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Monday, February 06, 2012

Resolved: More Projects this Year

WARNING: EXTRA LONG POST!!!
It seems like every year I resolve to keep this blog up and do more artsy projects. Maybe this year I can keep them. I own a digital camera (got it last year) and showing off pictures is now easier. I also have cleaned out and redone my "craft space" so now it's easier to pull out whatever I need for a project! Most everything is now within arms reach...excepting my ribbons which have gone horribly out of control. I do need to downsize some of my stuff and by making this entry, I am taking my first step. I am defining what I want to do and what no longer excites me creatively. This year, my "craft" space will become my "art" space. I will make a transition. I will look at things differently.

NOT LIKING:
Patterned paper: I admit that I am a paper hoarder. Any beautiful piece that comes my way finds a home in my stash. And honestly, I keep a stash because I live in an area that has no Super Duper Craft Supply Store. We have a small little store that sells a little bit of everything (and naturally, it's usually what I already have!). But I have come to realize in the last year that most of that patterned paper just sits around and piles up. Even if I did need it, it would take me an hour just to find it! Patterned papers are the worst guilty pleasure for me. I love to buy them, collect them, hoard them but I hardly ever USE them! Case in point: I was looking through some websites and saw Die Cuts With A View, Royal Garden paper packs with foil accents. I was in love! Those colors! The peacocks! How could I resist? But then, I looked at all the papers in the collection...that fuchsia, that golden tone...what would I ever use them for? A peacock feather paper...in what dimension was I going to use that?! That has steeled my resolve: no more patterned paper. I'm giving it up this year; this minute (because I bought some last month from paperwishes.com...oops!). Repeat after me: I DO NOT NEED THAT PAPER...

3-D Embellishments: Ditto on everything from above. I have too many; I never use them anymore. I've always had a problem with eyelets and gave them up three or four years ago; almost as soon as they came out! But brads were cool. Then, all this bling started. I've got more self adhesive rhinestones than an urban cowboy! I tend toward the FLAT, the layering effect of inks and stamps. Very few of this stuff is needed anymore. It will be just as hard to give up as the paper, I think, especially when Tim Holtz puts out all that "hardware"! BACK AWAY FROM THE BRADS...

Copic Markers (or any knock-off brand): As much as I ADORE alcohol inks, I cannot figure out Copic Markers. It's most probably because I didn't have a blender pen and I didn't invest in colors that blended! I tried them. I don't like them. I will stay firm in my resolve to NOT use them.

Punches: I do like a couple punches I own and it's mostly because it just speeds up the process of creating. I could never cut out a circle so my little circle punch from Creative Memories is just perfect. But for shapes, I don't need them. I tend to want a punch for geometric shapes but I'm finding that I can get the same "effect" from a rubber stamp image. So I'm no longer fascinated with punches, no matter how detailed they cut. This also applies to any die cutting machines. I really don't think I'd ever get my investment out on one of those things. NOT FOR ME.

Gold Metallic: I am a lover of metal things, shiny, foiled things. That shimmer just excites me. BUT, gold is just not a favorite of mine and I suppose it never will be. You'd think that with all the vintage, distressed, brown, neutral palettes I own, I'd go for the gold. But it's the last thing I think of as proofed by my stock of gold brads. I have A LOT of little gold brads...I wonder why?

THIS IS EXCITING (Old made New)
This stuff is exciting me creativity and the best part is I already owned most everything I needed for it. It's stuff and projects that I had just put off or got sidetracked on. Now it's becoming fun again!
Artist Journals:  I have adapted the idea of an artist journal into my idea machine and prototype factory. I tend to make a lot of "little" projects like ATCs and mini books. I have gone ahead and used a sketchbook(that I was using for Zentangle...another story) to draw out my ideas. I trace the exact size of the project and then draw in a rough sketch of how everything will be placed on the project. I make notes along the sides about what colors, stamps, and stuff I'd like to incorporate. I even stamp the image right there in the journal and scribble with certain colors to see how they look! I am very happy to say that it's working for me! I get lots of other ideas while I'm doing it and can switch it around without a big commitment or loss of materials. It's not a journal that IS art in and of itself...it's just for ideas. Then, I refer to it as I make the project. It helps to give me a map and to think things through BEFORE I glue that down or stick that there. It's extremely helpful as I LOVE to make interactive things like windows and doors, pull tabs, and spinners. These things need to be thought out before you start cutting and pasting. I'm so glad I've begun this process as it's been very helpful to me.

Tags: I have always loved tags and have had blank ones in my possession for a while. I like to use them to put in an envelope or pocket or even just to stick on a page with a bit of ribbon through the hole. They seem suddenly to have popped up everywhere! Everyone is making little tag books, selling them in all colors and sizes, and the whole thing is exciting. It's small and compact, but can pack a big amount of creativity. I'm all about the tags this year!

