Okay, this is what my husband got me for Christmas! A gift certificate at Atlas Tattoo Studio in Portland.
I've been wanting a tattoo since I was about 20. My husband being the very conservative man he is, hasn't been very supportive of this idea of mine. I never pushed it cause I couldn't come up with a clear picture of what I wanted anyways.
About a month ago I finally decided on a 1960 Green Schwinn. I wanted something that meant a lot to me. This was my first "real" bicycle that I had when I was about 9 yrs. old. It was a symbol of freedom being able to ride through the potholed roads of Sutton, AK. And, it was the bike I learned how to ride without hands on.
I went on to race bicycles through high school. Went to Northern Michigan University for a year on a cycling scholarship funded by the United States Cycling Federation and the state of Michigan. A year or so later moved to Los Angeles to train for Olympic Trials and ended up meeting my husband who also raced bikes and happened to have a bike shop, Gary's Wheel World, in San Diego. We had the shop for 5 years before we sold it and moved to WA. After getting married and having kids we both pretty much hung up our bikes with the casual ride once or twice a year if we were lucky. About a year ago we dusted off our bikes and we are enjoying on a regular basis what brought us together in the first place.
So, all that to say that the "bicycle" has meant so much to me over my life time and thought it would be a perfect tattoo for me.
I hinted at my husband that this is what I wanted for Christmas. I never thought he would actually get it for me since he's not into tattoos at all. When I opened it I cried. It was probably the most selfless gift he's ever given me. He even went through the trouble to find the bike on the Internet and make it into an ornament. How sweet is he! Thank you, I love you G.
Can you see why I was a little nervous to share? Do you have any tattoos? If so, of what and where? Do you like or dislike tattoos in general?
This year we agreed we were going to do a 3'-4' tree. Or so I thought. He came home with a 12'er. I guess it's still better than last year.
This is that vintage tinsel tree that I think I had mentioned before. I got it at a shop here in Battle Ground. I love how it shows off the ornaments.
My collection of Snowman Lamps.
More snowmen! I have to tell you that I only added 2 this year. I'm becoming a lot more picky...and I'm running out of room!
I've also been collecting Christmas books for the past several years. I used them in decorating this year just by standing them up here and there. They make for a very easy take down when putting Christmas away!
For the women in our family we decided to exchange handmade gifts. I gave them each one of my ornaments and this Felt Candy Cane that I made from FeltCafe's tutorial. My aunt made very functional fun bags and low-fat muffins, my mom crafted beautiful glass soldered ornaments and my cousin made a wonderful assortment of gift tags for us to use. i should have taken pictures :(
Thank you for bearing with my Christmas tour.
I still haven't told you what my husband gave me for Christmas. Maybe I'm a little nervous of what you'll think of me...
I started early this year scouring 2nd hand shops for ornaments knowing that I was going to make a wreath for my mom for Christmas. Of course I waited till Christmas Eve at 10PM to begin the project. It took me about 3 hours and a lot more ornaments than I had anticipated!
I used a Styrofoam wreath from the craft store, wrapped it in cloth and secured it with hot glue. Then I just began hot gluing ornament after ornament. I try to apply glue on all sides that I can to give it as much security as possible. After-wards I'll go back in and add the small ornaments or red balls to cover any empty spots or areas where the glue is showing.
This is a great way to recycle some of those ornaments you don't really hang anymore but you don't want to get rid of.
Here's the wreath I had made for myself a few years back. It's quite a bit smaller and still unfinished in areas. I love the vintage ornaments, I scored those at Goodwill for cheap! I was so antsy to hang it I never actually finished it! One of these years.
I'm feeling quite relieved right now. Christmas is put away and the house is clean! I might be able to catch up on blogging and some art!
I've been quite reserved lately. Lot's to do and the mega dumping of snow is distracting! It's dumping buckets as I type. I've already had one of my favorite maple trees split in half at the base. I should get off my booty and get out there and knock the snow out of my other trees before it happens again... But it's coooolllld and deeeeep!
