Sunday, September 21, 2014

Frida Times Three and One for Me!

Frida Kahlo is a life-force for me. Her strength, her sense of self-empowerment, her ability to deal with the life curves she was given inspires me.  I want to grow up and be this strong of a woman.

Back in June, I had this grand idea to honor all that is Frida with a month long hommage to Frida in July, her birthday month, through our swaps at Artful Mail Groupies.  We had a swap a week for 5 weeks.....the "Blue House" swap, the "Hair Adornments" swap, the "Black & White" swap and the generic Frida Art swap.  Due to my own time constraints, I only participated in the Art swap.  Sure, I had an idea what I wanted to do.  But for whatever reason, it wasn't coming together. Not the sketches. Not the paint. Not "nuthin'".  I started and threw away about 10 efforts, not satisfied with any of them.

I received this beautiful piece from  Sharon Denny Parcel and after seeing her gorgeous work, felt even more helpless and hopeless in my grand scheme to create something wonderful to exchange with my partner.

So for several days (or was it longer?) I anguished over my seeming inability to create something exciting and wonderful to share back with her.  In a fit of pique, I went trolling on Pinterest, YouTube and tons of websites looking for some sort of divine inspiration. And then, there is was. Right in front of me.  The lightbulb went on.  I didn't have to draw or paint at all. I could push that big, fat failure to the floor and silence my screaming Inner Critic and make something fun, unique, pretty & different!  Yay!

Set the stage at Retro Cafe Art website and there she was. My possibility.  And the ideas were flashing through my head like an old flip movie. Flash! Flash! Flash!  Flowers, beads, lace, crowns, it!  So I did.

I ordered three Frida Shrine kits from Retro Cafe Art (and there were 3 to choose from, so deciding was difficult) {{see them here}} and awaited anxiously for their arrival. Thankfully, shipment was prompt, as always, and in just a few days, they were at my doorstep.  Oh boy!  I couldn't wait!

The directions for putting them together were easy to follow, although I did have a couple of issues. It was the "comprehension" part that made putting mine together harder. ha!  I gathered up my favorite adhesive glue and got busy assembling the shine. Great. The first one is together.  The second and third assembled much faster, of course.  The material was a good quality, heavy Masonite, with a dark stain. When put together, the center is the size of ATC's, great for storing Frida ATC's, or to decorate like a real shrine (which is what I did on Frida #1).  I thought it looked very nice in its arrival state. So I was very pleased with everything about these shrines. (sadly, I didn't take a picture... I was too excited and ripped right into them).  They came in 5 pieces, that you just pushed out of the framing. Easy peasy.

Now for the fun part!  My thinking was that I would make one for myself first to see how it went, how it looked and what I might want to do differently on the 2nd and third ones.  I knew I would not store ATC's in my shrine.  So I began to "build" the inside of the shrine with some nifty little circle mirrors on the back wall, tarted up with some flat acrylic jewels.   So what to use for the pedestal? I really want to make it like a shrine. Shrines have shrine like things, like pedestals!  Dig, rummage, dig.  Idea!

I have a huge supply of glass beads (used in my fused glass projects), and they are rather flat on the top and bottom. More glue to create a pedestal, another mirror circle on top. And to sit atop my newly formed pedestal is a treasured prayer box charm sent to me quite some time ago by a dear friend.  Voila!  Interior of the shrine is complete! I used these same jewels to build "feet" on the shrine to elevate it.  I had been saving this beautiful green stone star that would make a perfect base for a pedestal.

Next, I direct my attention to the exterior and to Frida.  More digging and rummaging through the supply cache (this took a while) to find the perfect bits.  I selected a dark scrapbooking paper for the sides of my shrine that looked like tree bark, that was cut to fit both sides.  Textile trim added to the front, along with a nifty little oval label.  I'm pretty happy with that. And of course some beaded "feet" to elevate the whole shrine. I didn't like it flat on the surface.

Then, and at last, Frida herself.  

