Monday, May 31, 2010

Purple Reign

From the age of 10, we lived in old house. It was built in 1886 and had an upstairs, a downstairs an attic and a cellar. We even had a ghost....... I never saw it myself, but one day my 3 year old sister asked mum who the lady in the green dress was that lived in the cellar. Interesting........ When the house was built originally, the kitchen was in the cellar, so I guess that was why "the lady in the green dress" used to hang out there. she may have been the cook. The attic had 2 large bedrooms, which I suppose were for the "help", but I never saw her up there.

One of the other interesting things about the house was the fact that the ceilings were very tall - 10' or maybe 12'. My dad went to art school so he knew a lot about color, and design, etc, so he decided to paint the ceiling a dark color, so it wouldn't look so high up........ the next day it was purple! I must say, it looked really, really good especially with the 3 arm light fixture with the yellow glass shades with white dots. My dad was waaay before his time.

Color plays such an important part in our lives and on our emotions. There are happy colors, cool colors, warm colors, etc, etc. There are colors that make us move along - found in fast food restaurants, and colors that invite us to sit and rest awhile - doctors' waiting rooms. There's also a science about using colors in combination with other colors. Not something that I need to go into here, but just a reminder about how important colors can be, when we wear them and when we choose colors of paper for certain projects. For example, I always think of pastel blue if I'm making a card for a baby boy and pink for a girl. What do colors say to you? What do they say about you? I wore a school uniform for quite a few years and the shirts we had to wear were a drab shade of light green. My teachers were always asking me if I felt okay. Come to find out, colors reflect the opposite color and depending on the underlying tones of your skin - blue, or yellow the color worn would reflect a color in the face that would either counterbalance the skin's natural tone - a good thing, or enhance it - not so good. Bottom line, this particular green made me look sick, so I learned early on that this was "not my color", but I really love purple.

Hope you had a very memorable weekend!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To Bow or Not

This is the final project in the Sizzix Scoreboard Dies blog hop series. This die is used to cut pieces to make a bow........ hmmm. I seem to remember making all kinds of things with pieces just like these and none of them was a bow. So here is my project. As usual it's quick and easy to make and most important of all - fun!

1. I covered a wooden spool with ribbon. There is a button die cut so I threaded green floss thru the holes, tied a bow at the front then glued it to the front of the spool with a glue dot.

2. I glued a punched flower on top of the spool, but it's not really necessary.

3. I glued a 1/8" dowel in the hole in the spool then covered each of the "ribbon" pieces with paper ribbon. You could cut these from patterned cardstock, of course, but we had white pieces to work with, so I decorated mine with self adhesive paper ribbon - quick & easy is the mantra for my projects.

4. Cut seven, 3/4" pieces of a green drinking straw then place one onto the dowel. These are used as "spacers". Stack the 6 large strips together with the holes at the end aligned then place over the end of the dowel. Add a piece of straw, then starting with the bottom strip, place the opposite end of each strip over the end of the dowel. Push down against the top of the straw piece. Carefully push all the loops down the dowel until they rest on top of the first straw spacer. Separate and arrange the loops evenly as shown. Repeat with the other strips and straw spacers.

5. Cut the dowel about 1/2" above the top of the last piece of straw. Fold a piece of ribbon into a small bow, secure with a small button die cut and embroidery floss, then glue to the top of the dowel. You could also put a star here, or even a butterfly.

For even more inspiration, check out all the blogs listed in the sidebar to see what other designers have created with their "ribbon die cuts". Enjoy!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If It Doesn't Move - Paint It!

If it moves salute it, but if it doesn't, paint it! This has been a common saying in the military and other places from the time my dad was in the Air-Sea Rescue arm of the RAF in the '40s and before. It probably has something to do with "idle hands are the devil's playthings" - if you keep them (hands) busy, they won't get into trouble. At least that's my take on it.

I attended the Society of Decorative Painters annual convention last week where there's lots of things to paint. It's been a long time since I've had an opportunity to go to a painting show, in fact I think the last one was the Creative Paint show in Las Vegas about 6 or 7 years ago. I have to admit that I noticed two significant changes at the one last week: 1. It was a lot smaller, and 2. nothing had changed much, except, like me, everyone was older. I really didn't expect to see any differences in the styles of painting. Folk Art is, by nature, very traditional so it will always stay the same. Rosemaling (Norwegian), Bauernmalerei (Bavarian), Zhostovo (Russian),etc will always be just that and painters will continue to paint designs on wood, bisque and metal in an assortment of shapes and sizes. There was one significantly different surface however, being painted on by Priscilla Hauser, the undeniable Queen of Decorative Painting, that, even I, never expected to see! Take a really, close look at the photo below and see if you recognize the surface she was using for one of her famous roses.

What did Priscilla paint her rose on?

This gentleman was obviously not moving fast enough to escape Priscilla's brush!

