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Please note that all content - that includes photos & art - unless otherwise credited is copyrighted by Deborah Mahnken and is for personal inspiration only and may not be copied for publication.
For the mail art exchange we're doing as part of Randel Plowman's Experiements in Collage. I'm a slowpoke - I've gotten mail art from about half of the participants so far and I'm just putting final coats on mine so they can get in the mail. I'm following a suggestion to use Golden's Tar Gel as a topcoat, which I haven't tried before.
My kids love Advent calendars. Chocolate filled ones and Lego-filled ones - the more the merrier. Why stop at just one? Or two? Or three? That's fine if you have the space to display them, but we really don't. Especially all those Lego pieces.
This year I thought it'd be fun to put together a homemade one. A hanging one. I considered several different options: bags clipped to a canvas hung on the wall, bags taped to a wall or door, small bags hung from a small Christmas tree (I'd bought one just before Thanksgiving), or hung from a stick across a window.
In the end I decided to hang them across our dining room window. I found a chunky stick in the backyard that was just the right length and used a couple of command removeable hooks to hang it across the window using twine.
From the branch I tied pieces of twine - all different lengths. I had two bags of small clothespins that I used to hang my bags. I found that the twine fit through the hole in the metal clip part, so I tied all the clothespins to the twine.
Now for the bags. I used two different sizes of glassine bags I found at Michaels. Each bag was filled with two treats (two kids = two treats) and taped shut with a piece of washi tape.
For the numbers I used Kara Dudley's Everyday Life Number Circles. These cut beautifully. I could have just glued the numbers to the bags, but I wanted to hide the treats inside a bit. So I backed the numbers with a mixture of punched circles, Martha Stewart doilies, red reindeer and doilies cut with my Silhouette.
I had a piece of Hambly Screen Prints specialty paper that worked beautifully and matched the larger glassine envelopes - but watch out it does a number on your cutting blade. I didn't realize this and just ruined the piece of cardstock I put in next to cut some large snowflakes. (Hence the large circles, which were supposed to be layered with snowflakes.)
It was a nice suprise for my children this morning, who didn't realize it was December 1st.
And after they jumped with joy, my daughter searched out the December 1st packet while my son ran off to grab his Lego Advent calendar......
It's almost December 1st, and that means it's time for Journal Your Christmas & December Daily. Each day of December gets documented in a special way, celebrating the holiday season and (hopefully) reminding everyone of what Christmas is really about.
Shimelle started Journal Your Christmas back in 2003, and it's a full experience complete with daily prompts, private forum and lots of participation. December Daily was the term coined by Ali Edwards and she shares how she documents the days leading up to Christmas on her blog. You can find many, many examples on line & tons of Pintrest boards.
This will be my fifth year doing an album. I tend to mix Shimelle's prompts with what's going on during the month. You can see my prior years' albums here: 2010, 2011 and 2012. I used ring binders and loved the freedom it gives you when putting together your pages.
This year I'm doing something a bit different. I made a hand-stitched book that I taught as a class in August. It has twelve pages made from scrapbook or watercolor paper, three SNAP pocket pages, three envelopes and a few tags strewn in. The challenge for me will be in working within the format I set up.
Here's the book as I start December. I used quite a bit of October Afternoon in the book. The large snowflake was made using Tim Holtz's frosted film and cut with my Silhouette. On top of the snowflake is an embossed chipboard tree (more Tim Holtz) and a Maya Road stick pin.
I picked up a set of Tim Holtz's District Market Christmas canvases a while back. Now that the holiday season is "officially" upon us, it was time to pull them out. Here's the first one.
I put this together with some odds and ends I had lying aroud, a bit of Tim Holtz goodness, some Maya Road stick pins, Crafter's Workshop stencil, and lots of help from ScraPefect's Best Glue Ever and Designer Transfer Foil.
I'm teaching a Christmas album class at ScrapbooksPlus using Heidi Swapp's Believe collection. I really love this collection. The folders make a fabulous base and her embellishments are amazing. We've scored several of the impossible-to-find embellishment packs for you and added some fun details - a bit of sewing, Two Peas flair, and more.
I'll be teaching this class at two times on Friday, December 13th from either 12 - 3 or 6 - 9. There's only room for six people -- total -- so sign up early to reserve your space.
I started this one about a week ago, then set it aside because (1) I had more pressing things that had to be done and (2) I needed to find a good pair of legs. I'm thinking of calling this "Walking on the Moon."
For this I used tissue paper, Tim Holtz's tissue wrap & tissue tape, a bit of 7gypsies printed tissue paper, art paper, and altered citrasolv papers. I love this orange art paper - the white circles are semi-transparent and you can see the writing through them.
As for the citrasolv paper, you need a bottle of citrasolv and a National Geographic magazine - the regular magazine, not any of their special issues (they don't work). There's something about the coating they use on the paper that lets the ink just dissolve beautifully. You can find youtube videos about the process, and citrasolv even has a separate website devoted to this.
Last week was spent catching up on lots of things - housework, to-do's, and just finishing up projects. We spent the weekend with my family, which was just wonderful. It's not often that we can get together in one place so I really cherished the time we had.
But then Monday it was back to normal, back to the grind. With a yard just covered in leaves. Rachel was nice and "helped" me rake up about eight bags. However, I was left with a nasty bruise on my arm from the rake which convinced us to try something new -- having someone else rake all the leaves. Can I say that I am a meticulous raker, but these guys outdid me. And now I've got around 30 bags of leaves on the curb, none of which I had to rake. Wow. Why on earth didn't we do this sooner?
Monday wasn't all bad though. I spent the morning at ScrapbooksPlus demoing products from Viva Decor, including their crackle paste, modeling cream and ferro. Love this stuff! How fun is this gold crackle paste?
With the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who coming up on the 23rd, I was a bit behind in making these, partially due to the BBC waiting until the last minute to announce showtimes. Yes, we're having a party and going to geek out and fangirl like crazy. I'm going to bring back many things from Rachel's Doctor Who birthday party and add a few things from Halloween - like our dalek.
And on the creative front, I finally found the right paper to update our "Boo Book" with the kids' costumes from Halloween. I started this book about five years ago (five?) and each year I add another page spread.
I found this picture of drawings and design info for the daleks from early on in Who history. I paired it with a Graphic 45 paper that has gears and circles. I like to think the gears are from watches and the design on the second page is almost Gallifreyan looking. I used my Silhouette to cut out the logo for the show to add to the second page. I had a cool script "halloween" I'd also cut out to go across the logo, but I got vetoed by Rachel.
And, I'm considering this pastel painting finished, for now at least. I may go back and play with the water a bit more, but I'm on to another painting. This time it's Stonehenge.
And finally, I finished putting together a Christmas mini album class for ScrapbooksPlus. I'm using Heidi Swapp's Believe line and adding a few fun touches. It'll be added to the ScrapbooksPlus website within the next day or so.
And now that leaves me the task of cleaning off my desk so I can get back to finishing up a few collages.
I've been taking a class with Karen Ching on mixed media collage at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. We've been learning about different acrylic mediums & techniques as well as competing to see who can have the biggest pile of Goldens.... ahem....
Karen had us start with a still life drawing a few weeks ago, and then build up layers on canvas. It taught me a lot about mixing colors, using glazing fluid, and unfortunately having paint too close to each other on your palette. For this I used lots of Golden's fluid acrylics mixed with Golden's glazing liquid (gloss). I had to buy some fluid micaceous iron oxide after using it on the background.
And here's where mine stands right now. We'll see what happens on Thursday....
And, it's much more fun to paint leaves than rake them...