Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What are you up to Wednesday - part 32 (woyww 130)

I didn't do a Wednesday post last week (for obvious reasons see my last post), but this week I am back in the studio. The state of my worktable is like this:

What you are seeing is a map of the moon. It comes from the atlas I am preparing to be one of my next journals. The map of the moon is divided in all these sections and those I am coloring in with metallic pencils. I have just started this, so there's not much to see yet, but I'm hoping to get a nice colorful checkered effect with the map of the moon still showing through. The end result will be used for the back cover of the atlas.

You may remember from my last Wednesday post (two weeks ago) that I was working on another image from the same atlas, which was a picture of the earth in space taken from the moon. I filled in all the black space with metallic pencils. That image is done and has been attached to the front of the atlas. The front cover now looks like this:

The atlas is lying on a pile of stuff next to my worktable (I like my piles of stuff at hand, haha). I covered the image with a sheet of acetate and then attached it to the cover with duct tape. The sheet of acetate will protect the image from damage and I like the rugged somewhat industrial effect of the duct tape, as if the whole thing is held together by it. I will do the back cover in the same way.

If you want to know what other people are up to this Wednesday, go check here.
Wishing you all a wonderfully artsy Wednesday as well!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Closing the atlas

I've been missing in action for a week. Well...action. Lack of action is more like it. Sometimes we can want all sorts of things, but our bodies simply won't allow it. That was the case with  me last week.

My neck muscles were so cramped up it felt like a chore just to hold my head up to keep it from falling off!

I was suffering from vertigo and headaches and this left me feeling so dazed I decided to take a few hours off every day, just to get some rest. This has been going on and off for a while now.

I suffer from migraines and they can cause the same symptoms, but then it's usually done with after a few days. Now, it just won't let go. Very very annoying! :-(

Last week it was so bad that I went to see my doctor. All these things are probably tied to each other. It also turned out my ears were clogged up (which can affect your balance), so I had to have those washed out this morning. I've had water in my ears all day, but it sure feels clean in there! ;-)

The cramp in my neck muscles can also cause the dizzyness, and measuring my blood pressure also showed differences between sitting up and lying down and that may be the cause too. In short...we're just guessing here. If it keeps up I might need physical therapy for my neck.

All in all it was not fun. But I am feeling somewhat better now and most importantly my head feels clearer. Like I can actually think again. So...let's take this opportunity to show you the final pages of my atlas!

I finished the atlas about ten days ago (and have already started my next journal, but that's something for another post). It was wonderful and sad at the same time to close this amazing book.

I've had such fun working in this journal and it was a completely new format for me. It even inspired me to do my three parter easy peasy journaling tutorial!

It was my steady companion for four and a half months! But no book can last forever. So I finished the last page and also made an opening page (I saved that for last). The inside covers are perfect for storing loose items I want to keep.

As you can see I dubbed it the US Postal book, because as you may remember the cover was made from a US Postal bag. You can see it here.

The next atlas is already waiting to be prepped, so this will not be my last atlas. I already look forward to altering another big book to use as my journal. Let's hope I keep feeling better and can get some work done this week!

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monks Owly Book

Before I really begin this post I just want to thank each and every one of you for your wonderful responses to my being published both on and off the blog. Your support and cheers make everything even better than it already was (and it was pretty good I'll tell you!). Now, let's get back to bussiness shall we? ;-)

Remember how I've been saying that I was making a gift for someone and couldn't show anything about it until they had received it? Well, it's finished and she has, so now I can finally show it off. ;-)

The birthday girl was my dear friend Monk (go check out her blog if you haven't done that yet, she is a really good sketcher and photographer, and she has a cool cat). Seeing that we are both fond of blank books and journals, of course I had to make her one!

The cover is pink and has some owls attached to it, hence I'm calling it Monks Owly Book. I had the intention of NOT making something cute, because she doesn't really do cute, but I just couldn't help myself. It sort of turned out cute despite myself. Sorry.

The owls are ready made store bought iron on applications. I was a little worried they might not stick well, but they were quite clingy, so I'm hoping they will stay that way.

As a contrast to the outside I used a more busy fabric for the inside cover.

