Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Peeks

Ok, shoot me, I've neglected this blog...but I promise it's going to get better. I am heading out of the country next week and will have some fun things to post when I get back!

But for now, making holiday gifts has been consuming most of my free time. At least 4 of my gifts are inspired from Pinterest, but until the big day I cannot reveal them in their entirety! So....I have created some artistically distorted images for you to stare at until you have a seizure peek at. They might be obvious, but hopefully it will still be a fun surprise. :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pinterest Challenge!

I've seen this around the interwebs (mainly here and here) and have been meaning to share my Pinterest Projects with you all as well! Choose a pin or repin from one of your boards and CREATE it! Then document or blog about it, and (if you wanna be like me) pin your creation! Simple as that! And seriously, who doesn't like a challenge!? So, for all of you who are as horribly addicted to Pinterest as I am, let's conquer this challenge together!

One of my very first pins was of a mason jar turned soap dispenser. I fell in LOVE with this! So, when I went back home for a canning weekend with my grandmother, I stuck a few of her super old canning jars in my suitcase! A couple days later....ta da!

A few weeks later we were invited to a 30th birthday party extravaganza! I immediately remembered a fun gift that I had pinned earlier and knew I had to create it. Of course I put my own spin on it and added a classy bottle of scotch and some cigars (hidden in the back). :-) Next time I promise to take a few in-process photos so you can see how I did it....it involved a LOT of hot glue.

Well, my fellow Pinterest-ers, the challenge is upon us! I will be going through my pins and picking a few more to bring to fruition. Boom!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My LillStreet Adventure

I recently found out about the LillStreet Art Center in Chicago, and it happens to be only a few train stops from my apartment! This is GREAT for my creative impulses, but SAD for my pocketbook as I am pretty sure I am going to take up residence in that place!

The first event I took part in was the One Million Bones project that I talked about in a previous post. I ended up bringing a stack of anatomy books and spent the afternoon sculpting bones out of clay! It was fabulous!

The table was starting to fill up! They had a weekend goal of 400 bones.

Yep, someone even created some fuzzy bones to donate to the cause! Love it!

The only restriction we had was that bones could not weigh more than 3 pounds. Otherwise bones could be anatomically correct or left to the creative mind. I sculpted a vertebra that ended up with a rather long spinous process by the end! And I also sculpted the ear ossicles, in a much larger scale of course!

My vertebra with a well-endowed spinous process!

Larger-than Life ear ossicles!

I kinda rushed these ossicles at the end, but I think they turned out alright considering my lack of clay knowledge. I guess this means I will have to take a clay sculpting or pottery (or both!) class at LillStreet next session!

I actually just started a jewely/metalsmithing class at LillStreet. They are 3 hour classes once a week for 5 weeks. Last week was our first class and already I'm loving it! We learned the basics of sawing, filing and texturing metal. Here's my first creation!

Anatomical Heart pendant. Not to shabby for a first-timer!

I knew I missed the classroom atmosphere, but wasn't sure if more student loan debt another degree was in my future. This definitely feeds my creative hunger! Love to Lillstreet!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cats in the Cradle

I recently posted my "30 Before 30" Bucket List (see tabs above). And I guess that topic has been on my mind a lot, perhaps that funk I've been in. But whatever the reason, I've been reflecting and realized I need to take life by its bullhorns and live. Had a long conversation with my mom on the phone this morning (she is by far one of the most influential people I've ever met. I wish she'd write a book to share her wisdom with the world).

Life is short and as far as we know, we only get one shot. So live it, and live it to your fullest. She reminded me of the song Cats in the Cradle. I'd never actually listened to the verses before and realized it's a sad reminder that life can pass you by. You don't realize this time of your life is important because you are so enveloped in a routine or your career...And by the time you do realize it, that time has passed. Whether it be children, a spouse or just yourself, time is limited. Don't wake up 25 years from now realizing you missed out on living life.

And ps, Harry Chapin has some good songs! I just added him to my playlist on Spotify. Love the interwebs!

Cat's in the Cradle
by Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking before I knew it and as he grew
He said, "I’m gonna be like you, Dad,
You know I’m gonna be like you"

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon When you comin home, dad, I don’t know when, But we'll get together then, Son, You know we'll have a good time then.

