Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Birthday Card

Yesterday was my sweet hubby's birthday
and as usual, I made him a card. (I usually
make all my cards by hand.) This was done
with a wide-point Sharpie Poster Paint Pen,
on a piece of archival colored paper. I used
Prismacolor pencils to color in the larger areas.

I kind of liked the graphic look to this card,
especially the shapes that are created
around the letters. I'd like to play with this
format a bit more, using different words.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Travel Journal for Ireland Contest

Last week I found out about a contest that was offering a free trip for two to Ireland. It was through the travel company that I used back in September when my mom and I went to Ireland. The rules for the contest were to tell, in a creative way, what package you would choose from their website, why, and who you would bring.

Well, I've so much wanted my husband to go back there with me, because everywhere I went last year, I thought of him and how we would enjoy the same places. So, I came up with the following little "Travel Journal" idea.

FYI: I didn't win the contest and was VERY disappointed! But I did have fun putting this together and thought I'd share it with all of you. It is not a calligraphy project, but more of a graphic design piece.


The Story Behind the Story

My mother retired from her job in July, 2009. One afternoon, while at my house for tea, she wistfully recalled a conversation she’d had with my father when they were young. In it, they talked about traveling to Ireland after dad retired because he was Irish and had always wanted to see the country from where his father’s family had come. Sadly, they never had that chance, as Dad passed away at the age of 52.

Suddenly, I had the idea that perhaps I could take mom to Ireland in celebration of her retirement, and to fulfill my parents’ dream.

Later, when my husband Brad came home from work, I asked him what he thought about the idea. Brad is a very hard-working, Chicago-tradesman. He makes a decent wage, but because of the way their union contract is set up, he doesn’t get paid vacations. When he does take time off, we save enough money both for vacation and to pay ourselves for his time off.

This wasn’t a huge problem when I worked full-time. But, since unexpectedly becoming parents late in life (after 15 years of marriage), we made the decision that I would stay at home with our child. Now, vacations are a bit of a stretch. Rarely does my husband take off a full week. Consequently, going to Ireland with mom would take a huge chunk out of our vacation budget.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when Brad looked at me and said, “Yes. You need to do this, and do it nicely.” I immediately went online and planned a tour that would give my mom and I a nice “glimpse” of Ireland. The trip was simply breathtaking and mom was in heaven!

While I was in Ireland, though, I kept thinking about my favorite travel partner back home and how he graciously gave up a lot for me to be there. Before our son was born, Brad and I would travel all over the U.S. We mostly camped and stayed in modest B and Bs, but it didn’t matter because we were having adventures together. Now, having this great adventure without him just didn’t seem right.

Everywhere I went, I thought of how Brad and I would embrace these experiences if we were together...

You probably can't read the plaque in the bottom photo on the left page. It says "On this site in 1897, nothing happened." 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Baby Gift

I made this today to give as a gift to a friend
who just had a baby. I had to whip it up quickly
because she came into town unexpectedly, so I
resorted to a familiar style. This was done with
a pointed brush, Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White,
and Prismacolor pencils on Arches Black Cover.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Few More Pics from the Play Date

A few images of Karen, Cathy and Rita at work.

More Pics from the Creative Play Date

This is one of my designs. Before and after.

Creative Play Date - Crayon Batik!

I see it has been a couple of weeks since I've posted. Life sometimes gets busy and the blog takes a back burner. But yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with some creative friends for a play date. I found this interesting technique called "Crayon Batik", from "The Crafter's Recipe Book" by Jessica Wrobel. The book is filled with all kinds of fascinating ideas to transform paper and fabric. So we all got out our crayons and paper and began to play!

The materials are quite simple: crayons, paper (we experimented with all kinds, but text weight seemed to work best), an iron, acrylic paint, water, paintbrush, sponge, wax paper or newspaper, and some scrap paper.

I documented the process with my friend Karen's piece. (Thanks, Karen!) Here are the steps:

STEP 1: Draw a picture or design and color in the entire surface of the paper very densely so none of the paper shows through. (Although I did leave areas white and really liked the effect. Try both!)

STEP 2: To crack the surface, wad the paper into a tight ball, then unfurl it.

STEP 3: Brush a thinned coat of paint over the entire surface. Do not let paint dry.

STEP 4: Lay the piece on top of wax paper (or newspaper), and sponge the paint off the crayon. We laid our pieces out on newspaper and let them dry before proceeding to Step 5.

STEP 5: Place the design face down on a sheet of scrap paper. Stack another piece of scrap paper on top of that. Press with a warm iron, but do not use a sliding motion.