Having Fun with Chalk Paint and StencilGirl Stencils

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What’s all the talk about chalk paint lately?  I needed to find out for myself and you’re coming along with me.

Ok, can I just say that I’ve been meaning to create some sort of “TO DO” board for a while now.  This is how I post my actions now….

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What up with that?  It needs to get out of my head and on a list, I know that much. So, let’s change it up.

Here is one of my art supply cabinets.  Nice open wide space on the door.  Enter black chalk paint.  I used a “Folkart” chalk paint.  I painted the section with 3 coats, drying well in between.  If I were to do this again, I would gesso it first, then add the chalk paint because the cabinet was not very porous. But, it worked out fine as you will see.

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Enter stencils from StencilGirl.  I first started with the Boxed Vines stencil by Cecilia Swanton

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I wanted to get a border of these lovely vines around my chalk board. Of course, I’m using Cobalt Teal for the first acrylic paint. I have to be honest, I started to use chalk to rub into the stencil… bad choice. It was icky.  The chalk scraped on the design openings and made dust all over the place. I decided to use acrylic paint. What’s the worst that can happen? I paint over it.  No biggie.

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Next up was a stencil by Jessica Sporn called Flowers, Pomegranates and Leaves

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Let’s put some flowers and leaves on, too.  Now, I’ve switched to Amsterdam acrylic paints.

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Now, let’s test the chalk on the paint.  Ok, first, can I just say that I did not have one piece of chalk in my house.  All I wanted was on little piece of white chalk. I ended up with a big box of sidewalk chalk I had to buy at the dollar store. I think I have enough to last me a while now.  Look at those big suckers, below.

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I have to say this stuff really works.  Write on, wipe off. As you can see, I had a little fun with my to do list and some doodles.

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Tomorrow, I will make a more serious to do list (ya, right). Well, at least it’s there when I have to spill my thoughts.
Maybe I’ll do another section on my cabinet just for inspirational quotes.

So, there you have it. Chalk paint and stencils. Lots of fun.. give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by and all your support. It means everything to me. You’re the best.

Long weekend coming up; hope you have some fun plans or just plan to relax.

Judy ♥  ♥

 

 

Auction Begins for Bring Back Our Girls

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BringBackGirls

Today is the day our auction begins.   Click on the box above to be taken to the auction site.

If you want to learn about actions to take and also more about Girl Rising, which is where the money raised from the auction will go, CLICK HERE   

Take a look at all the artists that have their beautiful art ready for bidding. My piece is below.

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Small Flyer for Auction

Jessica Sporn   http://jessicasporn.blogspot.com

Linda Kittmer  http://lindakittmer.blogspot.ca

Ronda Palazzari  http://rondapalazzari.typepad.com

Marjie Kemper   http://www.marjiekemper.com

Judy Shea   http://thekeytomyart.wordpress.com

Glenda Hoagland   http://pilgrimsthoughts.blogspot.com

Astrid Maclean  http://astridsartisticefforts.blogspot.com

Lisa Pace   http://lisapace.com

Jackie Neal   http://creatingwithoutcrayons-jackiepneal.com

Claudine Criner   http://claudinesartcorner.blogspot.com

France Papillon   http://www.france-papillon.com

Kristin Van Valkenburgh  http://TwinkleTwinkleLikeAStar.blogspot.com

Marcia Beckett  http://marciabeckett.blogspot.com

Ruth Levy   http://lerusho.wordpress.com/

Sally Lynn MacDonald   http://www.SallyLynnMacDonald.com

Renee Zarate   http://renee-boltonhouse.blogspot.com

Natasha May   http://natashamay.blogspot.com/

Carmen Whitehead   http://www.serendipitystudiobycw.blogspot.com/

Seth Apter   http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/

Marybeth Shaw   http://mbshaw.blogspot.com/

Amy Ingardia-Walker  http://creativelyquirkyathome.blogspot.com/

Kelly Warren  http://happyshackdesigns.blogspot.com

Julie Bernier http://juliebernierphotography.zenfolio.com/

Adrienne Hoban  http://www.allure-decor.com/

Krista van Tol   http://craftylittlepigtails.blogspot.com

Cheryl Grigsby http://cherylspaperartz.blogspot.com

Jill Meyer www.jillmeyer.com

Lisa Flaherty http://mypeaceofpaper.blogspot.com

Kerry C. Mitchell http://kerrycmitchell.com

 

So, pass the word. It’s such a great cause. Please help if you can.

Peace

Judy 

Sito’s Kitchen – “Kibbeh”

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Well hello and Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there.

I thought I’d celebrate with my mom and you with a new video of Sito’s Kitchen.  This time we are making “Kibbeh.  This is baked ground meat that is mixed with bulgar, onions, allspice.. well, just watch and I hope you will be able to imagine the amazing aromas in the house.

 

Enjoy the recipe and thanks for stopping by and as always, I love hearing from you.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

Blog Hop with StencilGirl and Seth Apter

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Here I am again, doing another Blog Hop with StencilGirl for the NEW RELEASE of Seth Apter’s stencil designs.

I just love Seth’s art style and for him to create stencils.. well.. is a bit exciting. Take a look at his blog HERE.

I will be using Seth’s “Timeless” stencil. I love these markings he’s made and the words… and what better way to use all this texture than with polymer clay.  Are you surprised?

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When I begin the process in my head of what I will create for each blog hop, most of the time, I don’ t know what I’m going to create until I sit at my art table. This time was no different. I knew I was going to use clay.  Let’s see.. bookmarks, buttons,  journal… yes a little funky journal. Let’s HOP to it.

I started with a package of beige polymer clay. Then conditioned it by softening it with my hand and through my clay dedicated pasta machine. Not loving that it is not getting soft. I’ve been through this before. Maybe my basement is too chilly or the clay is old.. not sure. But, let’s go with it, shall we?

Once I got a good sheet of clay soft enough, I sprayed the clay with water and put the stencil on top. Put my pasta machine on a thinner setting so I could get a thin cover for a journal.  Cool, huh?

FOR A CLOSER LOOK, CLICK ON ANY PICTURE.

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Now, I have to think about what shape of journal I want. At this point, I still don’t know and let’s face it, I don’t have a lot of options. So, I’m gonna split the clay in half and make a “shard” shape, as if it were ripped. Get them even enough so the front and back covers somewhat match.  I wanted the words to be engraved into the clay. I took a pencil and went over the letters to indent them. I did this because when I stain the clay, the paint will sit in them.  That’s coming up. I put holes at the top of the covers and now it’s time to bake in my clay dedicated oven.

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While the clay was baking, I had to choose some pages to go inside of the journal. I had some scrapbook paper from years ago that was double-sided. A neutral color to go with the covers. I stamped a clock image and a “remember” rubber stamp over the pages. Now, I had to trace the covers on the paper so I could get the same, sort of, shape. Then punch holes with an awl into the paper to match the holes I put in the clay. I used a distress stamp pad to darken the edges of each page.

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Now, it’s time to “antique” the clay covers. I took brown acrylic paint and with a bristle paint brush (or an old toothbrush), I smooshed the paint onto and into the clay getting into the deep lines.  Let it sit for about 30-45 seconds. Then wipe it off with a damp paper towel until you like the look. After this was dried, I brushed a coat of Liquid Laminate over the front and back covers (cuz, I can’t find my Future Floor Polish… ugh).

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Time to add some color.  I took acrylic paint and started to make the covers look purdy. Going over the parts of the design that are risen.  Turquoise, red, black, orange.  After the paint was dry, I put another coat of Liquid Laminate over the covers again.

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What do I use to bind this funky journal? I tried binder rings, too shiny and clunky. I had some twine and using a dental floss threader, I ran the twine though the holes with the inside pages in between.

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Here is the final journal… you likey???

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Well, thank you, Seth for creating such fun stencil designs.

Before you go off to the next artist, let me tell you about the giveaway…

All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win.  Giveaway will close on Sunday, May 4th at 11:59PM Central Time.

PRIZE:   2 lucky winners, each will get a set of Seth’s new releases.  Seems pretty cool to me.

Before you leave me to go to Leslie’s blog, I want to thank you, as always, for stopping by and supporting my crazy work/life/unbalanced world.  Ok, now you can  go to the next person on the list….  Judy  ♥ 

Judy Shea (U R HERE NOW)

On the StencilGirl Blog Today & a little giveaway

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Hey, I’m over at StencilGirl Talk today showing you how I recycled a crayon box and using Carolyn Dube’s Venetian stencil.

