Monday, March 28, 2016

Art is Hard.

I love to "art".

Most of the time, I've got a handle on things. 

Like today, my absent MOJO decided to return (with a written list of requirements that I had to if I have a chance in Hades of controlling my OCD with my current medication would take quantities to rival actual LIVESTOCK dosages to get THAT under some semblance of control) and I was delighted to look at my next two projects with joy. I knew exactly what themes I'd use, one or two cool derivations I'd go with, etc. It was HEAVENLY.

But before I could move on and free myself from the abyss of mojo-less artists (which, by the way, is stocked with coffee, donuts, Outlander novels, tissues and the occasional Xanax) I had to deal with one final project that was conceived-and mostly constructed-during this purgatory.

My Tim's Tags for March.


Tim's tags for 2016 are a mishmash of techniques he has taught us through the years. They're fun and I'm sure a heck of a lot less work for him. I don't blame him. If I were Tim, I'd be scheduling visitation time with my boatloads of cash on an hourly basis.

This one involved quite a few steps. First, I cut a tag using his Tag and Bookplate die from scrap paper. Then, I cut another tag from word printed dp and glued them together. Next, I took another tag and, using my mixed media thinlits (also by Tim) I cut designs in it and glued that on top. I coated it with gesso and used Tim's new crayons to color over everything.

The crayons are cool. Word of advice, in small areas. Lay color and begin blending. Leave it on too long and it's hard to blend. 

Knowing I would be using the snowflake die and would go with a Christmas theme, I stuck with blues, a bit of green and a touch of Fossilized Amber.

I embossed those tags with the snowflakes, then used a glue stick to coat the tops and used bronze foil sheets to give it a little sparkle. 

Lastly, Tim had us using cardboard to cut out our die shapes and thus get a multi-dimensional effect. 

Except I don't think I got it. The effect, that is. 

I had the WORST time trying to figure out what to do with the cardboard. I bet I hit that thing with every stain and distress paint created. The end result was my being almost dragged away from the table by my husband, who was worried about my mental state by that time. I exaggerate. He heard me cussing and immediately broke out the ice cream. I lit out of the craft room at speeds not seen since I was pre-puberty.

In the end, I kept the added stuff sparse and just hoped for the best. 

I thought about redoing it, now that my mojo is back, but immediately dismissed the idea. Mostly due to the PTSD effects I experienced when I thought about it. Those effects being lightheadedness, uncontrollable trembling and a craving for ice cream.

Which I will enjoy while you''viewing'...this entry.

Good luck with that. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Leave a message...

"Hi....this is Carmen's mojo. I'm not in right now, as I'm sure you're aware based on Carmen's entries-and lack, thereof, during these past two weeks.  I'm not really sure when I'll be back. To be totally honest, I find I need a break from Carmen's OCD on occasion. Talk about a complete jacka...ahem...anyway, I'll be back, soon. Maybe not soon enough for the unfortunate (and obviously unaware of what really GOOD comedy is) blog subscribers, but I WILL be back, nonetheless. As far as any of you know. You can leave a message, but I'll pretend I never got the notification on my phone when you ask me about it. God bless the excuse EVER for ignoring relatives, bill collectors, and your 40+ year old friends who have taken up texting like a diet pill that actually WORKS, and can't seem to stop themselves from shooting you texts every 15-20 seconds, but won't answer the phone when you call them. Talk about jacka....BEEP"

Look. I KNOW we all have dry spells in life. My longest mojo-less period lasted about a month. When it happened, I reminded myself that we can all use a little downtime, and then I went out and bought a horse.  

It didn't help me find my lost mojo, but it provided me with about the same excuse to escape my children and remind my husband of my value. Because, without me, he'd have to raise three children while sending me half his paycheck and retirement to my post office box in Key West. 

Well...It's actually sort of what it's like now, sans the Key West PO Box. I'm valuable in that I can keep the kids distracted and outside. OR be quick to hand out the 'benadryl' if a little peace and quiet is needed IMMEDIATELY. 

But back to the errant-and MIA-Mojo. swap theme this month is Odd Dreams. This has been a doozy for me. Maybe it's because it's a topic that's so broad and so open that there are so MANY ways I could go that I don't know what to do! You've seen my other two entries...Bette Davis EYE and Own Your Odd Dreams, and I was panicked by the third. 