I'm not sure where the idea came from, but I was visiting with Priscilla when one of the society board members arrived with Jason, a convention center security guard in tow. I think he was a little nervous when asked to remove his shirt, but he was a good sport - no doubt encouraged by the group of ladies who were now surrounding Priscilla's booth.

There was also an Elvis sighting on the show floor, courtesy of Loew-Cornell, in keeping with the show's theme, Shake, Rattle & Roll.

Left to right: "Elvis" with Doxie Keller, Me and Priscilla Hauser

Here are a few photos I took which show some of the different types of decorative painting styles, the booths and their beautiful displays.

Rosemaling (Gayle's Art Enterprises) and a Russian Floral Plate (Judy Diephouse).

Fabric Painting (Diane Bunker Designs) and a painted metal purse at Della Wetterman's booth.

Painted china/bisque pieces and a close up of some of the pieces by Brenda Stewart.

Tomorrow's Treasures (Sonja Richardson) and Cupboard Distributing (Chris Haughey).

Della and Company had lots of metal surfaces to paint like these vintage cars.

Arlene Linten, Linens and Lace Collection, is also a scrapbooker, so you can see some of her exquisite white lace designs on photo frames.

I also bumped into a Scrapbook Memories fan - Betty Shipman, who is a decorative painter. Betty was demonstrating Diane Bunker's fabric painting techniques (see below). And here's one more look at Priscilla as she finished her rose painting technique.

It was also good to see old friends. Here's Betsy Edwards wielding the big brush,
Stan Brown and Susan Schewe

and my friends at Deco Art, Doxie Keller, Rosemary Reynolds and Sandy Aubuchon.

Decorative painters are not all Folk Artists. You can also find artists creating beautiful landscapes, seascapes and portraits in oils, watercolors, etc. There's something here for anyone who ever wanted to pick up a brush and paint, paint, paint........

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wichita - Here I Come!

Not exactly the most exciting place on earth unless one's name is Dorothy... It is however, where the Society of Decorative Painters is holding its annual convention this year. And, it's within driving distance, so I don't have to worry about "sky high" airfares.

I've always loved to paint. I'm not an artist, just a decorative painter, but I've taught more than my share of people who thought they couldn't paint, to paint (including my mum). I showed some easy painting techniques at the CHA Super Show in Anaheim, in January and really enjoyed it, so, as you can imagine, I'm kinda looking forward to going to this show. I used to go every year, but life got busy and decorative painting took a back seat. My last book for Leisure Arts was a decorative painting book, Garden of Glassware, and I have to admit that it was my favorite. I love painting on glass - no prep! And, it's very forgiving.

Decorative painting, or Folk Art, is all about technique. Folk Art is very aptly named, because it is art created by Folk. That is, normal, every day people like me and you. I painted nursery furniture for my first grandchild a few years ago and it was so much fun! This is the Armoire and a close-up of the door panels.

The furniture was originally my daughter's, but we upcycled it with a new coat of paint and by adding the artwork to the doors. I did a lot of painting in the late '80s. I sold items at area craft shows and at a local Craft Mall. And that's how I came to write my first book - Basic Steps to Painting, which was published by Design Originals. A lot has happened since then - all good.

I won't blog from the show, but I will take lots of photos to post when I get back on Friday, so check back with me then. Hopefully there won't be any photos of tornadoes - we have to drive up tornado alley to get there. Yikes..... See ya! Maybe on a "fly by".

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sew - What Now?

I used to sew - a lot. My mother always sewed, so I did too. I even sewed dresses by hand in the '50s. In 1976 I took a Stretch & Sew class and made my husband all kinds of clothes, including a blue - baby blue - Leisure Suit. I even won first prize for an outfit I designed for myself. AND, does anyone else remember the "Infinite Dress"? Mine was white and it was gorgeous. There were umpteen gajillion ways to wear it and this was one of them....... yes, I was a lot younger in 1976... I probably should have photoshopped my head off.

My daughter was born in 1975 and it goes without saying that I made most of her clothes. I knit, or crocheted little jackets and caps for her and she had the cutest little dresses to wear. This one was really easy to make with its matching mop hat, so she had one in every color.......

I also sewed shorts, T-Shirts, nightdresses, the whole nine yards, until one day when I walked into K-Mart and found shorts and T-Shirts for $4.99 - $4.99!!!! I had to pay more than that for just the fabric. And, long story short, that realization pretty much ended my sewing days. I still sewed dresses for both of us for special occasions. I made her prom dresses years later, and just a few weeks ago I was altering the bridesmaid dress she wore at my son's wedding. And, yes, I still use the same sewing machine.

Sew - what made me think of this you may be wondering..... well, I was looking at toddler girl dresses for my granddaughter and found a summer dress, with a hat, just like the ones I used to make her mommy. Why don't I just make her one, I asked myself. Because it's cheaper to buy one than it is to buy the fabric and all the other stuff you'd want to put on it, replied the "turn every penny over twice Yorkshire person" who inhabits my body. There's only one thing wrong with that reasoning. There must have been at least 20 of that same dress in every size, but if Nana made her one, it would be totally unique - a Designer Dress no less and definitely one of a kind. Of course she could always wear the one I made for her mommy, 34 years ago!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cupcake Gift Box

This is project #4 in the Sizzix Scoreboard Dies Blog Hop - Cake Die. It was quick and easy to assemble and decorate and makes a perfect gift box for a birthday present!

