In 2011, it was a thrill and honor to be invited by Mary Beth Shaw to join her Stencil Girl team of designers. Today, I am equally honored to introduce a new collection! This series of stencils was inspired by contemporary and traditional stained glass windows. The openings provide opportunity to fill with color or additional pattern. Use as a stencil with your favorite medium or as a template to guide layouts for collage and journaling. Scroll down to see some of the stuff I did with the large ones, then hop along to the SGP Design Team blogs to see their work with the smaller ones. I can't wait to see what they came up with, and thank them for participating!
SPECIAL DEAL: There is a promotional special available TODAY ONLY for all eight of the new stencils - $67 (savings of $17). Go to www.StencilGirlProducts.com
GIVEAWAY: There is a giveaway on StencilGirlTalk (the SGP blog, click HERE) for some of the new stencils. All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Leave a comment here to be eligible, then visit the hop links and leave a comment there too.
EDIT: Giveaway will close on Friday, January 31st Sunday, February 2nd at 11:59PM Central Time.
CONGRATS to winners: Sue Chesley (large stencils), Beth Figiel (Small stencils). Thank you to everyone who came by to visit, leaving your comments, and for sharing the enthusiasm for the new series. Also, a special thanks to Maria for organizing the hop. That was fun!
Blog Hop Order (each link opens a new window)
Chalk up another great year! I'm not a resolution girl. I'd rather look back upon the last year and celebrate the ta-da's than make a list of to-do's. Although I do love making lists. I have an idea for a little project for 2014 - something you can participate in with me. I will prepare the details and share next week.
For now, wishing you health, happiness, and continued blessings for the brand new year ahead. And hoping you make time for creativity! *clink*
Today we prep for a roast beef + Yorkshire pudding dinner, and bake breads for the neighbors, then frost a cake for baby Jesus. My large Nativity has a Mary who is holding the baby, so we resort to another infant Jesus who lays in a straw manger, made of plastic, to be set in a ring of candles and sung to Christmas eve. It belonged to the kids so they could play with the Holy Family. We used to make a cardboard stable, and pretended to act out the famous story....with the kings arriving after following the star. There were several years where couldn't locate the plastic Jesus and frantic-ness ensued to get him recovered and placed on the cake in time to celebrate his birthday. I began the tradition when our oldest was just over a year old. Getting gifts on your birthday is something we all grow up with, so it was the perfect way to explain Christmas to our children. So we don't lose Him, plastic baby Jesus spends his non-birthdays in our silverware drawer. He's never far away to visually remind us of His presence.....and today we honor Him as we exchange our presents.
My favorite track from the Very Special Christmas album series is by Stevie Nicks, with guest Robbie Nevil. This is the best video I could find. To see the 'making of', click HERE.
I can't believe I haven't posted since Halloween! This definitely has been one of my busiest months. With the holidays nearing it appears things won't slow down for a while, but I try to catch a few moments to do things that aren't on the list, like playing with photoshop....it's important to keep practicing your skills, whether with a mouse or a brush. My self-imposed assignment last night was to make a birthday card for my favorite rock star, Ville Valo. The photo credit is unknown. I placed him over a scan of a painted page.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of team teaching with some respected colleagues. It was such a blast to share our love of stencils with a huge group of enthusiastic artists at The Ink Pad in NYC. We even spray painted! It was pretty blustery outside on the second day but most came out with me to brave the wind to give the spraying a try - with some very cool results. I didn't take alot of pictures, but here is the happy clan. I'll show you the fab journal we constructed under Andrew's direction in a few days.
I am such a lucky girl - CREATE Mixed Media Art Retreats hosts one of its events practically in my back yard. For four days I got to teach an amazing collection of women just down the road, then had dinner with my family and slept in my own bed each night. The students were awesome - some were in more than one class, and a handful took three. Some were repeat students, and some were new-to-me, and some totally new to this kind of venue. It was so rewarding to see how each artist interpreted the assignments and projects, bringing their own personal flair to the table. I thoroughly understand that it can be difficult to create-on-demand and often a student may experience performance anxiety but while we may be there to learn technique or make a specific project, I think the most important thing is to come away with the momentum to keep going. I've said this before, sharing your enthusiasm for creativity is more important than what you create. I hope I did that last weekend. The other beautiful thing that happens at these events is we get to widen our circle of friends - making connections with fellow artists through a shared experience can be life-long. I know because I've done it.