But, wait.. leave a comment here to win one of these cards.  I will be choosing two winners next Tuesday.

Thanks for visiting and leaving your supportive comments.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

 

A Big Fat Weekend with Jane Davies and Great Friends

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(If you’d like to see the Blog Hop with Andrea Matus deMeng, please scroll below this post)

I’m still feeling the art high from this long weekend’s “Big Fat Art” workshop with Jane Davies in Rupert, VT.  Seriously, it was, as I told Jane a few times.. “Jane’s Boot Camp”.  As I say, “chop chop”.  This was my 3rd workshop with Jane. I just love her energy and sense of humor and not to mention her art.. oh my… her art.

First, Thursday started with my good friend, Jessica Sporn’s, visit to my home. She drove from New Jersey to stay with me and that evening, we had dinner with two more wonderful friends, Corrine Gilman and Kay Wallace.  I love being with like-minded women that just “get” you.  No drama. Just respect for each other at where we are in our lives. Life is short.. surround yourself with loving people that care about you. Heres’ what I think… if you don’t “get” me.. you don’t GET me. Makes sense? Think about it.

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Friday morning we drove to VT for our workshop that started in the afternoon.  Now, if you’ve never been to Vermont before, you must visit.  Its beautiful drive, mountains and quaint little towns will have you stopping at each little country store and shops browsing.  However, this weekend, weather wise, was horrible. Rain, wind, fog, cold.  A good weekend to stay indoors making art.

Rupert is a very small town (population of 700’ish). Everyone knows everyone… and get this.. Jane is also the post master of the post office in the town.. or would you call her the “post mistress”. That sounds like a romance novel. You can see the post office HERE and Jane’s post about it. It’s as small as a postage stamp. I kid I kid.

Here is a picture of a barn that I passed in Rupert. I just loved it.  See the face?

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Jane rented houses for us and we split up. 4 in our house. Jessica and I were so fortunate to end up with two fun women, Linda and Adele. Great conversations and many laughs.. especially about my “f***ing” phone.  NO cell service all weekend.  It really goes to show how much we depend on our phones and internet. It was a nice break from all the pings and dings.

Housemates.. from left, Jessica, Judy, Linda and Adele. (ok, so where are friends that are supposed to tell you your hair look bad.. I mean, really.. hullo?)

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There were about 11 women in the workshop. All I can say is nice nice ladies. Really.. every single one of them were just wonderful and kind… and the talent.. well, just amazing talent.  I have to admit, cuz you know I have to.. it was a challenge for me. Totally out of my comfort zone. Working on large surfaces. Lines, paints, stencils, markers, scratch, stamp, textures, little spritz here and a little spritz there. Make your marks, don’t think, cross over to other side. Now do another and start over.  Geez, sounds like line dancing doesn’t it..or playing the game “Twister”.   Jane liked the feeling that I was pushing myself and when it was right before quitting time and my back was killing me.. I just stayed with it and pushed a little harder.  It worked. Here are some pictures of my work:

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Let’s take a look at what the other artists did:

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Check out the fire trucks.  Yes, the workshop was in a fire hall. No fire alarms went off, thank goodness. Such a cool place to make art.

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Jessica – happy art lady. We were at the same table, moaning and groaning while we pushed past our comfort zones.

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Now, let’s talk about food. My favorite subject, besides art.  Two lunches and one dinner were prepared by a caterer. Her name is Ali West from HN Williams Store Deli (check it out).  All the meals were vegetarian. I’m in love. If someone could cook for me like this everyday, I’m sold on skipping the meat.  Lunches were brought into the fire hall’s kitchen and the dinner was hosted at our rental house.  Here’s a shot of Jane, Jessica and myself after dinner.

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Well, what can I say about this weekend in summary? A sense of community, a challenge and lots of fun.  But.. it’s all what our minds need once in a while.. a challenge,  to get out of your comfort zone and push through it.  Jane welcomed that and now I know why.  If you don’t have the “breakdown”, then you’re not pushing hard enough. Did I want to go sit in a corner and suck my thumb?  Ah… ya. But, I ate the goodies in the kitchen instead.

Jessica did a great post about our weekend on her blog HERE.

Jane has a quick recap of BFA on YouTube HERE.

Jane, thank you. I’ll see you again soon.

Again and again, I thank you for stopping by to visit and/or comment. I read each and every reply and I can’t thank you enough for your support.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥ 

StencilGirl and Andrea Matus deMeng = A Great Blog Hop

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  Hey everyone… I’m back again for another Blog Hop.  This time StencilGirl is introducing Andrea Matus deMeng as a new designer and announce her new stencils. Andrea is a fantastic artist and an amazing teacher. I know this because I’ve taken a class from her before and I will again at Art Is You in Stamford this year. Just amazing. Today, I am using Andrea’s face stencil called “Abigail, A Timeless Woman”.  This is the first face stencil I own and let me tell you, I was excited to say the least.

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I had my idea rolling around my mind for a while. Had it all planned out. This will be easy, I told myself.  Can I just tell you….. it was NOT.  Why, you ask? Well, I thought, make a background, which I did.  Stencil the face on the background, which I did. Then make her hair look wild and colorful, which I did.  But it did not go as fast or as smooth as I had planned.  Why am I telling you this?  Well, we can be tough on ourselves as artists and I was on this one, for sure.  I’m being honest and so you know the behind the scenes is not always a breeze.  It’s so true that practice practice practice is very key.  I wanted to take this beautiful face and do it justice.  Did I accomplish that? You tell me. Ok, enough of the whining Judy. Chop chop…let’s get teaching.

I started with large piece of Bristol paper.  Got my paints ready to squirt down and let some magic happen. Spray some water for more movement of the of the paint.  This definitely went through some ugly stages. I said to myself.. “self.. DON’T JUDGE”.  I covered up the purple and pinks; you’d never know they were in there.

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Added bubble wrap stamping.  Then I used some air brush paint and sprayed water. Too much water? Paper towel to the rescue. Dripping color from the top of the page.

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Ok.. not so bad, but there are a lot of layers to get to a happy point. Over an hour has passed. Tick tock, people.

Now, comes the face stencil. Lay it on the background after it has dried. Use cosmetic sponge with black paint through the stencil. I used a beige/buff paint for the face.  Now mind you, to me, I am not a face artist.  Eyes are probably my best, but when it comes to noses and lips… fuhgeddaboudit.  So, this was also a challenge for the skin tone. You know, I didn’t want to make it a big deal here, but once you start, you want it to look good. Okay, so not so bad, right?

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Time for some Portfolio Crayons. My favorite. I started to shade some areas. I used acrylic paint for the eyes, however.  Abby is coming alive.

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Next up, what I’m going to show you is how I made the “headdress”.  First, Light Molding Paste on plastic wrap on a piece of cardboard.  Next time, I’ll use palette paper. In each plop of molding paste, I added acrylic paints. The yellow is a Folkart paint.  Don’t use that. I could really tell the different. Icky. I took pieces of stencils (also from StencilGirl) to make flowers all over her head. I tried to find stencils that had full flowers, but I only had a couple to choose from (no, I don’t have all of them).  One was from Terri Stegmiller, Garden Swirl and the other was Maria McGuire’s Butterlfy Duo. I used a section of the wing for most of the flowers.  I decided to cut apart the butterfly duo for ease of placement (don’t be mad at me.)

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So, back and forth with colors of molding paste, making sure they are looking good… not always easy, especially in a crowded area.  I added some of my “bellishments” of polymer clay that I made.  Added rhinestones to the center of the flowers and slap on my clay butterfly and here she is…. Meet Abby.

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Well, she is not perfect, but she was sure fun to create.   She sort of looks like if Frida and Carmen Miranda came together.  I kid I kid.  I just crack myself up sometimes.

Thank you, Andrea for creating Abigail. I hope I did her justice for you. I think I need more lessons.

Next, it’s time to HOP… join the rest of the Creative Team and see what they did with Andrea’s new stencils.  But, first the giveaway… and a video to get you excited for THE HOP.

Giveaway = Two winners-one will receive a set of the new 6″x 6″ stencils and one will receive a set of the new 9″ x 12″. All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Giveaway will close on Sunday, April 6th at 11:59PM Central Time.