My son turned ten just the other day

He said "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on lets play
can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do" He said "Thats okay"
And then he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said "I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m going to be like him"

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon When you comin home, dad, I dont know when, But we'll get together then, Son, You know we'll have a good time then.

Well he came from college just the other day

So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys

See you later, can I have them please?"

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon When you comin home, Son, I dont know when, But we'll get together then, Dad, You know we'll have a good time then.

I’ve long since retired, my son's moved away

I called him up just the other day........
I said "I'd like to see you if you don’t mind"
He said "I'd love to Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new jobs a hassle, and the kids have the flu.
But It's sure nice talking to you, Dad,
It's been sure nice talking to you........"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me

He'd grown up just like me,
My boy was just like me..............

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon When you comin home, Son, I dont know when, But we'll get together then, Dad We're gonna have a good time then.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Million Bones Project

Lately, I have been in a funk, snarky even. Perhaps it's the change in seasons (however I adore autumn) or perhaps it's me going through an "I'm almost 30 life crisis". I decided it's the latter.
So, to combat this disease I got drunk at a bar while watching a horrible football game. No really, I did. But I also came up with a bucket list of sorts to accomplish before I turn 30. It's called my "30 BEFORE 30" Bucket List. (I will go into more details about a few other items later).

One of the items was to participate in some sort of art installation or activist project. There happens to be one right up my alley in Chicago this weekend! (I may or may not have planned that just so I could cross something off the list...)

October 15-16 10am-4pm
LillStreet Art Center - Register HERE

One million bones- made by artists, activists, and students- will flood our nation's capital in spring of 2013. One Million Bones is a collaborative art installation designed to recognize the millions of victims and survivors who have been killed or displaced by ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burma.

Making bones? BONES!! Freaking awesome! I plan to be there Sunday to create my contribution. Who wants to join me?!?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I couldn't resist...

I've been away, doing very important things like surfing pinterest, watching hulu, and getting stranded in iowa. (seriously, the effing car wouldn't budge. 600 smackers and 1 personal day later I'm back in Chicago surfing pinterest and reading newly found inappropriately awesome blogs like thebloggess.com ).

And I couldn't resist.

Kudos to Barb "Ray-o-Sunshine" for this gem.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wedding Crossword Program!

The wedding program - often one of the last things on a bride's to-do list. In this case, it was the groom's responsibility. He was a smart one and enlisted the help of my husband who crafted a beautiful arrangement a mere 2 days before the ceremony.

Picture this: You arrive early to a wedding and are seated next to the amazingly attractive cousin of bride. You are desperately wishing you had something to spark conversation and avoid awkwardly introducing yourself or using some horrible one liner. Remember that pencil you were given with the program? Open up your program, ooo and ahh at the wonderful design...

Now turn it over to the back and take a look at the crossword puzzle! I think it's an adorable way for guests to mingle while waiting for the ceremony to start! You never know who's going to have the answer to 13 Across: Color of Bride's car.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lifesize Wedding Painting

So I just realized that I have about 2 weeks left to finish this wedding painting before we have to package it up, stuff it in the car and drive 8 hours to Nebraska for the nuptials! I used to work on this mainly on the weekends when I'd have the most natural light coming in the windows, but now it's crunch time, folks. I'm guessing it's about 75% finished now, but the last 25% will contain those perfectionist-finishing touches that I cannot escape.

Once the background was finished, we took the 3 boards apart so it would be easier to paint because clumsy me knocked it over and bent the hinges. But it ended up being easier to paint, especially the bottom section. It has now taken over my dining room table.

In school, I used to LOVE creating folds in fabric, but back then I was using either oil paints or chalk/oil pastels which allow for easy blending. This time I was fighting with using acrylic paints which dry extremely fast. But somehow the jeans turned out quite nicely, despite a few profanities that were thrown around.

Here's the most recent photo (sorry it's poor quality, it was from my phone). His shorts were difficult because of the small detail, so I ended up using some colored pencils for the lines and small shading. I am really happy extremely thrilled by how fast and well the technique worked! Only a few things to finish! What do you think??

Monday, August 1, 2011

July in Review

So, my last post was nearly a month ago. Yikes, sorry y'all. Lots has happened since then. How about a quick recap?