How tarted up should she be?  This definitely required quite a few minutes of thought.  More digging in the stash.  I was pretty sure I wanted her to be wearing blue, symbolic of The Blue House.  So I selected my Peacock Blue Copic marker and colored her top.  I added the very tippy edge of some lace trim I had, fussy cutting it very carefully and affixing to the edge of the top. "Lipstick" was applied with R29 Lipstick Red Copic Marker, and highlights to her cheeks with V01 Health Copic Marker.

A beautiful woman must wear jewelry, right?  More digging. Aha!  Seed beads were the perfect thing and the perfect size. So a "necklace" was created to cover up the printed one, which I didn't care too much for.

Now, I must pay attention to her hair and her head.  Frida seemed to always wear some type of adornments in her hair.  More digging, of course.  Flowers, jewels, and there it was......a crown. That was it!  This cute little crown was sent to me in  Happy Mail. And curiously enough, some of the gals at AMG call me the "Queen Bee" so it seemed just fitting my MY Frida would have a crown.  But it was plain and boring.  Out came the gold Stickles.  I selected several graduating size "jewels" for her crown and got those all applied.  Very happy with that, and then another decision.... straight? angled left? angled right?   I finally settled on the jaunty angle to the right. Gave her some great attitude, didn't it?  I have attitude.  So it worked for me.

And while the Stickles was out, little dots were added to the center of the flower trim around each shrine, giving each a touch more glimmer and shine.  Can't have too much bling, right?

So now, I step back and admire the handiwork.  Loving it!  So I eagerly got busy and finished up the other two so I could ship both off to my assigned partners, albeit with a late mailing date.  Both were similarly prepared with fussy cut lace textiles, Copic markers, seed beads, and since the other two were planned to go to members of my mail art group, I made both just alike, with a flower and jewel hair adornment on each, both with decorative paper on the inside of the box by PapayaArt.  Both oval buttons were alike but different, giving each her own little flair.  And, there can only be one Queen, right?

Don't you think my trio turned out super cute????

Overall, I was very pleased with these little kits. The price on each was reasonable, ordering and shipping was user friendly and blessedly fast. They were very easy to assemble and made my Frida project way more fun to finish and get off to their intended recipients.

So if you love all things Frida Kahlo like I do, this little project would be a great addition to your collection.

My Queen Frida now lives on a bookshelf, adjacent to my art desk where she watches over me, giving me inspiration from the great beyond...ever watchful that I get as much joy working on my new projects as I had working on her.

Keeping it artful~~


Friday, September 19, 2014


Welcome to the Mixing it Up loves Cottonwood Arts Blog Hop!

This is a closed blog hop just for the members of the Mixing it Up Every Day Face Book group so that we can get to know each other better. Having said that, if you are not in our group, please feel free to leave a comment anyway and come join us over on FaceBook. We would love to get to know you better too. Here's are the links to everyone's blogs. Remember in order to have a chance to win the prize package from Cottonwood Arts you must:1. Be a blog hostess 2. Leave a comment on everyone's blog


Sandee Setliff
Tiare Smith Woods
Martice Smith II
Tiffany Goff Smith
Anna Turner Ely
Cat von Hassel-Davies
Terri Sproul
Sharon D. Estes
Betty Guffey Richardson
Tommy Jo Vilello Anderson
Melissa Willard Edwards
Donna Simmons Lueders
Jean Marmo
Tamiko McCurry

                                                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We were asked to answer the question: Are you a journal hoarder?

THIS IS A TRICKY QUESTION!  I suppose you first have to determine what IS a hoarder. To me, a hoarder is a person who has things, but doesn't necessarily use them. Most hoarders keep useless, random things just for the sake of keeping them. I do have a tendency to purchase new journals to use as I make and give away journals all the time, so I do have a large stash of journals on hand. Would you consider this hoarding? Maybe. Do I? No way!!! Those blank journals are inspiration to create something new and fresh on those clean, pristine pages with "opportunity for healing" on the inside! I also do buy Moleskin and Picadilly notebooks to give away for prizes when we hold contests in my mail art group, Artful Mail Groupies. I did stock up at the back-to-school sales in late August on Composition Notebooks (a whole case!). I make a ton of these, altered, for beginning art journalers like women in crisis and others who could benefit from the experience of journaling and creative art therapy. I host a small journaling class once a month at our local rural library, in addition to working with battered women's shelters, residential rehabilitation facilities, local cancer treatment centers, the local Dept. of Human Services caseworker for our area and I volunteer once a month at two assisted living centers where we make art, be creative and have lots of fun!  Giving back makes me happy. Putting a smile on a woman's face that really needs one is one of my greatest blessings.

