Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tim's Tags February...Art Deco and Underoos!

It's time for another Tim's Tags! Here's my February entry.

Lately, I've been in this Art Deco phase. 

Well, not really a 'phase', mind you. A phase would be imply that I was actually doing a series of projects that had one or more design elements of Art Deco in them.

And we ALL know I'm certainly NOT doing enough of anything to qualify as a series. 

This is my tag for February in the Tim's Tags 2016 challenge. He's doing sort of a mishmash of techniques, back from when he revolutionized crafting and renamed our junk drawers 'stash' and the crap that fills them to overflowing 'ephemera'. 

The more I think about it, while Tim's inventions have been terrific for people like me (who never thought they could do the 'art thang'), I think his success stems directly from convincing us that we CAN do things we never thought we could, by inventing products and styles that look cool no matter WHAT level of artist you are.

Aaaaand he gave us billions of dollars of products to do it with.

God bless Tim.

Look...I love the whole artist experience. But when I can buy lots of stuff that all coordinates and makes it impossible for me to mess anything up, well, that's just genius. 

Tim's entire design line works perfectly together!! There's nothing to really figure out or guess at... it's like the "Underoos" of crafting!!! 

Come to think of it, that's either the best-or worst-compliment that one can receive. Don't you think?

Not that Tim minds, I'm sure. I've not met him, but he seems like a fun guy who would probably dig the Underoos reference. 

And, if he wasn't too crazy about it, a good night's sleep on his mattress stuffed with 100 dollar bills will make it palatable in the morning. 

heh heh

Now for the tag-

I used black and red distress paints and, when dry, stamped his valentines stencil in white stain over it. You can see the "U" of "I love you" at the right of the picture, and the letters ISS for "kiss" underneath the photo and to the left. The overstamping is great but a BEAR to photograph. Then I embossed it with my art deco embossing folder.

The XOXO is gold embossing paste/powder and I just added one of Tim's stars and frames to set off the picture of the couple by Lyendecker. That fab feather at the top was in my 'stash' and was what set me off on the whole theme..

You really SHOULD come join us!!! No pressure and a LOT of fun. Plus the excuse to throw down and buy lots of new stuff to play with. And who isn't up for that???

Monday, February 15, 2016

ATC Swap "Up in the Air" for atcsforall

The great thing about this swap is the theme "Up in the Air"

What's so great about the theme is that it pretty much encompasses everything in my craft room, so I didn't sit here thumping my head on my desk, praying for an idea, an intervention or a drink. Usually, in that order.

I wanted to try to do three different mediums. So, the balloon on the right is mixed media using Adirondack paint dabbers, gold embossing paste (hard to see the writing to the right, I know) and some tissue tape. The one in the middle is a tag I coated with black, stamped random images on and clear embossed, covered with blue paint and, while it was tacky, gently rubbed the paint off the images. Using a stencil, I used gold embossing paste to add the words "Release and Surrender". The gold butterflies are coming off the card. The third is using a Penny Black stamp that I embossed in gold and watercolored. I added a couple of brass accents; dragonfly, butterfly and bird. 

I have an extra as a hostess gift that has nothing to do with the theme, necessarily. 

I was just in an Art Deco mood and, sometimes, you just gotta run with what comes to you! 

I embossed a piece of black cardstock and embossed with clear embossing powder. Found that cool shape online and printed on cardstock and transparency to layer over for a 'pow' effect. The Chrysler building, car and hood ornament from Lalique' I also found and the girl comes from an awesome collage sheet by Laura Carson  HERE 

The quote is by Harold Clurman, a noted 20's writer.

Today has been a weird day. Kids out of school and I hate when I go through a period of heavy creativity, where everything works and it's effortless, to the inevitable crash. Which I think is happening. But we'll see. 

Worse comes to worst, there's always wine and a bubble bath. Trust me when I say that taking advantage of all that enough times will result in your not even KNOWING you're in a slump. 

Even passed out. 

