Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Off to Italy & Art Abandonment

Well, today's the day!  After two years of planning and saving, we are on our way to Italy this morning!  I will be going there with my daughter, Brianna, and my son, Anthony.  Excitement doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about this trip.  We will be staying overnight in 8 cities and also have day trips planned along the way.  Let's not forget time at the beach - actually being able to swim in the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas.  How cool is that?

While we are away, I will be abandoning little pieces of handmade art jewelry in random places along the way, with a message to the finder that if they adopt this piece of art and feel inclined to do so, they can email me to let me know where they are from and how they felt about finding abandoned art.  Incidentally, I belong to a Facebook group called "Art Abandonment" that was started by artist Michael DeMeng.  The whole concept of the group is for artists and crafters to randomly abandon their handmade art in the most unexpected of places.  When the finders of the art contact the artist/crafter, the message is shared with the group.   I will be bringing 12 pieces of jewelry to abandon.  Here's a little sample of what I will be leaving through out Italy:

I will share details of the trip and any responses I receive from the abandoned art project upon my return.  Until later..."Arrivederce".

Monday, September 10, 2012

5x5 Art and Round Robin Journal Pages

I will be leaving for Italy for vacation in a couple of days and wanted to make sure I had completed some art projects I committed to before taking my trip.

In this post, I shared with you the beginnings of my portraits for the Arts Center of the Ozarks 5x5 Exhibit.  I finished putting the final details on the portraits.  Here are the completed pieces:

"Mother Mary"

"Angel of Hope"

The entire exhibition - which features 5x5 pieces of art from artists in Arkansas and neighboring states will be on display from October 4th through November 8th.   The reception will take place on November 8th.  If you are interested in attending this event, please see the Arts Center of the Ozarks website for details.  It makes for a very enjoyable evening, I promise you...

In this post, I told you about a Round Robin art journal project I am participating in.  This month, it was my turn to contribute to a journal by Melissa Bryant.  Her journal theme is "Interconnected" and deals with how our life interconnects with others.  Melissa requested that each artist link his/her with the previous artist by leaving a line to connect with the previous page.  The first thing that came to mind for me was the honeybee.  The bees happily pollinate flowers along their path, intertwining bits and pieces of what they pick up in one garden to another.   I decorated my pages with Golden fluid acrylic paints, acrylic paints and Sharpie markers.   Here's my contribution:

Until next time...Happy creating!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

...And We Have a Winner!!!

Thank you to everyone who entered my milestone blog giveaway.

The winner was selected by a random number generator.  Congratulations to Claudia Sullins!!!! 

Claudia - I will be mailing your package to you this week.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Milestone Giveaway Celebrating 68,950 Blog Views & 450+ Followers!

I have been very blessed to have met some wonderful artists, crafters and customers through the internet.  In addition, I have reached a milestone of having hit over 450 followers on my blog in addition to 68,950 blog views.  Wow!  To celebrate, I am giving away a little treasure trove of mixed media jewelry - 19 pieces in all:

The giveaway consists of an assortment of jewelry designs I have made over the years,  including: four altered domino pendants and pins; two resin bottle cap pendants; a pair of polymer clay York Peppermint Pattie earrings; a polymer clay Good & Plenty key chain; a soldered glass pendant/brooch (it can be worn either way); a polymer clay Marilyn Monroe brooch; a pair of Marilyn Monroe pink pop art style earrings; an M&M resin candy ring and matching pendant; a pair of resin Conversation Heart hair pins; a resin Monopoly board game necklace (complete with embedded mini dice); a "Love Is" heart pendant;  a polymer clay retro pin-up girl necklace; a sparkly pink heart shaped resin ring; and a mini tile pop art style pin-up girl brooch.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment here under this blog post.  You can also enter a second time by leaving another comment on the Two Crafty Mules Facebook page.   The winner will be selected on Saturday, September 8, 2012.  The winner will be announced both here on on the Facebook page.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the selected winner.  If I contact the winner and don't receive a response within 24 hours, I will select a different winner.  Good luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Round Robin Art Journal