I didn't feel like that fabric needed anything extra. Nor did I want to make too much fuss about the pages. Mostly because I want Monk to put her own mark on this book.  The book is filled with beautiful handmade papers in natural colors with here and there a more colorful page. I have used my sewing machine to sew borders around the pages. I varied the types of stitches and this was a great opportunity to try out the different settings of my sewing machine. Here's some samples of the spreads in this journal.

I'm hoping that by the time she's finished with it the journal will be unrecognizable and filled to the brim with all sorts of stuff. I hope she enjoys using it without being afraid to ruin it. In fact: I want her to ruin it!

I used a piece of beautiful lace to tie the book up. This adds even more cuteness of course but like I said, I couldn't help myself. ;-) And with all of this I considered the book finished. I'm hoping she loves it.

Wishing you all a very artsy week!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm published!

For the past few months I've been keeping a little secret from just about everybody except one partner in artsy crime. I didn't want to jinx anything and mostly I just didn't know exactly how it would turn out. But today there's no more doubt, because for the first time in my life some of my artsy stuff has been published in a magazine! And not just any magazine. It just happens to be one of my favorite magazines, Flow!

This is the special winter edition in which my stuff is published.

I have talked about this magazine before because it's a great source for collage fodder and actually quite a few journal spreads of mine have pictures or words from this magazine, especially where the altered atlas is concerned. It has a really nice unique style and philosophy and sometimes a quite retro feel to it. What I also like about it is that it's the first Dutch magazine where I've seen things like Etsy get mentioned or people like the wonderful Keri Smith.

Out of the blue, a few months ago I was approached by a journalist from this magazine who wanted to write on art journaling for their extra winter edition about mindfullness. She asked if I would be willing to answer some questions about it,  and of course I was game! I mean, I've never (NEVER) seen any Dutch books or journals write about art journaling and it just happens to be my favorite thing ever and when my favorite magazine wants to know more about it, of course I want to pitch in!

This is the spread in the article where my work is shown. Six pictures, wow!

At first I simply assumed I was part of the research and that was that, which was fine with me, but after a while the journalist asked me for some images of my journals, saying there would be no guarantee that any of them would be published. That's when my nerves started to come alive a little, I mean, the idea of having my journal spreads in a magazine just made me giddy. But I didn't want to get my hopes up too high.

I knew the magazine would come out this week and I also knew I would be getting a free sample, but to my surprise one of my friends saw the article before me and texted me about it. I was completely stunned to not only be quoted and have my blog mentioned (which I already knew about, because the journalist sent me a trial version of the article) but to have not just one, but six (SIX!) images of my journals in the final article.

Close up of right page

So today I just had to have the magazine in my hands. Never mind that I will still get one for free. I would never cut up that one, because I want to keep it and treasure it. So an extra issue  for collage purposes would be a good idea anyway. So I ran to the bookstore and got it. I was so psyched about it all I showed the salesperson my pages! I was so happy I even bought some chocolates to treat my coworkers and have them share in my giddyness.

The article is seven pages long and has some beautiful journals of other artists in it, which of course I cannot show as it's not my work, but the Dutchies among you should really check it out. It's a really nice story with some very good links and book titles for people to peruse. I'm really pleased to have been a part of this.

Close up of left page

I'm also curious if this will bring some extra traffic to my blog of course. I have no idea if something like this affects traffic or not. But mostly I hope that some Dutch people will have that revelation that I felt when I first heard about art journaling. I was just blown away by the idea that you could do other things in a blank book than just write in it! If just one person finds their way into art journaling through this it will be worth it.

On a totally different note: the above inspired me to finally finish my about-me-page. If you have a moment to spare you might like to check it out, just click the tab above. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What are you up to Wednesday - part 31 (woyww 128)

The weeks just fly by, don't they? Here's the state of my studio. I've made a little nook for myself the past weekend!