Here's a look at the journals I am currently using, most of which have a distinct purpose for each. My current cache of working journals are:

1. "Thoughts & Inspirations" - a little pocket ledger that I use to record quotes and sayings that appeal to me throughout the year, with a few simple sketches, or pen & pencil drawings.  The paper is quite thin.

2. "Art Exploration" Journal - This journal is for play and experimentation with supplies, media, techniques and where I also document all my supplies of pens, markers, paints, etc. It became so fat I had to remove the spiral binding and replace with binder rings to hold it together. It has about reached its maximum capacity so a new "play" journal is on the horizon in my art world. It started its life as a mixed media journal, but now it has every kind of paper in it imaginable.

3. "Create Everyday" Journal - this has been my go-to journal to create pages just for me; it is a place I feel happy, safe and alive and where I use goodies that I have received from around the world in the many wonderful happy mail packages arriving in my mailbox. It too is nearing its end, only 1 more page left, so I will get to start fresh once again.  This journal started its life as mixed media journal from Strathmore.

4. "DLP Planner/Journal" - This is my daily planner/journal that I started in January with The Documented Life Project. Sadly, I am behind in the art prompts, but I do record all my events, appointments, happenings, and life bits. Next year, I definitely will use a different style planner because the tip ins really make this thing fat and chunky. I am fearing by the time I am totally caught up with all the art prompts, it may come apart.

5. "Red Journal 52" Journal - This journal is for the weekly art prompts at Journal 52 where one prompt is given a week to incorporate into the journal. I do a lot of actual journaling in this book, where I am also way behind on the art prompts. Life-interruptus has way-laid my art of late.

6. "The Striped Journal" -- This is an el-cheapo journal I picked up at our local dollar store to record favorite poetry, to write my own poetry and short stories in. About the only "art" i can put in here on the super thin pages are sketches or pen and pencil work. This journal helps keeps my writing skills "up to snuff" and allows me the time and the space to contemplate things on a higher plain.

7. "The Inspiration Journal" - This little journal is the place I make notes about ideas I want to try, where I smash in pictures, articles and all sorts of things that inspire me. Sadly, most the things I have saved that do inspire me need to go IN the journal, not in the box where they currently reside. This little book gives me some mojo when I need it, that little glimmer of sunshine to spark more creativity.

8. "The Coffee Journal" - this journal is dedicated solely to all things "Coffee". Yes, I am a coffee junkie. Hot, cold, luke warm, leftover. I am in love with the dark, robust brew that is truly my comfort beverage. Happy? Make coffee. Sad? Make coffee. Give up my Keurig? NEVER.

9. "The AFTHAS Journal" - a tarted up Picadilly writing journal that I use everyday. Purchased from Art for the Heart and Soul as a contribution for their non-profit projects. Some artwork in here, but not so much. This is where I really get in touch with my days. There is another, in-waiting, of course.

10. "Little Blue" - this is a new pocket journal made by Graphique with fantastic paper inside, to carry in my purse for the endless hours spent waiting at the doctor's office, for oil changes and elsewhere.

On top of these "working" journals, I have several albums that I store incoming postcards, Artist Trading Cards and artwork in. Each is treasured for the love that is contained inside them, because that is what they are to me. Filled with love from friends new and old from around the world and to my little corner of the earth.

I recently purchased 3 "GreenDesign Works" notebooks to try out for journaling. The paper is very nice, are 100% post-consumer recycled materials with soy ink and are a nice size for toting around (A5). The pack of 3 came with a blank, a weekly planner and a lined notebook. They are still in their pristine form at the moment so they anxiously await some fresh creativity. It was my idea to use the "planner" one for monthly "mini art". The pages are divided into boxes for the month, which would be ideal for creating approximate "Twinchies" each day of the month, filling the page with miniature art for 30 days. Here are some of the newbies, awaiting fun inside!

