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.
My friend Samie had the idea for this particular mission, and earlier this summer we embarked on a field trip to scoop up some dirt and present it as a gift. If you've been following along on this blog you know I am a card-carrying member of the Grave Dirt Crew. I believe this was the fifth successful delivery - something we continue to do as we know our efforts have made an impression - getting special mention in two live interviews as well as two print interviews with lead singer Ville Valo. Lest you be confused, gathering dirt is a way we honor respected departed souls. The collection is now more than a dozen bottles - poets, musicians, writers, and actors that we know Mr. Valo would appreciate. The latest presentation is that of Peter Steele, singer for Type O Negative - Mr. Steele was from Brooklyn and we passed it off on Saturday, perfect timing as it was the last night of the HIM tour.....and we saw them perform in, you guessed it, Brooklyn.
EDIT: I've been asked about the graphics - the green circle with the line through it is the band logo for TYPE O NEGATIVE.
Here's one of the mentions....proof that he doesn't think we're nuts, and that it isn't a dark thing, just cool.
CLICK HERE to hear it on youtube, scroll forward to minute 16:50 for the audio evidence, transcript excerpt below.
Link to full interview transcript HERE.
The day is almost over, but the month has just begun. A very full schedule ahead. My lilacs are fragrant, bursting open yesterday. I found my first four leaf clover of the season. I didn't get a ding-dong and flower basket (like we did as kids on May Day) but the mailman did ring the bell to deliver a big package of merchandise with the new HIM cd!!! Mini-tour has started, I get to see them soon after a very long dry spell. Bags and bins are packed and ready for my departure tomorrow morning - to Far Away Places - a workshop with my friend Lynne. Looking forward to riding in the van with my band, not literally of course. A road trip is the perfect way to become immersed with a new album. I will report in on the weekend after I get back. The first batch of pre-orders from The Gothic Collection will go out tomorrow too. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic response. My manufacturers pulled off a fast turn around. Life is good!
The first video....
*waves, and blows kisses*
p.s. Gabriele, I got your lovely envelope, and clipping on the collection. I ordered it...should be here anyday. Thanks for thinking of me. It was a super fun thing to get in the mail. <3
First, let me wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for, especially this year as we reflect on all that has happened in our neck of the woods. I am grateful for the walls and roof of our home, with full power restored to cook a turkey and all the trimmings. I am grateful for my family - my parents are arriving soon to celebrate around the table with us. I am grateful for an entire trunk full of memories visiting family and friends in England, and seeing the glorious sites of Venice. I'm a lucky girl.
With all that went on recently I wasn't able to share this news. My latest Somerset Studio column came out November 1st, Make It Your Own: Nutcrackers. I love nutcrackers!!! It finally occured to me to put my own spin on them. If you think you want to try it I recommend shopping Hobby Lobby - they have a wonderful unfinished large nutcracker this season. My store is sold out and they aren't re-ordering :( You could also buy a cheapy one from the dollar store and sand off all the cheesey sequins and add your own handsome bits to it. Here are three of mine...the Royal Guard was described, but the photo was inadvertently left out of the article, so I will share here.
And if you don't want to go full-out with embellishment, you can always just spray paint a solid color. They look cool too.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving! And since tomorrow is 11/22, I have to wish my favorite rock star Hyvää Syntymäpäivää.
Aha! Look, same initials as me! My go-to dictionary online or in real life is Merriam Webster. Their website is fun to visit for lots of reasons. Recently they posted some of the new official word entries....did you see? They have a section on the site, the Open Dictionary, to submit words you think you should be added.... one was fangirl, but as a verb. I can see that, but shouldn't it also be a noun?
EDIT: oops, forgot to include this......
I first found the scribbler site in 2007 (see post here). Had alot of fun messing around over there and it revived my interest sketching off screen. I just learned they have an updated version, equally as fun and addictive. Visit HERE to give it a go.
Have you made your Valentine's yet? I'm still finishing mine. Love the new LOVE stamp, don't you? Designed by Louise Fili, see site HERE. Imagine your design on a postage stamp? Very cool.
And before today is over.....
I started working on this last week so I would be ready with birthday wishes for my favorite rock star today. Plus, I wanted to leave enough time to request permission to use these photos from the talented photographer, PEROU. He wrote back in less than ten minutes, with a thumbs up. I love that the internet provides easy and instant access to artists. Thank you Perou.