I've participated in many internet art swaps over the years, but I have never participated in a Round Robin swap....until now.  I'm participating in my first ever art journal swap!  (Actually - this makes two firsts for me  as I've never made an art journal before.)  Needless to say, I've been spending many hours on Pinterest looking at art journal ideas.  (I love that site!)  This also presents a great opportunity to put my Zutter-Bind-It-All to work.  I just "had" to have one of these nifty little machines when they first appeared at the local craft store a couple of years ago.  I ended up receiving it as a Christmas gift that year and am now using it for the first time.  Oh, well, better late than never, right?

One of my artist friends on Facebook organized the event; there are 10 people participating.  Everyone in our Round Robin group begins by putting their journal together and deciding on individual themes.  Each person starts the process by decorating the first part of their journal.  The journals are then sent to each person in the group following a mailing list. Everyone will work on each journal sent to them and then send it to the next person until the journal has returned back home to its owner. 11 months, my journal will be returned to me - fully decorated!

The theme of my journal is "In the Kitchen".   Here is a picture of the cover:

And here are the first pages inside of the journal:

I'm looking forward to seeing what the other artists contribute to my little book, as well as what themes they have each decided on for their own journals.  I'll be sure to share my contributions with you each month during this little artistic journey.   It's going to be one awesome little adventure!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

5x5 Works in Progress for Upcoming Exhibition

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the Arts Center of the Ozarks letting me know that it is time to start working on artwork for their upcoming 5x5 Annual Art Exhibition.  My husband and I participated in the event last year and had such a wonderful time, we knew when the opportunity arose again this year, there would be no hesitation.

I started working on my creations yesterday featuring my favorite art subject - The Virgin Mary.  Here are the preliminary sketches on canvas:

I also began painting yesterday.  I will have to let these rest for several days.  I added molding paste to some of the paint to give texture to the pictures.  Once dried, I can add the highlights and finishing touches to my mini portraits.

5x5 artwork in progress

I'll be sure to share the finished items with you upon completion.  Until then...have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Solutions for Resin-Related Issues

They say invention is the mother of necessity, and I couldn't agree more.  I think as crafters, we tend to come up with unique ways of correcting project mistakes so we don't have to toss out our project only to have to start over again.  I've run across some of issues when working with resin that I'd like to share with you, and also, solutions to those issues.

PROBLEM:  The metal bezel has an attached pendant bail that causes the pendant to rest at a slant.  This results in uneven coverage of resin during the curing process.

SOLUTION:  After filling the bezel with resin, set the bezel on an elevated surface with the bail hanging off of the side of the surface.  My favorite elevated surface for this situation are wood flooring samples.  These are not very big - mine are about 6" by 8" in size - but they can accommodate lots of bezels in a small amount of space.  To make good use of my space, I also perch the bezels on top of domino game pieces and place those pieces on top of the flooring samples, as well.   The flooring samples can be acquired at no cost from various internet sites.  I requested my samples online many years ago, and I still use them on a regular basis.  Google "wood flooring samples free" to find companies who will provide you with free samples at your request.

PROBLEM:  Dust, dog hair, mosquitoes (and other things) end up on a project that has not fully cured.

SOLUTION:  I have encountered this on a couple of occasions.  Unfortunately, once the hair, dust or mosquito has settled onto curing resin, the problem usually cannot be corrected with causing additional damage to the piece.  I nip this problem in the bud before it ever has a chance to occur now.  Once all of the resin has been poured, I place a narrow storage box over the items, and I don't remove this until the projects have cured (about 72 hours.)   The one I use these days is a Sterilite storage box.  It fits perfectly over two of my wood flooring pieces (as described above).  Plus, because they are see-through, I can check on my work without having to disturb anything.

PROBLEM: Metal bezel was too small and/or leaked, causing overflow of resin onto back of project.

SOLUTION:  This occurred for me recently when I made some resin pendants.  I didn't discover the leak until the next day.  I let the resin cure for several days before I attempted correction of the problem.  Attempting to correct the problem before the resin cured would result in fingerprints and damage to the front of the design.