Copper:  From above I don't like gold. Well, that's because I LOVE copper. I use copper brads, hardware, and ink on all my vintage palettes rather than gold. Copper is old but fresh. It's steampunk and Victorian. I like it. I use it. I won't stop.

Watercolor Pencils:  Remember I said I couldn't handle Copic? Well, I don't have to. I found a set of watercolor pencils that I love and they are my NEW favorite thing in the world for coloring stamps. Derwent Inktense pencils. Color, use water brush, blend, layer...these pencils do it all. My last set of watercolor pencils weren't used enough to even need to be sharpened, but these have. That says it all.

Clear Acrylic Stamps:  I also love my regular wood mounted stamps but I have begun to use the clear acrylic so much more. Why have I not used these stamps in so long? I am rediscovering the great versatility of stamping. For someone who likes a layered look but doesn't like bulk, this is the perfect way to create. I'll try not to buy too many more but use the ones that have been unloved in my drawer for too long!

WHAT I LIKE THAT'S BRAND NEW
Most of this list comprises brand new things that have just debuted this year. Some of these new products just get me excited about the stuff I already have!
7gypsies Shadow Boxes:  I have done a couple Artists/Printer's trays and loved them. The new Shadow Boxes they have coming out, big and small, have gotten me antsy to make more of them. While I'm not so excited about the new "boxes", I like the fact that the smaller one can be compartmentalized. I'm into the compartments. I love to use the little spaces for ATCs or to connect a theme. I won't be buying the new products but I'm excited to use the old ones!

Ranger Distress Markers: It has come to my attention that I should simplify my craft stuff. I should stick to certain products and companies that I know have quality stuff. Ranger seems to be one of those companies. Their new Distress Markers look great. I'm not certain that all the claims will hold up...they don't cross contaminate colors? How does that work? I've used Marvy Markers for coloring stamps for a long time and they do contaminate BUT they also clear up. Just scribble on a piece of scrap paper and your ink turns back to it's true color. That, however, is not the selling feature that gets me excited. Not only do they match the stamp pads, but they seem to be the same ink; meaning they are water-reactive. So you can blend your marker colors with a simple water brush, no blender pen. And if you go over it with Distress ink, the color of the marker resists. (This is another claim I'll have to see to believe.) The white picket fence marker doesn't impress me a whole lot. It IS cool and I'd be anxious to try it out by actually coloring a stamp with it. BUT, I had a marker, GalaxyMarker, that did the same thing on black paper. It went on clear and dried to an opaque white. And it was the best white pen EVER. If this White Picket Fence is that good, I'm in! So this is getting me excited to try more stuff with my Distress Inks. Not just the ink pads either but the new Stains as well!

Ranger Dylusions Line:  I admit when I saw a bit of this line on the Ranger Website, I thought, "it's not my style". But having seen a demo Dyan Reaveley did at CHA and watching her, I changed my mind. I thought, that's the way to make art. Just go at it. Waste not, want not. Dip your journal into that color. Make LOADS of different tags. Just keep layering! I'm still not certain I'll be buying a lot of stuff, as I think I can make do with what I've got, but I love the little stencils she's done for the sprays. Small, meant for journals or tags! That's the ticket, sister! I just had blast watching her demo some of her product...she slapped it on there, used the paper towel roll (why rip off a sheet?), and never wiped off her craft sheet. If there was still ink on there, she dipped more stuff in it. Loved her style...truly mixed media. Inky Fingers, baby, is the only way to work! It's that style that's got me extra excited about:

Smash Journal:  I don't remember if I had heard of these BEFORE I actually saw a product line that included a kit to make one. (which I thought was rather stupid...it was overcomplicating an idea that was based on simplicity and recycling) But a few YouTube videos later, I was entranced. Clean out your junk drawer and smash it into a blank journal. It's becomes part art, part scrapbook, part souvenir, part memory album. I'm drawn to it. I'm excited about it. I'm the type that keeps those little scraps of paper...just in case. I always have a sticker or two left on a sheet and can't seem to use it up but don't have the willpower to throw it out. AND COINS...yes, real money! I see one I like all shiny and new and I can't spend it! Imagine if I could just put them in a little envelope and smash that into a journal. Oooohhh...And the fact that Dyan Reaveley gave me some great inspiration, this might be on the top of my project list. A Smash Journal to clean out my scraps and snips and I-can't-part-with-these bits! Even better, all I'm gonna need to buy is a journal with the correct paper. No wishy washy paper that can't handle all the abuse I'm gonna throw at it. Loving it!

Extra Long Post, I know but it's great to get it off my chest. I am resolved. Smash journals, watercolor pencils, artist's trays, and tag books are all on my horizon. Along with a smattering of ATCs and hand carved stamps. Taking deep breath...

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