November 28, 2006

Selling on eBay & Postage

With the cost of postage recently increasing, I have to ask myself if it's really worth it to sell on eBay. The shadowboxes I sold cost $4.60 to send in a postal Priority Mail (free to me) box, and $4.30 to send first class with me providing the box. Since finding the right sized box for thirty cents or less was impossible, the choice was easy. But, if someone is paying $5 for an item postage at that price doubles the cost. I'm sure that has made a lot of people think before bidding.

One of the pieces I sold this month was titled "Let It Snow" and featured a vintage reproduction photo of a bundled baby. It fit nicely into a bubble mailer and shipping was very reasonable.

I've started to watch the size of the artwork I list for sale because mailing larger pieces can get quite expensive. In the future, I'm only going to sell artwork that will fit in flat envelopes or bubble mailers, no more boxes for me. I don't want a customer paying twice as much for postage as they paid for the artwork.

October 22, 2006

HaPpY Halloween!

Well it's almost that time of year again when the little witches and
goblins will be haunting my door.
That also means it's time to visit Apple Charlie's Orchard in New Boston, Michigan. Each year my hubby and I make the 40 minute trip to load up on fresh fruit pies,
apples (carmeled one's too!), pumpkins, cider, honey, jams and jellies. We normally go the first or second weekend in October. It was nearly 80 degrees outside both weekends and I just can't get into the fall and Halloween spirit when wearing shorts. I enjoy fall so much - the leaves changing colors, the brisk fall breeze... and shopping at Apple Charlie's!

Hubby will be home on Halloween night this year and he loves to dress in his medieval wizard costume and hand out candy.

I put together a few Halloween art cards this year. The first is titled "Going Batty" and the other, my first attempt at a free standing art card, is titled "Haunted House." Both cards are 3D.


... and happy crafting!

October 14, 2006

Fun & Easy Wooden Dominoes Pendants

Dominoes can be made into necklaces/pendants, key chains, magnets, or displayed as works of art.
Altering wooden dominoes is an easy craft project when you want results in a short amount of time. The pendants below were made in less than an hour.

You will need:


Craft paper or graphics
Glue (craft glue to adhere the paper or graphic and E6000 to adhere the bail or
String (if you're making a necklace/pendant)
Small bead (long beads work best) or bail

Small embellishments - seashells, rhinestones, glitter, etc.

1. Measure your domino so you can cut your craft paper or size your graphics to fit. Print graphics and cut to size.

2. Glue paper or graphic to the side of the domino that does not have the number dots, this way, your necklace/pendant is reversible. Let dry for a few hours. This is a good time to add an acrylic/varnish sealant to the entire domino. Let dry completely before going to the next step.

3. Next, glue the bail or bead to the domino. I use beads, they're cheaper and easier to find.

4. Add embellishments, glitter, etc. using craft glue or E6000 for heavier objects.

5. Let dry overnight then cut a length of cord or string, tying the end.

September 26, 2006

Hanging Small Format Art Cards

As you know, if you've ready my past posts, my favorite artwork pieces to create are art cards. Normally my art cards are small, about 4x6 inches or less. I have some larger pieces of heavy chipboard and decided to use those instead. The two cards below are approximately 7 x 8 inches (Nude Beach) and 6 x 6.5 inches (Paris). I enjoyed making these more than the smaller versions because the pieces I used in the collage were larger, and easier to handle.

For these cards, I placed the graphics so that they would extend beyond the border of the chipboard. I thought this gave the cards a unique look, being "outside the lines". After arranging the pieces in a pattern I was happy with, I glued them down - with the exception of a few pieces. I like to give my artwork a dimensional look. The vintage dancer and the Eiffel Tower were applied using 1/4 inch thick photo mounts, so they stand away from the background, and the same on Nude Beach with the vintage nude and the grandstand. After a light garnishing with embellishments they were finished!

September 14, 2006

Make an Altered Paper Mache Jewelry Box

My favorite place to shop for supplies is Craft's 2000. There are only three nationwide, and fortunately one is nearby. I bought several paper mache jewelry boxes for $1.99 each (at Michael's Craft Store they are either $2.99 or $3.99) and plan to list some on eBay and give some as Christmas gifts.

