Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cardmaking and Paintingmaking and and and

Sometimes, my life turns into a hurricane of activity.  Except not as much fun.

When the storm clears, and the air calms and I'm left sitting amidst a pile of debris- however, I think, "Wow! That was fun!  Let's do that again!"

It's a horrendous cycle of abuse.

The new play that I'm stage managing opened last week.  That's stressful enough, on its own!  But even without being able to sleep for a week, I still managed to find fifteen minutes to sit down and make one of my 'Fifteen Minute Cards.'  

No, I don't time them-  it's an estimated average.  They might not even take fifteen minutes. 

What I've found, about my cardmaking, is that the less time I have to obsessively move layers of papers around, the better my card turns out!   So that's some advice, from me, if you're having trouble coming up with a design.  Tell yourself that you've got fifteen minutes, total and at most, to make a card, and if you don't finish it in the allowed time, then you'll die or be late to work (whichever is more frightening to you). 

I needed a birthday card for my beloved boss- and since the first day of spring is (too freakin) near, I wanted something with a spring theme. 

To speed up the process, I used a tip that I picked up from May Flaum's e-book, FASHIONABLY FAST- which is available from Big Picture Classes.   I'm preparing a review of the book, as not only were they so kind to include me when sending out review copies- but also because IT IS A GOOD BOOK.  What's the tip I used?  Well, actually I used two- but the main tip I used, which to be fair is a tip I've heard a couple of places so far- is to use one line of product.  I don't know about you- but sometimes I just need to be told the most obvious of things.  If you don't have time or the skillz to match papers, just grab a collection pack!  Too easy, huh?  Yeah- that does kinda take some of the fun out of it (for me) but if you're in a hurry or if you just want to concentrate on the layout instead of the color- well hell, make it easy on yourself and grab a collection.  Nobody gonna judge you.  If they do, remind them that you know what they did last summer. 

I used BasicGrey's FACT AND FICTION - you know, that line that I went crazy for at JoAnn.  Not only did I buy every bit of it- but I bought multiples.  I'd be back at JoAnn and see it on sale and I can't pass that up-  aaaaaand I'd think, "Hmm. I don't think I got that, anyways."   Imagine my surprise to find five of each thing when I tried re-organizing not too long ago...

So that was the only 'technique,' to that card, really-  I chose a collection (Fact and Fiction) that had the look I wanted at the moment, picked out the appropriate sentiment- Happy Birthday, from a sentiment set that I picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby for a dollar, and layered a few embellishments.  The bird was part of a larger journal card- but I really liked that bird (and my boss LOVES birds) so I cut him out.  Cuz that's allowed. 

What else have I been up to?  Really?  You're still here and you want to know more?

I've been learning how to paint with WATERCOLORS! 

I can't tell you why I thought it was something I wanted to know more about-  it just occured.  I got out a pad of watercolor paper and my paints and did a Google search for a tutorial.  I don't know about you- but in the past, to use watercolors, I wet my brush and rubbed it on the little cake in the plastic pan, then rubbed it on the paper.  HOW DO THESE PEOPLE MAKE THOSE BEAUTIFUL DREAMY PAINTINGS?!

Imagine my surprise to learn all about adding water, mixing trays and etcetera!

Following along with an online tutorial, I set out to complete a watercolor.  Here it is, my first attempt, ever:

I promise, I'm not deluded into thinking I'm a master painter or anything- but it sure looks better than I thought my first attempt would look like! I'm sorry I can't find/remember the link to the tutorial - I will find it and add it, as I want to credit the site responsible for all the fun I had, learning a couple of things!

I struggled through a coupla more tutorials- fish, a flower, a butterfly, an unfortunate mountain landscape... finally, I decided I wanted to try something of my own-  my first complete original watercolor.  Of course, I chose to paint a portrait of my beloved son, Nelson. 

Given my limited drawing and painting skillz, I naturally opted for a more 'wiggly abstract' look, than attempting any sort of photo-realism!

Okay, I've got work to do and teeth to make (prop teeth- no, I'm not an at-home dentist) and collage materials to cut out:

Come on over and play, if you'd like! 

-kory k

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making Your Own Masks and Primitive Stamps!

What's Kory been up to, for the past week or so?  Well, besides working on the new play that will open this Friday night- I've been playing around at my desk and making my own masks! AND I've been making my own 'Primitive Art Journal Stamps.' 

If you know anything about me, you'll know that I've been making these things out of either trash or stuff from the Dollar Tree. 

