Showing posts from 2012

Lack of money can be a great opportunity for Creativity

For 23 years I had a career that allowed me to live without having to worry about money.  I raised my kids as a single mother, provided all necessities and most non-essentials (don't let them tell you that I was always buying plants and compost instead of food...).

Since I retired last December, my income reduced by 2/3rds.  That is a significant decrease especially for someone who wants to pick and choose when or whether she works.

One thing this reduction in income has showed me is that I can be really creative when it comes to funding non-essential purchases.  For instance, my friend's birthday is coming soon and I would normally go out and drop a wad of money on something that she probably wouldn't use very often.  Instead, I'm putting together a myriad of gifts gathered and made which will cost me next to nothing.

A good place to start is with all those boxes of nick nacks that everyone has stashed away somewhere.  I have two large eaves in the upstairs of my hous…

Centsational Girl Linkup...Favorite Souvenir

Amazing blogger Centsational Girl issued a up a blog on my favorite souvenir.  I'm glad for the challenge as I've been remiss in posting lately.

At first I thought I would submit a photo collage of my trips; however, I've never bothered to put them into any organized format.  100s (really 1000s, 3965 to be exact) of photos reside on my iPad, iTouch, HP desktop, 4 external hard drives, and numerous SD cards.  The job now seems so overwhelming that I think I will leave it for my children to handle after they ship me off to the seniors' home.

I do have one all-time favorite souvenir that I can submit.  It is a tattoo of a thistle that I got while visiting Scotland in honor of my 50th birthday.  This was a fabulous 14-day trip that my daughter, Brooke, and I took to celebrate this milestone.  I have over 400 photos from this trip alone....residing in all the various places.  But, with no further ado, I present MY THISTLE TATTOO (and my favorite souvenir)!

Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 Day 6-10

As I usually do, I got behind in my coursework and am only now finishing up this amazing class.  Thank goodness it is online and I won't get docked on my final grade for being late!

I spent the last 3 days finishing up projects from days 6-10.  It has been a very enjoyable time and now I will share photos of the 'fruits' of my labor.

Day 6: Watercolor with Distress Markers
Today was more of a technique day than a project day.  I explored different ways of adding color using Distress Markers, different papers, and wet/dry methods.

Day 7: Embossing Basics.  These projects all include using embossing powders as either a resist (adding a layer that remains the original color regardless of how many layers you add over it) or for dimension on a project.

Day 8: Paint Dabbers and Crackle Paint.  Loved these techniques especially the Shatter Stains.  These are projects that I will make again and again.

Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 Day 5

This online course is 10 days long and I've just completed Day 5.  The techniques from Day 5 are beautiful and I can't wait to get started on some cards and collages that I hope to actually frame.  I'm learning techniques that produce items that are worth to be given as gifts and every once in a while, something happens that I think would sell.  I'm not looking to become a mass producer of cards and whatnot, but if I have an outlet I certainly have added some tricks to my repertoire.  So, on to the reveal!
Stained Kraft Resist technique This technique uses Tim Holtz' Kraft paper which is covered with a varnish in places. The varnished areas will resist add color (water based) so I can saturate the page, wipe away excess, and the varnished areas will come back through.

Stamping with Stains technique I have a new favorite tool called Picket Fence. It is a heavily pigmented white stain that dries to look like white wash.  It adds a bit of Oomph to a piece.  It breaks …

Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 Day 4

So today's entry will have two projects instead of three.  One issue I have with this course, is that we were given a supply list and a suggested supply list from which I purchased my, well, supplies.  However, there have been a couple of projects which relied on items that were not on either list.  I tried to make do, but today's third project (making a custom stamp pad out of specialty felt) was impossible to fudge on.  I have so many stamp pads that it doesn't make sense to go out and buy the felt for one project.

So, here are today's projects.  The first one used waterbrushes (plastic tubes filled with water that have brushes on the end) to watercolor stamped images with re-inker.  For those who do not know, a re-inker is a very concentrated form of ink used to renew a stamp pad.  I only have two re-inkers so I took a little license and used my markers to add highlights.  I really like this technique and the look I achieved!

