Sunday, March 20, 2016

Keeping a Spring Break Promise

I get to put a checkmark next to a promise I added to my Spring Break want-to-do list:

I followed up on a tutorial that I saved to Pinterest from a wonderful lady, Debbie Saenz, over at her blog, A Creative Life.  I haven't seen her post for a few years now (she does have an Etsy shop), but am terribly appreciative that her mixed media tutorial is still available online.

Following her instructions and photos for guidance and inspiration, I managed to make a fabulous mess in my crafty nook today, and used half a jar of Mod Podge in the process.

Yes.

HALF. A. JAR.

You know you're in crafting heaven when you realize that you ~enjoy~ peeling the dried Mod Podge from your fingers, all elementary-school-days-wet-glue style. 



Scrabble tiles on the floor (I decided to print my text instead of using them), along with pieces of vintage sheet music and old book pages... acrylic paint, water, foam and bristle brushes, ribbon, lace, scissors, stamp pads, E-6000 and Mod Podge... oh, buttons too... you name it, I probably grabbed it to have within easy reach while I tried to determine how to alter my canvases.

The first canvas was stretched over a frame, resulting in a LOT of air bubbles and wrinkles across the surface, while my second canvas covering heavy cardboard or chipboard, made it easier (and faster) to layer papers with Mod Podge, and other elements with glue.





Here's the second canvas:



I came ~this close~ to NOT painting the book and music pages... But I had paint left over from the first canvas that I didn't want to waste, so I used it.

Ohhhhhhhhh, let's not forget the bubble wrap!  See the texture I added to the pink wash by pressing white paint onto bubble wrap and then touching it to the canvas?

Bubble wrap is just as fun to paint with as it is to pop.

Maybe. 



My friend Karen suggested a quote from Winnie the Pooh for my collages:



... inspiring me to use a single word to fill this heart:



Thank you, dear friend.

I completed two collages one day before I head back to the classroom for the beginning of the last quarter for this school year.  I was cutting it close, but I kept a spring break promise to myself: learn something new and create something from it.

Check.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December: It's Time

Once winter vacation starts, December is usually a happy, restful, and rejuvenating month for me.

This year, unexpectedly, my time has been spent performing traditional tasks mostly due to obligation, not joyful intentions.  Work was draining, right to the very end of the semester, and I worked through my first weekend at home cleaning, sorting, and decorating when I really would have preferred to have slept for hours on end.  Though I've heard of blue Christmases happening to others, it's still difficult trying to hide my disappointment as I wonder just what has happened to the long term peace and contentment that the holiday break from teaching usually provides.  I might need to practice mindful breathing, as my usual physical and emotional exhale hasn't naturally occurred yet.

There were lovely moments this month, to be sure.  Unwrapping ornaments and decorating our tree is always a favorite job of mine, and I enjoyed reminiscing over Christmases past as I hung each decoration:



I was pleasantly surprised to see how many friends and family had returned to sending actual Christmas cards via post:



I baked and mailed cookies:



... and celebrated my 46th birthday crying and squealing with glee when I opened up my new iMac.  The monitor is incredible, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to all of the blog posts, Twitter chats, pinning, and creating that will occur at my fingertips in the upcoming year.  The computer has already found its new home in my Crafty Nook:





Over the past few days I've binge-watched prior seasons of Game of Thrones and Fixer Upper, crocheted, and hidden downstairs in the crafty nook:





I've had ~much~ too much coffee and fruitcake, and have sat quietly looking out the window at the piddly amount (yes, PIDDLY) of snow that has fallen, causing me to conclude that I'll have to depend upon my silver tinsel tree for any real winter sparkle:



No one remembered to find the pickle ornament this year on our green tree, which has caused me actual sadness.  "Remind the kids" is the simplest and most expedient solution (and one I used several years ago without blinking an eye) but this month my brain seems to want to wallow in grief, which is really starting to piss me off. 

What is this?

Teacher burn out?  Peri-menopause?  Global warming?  Too much time on social media, with all of the gaslighting, spin, and overuse of "OMG, you won't BELIEVE" or "wars" and "outrage" on and over anything and everything?  Anxiety, anger, and intolerance do nothing but drain me.  For someone already exhausted from work, I need beauty, breathing and rest to counteract this funk.

I have four days before I return to work.  Time to giggle over the cat playing in the blanket that covers my lap:



... and joyful discoveries like The Fourth Grader having set the breakfast table:




... and time to tell him (and Godzilla) to find the pickle.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween Swap Ornaments



Look what came in the mail!  This year's ornaments from Sarah's Halloween Ornament Swap in all their spooky-sweet glory!  They're all fabulous additions to my silver tinsel tree and the mini-mantel behind it:


 Delores made a two sided felt house, with a ghost on one side and a spider in its web on the other...



 Robin made this paper cone full to the brim with orange, black and sparkles...


Michelle and Ashley made this sparkly witch's broom...


 I love the vintage-y feel of Kim's scarecrow ornament- you should check out the rest of her family's Halloween decor!


Beth made this skeleton gal, all dolled up and ready to party in her twirly candy cane skirt and spider/boa fascinator (her toenails are even polished!).


Marci made this dandy- love his top hat!


Keri made a little fireplace vignette- look at the teeny-tiny mouse in the lower left corner!


Sarah managed to get this little mouse to wear a witch's hat and perch atop a glittery pumpkin, INSIDE a very small glass bulb!  Oh yes, this one is hung ~well~ out of reach of Buck-the-Cat.


Something delicious (or carnivorous?) must have been brewing in this witch's cauldron from Beth the Second!


Meghan made this super glossy acorn jack-o-lantern, another ornament that would be v-e-r-y tempting for my cat!

What ornaments did I create for these wonderful swappers?  Last year I came across a bag of vintage cupcake picks- I actually REMEMBER seeing these jacks, skellies, cats, and witches on bakery shop cupcakes when I was a little girl:


Dumping them out onto the middle of my craft table, they were quickly joined by autumn colored yo-yos, floss, beads, ribbon, tatty lace, star spangles, mini-tins, batting, and denim.  I decided to make little Halloween dancers.





 Then I finished them off with star hanging hooks:


Bagged and tagged, the ornaments were mailed off to Sarah, who divvied them up, repacked boxes, and mailed the exchanged ornies back to us in time for Halloween!


Thank you for the lovely ornaments, ladies, and Happy Halloween!

~Michaele~

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Halloween Tree

I've finally participated in enough Halloween ornament swaps: this year I have a Halloween tree!



When I purchased the silver tinsel tree on clearance after Christmas last year, I thought it would be perfect for ~this~ Christmas, but when I encountered it as I was pulling Halloween decor out of storage, I realized it would provide the perfect backdrop for many of the darker ornaments I've received.

A tabletop tree also helps immensely with Buck the Mouse Killer, Houseplant Digger and all around Messer-Upper roaming these premises:  


Yes, that's Cool Whip on his nose.

But I digress.

Skulls, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, spiders, witch hats, haunted houses and bats all fit on the tree:








Even Edgar Allan Poe has a place of honor reserved for him among the branches:



Other sweet decor keeps some family photos company on the window ledge:



Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year, thanks to these wonderful ornaments and the crafty friends who created them!

My ornaments have been made, bagged, tagged and mailed to Sarah over at Makin Projiks for this year's swap.  I can't wait to see what everyone else has made that will be added to the tree!