I did manage to get this painting done. A friend of ours commissioned me to do it for his wife for her birthday. She loves purple tulips, her name starts with A, he calls her "sunshine" and she loves the color green.
I had a lot of fun on this piece. I used a brayer, some of my hand cut stamps (on the vase) and rubbing alcohol with a lot of scratching. For the backround leaves and the sunshine flowers, I cut stencils for the first time. For the butterflies, I did image transfers and painted over them for more color. Another thing I did on this piece was to paint the majority of the backround first. I always tend to go for the main image right away and then I end up struggling with the backround. This process made it go much smoother and it was just different. I can't say I'll remember or be patient enough to do it this way every time. Sometimes you just have an exciting idea and you have to get it down quick. : )
It was an honor to paint this for Amy. She has been an inspiration to me in her zest for life. Her loud laugh can wake up a room like no other. She loves to have fun, encourage others, throw parties and is one of the most caring and giving individuals I know. She is real-no facade, no games, no judgment.
The snow just keeps coming down. Still so much to get done before Christmas... I've been working sporadically, distracted by the falling white clouds. Pulled by the need to take comfy naps in the middle of the day. You may have noticed my lack of motivation to blog. I've also had that same feeling for exercise! I'm okay though, going with the flow, things will get done in time.
I've been working on a new painting and was struggling with birdcages. I decided to work them out in my journal pages on a smaller scale, much less effort when messed up! I'm still trying to decide what bird I'm going to use. hmmm?
I began this journal page by collaging down one of Michele Maule's free digital downloads. I love her work, use of color and subjects she paints.
Finally got goodies in the mail. Making 50 handmade ornaments ended up being a whole lot more work than I had expected. The wrapping and packaging alone was a chore!
This has been a tough year for many retailers. I don't want our little cute shops closing, it's getting so hard for them due to the internet, economy, high leases and I'm sure many other things. My heart goes out to them. I only wish I could have given all my stores this gift of my appreciation.
My artist friend Anne Leuck Feldhaus is having a fantastic giveaway on her blog! Make sure to enter, you could win FREE stuff!
For our Art Journal Group this month I hosted the meeting and we worked on a Snowman. I was inspired by Lisa Kaus' Workshop to create a thick base out of MDF to start with.
The starting point...
Teri's in process. They look so much better in person, I wish you could see!
For mine, I used some vintage Bingo markers for the eyes, pattern tissue paper for the base, my mom's hand-cut snowflake stamp with gold ink, a salvaged Christmas stamp from years ago, different types of buttons off of jeans (shown in finished pic), vintage measuring spoons for arms, patina finished copper for the scarf and a rusty piece of some sort for the mouth and a ran over bottle cap for the hat flower. These last two items I picked up off the road while out for a run.
My mom-contemplating her next move.
My mother in-law happened to be in town and joined us. I love her piece and the pink/red combination in colors.
Lani gussied up her piece with lots of bling. Although her style is much different than my own, I really enjoy it and think it's quite fun.
Paulette was a speedy one, finishing in just a few hours, having to get back to pick up her young one from school. She used her painterly style to create a beautiful face.
Teri with her masterpiece! I just love how each snowman/snow-girl came out so different and so wonderful. Just as we are unique, what we create is also unique to us.
Jaron was so creative she didn't even put a face on hers. She also used some of her own hand-crocheted snowflakes. Such a charming piece she created.
Just a fun day of fellowship and creating.
If you're the creative type I hope you're able to feed your soul and create a little during this special time of year.
I've been in an ornament making craze lately. I did 4 for the swap I was involved in and now I've decided to make them for my top 20 or so customers (stores), 2 ornament exchanges, a few friends and 5 to sell on Etsy. That's a total of 50 ornaments. They'll all be signed and numbered on the back.
