follow your bliss

we don't have an eternity to realize our dreams, only the time we are here -susan l. taylor

Friday, June 30, 2006

trash remix 2:tutorial

hi it's me, firstborn, aka mary ann... i am giddy with excitement because a) i am feeling way better & less sore/achey! b) it's friday & also my day off from work>>>YIPEE! & c) it's wicked nice outside today! several posts ago i showed a plastic box that i transformed into a pretty holder...and kelly wanted to know how i did here's my little tutorial, just for you kelly (& any curious on-lookers...i know you are out there!)... always happy to share my little crafting tid-bits & what-nots... collage box #1(starting at the 1st row, upper left pic, & following along to the right, row by row): >>>me in my studio, looking rather goofy. >>>plastic box with attached lid, preferably ( i used the kind that you get from stamping up stamps sets), matte finish decoupage (my preference, but you can use whatever you like) & purple & pink gift tissue paper (you can use crepe paper or any light-weight paper/fiber). >>>i start with the backside of the box first...with foam brush, smear on the decoupage on the backside of plastic box...make sure you coat the outside & not the inside...then randomly tear up your tissue paper. >>>once you've got a layer of the decoupage on the back of the box, place the torn up tissue paper wherever your little heart desires. on top of the tissue paper layer, you slather on the decoupage. you keep laying on the paper & glue until you've covered the backside & no clear plastic spot can be seen... >>>i always keep baby wipes on hand in my studio...they are an absolute must-have (unless you have a sink in your studio)! after brushing on the decoupage, your hands get all icky from the gooey glue stuff. >>>now, this is where you get to can leave the backside decoupaged with the tissue paper alone OR (if you're like me) you can add extra "stuff" like paper dies or ephemera & form a collage of your design...i had some purple-y blue paper with butterflies, flowers & fabric swatches & decided to cut-out stuff & arrange them on the backside. if you decide to go this route, make sure you put a layer of that decoupage goop so that your collaged items will stick. once you have made your collage, add another layer of decoupage glue. before even attempting to flip this box over to work on th front side, you must WAIT until the decoupage is dried...if you are somewhat of an impatient sort like me, you can most definitely use your heat tool or hair dryer to speed up the drying time. collage box #2: >>>once the backside is completely dry, flip the box over so that the lid is facing towards you as in the first upper left pic in first row. >>>now, to make this special mottled, marble-y effect on the lid, i've used alcohol inks & a bit of felt attached to a stamper...this was actually a kit that i recently got by tim holtz . you take your ink of choice & squirt it wherever you want on the the felt pad...take care, because, the ink can squirt out too much & then you'll have inky pinkies... >>>you can use as many color inks as you want...go wild or's totally your i've chosen 3: cranberry, eggplant & lettuce... >>>once you've got your colors applied...then turn the stamper over & smear, glide, pounce, swipe away>>>it's up to you>>>you can repeat this process however many times you want...i think i did 3 times...anway, stop stamping around until you have covered the lid's surface & you achieved a look that you like... >>>to get those splotchy circles, i used this special alcohol ink (also the tim holtz brand) , called "mixatives"...this happens to be 'gold'...shake the bottle & squirt a drop wherever you want on the surface. see the colors spread & separate to make these pools...wicked cool, huh?! >>>you could stop there & be done (& btw, those alcohol inks dry wicked fast, even though they look like they're still wet!)...but i, as you can see, didn't...i just so happen to have a store-bought butterfly card (this came from michael's dollar bin)...i liked the graphic & most importantly, the fits so nicely on the backside of the lid. >>>i cut the card in half, saving the other part of the card for some future project. i then wanted to put some text & found this word sticker, "precious". placed sticker to the right of the graphic. collage box #3 (sorry the pics are not in sequence because i didn't have enough snaps to make a proper 9-pic collage!): >>>i used double sided tape & affixed it on the front side of the card, right over the image! you won't be able to see the tape once you strap that baby on the backside of the lid. position the card with image facing away from you (in other words, the image side must be able to be seen from the front of the lid!!!)... >>>wait, you're not done yet (unless you want to be) add some extra "cuteness", i hole punched a couple of holes (i think i used the 1/8 sized hole-puncher or is the 1/16th?) in the crease of the box (see pic above)...this is so you can thread a coordinating ribbon, fibre, whatever...i also had this grocery tag that had "cheers" printed on it...thought that added a little more "oomph" {smile}... >>>& lastly (or if you'd rather omit this part, go ahead, won't hurt my feelings in the least!), you can added a little surprise on the inside of the's up to voila, you've just remixed a piece of trash! neat-o, right? there are no right or wrongs...just give this a whirl & see what wonderful keepsake you create! hey kelly, i hope you appreciate this! it took me a few hours to do this!!!! but i did it with love! toodles y'all...on to the next project...hmm... Posted by Picasa