Trust. ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Insomnia and Stink Bugs

I want to start by explaining WHY I have two pictures of my final ATC in the It's fairly simple, actually. I like the one with the white background and the husband likes the black background. Granted, it's not that I ever listen to him, but since I'm still not quite secure enough in my art to totally DISCOUNT everything he says  (as is my usual M.O.)  I put them both in and left it at that. 

You know, just in case, for ONCE, he's right.

Okay, okay...that was a bit harsh. Especially when I'm counting the minutes until he gets home and can deal with the stink bug that is now residing in my sunroom.

I KNOW the stink bug is still there because I set my little high-functioning autistic kid right outside the room so that he can keep track of it. You see, the stink bug seems to KNOW when my husband is home, and immediately hides. When the husband leaves, the stink bug is back out, and flying around the house specifically looking to torment either Liam or myself. 

We have a 4 bedroom house. My craft room is downstairs. While our house isn't huge, it has got enough space for a stink bug to pretty much have its run of things. Wouldn't you think that would be the case??? I would! That's why, for the life of me, I can't understand why it would somehow track me down in my craft room and wait until I'm in the middle of a pretty touchy project, and move just into my periphery and sit there and stare at me. Until I notice it, that is, and run screaming from the room. If I'm lucky, the husband will come down stairs and escort the little *&*&(^*( out of the house.

Sidenote; No...I have no idea how he transports the thing, nor do I care. The only thing I refrain from asking is whether or not he actually touched it. Because if he did, I'd have to divorce him. 

Sorry, but some things you simply cannot get over. And a man who handles a stink bug is a man who will never touch me again. Of course, to be fair, we ARE married with three kids, and all touching is pretty much obligatory at this point.'s the principle of the thing that must be upheld. If I let him off the hook, then my kids will insist on keeping them as pets, and the next thing you know,someone will accidentally swallow one and I'd never be able to kiss my child again and probably have to put them up for adoption. Which is NOT easy when they're in their teens.

Sorry...I've been out of Cymbalta for a couple of days and things are getting a little surreal. 

Hence the insomnia part. 

There is NO way I can sleep with a stink bug loose in the house. All I can see in my head is one running in my nose, ears or-God forbid-my mouth (retching) and that would probably push me over the edge. And since all of you know me as operating pretty dang close to the edge already, well, NO ONE wants to see me pitch headfirst into the abyss. Not even that stink bug. It would have no IDEA what kind of hurt it would be bringing on itself in that case. Bottom line....I have a .380 Smith and Wesson and I'm always looking for moving target practice.

I'm aware that SOME of you do not understand my feelings toward one of God's creatures. To be fair, however, I'm not totally convinced God signed off on something as awful as a stink bug. First of all, it contributes NOTHING to society. It's an ugly stalker of a bug that you can't bring yourself to stomp on because of the disgusting smell it leaves behind. Hence, the name. This is a bug that will do whatever it takes to track you down, time and time again, until you develop the some weird tic where you jump every 30 seconds because you're convinced you've seen it sitting there...mocking you. And never mind its obvious magical ability to disappear on a whim, only to come back when you're in a totally impossible position to consider in the tub, in the middle of heat embossing, in the final moment of winning an argument with your spouse/kid/mother or with one leg in a pair of leggings and the other one, out. 

I'm telling you, people. they are devious and evil.

Fortunately, we have one...and only one...defense against them. And that is soapy water in a spray bottle. That's right, you heard me. A little Dawn and water and a long reaching spray bottle. Apparently, the dish soap eats through the (swallowing hard) oily layer on its body and, though it isn't instant, it WILL kill a stink bug. Unfortunately, they usually start flying around, which starts me to screeching and running around and doesn't really help anything (except make me feel better) but I DO take comfort in knowing that this method does make them die in a slow, horrible way. 

Hey...I'll take happiness where I can get it.