I wanted to share my process with you to maybe inspire you to create your own ornaments. If you do I would love to see what you come up with!
First of all, I hand cut a stamp from a sketch. I use the soft eraser material for my stamps just because it's so easy to cut and it doesn't make my hands hurt. Genine has a wonderful tutorial just on stamp cutting, not to mention her work is fabulous! I prefer using the StazOn ink pads just because the ink is waterproof and I don't have to worry about it smearing. You can also use a brayer and printing ink but using the ink pad goes quick and there's less to clean up.
Then I began stamping and stamping and stamping. You could use any kind of wood but I used raw 3/8" MDF (medium density fiberboard) as my base.
Using a scroll saw I cut carefully around each stamped image. Afterwards I used fine sandpaper to smooth out the edges and back.
Here's Rachel, one of my employees, getting to play on the creative side of things. She's usually in the office but I'm sure she welcomed the change since she's quite artistic herself. I had her cut the thin copper into scarf shapes with a pair of scissors.
Before applying the glitter as shown here, a little watered down gold paint and some shading were added. An orange oil pastel was used for the nose area and Mod Podge to adhere chunky glitter to the areas to be covered.
The hangers are made out of those brass hooks that you can hang things from your ceiling with. Bent and oxidized with Nickel Oxidizer to blacken them. I pre drilled the holes to prevent the wood from splitting.
Wrapped the copper scarf around fastened it with a small nail and then added a copper patina to give it a weathered look. Repainted the small black dots for the mouth, used red/pinkish paint watered down for the cheeks so it kind of spread naturally under the glitter. And finished it off with a vintage bingo game piece.
This has been so much fun to make! I've already decided I'm going to give one to each of my girls with a bingo piece depicting their age this year.
If you've handmade something this holiday season I'd love to see, please leave me a comment with your blog address so I can come visit.
I've posted 5 of them on my Etsy. They're signed and numbered on the back and even better in person!
I FINALLY finished! I have been working on this painting on and off for about 2 years! Sometimes pieces come together and sometimes they're just a point of frustration. There were many moments along the way I considered throwing it away or painting over it.
At last, I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. As you'll see below, I changed many things along the way...
This was just the sketching point (pretty ugly huh!). I pretty much started this entire painting with a small round wooden frame attached to the canvas. (around the heart)
You'll notice the horseman is no longer a part of the piece and most of the colors have changed. More hours went into this painting than any before.
I delivered it this morning to it's new owner. Knowing her it will be displayed well and loved. Thank you Mary!
Another painting is already on my easel awaiting love and affection.
This was an ornament I made last year or the year before for our family ornament exchange. I LOVE funky snowmen. I have quite the collection going. I'll have to post some of them for you to see.
This year I thought it would be fun to participate in one of the ornament swaps that I see many bloggers doing. I've always wanted to do but never been able to justify the time. Deb was having one and had openings. So... I committed. Little did I realize that I would stress for DAYS about trying to come up with a killer ornament!
I can't share them with you yet since I just sent them off today. But here they are all wrapped up and ready to go out. Even with the stressing I'm glad I committed. It forced me into a mode of creativity that I may have not encountered so early in the month of December.
I really hope the girls like them.
Some delicious shortbread cookies that my daughter and I made for the studio sale. We used Royal Icing for the frosting and some Candy Cane Sprinkles from Target that actually taste like peppermint.
I have definitely gained some weight already this holiday season! Better go running tomorrow... and the day after and the day after that! At least running is FREE. One of the few pleasures that doesn't cost any money.
hi and welcome!!! i'm so glad you're here! my name is michelle. i'm blessed to be a wife (to gary) of 18 years and a mom of two girls; alexis(16) & jess(11). i've been a full time artist for 15 years. i made my start at Portland Sat. Mkt. and art fairs around the country, and then headed into wholesale shows when our oldest began school. i love ART-ing, art journaling, running, cycling and downing junk food!