stickers, images, tape, labels and everyday stuff that I want to keep like postcards and tags from things I bought. A lot of the extra's can be opened and there's often writing underneath or on the backside. The ROD journal always invites these sorts of interactive elements.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these first spreads, there will be more to come in the future as I fill up this journal.

Wishing you all a wonderfully creative week!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Good mail week!

This week I'm being showered with wonderful stuff that's coming through my mailbox and I'm not talking about the one online! Let's take a look at all the goodies, shall we?

First one that I ordered myself. As you may or may not know I am an ever growing tape addict and my favorite place to shop online is Pretty Tape on Etsy. They deliver fast and they have a wonderful selection of washi tapes and other pretty tapes. After buying tons and tons of patterned tapes I really wanted some plain colored tapes. Here's what came into my mailbox:

Okay, so I still ordered two patterned tapes, but don't you just love that set of 12 colored tapes?

Another wonderful envelope came from Loes (see my last post if you don't know who she is). Here's what she sent me:

A pretty envelope and handmade card and the original version of the newspaper article about the free twitter drawing class. But what I loved the most is the thing on the bottom. It's a handcarved butterfly stamp! Isn't it gorgeous? I love it when people send me handmade things I can use in my art, and I love butterflies, so this is the perfect little gift. Thank you so much Loes!

I'm saving the best for last, because this one is going to take a lot of pictures to fully show. As you may recall (and if you don't, check my tutorial section) I did a tutorial on how to make mixed media houses a while ago. Every now and then people will still contact me about it and this is what happened with Kay Dixon. Not only did she say she liked the tutorial (which of course totally strokes my ego the right way), she also sent me some pictures of what she and her friend Sheri had made with it. This is what they did:

Kay's houses

Sheri's houses
Is that cool or what? I cannot tell you how it makes my day when people show me what they do with the tutorials or just tell me about them. This is exactly why I do this stuff, to let other people share in the fun that is art making!

Anyway, Kay not only showed me the beautiful art they made, she also said she wanted to send me some stuff through the snailmail to use in my art. That was a few weeks ago, so I kindof forgot about it after that and then I found this in my mailbox:

A beautifully decorated envelope filled to the brim with goodies. To prove just how much was in there I will tell you that I cheated a little on the above picture. I took it after I had already seen everything inside and wanted to put it all back in, but it wouldn't fit! So not only is Kay incredibly generous, she's some kind of miracle worker! ;-)

Take a look at what's inside and try not to loose your breath like I did!

Yup, that's right, seven packages, a nice notecard and a pretty bookpage!

One pretty envelope full of labels and tags.

One translucent envelope full of collage ephemera.

One doily full of ribbons and fibers and lace.

One blue envelope with collage images.

A gorgeous decorated envelope full of labels.

And another gorgeous envelope with beautiful tags made by Kate's friends.

As I was unpacking all these goodies I kept saying things like 'No way!', 'She's crazy!', 'This is too much!' and the word 'Wow!' may have been repeated about a gazillion times. To make a long story short, I am absolutely delirious with joy over such generosity and all these goodies. Thank you Kay, thank you so much!

That's my show and tell for today. ;-) Wishing you all a wonderful artsy weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A free sketching course for people who cannot draw (through twitter)

Well, I've sort of made the press again, in a very small way this time, but for a very fun reason.

My friends Monique (Monk) and Loes are the organizers of the Dutch Sketchcrawl in the city of Gouda and as you know I have attended this lovely event several times now and hope to attend coming january as well.
Anyway...they have now come up with the brilliant idea of offering a fun free drawing class on twitter. It's especially for people who think they cannot draw. To prove everybody wrong, the participants will get their sketching diploma up front! ;-)

For the Dutchies: here's a newspaper article about it (if you look very closely you'll see my name is mentioned too, oh my, I'm so famous right now, haha). The woman in the picture is Loes. She makes wonderful meticulous art, which you can see here. Monk you may already know from some of my previous posts, you can find her stuff here.

My friends wrote the prompts and tweets in Dutch, but they wanted an international version too and that's where I came in, because they have asked me to translate the tweets into english. Now I'm not a twitter person at all, so I will not really be a part of any further organization, but it was fun to see what they will put out there and I think many people will be inspired by it. So in short, this is a shameless piece of promotion for my two prolific friends. If you're interested you can join them at twitter over here. Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cell phone case

As one of the last people on the planet (okay, I may be exaggerating here) I got a smartphone this week. I was ever so thrilled with my new toy, except for one thing: how to protect that big screen from unwanted damage?

For my last phone I had an actual phone sock, that I bought at a store, but that wouldn't fit this new phone, because for the first time in my sixteen year career as a cell phone user my new phone is actually bigger than my old one!

Now I know you can buy all sorts of cases, but the problem is that I won't be anywhere near a store or market where I can get them anytime soon and online the prices were so ridiculously high that I simply refused to buy one there. What to do?

These are the times when it's good to be a little creative. I figured: why not make one myself? Indeed, why not? So off I went to my sewing room, gathered some small pieces of fabric and some ribbon and voilĂ : here's my very own handmade cell phone case!

It's a really simple design.

I stitched the ribbon all over the case.

The inside is a contrasting fabric with fiberfill for extra softness.

It ties with a ribbon.
I'm quite proud of my little 'design'. It was really very easy to make. The only thing I may not care for so much is the ribbon that ties it up. If I had my choice I would have used some velcro or a press on button, but I didn't have any of those in the house and I needed something NOW. But I may yet make another one in the future that has a little more practical closing.

For now however it will serve me well in protecting the screen of my brand new toy. Yay!

Wishing all of you a very nice and artsy weekend!