Sorry, but I've got to wrap this up. The kid just informed me the stink bug has disappeared from the sunroom, so I've got to grab my children and begin the stink bug emergency evacuation procedure. Which is to get into the car, go out to dinner and drop in on the neighbors for a visit until the husband gets home, or the neighbor gets a clue and comes over to take care of business. 

Either way, I've won the battle.

THIS time.

About the ATC: 
(which I sometimes forget is WHY I started all this anyway)

Art Deco mirror frame and butterfly girl are collage pieces. I printed her out on a transparency sheet and cut the wings out, coloring them with copics before using glue dots to attach. I glued first frame to silver mirror cardstock, with part of girl underneath and used another frame with mounting tape on top of that. I cut out the mirror face and flowers to layer and used a die cut branch to cut small leaves from. A few metal flower embellishments and it was done. It's a quick project...when you're NOT standing up every 32 and 1/2 seconds to make sure the stink bug is where it's supposed to be.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cherished Mother Swap Shrine

I know it's just me, but how do you NOT feel weird when using the word 'swap' in the same sentence as the Virgin Mary????

But it IS for a swap. Our theme for this month is 'Cherish'. And when you think of that word, the first thing to come to mind is a shrine. Right?

Okay...the FIRST thing that came to mind for me was the song 'Cherish' from the 70's. It was sung by the group The Association. I LOVED that song! Remember???

"Cherish is the word I used to describe,
All the feelings that I have hiding here for you inside"

What an awesome song. 

Unfortunately, having OCD, when I hear a song like this from the distant past, my OCD kicks into overdrive and the melody and lyrics tend to play on loop in my head until I'm ready to track down every last member of The Association and END them.

To combat this, I tend to make up different lyrics to the endless loop playing in my head,. For example:

"Garish is the word that more than describes,
What my husband's ex-wife looks like all the time"


"Perish is the word that always coincides
with my in-laws visits for which my doctor won't prescribe" doesn't have to make sense...I just need to derail the dang thing.

Much like the original topic to the post has been completely derailed. And yes...I blame the ASSociation for that, too.

Back to my original concern...and what it was is anybody's guess at this point, so I'll just move on.

I really, REALLY like to see how far I can take a project. I used to make shrines from Altoid cans. But since they weren't the right size for an ATC, I knew I'd have to make one by hand. Using thin chipboard, black cardstock, velvet and flocked paper and a gorgeous picture of the Blessed Mother and Son, I grabbed some Dresden scrap and went to town. 

I made the altar from chipboard and glued the chalice, candlestick and cross on top. Most everything was adhered using glue dots and E6000. As for time, it actually was a pretty quick project. Of course, my design isn't exactly straight and the bottom part is a little wavy and I can see the shine from the E6000 and the gold gilt on the edges is a little splotchy...wait...excuse me...I need a moment with my OCD:

Me: YOU...YOU...don't you make me say it in a post about the Blessed Mother and Son

OCD: (mockingly) Careful!! You're getting awfully close to having to go to confession! And you know what happened last time!!

Me: Yeah...I know what happened last time...I had to explain how I ended up in a Confessional when I'm NOT EVEN A CATHOLIC!!!! 

OCD: (giggling) Sorry...that was pretty funny. Except to the priest, of course.

Me: Yes...freaking hilarious. But I'll tell you what...if you start nitpicking this project and make me tear it up and redo it, I promise you I will medicate you out of existence. I may have to sit around and drool for a couple of weeks, but you'll suffer...I promise....because NO ONE will talk to you, or listen, in Purgatory. And you know what else? There are lots and lots of framed pictures in Purgatory...and every single one of them is tilted. And no matter how many times you set them straight, they'll tilt again. And there's

OCD: You know, you don't have to be so hateful! I'm only here to help!! But the project is great!! I swear! Don't change a thing! Not even that rhinestone on the left that seems a little..I's fantastic!!! Wow. Look at the time. I'm going to punch out a little early and let Child and Mother-Related Anxiety get an early start. I'll see you tomorrow!! Or some day. Maybe. 