(photo of the clock in my studio>>>& this is the time i got up this morning!) the topic for this week's studio friday... the times that i tend to do my most focused creative work, thinking, playing are pre-dawn OR late night...sometimes, i have been known to work in my studio (as well as in my 'satellite' studio, my office/guest bedroom, where the computer paraphernalia is located) straight after i have eaten dinner to the time my dh wakes up to go to work (that's the following morning, folks!)...if truth be told, i do sometimes take a catnap or two on the guest bed, hehehe! that's during the week...on the weekends (or on my days off), if i am not in the garden, about the house doing household chores or at an antique/thrift shop, you can usually find me dabbling & tinkering (as my husband calls it) in either studios...i float in & out throughtout the day. i guess that is the convenience of having no wee ones running amok at our place, lol! & this is a sign i made a few years ago, which i have hung on the wall of my studio>>> to serve as a constant reminder. time is short, as they say, & we've got to make the most of it. Posted by Picasa

friday's finds

the theme for this week's friday's finds is flea market finds >>> i have actually not had the chance to go flea-ing this week, between bed rest & (more recently) going back to work, BUT i hope that you had!!! i just recently learned about a wicked huge flea market in ehlkorn (about 45 minutes east of my place) that they have every sunday...maybe i'll venture out this sunday? anyway, here are my contributions to this week's friday's finds, in the spirit of 'flea-ing'... one of the many things i scour for in antique shops/ malls/ markets/fairs, thrift stores, tag sales/ebay, etc. are BASKETS, particularly these nested ones (above) & old fashioned picnic ones (below)...i really don't know why these attract me so, but they just do! maybe i was a basket weaver in a former life, lol! (sorry, it's just that i've been thinking a lot lately about the whole KARMA thing)... & lately, i've been looking for all sorts, shapes & sizes of FRAMES...for my growing pieces of artwork that i've been creating since i started this blog of mine! & i am a SUCKER for birds, nature, flowers, sky scenes (to name a few), like this 3-d cardinal below...too cute to pass up for $1usd!!!!! how was your 'flea-ing' adventure this week? oh, please do show & tell>>>either post a comment with your link here OR post your treasures on flickrPosted by Picasa

& the winner is...

{drumroll please...} congratulations tammy! you're this week's lucky recipient!! {huge grins} thanks to all who participated in the grand opening of wysiwyg wednesday's freebie giveaway! i cannot tell you how much i appreciate your kind support & generous words... i am tickled pink that you, too, want to spread the good karma around~ hooray!as soon as i hear from tammy i will pop her lovely freebie in the mail straightaway... again, thanks for playing!!!! see you on july 12th, the next wysiwyg wednesday! {shine on} xo, m.a. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