Again and again, I thank you for stopping by and choosing to subscribe to me.
Happy Spring (if it ever gets here).
Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

StencilGirl and Lost Coast Designs Blog Hop – Clay ATCs

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It’s been quite a long few intense months at work here… hence my absence.  It’s calmed down now and I am determined to keep up my blog and do some art for ME an StencilGirl.. and today with Lost Coast Designs, too.

We have a great blog hop today and you’ll be able to visit with all my art friends in a minute. But before I let you go hopping and to an amazing giveaway, I’m gonna go creative on you or should I say “clayative”. Oh, good one, Judy.  Let’s see what we can do with rubber stamps and stencils.

Rubber stamps first.

Today, I are making ATCs+ (Artist Trading Cards)  The “+” means I’ll be putting them on stenciled coasters; so, my version of presenting ATCs a different way.   I’m making them with polymer clay using Lost Coast Designs rubber stamps.  Rubber stamps and clay have a great relationship. I’ve been pushing stamps and textures into clay for years and I never get tired of the result.

I love the look and color of natural/beige clay. It’s very wood-like to me, especially after I stain it. So, I have conditioned some Fimo Soft clay by softening it with my hands then running it through the clay dedicated pasta machine. I have to admit, I was NOT happy with this clay this time.  It just wouldn’t soften up like I wanted it to. But, I managed to get what I needed, and I had to make do with a result I didn’t like.  Friend and great artist, Carolyn Dube, calls them, OOPS – “Outsanding Opportunities Presenting Suddenly”. Indeed it was. Read on.

Let’s start with the rubber stamps the Lost Coast Designs sent me. I chose birds and a face.  I also chose unmounted, because the rubber stamps are more flexible and easily pushed right into the clay.

Spray the clay with a little water after is flattened. I used an acrylic roller. I gave it a sturdy push as I rolled.

(CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP)

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I created a template the size of an ATC (3.5 x 2.5″). Lay it over the bird image and cut around the center with a craft knife. Lay plastic wrap over the ATC and just rub around the edges to smooth it out.  Note: You can use a playing card as a template also.

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I did the same with another bird and the face.  I decided to take my “difficult” clay and let it look uneven, like a shard of some sort. I did this with the face.  Not a true ATC, but hey, my world, right? I took some of my favorite buttons and impressed some texture into the clay around the images. Time to bake.  I used a ceramic tile and baked in a clay dedicated oven.  Follow the package directions for timing.  Let the clay cool and now it’s time to stain and paint.

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Antique/stain:  I took brown acrylic paint and rubbed it into the now cooled clay and then wiped it off with damp cloth or paper towel.  Just look at the images come to life.  Lookie see.

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I painted the first bird with cobalt teal acrylic paint, let dry and the same with the to other bird, but I used red acrylic paint. For the woman’s face I started  to paint her hat and lips. I manipulated the image a little with tools to bring out the eyes and lips a bit.  I mixed the paint with a little glazing medium for a bit of a shine.  Once the paint was dry on the birds, I put a wash of brown paint and water and rubbed it over the words in the bird’s body so they would appear more.

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Once the paint was dry on the ATCs, I gave them a sealer coat of Diamond Glaze.  Let them dry.

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I wanted to give the ATCs a little flair. I opened up my rhinestone tray and give them a little bling. Then I used glitter glue to go around the birds.  I also took a Krylon Paint Pen and went around the edges of the clay.

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Now, onto the stencil part.  I used 3 StencilGirl stencils..  Scales by Jessica Sporn, Circle Rays by Michelle Ward and Mandala by Mary Beth Shaw.

I took 3 beer coasters and gave them a coat of heavy gesso. I painted them with acrylic paint to contrast with the image colors.  You’ll see I used green, but me no likey. I changed to purple later on.

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I stenciled the coasters with each design, using a make up sponge with acrylic paint.  I then put a coat of Collage Pauge to seal it and give it a deeper look. Love this stuff.. no sticking after it dries.

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I used  Posca Paint Marker Pen to add some doodling.  Then I glued the Clay onto the coaster.  Added a few “bellishments” that I made.

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Final results. Click on images for close ups.

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Wasn’t that fun?  Ready for the giveaway???

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Two 9″ x 12″ stencils from StencilGirl and a $25 credit in the Lost Coast Designs store will go to ONE lucky winner!

All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Giveaway will close on Sunday, March 30th @ 11:59PM Central.

Now, it’s time to hop on over to see what Bibiani created.

StencilGirl Talk
LeighSBDesigns
Mary Beth Shaw
Mary Nasser
Cherri Robb
Judy Shea (that’s me… next is Bibiana)
Bibiana Martinez-Ziegler
Linda Kittmer
Carolyn Dube
Leslie B. Turner
Janet Joehlin
Karen McAlpine
Leslie Tucker Jenison
DominoARTblog
Lindsay Weirich
Maria McGuire

I hope you enjoyed the ATCs and this blog hop.

As always, I love hearing from you and let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for your patience and sticking by me as I continue my balance of life, work and art.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

Blog Hop with StencilGirl and Walnut Hollow (Video)

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Hi and welcome to another Blog Hop with StencilGirl.

Today, StencilGirl is collaborating with Walnut Hollow.  You can check out Walnut Hollow’s blog today where they will be joining our hop using StencilGirl stencils.

I decided to do a video showing you what I’ve done with the box that Walnut Hollow sent me and with one of my favorite SG stencils designed by Maria McGuire called simply “Butterfly”.  As you can see from the picture above, it was a perfect design and perfect fit.  Wish that would happen to me in a shoe store. I kid.

Enjoy the video.. it speaks for itself. (taped during last weekend’s snow storm). I had 3 hours of taping before my editing and I got it down to about 15 minutes.  Now I know how Spielberg feels. I kid, again.

I hope you enjoyed that.

If you missed any of the other creatives on this hop, just follow the line up below. Next up is Maria McGuire.

StencilGirl Talk/Judi Kauffman
Walnut Hollow
Mary Beth Shaw
Kirsten Reed
Carolyn Dube
Janet Joehlin
Linda Kittmer
Mary C. Nasser
Julie Snidle
Jessica Sporn
Judy Shea : )
Maria McGuire

Wow.. that was amazing. I need a minute.  Okay.. now for the giveaway…

There will be a giveaway consisting of StencilGirl and Walnut Hollow products. All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Giveaway will close on Sunday, March 2nd at 11:59PM Central Time.

Thank you for stopping by.  I love hearing from you.  I am beyond appreciative of your support.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

In the studio…Playing with StencilGirl stencils

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Seems as though I’m spending more time on Facebook lately than posting on my blog. I realize that many of you do not have a FB page, so I wanted to show a couple of things I’ve been playing with in my studio.  That is, when I have time away from my job. That’s a funny phrase to say out loud, because I don’t seem to have much of that in my life lately.  Ahhh, the woes of a full-time assistant trying to be creative and find time to make art. Remember that balance thing I’m striving for? Well, I continue to reach for it and all I can do is accept what it is and maybe I need to stop trying so hard and let it go.

We move on…

Playing with my Gelli Plate in my journal using stencils.  Lots of sprayed layers with fabric sprays (same ones I used in this post). Checkerboard duct tape on the bottom and some doodles to the sides. Love this depth effect. Stencil by Carolyn Dube.

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Doodling inside traced stencils with a black fine marker. Using Prisma colored pencils and watercolors. Bottom stencil by Michelle Ward.  Inspired by Michael Trent, new Creative Team Member of StencilGirl.

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More stencils using heavy gesso and spray inks. Then playing with colors in Picasa. Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw.

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My favorite.  Playing with stencils in the background and making image transfers on top using old photos of my parents. Stencil by Carolyn Dube.

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Playing around with this photo in Picasa.

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Finally, I leave you with a photo I captured of a Snowy Owl just outside of our town at Plum Island. I had never seen an Owl in my life.  People come from all over to the sanctuary here for bird watching.  Some days it’s like a paparazzi with all the people and the cameras.  And, oh, by the way…. the Eagles have landed. No, seriously, the eagles (the bird, not the band), have migrated to Plum Island. I’m hoping to get some good photos of them; I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Just wanted to keep in touch with my peeps.  I’ll be back soon with another Blog Hop with StencilGirl.

Thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from you.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥  (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

Blog Hop with StencilGirl Designer, Michelle Ward – Abstract Note Cards

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Welcome to another StencilGirl Blog Hop.