I found a piece of ocean/map themed scrapbook paper laying around that I've been dying to use, so my first jewelry box was one in a nautical theme. Excluding drying time, this project takes about 45 minutes to complete.

The first step is to paint the raw paper mache box with a thin coat of Gesso. I do this first to prevent the paint from soaking into the box, which will cause it to bubble (I learned this the hard way quite a while ago). Gesso dries quickly, sometimes while you're applying it, so use just a little at a time and keep the coat thin, or it too can cause your project to have bubbles. I let my box dry for half an hour before going further. Next, apply an acrylic paint. I used Sky Blue for this box, and it coordinated beautifully with my paper.

After the paint had plenty of time to dry, I added a thin coat of clear, matte varnish. I do this by using a stiff, flat paint/craft brush and apply the varnish to the brush, not the paper mache item. It's important with paper mache to keep coats of glue, paint and varnish very thin. If you apply too much (and "too much" can be very little) paper mache will bubble. Some prefer spray varnish. I've found that if I'm not careful in applying that, it too will bubble if I spray too long in one area. Liquid varnish works best for me.

I cut pieces of ivory colored felt to line my box and to line the ring holders but I suppose you could use scrapbook paper. That might not be the ideal thing to use for the ring holders but it would work for the bottom of the box. After you have cut the felt or paper and are sure it fits properly, use craft glue to adhere the felt or paper to the box. Spread the glue with a small, old paint brush (or newer brush, just remember to wash it out as soon as you're finished with it) - putting the glue on the brush first, then applying it to the item. Putting glue on the brush first keeps the glue lines from showing through your paper and felt, and makes it easier to get all the way into the corners.

While the inside was drying I cut pieces of my scrapbook paper to fit the sides and top of my box. Again, I used an old paint brush to thinly spread the glue to the areas where I would apply paper. After you've given the glued paper sufficient time to dry (I would wait at least an hour) apply another very thin layer of varnish over the areas where you've used paper.

Now for the fun part, the embellishments! I used thin twine to around the top and bottom of the box to create the look of rope. Next, I applied tiny seashells and starfish to the top using E6000 glue. Inside, the same, but added a pygmy seahorse. Let the box dry overnight before handling.

September 06, 2006

Altered Photo Frames

While at the craft store I ran across some unfinished wooden photo frames for $1 each at Michael's Craft Store. I thought they might be nice to alter since there is two inches of space around the frame. They measure 6 inches by 8 inches, hold a 4x6 inch photo, can stand on either the long or short side, or be
wall mounted.

These were very simple to make. I gave them a coat of acrylic paint (and crackled one), varnished them, then attached embellishments with E6000 glue. I love using silk or Prima Flowers, real seashells, Scrabble tiles, charms, and rhinestones in my creations.

I've been thinking of making a few as Christmas gifts. It would be very easy to personalize them for that special person or event. Some ideas I've thought of:

Football theme for my husband - I have a great picture of my hubby that I took while we were at a Detroit Lion's football game. You can see the field in the background. I may do a football themed frame for his picture.

Ballet theme for my granddaughter - My granddaughter takes ballet lessons and I have a studio picture that was taken of her in costume. A ballet themed frame would set the picture off nicely.

Animal theme for my dog's photo - I have a beautiful picture of my miniature schnauzer that I would love to put in a doggy themed frame.

Retro theme for my mom - I found an old photo of my mom taken in 1956. It would be fun to embellish a frame with things that brought back memories of her past.

Other great themes could be holidays (Easter, Christmas, etc.), a birthday, a birth, a wedding, or a a favorite hobby. You can really let your imagination run wild with themes for these frames. Happy crafting!

September 01, 2006

Michelangleo painted while lying on his back

...and I may be forced to do the same very soon.

It's been quite a while since I've been able to blog - or type, or do much of anything that requires using my hands or upper limbs. After my last blog entry I began having having some health issues with pain, numbness and weakness in my neck, hands and arms.
Relief comes from lying down, unfortunately, it is difficult to create artwork while on your back, unless, of course, you're Michelangelo and are painting the Sistine Chapel. I don't think this method would work while trying to create a collage, mixed media, or altered art piece, but, if forced in the future, I'll give it a try. The good news is that I've learned some ways to relieve the pain and numbness and am back to creating artwork, and blogging/typing!