I surrounded myself with my studio table and my easel, because all of a sudden I had this incredible need to paint! Not that I had any masterpiece in mind, I just needed the feel of the brush and the paint on the canvas. It's been months ago since I did anything on canvas and even then they were little bitty canvases for my 'sad girls'. Remember those? Our mayor won one! Anyway, I needed to paint so paint I did. I splashed on many layers and then I decided to do some masking with contact paper. Here's the current state of the painting:

I like the effect of the masks, but have no idea yet how it's all gonna turn out. The only thing I've decided so far is that the petals of the flowers will be painted pink. Otherwise I have no clue, but that's how I like it, so that's okay. ;-)

The other thing I've started on past weekend and am still working on is this:

The red book is one of the books I bought at the local thrift shop. I wrote about it here. This book is another atlas that will be turned into a journal! I have taken out half of the pages (more collage fodder!) and I have strengthened the binding with some duct tape. Now the left over pages need to be covered with gesso and then colored with paint so they are ready for journaling. This will take some time to finish, no doubt. But time I have since my next journal wil be ROD2.

On my table is one of the pages that I tore from the atlas above.

It's a picture of earth as seen from the moon. I liked all that black so much that I decided it would be a great background to try out the metallic pencils that I found on sale ages ago while shopping. You can't really see the metallic nature in the picture, but trust me, it's there. I still have to fill the rest of the page and it's a very relaxing thing to do. I may use this image for the cover of the second altered atlas, but I'm not sure yet. We'll see how it goes.

The thing I was working on last week but didn't show, the present for my friend, is finished and sent to my friend who had her birthday last Monday. I hope to show it to you next Friday, so keep your fingers crossed it has arrived safely! I always worry about stuff like that.

That's it for me today. Plenty to do, plenty to see. Now go check out other workdesks and make the owners happy with a comment!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The atlas continued

My altered atlas journal has about a week worth of journaling left in it and then I have to close this book. Today I wanted to show you some of its latest spreads. I'll just let them speak for themselves.

Hope you enjoy these peeks into my journal as much as I enjoy filling those spreads!

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What are you up to Wednesday - part 30 (woyww127)

Another Wednesday, another workdesk. Here's what's on mine as we speak.

What you see is a little doodle I did on some leftover paper last night before I went to bed. It was just a thing to pass the time, but it made me think that it might be a cool idea to do doodles like this on beautiful handmade papers and then include them in collages or stitched collages. Isn't it strange how even the smallest unimportant things can lead to an idea?

Here's the doodle up close. You'll have to forgive the quality of the picture, I just took a detail from the photograph above, 'cause I forgot to take a seperate picture. Hence things look a little crooked, but it's just to give you an idea of what I was doing.

Actually this piece of paper is a remnant of what I'm really working on right now, which is going on in my sewing room. But I can't reveal any of that, because it's a gift for somebody and I don't want to ruin the surprise. Just know that I've been a busy bee the past few days!

I also still owe you a picture of the finished inktense flower drawing that I showed some hints of in my past Wednesday post. So here it is:

I finished it sometime last week and I'm only moderately pleased with it. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. Its...okay. I do love the colors though. In any case I'm glad it's finished and I can move on to new pages in my sketchbook. ;-)

Hope you are all having a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Score! (Some Kreadoe Loot)

I'd known it was coming for a year. I'd been saving for it for months. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks. I had to leave home for it for days. And my sister and I traveled to get to it for hours. Last Saturday finally it was time for our annual visit to the Kreadoe, a big craft supplies fair in the city of Utrecht which is in the center of the Netherlands.

We went there by train and when we left the train station this sign was standing outside the escalator to tempt us to travel to any European capital we could think of. It's got nothing to do with the fair, but I just had to take a picture of it.

Anyway, we could not be tempted, we had plans!, so we followed the crowd and walked to our destination of the day. They hung out the flags for us. We wouldn't have settled for anything less. ;-)

The Kreadoe was being held in the Jaarbeurs,which is a big complex of halls where all sorts of events are being held all through the year.

But we came for this one. (I'm so glad some of you Dutchies told me you hated the name too, makes me feel very validated.) For the non Dutchies: the word Kreadoe has something very childish and belittling to it. It's a word sandwich from the words for 'create' and 'doing' and it just sounds...yucky, like we're a bunch of five year olds who get to play with old cardboard boxes or something. Bleh.

Coming into the entrance hall it was clear we weren't the only ones going. We arrived just before the fair opened, which was at 10 am. It was going to be a long day.