1. Weddings - Was able to travel back to Iowa/Nebraska to see 4 of my friends tie the knot! Cathy + Adam in Fremont, Nebraska and Liz +Brian in Ames, Iowa! In Nebraska we were able to spend time with our family and in Ames we felt like we were back in college at ISU! Good times!

2. Chicago Cubs! 2 of our friends came to visit for a wild weekend in the city. We got AMAZING seats to watch the Cubbies sweep the Astros! We were also part of an engagement surprise for 2 of our other friends!

3. RAGBRAI XXXIX - I was only able to be there 3 days (riding 2 days) this year. It was horribly hot, but we always manage to have a good time! It was my first experience with Team Blonde as well! Fun team, I can't wait to ride with them in the future!

The next post will be the progress of the wedding cut-out. I am about 75% finished and it's really coming together! Less than a month left to totally finish it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

'Tis Wedding Season!

We don't design wedding invitations very often. In fact, the only other one we've designed was our own! But this year my husband set out to design his little sister's wedding invitation. And I think it turned out pretty darn awesome!

The original idea was to have it all be a folded postcard with a tear-away RSVP postcard at the bottom, but ideas changed, time flew by and the end result is slightly different, but still amazing! What do you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Wedding Project

Many apologies for the lack of posting! Summer has officially started and I am swamped! Work is picking up and of course so is the social calendar! But I do have some "creativery" to show you today!

I am creating a nearly lifesize painting of my sister-in-law and her husband-to-be for their wedding in August. This is like a carnival piece where the faces are cut-out and people can put their own faces in the holes and take a picture! I think she is going to use this as a guestbook of sorts. Very cute idea.

So, here are a few photos of my process so far. I began by creating a concept in photoshop using a combination of engagement photos and their wedding colors. Then once I figured out the sizing, I went to buy the "canvas" which is three 2' x 4' masonite boards. I painted them white and my lovely husband helped connect them together giving me a final 4 foot by 6 foot blank canvas!
After they were all hinged together, I projected my sketch and traced it onto the boards. It's so much easier than free-handing something that large. Plus it saves me tons of time.
Unfortunately, I could not paint this the normal way one would begin a painting. Paint the entire background first, then add the foreground on top. My projector isn't very strong and I could not see any of the sketch if I projected it on a purple board...so white it had to be and I will be filling in the spaces with a paint-by-numbers approach.

Since the background is very geometric, I was able to use painter's tape and retain my sanity. This was wall paint and didn't dry as quickly as regular acrylic. I was very anxious to rip off the tape!
I used cheap acrylic paint for the blue banner and boy, does that dry a helluva lot quicker than wall paint! I am experimenting with different blending styles for shadows and highlights. So far I like a rough, sponge effect--not perfectly and smoothly blended. We'll see how it goes.
From here we will disassemble the large canvas into it's 3 smaller pieces. It will be much easier to paint and i won't get so much glare from our lights if I can move it around. I cannot wait to begin painting the figures! I really love to paint and work with traditional mediums. It's a great break from all the computer work I do.

What do you think?? Would a cut-out or painting like this be something you'd enjoy seeing at a wedding or other celebration?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Altered Book #2: "Extraordinary Seeing"

I know it has been a long time coming, but I finally finished my second altered book contribution! I technically should be on my 4th book, but it's hard to coordinate 12 different artists across the country to all be on time! :-) Hopefully I will receive my next book soon!

So this book's cover was a drawing inspired by the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti. The quote on the front said: "Look Within. You are the world." I went online and found a huge archive of quotes and teachings by Krishnamurti and decided to use pieces of a quote in my pages. The quote I found was pretty long, so I just took a few lines from it and designed my art around the concept of the quote.

I started by drawing a body on the pages and using an acrylic wash to add color. Since this quote was about the mind, I chose to doodle a little brain. :-)

Then I added the title, which I got from the quote. "Extraordinary Seeing". I also added some crumpled brown paper (which I had left over from my wedding!)
Finally, I did some stamping and painting to the brown paper to give it some interesting effects.
Here are some pictures of the final piece. I really like how it turned out, and I sort of wish I didn't have to send it away! I am starting my next project which is the large carnival wedding cut out for my sister-in-law's wedding in August. I will definitely post photos of that insane process!!

