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June 2013
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August 2013

Donna Downey Mixed-Media Workshop Weekend

This weekend was so fun! I've been looking forward to this for about two months now, and it lived up to the anticipation. The scrapbook store I go to, Papercraft Clubhouse, had Donna Downey come to town for a weekend of workshops. I took 3 of the 4... one Friday night and two on Saturday.

I met up with my friend Patty (we met at the Mixed Media club at the Clubhouse) to take classes. Before we started, there was a reception where we hung out, chatted, set up for class, etc... I got to chat with Donna bit, reminiscing about the convention in Paris where I first met her and took classes back in 2006. She actually remembered me! But since I think I was the only American there, that's not too surprising... lol.

Patty and I with Donna Downey
The Clubhouse also put out a beautiful candy buffet - we could put together our own bag of goodies.

Donna Downey Reception Candy Bar
Friday night's class was a "She is Strength" collage. We worked on a 6"x18" canvas and learned lots of techniques. I kind of made it my own - I brought pictures of poppies to go with the theme instead of using the images in the kit. I'm so glad I did... I love the result.

She is Strength Collage - Donna Downey Class
Saturday was a FULL day. We started at 10am with The Big 4-0 - learning 40 mixed media techniques in 5 hours... we got a journal and filled it with ideas so that we can use it as a reference book. They're meant to be starting points for backgrounds, or things that can work together. Here's one of the techniques as we worked through the books - using Distress Stains with stencils.

Big 40 Donna Downey Class In Progress
That was a very fast-paced and jam-packed class, but lots of great ideas. This is going to be a book that I keep close at hand in my studio!

The second Saturday class was "Paint Like an Artist - Stencil Art." I think this was my favorite... we learned how to turn our acrylic paints into spray paints (in spritz bottles) and created layers and layers of stenciled designs as a foundation piece. I didn't get a photo at this stage, but the next one we added doodled paint layers using precision tip bottles... here's what it looked like before I started the next phase.
Paint Like an Artist Donna Downey Class - Foundation
Then Donna showed us how to take it to the next level by adding the focal images that we were going to build the foreground around:

Paint Like an Artist - Donna Downey Class How-to
And here's my final canvas... I love it!

Paint Like an Artist Donna Downey Class - My final canvas
And me with the canvas after 10 hours of workshops!

Me with final Paint Like an Artist Canvas
And that's it! It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot, came away with projects I love, and had a lot of fun. Now we're talking about getting a group to go down and do a weekend at Donna's studio in North Carolina. How fun would that be? We'll see what happens!


More Happy Little Moments

Last year (or the year before?) I took a class at Studio Calico called Happy Little Moments. Last month they had a 2nd class - More Happy Little Moments where I did a second altered book. This time, since I thought I was moving to Chicago (which still hasn't been ruled out - it's just not happening immediately), I wanted to do something to remember all of the things I love about my 113 year old house here in Connecticut. So that's what I did in my book - focusing on the little details that made me decide to take this house (which definitely doesn't include the lack of air conditioning, the musty old-wood smell from the bottom staircase, or the plethora of bugs and spiders I've found! The daddy long-legs love that musty staircase.) But there's plenty to love - enough to make it all worth while. Well, that and a portable air conditioner for the master bedroom in the attic. lol.

So here's the cover - I got an old Hardy Boys book with a glossy picture on the cover, so I put on a few coats of gesso and then gelli printed on both covers and the spine and then added a collaged house on top. It turned out great!

I worked on it on and off through June and finally finished the inside pages this last week. So here they are! A little peek at my house.




That's it! It was a fun project. Lots of stitching, modeling cream / paste and gesso. I'm pretty happy with it, and now I'll have a nice momento of my time here whenever I end up moving on.




I have all of these adorable pictures of the kids from my trip home over the 4th, and I wanted to do something with them. Or start doing something, at least. It just so happens that Gennifer Bursett recently released a great kit - Anchored Papers, elements, and washi tape. It was perfect for the pictures of the kids playing in the water in my parents' backyard, so I did a quick layout.

I could sure use one of those kiddie pools today! It's hot!