Here are most of the students I was privileged to spend time with - some got away before we took pictures.
I will never forget this event and some of the very cool things that happened in the workshops. I witnessed big break-throughs and many subtle a-ha's. Lots of eager girls who tried lots of new things and shared freely their discoveries so that we all could learn even more. That's what happens when you are in the classroom - the energy is so positive, so thick, it's nearly as visible as the hanging humidity outside. I always depart feeling motivated to do it all over again, with a notebook of scribbled ideas for next year. In one class I presented a little start-up assignment that became its own thing, took on a life of its own, and we ran with it because it was constructive, productive, and a really useful tool to review and remark on the results as a group. I think that assignment could become a whole class and I can't wait to start planning it.
A special thanks to all my students, the event planners, and the entire community of artists who were present to make this such a remarkable retreat. There was an Artist's Faire Friday night and it was a great success for my little GPP table. Fallon was a terrific helper - thank you to our customers for your patience as we got you through the line. Here are some more of my displays - these were spray painted with all the stencils I sell, in the extreme heat we suffered through recently. A few of the shots of paint never made it to the surface as it actually dried mid-air. Crazy.
Doesn't it look like the stencil sheets are hanging there? I love how the edges show so you can see exactly what the sheet looks like.
Next big teaching gig for me is Art-Is-You in Connecticut on October. Hope to see some of you there! For details on my classes click on the WORKSHOPS button in the toolbar on top.
The final report card came in. Fallon's highest marks ever. Pretty good considering some seniors tend to slack off as the year winds down. At college orientation we learned that parents aren't given access to grades. ??? You'd think that signing your name on tuition checks might give you some privileges but it's time to let them fly, and trust that they'll continue to do well and communicate with you. I'll be filing away this last report, with some of the other remarkable items I've saved over the years. Onward we go!
We are so proud of you Fallon - bravo!
Had a great time with family last weekend. Mom and Dad, John and Renee, and my nieces Morgan, Mackenzie, and Meg joined us to celebrate Fallon's graduation. We spent a day at the shore, rode some terrifying rides, got in the ocean, and enjoyed walking the refurbished boardwalk. As the slogan on the airwaves keeps reminding and reassuring us: We are stronger than the storm. There's still alot of work to be done following superstorm Sandy but it was wonderful to see the crowds filling up the beach.
Summer is here! Be well and behave ;)
It was an action-packed weekend! The rain shut down the opening ceremonies Friday night for the Special Olympic Summer Games, but the remainder of the weekend was perfect for the event. Many athletes and their families enjoyed two full days of competition and awards. Thank you to our Piscataway Chiefs coaches, and the hundreds of volunteers who make this such an amazing experience.
Above: two happy instructors following another wonderful weekend as we took on Far Away Places. Another enthusiastic group of artists met us in the generous studio space where we sprawled out and got messy for three full days of numerous creative projects. Some stellar work and special memories forged at our lovely venue. Oh, if we could just bottle up that energy and feed off it every day! We extend our thanks all the courageous voyagers and hope to meet you again, here or anywhere! Lynne and I had an utter blast and are already looking forward to next year, with lots of ideas for what that will entail. Stay tuned to our websites if you are interested in joining us - annoucement likely in just a few months. We need to catch our breath and soak in all the good vibes generated over these past two weekends.
Unfortunately, I never did the rounds with my camera on the first weekend, my apologies to the artists. Below are just some of the art pieces being made in the second weekend. Most students created three or more works of art - so fun to revisit the work spaces and busy hands through these photos!
Winner for the book giveaway: Diana Wilson!
Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to Julie for the generous offering.
Just back from Connecticut where Lynne and I hosted an enthusiastic and talented group of artists for the first edition of our workshop. This is the only evidence photo I have - so you'll have to believe me when I say it was an utterly delightful crew of travelers, a fantastic venue, and a very special experience to teach, learn, create, and explore together for three full days.