Hyvää Syntymäpäivää, Happy 35th Birthday Ville Valo.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a journal spread about this....and of course I have to blog about it too. I was so thrilled with the Artist Portfolio in Art Journaling. I was curious about what pages they would choose to present from the handful of journals I sent them that spanned several years. Those of you who know me well can imagine I squeeeeed when I saw all the evidence that I'm a fan-girl turn up in the publication. They certainly captured the real me, don't you think? But I'm wondering....is it possible that Stampington & Co. is under the spell of the heartagram?
So what makes me think Stampington is under the spell? The proof is in their magazines. It started with Jenny, who deliberately printed these *winks* between friends. I write about it in this blog post about Altered Couture (April 2007), and this one about Somerset Studio (August 2007).
But then the heartagram shows up again in Art Journaling. This time Jenny wasn't responsible. It was a committee, headed by Kellene Giloff, owner of Stampington, who determined the visual content. I recently asked Amber Demien, editor of the magazine, to share some insider information....did they realize what they were doing? Was it serendipity that these images appear in print, was it another wink, or had they fallen under the spell? Amber is an enlightened girl, and knows the heartagram, so she imparted the knowledge to Kellene, who freely selected the pages you see. It's obvious the emblem has either cast its magic....or maybe they simply believe. *grin*
Be careful when you look into the eye of that partial portrait stencil.....you are getting sleepy....very very sleepy.....sleepy....
Oh right....back to real life. I'm late with posting...but at least I did it! These pages chronicle the wrap-up of the HIM tour. I documented the set lists from the four concerts we saw, and journaled about the experiences. Still in recovery after a three-night-stand staying in the city. Whew! It was a gas.
The rose count is insane! With the recent rain the bushes are heavy and leaning. Need to find a way to support them. *adds on the to-do list* Here is one until I can take more photos.
Fallon was able to finally get photos with three of the guys Friday night. Perfect little addition to a fantastic tour. We were definitely spoiled. They are all back in Finland now. When-oh-when will they be back?
This week Seth @ The AlteredPage is revisiting True Colors with commentary each day from the participants. I thought all the artists would be included in a one-day-post so I kept my remarks brief. I could talk endlessly about the fabulous experience of making pages, then seeing it go to print. Fun to be reading his blog as we reminisce out loud. Check it out HERE.
(happy mothers day graphic with sneak peek of new stamps)
Look at this enthusiasm. The roses are all eagerly growing straight up toward the sun. We now have twenty bushes - and countless, literally cannot count them, buds about ready to show off. Check out the evidence on this one. Can't wait to get back after the weekend to see them.
New crusade is posted. Come play! (The Roman Numeral for 40 is XL, get it?)
Oh, where am I going? You mean you haven't been keeping track, counting the minutes like me?
I will have a small collection of new stamps up for pre-order next week. I can't wait for you to see these! I'm just finalizing a few sizes to match up with some paper punches. Sneak peek in the top graphic.
Again, Happy Mother's Day ~ especially to my cute little mom with the big heart. xoxo
Finally! A break in the rain and I could go out and spray! I have wet knees from kneeling in the grass, and *nozzle finger* from months of being out of practice. Oh, I missed you spray paint.
I am really bad about trying to blot off my stencils. In fact, I'd rather keep working and let the layers of paint accummulate, then monoprint with it or chip it off later. As I was waiting for a perfect spray-day I took on the task of cleaning up. I carefully rolled the stencils and all the paint cracked and worked loose...some were almost to the point of being clean again (until I put them to work again today!)
My sweet friend Cindi commissioned a sprayed suitcase. I was going to keep the final look a surprise but she asked to see it. So here it is darling ;) It's on the way to you, and can be packed up in time to visit NY for the last leg of the you-know-what tour. xo
I really thought I would use red on this. But I like the look of it without - kinda tapestry-ish with some spider webs and heartagrams. Makes you look twice. NOTE: if you try this at home you definitely want to get a spray varnish. I freaked out that the spray paint remained slightly tacky (as in sticky) but once I coated with the finish it was perfect!
I had limited time today to make my rubytuesday pages since I'm heading out to pick up Mom from the airport. It was easy to do these - simply documented recent events by tucking away some *evidence*, and scribbling down some thoughts.
I was so touched and tickled by the responses you left on my last post. I printed out the comments for my journal page. I get it that not all of you are HIM fans. And you may even roll your eyes when you arrive to see another post about them. But what is really cool is that you were still able to share the enthusiasm with me. And you get it that these projects and experiences are important to me. Thank you.