June Project Life

Well, I was a little later than I wanted to be getting this together, but the beginning of the month was super crazy! But I finished it up the other night and finally got some pictures so I can post it.

Here's June in a nutshell!

Project Life 2013 June p1-2
Project Life 2013 June p1-2
Project Life 2013 June p1-2
Project Life 2013 June p1-2
Project Life 2013 June p1-2(The little monster on the left is a sticker I got a the booth where I bought my monster - Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. I wanted to include him but he didn't fit on a page and I stuck it there for a second to get him out of the way and liked it. I'll see if he stays... the backing is still on for now.)

And you may have noticed the top card on this last page - my Summer To-Do List. I made this digitally with elements from Gennifer Bursett's Scarlet Letter papers and elements.

Summer To-Do Journal Card
Note the 2nd and 3rd items... that's part of why things got so crazy there for a while. My company is opening an office in Chicago as the headquarters for our new global digital team, which I am now on. At first they asked me to move there, and then they realized that I'm going to be 95% virtual regardless of where I work, so they decided not to put me through a relocation (which also saves them a ton of money!) Fortunately, I had a feeling that I shouldn't start doing anything for the move until they finalized everything and made the official announcement. So no worries! I think it would have been a great adventure, and I'm not ruling out having it happen at some point, but for now I get to stay in Connecticut which is great. I've started to meet people here and I love being so close to my family, so I think it's a win-win. Now I can focus on the rest of my list... and can I tell you how excited I am for the Donna Downey weekend next week? I'm taking 3 of the 4 workshops and I'm already starting to get my supplies ready. I can't wait!

And now... on to the next project!

What have I been up to?

I knew it had been a while since I last posted, but when I looked at the date I figured I'd better get something up here before so much time goes by that I don't want to try and get caught up!

First up, last month I went down to NYC to meet up with Angela and some of her friends for a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair. Super fun! Hot, though. We finished it up with some delicious Chinese food in Flushing. Yum.

Next up, I'm still tangling... a few more of the projects I've worked on over the last few weeks.

Zentangle Colored Rays - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Zentangle Leaves 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I was going to fill in all of the hexagons on that last one, but I liked the look and the vote on Instagram was unanimous to keep some spaces empty. So there it is!

I also went down to DC to see my family over the 4th. Many photos to edit... I'm feeling good that I got them off of my camera! We went to the pancake breakfast and parade at the church, played in the water at home, took Eraleigh to see Despicable Me 2 for her 5th birthday, grilled and had fireworks, a day at King's Dominion, and then just relaxing at my parents' house. It was a much needed break and so good to see everyone.

Then most recently, our Mixed Media Meet-up at the Papercraft Clubhouse was learning to use the Melting Pot. This was my favorite project - we took patterned tissue, stained it, and then dipped it in UTEE (ultra-thick embossing enamel) to make these really cool leaf embellishments. I need to make more!

Melt Art Project 1
Then this last week, I took a day off and Angela came up so we could go to ConnectiCon in Hartford. We felt a little old, and a bit out of place (I didn't really notice, though...) but we were there to see Brandon Sanderson (fellow BYU Alum! We were there at the same time, actually.) We got to meet him at his booth doing autographs and again that evening at a Q&A (we may have been in the front row. Nerds!) We also browsed the shopping floor and some of the different rooms to see what they had. Needless to say, the people watching was fabulous! We spent the entire day trying to guess who people were dressed up as. We didn't recognize very many costumes - lots of anime and game characters. But still fun.

Here's me with Brandon Sanderson - I got to wear a mist cloak too (goes with his Mistborn series of books, which is seriously brilliant.)

Wearing a Mistcloak - Meeting Brandon Sanderson
The day was lots of fun, and inspired me to finally read the last book in the Wheel of Time series, which Brandon finished writing. I just finished it today - I couldn't stop reading. It was excellent but at the same time, I'm finally glad to have reached the ending! 14 books, most over 800 pages. Good stuff. But now I can move on to read the rest of Brandon's books - several of which I already own and are sitting in that to-read pile. And since it's so hot lately, reading is about all I have the energy to do after work, so I'm starting to make a dent in said pile!

Anyway, that's what's been up... and now I'm off to bed!