It was such a pleasure to meet new friends and reconnect with returning students. Thank you ladies, for a memorable weekend. It was such a treat to see each of you express yourself so beautifully with individual flare and finesse. Keep the momentum going!
We are looking forward to a repeat adventure next weekend! Plus, Lynne and I have already been conjuring up our agenda for next year! The question is: how do we top this? Ha! I'm cracking myself up because that statement might be hint for our preliminary plans. I will keep you posted as we flesh out the concept and prepare to announce the workshops for 2014.
I'm still wrapping. Are you? I thought I was on a good pace....numerous trips to the post office shipping gift packages and orders, nearly everything on the to-do lists is done but I'm still writing out cards, and still wrapping and baking....and tomorrow is Christmas Eve! No matter how much I try to be organized I am always down to the last minute with holiday preparation. I could ask for help, but that would take away the surprise and sneaky selections I've made as gifts. No, I am happy to be the chief elf. I am lucky to have that role. As I write out each gift tag I think about this great position I'm in to continue making Christmas a magical time - even though our kids are no longer little. It's the lights, the sparkle, the surprises, the LOVE....and tomorrow night at church we will pause, pray, and lift our voices in song. I'm rushing to beat the clock, but I'm grinning through it. As you enter into final-preparation-mode, like the rest of us, think about how lucky you are to be the magic-maker for your family.
I've mentioned this before - one of our family traditions is to collect souvenir spoons on our travels. Brought out each December, it is fun to remember places we've been together as we hang each spoon on the tree. This year we get to add a few new ones. I think this makes at least 6 from England, and now we have two from Italy. One purchased, one stolen (gasp!). If you sift through the box you'll see a newish one from New Orleans, an old one from Traverse City, several from Boston and Minnesota, and a special one from New York when the twin towers were still part of the skyline.
I would ask you to share with me some of your unusual holiday traditions....but you should be wrapping! We will talk about it another time.....for now, I'm raising a glass to toast you, the magic-makers.
Since our theme last weekend was all about suns, moons and stars, I can’t help but rely on celestial terms to attempt a description. It was almost like being on another planet, a mini universe of unique features, that you can visit for just a short time, embrace all there is to offer, then carry the experience forever. With many familiar faces, and some not-yet-known, we embarked on a journey to this place where the environment shifts and the routines of daily life are quickly forgotten. Our destination appeared friendly, inviting, even domestic with its farmhouse, red barn, and fading garden....trees lining the perimeter of the property and colorful fields framing the panoramic view. Valley Ridge may seem no different than scenes from the next country road, or the previous one, but those who arrive know better. All cares of the outside world blur for three days and participants become immersed in discovery, play, and community as they contribute to the collaborative spirit and energy that visably multiplies. It is indeed a privilege to observe the process of creativity that emerges and to witness enthusiastic artists stretch their zones of comfort and ripple wider the rings of friendship. Upon reflection of departing from this enchantment, we realize that the material evidence of what we expressed together on paper is only a portion of what transpired, while the remainder can only be seen with the heart.
Thank you Katherine for being such a gracious hostess, and thank you artists for linking arms with me and each other on this dynamic, remarkable waltz across the stars.
After being productive in the studio, we enjoyed social hour in the community building on Friday, then a spectacular special dinner prepared by our dear friend Jennifer in Katherine's home on Saturday.
They came from near and far. They rose to amazing heights. Truly cool stuff. I love that while we all started out with a planned format and distributed set of images, every artist made it their own. Each nearly-completed journal so personal and unique - exactly what we hope for. I love that my mom comes along each year and is warmly welcomed into the studio - seeing me in the role of instructor and *getting* what it's all about - the passion for putting our hands to work in a way that nudges us forward on our creative paths and ultimately feeds our souls because we choose to plug in and make it happen. As much as I hope to give, I always end up feeling like I am the one who receives. As I said in the introduction circle, Valley Ridge has helped me become who I am....I believe that's a truth for many of us. While Katherine is changing the process of presenting events, I am happy to learn Valley Ridge will be an available space for workshops in the future....because we don't want to stop the momentum.