The second technique involved creating …

Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 Day 3

Today's techniques were a little more challenging for me.  Mostly because I did not have the correct tools for the project.  One item that I must have missed on the supply list was Glossy stamping paper.  Tonight I discovered why glossy photo paper is not a good lacks the clay coating of the stamping paper which makes it impervious to the solvents in the alcohol inks I used.  Still, I think it turned out well even though I ruined three or four 'first tries' getting it down.  So, without further ado, here is technique #1: Alcohol Ink Agates

I had so much fun doing technique #2, Archival Resist. A solvent ink and a water-based ink will repel each other so I can stamp with one (solvent) then coat the paper with the other (water-based) and when I give it a wipe, the first layer shines through.  I really love how this piece turned out!
My final technique taught me some new ways to use my texture fade folders.  These are embossing folders that are ran through an …

Tim Holtz' Creative Chemistry 101 Day 2

Tim Holtz is my favorite mixed media artist and he is offering an online course designed to teach us techniques using his line of Ranger products.  These products include Distress Ink pads, Distress markers, different Stickles (kind of like glue with glitter in it), as well as different Ranger tools.

It is a self-paced course taught through very informative videos.

I fell a little behind so even though it is Day 3, I just completed Day 2's exercises.  For the next two weeks, I'll be sharing my finished products on this blog.  I would share all the techniques but that wouldn't be fair to those who paid the $35 for the course!  If you are interested in signing up for the class, I think you can still do it at 

Now for today's projects:

Doing Sunday Breakfast the Right Way

I always loved waking up on Sunday morning and realizing that I had a full day with nothing scheduled to do.  My first thought was inviting Andy and Jaycee to go with me to Cracker Barrel but now that I'm living on a retiree's allotment, spending money on a restaurant meal takes prior planning.

Fortunately, I know that I can make a breakfast just as good as Cracker Barrel (and I know the quality of my ingredients).  Therefore, today I fixed a traditional breakfast for my family.  It may have not been the healthiest meal, but it sure was good!

Take time to enjoy a meal with your family.  It will be the best thing you do all week.

Breakfast on the run

I've been running a little behind since Daylight Saving Time started last week.  Because I have been staying in bed a little longer, I've not been fixing my breakfast and lunch to take with me to school.  This hits me where it the pocketbook because I purchase food at the local cafeteria and it costs me between $7 and $13 per day.  Add this to $9 for parking and 54 round-trip commuting miles and a school day can be expensive! 

Today I have committed to being prepared and fixing my food.  This is a cost I can control.  I have a George Foreman 5th Generation grill which has several different plates for cooking.  One is an omelet maker so I made sweet pepper omelets with Mexican cheese and fresh thyme.  To accompany the omelet, I'm having Greek yogurt with raspberries, honey, cinnamon, and fresh lemon thyme.  A meal that would cost several dollars in a restaurant for pennies.

I don't have a photo of lunch, but I fixed a baked potato, leftover roast beef, and st…
Sorry I've been absent of late...with school and spring and family moving in it's been hectic.  I promise that I will be back shortly with what I hope is interesting material.  One source of interesting material is the new America's Test Kitchen cooking school.  I'm thinking of blogging my experience with the cooking school.  Hopefully my cooking and my photography will improve!

The Chopra Center's 21-Day Meditation Challenge

My friend, Melissa Diana, posted a notice on Facebook about a 21-Day Meditation Challenge offered by the Chopra Center.  I've admired Deepak Chopra and the work he does for many years.  Still, I figured it was something that was going to cost a lot of money and take a lot of time.  I'm glad that I clicked the link because the meditations are free (but they cannot be downloaded unless one is much more computer saavy than me) but the previous 7 daily meditations are available online.  That is a good thing because the official challenge began on February 20th and I did not begin until the 23rd.  I am starting from the beginning and I will do the 21 days in order.

These are guided meditations that take about 15 minutes.  I usually get up around 0515 to 0530 every morning but I don't do a fire and sit drinking coffee.  I decided that that time would be a good time to meditate.  I light the fire, turn out all the lights and sink into some 'me time.'

Thank yo…

More Signs of Spring: Seedlings

If you read the post about my Valentine's gift from Andy and Jaycee, you might remember that my gift box included tiny pots with Forget-me-Not and strawberry seeds and soil.  I planted them on February 9th and the Forget-me-Nots have just broken the surface.  I love the sight of seedlings breaking out of the soil! I will soon be transplanting these into a terrarium while they are small, then outside for the summer. Get out there and enjoy the springtime weather!