See? You just have to take charge of your neurosis every once in awhile and stand firm. You have to be strong and confident enough to KNOW that you've done a really good job and that you can take pride in what you've done. You did it to the best of your ability, so be proud!

And I'll do just soon as I fix that *(&(*&(*  rhinestone.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Children...the ties that bind...and gag.

To begin with, I did NOT write this blog title, nor am I responsible for the design of this ATC fan. There are two other women, both genius' in their fields, who are responsible for any moments of brilliance in this blawg today.

The late Erma Bombeck was my humor writing idol. The first book I read of hers was titled "Family...the ties that bind...and gag". 

The woman was/will always be, one of the premier humor writers of the 20th century.

The ATC fan design is by Laura Carson at, who is also a genius when it comes to taking a piece of paper and working magic with it. The downloadable tutorial is available HERE. 

I'm involved in 2 ATC swaps this month. This is the first of three for my ATC trade at I'd hoped to have gotten a little further along on the other 2-and at LEAST started the other swap I'm a part of-but I got a little behind today. That's what happens when the phone rings and it's your kid's school. Again. 

There are not enough drugs manufactured to get me to ANY 'happy place' with my three boys in the vicinity. 

Now, I realize that I'm not alone...most parents with a teen and a tween understand what I'm going through. 


But see, in my case, with two already precocious boys. you have to add a 9 year old high-functioning autistic kid, who just so happens to be the most verbal high-functioning autistic than most people have encountered....who is also a genius in all the wrong things. Couple this child with a teen and tween-whose verbal and grammatical skills are off the charts-and you've got a problem, friends. 

It's my fault...I know. You see, I made the mistake of actually communicating with my boys throughout their lives. I also insisted they have a firm grasp on language and world history.

 I thought I was so smart, talking to my Pre-K sons about the hugely important events that changed our world as we knew it: the World Wars ,the Civil Rights Era, Disco...

Oh...the arrogance.

How was I to know the WORST thing you can do is arm your children with knowledge? Because this, along with the ability to frame a cohesive argument, sounds the proverbial death knell for a parent. Mostly because what they lack in argument style, they make up for in stamina ..meaning, they will wear your middle-aged butt down.

 For those who think I'm kidding, go ahead. Make my mistake. See if it doesn't result in your kid's grandparents calling night and day to have you explain exactly what their precious grandson means when he uses the word 'obtuse' and will I define it for them...and is it a compliment?

For the record, I told them it was a geometry term.

Is it so wrong that I wish my kids were a little more NORMAL? You know, like the ones that, when disgusted with their parental units, complain to their friends, or make faces behind their backs? 

Why did I insist on having to be different??  

But, I did. 

Therefore, I have to take the blame when my 17 year old salutes me with "Ja, Mein Fuhrer" when I tell him to take out the trash, and wants to argue how the Constitution absolutely does pertain to those under the age of 18, and that I am interfering with his 'life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.' most egregiously. 

And I guess it's my fault when I ask my iphone for the weather report and Siri responds with "Will that be all, Bang Ciao?" This from my 12 year old anime obsessed tween.

And no...I have no idea WHO Bang Ciao is...I'm too afraid to look it up. 

This same little technological terrorist was also responsible for changing my iphone ring to a shrill, incessant alarm while a voice on a loudspeaker screams Caution...WIDE LOAD...Caution...WIDE LOAD".

It would've been funny had I NOT forgotten to turn off my ringer in church. 

Right in the middle of alter call. 

I could forgive this once in awhile, but coupled with coming home to a computer whose language had been reprogrammed to one with whistles, clicks and whoops...well...suffice it to say there are a few instances where I think Jesus is okay with drinking more wine than is offered at Communion. 

Even better are the times their my boy's teachers and I meet up for our bi-weekly lunch (most people call them 'parent-teacher conferences', but I see them so often we just decided to dispense with the formalities and meet up at Applebees) and they tell me how bright and well-spoken my children are. This, of course, is ALWAYS a preface to "(fill in the name of any one of my boys) somehow managing to access the admin computer and change the title of the  School Handbook to "The Communist Manifesto". 