This journal was a recent purchase that just had my name all over it. Made by Recollections and designed by PapayaArt. The imagery is just lovely with a nice chipboard cover, beautiful decorated pages that will surely be full to overflowing in a few months time.

This altered composition notebook is one I am currently working on for a young lady in crisis who wants to start journaling and creative therapy to help her with her own healing process. I will be delivering it to her in a few days time with a cache of supplies and prompts to help get her started on her journey. These projects bring me great joy to be able to give back to women in my area who need a friend, a helping hand, a word of encouragement and some emotional support.

Sooooooo, the end result of this self-examination? I think I might be seeing a pattern here. Maybe I am a journal hoarder in the eyes of the world around me. To me, no. Each individual journal has a purpose, and each is ready for a new beginning. I look around and see them tucked here and there, some hidden away, some readily accessible for when the mood strikes. They do get used and there are times when there are no "new" journals hiding or lurking anywhere in my home. I am in denial? Maybe. Am I going to change it? Definitely not. The feel of a new journal, the paper, and the smell of that fresh clean paper always excites and invigorates me and my brain. Why would I take away that glorious feeling of knowing they are there??!

SEE THAT GORGEOUS PRIZE OVER THERE--->>>>>>> ??? I am anxious and hopeful that I will be the lucky recipient of this great Cottonwood Arts "prize" for our bloghop. I have heard many wonderful things about their products, but have not been able to get any to play with so far, so the fingers are crossed. If someone else is the lucky winner, I will be happy for them, and get busy and get a Cottonwood Arts Cold Pressed journal for my own use and to have "on hand" and ready to go when my journals are full.


Here are a few of the pages from some of my journals. Some different styles and techniques that I have had fun playing with.

I love this image of Audrey Hepburn and just had to use her based on a prompt in Daisy Yellow to use the color "Red". Collage elements on red acrylic background with Sakura Gelly Roll pen, Scarlet Lime pen, Copic marker and Derwent Inktense block.

This page was just for fun, full of out-and-out play and genuine wild abandon! Definitely a departure from my customary style. Background done with Derwent Inktense color blocks. I also used watercolor, acrylic and Copic markers.

We did a Kandinsky-inspired ATC swap over at Artful Mail Groupies a few months ago, and it was so much fun, I made a whole journal page to keep enjoying the experience. Wassilly Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists, so I enjoyed trying to emulate his style. There are some collage elements, all watercolor on cold press with acrylic embellishments.

Oh what fun collage can be. This definitely has a distinct "sewing" theme where I used some favorite goodies I received in happy mail. "Aged" with a Memento stamp pad in cocoa and faux stitching with my trusty Scarlet Lime pen by Christy Tomlinson.

This page was about "mixing it up" on a very down day for me and getting rid of my "black" mood. All done in black, grey and white. the "rain" added with a Sakura Gelly pen. After it was all said and done, I go back and find it to be quite powerful. It surely helps me remember and be grateful for all the blessings in my life.

This page has tons of layers of acrylic paint, stencils, collage and hand embellishments. I see it, I smile. It is a constant reminder to me that the world is truly my oyster. 

A fun page with an asian-inspired theme and an adorable stamped image also sent to me in happy mail by a great friend. The background paper, also written in some asian language (which I do not know what it is).

Of course this ATC is in my Coffee Journal, and made for a coffee-themed swap I did in one of the groups I participate in from time to time. I made little pockets for each card to live in, coordinated with the "cup" 

This is my most recent journal page, in the Create Everyday journal. I love pigs and chickens, and this vintage image just spoke to me. The background is in acrylic with the piggys collaged on, aged with Memento Cocoa stamp pad, and colored with Prismacolor pencils and some Copic markers in cool gray for additional highlights.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit and I hope you enjoyed my little journal tour. I'd appreciate a comment or two! Be sure and visit all the other participants in this blog hop and see what great things they are all doing! If you aren't subscribed to my blog, I invite you to do so, and I will surely be subscribing to yours.

Ciao, bella!
Make it an artful day!