Oh! You want to know where that cool *evidence* tape came from? When I was looking for pre-printed toe tags I came across crimescene.com I ended up making my own toe tags, but found lots of great stuff at that place. I have been keeping a journal....yes another....that is all about barrier tape. I collect different specimens of tape while out and about, and friends even send me some. I have tape confiscated from the local premises of Greece, Italy, and France!
And courtesy of ATPhotography, a few shots from the show Friday night. It was spectacular! Next up: three more dates in May!
It was a glorious day! We arrived in Deptford and took our place in line. Hundreds of fans were there and we met up with our friends, and many new ones. I have been to signings and meet & greets before, but this one was run tight and strict, and very fast. Fallon was a wreck as we inched closer. They had several check points where they held you back so you couldn't really even see the band until you were standing right in front of them. We had prepared gifts but they were swiftly wisked away by some record exec. but we got to tell them about it. I practically shreiked "but I made them Toe Tags". We thanked them for this opportunity and had our items signed (had to sweet talk the exec. to let us go with unconventional surfaces, a tshirt and a journal). I explained what my journal was and they took a look and thought it was really clever. *grin*
So there is a song on the new album called Acoustic Funeral. (It was actually playing in the store during the signing!!) You can hear Ville explain the song HERE. You can hear the song HERE. (Very pretty, take a listen). The chorus is this....
Epiphany! Toe Tags! We also brought a book, a Black Sabbath dvd, and some cool socks. (they say they always lose socks on tour) I mentioned we had given him the collections of grave dirt and he said the bottles are all lined up on his mantel at home! And they thought my HIMnal was cool. Can't wait for them to get a good look at the Toe Tags. *faints*
They didn't allow photographs....but I got this one of Fallon with their manager, Seppo. And the others are courtesy of Hot Topic.
What a blast we had! So fun to see our favorite band again. They were all so charming and nice, and really tuned into you when you spoke with them. Great to hang with Bill, Laure, Mark, Suzanne, Cindi, and Cherie. Had to go out for a fun meal to decompress together....
Next up: concert tonight! *blows kisses*
Before I talk about the week ahead I will say something about the last weekend. I was super lucky to have an opportunity to teach at the Career Capades day at our kid's high school. It was an action packed day with many presentations in all kinds of departments. I was asked to set up for a workshop and chose to go with monoprinting as it is fast, easy, and quick-drying. With the assistance of some art students we kept the tables turning over so we could let everyone who was interested come have a try at a painting technique. Some 'customers' whizzed in and out but there were some who stayed and kept at it, making lots of cool painted prints. LOVE that I got to witness young kids taking an interest in making art.
There is still time to "Grab a Tissue", then next month we will try monoprinting for the crusades.
And now this week. OMG. Love my him, Him, and HIM. him: it is our 20th anniversary tomorrow! I am such a lucky girl to have this man in my life. What a blessing to exchange vows with him and launch a family together. Life is good. Him: this weekend is Palm Sunday. The beginning of Holy Week. I remember learning as a kid that the ashes we get crossed on our forehead at the beginning of Lent is from the burned palms of the year before. I don't know if that's true but I like the connection. Mom and Dad will be arriving next week to celebrate Easter with us. And HIM: the new video was just released...my favorite track on the album too! Thursday, Fallon and I go to the signing. (I am frantically preparing gifts right now!) Friday, Graham and I go to the opening night of the tour. We are out of our minds with excitement! Gah!
Lots of hearts. Love the love around here.
Last year I was late in finding Stephanie Lee's cool hearts. This year I scored two! Aren't they divine? Had to have the "x", You Are Here, and she made a custom one for me, You Matter.
I ordered this gem from etsy. Seller: MudStuff.
This was a gift from Laurie Mika. Love everthing she does!
Because it's heartagram day - for my HIM fan friends....have you seen this? Ville on the cover of the recent Metal Hammer magazine (from UK).
The making of video is HERE. Super cool! Off to celebrate!
New music Tuesday means HIM! Got my digital download at midnight (came with concert ticket purchase) and my special edition cd and numbered screen print arrived today. I have my teeshirt and my promo posters and I am ready to canvas New Jersey for the HIM Street Team. *screams*
Screen prints made by Mike and Bob at TwoRabbitsStudios.com.