Once the resin cured, I trimmed off the excess (cured) overflow from the sides and bottom of the bezel with old, sharp scissors.  Using a coarse grit sandpaper, I sanded off the back of the metal bezel until all of the resin was gone.  I was surprised at how quickly the resin was removed.  Within minutes, my pendant looked like nothing had ever happened to it.

PROBLEM:  While gluing embellishments on a cured resin bezel, glue dripped onto the resin, destroying the shiny finish.

SOLUTION:  Wipe off as much of the glue as possible.  Brush a thin layer of fresh resin over the top of the item and let it cure for several days.   When a thin layer of resin won't correct the problem, it may be necessary to pour a thicker layer of resin over the project.  I recently had something like this occur when I was gluing rhinestones to the outer edge of a pendant.  I normally use an industrial strength glue (E-6000) to attach embellishments to many of my jewelry designs.  The glue had seeped out onto the resin, so I had to pour a new layer of resin over the top of the pendant.

This was a problem, as well,  because the pendant was already filled with resin.  The rhinestones I had already attached stood at a height slightly higher then the resin; the rhinestones have gaps in between them, which would result in any newly poured resin seeping out the sides.

To alleviate this from happening, I took clear packing tape and adhered it around the entire outside of the bezel. I pressed the packing tape firmly to the sides with my fingers, ensuring that the tape held onto the outer edges of the bezel.  Once this is completed, you'll have something that resembles a tortilla bowl for a taco salad.  The tops of the tape will be curvy and quite tall.   Pour a new thin layer of resin into the bezel.  Because the tape is securely attached to the outer edges of the bezel, there should be no leakage of resin.  The tape will keep the resin in its place.  Allow the resin to cure for several days and remove the tape.  Your pendant should look as good as new.

PROBLEM:  Resin got on my bare hands and I can't wash it off.

SOLUTION:  I hate when this happens.  Yes, I admit I don't always use gloves when making resin projects.  I need to have the ability to "feel" what I am doing and the gloves tend to get in the way.  Thankfully, there is a product on the market that is wonderful for removing resin from hands.  It's called  Fast Orange Hand Cleaner by Permatex.  My husband - who is a crafty guy himself - uses this frequently to remove paint, etc. from his hands.  I "borrowed" it one day after I couldn't remove resin residue from my hands - and it worked like a charm.  Just rub it over your hands, rinse, wash hands again with soap and the residue is gone!  I also use this product after working with polymer clay.  It's great for getting stubborn colors - like red and pink - out of my hands.

Well, there you have it.  I hope the tips above will help if you have experience similar resin-related issues.  As always, happy creating!  :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Industrial Chic Blog Hop - Words to Live By Book Necklace

In my previous blog post, I told you about the Industrial Chic Blog Hop I am participating in this month, and I also showed you the goodies I was given to make into art.  I ended up using 2 of the 3 packages of supplies I received and this is what I created:

This is my "Words to Live By" mini book necklace.  I removed the pages of ephemera contained within the Industrial Chic metal tag pendant and replaced these with handmade pages made with beautiful religious images and quotes from Catholic saints.  I added a metal lace filigree finding to the bottom of the book, along with some decorative ribbon-yarn and small cross charms.  An image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was affixed to a domino and attached to the front of the pendant.  The necklace is comprised of 2 Industrial Chic charms, along with black pearls and crystals beaded rosary-style to complete the look.

Full view of necklace.

Side view of pendant.

Another side view of pendant.

One of the book pages; this one features the Virgin Mary with her parents and a quote from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

This page features St. Elizabeth of Hungary feeding the poor along with a quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen.

This page features Jesus and a young girl accompanied by a St. Faustina quote about forgiveness.

Detail view.

I want to thank the folks at Industrial Chic for inviting me to participate in this blog hop and for my free goodies.  I really enjoyed the challenge of creating from the supplies I was given.  I can't wait to see what the other participants came up with.  Be sure to check out my previous post for the list of participants and links to their respective blogs.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Industrial Chic Blog Hop

I'm thrilled to tell you I am participating in the in Susan Lenart Kazmer's Industrial Chic Blog Hop event set for July!