I’m always excited to do a blog hop for a few reasons.  One, is, it makes me get in my studio to create and stop working. Two, I get to share the spotlight with other amazing artists that I truly respect… and three.. ok ok.. I guess it was just two. No, I kid I kid. There are others, but you are here to hop and have fun, so let’s do that.

Today, I’m using StencilGirl Designer, Michelle Ward’s new stencil.   I’m using the 6″x6″ stencil called Intersections.  (Side note: I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle this year in Stamford, CT at Art is You and what a wonderful, down to earth person. Hi Michelle!)

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I am using this stencil as a STAMP, not in the traditional way of using it.   I decided to make my own abstract note cards.

Here are the blank cards laid out. Working on all of them at the same time, makes it easier to keep the colors and design consistent. (wow, my table surface is a mess, I think it’s time to make some art out of that too… sorry, sidetracked already).

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I recently got a hold of some Simply Paint fabric sprays.  I am not in love with these for a couple of reasons. The nozzle gets clogged up and you have to stick something sharp in to open it up and if you look at the nozzle while you are poking it, it may release and spray in your face. Can you guess how I know this? Right.  The paint drizzles once you stop spraying, thus leaving drips on your art. Now, you may like this sometimes, but not for delicate and exact purposes.  I will use them up in some journal pages and spraying through stencils onto paper and fabric. It leaves a nice flat finish.

I used the fabric spray to lay down the front area of the cards first.  I first spray blue, then green. For the envelope, I only sprayed the left side edge, so I could leave room for the address.

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Now, it’s time for the “stamping” with the stencil.  I used masking tape to block out any of the stencil I did not want to use. Then with Ranger Distress Paint, using the color “Barn Door”, I dabbed the paint onto the stencil.  Flipped it over and placed in on the card and used a brayer to gently, but firmly roll the paint on the card.  Some areas of the lines are inconsistent, but I like that look.. messy abstract.

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I did the same thing with the edge of the envelopes. Then I took Ranger Distress Paint color “Picket Fence” and dabbed around the edge of a cardboard circle I had. You can also use a bottle cap or toilet paper roll.  I added some white circles to the card. I liked this white pop it gave to the design… and the same with the edge of the envelope.

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Now, of course you know I had to add one of my “Button n’bellishments” to the card, so each one got a small heart.  How cute to send a card to someone on Valentine’s day. I stacked and wrapped them with some twine.  There are my cards ready to be addressed and mailed.

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I’m so happy to be part of the art sister team below. Can’t wait to see what they do.

Judy Shea (yup, that’s me, on to Leslie next)

.. and now for give away info ….

There will be a giveaway on StencilGirl Talk for Michelle’s new stencils. All comments on any of the posts  are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win.
Giveaway will close on Friday, January 31st at 11:59PM Central Time.

As always, thanks for stopping by, for all your support and comments.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

Sito’s Kitchen – Shambooduc

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Happy New Year!  I can’t believe my last post was before the holidays and now it’s 2014. How did that happen?  Such a busy time of the year for me for work, plus the holidays and family stuff.  Well, you know what I’m talkin about, right?

Let’s get right to my cooking channel with my mom.  I’m so blessed to have my mom feel so well and be a great sport doing these videos.   They are tiring for her sometimes and can take all day.  My girls were with me for this video, so I was cracking up a bit.  You’ll see the blooper at the end.

So… it will speak for itself.

 

That’s a wrap!

I’ll be back this week with a new blog hop for StencilGirl Products.

Thanks for stopping by.  I love your comments and all your support.  Means so much to me.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

StencilGirl Blog Hop – Polymer Clay Dress

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Welcome to another Blog Hop with StencilGirl.

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By the way, did you take advantage of StencilGirl’s Cyber Monday shopping deals? Well, I’m just sayin that someone that you know who writes this blog took advantage of it and got herself some early Christmas presents, that’s all.  I am so looking forward to the holiday break where our company shuts down for over a week.  I plan on taking some serious time in my studio to create with my new “toys”.  Wish you could join me.

Ok.. let’s hop to it.

The stencil I’m using this time is by Sue Pelletier’s called “Loose Dress #2″

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I decided to make a cute dress out of polymer clay.  My goal was to create a gift for a “welcome baby girl” or young girl.

I used Premo clay. I wanted pink for a girl, so I made some pink clay mixing white and a little red.  It took quite a while to condition this clay by keeping in warm in my hands and trying to squeeze and smoosh it to keep it warm and soften it. Once it softened up, I let the pasta machine help me to the rest –  set at the largest roller width.  Probably went through about 20 passes before it was soft and pliable.

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It needed to be a little bigger than the dress stencil which is 6″x6″.  Spray the clay with water.  Lay the stencil down on the spritzed clay.  Put them through the pasta machine together, but do not hold them while they run through. The width was one size smaller than the largest setting.

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If you don’t have a pasta machine you can use an acrylic roller or a rolling pin dedicate to clay (not food).  Push down firmly while rolling on a piece of card stock.

Now, take the stencil and clay and lay them down (they should be stuck together).  Gently peel the stencil off of the clay.  Cool, huh?

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With an exacto knife gently cut around the dress form.. I am only taking the dress, not any other shapes outside of the dress form.  Now, you will see that the edges are a bit rough.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it over the edges and gently smooth around the edge of the dress.  Now it’s ready to bake. I put it on a ceramic tile.  Last photo is baked and cooled.

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Tips: Follow the clay package instructions for baking.  I have a clay dedicated oven for baking my clay. If you do not, you can use a lined parchment paper cookie sheet. Lay the clay piece on the parchment paper and tent the clay with aluminum foil.  DO NOT BURN THE CLAY.  Oven vary; make sure your oven is accurate with temperature.

While the dress cooled down, I made tiny buttons to put on the dress.  I took turquoise clay and make tiny balls and pushed each ball into an old button I used for texture. I tried to take a clear picture of the buttons before I baked them, but I could not manage a good close up.  Bake the buttons.  Once cool, glue them onto the dress using your favorite strong glue.  Let buttons dry thoroughly.. I waited overnight.

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Looking good so far, don’t you think.. soooooooo cute. Say it with me.. all together… “AWE”.

Now it’s time to “antique” the dress and make it look old and vintagy.  Yup, that’s a word… now.

Take brown acrylic paint, and begin to smoosh it into the dress, making sure to get it into the crevices. I find my finger is best.  With a damp paper towel, gently wipe off the excess paint.  This may take some time, as you want pating to say in the crevices.   In some of the smaller areas, you can use a cotton swab and alcohol to get the paint off.

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When you get the dress to where you like it, let that dry completely.  Now, it’s time to shine it up.  If you had read my clay tutorials before, I use Future Floor Finish. You could also any clear sealer.  I wanted to add one of my polymer clay hearts to the dress, but which one? After I glued the heart on the dress, I also glued a ribbon to the back as a hanger.

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… .and here you are.. a cute little pink girly dress.   Doesn’t this just look so adorable hanging up?  Imagine it on a little girl’s bedroom door.  You could take a white gel pen and put the child’s name on one of the ruffles of the dress also.  I had thought about blinging the dress up with rhinestones, pearls or glitter glue, but I wanted to keep it simply vintage.  You could do SO much with this.

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Let me know if you give it a try. I’d be happy to help if you get stuck.

Time for a give-a-way –   Music to my ears.  Leave a comment here and on all the blogs in the list below.  All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Giveaway will close on Monday, December 16th at 11:59PM Central Time.

Now off you go…. next on the list from my blog is Corrine.

Healthy and Delicious Vegetable Chicken Chili – Repost

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I thought I would re-post this chili recipe since it’s cold out and we need some warming up… don’t you think?

Enjoy it!

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Today, I decided to make a chili with chunky vegetables and ground chicken.  If you are a vegetarian, you can completely leave out the chicken. It’s just as great without it.

Let’s go….

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chicken
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1/2 of a large onion or 1 small
1 red pepper
about 6 white mushroom caps.
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, plus 1/2 of another
2 cans of beans.  I used one kidney and one black.  Use what you want.  Rinsed and strained.
2 TBLSPN olive oil for pan

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Cut all the veggies the same size; about a 1/2 inch thick.  You want this chili to be chunky and full of love.

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In a large sauce pan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add ground chicken.  Medium high heat; Cook until no longer pink.