...until the new HIM album is released. You've pre-ordered your copy haven't you? See Heartagram.com for the Special Edition details. New video for Heartkiller, the first single:
*PSA (Public Service Announcement): from time to time there are just some things you need to know. A new HIM album definitely counts as information I am happy to bring you. There will be a tour following the release of the album....I will be on the case and will let you know the U.S. tour schedule as soon as I learn the details. And for my overseas friends who get to see them before me....wish I was there, behave yourselves ;)
A reminder that registration for workshops at Valley Ridge begins Monday, December 7th at 9:00 am Central Standard Time. Classes filled quickly last year so if you are interested be ready at the keyboard!
Out right now is Artists Cafe No. III from Stampington & Co. They have revisited three of my articles from Somerset Studio, one is an interview I did of friend and favorite artist: Julie Pearson.
And of course, I can't close without mentioning this: HIM's new single Heartkiller will be released December 8th (check itunes). You can click over to their myspace for a listen tomorrow! Album release date: 2/9/10
Ok, so it's not Tuesday, but I worked in my RT journal today. Sunday is my rock star crush's birthday. 11/22 Ville Valo will be 33. Doesn't that portrait stencil rock?
Hyvää Syntymäpäivää! It's going to be an exciting year. The new HIM album comes out in February: Screamworks - Love in Theory and Practice. Thirteen track names have been revealed. Cover art is still a mystery. Our fan friends in Australia and England already have tour dates scheduled. We can't wait to learn about the U.S. tour! The first single will be out soon...and a video? *faints*
Some recent updates. (If you are reading through a feed you'll notice I don't approve full posts or graphics to appear so click on in. I appreciate feed services as a way to be notified that a blog has been updated but it's my preference to limit the excerpt and invite you to come on over.)
New crusade is up, come over and play! I've been working behind the scenes on assignment for my friend Lynne. She had the impulse to try a slide show and before I knew it she had created 28 new pieces and some banner graphics. We not only launched a new web page featuring these but we also got her set up with an Etsy shop where you can purchase her original art.
And because you asked for it.....
When I went in for my Shannon tattoo in May there was time for a quickie 2nd one! The ankle ink is a repeat of a much larger one on my lower back but since I don't reveal that one too often I thought it would be fun to have it in a more visible place.
I'm not going to apologize for showing tattoos on my blog....I know some people don't like seeing ink so I should probably have posted a warning. I don't like food photos but people never warn you before they visually assault you with their dinner do they? ;)
They say once you start....Of course I'm kidding with these. Besides, no time for a tattoo, I'm hitting the road. I've packed some pink socks - I know you are with me. See you next week. xoxo
Tomorrow is the last day for the current GPP Street Team Crusade. We've been Making It Our Own and many artists have come by to share their inspiration and interpretations as we strive to add an authentic and personal touch to all that we do. Often we turn to custom tools to keep things original and unique - like carved stamps or cut stencils. There have been many times where I have created an element simply because it didn't exist and I needed/wanted it. THAT is how I began designing and selling rubber stamps. I made images I wanted to have that weren't available yet.
As you know, we are huge HIM fans in this house. I have an entire drawer of HIM shirts, at least 5 hoodies, several bags, and countless accessories with heartagrams thanks to Hot Topic, Spencers, Heartagram.com, and concerts. In the early days there was not alot of merchandise with the heartagram on it....so we had to Make Our Own.
I carved these stamps and we used them with fabric paint or even cooler: bleach, to make tshirts and stuff. I cut stencils too. And the heartagram pendant came by request of Peter and his friends (they all wanted one), made from pink wire. It's awfully primitive but pretty cool of me don't you think?
A couple summers ago I made these for my NJ/NY HIM Street Team. Super quick and easy and inexpensive. Great party favor.
The heartagram selections at Hot Topic these days are kinda scarce again until the new album comes out (too long from now!) so I may have to go back to Making My Own HIM merch. (Very closely related to Make It Your Own is Do It Yourself!) Stop in at the Street Team to see what we are doing....and then come back later in the week to see the new challenge and play along with us.
Some days are better than others. Today is Sam's 17th birthday. I can't believe it. Lots of calls from family. But there won't be one from her, his God-mother. I sometimes need to listen to sad songs on mornings like this. Afterall, music is what feelings sound like. THIS ONE makes me cry. Everytime. After listening about 3 or 4 times I latched onto the phrase....and quick went outside for a look at my still-covered garden. It brought more tears, the happy kind. A sign.
And when I'm in that place, I have to make stuff.
And another page from the WN, because I found the perfect size Ville Valo photo.