wysiwyg wednesday

is something i came up with on my drive home from work tonight...i was visiting ellia's blog the other day & she mentioned some crafty bloggers who gave away free (yeah, you read correctly, FREE, gratis, no $, nada) stuff on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, like here, here & here... these gals inspired me to do something along a similar vein...i am admittedly an insatiable collector of all sorts of stuff...that's what led me to friday's finds & now has led me to wysiwyg wednesdays ... {amusing, i know} >>> "wysiwyg" is, as you may know, computer jargon for "what you see is what you get" (pronounced, wiss EE wig) some of you may remember (or even seen in person) from prior posts, my studio is just burgeoning with all kinds of STUFF...i seriously need to declutter. & what better way to do so than to do a GIVEAWAY, starting tonight, which technically is still wednesday (& i am so into alliteration!)... here's how it's gonna work: 1) every other wednesday, i will post one or more items that will be up for grabs. 2)if you are interested, please leave me a comment stating so. 3)then at the end of the day, my dh will randomly select a name of the lucky recipient. 4) i will post that lucky person's name the following day. 5) the lucky person will email me with name & address. 6)i will ship freebie item(s) at no cost to the lucky recipient. 7) i expect nothing in return. 8) what you see is what you get. 9) once freebie has been shipped, lucky recipient will agree to waive any & all liability towards/from me. 10)freebie is non-returnable...& in the words of fellow blogger, scarecrow, make of it what you will! so, having outlined the "rules", here is the inaugural freebie for the very first wysiwyg wednesday ever>>> a mini, 4x6 scrapbook that i got at a scrapbook garage sale...this is not my creation, but some unknown scrapper...the papers & embellishments are mostly made by sei... what it looks like when opened... a closer look at one of the pages... all the pages are charmingly scrapped, so alls you need to do is add your PICS! what a deal, right?! ~~~ WHY would i want to give this cute thing away? & why in the world would i giveaway FREEBIES? has to do with>>>KARMA=ACTION. the idea that for every action you do causes a reaction in the future>>>as the web research say, positive, caring actions will bring about positive results back to you (whereas negative, hurtful actions will result in future suffering)...the research i read goes on to say that the more mindfully you do good, then you do create good (as opposed to bad) karma...& don't we need to spread more of the good karma around? & also, that's just how i's rolls... since it's a very late wysiwyg wednesday, i will accept names until tomorrow, thursday night, say, 6 pm (central standard us time)...& then on friday (6/30), i will announce the lucky recipient! come on now, i know you want good karma>>>so get crack-a-lacking! {shine on} Posted by Picasa

you've got mail

i finally finished this mail art envie {due by 6/30, yikes!} for serendipty's mailing of her handbound art zine...check it all out on her site here... it's a shipping envelope that i have altered, using distress & alchohol inks (by tim holtz), rubber stamps by non sequitur, paper artsy, making memories & hero arts as well as's kinda dark looking, but i was trying to get that aged, patinaed look...whoever gets this in the mail, i hope that she/he will like! it's way past my bed bonne nuit! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

pop art {week 4}

continues to be the theme for self-portrait challenge...they say a picture is worth a thousand words...start counting. Posted by Picasa

minimal art

is the topic of artwords this week...& here is my contribution...ever since i took the many art classes in college & then adult continuing education over the years, i have & am always been struck by the innovation & thought-provoking pieces of abstract art... i remember on a field trip to the art institute of chicago (with my abstract art class back in the day) of looking at a mark rothko piece (i believe it was by him) & there was this gargantuan canvas of "black" paint! a classmate of mine sneered as he said that's art?!!! whatever, i thought... i appreciated that work, just like the many others we sought out that day. my hubby does not get abstract art...he is a realist, in every sense of the word, but art, like beauty, is really in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? anyway, i digress...i took this snap of an abstract sculpture at the rotary gardens, where i have recently reminds me of birds in flight is gorgeous metalwork! i think i must have been a blacksmith or something in a former life because i am so drawn to all things iron & metal {or perhaps i was a magnet in one of my past lives, lol}>>>& one of my secret dreams is to learn how to forge iron & metal into wonderful sculptural pieces such as this beauty! i stood underneath this piece & found the sky & powerful curves so inspiring, that i took this shot. then i went into my hp photosoftware & played around with the colors & came up with this & this... this last manipulation is stripped of its original representation & to its, i think, most minimal, essential state. it looks to me like an abstract swirl of oriental script...what do you see? Posted by Picasa