Even worse, while trying to chastise him, my kid kept arguing his 'compulsion' to protest and  drawing a comparison between teachers and students by using the phrases 'bourgeois elites' and their repression of the 'working class'. 

As if he'd been Mirabeau, wallowing in the filth of 18th century Montmartre, France instead of leading a middle class existence in pokey, old Burlington, NC.  

My 9 year old HFA bundle of joy, Liam, is a veritable GENIUS at sensing the worst time to do whatever it is he feels compelled to do.

Like the time our new neighbors asked him how he got along with his older brothers and Liam responded with, "I like it when we all snuggle together before I have to go to bed. I LOVE having romantic family time!"

Of COURSE I don't know where he came up with that!  And you know it's totally innocent!!! 

But, yes, I know...we are a child services investigation just waiting to happen.

Liam has been going through a stage where he has to identify every person he sees. If he doesn't know their name, he'll just pick the first physical characteristic and go with that as an identifier. 

Would you really like to know what it's like when you're in the middle of Target and your kid is riding the cart like it's the Titanic, while greeting everyone he sees by what they look like?? "Hi fat girl!" "Hello black man!" Hello man with no leg! What happened to it? I can build you one out of Legos!"

Lately, he has begun greeting anyone over the age of 30 as "Grandma" and "Grandpa". 

Granted...most people are VERY nice when you explain about your autistic kid. But that doesn't make those first moments after the incident bearable, by ANY means.

But I finally decided I HAD to put my foot down. "You STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!" I said in a loud whisper behind clenched teeth. "They are NOT grandma and grandpa and you might hurt someone's feelings by saying it!! Do you understand???"

Wide-eyed, he nodded. He didn't say a word for a moment or so. Then, seeing an older couple in the check out line, he took a deep breath, looked at me, checked himself and yelled, "Hi...old woman! Hi old man!"

Don't get me boys are great. And I love them dearly. I wouldn't trade them for the world and no matter what, at the end of the day, I know what a lucky person I am. I say that to myself over and over....and over...and over....

And if THAT little mind trick doesn't work to keep me sane, well, there's always vodka.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Art, Passion, Mortality.....and an ATC Mermaid Tunnel Book.

I think I may be dying.

See, as a child, whenever something wonderful was on the horizon...a vacation, amusement park visit, etc. I would constantly worry that I would die before the event would take place. 

I remember being so excited about taking a train trip to Atlanta, one weekend. We had to be at the station at 1am for a 2am departure, so my parents set the alarm for midnight. Needless to say, I couldn't sleep. I tried to read to pass the time, but too worried for it to help much. All of a sudden, I heard a TERRIBLE noise and knew that the end had come...I was going to die and not get to go to Atlanta.

And yes...the irony of that statement does NOT escape me. Most of us would rather die than go TO Atlanta, nowadays. But remember, this is childhood.

You know...back when we had HOPE.

Anyway, I prayed death wouldn't hurt too much and gritted my teeth, waiting. 

The noise stopped. Turned out, it was the digital clock's alarm going off to wake my parents.

Through my 20's and 30's, while engaged in the sport of "Long distance Therapy and Counseling Marathons" (don't laugh...I placed top three...only behind my mother and ex-husband) I discovered that this isn't uncommon to some children. We know that there is but one thing that can take away an upcoming, exciting event, and that thing is death. Ergo, we become afraid of dying as the event nears.

Now, of course, I realize there were MANY things that could've disrupted those anticipated events: Weather, unexpected financial upsets, Democrats...all of these things had the potential to wipe-out any future plans. But at the age of 8, I only knew the occasional thunderstorm and 'economics' only meant that I needed .99 cents for the latest Shawn Cassidy 45.

I didn't know any democrats.

But I digress.

