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Antler Mixed Media

Preparations for the store continues and I wanted to add some earthy antlers to the shop but since I am not a fan of taxidermy I thought I would make some antler mixed media pieces.  I got online and looked for a Canadian distributor for Carboard Safari.  They are a company that brings you “environmentally friendly, recycled cardboard creations” which you assemble yourself.  They come in white and brown.  A few even come in black.  The first one I did was called Buck Jr. and I decided to paint him in a teal.

Antler Mixed Media

Then I took my favourite mint spray from Heidi Swap with a flower stencil to give it a bit of dimension.

Antler Mixed Media2

So many pieces to these guys, you have to be careful putting them together not to bend the bits.

Antler Mixed Media3

For Fred the moose, I left the craft background and applied black Liquitex Spray Paint with the Crafter’s Workshop Stencil Quatrefoil .  I am loving this new spray product as it has all the convenience of a spray paint without the nasty odour.  It also washes up with water if you get it while it is still wet.

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The antlers on this one even curve forward a little.  The details on these are great.

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I bought a third (because always in odd numbers when it comes to design and balance) which is Micro Tex, the longhorn.  I wanted to leave one in the natural kraft colour and since this guy’s pieces were so tiny I figured it was the best choice.  He even has a little ear tag.

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Don’t they look adorable all together???

Monday Journal- Parchment Paper Flowers

It has been quite a while since I have done a Monday Journal page/post.  So, I thought I would head over to see what the challenge is this week on Collage Obsession to try and inspire me.  This week’s theme is gardening.  It reminded me of the parchment paper flowers that I wanted to try and recreate from the Art of Wild Abandonment class I have been finishing up this week.  This is a class from Junelle Jacobson that I started almost a year ago (where does the time go?) and have been trying to get done before it expires, haha.  I have been sketching all of the projects just to get myself in the habit of sketching as I am not a big fan.  Strange isn’t it?  An artist that doesn’t really like to draw.  I just like getting right in there and getting dirty.

Here is the sketch I did of her project.  I finished it up with some Faber Castell Pitt Pens.  I knew I wanted to do the actual project as well since working with the parchment paper really intrigued me.

Parchment Paper Flowers

For the background, I started with covering the pages of my art journal with Absorbent Ground and let that dry.  I then sprayed it with water and applied drops of fluid acrylic in a teal, yellow and red.  Once done, I just smeared it all with my fingers, trying not to overdo it as it would have turned into a muddy brown mess.

Parchment Paper Flowers2

  I got so carried away I forgot to take more pictures of my process, haha.  It was a good day :)  Here is the finished piece.  It isn’t exactly a garden but flowers come from a garden so it should count right?  The flowers were individually cut from parchment paper that I had painted florescent red and covered with Mod Podge.  Covering the parchment with podge once it has been painted is a very important step as the paint will peel right off.

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 The vases were made from vintage sheet music and the centres from Cinamon coloured Stickles (to add a little sparkle).

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 Loving the black stars in the background done with the stencil.

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I finished it off with a quote that just came to me while I did the original sketch which was “Art washes away the dust of every day life” not sure who said it, but it is totally true as it did that exact thing for me today.

Collage Obsession Challenge – “I Can Fly!”

Since I hadn’t participated in a bit I thought I would head over to the Collage Obsession Challenge and see what it was for the week.  As soon as I saw that it was “I can fly”, it instantly made me think of the commission piece I needed to finish for this wonderful lady who can fly and often does.

Her word of the year is CHANGE.  Just like mine.  When she saw my finished change piece that I made to remind myself throughout the year, she asked if I could make her one as well.  I made the change on her piece much bigger.

I can fly1

 This will serve as a little reminder for her that she CAN FLY on the days she is just not feeling it along with keeping her on track with the change she is wanting in her life for this year.  A little spiritual kick in the pants.  I think we can all use it sometimes.  The power of positive thinking is an amazing thing.  You can see the little caterpillar under the words, that change into the butterflies above.

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I used Golden Glass Bead Gel mixed with brown paint for this part.  I usually mix it with ink.  I am not sure which I like better.  Either way provides lots of texture but you can’t really see all the beads in this one.  Might just be the dark colour though.

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I can’t believe how quickly it came together.  Was able to finish it while the little muffin was napping, now that is quick.  I think that it helps that the person I was making it for is a pretty amazing and inspiring woman.

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I hope she enjoys it.  Now I just need to get it to the lovely Louise unless I keep it and switch it out for mine, haha.  I like this one much better :).

Mixed Media Bridal Shower

I have been wanting to share a bridal shower I did a few months ago and I had promised the guests I would so they could see the finished product but, I had misplaced the memory card that the photos were on.  However, I just found it, YEY!!!