A couple of days ago, I received my box of Industrial Chic goodies to include into my creations.  Here they are:

Stay tuned to see what designs I have created with this little treasure trove of goodies!

The July blog hop runs from July 6th to July 14th.  Be sure to stop by and visit the other artists blog sites and check out their designs:

July 6th - Ken Oliver

July 7th - Vicki O'Dell

July 8th - Cindy Cima Edwards

July 9th - Elena Lai Etcheverry

July 10th - Jen Osborn

July 11th - ME!  (Wanda Eash)

July 12th - Terri O

July 13th - Susan Weckesser

July 14th - Tracy Weinzapfel

The fun continues in August with ANOTHER Blog Hop for Industrial Chic.  Here are the artists participating in the August Blog Hop:

August 10th -  Barbe St. John

August 11th -  Cheryl Bodkins Waters

August 12th -  Cindi Bisson

August 13th -  Gretchen McHale

August 14th -  Jenny Barnet Rohrs

August 15th -  Kari McKnight

August 16th -  Lindsay Obermeyer

August 17th -  Seth Apter

August 18th-   Suze Weinberg

August 19th -  Tami Bayer

August 20th -  Theresa Cifali

August 21st -  Tracie Stivers Lampe

August 22nd -  Traci Bautista

August 23rd -  Jen Crossley

August 24th -   Eileen Hull

August 25th -   Pam Carriker

August 26th -  Sandy Martin

See you in a few days with my designs!  :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bella LuElla - New Boutique in Town!

My jewelry designs are carried in several boutiques and gift shops around the United States, and as of 6/1/12, they are being carried right here in my neck of the woods in beautiful Northwest Arkansas at Bella LuElla!    Bella LuElla is an eclectic shop that is located in the same neighborhood as our newest art museum, Crystal Bridges.  I'm thrilled about this for two reasons: 1) it's the first shop in the area to carry my designs and, 2) this is a brand new shop that carries artwork and designs from local artists in addition to vintage, collectible art and books.

Bella LuElla

Bella LuElla is the brainchild of owner, Cynthia Morshedi.  Cynthia was a designer by profession for many years, but she's always had a love of the arts and of creating, in general.  After doing some serious soul searching, she decided to set up shop in Northwest Arkansas in order to help promote the arts in our area.  And, Bella LuElla was born.

Bella LuElla is a charming shop set up in a vintage 1880's house.  It consists of several rooms which are set up by theme.  For example, one room houses jewelry, accessories and handmade soap products.  Another room houses shabby chic and feminine pretties such as tutu's, fabric hair flowers, and little stuffed animals.  (My handmade mini vintage hankie quilts are also displayed in this room.)  Cynthia is planning to have a grand opening/reception in the near future.  She also is planning to offer classes which will be taught by local artists.

If you are in the area, please take a moment to stop by and visit Bella LuElla. They are located at 1006 SW "A" Street, Bentonville, Arkansas, telephone (479) 644-8483.  You can also check out their Facebook Page and blog.  In the meantime, take a look at the pictures below for a sampling of what this fantastic little shop has to offer.  Hope to see you there!

Handmade body products by Marilyn Payne (they smell yummy!)
Some of my jewelry creations!
Vintage hankie quilts made by yours truly. :)

Jazzy accessories.

Vintage books and collectible, rare art.
Something for baby (the crochet hats were made by Sandy Krout - are these adorable, or what??)

Resin cross necklaces made by me :)

More lovely goodies for the girly-girls out there. (The feather earrings were made by made daughter-in-law, Hailey Rocko.)
Gorgeous flower accessories made by Cynthia Morshedi.

Crystal rosaries made by my daughter, Brianna Rocko.

Bejeweled cell phone bags made by Bobbi Gray.

Artwork by Laura Hopkins (I LOVE the shoe art!)

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