Then, I thought about a project that I thought may be the first of its kind. Sort of like the Mermaid ATC Tunnel Book that I made and-to this day-have never seen another (and yes...I'm sitting here with a big, goofy grin on my face). 

So, I began with the front of my 'first of its kind' ATC idea. I used fairies from the G45 collection Once Upon a Springtime. I had a white frame-that I mostly obscured with the greenery, oh well-and added flowers, brass butterflies and dragonflies, etc. Which I could argue that fairies are dreams and if my BOYS dreamed of fairies, then they'd be ODD dreams to then. So, I ran with it.

When I finished, I put this as the front piece of a chipboard box I made, that measure 3.5 x 2.5, but is 1 inch thick. Why? So it could hold THIS.

That's right! It's music box!!!

(Big goofy grin just got bigger and goofier)

What does it play??

"Dream, Dream, Dream", of course.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Husband Knows Nothing...

What does it say about a relationship, when a wife can't have a little alone time with her acetylene torch?

Seriously...I'm in the garage, minding my own business, and just when I'm getting my groove on heating strands of copper, Mr. Safety comes down and thinks he has got to put his own two cents in.

"You shouldn't be doing this in the garage." he starts.
"Why not? It's dark outside! How am I supposed to make sure I've got the right color when I heat the copper? Too much and it turns silver. I'm not having that."
"You'll have plenty of that and more if you get any nearer that box of spray paint cans and primer. And do you even know where the gas can is?"
"Oh please," I said, trying to sound confident. "I'm not going to let this touch gas!"
"So, I'm taking it you aren't aware that the most flammable part of gas is the fumes?"
"I...I...knew that." I said, promptly shutting off the torch. 

Well, actually I knocked it over. Good thing it has a safety feature that shuts it off. Of course, you STILL have to twist the knob to shut off the gas that's still hissing from it.

But that's not the point...the POINT is that chances are, nothing would've happened. I know this because I've been heating copper for awhile,now, and ALWAYS in the garage. This was just the first time HE figured it out.

But now, I'm too nervous to do it again. It's like, before, I was ignorant of all the dangers and therefore, I was protected from harm. Now that I KNOW the potential danger, I can't take the chance again or I'll blow up. I just know it.

Yet ANOTHER moment in my life he has ruined for me. 

You have to admit that it's pretty suspect when he shows up to pooh-pooh my attempt at etching with acid, or soldering or drilling stuff, but NEVER has anything to say about the chemicals I come into contact with while washing dishes! 

At any rate, heated copper aside, the only reason I don't punish him (not by using the 'silent treatment'...they LOVE it when we do that...I punish him by making sure to talk incessantly to him about things like gardening and crafting) is because this ATC was already a disaster in the making. 

Our theme this month is "Odd Dreams". I started by using matte and glossy black embossing paste to create a cool background. 

Then, I sat and stared at it for five days. 

I found this collage image and printed her out on paper and transparency. Then, the heated copper idea took root and I cut some copper with my fringe scissors and heated them. The colors came out nicely, I think. Using an antique blue rhinestone, I glued that and the dragonfly on top and added stars, a clear floral stone with a pic of an octopus behind it to mimic the copper, and the sentiment "Own your Odd dreams.

I'm convinced this is what it looks like when my mojo has had enough and hauls you-know-what out of Dodge. Because I haven't seen that sucker in two weeks. And time is running out. I can't afford another ATC like THIS one.

Hopefully, number 3 will be a stunner. If not, there's ALWAYS the acetelyne torch to use in a different, yet still effective way, and that's to set them all afire. Which is okay.

As long as I don't do it in the garage.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Odd Dreams for Blissful Art Swap

Let me begin by saying that there is, indeed, a price to pay if you spend a couple of hours watching a David Bowie tribute.

And THIS is that price, friends. 

To be fair, I think this fits our theme Odd Dreams perfectly! 

I mean, when is the last time you've encountered a dragon's eye that someone went all Lady Gaga on?? Just LOOK! Black glimmer eyelashes (Impression Obsession Grass Die) then tipped with gold leaf paint? Rhinestones colored black with my Copic lines the eye and gives it a little more glamor!

And the EYE. Oh, yes. The EYE. 
Made from Sculpey clay by yours truly. 
(Tutorial available on

Using my Tim Holtz crackle stencil, I used crackle paste and laid it thick on a piece of chipboard, then swabbed it with different shades of green ink when dry. A little black to fill the cracks and I've got a gorgeous reptile face! As you can see, the eye is I glued it to chipboard and cut a hole in the 'skin'. I could've just glued it to the top part but I liked the dimensional effect! 

