Archive | August 2009

Mold on a Blueberry: Mixed Media Monday

mold on a blueberry

mold on a blueberry

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday’s challenge¬† Stitches.

This pillow is comprised of two pieces of felt using a reverse applique technique. the top blue piece has holes cut out through out so that the green piece behind will show through. I then embroidered six different stitches using 10 colors of stranded floss.

This has been a fun project to work on over the summer evenings while spending time with my hubby in front of the fans and the TV.

Have fun, stay cool, create out loud! Christen

The Hands That Built America: The Three Muses Challenge

The Hands That Built America

These Are The Hands That Built America

This is my entry for the Three Muses Challenge this week which was Give Us a Hand. Recently my mom let me rummage through two large boxes of old photos, and as I was looking through them a song came on the radio by U2: “These Are The Hands That Built America”, and I thought yah, you betcha these are some of them don’t yah know.

My dad (on the unicycle) was one of eight children (photograph center left), he was a pro-types engineer and avid model plane builder. His dad and mom immigrated from Sweden when grandfather was three and grandmother was 16. They found each other and were married in Michigan, and soon moved to Burbank, CA. My grandfather was a blacksmith, who then became a mechanic and my grandmother was a house cleaner and a full time mom (seen together in the oval picture above my dad).

My mom (seen in her nurses uniform) was an only child (and her baby picture is to the right), she loves to create whether it be knitting, embroidery, painting and many other areas. Her dad (top right small photo) immigrated from Scotland, and grandpa worked as a warehouse stock person most of his life, he loved dogs, cigars, and bridge. Her mom immigrated from England, and grandma worked first for Eatons Department Store (top photo above my mom), later as an executive secretary, and finally for a bank (at the age of 80). Grandma and grandpa (seen in the oval picture on the right) were married for 62 years, and lived in the house that had been in grandpa’s family.

The song “These Are The Hands That Built America” was written prior to 9/11. Even so the words were quite poignant and almost eerily applied to the hearts and minds of the survivor’s and the families who lost people in the tragic events and was sung at a benefit concert listing every person’s name that was lost.

Excerpt of the 1st and 2cd choruses:

These are the hands that built America
(Russian, Sioux, Dutch, Hindu)
Oh, oh oh, America
(Polish, Irish, German, Italian)

And these are the hands, that built America
(The Irish, the Blacks, the Chinese, the Jews)
Ah, ah ah, America / Hand
(Korean, Hispanic, Muslim, Indian)

I bet that all of us have a great deal of shared history in building this country, and I hope that you are able to share this with your children so that they too can pass on this legacy of strength, courage, determination, and love to their children.


Tea on Tuesday

Crazy Tea Party

Crazy Tea Party

Tea for Tuesday at my house is CRAZY…..

The city is paving the street outside of my house, and it is smelly, noisy and dirty! YUCK, and more YUCK!

I have all of the doors and windows closed, which for now is ok, but around noon it will be hot, hot, hot and uncomfortable!

In 1922 when our house was built they didn’t have air conditioning, so portable fans are what cools us down one in every room!

So…. for a better mood I am working with a little aroma therapy, playing nice and quiet music for the cats and I while we are holding court with a “Crazy Tea Party”. I have mint tea while they have water in their cups and they don’t seem to mind!

Well off for now to get some work done, please join Kimmie and Patty for tea, always great photos, lovely tea, and all are welcome!

Spookie moth: art on the darkside

Spooky moth

Spookie moth

This is my entry for the Art on the Darkside for this week. There are always very interesting artists here, so you should take a look!

I really enjoyed working with “Fireworks” which is the system that I have installed on my computer for working with digital images. I took the moth picture that was provided for the image this week, and fiddled with it a bit, added a little color and such. Then I took an image of an old door, and did some cropping, fiddling and changed the color. Then I took an image of a prong of an old rusted thing, and created it into a spider web….I didn’t however add in any spiders, cause they quite frankly scare me!

A few hours or so later, this is what I came up with. How lucky I am to have a few hours here and there to PLAY! Hope that you do too! Christen

Flutterby: The Three Muses challenge



This is my entry for the “Wings on Things” challenge sponsored by The Three Muses. There are always many exciting entries, take a look when you get a chance.

I started out with a simulated “tie-dyed” piece of felt. The face is painted with acrylic paints and high-lighted with a Sharpie pen.

I free- hand embroidered the wing details and added in a fan decoration using four colors of stranded floss. After the embroidery was completed I stitched in sequins on her wings and body to give her a little glamor!

Her legs are made from florist wire wrapped with satin ribbon. Her shoes are made from 1-1/2″ wide satin ribbon and ribbon roses adorn both the shoes and the top of her head. I used one stamen for her antennae.

This project was quite fun, and it has given me ideas for a grasshopper, a ladybug and a busy bee … so we shall see if we can create a group of bugs that will go to the ugly bug ball!

Enjoy the time that you have, create out loud! Christen

Star Shine: Mixed Monday Monday Challenge

zentangle star

zentangle star

This is my entry for the Mixed Monday Monday Challenge this week was “Stars”. I had seen a few people use this technique which is called “Zentangle”. Basically it is a therapeutic form of “drawing” which seems similar to the doodling I did in Geometry class when I didn’t understand the lesson!

I started with watercolor paper and a sharpie fine point marker, I put on some Lorena McKennitt then channeled Peter Max and my own Celtic heritage. About an hour later I had finished my curly star. I photographed it on a piece of art paper, and digitally removed some bits here and there.

Star Shine

Star Shine

Then I started to play with other star shapes, and created a totally different piece. The stars here are also drawn on watercolor paper. I cut each one out and dry brush painted swatches of gold paint across the surface of each star.

I then wrapped a branch from a tree that we found on a walk, with gold mesh ribbon. I glued each star down, some on the front of the branch, some behind the branch. I also decorated the branch with vintage silver buttons and blown glass rods rescued from an old ornament.

Truthfully while working on these stars I may also have channeled Beetlejuice and Johny Dep’s Willy Wonka (he quoted the first line of the song when he first addressed the winners of the “Golden Ticket”) .

Anyways this was great fun and I encourage you to doodle when you feel a little stressed as it is a very relaxing and creative way to work out the brain knots and tangles! Enjoy, Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Chaos and Order

Chaos and Order

Chaos and Order

Well pictures are worth a thousand words if you get my meaning…. I am a really organized person, but for some reason cannot keep items like embroidery floss or ribbon neat and organized. Buttons and beads on the other hand, no problem!

I think that I really like the chaos of the bird tangled spidery web mess of thread because you can see how colors blend together in combinations that you might not have originally thought of on your own.

I organize and touch the buttons or beads when I need to have a little quiet time in my head. I love to see the shapes and colors, and I imagine what the button may have originally been stitched to before I found it.

So in my every day organized and structured art, I love to work with chaos as a creative element. Where as in my unstructured chaotic work and career I need to be able to organize and capture moments of peace and serenity.

What “sweet and sour” dichotomy do you find that works best for you? Christen