Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Little Knowledge Can Be VEEEERRRRY Dangerous!

You probably already know that I'm the kind of kitty who likes to play around with shiny baubles and that most of my artsy-craftsy projects tend to involve a lot of glitter and random bits of sparkly stuff..

But even I had to shield my eyes when I took a look my new blog background and header for the first time!

You see, I figured out how to make my own blog design and once I got started I just kept piling on the goodies like it was a pizza with everything -- including the anchovies.

Can you say butterfly overload?  LOL!

I'm working on something a bit more...subdued.....but for now, when you visit, slip on your shades!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Even The Smallest Star....

Be that star for someone!

Make this Starry ATC and share the shine.
This sparkly Artist Trading Card (ATC) started with a piece of black cardstock cut to 2.5x3.5 inches.   Then, the central star was  die cut out of a piece of energy drink can using my Sizzix BigShot..  I colored the metal star with alcohol ink and when it was dry I applied a layer of Stickles Glitter Glue to the star I used a pop-dot to affix the star.  to make the raditating rays I used  several varieties of Sakura glitter pens.  Finally I printed the saying, cut it out and glued it down.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Do What You Love

 "Do what you love, love what you do."

Some people may think   "But I can't afford to do what I love when it comes to my job because I work for one reason -- to support myself and my family."

Even though I suspect this is true for a lot of us, it's still important to remember to make time for yourself and for the acivities that bring you joy.

So, if it's not possible to spend the majority of your day painting, shooting hoops, playing guitar, baking cupcakes or kicking arse in Call of Duty, try to set aside a portion of your day to play.

Playing or doing what you love -- even for just a tiny fraction of every twenty-four hours --- is good for your mental and physical health.    Taking care of yourself makes you more able to carry out the tasks that you need to do and better able to take care of the people around you.

Smiles and Purrs!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Love Them Anyway

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of how much I love this quote, so I decided to make a little digital art with it. :) 

It's important to remember that none of us is perfect.  We are all human,


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Don't Do As I Do!

If ever I could offer my best crafting advice it would be this : Please, be kind to your materials and don't do as I do!  

I justify my bad habits by saying that creating mixed media art can be rough on art supplies...all  that switching from one medium to another and back again, drawing over, painting over and writing over what's already down on the paper or canvas...tough stuff!

But, actually, it's me and I know it.   My studio holds untold numbers of brushes with stiffened, dyed and splayed bristles because I can't reliably keep a water bin nearby (the cats will inevitably knock it over, try to drink it, no matter how nasty...(Or, my personal favorite, they'll knock it over while TRYING to drink it!)

Joining the banged- up brush brigade are a host of funky crusty-topped tubes of glue, improperly opened paint bottles, dried out markers, over-worked pens and inky sprays with missing covers...

But nothing takes the abuse quite like my non-stick craft mat.

What a mess!  Well, it's where the real work is done....stands to reason it would take a licking.....but no mat should be subjected to the dreaded CRAFT KNIFE!  (Kitty knows there is a separate special surface just for slicing and dicing things.....)

So why am I such a master of disaster? I like to think it's because I'm so focused on creating that I push aside things like organization and clean-up.   And that may be partially true. I do get into "the zone" and just keep working on a project without caring about where I put the cover to that black marker or if the lime green glitter glue container is missing it's cover.

But part of it is just I'm a disorganized, messy kinda person.   DON'T be like me!

1) Clean your brushes!!  (No water?  Clean them with a baby wipe and/or wrap them in one until you can get to the water.)

2) Wipe the glue from around the edges of the tube...You'll be much happier when you go to use it next time and can get the top off AND find the glue isn't all dried out!

3) Open the paint, gesso, matte medium containers properly and wipe their rims after using.  Nothing is harder to open than a gesso container or paint bottle that has been sealed shut due to lack of proper care.

4) Corral your covers!  If the cover for an item doesn't fit on the other end....set aside a special container for storing the cover while the supply is in use.  Much nicer than stepping on a pen cap at 3am because the cat swiped it from under the studio table...

5) USE the lids, covers and tops that belong on the supply!  Think of what you can buy with the money you'll save not having to replace that pricey name-brand alcohol ink marker...

6) If all else fails, try to salvage what you can from the fray.  A big-headed hat-pin can keep your glitter-glue from drying up for example and even that battered non-stick craft mat can be put to good use!

I  cleaned it (scrubbed!) it with the ever-present baby wipes, then sliced out the piece that was damaged. Now I have two smaller, but still very useful pieces to use for smaller projects!