Actually, I didn't think about it in time. But it worked. So there.

I have named this "Bette Davis Eyes".

Mostly because I couldn't think of a decent Bowie song to go with, not to mention I'm a bit 'Bowie'd' out at the moment. 

Sorry this is short...I promise to be back with SOME type of humor-or reasonable facsimile thereof-in a day or so. I'm in the process of having this blawg redone and Pearl from Pages in Progress is doing a fab job with it! At a REALLY good price. If you need her, go to and she'll be glad to help you. After she's done with me. ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Under the Big Top Swap for VPI Part deux

I know, I know....there's nothing more pretentious than using 'deux' instead of 'two', especially when your French consists of...


Wow. I actually don't think I have ANY French to speak of! In fact, I don't even know if 'deux' means 'two' anyway! It just sounded similar! What do I know? What do you people want from me anyway???

Sorry. I'm a little put out. 

My husband just came to my art studio (consider it 'French' for craft room) and stood around, moping.

He NEVER comes in here! 

Even WHEN he's up to date on his tetanus!

At any rate, he's not feeling well. Oddly enough, this mystery illness only manifested AFTER his golf game.

So, I've got to go take care of the man I promised to love and honor, in sickness and in health. Although, to be truthful, I really didn't mean it regarding the 'sickness'. Mostly because I already KNEW how difficult men are when they're sick. I just said 'I do' because I was HOPING I'd never have to deal with it. 


So, with that party waiting to get started, I'm going to post my last circus ATC for the VPI swap. Since they're mailed to other people, and I always include a 'Hostess Card', I decided to make the card with the stage my Hostess Card and make this one to go out to another swapper. 

I hear moaning from upstairs. So, it's either ignore him and hope he goes to sleep, or risk staying here and having him shuffle into my studio again and chance him messing something up. Looks like option number 1 is the one to go with if I want to preserve BOTH our sanity.

Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Under the Big Top Swap for VPI

I want to start by congratulating myself on how totally cool and nonchalant I sounded in writing that title. You could almost believe that it's just another day in another swap group with some other gals who like playing around with ATC's.

When, in reality, this is a pretty exclusive group that contains MANY major artists here in the blogsphere. I mean, you have to be approved by a JURY to get in!!!

Or is that judged by a jury? 

Because if that's the case, SOMEONE dropped the ball when they let ME in. Trust.

Anyway, it's a pretty big deal. Turns out my personal mentor is a part of the group, too! 

You know, Laura Carson of, my mentor who doesn't know she's my mentor and regarding whom I admit to being a little stalker-y with on occasion?? Maybe? 

Oh...NOW you remember!!!

Another member (and the one that will go down in flames if anyone ever REALLY comes to this blog to waste large amounts of time and figures out she recommended me) is Wendy. My OTHER muse from 

Now you see how awesome it was I was able to carry off such a casual title, right? 

My first swap with the group is Under the Big Top. I knew what I wanted to do, and that was make a triptych. What I DIDN'T think to ask was whether it would be a 3/3 swap with one person or 3 to 3 different people. Since I didn't ask, I ended up with this.

Using foam board, dresden scrap and a WHOLE lotta collage, I created 3 scenes. The main one shows a Papillon tightrope walker (that's a headpin, btw) and a rosin back rider. Using 2 copies of the horse, I glued 2 pins between and had her performing far front of the stage.

The second card has a triple trapeze troupe (trapeze made of headpins and gold beads for ends) and a sort of weird, forlorn looking clown. I didn't realize how creepy that clown was until I saw him staring speculatively at the trapeze guys. I came THISCLOSE to putting a knife charm in his hand with the blade peeping out from behind him, but figured I'd let the girls at VPI get to know me before I began advocating murdery clowns.

Last but not least, my gymnast ring guys. Or whatever you call them. All I know is that in the collage, it's what they were swinging from already, so I just used headpins and jump rings and brought them into the scene. The lions on the bottom were a fun find and I was THISCLOSE to taking the THIRD guy on the rings (yep..there were 3..I cut the last one for space consideration) and having his legs protruding from the mouth of the lion on the right. But, once again, that little voice said, "Chill. You JUST got here and it already looks like you're on the stalkery side, so do you really want to put everyone on orange alert? C'mon!!!"