the pillow

is my entry for this week's treasure tuesday~ {reader discretion advised...the following contains content that may be unsuitable for the squeamish & faint at heart} i apologize for continually bringing up my recent surgery, but the after effects are still lingering...even though my doc told me prior to surgery that it would take about a week to recover...this coming from a MAN! it was a week ago yesterday that i had my surgery...& to get an idea of what 's been up with me, you can click here... yesterday, i had this insane idea that i was ready to return to work...thank goodness i had the foresight to bring my little pillow with me! this has been my comfort & security of late, kinda like that peanuts' character, linus & his blanket...i made this pillow years ago after i had purchased the two pieces of fabric at a school tag sale. the lady who sold these swatches of fabric told me that they were antique pieces that she had held on to for years & sadly did nothing with for a mere $1 (!), i gladly took them off her hands. & decided to fashion this cute little pillow...i initialy had it as a "fluff" piece on our bed, but last week, this little piece of fluff, came in i was (& continue to be) sore on the left side (the affected side). it literally hurt to sit down...this little pillow, along with my pain meds, made my life somewhat more bearable... when i went into work yesterday, i knew the moment i stepped out of the car, i'm not going to fare well. it's about an hour commute to/from work & since i did not take my pain meds (bec. it knocks me out instantly! & i drove myself, for the first time since surgery, did not want to take any chances), i thought, i'd better take my pillow with me because i will not be a happy camper! my hubby did not want me to go in to work, but i told him i would take it supervisor said she would put me on light duty...deep inside, i wished i was at home! i really did not care what people thought as i lugged my little pillow around with me...i must have been a sight, me in my scrubs & this little green pillow under my arm~lol! oh yes, it also didn't help that i was hobbling around as i started to feel crampy & achey on that left side... my supervisor, as promised, put me on light duty & was sent to see least i would not be running around the hospital (my typical day), i'd only be in one spot & the patients would come to me. i was grateful, but i still wished i was home, in my own bed, benefitting from my pain meds...all day at outpatient office, patients kept asking what's wrong with me..& really didn't want to blurt out i had an infected cyst removed from a place where the sun don't shine (& that i will likely have another surgery down the road to remove the affected gland *groan*) i simply told them i had surgery & it was my first day back to work...for the most part, people were understanding & even accomodated me! i did have a couple of demented seniors at the end of my day who thought i had someting wrong with my back or foot. one little lady, pleasantly & completely confused, wanted to sit on my pillow as she thought i had left that for her!!!! needlessly to say, i was exhasuted by 4:30...i would have laid flat on the floor if i could! i was so dag tired! then my friend laura insisted that i go to her apartment & have a lie down because she worried that i would fall asleep at the wheel on my long commute home. realizing that it was a prudent idea, i took her up on her offer. i called joe to let him know that i was going to crash at laura's house & then come home after i woke up. almost 2 & a half hours later (i can't believe that i slept that long!), i woke up from my nap, chatted with laura, had some nourishments & then laura saw me off. i called joe to let him know i was on my way home. he was glad that i did that because he certainly did not want me to drive home in an exhausted state. it was late by the time i got home & joe waited up for me. he told me that the big boss who hired him (to sub-contract for him, that is) agreed to adopt that stray fawn i wrote about previously & joe also told me he had put out some milk & applesauce for it...i took my pain med, had a long soak in the tub & turned in after a long day...thank goodness my little pillow got me through today...& i think it will continue to be my constant companion indefinitely. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 25, 2006

got fleas?

they say the origin of "flea markets" dates back to the plein air markets in a paris suburb way back (i can't recall the exact details, but that is the gist of what i read from my web search) because many of the goods sold, acoording to lore, had fleas...for some odd reason, the name has stuck... nowadays, going to a flea market has become a national craze &'s a highly popular & fast-growing past-time for a good many people... while i have not actually been to a flea market per se, i have been to outdoor antique fairs & chi-chi tag sales>>>which i have found them vastly entertaining & wicked know, the thrill of the hunt, the perfect, absolute must-have, cannot-live-without find(s)! & the throngs of people, buyers & sellers, novice & well-experienced alike all in search of that special, unique & bargain find! it's a mania! i was watching this show on fine living channel & it had this designer, sheila bridges, doing a segment on flea market amazed me to know that people got up before the crack of dawn all in order to be first in line! my goodness...there are usually so many sellers & tons of stuff at these things that surely, there's something for everyone? what's all the clamoring about being FIRST anyway?! i don't get it! that's a bit much, don't you think? anyway, as i wrote a couple of posts ago about my new fave mag, called junk market totally has me inspired to go "flea-ing" that pic above, it's a mural on the side of this antique place, called (& i'm not kidding) uncle hunk's junk...they have loads of garden, rusted iron stuff that i love as well as wonderful leaded & stained glass windows, etc...uncle hunk is a bit pricey, but the reason i bring them up is because, i noticed a little sign in front of the store, which advertised that there is a FLEA market every SUNDAY @ 7am! wow, i would never have known this...well, actually, come to think of it, a guy at campus antiques mall (one of my current fave haunts) did mention the big flea market in ehlkorn (wi), but i remember telling him not to go any further...funny, how i recalled that bit of interchange when i saw that sign...joe & i were in ehlkorn the other night for his birthday & the antique place was about a block from the restaurant we dined at... so, for this week's friday's finds, i encourage you to go "flea-ing" & to post your lovely miscellaneous must-haves! see you friday! Posted by Picasa

