My Application

Dear Lady Kate,

Now that you are officially an HRH, I know that you will be looking for a charity to support. I know the Royals are big-hearted in that way. So, this is my application for us to champion the same cause, Divine Design.

You and I are so much alike, I am sure we would make a great team as we support Divine Design. I would be very happy to come there and do 50% of our work in Great Britain, if you would come here and make an appearance now and then.

You talk people into donating money and volunteering and I will organize. And if you would like to sling a paint roller sometimes, that would be fab.

Tomorrow, we have a project. Let me know if you would like to skype and see our work. Also, please go to this blog and this blog to get an idea of what we do.

Cheers and congratulations!

Crafting is Brand New!

I just read this article and I am wavering between feeling insulted and chuckling at the short sightedness of the young. I recognize it, I used to live there.

The author has written an article in which she declares crafting to be an emerging trend. Now, she says, crafting is merging with art and design and technology. I will give her the technology angle since it is also fairly new. And I will agree that technology is fabulous for crafters, it has opened up a world of sharing and exploring. I love it and I have been a crafter for ......well, a long time.

But, an emerging trend? 

This is a topic my friends (the ancient crafters, apparently) and I have been discussing for about a year. I have noticed that the 30 somethings are all of a sudden into crafting in a big way.  They have started a wave of crafts that they think is different than what has existed for "old ladies and kindergardeners." The author's words. Nice. 

Some of my own personal observations:
  • They think everything is new because they are just finding out about it. I attended an evening of make it take its last year at The Creative Connection. The room was filled with women younger than I. They were enthralled with the projects and techniques, one of which was tooling letters into leather. Yeah. That craft has been around since Pocahontas. And they made the same leather bracelet that she made. 
  • This new craft wave is wrapped around recycling and the green movement. That is a great thing. But, the new crafters are not using a lot of craft product yet. They will get there. They need to get into product and tools if they want company sponsorship.....and they do want it.
  • Most of the crafting I have seen from this group has nothing to do with art or design. There is certainly nothing wrong with that since the point of crafting is making stuff for fun. 30 somethings are busy with lives, kids, and technology so they do not have the time or focus to study and take classes like the old crafters did. Decorative painters and quilters, for example, spent years honing their crafts. The new crafters look at a picture and copy it the best they can. They think they can sew without a lesson. And they are happy with that.
  • The new crafters are eager for the very same crafts the seasoned crafters make. They love Mod Podge..... which is older than they are. They think Friendly Plastic is fabulous...I have seen three incarnations of FP in my crafting lifetime. Currently some of the hottest crafts are embroidery, knitting and crocheting, and card making. Nothing new to see here kids. Guess that makes them old ladies!
Seasoned crafters, this is an opportunity for us. We know a lot of stuff that the new crafters don't. They will love what we know, let's show them.

Share your Vitamin C!

Camp Firebelly

At the moment, I don't remember where I ran across this. But, if I was just starting out, this would be an amazing opportunity I would have liked to take advantage of.

It is a camp/internship for artists to learn how to use their skills to help non-profit organizations.  How great is that? Each summer, 10 people are selected to come to camp for 10 days. They work on several projects, learning how to make presentations, work with clients, and design solutions.

This is put on by a Chicago design firm called Firebelly Design(a great name!).

Imagine what a different world we would have if every company was socially conscious in some way?

They took their Vitamin C!

Yay for Upgrading!

Ikea lamp commercial from Rob Sbaglia on Vimeo.

It is getting to be that season and Divine Design is doing its first project this year on April 30.  

I found this video today on Young House Love. It made me howl because many times we have had home/room owners who go into absolute panic when we remove something for an upgraded counterpart. It can sometimes even be non functioning and we are not allowed to throw it away.

It is true that sometimes people who do not have much, or who have really struggled to acquire things, even if they are hideous, broken, and don't work right, turn into hoarders. It is understandable and we have much patience with that mindset. After all, we are there to encourage, not stress out.

Even so, this ad made me laugh and wish I could have a hat with a video screen on it, and I would play this commercial on a loop while at the project site.  I would probably get boo-ed out of the place, wouldn't I?

Never mind, I watched it twice and enjoyed it both times.
Take your Vitamin C!

Wall Doodles

 Last week, I was journaling with my art buds at the retreat. We had a discussion about how relaxing it was to just sit and doodle.  You know, doodles are always good. There is no right or wrong about doodles since they are your own personal art. The conversation went to how I doodled on tiles and did a mosaic for my kitchen backsplash. So, at the request of Mrs. East, here is my kitchen backsplash.

I had definite color in mind, but I could not find tile that suited me. So, I bought a box of 8" white tiles and painted them. I did have the thought that it was crazy, but it worked, I love the result, and it has proven to be durable. Not being a tidy cook, I need a backsplash that is washable, washable, and then washable.

As far as backsplashes go, this one was pretty inexpensive. All I purchased were plain white tiles and a dozen 2 oz. bottles of Folk Art Enamels paint. I used a 4" foam roller, rolled the paint on the tiles, baked them in the oven per the instructions on the bottle, and then put each tile in a big ziplock bag and hit it with a hammer. That part was definitely fun.