So, I refrained. For now.

But all bets are off with the next theme "Mermaid Muses"

Or, as I like to call them, "Mermaid Muses of Murder and Mayhem". 
(evil laugh)


Collage sheets from Etsy and Alphastamps
Dresden scrap
jump rings

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Elevator Music Break...

You HAVE to believe me when I say I've really got some AWESOME things in the works. 

Okay, I have TWO awesome things in the works. least ONE is awesome. 

I know this because it's almost done. I'm about 30 minutes from being completely finished with it. That being said, it'll be a couple of days before I can actually call it 'done'. Mostly because I ran out of Dresden trim, and I happened to run out when the third ATC was halfway finished. Naturally. So I'm waiting for an EBay delivery. Such is my life.

So, I figured until then, I might as well attempt to entertain you with the blog equivalent of 'elevator music'. You know, that same elevator music that plays when you're trapped in some sort of purgatory (an elevator, on hold, a dentist's chair, this blog) and you can't get out. I'll do this by sharing a bit about one of my favorite writing subjects:

My children.

I'm not sure it's that I truly enjoy writing about them or that I'm subconsciously documenting for a future legal defense, but I do it a lot. And because my children are...precocious...(a nice way of saying they are off the flipping chain) I always have plenty of material. The funny thing is, the one question I get the most, is how much I'm actually exaggerating about my children and their (mis) deeds. 



Let's go to the tape, shall we? 

Thank GOD I have pictures...and back all of this up.

Exhibit...I mean, 'child' #1-Liam

Liam is 9. He'll turn 10 on June 6, 2016. If you look at that date and count backwards, you'll see that he was actually born in 2006.

Which makes his birthday 6/6/06


Liam is HFA. High-functioning Autistic. A little TOO high-functioning most of the time. 

Autistic kids exhibit brilliance in many different areas. Liam's forte is subverting the parental controls on YouTube and memorizing every questionable video he can find. That kid's mouth is so dirty that if I tried to wash it out, he'd make the soap cry.

Fortunately, I can pass most of it off as Tourettes. Granted, he doesn't have Tourettes, but I'm not a girl to let pesky facts get in the way. 

Liam is kept in check-at school-by a angel known as "Mrs. Quick". 

**NOTE** Yes, I'm aware I wrote that my kid is kept in check 'at school'. And that's the truth. At home, I spend a lot of time pretending to be hearing impaired and devoting great chunks of time to learning a foreign language. I figure one day, something will click, and I'll forget English entirely and not have to worry about anymore inappropriate or offensive comments my little bundle of joy seems to have an unlimited supply of. 

THIS is the class picture we just received. I have to say it's one of the better ones. See if you can guess Liam and Mrs. Quick:

Yep...that's him on the right. Apparently practicing the 'perp walk' that may come into play at some point in his life.

Now, Liam is mostly happy. And by happy, I mean it's partly this:

(TOTALLY sucking up to Nana-who is 70 and looks younger than I about a double whammy)

Aaaaannndddd...there's the 2nd part of 'happy' that manifests itself in a love of making videos. Completely inappropriate videos. 
Well, not completely...he IS mostly dressed. Normally, Liam runs this place as 'clothing optional', but we had to put a stop to it when he decided that making movies was his passion. 

WARNING: No inappropriate language or nudity, but Kermit the Frog's suicide might be a little shocking for some. 


I think we've reached a good stopping point. And by that, I mean "a good time to take a Xanax break".

I'll be back later on with the rest...the Melted Snowman Cookie Murdering Tween and the 17yo who can't bring himself to pass homeroom, but somehow became a Constitutional scholar who somehow managed to memorize every state and federal law regarding the welfare of children. Try to ground this kid and he'll beat you to death with legal statutes until you're ready to put him in foster care. 

Oh...don't worry...even a legal ace will crumble when deprived of a cell phone and a car. (evil grin).

Until later, my happy. Because, in about a half hour (and ,05 grams) I certainly will be. 

Note: I fancy myself a comedic writer. Many question the 'comedic'...well, they question the 'writer' part, too...because I'm a bit edgy with my jokes. So, if I offend anyone, please feel free to visit any of the 14 trillion other blogs that talk about sunshine, light and homeschooling and enjoy. If you stay here, you might get your hands a little dirty.

But I'm pretty sure you'll laugh your butt off while doing it. ;)