step inside

walk this way... into my parents' vacation home...we also happen to live here as we are the caretakers of this place...that was one of the reasons we moved here to cheeseland (incredibly long story, which i will not rehash here...though i did write about feeling homesick back in may, anyway, i digress)...i am the gardener in residence, though lately it might not look that way... & joe, the dh, is the carpenter extraordinaire...he had a hand in building this house (also, long drawn out story, but don't need to elaborate here)... like the front door he framed out & helped put in (this was a 3-man job).... the trees are artificial, but the potted urns are my handiwork...i grew those babies from seed! maybe one day, when i've done a good weeding around the yards, i will post some snaps of the other garden areas...they are kind a looking a bit neglected & shabby at the moment... anyhoo, you walk through the front door and you are in my parents' main floor...this is where the family tribe come to hang out when they come to visit from chicago...overall, the house is pretty contemporary in its styling (which is not our style! we like OLD, antiqued stuff), fancy schmancy details, doodads & what-nots... and then to the right of the front door is a stairwell leading downstairs>>> to a full, daylight basement aka our pad, humble abode, domain...joe helped framed out the stairwell as well as put in that fab vintage french door (the original plan called for a raised paneled white door, but i told joe that i wanted some light to come into our space)...we're so glad that joe listened to me! it's a total switch from ulta modern to antiqued, country-cottagey style once you cross the threshold >>>the "maine cottage" as my sis would's a different world when you step inside our place... but you know what? i wouldn't have it any other way. Posted by Picasa

oh deer

this morning we had a little visitor...a stray fawn wondered into our yard/driveway...i thought i had seen "bambi" meander thru my garden earlier. the neighborhood we live in is right in the midst of a deer farm & we see deer come through all the time, though usually under the cover of darkness or early dawn...but here it is, almost 10 o'clock in the morning, nestled in some tall grass (thank goodness for ZOOM lens!)... we think its mother was either killed or separated from this little deer one...he (or she) looked awfully frail & skinny...joe told me to get some milk, which i found & then i remembered one of the twins' old bottle (sorry ian...but i think you won't be needing this as you are a big boy of 4 now!)... we hope that this little one makes it...he/she scurried under joe's van... & nestled under it as you can see...we made pureed applesauce, since it didn't seem to want the milk (maybe bec. it was fat free! lol) stayed under joe's work van for a good couple of hours...then it started to thunder & ran off into the woods across our driveway...we hope it hangs in there. joe already called someone who might want to rescue this fawn...if it doesn't pan out, then he's going to let nature take its course... who was it that said the survival of the fittest? was that darwin? i hope that little guy makes it through...i hate to think what might become of him/her...let's think positive thoughts, shall we? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

to my 2 jo(e)s

today is your BIRTHDAY>>> joe (the dh) & jo (my sis, aka looney)!!!!! so blessed to have you both in my life! would be so LOST without you>>> have an awesome birthday you two!!!! couldn't resist putting up this pic of joe c. age 6? what you don't know is, he is missing his two front teeth here...i don't think my dh would appreciate me posting that pic (which i do have, btw, lol!!!)... anyway, i love these two with all my heart!!! happy, happy birthday! love always & forever, mary ann (aka firstborn, reya), loving wife & sister oxox SWAK Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

my new fave

magazine that i have been devouring from cover to cover while on bed rest this week>>>this is so right up my alley!!!!! check it out all here... finally a mag has come out to talk about what i have been doing for eons! yipee! i think this will be the theme for this coming {june 30th} friday's finds>>>flea market treasures! & while we're on the subject of junk...these are some plastic containers that i had gotten from those stamp sets i bought last saturday's used stamp sale...i wondered what i would do with them, seeing that they are still good containers...then, in the mail the other day, i finally got my back order from paper wishes...yay! i had ordered the "tim holtz alcohol inks bundle" & i am wicked excited because this is what i came up with on one of those plastic boxes>>> front... back...inside, i made an atc as well as a little accordian card to thank my pal, audrey...hope she likes my concoction! i have so many blogs & art projects to catch up that i'm getting my strength & stamina back! whoa, i've got to get crack-a-lacking! Posted by Picasa
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