What I learned....hit the tile on the backside so you don't mar the paint finish on the front.

Some of the tiles got printed with sponged circles in a tint of the same color. Circles are easy to print with a Spouncer . Spouncers are round sponges on handles that can be found in any craft store. Dip them into paint and print on the surface.

 And here is where the doodling comes in. I left a few tiles unbroken and doodled on them. This part was fun too.  To do it, put a Tip Pen on the the bottle of paint, and use it like a big marker. You will also find Tip Pens in your craft store. They are small metal tips that make the paint come out in a very small stream so you can write or draw with it.

Do your own thing! Bake and glue to the wall.

 Another notable tidbit you might consider adding: words under glass nuggets. The glass nuggets came from the floral department at the craft store. They are also inexpensive.

The words were printed off the computer and they say, "Adieu mes amis je vais a la glorie." The quote attributed to Isadora Duncan means, "Goodbye my friends, I am off to glory." Read the real story, very dramatic, you can't make this stuff up. Cut out the words and glue them to the backs of the nuggets. Put your own messages into your mosaic wall. It will be quite the conversation starter.

I also added a few glass beads I had made with less than great results. There was one good side on each bead and that is all I needed for this project. You can add any beads into your wall.

You know I could not stand a nice straight line ending. One of the greatest things about a mosaic wall is you do not have to worry about keeping lines of little square tiles straight.

Your mosaic wall is limited only by your imagination. I have seen walls with tea cups and plates glued in, message centers, candle holders, and coins. Make your wall unique!

Use your Vitamin C! 

Tip Junkie handmade projects

7000 Bracelets for Hope

I found this great example of artists using their skills for the encouragement of others on Lori Anderson's blog yesterday.  This project supports the Global Genes Project. The 7000 bracelets will be given to families living with rare disease. They believe the bracelets will not only encourage the families, but raise awareness.

Lori turned this into a blog hop with her designer friends and blog readers. 112 designers participated in Lori's blog hop, making bracelets. I encourage you to get a cup of tea and click through the blog hop links. You will see terrific bracelets. It is also interesting and touching to read some of their reasons for joining this project.

This is a small effort on behalf of these designers that will probably spark some hope in the lives of folks who need it. I love when artists open their hearts toward others.  Visit the Global Genes Project website to read the specifications. They are still taking bracelet donations. If this is interesting to you, join in! 

Take your Vitamin C and make a blue bracelet!

Tie Dye Part 2

Last week, I showed you my results from tie dying in a jar.  It is incredibly easy and fabulous. The great results made me want to do t-shirts. So I did! Here is my 2 color shirt: aqua and green.  I twisted this one from the side of the shirt.  If you twist the long way from the neckline to the hem, you will get horizontal stripes.

This is my one color shirt.  I just used black.  And you can tell that I started twisting at the bottom right corner. It made a great and pretty traditional tie dye pattern.

You know you do not have to start with a white shirt. Any light color will work just as well as white. and give you an additional color in the shirt.

Since I did t-shirt shopping this week, I will tell you what I found. I did not shop kid's shirts, only adult.  I found a nice shirt at Wal-Mart for $10.  And then I found a way nicer, thicker fabric shirt at K-Mart for $8. 

Take your Vitamin C and see what you come up with!

The Colors of New Smyrna Beach

I really love beach towns. Whether they are by a lake (well, our lakes in Michigan look like oceans) or by an ocean, beach towns have a certain flavor. That includes amazing colors. Bright gorgeous color can stand up to the color leaching sunshine, and look great!

Who would not love this place?

The colors are inspirational. Let them be your Vitamin C today. Make yourself a beach town palette. What does it inspire in you?

Can Art be Defined?

I have just come from a four day art retreat, and this afternoon I ran across a most interesting post on Scoutie Girl, written by Gwyn Michael. Usually, I scan posts for the good parts, but I read every word of this post today. It was timely for me.

In it are several ideas or theories of how we should define art and artists. I am not sure I agree with any of them:

  • art must change people
  • art must be shared with others, if it never leaves the studio, it is not art
  • art overcomes resistance, ignores the voice of doubt, and is something worth making
  • it is risky and human
  • it comes from the soul
  • it requires the artist to dig deep and share intimate things
Puts a lot of responsibility on the art and the artist, doesn't it?

But, it did remind me of a story.... several years ago, I took a week long, intensive class at an art school on surface design for fabric. During introductions the first day, everyone in class introduced herself as an artist and listed all of the classes and teachers on their resumes.  When it was my turn, I said I had never really considered myself an artist. At that point, I had worked as a designer in the craft industry for more than 25 years, and I felt a line between art and craft...admittedly the line is thin and always shifting, but most people who call themselves artists would die to be caught crafting.

Well, the other folks in class were appalled at my timidity and asked me to chant with them, "I am an artist!" I found it quite funny.

During the week, we did small projects and continually worked on one large project to present at the end of class. For sure there was not one project I would have called art. One woman actually presented her paint rag as her art. No joke.