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Add all the veggies in the pan and stir and mix it all together.  Cook this on medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until the onion and veggies have all softened.  Can you see the difference in the pictures, above?  CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW.

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Add your can and a half of the tomatoes, stir, then add the beans which have been rinsed in cold water through a strainer.  Incorporate all the beans into the sauce.  I started with one can of beans, but then decided to add another. Why not, right?

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Now, for seasonings:  Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder and ground cumin.  ALL TO YOUR TASTE.  Add more or less of what you like.  I end up with about a tablespoon or more of the chili powder and the garlic. Then add in the cumin as you like.  If you want some heat, then add a little cayenne pepper.. start small. Keep testing the taste to see what it may be missing.  It’s always better to under season, you can always add it.. but don’t over season, you can’t take it out.

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Now, if you can wait, let this simmer gently about 30 minutes.. if you can’t wait… GO FOR IT.. It’s your world.

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Serve this hot with some grated sharp cheddar cheese and some tortilla chips.  I used blue ones .   Just scooping the chili onto some chips with a little melted cheese just makes your mouth so happy.  The corn, crunch, cheese and chili together.. oh my.   I have issues.. I watch too much FoodTV Network. Guy Fieri would be proud.

Notes: Now, this chili is practically fat free.. the only fat in there is from the olive oil.  I also used Sargento Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, but only because that was my choice. I draw the line on completely fat free products, however.. no taste in my opinion.  This recipe will serve about 6 people.  Save the leftovers for another day or mix in some cooked pasta for another meal.  Freeze the rest, if you want.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Stay warm if you are experiencing the cold like us.  This will do the trick.  ENJOY!

Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you. Let me know if you tried this recipe and how it came out.

Judy 

Butternut Squash Soup

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Time for some culinary art.

Any soup fans out there?  Well, this Fall, Panera Bread had a soup on there menu.  I believe it was called Autumn Squash Soup.  Let me tell you.. cuz you know I’m gonna anyway.  This soup was the best I have ever had.  If I could have licked the bowl and not looked like an idiot, I would have.  But, I digress.. I’ve heard it’s off the menu now. Very sad.  But, I’m happy again, cuz I made it myself.  I did some investigating on line and took some advice here and some there.  So, I put this concoction together and I must say, cuz you know I must.  It was fabulous.  Now, would I still play around with the tastes?  I may.  I think I would add a little coconut milk to it next time… cuz you know there will be a next time. The first time I made this, I roasted the squash.  The second time, I steamed it.  Here’s what I did.

Take one whole butternut squash.  Peel and clean and cut it into 2″ squares.  OR, you can get lucky and buy the ones already chopped for you.  So, you can either roast it in the oven or steam.  For this recipe, I steamed.

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In addition, you’ll need:

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (this is where I would substitute Coconut Milk)
1 1/2 Cartons Chicken or Vegetable Broth (this can be varied, you can use less if you want a thicker soup).
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped small
1 apple, peeled and chopped small (you can use whatever you want; I think mine was Gala)
Brown sugar to taste
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
Honey to taste
1 TBSP of healthy oil (olive/canola)

Steam the squash; mine took a good 30 minutes.

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Once the squash has steamed fully, put it aside in the steamer basket.  In that same pot, saute the onion and apple in the oil until tender. Then, add the squash to the pot. Add the broth and the almond milk and let this simmer about 30 minutes.

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Now it’s time to pull out your blender, or if you are one of the lucky ones, your immersion blender (much easier). I don’t have this, I used my old fashioned blender (I seriously got his for a wedding gift almost 30 years ago). Carefully ladle the hot squash mix into the blender, about 2-3 cups at a time and blend until smooth.  Put this in another pot or bowl until you blend the rest.

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Once you have finished blending, transfer it all back in the pot.  Now you can add your brown sugar and cinnamon.  I added a little bit of honey to sweeten it up a little.  This is where you can play with the flavors. Can you smell this? You can Google this recipe and find many variations. It was a lot simpler than I thought it would be.

I hope you try this and enjoy! Thanks for stopping by and for your support.

Judy ♥ ♥

Give-a-way Winner Announced

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Hey everyone.. hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.  Ok, raise your hand if you ate too much?  One, two, three.. ah c’mon, I know there is more of you.  It was great having my two college girls home with us for a few days.  I’m looking forward to Christmas break and just to get away from the office and hopefully into the studio.

Let’s get to this, shall we.

The winner of the Family Tree stencil is:

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Rosie Virok

Congratulations, Rosie!!!!!  Send me your mailing address.  Isn’t this fun?

Thanks for playing, everyone, and for stopping by with your support.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

Found Stencil Give-a-way

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Who wants a stencil?

I was cleaning and organizing my art space (what else is new) and I think I have it where I like it since the big move.

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Well, during this cleaning exercise, I came across a stencil that I had two of (must have got them years ago and I don’t know why I have two).  So, because it’s ThanksGIVING, I’m giving it away.

The stencil is called “Family Tree” and it came from The Crafter’s Workshop. It’s 12×12. Never been used.

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So, if you’d love to win this stencil, please leave a comment here and let me know what you would do with this stencil and how many stencils you hoard own.

I’ll pick a winner a week from today, Monday, December 2nd.

I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  I can’t thank you enough for all your support here.  The wonderful comments I got from my last post just warmed the cockles of my heart.  Ok, what are cockles anyway?

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I read all the comments and appreciate every single one.

Judy   

StencilGirl Blog Hop – Terri Stigmiller

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Welcome to the StencilGirl Blog Hop – Today I am playing with Terri Stigmiller’s stencil called Garden Swirl.

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I just love curvy and soft edge designs.  Flowers, hearts, spirals.  I saw many designs in this one stencil.  Of course, the flowers and spiral shapes.. but I also saw hearts.

I’ve decided to pull out my polymer clay again and target certain spots on the stencil to make thin embellishment to put on cards.  Ready? Let’s go.

Click on any image to enlarge.

I’m working with Premo clay. Running it through the pasta machine as a very thin setting. If you are using a rolling pin, dedicated to clay, the make sure the clay is flattened to about 1/16th of an inch.  You want these to be thin enough to glue on a card and not be too heavy. I’m targeting that corner design that looks like a heart.  I also did the flowers and leaves.

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Take the clay and lay it on the surface, non-stick or paper is preferable, and take the section of the stencil you want and put it on top of the clay.  I am using an acrylic roller here.  Push down so it indents into the clay.  Pull up gently and you have your design imprinted in the clay. Use a dull knife to cut around the shape (think butter knife).  Now, with some plastic wrap, lay it over the shape and smooth your finger around the edges. This softens the edges.  Repeat with another shape.  The next one was a flower.

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Take a button or a rubber stamp and texture the clay flower (spray with water first for release).  I made a small center for the flower.  In the last picture, below, you can see the shapes I pulled from Terri’s stencil.  So much fun.

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Time to bake in my clay oven for the time specified on the package.  These are thin, so they won’t take more than 15 minutes.  Once they are baked and cooled, it’s time to make them purdy.  I took stickles glitter and drew into the creased lines of the heart and leave… or….

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.. here I stained my other pieces with brown acrylic paint.

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Time for a shine.  For the glitter pieces, I used Diamond Glaze.  For the stained pieces, I used my handy dandy Future Floor Wax.  Let dry.  As you can see with the last picture, they are pretty thin and flexible.

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I took two tags and laid them down and made a binding with masking tape.  Think greeting card.  Covered the card on the outside with Ranger tissue paper, gluing with gel medium.  Then I glazed with the Golden’s Patina Green glazing liquid, rubbing it in with a paper towel.

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I wanted to tone down the background.  I took a wash of titan buff acrylic paint and water and gave it a wash.  Then sprayed with Dylusions, front and back.

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I took my Krylon Gold Leafing Pen and went around the edges of the card and doodled all around.

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Glued the clay embellishments on the front of the card.  Inside the card, I glued in torn pages from a children’s book and washed that with titan buff and water to push the words in the background.

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I wrote a message in a thick lettering style – “I  Am Grateful 4 U”.

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And, that’s it folks.  Making your own handmade embellishments for your handmade greeting cards, just adds that special touch.   I just love that you can use stencils in so many ways. Just one little section can create wonderful designs all by themselves.

Give-a-way alert:  All comments left on the ENTIRE hop are eligible to be picked as the winning comment. Giveaway will close on Sunday, November 24th at 11:59 p.m. cst.