I wrapped wide ribbon around the base and adhered the ends with glue dots, then added a narrower ribbon on top. The "Happy Birthday" tag was created in Word. I added a small silver brad at each corner then glued it on top of the ribbon. I made a flower from a 36" piece of crêpe paper streamer. I ruffled the edges first then gathered it and rolled it into the flower. I glued it to the top by placing the edges into the center of a large dollop of Elmer's® Tacky glue, which I had squeezed onto the center of the lid. Each scallop was embellished with a jewel sticker. I glued a cake candle base at the center of the flower, then added the candle. WARNING: DO NOT LIGHT THE CANDLE! If I were giving this as a gift, I would remove the wick, or replace it with a fun, musical candle - one that plays "Happy Birthday" when it is turned. How fun would that be..... Enjoy! And don't forget to check out the links on the left for more fun and creative ideas.

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

Mothers have been around forever, of course - I mean, we literally wouldn't be here if it weren't for them, but Mothers' Day itself is a long-standing tradition with roots going back to medieval times. Originally, it was the day when people visited the "Mother Church" and, in the UK, it was always the 4th Sunday in Lent. It wasn't until the 17th century that it became a day for acknowledging our own mothers.

Mothers Day is still the 4th Sunday in Lent in England, so after I moved away, first to Germany then to the US, I often forgot to send my own mother a card until May. (Mothers Day is the 2nd Sunday in May in Germany too, just like the US.) She still loved me though, after all, she was my "mum" and loved me unconditionally. For the most part I'd always remember to buy her a card in May then save it until the following Spring. I'd send her one in May too. I think she liked getting more than one card at different times of the year.

I always loved my mum and knew without a shadow of a doubt that she loved me too, but it wasn't until I became a mother myself that I fully realized the depth and overwhelming nature of that special love between a mother and her children. My mum passed away in 2001, but she will be in my heart forever.

I love you mum!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Tipping Point"

This is a great book - all about how something will suddenly become a fad or a trend. It came to mind when I was reading about what a great new product "paper tape/paper ribbon" is. Yes it is! However "new" it isn't. Die Cuts With a View had some a few years ago and Beth and I showed samples from another company (sorry I can't remember the name) on Scrapbook Memories also a few years ago. It's amazing how important "timing" can be.

Paper tape is fun to use; a very versatile embellishment for lots of projects. You can also make your own very easily and customize it to suit your every need. All you need is some paper, a computer, printer, regular software (Word for example), a paper trimmer and some glue. You can even use white, or clear sticker paper for inkjet printers instead of paper and glue. It all depends on how you want your finished paper ribbon to look. Using paper will give it more dimension on your project, especially if you use card stock.

This basic sample was created in Word. You can make your strips 8.5" or 11" long depending whether you create it horizontally or vertically. They can also be any width. The text and colors in the box were created in the "drawing" toolbar. Toolbars open in the "View" menu. With this toolbar you can create all kinds of background effects for the text, plus be creative with the text itself. You can also add artwork using the "add picture" feature, or even photographs. Fonts like Dingbats, or Bodoni Ornaments also have artwork you can use. Play around with the possibilities, you'll be surprised how creative you can be!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

And the Winner Is !!!!!!!!!

First of all I hope you all enjoyed the challenge and had fun - there'll be more to come, so I hope you'll participate again. Everyone did a great job and I have published the top 4 answers as "comments" below the original challenge post Not as Green as Cabbage Looking. Here are the photos again with the supplies labeled. I've also labeled the large project for ideas.

Here's the list: 1. Cardboard 2. Corrugated cardboard 3. Brown paper from grocery bag/handles from grocery bag (could be the same bag) 4. Soda Can (Aluminum) 5. Paper Fasteners (brads) 6. Pop tabs 7. Stick/branch 8. Brown Plastic Grocery bag 9. Washers 10. Staples. I also used Sinamay ribbon, which technically isn't a scrapbook supply, but I could have used net from a sack of potatoes.

Pam had the most on her list with 9 - CONGRATULATIONS!

Amy & Singtatter had 8 and Marfa had 7. Sure hope I counted correctly. Please send me your mailing addresses thru the "send message feature" on Facebook (this way they won't end up in my SPAM folder). Search "Julie McGuffee" and you should see my photo pop up. I only have one iTop (for Pam), but I will send a "surprise" to the runners up. Thanks again for participating!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Challenge - Last Day!

Don't forget to post your list in the comments section today! I will post the photos again tomorrow with a list of the supplies I used and announce the winner! Have a great weekend!

Yours truly,
Julie :)