It all started when I met the nicest couple during Italian Week at the Preston Street Mercato this past summer.  They were both the kind of people that being in their presence makes your day brighter.  They were so sweet about my art and thought my party/showers were a great idea.  They took my business card and I didn’t really think anything more of it.  A couple months later I received an e-mail from Ann, a maid of honour saying her bride insisted I come teach at her bridal shower.  I was flattered and excited, although I wasn’t sure who the bride was.  After getting all of the details about the colours and general theme of the wedding, this is the invitation I made for all the guests.

The bride had seen my post on a previous bridal shower I had done and wanted the same sort of piece.  So, off I went to prepare the backgrounds for 35 pieces.  Yes, 35, it was huge.  I was excited to see how it would all come together though.

Once Cassandra (the bride) arrived at the shower, I instantly remembered her and was truly honoured she had wanted me to be a part of such a big day (I know, I am a sap, haha).  Here she is wearing the special vintage apron as the guest of honour.

With all of her bridal party (they were also the hostesses for the shower), holding the prepared canvases and ready to paint.

Everyone is hard at work.  They all just dove in and were so great it made my job easy. One of the birds in progress.More of the girls getting their art on in their Peaberry™ aprons.

The mother of the bride with her two pieces.  She made an extra one for grandma since she couldn’t make it.

Once everyone was done I took it home to outline everything in black and put some finishing touches to bring it all together.

Check out all of the depth and texture each piece has.  I always insist each guest sign the back of their masterpiece and write a little note to make each it even more personal.

Here are the two birds which represent the couple, Cassandra and Matt.  I made sure to bring some red papers and such as I heard that was Matt’s favourite colour (We must include the groom some how).  Ann also had me write a special quote on it before I delivered it to the bride and groom (as a surprise).

I hope they are as happy as I am with the way it turned out.  My favourite part of the day was when a few people who were a little sceptical about the whole thing were surprised by how much they enjoyed themselves.  Some had never done anything like this before and just wanted to keep creating.  Hopefully I have opened a little something in them that they will continue to nurture.  Makes my heart happy :)

Word of the Year for 2013

It is time for my word of the year but first off, I wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR and a huge thank you to all my subscribers and followers.  You are helping my dreams come true and are deeply appreciated.

I am a part of this amazing group of “Flyers“ and some of us have decided to do a blog hop to share our word of the year.  So, if you are starting with me, grab yourself a warm beverage and do the tour, I promise it will be worth visiting all of these talented ladies.

Choosing a word of the year may seem a little more difficult then having New Year’s resolutions, but I think not.  It is a good way to keep you focused and on task throughout the year.  Although, deciding on which word to go with was a little harder then I expected.  My motto which has come to me over the last couple of years is “Follow Your Bliss”.

(I finally got to do some painting today so I thought I would paint my motto and word of the year for when my studio space is ready)

In the past (prior to discovering mixed media) when people asked what I did for a living I would say, “I’m a paralegal, but I have yet to find my bliss”.  I am happy to report that I no longer say that.  My current answer is “My day job is as a paralegal, but I am an artist”.  It has taken me a while as it felt almost arrogant to say that, like “who do I think I am??”  Through the love and support of my man and friends, I have finally claimed ownership of my lot in life and man, does it feel great.  It has been a busy but amazing year and I am hoping that 2013 will be even better.  But I digress.  I kind of wanted to let you know where I was coming from when I say I wanted to pay homage to my motto and truly follow my bliss (practice what I preach, so to speak).  I kind of knew what I wanted it to be but couldn’t find a “pretty” word to my liking.  I then received my ”Daily Truth” from the Brave Girls.

“Dear Courageous Girl,

When clarity finally comes, it is so important to not be talked out of it by voices that are not our own. So often, when we are making difficult choice, other people, other forces and other messages are completely opposed to the decision that is best for our own life. Change is uncomfortable, and we resist change in others often as much as we resist change in ourselves.

Sometimes we just have to keep sacred things to ourselves until our resolve, decision or goal is not feeling so wobbly and timid and fragile. Sometimes we have to give it time to grow and to become strong and solid and clear before it is safe enough to share it.

Remember the peace you felt when the decision was finally made. Remember the clarity you felt when you knew the answer for sure. Remember that you knew it was right. What made it muddy was the outside opinions, preferences and judgments that really have no business making these kinds of decisions for your one beautiful, precious life.

Stay strong, dear girl. You know the way to go. You know what to do.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

You are so very loved.
xoxo”

So, after reading that, flowery or not, I chose CHANGE.  I have realized that it does not have to be “pretty”, it is what I want for myself and my family in the next year.

(Chris made the awesome aluminum word plate for me and below is the entire painting.  Don’t you just love the felt rolls?)

Some of my favourite CHANGE quotes:

“Life is change.  Growth is optional.  Choose wisely.”

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown”

“We must become the change we want to see”

Now to make a -to do- list to help myself achieve all of this great change.  I think I might also make myself a bracelet with my word as a daily reminder.  Look out world, here I come!!!

Don’t forget to head over and visit the talented mixed media artist Michelle Hill and check out what her word is.