Please follow my art friends below. Can’t wait to see what they have all done.

StencilGirl Talk
Terri Stegmiller
Linda Kittmer
Kirsten Reed
Marjie Kemper
Janet Joehlin
Judy Shea  (that’s me, next is Linda)
Linda Cain
Corrine Gilman
Leslie Tucker Jenison
Mary C. Nasser

Thank you so much for stopping by.  You know how I feel about you.  Loving all your comments.

Judy ♥  ♥

Sito’s Kitchen – Making bread with mom

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I’m starting a series of cooking videos with my mom.  Both of my parents are from the Middle East.  Some of you know the story of how my dad went back to the old country to choose (yes, choose) a wife going from door to door.  When he brought my mom back to America, they started a family.  We had a busy household with my mom taking care of all 5 of the kids.  There are so many stories to be told about my parent’s life; especially with my mom coming to the USA, not knowing a word of English.

With all that said, I grew up with Sryian food and watching my mom make amazing food to not only feed the 7 of us in the family, but cousins, aunts and uncles.  Every holiday was at our house.  After I got married, I started to try to make a few of my mom’s recipes, but they never came out good.  Practice makes perfect.   So, as the years went on I kept on cooking and eventually, it all made sense.  Now, needless to say, nothing ever tastes like my mom’s food.  I don’t know what it is.  I guess there is a lot of pinches of love in it.

I thought it would be fun to cook with my mom and share it with you.

In our first premier episode, we are making a bread we call “Cleecha”.  This is compared to a bagel.  I started eating these when I was very young and my mom tells me that I used to eat them with my coffee at 2 years old. Yup.. that’s when I started drinking coffee.   AND.. I still dip them in my coffee after all these years.  The only way, in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from you and appreciate ALL the comments.  I read them all.

Judy ♥♥

Perfectly Imperfect Stamps- Blog Hop with StencilGirl & Foam Board Express

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ALERT:  LOTS OF PICTURES & 2 GIVEAWAYS!!

Welcome to a new blog hop.  This time, the StencilGirl Creative Team is collaborating with Foam Board Express and asked us to show what we can do with StencilGirl stencils and FBXpress foam board.

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After you are done reading my post, I shall release you to the rest of the team members to make you even more “hoppier”. (sorry)

“Perfectly Imperfect”?  What does that mean? Well, you’ll see as you follow my steps and see the pictures.

Note: There are too many pictures, so I am making them smaller, but you can click to enlarge.

I broke a piece of the board off and peeled the first layer of paper off of it.  It left behind another thin layer.  I sprayed with water and rolled the damp paper off to reveal just the foam.

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Using StencilGirl stencils Terry Stegmiller (Layerd Salad)  and Jessica Sporn (Judy’s Trees (that’s me) and Doors & Windows) and Mary Beth Shaw (Mandala).

Update:  During the burning process, I wore a mask, had the window open and ran an air purifier. I don’t think you need to do all three, but the mask is helpful and the window open a bit.

The tool I used was the Creative Versa Tool.  I used a couple of different tips to get the result I needed.   Here is where the “perfectly imperfect” comes in.  It’s pretty impossible to get a perfect cut, but I like them that way.  So, to me they are perfect.  The idea is to burn off the white foam around the design. Not easy, but fun results.

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Only using a section of this stencil.  Can you see the burned foam? You have to move fast or the foam will just melt and you are left with bigger sections.   I used a pen for the mandala stencil.  I also make a couple of free form designs.

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Now what?  I have all these cool imperfectly perfect stamps.  I could stop there, but nope… remember THIS POST, where I took a cardboard pamphlet and made it a piece of art?  I ended up giving as a gift to my lovely friend Corrine Gillman.  Anyway, I had a mailer that was calling to me to use my new stamps on it.  On to my mixed media mailer.

First I gessoed the outside of the mailer. Then I started to paint it with simple craft paints.

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Then I pulled out my Gelli Plate and started to make designs, using the foam stamps and stencils. I put a non-skid rug mat under my Gelli Plate so it won’t move as I brayer it.  Works great!  I also use a piece of the mat as a stamp.

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I used Viva Modeling Cream in gold for some accents with a very old paper stencil.

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I kept stamping (only using acrylic paint) and then did a little collaging and added some lace paper.  Here is the result.

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Wow.. what a trip.  I really hope you enjoyed that; I certainly did.

Thank you to Foam Board Express for letting me experiment with their product.  You can find FBXpress on Facebook and Pinterest.

Now, come with me to follow the other bloggers joining me on this hop.  Let’s see what everyone does with their foam board.

StencilGirl Talk
Mary Beth Shaw
Carolyn Dube
Julie Snidle
Janet Joehlin
Judy Shea (ahem, that’s moi)
Linda Kittmer
Leslie Tucker Jenison
Jessica Sporn
Maria McGuire

…. and now for the give-a-ways.

Number 1:
PRIZE PACKAGE:
 Foam Board Express would like to offer a package of five (5) of its 20-inch by 30-inch flat display foam boards, including one black foam board, one white foam board and three additional foam board sheets in colors chosen by the winner.  Color choices include:  green, red, yellow, dark blue, neon yellow, neon orange and neon pink.

Number 2:
StencilGirl is giving away Mary Beth’s new DVD called: StencilGirl Mixed Media Sampler Journal
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All comments on all blogs are eligible. Combined prize going to one winner.

Well, I don’ t know about you, but I’m exhausted.  That was a jam-packed post and two great prizes to win.

I can’t thank you all enough for supporting and following me.  Your comments mean a lot.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Judy  ♥♥♥

Winners announced – Video

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Ok… here goes.. big surprise… I’m picking 4 winners.. not 2. CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!!!

Watch the video to see who wins.

I’ll be reaching out to you for your mailing addresses.

Thanks for playing, watching and stopping by.  Love hearing from you and all your support… always.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

StencilGirl Blog Hop

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Hey, it’s Judy again with another blog hop using StencilGirl’s stencil designed by Cecilia Swatton.  I’m joined by other snazzy artists, that you can follow below.  I’ll send you hopping in one minute.

Today I am using Cecilia’s “Ferns 6″ stencil.

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This time, I didn’t pull out the polymer clay.  It was my intention.   I had it somewhat planned, but this went another way, that surprised even me.  Imagine that?  Yup… did.  So, I’ll save that plan for another stencil.

My husband made me a very simple, nothing fancy, shelving unit that goes to the back of my art table.  I wanted to have what I use a lot at my fingertips.  I decided it needed a little decor on it.  So I took my fat sharpie and put black stripes on the sides.  Then I took some rubber stamps and stamped in black on the front of the shelves.  To give it some color, I rubbed Distress Ink pad colors over the stamped images.

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Next, I took my favorite color (everyone now)… “COBALT TEAL”. and painted the sides quickly, not really trying to be perfect. After all, who is?  Ok ok.. the big guy up there… you know…. at least that’s what my mom tells me.  Off track.. sorry.

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Now, this is where the stencil comes in.  I wanted to decorate it further.  I decided to stencil it.  Using white acrylic paint and a cosmetic sponge, I pounced the white into the taped on stencil.

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Once the stencil dried, I rubbed a brown glaze paint on it, by Golden.  I wanted to stain it lightly to take away the stark white.

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… and just for fun, I added an old lace place mat that I cut in half to look like a curtain valance.  Cute, huh?

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Thanks for sticking around, but don’t go yet.  I have 7 other fabulous artists joining me in this hop. Check them out below.

Judy Shea  (thanks for being here)
Nope, not yet.. I have to tell you about the giveaway.. StencilGirl will be having a give away and EVERY COMMENT you make on all the blog you hop to are eligible to win.  The more blog’s  you comment on, the more chances to WIN! The giveaway will close on Sunday, October 27th at 11:59PM Central Time.
Ok.. now you can go.
As always, thank you for stopping by and visiting.  I love hearing from you.
Judy ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“Art is You” Giveaways

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Well, I promised two things… One, that I would give away some of my mixed media fabric collage swaps I made from Tyvek Fabric, see post here, AND.. that I would also give away my Loose Woman Stencil canvas that I did at Art is You last weekend in Stamford.  I took a poll on Facebook and asked should I abandon the canvas or give it away.  I’m excited that so many of you wanted it.  It has a lot of great energy in it.