Until we meet again, *blows kisses*.
My suitcases are packed. One will be marked HEAVY...it's filled with paper, paint, stamps, and lots of punches. Circle punches. I'm really looking forward to this last workshop at Valley Ridge. I know these girls will rock the circles with suns, moons, and their own personal flair to make a unique visual journal. The results will be celebrated, but it is just a small part of what we get from participating in an event like this one. Of course I hope that the 'process' will expand the vision and perspective of each artist as to how to approach art-making in journals, and in general. And I hope that they leave with enthusiasm to keep the momentum going. I do know this: it's impossible to leave unaffected by the experience. That's not a reflection of me...I'm simply the ambassador for creativity on this particular weekend, at this location. When eager creatives gather, and open their hearts and heads to embrace What's Possible, magic happens. We all learn from each other. Discoveries are made and shared and the energy in the studio multiplies. Confidence grows. Efforts validated. Authenticity recognized. Art celebrated. The circles of Friendship widen.
In July 2003 I prepared a handful of projects for With one Palette, found in Somerset Studio Jan/Feb 2004. I look at this album and cannot believe it's been nine years...tucked inside the front cover is a Sun-themed soundtrack, which started me off as I collected tracks for the Synchroncity workshop playlist. Thanks to my media device I am able to present over 50 songs and I'm not limited to what will squeeze onto a cd. So that has changed, but my use of favorite images and default colors has not evolved much. I'm fine with that - I think it's not a bad thing to have go-to crutches in our process - not to rehash but to stretch how we use them.
A new Sun song on the list, reminds me of this past summer. Energizing and fun....
And an old favorite. It actually will be a New Moon on Monday.
See you next week. *waves*
What a fabulous event! The nervous anticipation quickly melted away as I walked into the classroom and started meeting the enthusiastic artists who came ready to learn, make connections, and crank out some really cool work. It was a joy to embrace old friends, to be introduced to faces with familiar names, and to meet so many new creatives at this venue. It was a great location, was so well run, and was just pure fun. I love the energy that fills a room when open minds and open hearts are on full display. I wish I would have taken more photos as evidence because I loved what I saw on the tables - each artist bringing their own flair to the process. It was a beautiful thing to witness. I am glowing.
Special thanks to Maggie, Rebecca, Bev, and Jenn, for having me and hosting CREATE NJ. I look forward to next year! Same time, same place. Thanks to all the shoppers who stopped by my table on vendor night. Fallon was my assistant, and felt like a rock star :) The biggest thanks goes to my students, especially the repeat offenders who came for both classes. YOU ALL ROCKED. While I hope you will continue working in your journals and keep trying some of the things we did, the most important thing I hope you take away from the weekend is the enthusiasm for creativity. *blows kisses*
Last July I worked on three collections of stencils for my new venture with Stencil Girl. They have been rolling them out, along with new designs from other artists on their team. Here are the latest that I will have at my vendor table at CREATE NJ. Both classes are sold out! I'll be assembling the class kits over the next few weeks, and preparing stuff to sell. I'm really looking forward to teaching so close to home!
The stencils are now listed for sale over at GreenPepperPress.com You'll see they are full patterns of the borders that were released earlier. I love having multiple sizes of patterns to work with which is why I also have these images available in two sizes as rubber sheets. I should be getting the first delivery soon.
I told you my hands were wrist deep in a fun project...here is the proof. I'll give you more clues about it in September, or maybe even late August. Love having messy hands....don't you?
The class of 2012 has left the building. Proud families and friends cheered and waved. There is so much to reflect on as we turn the page on high school for Sam and usher Fallon into becoming a senior, where we will do it all over again next year. The calendar keeps speeding by, and we are rolling with it as best as we can.