Owl Mixed Media and Mini Album

I have always had an affinity for owls.  Their beauty and the seemingly peaceful calm they posses is inspiring.  I have had an owl journal for years and painted this owl mixed media piece representing Chris and I a few years ago.

Aren’t we cute???

I have come to realize that owls are all the rage right now and you can find them EVERYWHERE!!  You would think being such a big fan, I would be loving this, but for some reason, I was not.  I guess it made me feel like everyone was going to get overloaded with all of these sacred creatures and then be sick of them, including myself.  As humans, we are fickle that is for sure.  Then I started thinking, what does it matter?  They will always be special to me, haha.

So, I am preparing a few sample mini albums for Molly over at The Village Quire.  It is an adorable little shop on Richmond in Westboro with cards and all kinds of adorable things btw.  I thought in honour of these amazing birds, I would make an owl one.

I thought the cover was missing something so I added this adorable charm to it.

The base is just a chipboard album I purchased at Micheals.

I first painted all the pages white then covered them with paper using a matte medium (Modge Podge would work as well).

Once they were dry I added some paint to create a bit of texture.

Then it was all about simple embellishments with stamps, card stock and various ribbons.  Of course I had to us felt, one of my loves.  I also added a little owl with pearl eyes on each page.

Now, it’s your turn to embrace the hibou and go make something.  Don’t forget to come back and share it here with me!!

Bridal Shower Canvas

So, last weekend I was asked to teach and prepare a Bridal Shower canvas by a maid of honour.  Since I just happened to also be a bridesmaid in this wedding, I was more than happy to do it.  It also meant I was close to the bride and knew she was a fan of blues and greens.  Which, when you are planning an art piece that is hopefully going to hang in her love nest, is quite helpful.  Since their original wedding theme was going to be love birds, I thought that would be a good place to start.

Here is the background I prepared for everyone.  I drew in pencil a basic outline for everyone to follow.

I then pulled out papers, paints and embroidery floss.

I think it helped the nervous ones that cosmos were being served.

Each person got a piece of the canvas to do with what they pleased (or almost what they pleased, haha).  It was funny cause the bride ended up adding an extra bird to her piece as she somehow missed some of the instructions.  As I always say, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.  In this case, it was entirely appropriate as the bride has a son who is a huge part of their lives.

So off they went.  They all worked hard and lovingly on their individual pieces.

Here I am with the bride.

Here is the piece once the guests were done with it.

I then took it home and added some finishing touches to it to make it a little more cohesive.

I added the word “LOVE” to it since that is what weddings are all about it, isn’t it?

Finally, the two love birds.

What a great way to spend an afternoon!!!

Italian Week

It’s Italian Week in Ottawa and I am super excited to check out all the yummy food and culture over the weekend.  Here is the schedule for the weekend in case you want to check it out.

It is also the kick-off weekend for the Preston Street Mercado, woooooo!!!!  It is from 10am to 5pm just off of Preston on Young Street.  It is right next the queensway bridge.  The market will be Saturday and Sunday.  I have a few new pieces.  Here is a sneak peak..

I love mushrooms, so cute!!!  Check out the dancing peeps…

I also did these two birdie pieces.

Hope to see you there!!

Burlap Coffee Bean Bags

I made an awesome discovery the other day.  Chris was heading to Princess Auto and I of course wanted to go along.  Why? you ask.  I know I am generalizing here but I am sure most women enjoy a trip to Princess Auto about as much as our men love shoe shopping.  I use to think that way, but no longer.  I am a huge snooper and discovered this strange corner of the store that has a few aisles of all kinds of different odds and ends.  Which have nothing to do with autos, or princesses for that matter.  Every time I snoop through that area I always come home with some kind of treasure.  This last time was the ultimate score as I found Guatemalan burlap coffee bean bags.  How random hey?  There were only 4 on the shelf which I snatched up immediately and proceeded to scour the store looking for an employee to find me more.  No such luck, that is all they had.  She even said I was lucky to get 4 as there were only 2 listed in the computer.

I love the earthy look of burlap and couldn’t wait to get some projects started with it.  The first thing I did was to recover this chair…

BEFORE

AFTER

I also made some burlap canvases, which I used to make this small flowery mixed media piece.

I am also experimenting with making flowers out of it, which are turning out pretty cool.  I am sure those will be turning up very soon.  So what is the lesson of the day?  Don’t pass up the opportunity to explore a new store, you just never know what you will find.

Collage Obsession Challenge – Tulips

Time for this week’s Collage Obsession Challenge – Tulips.  I thought it was quite appropriate since it is Canadian Tulip Festival time here in Ottawa.  They have deemed Elgin Street “Blooming Boulevard” and have put beautiful tulips all down the street.

  They look stunning!

I have taken these tulips as my further inspiration and made mine purple.

I made my tulips a little more modern however.

With a lot of texture and layers (as usual).

Hopefully I am able to get out and enjoy some of the festival, it is supposed to be gorgeous!!!!!