"Extraordinary Seeing"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Skull Quilt Project

One of my projects this year has been to contribute to the Skull Quilt Project coordinated by Noah Scalin who runs the Skull-A-Day blog. I have had a few months to finish this, but of course my procrastination leaves me being creative at the last minute!

Details of the project are simple: create a 12'' x 12'' fabric quilt block with some type of skull imagery. Does not have to be all fabric--it is an art quilt. Mail to Skull-a-Day by May 28th, 2011. Quilts will be put together and displayed for a month in Richmond, VA celebrating Skull Appreciation Day on June 4, 2011. These quilts will be auctioned off and all proceeds will be donated to DC charity Becky’s Fund, which helps survivors of domestic violence. Full details about the exhibition can be found HERE.

So, my quilt square started out back in March. I tried some new technique of bunching and gluing fabric pieces. Didn't turn out like I wanted, so I scrapped it and started over....this weekend. hehe. Luckily, I can perform under pressure. Here's some not-so-great process photos and the final piece before I send 'er away! Enjoy!

I can sew! (sort of). I painted some hemp twine and super glued it to the fabric. The flower vines are supposed to represent and follow the basic paths of the arteries. I could have added more, but I also wanted it to stay simple.

VIOLA! But it really needs a title. What would you title this piece??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Over the weekend one of my friends had a going-away party. She will be leaving the windy city of Chicago for the Big Apple that is New York City! And of course I felt like being creative, so while I had found some Chicago Cubs paraphernalia and a retro 1950's era Chicago CTA map, I still wanted to give her something handmade.

I placed all of my gifts into a brown gift bag, and got a great idea! Paint a Chicago skyline on it! Well, the idea evolved into a more elaborate project than I originally thought! We were alittle late getting to the party because I was still finishing it! But it was a great afternoon project and she absolutely LOVED it!!

1. It started out as just a bag...

2. Splashed some paint on it...

3. And it became a tale of two cities!

[be prepared for some NYC visitors!]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Skull Beads!

Over the weekend my husband and I discovered an amazing bead shop in my neighborhood called Caravan Beads | http://caravanchicago.com/. They offer classes and a super large selection of beads and jewelry-making supplies! I did not plan to purchase anything when I first saw the shop, but I walked away with a great find!

I think these will make an interesting and conversation-starting bracelet! I will definitely be going back to this shop! If this doesn't fall into your "must-have" jewelry category, what sorts of things do you like? Any inspirational / tutorial websites out there that you recommend?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Corky Name?

While we were shopping this weekend, I spotted a few inspirations. Anthropologie had some interesting decorations using wine bottle corks to celebrate Earth Day. They were large designs hanging in the windows with clothing. Some corks were dyed and others were layered. Really cool effect!

I thought I could take the concept and do something smaller. (I also like to think of things for Christmas gifts!) Plus we have oodles of corks around our apartment...

Framed family names have been popular in the past few years, whether they are crocheted or photographed objects spelling out the name, so I thought why not corks? I took all the corks we had and spelled out our name on a random piece of fabric. Not the best choice of color, but it's all I had. Then I mocked it up in photoshop as if it were framed. I think there is a lot of potential and variation for a project like this. I really want to play around with layering the corks and painting them, but that's for another day. For now, here's my quick idea:

What do you think? Would you hang something like this in your home?
(Sorry, not the best photo)_____________________________________________________________________

On a totally separate note, I'm really ready for summer and continuously enjoyable weather to be here. This rainy, icky junk is starting to get on my nerves....
We were lucky enough to have a few sunny days this weekend while my parents were visiting Chicago. We took a trip to our local Home Depot and picked up a few supplies for my "Porch Garden!" Our landlord had agreed to help us create a rooftop garden, however the access to the roof is too difficult to attempt every day and can't be done easily by one person. So, I think its back to the porch idea, which will hopefully prove successful!

We don't get a ton of sun since our porch faces north, but I put the pots on the west side, so hopefully they will get enough sun to grow. I'm excited to have some working space on the porch now since we created this little bench! I think the grill will have to be moved once I start planting though!

One last photo for inspiration. Easter Sunday ended up being a really nice day, but the Cubs failed to take advantage of it. I do believe they lost this game in the very first inning. Ugh...