Lots of activities filled the weekend with my parents visiting....we went to the shore, only to be met by a random raging storm. The boardwalk emptied out and we had great seats for a fun lunch and a lightning show over the ocean. No swiming or amusement rides but the salt-water taffy is always good. Then we spent a day walking around the stunning campus of Princeton. The Art Museum had a special exhibit of the college's Gothic Revival architecture - pages of beautiful renderings and plans for the construction of the famous university were on display. On another day we camped out in Brooklyn for the flea market and Renegade Craft Fair. Pilss of cool stuff - fun to walk among like-minded people with appreciation for handmade goods. It was fun to be near the water and see the Manhattan view from the other side....and it's always nice to spend time with family.
We survived the heat and are bracing for next round. I'm wrist-deep in a very fun project, chasing another deadline. I'll be back when I'm done. I'll pass out the popsicles. What's your favorite flavor? Mine's cherry.
I am so filled with pride, and gratitude after a very incredible weekend at the summer games. On the global scale it was amazing to see the entire production beginning with the Opening Ceremonies, followed by two full days of sporting events, with lots of extracurricular activities for teams and families. There were literally hundreds of volunteers who offered their help and hearts to host these summer games. It looked effortless which is a tribute to the preparation and dedication of the amazing Special Olympics organization. They were depended upon, and delivered, the tasks of staging, escorting, directing, supporting, congratulating, awarding, and many other important roles.
On the local level I am touched by, and impressed by our coach, his parents, and his team of assistant coaches. We are blessed to have these individuals in our lives as they care about our kids, and believe in encouraging and celebrating their abilities. Many hours have been spent planning, practicing, and preparing for this event. This weekend wasn't just a commitment of showing up at the track - it was much much more. Each athlete was required to spend the weekend in the campus dorms with their coaches and chaperones. For many of us it was the first time letting go of our child for an overnight away from family. Imagine handling that? There was alot of responsibility placed on their shoulders as they managed everything morning through night - bedtime, dressing, showering, eating, travelling, and finally, performing. I'm certain I can speak for all the families of our team when I say we are never going to forget what our coaches have done, and what a gift it was to participate in such a memorable event.
And we're off! Heading down to the Summer Games for Special Olympics New Jersey. The Law Enforcement Torch Run began early this morning, winding its way through the state, meeting hundreds of runners in many townships, then arriving to light the cauldron tonight at the opening ceremonies where we will watch our team parade into the stadium. We are so excited! Pray for sunshine. LOTS of photos to follow.
It couldn't have been more perfect. A handsome young man and a pretty young girl going to their high school prom. They didn't know it, but their moms were sitting nearby watching all the dates parade in, then enjoyed a few hours in the lobby restaurant getting updates via text message from the guardian angels on the inside. From a distance they looked like every other couple, but we know it was much bigger than that. These are memories we will cherish always - as a family. How cute are they?
Peter couldn't be with us to see Sam and Brianna as he had to work but he got to see the tuxedo'd Sam before the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. His prom was three years ago, photos HERE.
Look at that sweet face. Seems like yesterday that I set up the sheets, and wrangled the boys into the linen coat and saddle shoes, then took photos with real black and white film that I actually had developed.
Today I will be a photographer again....how many rolls of film would it take to cover this day? This month? All the memorable moments will be captured on a small piece of plastic inserted into my camera. How is that possible? And how is it possible that this little one will depart in a dapper tux, with a lovely girl, and attend his senior prom? I am a wreck. Full of joy but a bag of nerves for this big day. I was worried the fancy attire would be an issue but Sam tried it on and modeled for me like it was no big deal. Even the shiny shoes. I am wagering he might be the first on the dance floor. Yes, really. Crossing fingers that the chaperones text me every ten minutes as I sit with Brianna's mom in the hotel bar, anxiously waiting for reports. It's good to know the insiders.
Prom tonight. Special Olympics track meet next weekend. Graduation on the 21st. Milestones that fill us with pride. And happy tears. Pass the tissues.
I'll be back tomorrow with photos!
I just learned that Debris Journal is currently full for the event in July. *dances a jig* There is still room in Frond Chronicles. I've been working on another class sample....I am addicted to making and using these shapes, inspired by real plant life, with a little creative license.
See, even the wishes have *winks*. If you want to know more and are thinking of attending the event in New Jersey in July, visit the CREATE site HERE.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. For me and for Shannon.
I'm heading home. See you in a week. *waves*