We always start out with coffee and apple pie at one of the several catering services in the halls. We were smart enough to move forward to another hall, which was still very quiet at that time. I took the following picture to give you an idea of the size of the thing. This picture was taken in the central isle of the second hall. There were eight isles in this hall and where I am standing when taking the picture is about halfway through. There were two halls filled with stalls. Do your math people! It. Was. Big. ;-)

It stayed this quiet for about ten minutes and then every nook filled up with people. Apart from that moment early in the morning we did not get to sit for one minute until about 5 pm when we left. We had ourselves a seven hour fair!

Meet my sister! This is somewhere halfway through the day. She's showing off her shopping bag. Everybody got one. I can't show her loot of the day, but trust me, she left happy and broke, just like me.

And this is pretty much how busy it was all day. At some points people were crawling over each other like ants. But it's all worth it and it's not so busy that you can't reach or see anything. Still, in all, sister and I agreed that it was even busier than previous years. And we have years and years of experience to go by. ;-)

Enough about the fair. Let's get to the important stuff. Time to show you all the things I bought. It's a lot. I threw cash around like it meant nothing to me. But I'd saved for this event so it was okay. Wanna see what I got? Here we go!

I was overcome with joy at finding these gorgeous stencils. They had so many that I drove my sister crazy going back and forth changing my mind again and again. I wanted them all, but decided on these four. The other two are templates for banners and paper shapes that will come in handy. 

I got some very cute collage sheets with vintage images. Those will go in my collection.  I always make color copies of sheets like this to save money and keep the originals for reference. On the top are some sticker sheets and elements that will probably be used in my journals.

No visit to this fair is complete without me buying some pretty papers. In the front is some 8x8 inch paper in sweet colors and in the back are two K&Company stacks and one Graphic 45. The last one was a wonderful find for me. It's the "On the boardwalk" themed pack that I have been looking for for ages now and was sold out everywhere I looked and here it was just lying on a table ready for me to snatch it away!
The bottom (christmassy) stack is actually only half a stack as I shared this one with my sister. We each got one piece of each paper in it. I'm not a traditional scrapbooker, but I love all the supplies that scrapbookers can choose from. I use most of my pretty papers for mixed media or collage and for making books of course.

The next thing is a something new I am planning to try this winter. It's two little packs of polymer clay. I have the book Mixed Media Mosaics by Laurie Mika and it's amazing what she does with this stuff. So I figured I should give it a try sometime in the near future, just to see if I can do it too.

The fair was overflown with stamps. One more beautiful than the other. It's a good thing I know from experience that I won't use ready made images in stamps. I prefer alphabets, patterns and textures or just little decorative elements. So I got three texture stamps and one little alphabet. I also got some new color stazon ink pads (I love love love stazon), some sparkly spray inks and some distress stains. The latter I've never tried before, so we'll have to see if I like them.

It's the curse of the mixed media person that we can use everything. So I also had to have some fabrics. The bigger pieces are 'real' fabrics, the little rolls are more like a kind of artificial fiber material. I'm sure it has a name, I just don't know what it is. Anyway I bought it all for the pretty patterns and colors.

I can't say enough how much I love ribbons and lace. I didn't get any of the latter, but I did get plenty of ribbons and I also got some small trinkets like fake cameo's and plastic butterflies. And there's also a small collection of Hello Kitty pendants in there that will be nice to decorate a journal with.

Last but not least I got two books. The doodle book I've been eyeing for a while, but it was out of print. Probably because of this I got it on sale. The other is a book on watercolor that I was very surprised to find as it is a Dutch translation of Heather Smith Jones' Water paper paint! It's so rare that these really cool books get translated, so I was over the moon with this find.

All these goodies will have to last me for a while. Not that I won't buy anything until next year, but I won't have a shopping spree like this, that's for sure. I'm sure you can imagine that sister and I were exhausted after all this walking and shopping and gawking at beautiful things. We were very happy when we got home and found my brother in law had already bought some Chinese food for us to enjoy. I slept really well that night!

Hope you enjoyed my little show and tell and wishing you all a wonderful artsy week!