Mid week, the teacher pulled me aside to tell me that since I was the only person in the class to actually make a living with what I do, that I should not be concerned about how to define myself. Good. I wasn't. I got the feeling she was just tolerating the people in class who called themselves artists.

What I think about art and artists:

  • taking a zillion art classes does not make you an artist or what you do art
  • calling yourself an artist, and your stuff art, does not necessarily make it so
  • I think art is meant to be shared, but if there is an amazing piece lost in an attic, does it cease to be art?
  • art does not have to come from some deep intimate place can simply be something pleasant or interesting or something we just like to look at without deep meaning attached
  • art can change situations and people but that is not a requirement to be called art
  • this is a very deep subject and can be discussed and digested forever without a definitive answer
All that to say that I cannot define it and maybe art is different things to different people. Does it need a definition?

Just take your Vitamin C and make something!

Art for an Unusual Place

 The New Smyrna Beach Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Art Retreat girls helped me with a project. I wanted us to make 5 pieces of art that will hang on the inside doors of the bathroom stalls at church. That may seem like a weird place for art.  And you may be right.

But, this project has been on my mind for a long time, so it feels right to do this. It is possible and probable that emotions come to the surface while in church. That is kind of the point, praising God is about emotion. Often, women come to the rest room to cry, wipe away tears, or just to take a breather. So, how about a little encouragement when they close themselves in to do that?

Sometimes the word of God comes from an unexpected place, and is just the encouragement needed. I hope that is the case here.

I worked on these pieces and the process was encouraging to me, if nothing else.

These two were done by my sweet friends, the Barbaras.  This one with all the hymn titles will make me sing from my stall.  So, if you hear's not me...really.....not me.

The three of us worked on these and it prompted a lovely chat about our faith and beliefs, bible studies and of course some hymn singing...quite an enjoyable time.

You will be able to visit these in the Ladies' Room very soon.

Take your Vitamin can you use it to touch others?

Teesha Journals

 On the first day of the New Smyrna Beach Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Art Retreat, we started journalling. We watched all of Teesha Moore's videos on how she does visual journalling. It was almost like having Teesha there with us teaching a class.

Taking a class from someone whose work we admire, is a fun way to get to know an artist/teacher, and to add tricks to our own repertoires. We will not copy what Teesha does, but we will learn technique from her and combine them with our own.

So, we each made a watercolor paper journal using her instructions. Try this if you like to journal. It is easy and makes a cool journal. You get a 16 page journal from one sheet of watercolor paper. Look for a big piece of watercolor paper 20" x 30" when you have a good coupon for Michaels.

We painted the pages first and then started adding things we cut out of magazines, and lettering.

 Lettering is not amongst my own competencies, so watching how Teesha does it was very helpful.

 Some pages done by the famous Barbara East.....

You can see that although we took the same "class", our pages have very different, distinct looks.

We have learned that visual journalling has no specific end point. We keep adding things to the pages. Personally, I think I could add a lot more, and probably will over time.

The whole exercise was enjoyable and relaxing. The great thing is that you can journal anything: feelings, ideas, topics...anything.

Take your Vitamin C!

Tie Dye in a Jar

Here we are at the New Smyrna Beach Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Art Retreat. Today while the sun was shining and gorgeous, we went out to do tie dye in a jar. I saw this technique on You will want to try this, it was fun and the results were amazing. In practicing this at home before the retreat, I learned a few things that Burda did not tell me.

To tie dye a piece of fabric:

 1. Get it wet and wring it out.

 2. Twist it and wind it into a big glass jar. You will get a nice organic pattern if you twist the fabric as you put it into the jar instead of just pushing it in. As you wind it into the jar, layer the fabric with powder fabric dye. I tried it with RIT and with Tulip. RIT was cheaper, but Tulip has nicer color.

 Keep layering fabric and dye. Add as few or as many colors as you wish.  This technique works better if you can pack the jar pretty full. We used a brush handle to push the fabric deeper into the jar.

We were able to get a 2 yard piece of white cotton fabric into a canning jar.
 3. When the fabric and dye are  layered in the jar, pour boiling water to the top of the jar.  Read the dye package to see if you need to treat the dye with anything. The dye we used needs salt to make it permanent. I added it to the boiling water before I poured it in the jar.

 4. Put the lid on the jar and let it sit about 3 hours. You will know it is ready when you see that the fabric has absorbed all the liquid. It looks like we have been canning fabric.

 5. Pull the fabric out of the jar and open it up to fabulousness.  We rinsed the fabric, but really nothing much came off it.

They turned out beautifully. If you get the fabric out and it has too much white space for you, just twist it back into the jar and add more dye and water.

 We had these $1 journals and these coasters that I bought in a pack of 8 for 50 cents.

I Mod Podged a piece of my tie dyed fabric onto the journal and painted the coaster.  A fat red satin ribbon holds the journal together. It is cute.

Tomorrow, we are tie dying t-shirts in the jars!

Take your Vitamin C and try it!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

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