As an adult, I WISH I had enough awesome things on the horizon that would make me fear the disruption of opposed to praying for it. You know, the things we USED to get really excited about as kids, that are now the things we're willing to look up to Heaven and tell the Lord we're fine with checking out if He needs a volunteer. For example, school snow days (now, I suffer through them with 3 rambunctious boys at home) awesome vacations (that usually end up with us on the edge of bankruptcy) and Christmas (with both bankruptcy fears AND 3 boys hopped up on sugar who can't wait to try out their air soft guns...on each the house).

But today...TODAY, my a day I HOPE I don't bite it.

It started with my being accepted into a VERY cool ATC swap group. These ladies are very talented. So, they either think I am too, or it's time for their random acts of kindness, in which they show mercy to someone who simply won't go away and quit bugging them, so they make you a part of the group. Mostly to keep an eye on you. 

Needless to say, I'm going with the former. TY

Next, I find I was one of the Tim Holtz Tags of 2016 winners! I was thrilled! I think you get a gift certificate, but it doesn't matter. Just the fact I WON (and get a blog badge!! Woot Woot!) is AWESOME! 
It's not that I don't appreciate the gc, but I have a 5/20 ratio when it comes to gift certificates. For every 5.00 on the certificate, I spend 20. I think that's fair. For some reason, my husband is NOT supportive of this economic policy. But he doesn't say much. He learned quickly that the more vocal his opposition, the more difficult it was to locate his Driver and #3 Iron.

And third...that's we go.... 

I actually tried something, and it worked out EXACTLY as I wanted it to.

I know, I know....I feel short of breath, too.

I've been trying to created a tunnel book, off and on, for months. Each time, I failed. So, being into this atc thing, I thought I'd try again on an ATC. I hadn't seen another one done with an atc...I mean, I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't seen one. So, 2 days ago, I started.

When I say there was a lot of trial and error, you can rest assured I'm not exaggerating. I used so many cuss words, and even created a few new ones by combing some of the old and reworking them (good Lord...I sound like I'm writing a tutorial) that I should probably be digging around for my rosary about now. I'm sure a few (hundred) Hail Mary's wouldn't hurt.

And I'm not even Catholic! 

Sigh. Sorry. Back on topic.

I wanted to make an atc mermaid tunnel book that would lay flat, AND that you could also take the slides out of if you wanted to. AND, I wanted it it to boast a very solid construction, unlike most of my 3d ideas that LOOK good but are actually TOTALLY unsafe. 

I wanted to do all these things.

And be darned if I didn't do it.

Front and side view folded flat.

Now don't go ruining all of this and asking me 'how'. Mostly because I'm not too sure what the answer to that is. I just know I ended up redoing the front and back twice, the folded cardstock on the sides 3 times and the chipboard inserts 5 times...EACH...trying to get them to fit correctly. 

I had a little brass ship charm that I painted with Liquid Pearls and copics and attached to the last frame. The sentiment is part of a verse by Adelaide Crapsey that I credit after the post. Graphic 45 By The Sea is what I used for decorative paper. The brass ship wheel charm was also in my findings and I added a pearl accent.

There WAS a desperate moment, mind you. I had everything looking right, but the slides kept falling out of the bottom. Miraculously, I had 3 brass findings that I glued to the top of each, that just happened to look a little nautical and prevented the frames from sliding out of the bottom. 

See? NOW you know why today was a day in which I feared death. It was, by far, the PERFECT day. Granted I'm old enough to know better, but that child part lives on, as well as some of those old, silly fears. 

But just in case, not wanting to tempt fate, I'm definitely going to make sure it's not TOO perfect a day.

I'll totally make sure to weigh myself before bedtime.


Sentiment is from "Verse by Adelaide Crapsey" 
And coral! Oh, I'll 
Climb the great pasture rocks 
And dream me mermaid in the sun's 
Gold flood.” 

Waves and cliff from collage sheet found HERE
Art Nouveau Mermaids...artist unknown
Brass Findings and Ship Charm
Stickles/Liquid Pearl