I've always wanted to try my hand at creating pendants using domino game pieces. A friend found a couple of boxes of new, black wooden dominoes at a thrift store for .50 a box! I had a few ivory dominoes and some bamboo tiles with pre-drilled holes. Instead of drilling the wooden dominoes I decided to use a small bead as a bail, so I could string the pendant. The beads were attached to the dominoes with E6000 industrial strength glue. Since the bamboo tiles were pre-drilled, I simple threaded a length of cord through, and secured them with a bead before tying a small knot.

For the photos on the pendants, I measured the dominoes and bamboo tiles then printed a sheet of various scaled down graphics from my collection. These were attached on the plain side of the domino with craft glue, and once dry, were given a coat of varnish for protection. Glitter, charms and seashells were added last, attached with E6000. Finally, I cut lengths of cord found in the "jewelry findings" department of Michael's Craft Store.

January 10, 2006

Art Cards - Mermaids & Nudes & Birds... Oh my!

Well the holidays have come and gone so it's time to put the muse to work again. My newest obsession is making mixed media, collaged, art cards. They're similar to ATC's and ACEO's, only a bit larger. And unlike most artist trading cards that I make, the elements go beyond the edges of the card and were attached with 1/4 inch thick photo mounts to add a 3D effect.

Necessity actually dictated the size - I have a stack of 5 x 7 inch heavy chipboard I'd been hoarding for a while and wanted to start using some of it. I prefer creating smaller pieces of art as opposed to larger sizes, so I cut my chipboard in half, bringing the size to 3.5 x 5 inches, or roughly the size of a standard postcard. You can only put so much on a smaller art card, so I may create some larger pieces in the future.

My favorite themes lately, have been mermaids, vintage nudes, and birds with floral elements. I really like the whole Paris thing and that inspired me to make a Moulin Rouge card. Recently, I aquired a large bag of small/tiny seashells, some pygmy seahorses, and 500 real starfish, all being the perfect size for small artwork. I was able to incorporate them into the mermaid themed cards. Using letters and postcards as the backdrop enabled me to use some of the many postage stamps that had been gathering dust.

I had some vintage postcards and letters that I'd been dying to use in my artwork for the longest time. I scanned and printed them and then started going through my stash of collage sheets and vintage images. My muse was in overdrive and I quickly thought of several themes I wanted to do. Since they were too big to be an ATC or ACEO, I had to think of a way to display them. I added wire, twine or ribbon to my cards so they can hang.

I made quite a few, since they didn't require much time to put together. I listed some of them on eBay and most of them have sold. As with about all of my artwork, I seem to never keep anything for myself - except pictures of my creations. It's probably a good thing since I would need to build a storage unit to hold it all.

One of my drawers is filled with shiny new, unstamped Altoid's tins that have been crying out to freed. So, I'm off to the land of art!

January 08, 2006

Fun With Photoshop CS3

I've been playing around with Photoshop more lately, trying to expand my skills. I don't often have the patience to read through a manual to learn all the functions of a program, so I picked up a copy of "Teach Yourself Photoshop in 24 Hours". Wow! I can learn in 24 hours! uummm.... Doubtful, but I have the book now for reference.

One of the first things I heard/learned about in Photoshop were brushes. Now, I have an obsession with brushes (and with fonts...) and spent hours downloading some cool, free brushes from various websites... 341 to be exact. Yes, I did delete a few after trying them out. And then I learned there were things called textures. au oh... I could be in trouble here.

Creating collages, art squared, and ATC's (artist trading cards) in Photoshop is so much fun! I've posted a few samples of what you can do with a few graphics, brushes, and a little creativity.

Even though I've never taken a class to learn to use Photoshop, I was up and running in a short time. If you have some basic knowledge using photo editors for things like removing "red eye", adjusting size, etc., you should be able to adapt to an editing program with a fair amount of ease. It really isn't as difficult as it appears, and there are many good online tutorials to help you along.