So, the first winner will receive this canvas using the Loose Woman stencil that was designed by Sue Pelletier, one of the designers for StencilGirl.

Here are pictures of it below.. back and front:

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I added some inks and paints to the back and included one of my polymer clay faces I made.

The second winner will receive 5 pieces of my swaps that I made for Art is You.  Here they are, below.

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I’ll be putting this on my Facebook page.  Sharing would be most appreciated.

Here we go… comment away and I’ll pick two winners this coming weekend.

Thanks for stopping by and I love hearing from you and sharing my art.

Judy 

Art is…this

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Exciting… fun.. loud.. singing….quiet….happy.. friendly.. exhausting, but in a good way and all well worth it.

That is how I describe my long weekend at Art is You in Stamford.  My second year attending.

Day 1 for me was a workshop with Albie Smith called Totally Amazing Papers.  Wow.. messy fun and gorgeous results making our own paints with pastes and marking the papers with our own designs.  Thank you, Albie. Check her out .

Here are some of the papers I made.  I hope you get the idea of what you can create.  Not to mention how much cheaper making your own paints are compared to using straight out of the bottle.  Mucho cheaper.

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Days 2 and 3.. we worked so hard.  Our teacher was Andrea Matus DeMeng.  She told us she was going to work us and that she did.  She also promised us that we would walk away with beautiful art.. and that, my friends, we did.

It took me about a week to find images that were copyright free to use in our collages. Whew.. what a task, but now I have enough to last me.  Many of my images came from old country family photos.  See, what I wanted to do on the first day was to create a story of my parents.  Read on.

The first day with Andrea was Mixed Media Mythologies.  I used a cradle board to create a story of my parent’s life.  How my father went back to Syria to find a wife (yup, it’s true).  Chose her going door to door.. (yup, true again).  Anyway.. long and great story.  My focal point was my mom’s photo in her twenties.  I love this picture of her.  Here is a picture of gathering materials for the collage; then how it evolved.

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Day 2 with Andrea was Marquis de Scroll.  Are you kidding me?  Work on a 5 foot piece of canvas?  I’m there. I love these kind of substrates to work on.  The idea of the flexibility of it.  My heart just skips a beat for this kind of art.

My table mate was Marjie Kemper.. we laughed so hard and by the end of the day… well, lets just say frustration arose and a few swears were flying around.  She made me do it… No, Marjie, I kid I kid… and I love ya.

I have one picture of my scroll at the end of the day.  Our roomful of artists gathered around while we took pictures of our work.  Mine is on the left and a shot of some of the others…  look at all of the incredible art.

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Now, you may look at my two art pieces and think they are complete, but they are not. There is much more shading I want to do here and possibly add more texture.. Who me?  More texture?  Ahhh.. ya.

Andrea made it a point to tell us that to create these kind of pieces like this in a day, or in our cases… only 6 hours, is incredible.  So, it’s almost impossible to finish it the way you want.

I am so proud of the art that I did and I learned so much from two amazing teachers. Truly.

I hope you consider going to an art retreat.  I have never been to any other, but I hear this one is the best.  There is so much to write about with Art is You.  We are all there for the same reason.  To learn, to laugh, to play, to gather with our tribes and enjoy each other’s company…it’s a community.  Not a place to judge or be judged.  Sallianne and Ellen have managed to create a place like this that exists at Art is You.

Stay tuned for a couple of giveaways and an upcoming blog hop.  I guess I should unpack my art bag now… ugh.

Thanks for stopping by and love to hear from you.

Judy 

Blog Hop with Mary Nasser’s Map Stencil from StencilGirl

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Well, here I am again..and what a summer it was. I’ve moved to a new home, turned a year older, sent my girls back to college and now I’m ready for some art making… .and what better way to begin again?  By doing a blog hop with StencilGirl designer, Mary Nasser.  Mary just designed 4 new stencils.   I was so excited to participate in this hop with many other artists you can see below, in a minute.  What a fantastic crowd to hop along with.  Thank you, Mary, for asking me to participate.

I chose this stencil:

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A journey came to mind when I saw this stencil… and how perfect for me since I just moved to a new city.  I decided to make a journal with covers out of polymer clay.  A “Journey Journal”.  This measures about 3 1/2 ” x 4 1/2″.

Let’s begin our own journey with this process, shall we?  Hang on tight, grab your favorite comforting beverage and enjoy the ride, cuz it’s a lot of pictures.  Hey, it’s my comeback..  I’m going big.  Chop chop.

I started with, of course, Polymer Clay, in my favorite color, turquoise.  Condition it until is soft and pliable. I used my pasta machine, that is only used for clay (not food).  As a matter of fact, anything you use for clay from your kitchen, should never be used with food again.  Click on pictures for close ups.

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I took the stencil and the clay and ran it through my machine together so the map would impress the clay.

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Cool, huh?  I did this twice for the front and back cover of my journal.

Now, I needed a book template to follow, so I took my trusty coasters.. the ones I collect from restaurants and made sure the clay was as big as the coaster.  Now, these are my covers.

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Next up…making the pages to go inside.  I used Bristol paper and traced the coaster onto the paper and cut out about 8 pages.

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I stacked the pages together, but had to make them a bit smaller than the covers.  So, I scraped the sides with scissors and roughed them up… you can see the edges below (a “Distrezz it All” tool would be perfect for this).  Then I had to make the holes for the binding.  I took my awl and poked 3 holes on the top side using the coasters as a guide.  In the meantime, I baked my covers in my clay dedicated oven. Let cool once done.

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Once i had all the pages aligned, I clamped them together.  The used my big puncher (god, what is that called), to punch the holes in the clay covers.

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With me so far?  This is not even the fun part.  Stay with me now.

Once the clay covers had their holes and lined up with the pages, it was time to antique them.  What is “antiquing”?  Well, it’s taking brown acrylic paint and pushing into the grooves of the textured clay.  Then you wipe it off and leave the paint to sit in the textured valley’s, if you will.  So, it looks old and vintagey.

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Now, once you get the paint to where you want it, then let it dry.  Time to make it shine.  I used “Future” floor polish. I know, right?  Just brush on one coat with a soft flat paint brush, let dry.

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Nope, not done yet…more fun coming your way.

It’s time to make those covers come to life.  First, I glued one page to the front and back cover.  I made a bunch of my  “button n’bellishements”, cuz I needed more… especially hearts…. then added a few metal charms.  I used glitter glue to highlight a couple of the highways and I even cut out the route sign shape from Mary’s map and made a clay piece from that.  I also took a text rubber stamp and stamped onto the covers.  I used Elmer’s Squeeze Caulk to adhere the paper down and Helmar Glue for any embellishments.. I just love that glue.

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ABOVE:  With a small alphabet stamp set and with white acrylic paint, I stamped the word “journey” on the cover over a black acrylic edge.  Let me say that this journal went through many transitions.  I had ugly moments, or as my friend, Carolyn Dube says.. an “OOPS”!  Oh yes.. many of those.

I had a piece of suede leather rope to tie the book together, but then I thought it needed a solid binding edge to grab onto.  I made this twisted piece of clay,.. baked and antiqued it.  Then tied 3 separate pieces of the suede through each hole.

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That’s it, my friends.  I really hope you enjoyed this “journey” with me.

Now, it’s time to go visit the other blog artists to see what they did with Mary’s stencils.  I can’t contain myself.  I’ll meet you there.

StencilGirl Talk
Mary C. Nasser
Mary Beth Shaw
Jessica Sporn
Janet Joehlin
Heather Haymart
Judy Shea  (that’s meeeeeeeee)
Pam Carriker
Nancy Wethington
Talk2TheTrees
Corrine Gilman
Rose Wilde
Nancy Curry
Kristen Powers
Carolyn Dube
Maria McGuire

AND.. that’s not all… screeeeech…. halt……  There will be a give away for this hop.  Yup, it’s true.

Mary and StencilGirl will be giving away a set of four of her new map stencils.   ALL the comments on each blog, above, will be eligible for the drawing.   Just leave a comment by 11:59PM Central Time on October 4th.  The more blogs you comment on in the blog hop, the more chances you have of winning!

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from you and appreciate your comments.

Judy ♥ ♥ ♥

Vegetable & Turkey Chili

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I’m just loving this cool, yet gorgeous sunny day we have today.

A little culinary art, if I may.

I’m copying a post from a while back, but I thought I’d share again since this time I used ground turkey and added sweet potato. Oh my.