First- the masks.  Stencils.  Whatever you want to call them, you know what I'm talking about:  those trendy plastic things you spray yo' Mister Huey's and Dylusions through so's you can put some purty patterns on your paper.

I love these things.  I own a big and always growing pile of them.  They're more addictive than Spellbinders Nestabilities. 

Masks and dies always remind me of that joke:

"You've taken morphine?!"

"Well, once, after my surgery.  And then every day for three years after that..."

Anyways- enough of Kory's Comedy Hour.

Masks.  I love masks.  And I love the silhouette masks that the amazing Ms. Dina Wakley uses-  but I was wanting a 'boy' mask.  Believe it or not, I don't run around in a skirt.  Speaking of 'man silhouette masks,' - Ms. Dyan Reaveley has just released one- the 'Bert' stencil.  But I haven't seen it in a store, yet.  You know I'll buy it the minute I do!  But in the meantime, I made my own.

How did I make my own? 

It's easier than you think- and you don't even need any artistic ability.

There are all kinds of classy designers who are making some amazing graphics.   Go to Google Images, and search for,  "free silhouette vector graphic," or some variation of that-  and you'll find pages of royalty free graphics. 

Pick out your favorite one.  I printed mine at several different sizes- full size, 50%, 35%... just so I could have some options.  I like options.

I traced the shape with tracing paper- you can do this or you can just use the printed shape.  Cut a rectangle of clear plastic product packaging big enough to cover your shape plus a good border.  I used the plastic from the Spellbinders packaging.  I save all plastic.  You can always use it for something!  I don't do this out of some kind of devotion to the environment.  I mean, I do love the earth, really, I do- but when I'm dead, what's the environment gonna do for me?*

*Totally kidding.  Sometimes, I even through a can into the recycling bin at work.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  So- you trace the shape onto your plastic.  I used a black paint marker.  Not for any specific reason other than it was the nearest marker- but obviously, you want to use something that won't schmear.

Also, I taped the plastic to the tracing paper and my desktop so it wouldn't slip and slide.  Oh! Remember the Slip 'n Slide?   The best thing to happen to childhood in the 80's. 

After you've traced the shape all that's left to do is cut out the inside of the shape!  I tried to cut it with my Exacto, first.  The Spellbinders plastic was a bit too tough.  As if I have to tell anyone who has ever tried to open the flippin' things.  Instead, I punched a hole in the center of the shape with my Crop-a-dile and used scissors.

Ready to see my test result?


Whoooooooo!!!!  Unlimited masks for me!!!

Of course, I won't stop buying them- but now, I've got OPTIONS!!!

But I thought, what a great idea, in case the stock market ever crashes, and I actually had money in the stock market.  I'd be okay.

What else have I been making?   Well, you know I've been on this art journalling jag-  and I've been looking at lots of books from the library about art journalling.  I love looking thru books.  And the library- well,  "I don't know if any of you people read."   BUT-  the thing about the library.  It's like going to Barnes and Noble, except that everything is free.  

Anyways...  In all these books, the writers go on and on about how great and easy and classy it is to make your own stamps.  All you hafta do is buy blocks of carving rubber and carving tools and suddenly become coordinated.

I wanted to make my own stamps.  But I also recognized my own limitations. 

So here's how to make some 'Primitive/Negative Art Journal Stamps.' 

Go to the Dollar Tree and get a package of 'fun foam.'   It comes in a package of about twenty or thirty 5X7 sheets.  For a dollar.  That's a bargain.

Now, come up with a shape or design- and with a fine tipped stylus OR a ball point pen, draw your design onto the foam.

See that?  Just draw the design onto the foam.  It presses in and stays.  My first attempt, I drew a woodgrain pattern.  A bad woodgrain pattern, that is, but I'm fond of it: 

Also, note where I tested out my new Amy Tangerine calendar stamp.  Neat, huh? 

I also like how this method of "makin' stamps" looks like a strange printing/negative look.  Love it!

I did a few more:



Of course, I had to try out another silhouette!   But my 'by hand' version of the shape turned out a little alien-like. 

That's what I've been up to, people!

Oh wait, there is something else I've been up to-  for my theatrical career-  making TEETH! 

There's a scene in this play (that opens THIS FRIDAY, get yer tickets NOW!) where the lead character uses a pair of pliers to pull out a tooth.  Onstage.  So, I've made these fake teeth- and with some Antique Linen Distress Ink and some Picket Fence Distress Stain... they look real, ladies and gentlemen.  Combined with the blood and the stage lights-  you'll be horrified.  I guarantee it.

-kory k