I'm hopeful that I can take my own advice and be neater in my studio.  You just never know!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blogging Before Blogging Was Cool -- Diversity in Learning

Recently, I was reminiscing while web-surfing.  To my utter surprise, I found the "ghost"  of a website that I had written way back between 1996 and 1999.  Back then, I was very active on the web -- much more so than I am now.  I had written and taught one of the first online HTML classes and my website covered a variety of subjects --- part of it was a personal area that I called "The Most Important Things in Life". This section served pretty much the purpose of what we now call a blog. I included little snippets of my life, personal thoughts and just the things that I felt needed saying.  Fifteen or more years have past and I think at least some of what I wrote is still relevant today and is revealing of "who" I was then and who I am today.

I'm going to share -- randomly of course -- a few of these vintage posts,  dredged up from when "blog" wasn't even a word but people were still sharing ideas, thoughts and pieces of their hearts. 

Here's my first shared post from long long ago -- with just a few edits....

If you have a few moments, think about this Quote....
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
                                   --From the writings of Heinlein
My thoughts:

I think it speaks highly of the human need to continually expand the boundaries of our knowledge or to face a lapse into stagnation. I am not so sure I want to learn to do *ALL* of the things the quote suggests (!) but I do think it is important to realize that we should never stop learning. And that instilling the LOVE of learning in others, especially young people can be the greatest gift we can give anyone.

A good basic education should be offered to and pursued by all since it is a blessing and a foundation upon which we can to continue to build throughout our lives.

But much of what there is to be learned is not readily available in a classroom and learning from experience is often even more challenging than learning from a formal class. It helps if we  can view learning NOT just a task but approached as an adventure.

Considering the learning value in visiting a historic site, helping to clean up an urban area, listening to the music of faraway lands, watching a ballet, making a web page, experiencing the wonder of literature through reading, identifying the herbs growing in a suburban neighborhood, making a clay pot the way it was made 500 years ago and yes, learning to change a diaper, take orders, cook a tasty meal, balance accounts, program a computer .... All of these are among so many, many others things we can challenges ourselves to learn and by doing these we can teach ourselves so much more than what any textbook can do.

First and foremost we must be receptive to learning experiences when and where they present themselves. 

We can be taught to be self-sufficient and to realize our own self-worth.

We can learn how to express ourselves in new and exciting ways.

Through keeping our minds flexible we can learn to be better friends, parents, daughters, sons, lovers, spouses.

We can learn how to be better representatives of humanity and to love and respect the Earth and all peoples!

As a person who has always loved Science Fiction, I would hope that some day, when we do travel beyond Earth or if we are visited by beings from another world, that our openness to learning will allow us to understand, interact with, and learn from any life-forms that we might encounter!

Each of us should be continually looking for ways to learn and to spread our knowledge to others. The gift of knowledge is the one gift that fits all sizes, shapes and ages. It can be given again and again and there is always more.

Sharing your knowledge freely with other is really just another way of sharing your love.

Smiles and Purrs!Kitty (aka "Ghatten")

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crafting 911 -- OUCH! My fingers are stuck together and my art is on FIRE!

Having one's art "on fire" sounds as if could actually be great news!  Except when the said fire is the result of an unfortunate glue selection and leads to having the fire department visit your home, followed by a trip to the ER......

"Super" glues, also called cyanoacrylates are common and inexpensive adhesives found in almost every artist's toolbox. Great for attaching do-dads to collages, repairing broken knick-knacks and much more  but getting them on your SKIN can rapidly turn nasty. Once stuck, if  you try to rip the glued skin away from whatever it's stuck to, whether it's paper, metal, plastic or worst of all, other skin, you will be ripping your flesh and causing yourself injury.

Luckily, there is a simple solution to this sticky situation: acetone. Those who work with cyanoacrylates on a regular basis will want to stock up on acetone or a nail polish remover that contains acetone.  Applying acetone to the super-stuck skin can break the sticky bond and free your fingers without causing pain and snickering ER staff. 
NOTE: Please keep your acetone away from plastic and painted surfaces, it will "eat" plastic and can strip paint.  It's also flammable so avoid open flames and heat!  To be safe use it in an open or well-ventilated area and clean your hands or surfaces that come into contact with acetone quickly.

It's less common knowledge, but perhaps even more important to know that this kind of glue is not-so-super to use on cotton or wool fabrics.  Why?  Because of a chemical reaction that occurs when cyanoacrylate glues come into contact with these fabrics.  Baaaaad mojo, unless a pyrotechnic display figures into your artwork the result of  application can cause heat, smoke and even FIRE!

Do keep in mind that other items made of related materials such as cotton balls or cotton swabs can also flame up if used to dab on or wipe up cyanoacrylates.

Here's a bonus tip -- since acetone isn't cheap, it's cool that it also has as a very useful crafty application -- acetone can be rubbed over the back of  a laser/toner-based copy as a photo-transfer medium!!  Here's a link to one of many tutorials showing how simple this technique can be.

Be safe when crafting and check the usage instructions on all glues before using.  It can save you from frustration and potential danger!

Smiles and Purrs!