Monday, October 31, 2011

Twinkle It! Art Journal

Twinkling H2Os  and May Arts Ribbon are a perfect duo! Check out the art journal I created using these sparkly watercolors and lots of ribbons, papers, and more. A complete step-by-step tutorial is available on the May Arts blog, and you can get a download of the entire project by clicking this link.

I bought a few pots of Twinkling H2Os several years ago, but I didn't quite know how to use them. I dipped my paintbrush in water and then tried to pick up the paint in the pot. The result was a barely visible, tinted wash with a tiny bit of sheen. So when I received this set for the blog week at May Arts, I was determined to find the correct method for using them. I discovered this video by Marah Johnson that provided the perfect introduction to using Twinkling H2Os  .

The secret to success is: plenty of H2O! Water that is! As Marah recommends, prepare the pots by spritzing them generously with water, and allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes while you work on something else. The pigment is laced with mica flakes, and the water will release those sparkly flakes. A crater will form with the mica flakes at the bottom, and there's where the most concentrated color and shine can be found. This time around, I couldn't believe the rich depth of the watercolors and the intensity of the sparkle! Best of all, no splotches and spatters, just pure sparkly coverage! Can you tell I'm a bit smitten with this product? So much so, that I'm adding a limited weekly series called Twinkle It! Tuesday! Each week, I'll share something new from my explorations with the magic of Twinkling H2Os ! I hope you'll join me for the journey!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mood Boards, A Sneak Peek, & Blogging Inspiration

Good morning everyone! You may be wondering where I've been. My family and I took a magical trip to Portland and Seattle, and I've been in frantic catch-up mode ever since! I have so much I want to share about our experiences there, but in the meantime I want to tell you about some of my other doings in the past few weeks. I made the mood board that see you here for a May Arts
project that will be posting next week. I'll show how to take many of these lovely objects and transform them with Twinkling H2Os: my new-found love! This is the first mood board I've ever created with one specific project in mind, and it proved to be a very valuable tool. As I've mentioned before, I am easily distracted, and sometimes I lose focus when I'm working on a project. This mood board helped me remember what materials I wanted to use, and kept me on track. And it's pretty to look at too! Here's a little sneak peek of what I did with some of the materials on my mood board and the sparkly little pots of joy called Twinkling H2Os!

Creating a mood board is sort of like putting together your outfit for the day, or decorating your house. You gather a variety of elements and unite them with a theme, a a color scheme, or some other common thread. Designers and artists have a long history of using mood boards to collect their thoughts and ideas, and often use mood board for presentations to their clients. I've made mood boards in the past as a way to showcase some of my favorite images and art/craft supplies like this one or this one. But I didn't realize the full potential of these useful and beautiful tools until I started reading 2 amazing blogs: Decor8 by Holly Becker and A Creative Mint by Leslie Shewring. Leslie writes the Color Me Pretty column on the Decor8 blog, and she has perfected the art of the mood board!

Just look at the gorgeous board she shared on her blog yesterday! I love all the bits and pieces, the composition, and the color story. Leslie uses her mood boards as a starting point for creative photos and projects. The results are so inspiring!

Holly's blog, Decor8, is chock-full of beautiful images, inspiring design ideas, and lovely homes, as well as links to artists, designers, shops, and many other resources. Her new book Decorate is a wonderful read filled with over 500 visually inspiring photographs and lots of practical advice for making your living space both functional and beautiful. Her blog is always dynamic and interesting. I feel so energized and connected with the latest trends, design concepts, and creative people when I read her posts!

For the past 3 weeks, I've been happily absorbed in learning the secrets to creating amazing mood boards, how to improve my photography, ways to make my blog a better and more inspiring place to visit, and so much more from both Holly & Leslie via the Blogging Your Way e-course. Along with Holly's husband Thorsten Becker, they have put together one of the most informative, inspiring, and enjoyable online courses I've ever taken! All my burning questions about blogging etiquette, the best resources for bloggers, photography and photo editing, beautifying a blog, connecting with other bloggers: in short just about everything I've ever wondered about, are being answered! And the community and forum are nothing short of amazing! I want to express a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this journey. I am over the moon with with the creative energy this course has been unleashed in me, and I hope all the new-found knowledge I've gained will be reflected here on my own blog. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop by and see what I'm rambling on about, and I hope you all have an inspired day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shiny Object: Pugly Pixel

A shiny object is anything that catches my eye and makes me smile. I thought it only fitting that the first shiny object I share with you is the Pugly Pixel. What a cute name! But the Pugly Pixel is so much more than that! This dynamic and inspiring site is the weblog of the talented Katrina Tan, and it is packed with shiny goodness!

Pugly Pixel features free resources for web graphics like clip art, photo frames, bling for your blog, or photoshop brushes and textures. Don't ya just love these colorful tape strips? Fabulous!

In the marketplace even more fun and fabulous downloads are available for purchase at a great price. I love the Stationery Textures shown here!

While you're visiting Pugly Pixel, don't miss the tutorials page! You can learn how to remove backgrounds with Photoshop, make your own digital staples, and how to create unique Photoshop brushes like these pinking shears.

I chose Pugly Pixel as my very first shiny object to share because I fell in love with the site when I recently redesigned my blog! I used this incredible {and free!} blog stock photo of vintage sequins to create the buttons for my sidebar. I wish I had this collection in real life!

The Pugly Pixel has a very generous Terms of Use policy, so be sure to read it when you pop over to check out all the goodies on the site. Thanks Katrina for so generously sharing your creative talents! Your blog has provided me with many hours of happy distraction!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Handmade & Bound Highlights

I'm still thinking about the Handmade & Bound event in Nashville, TN last Saturday! The vendor booths, exhibits, workshops, and especially the talented artists I met made it a truly memorable experience.

The day began with the my Findings & Bindings workshop. We only had an hour for the class, so my husband Randy helped me get the kits ready, and precut 15 papers for each one! He makes a great studio assistant, and even brought me water, and took photos of the class. Everyone seemed to have a great time putting their books together!

When the class was finished, we explored the event venue at the Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film. What an inspiring place!

We saw huge signs made from cardboard...

Incredible art made from recycled materials...

and amazing handcrafted books at the Encoded Structures exhibition.

We browsed and shopped and met lots of wonderful people at the vendor booths...
and topped off our day with scrumptious mongolian tacos from the Happy Eating {Happy Japan} food truck. Yum! I'm already dreaming about attending again next year!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Workshop Wow!

The Designing with May Arts Ribbon workshop at Make Time to Create was so much fun! Dolly {one of the owners} kindly sent me these pictures of the class, including one of me with my hands over my ears! Dolly said she thought it looked as if I was saying "I've had enough!" Actually, I was thinking "Please don't take my picture!" A big thanks to everyone who attended the workshop, and to Dolly & Mary at MTTC for hosting it!