Here goes……

For those that follow me, you know I try to make my recipes fast and simple.  With my full-time job, who’s got time for long drawn out preparations? I don’t.  Here’s one you’ll hopefully love.

Today, I decided to make a chili with chunky vegetables and ground chicken/turkey.  If you are a vegetarian, you can completely leave out the chicken. It’s just as great without it.

Let’s go….

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chicken or turkey
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1/2 of a large onion or 1 small
1 red pepper
2 med. stalks celery
1 large sweet potato, about 1/2″ cubed.
1 cup of white mushrooms
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, plus 1/2 of another
2 cans of beans.  I used one kidney and one black.  Use what you want.  Rinsed and strained.
2 TBLSPN olive oil for pan

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Cut all the veggies the same size; about a 1/2 inch thick.  You want this chili to be chunky and full of love.

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In a large sauce pan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add ground chicken.  Medium high heat; Cook until no longer pink.

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Add all the veggies in the pan and stir and mix it all together.  Cook this on medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until the onion and veggies have all softened.  Can you see the difference in the pictures, above?  CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW.

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Add your can and a half of the tomatoes, stir, then add the beans which have been rinsed in cold water through a strainer.  Incorporate all the beans into the sauce.  I started with one can of beans, but then decided to add another. Why not, right?

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Now, for seasonings:  Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder and ground cumin.  ALL TO YOUR TASTE.  Add more or less of what you like.  I end up with about a tablespoon or more of the chili powder and the garlic. Then add in the cumin as you like.  If you want some heat, then add a little cayenne pepper.. start small. Keep testing the taste to see what it may be missing.  It’s always better to under season, you can always add it.. but don’t over season, you can’t take it out.

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Now, if you can wait, let this simmer gently about 30 minutes.. if you can’t wait… GO FOR IT.. It’s your world.

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Serve this hot with some grated sharp cheddar cheese and some tortilla chips.  I used blue ones .   Just scooping the chili onto some chips with a little melted cheese just makes your mouth so happy.  The corn, crunch, cheese and chili together.. oh my.  I nice loaf of Italian bread is a great choice also… or both.  I have issues.. I watch too much FoodTV Network. Guy Fieri would be proud.

Notes: Now, this chili is practically fat free.. the only fat in there is from the olive oil.  I also used Sargento Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, but only because that was my choice. I draw the line on completely fat free products, however.. no taste in my opinion.  This recipe will serve about 6 people.  Save the leftovers for another day or mix in some cooked pasta for another meal.  Freeze the rest, if you want.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you. Let me know if you tried this recipe and how it came out.

Judy 

Coming up for air.. finally.

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Breathing now and glad to be back.

Well, most of you that follow me know that I have been absent because I just moved.  Yes, moved and settling now.  I guess you could say I’m building a new nest.   I know my limits.  So, commitments to my art and projects had to take a back seat for a few months.  Thanks to those who understood what my priorities had to be and not over-commit myself.  It gave me the breathing space I needed to complete my moving process.

Ok… Can we talk?   If you ever decide to move, months and months before you do so.. you must purge.  As a matter of fact, purge your junk and donate now as if you were moving in one month.  There are many many companies that will now come to your home and pick up your donations.   Especially, if you are like me, moving from a big home to a half the size condo?  A challenge, indeed, my friends, a challenge, indeed.  Well, I’ll just say, we did A LOT of donating.   I swear I filled up my SUV about 10 times.  I gave some clothes away to friends and family and even some of my home decor.  However, it was time to downsize and get away from the big house, big yard, big this, big that.  23 years is enough, I’d say.

So, fast forward to now… we are settling into our new home, adjusting to a bit of city life (coming from the country) and my studio is about 95% complete.  It’s complete enough for me to start creating again.  It’s been quite a journey not being able to have a studio with all my supplies packed up for months.  I feel like I may be a bit rusty, but I’m up for a new challenge.   Where the heck do I begin?  What should I create first?  Hey, how much harder can it get?  If you can survive months and waves of stress and emotion and not kill your husband in the process, you can do anything, right?  Give me a “hell ya”.

Thank you all for not giving up on me, being patient during my absence and now…. stay tuned for more blog posts, some blog hops and giveaways.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Cape Cod Journal Pages and What’s Up

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Hi Friends… I know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted any art.

Here is a quick run down of my life right now… I’m moving. We’ve been in our big house in the woods for 23 years and it’s time to move on. We are downsizing to a condo.  They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you can go through, next to divorce and death… it’s TRUE.   It’s been so emotional.. up and down.  I admit, I’m not good at taking care of MYSELF while I’m focused on other things.  Not good at all.

So, here I am juggling my full-time job and trying to get the house ready to be taken by another family, while we are preparing our condo for our new lives.  Talk about up and down emotions… and can you say “PURGE”?  Say it with me  – PURGE – and commit to doing that even if you are not moving. If I have learned anything from this, it’s to not keep things around that you don’t need or use.   We’ve donated SO much; what a great feeling.  I believe in paying it forward. Give to the ones that need it more than me.  I have not bought any art supplies for over a year now.  I think I have some making up to do, don’t you think?

And.. focus..who can focus on anything else.  Even my cooking has been put on the back burner.. ha pun intended.  How do you not cook a lot and stay healthy?  Lot’s of salads and fruit.  Some things have got to give and, unfortunately, one is my art.  I’ve had to put that on the back burner for a little bit until we get settled in our new place and my art studio is set up. Try to get back to a normal life again.  My art sisters have been most supportive of me as I sit a bit more quiet in the art world.. but don’t you fret my pets.. I’ll be back soon.. very soon.  OK.. got that off my chest.. thanks for listening.

I was able to do a little art; read on.

Before I left on vacation last week, I grabbed a small art bag.  My supplies are put away until we move, so I had to accept what was in my bag.  I was able to take one day to play in a few pages.  It felt so good.  Yay for me.

So, the limited supplies I had were a journal, Koi watercolor paints, a few acrylic paints, one rubber stamp, small jar a gel medium and paint brushes (my one regret is I didn’t grab a stencil.. a StencilGirl stencil that is).

I had no idea what I wanted to do so I just dragged some paint down on a page from the top… I used a cardboard coffee cup holder I found. Improvise, Judy.

First, let me apologize for an blurry photos.. I was using my cell phone to capture the steps.

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I put more acrylic paint on top of the dragged paint and put some plastic wrap over, then pulled it off to give it texture.

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Then I “drew” a big face on the page, but I did not like.. so I went over that with some yarn labels my mom gave me,  then went over that with red paint.  Again.. no plans.. just feeling free with creativity.

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On the teal page, I love to make red marks with an edge of a card, in this case the coffee cup holder.

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Used the inside of a take out box for a palette for my paint; it was lined with plastic. Again.. what I had.  Then I had a water bottle cap and used it to make circles.  Used black paint and my one rubber stamp to make more markings.

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As some of you know, I’ve used paper towels in the past in my art and we had them so I used them again.  Why not. I let them sit in the wet water color palette and smooshed it up to make some nice colors.

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I took the paper towel and ripped in long strips and rolled them with gel medium in my finger to make stems for flowers.

I took clean paper towels and made more strips to roll with gel medium to keep them together and make spirals for the flowers. (sorry no pics on that).  I then painted the “flowers” with red paint.

I went outside and found a small branch with leaves and used those leaves for the leaves of my paper towel flowers. I adhered them with gel medium.  Then I took white a paint and made petals around the flowers.

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and there you go.. one side of the journal….

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.. the other side (I found a couple of magazine photos to use on this page.. buddah and sunflower).

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Well, that my first day in months of doing art.  It was definitely art therapy to get away from the house for a few days.

Thanks for hanging in with me as I go through this chapter in my life.  What would I do without you?

Judy ♥ 

StencilGirl Talk

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StencilGirl Talk

Can we talk?  I mean StencilGirl Talk.  There’s a lot of buzzing going on and it’s finally here.. the new StencilGirl Talk blog.

The excitement is just building to begin the new journey with Mary Beth Shaw’s company and a new Design Team, which I am honored to be part of.

So, go to FACEBOOK and “like” their page.

There is lots of fun coming up with give-a-ways and announcements.

Be back soon.

Judy 

Who? Me? StencilGirl Creative Team? Yup.

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Hey everyone.. well, I finally get to share some great news with you.  I thought I was going to explode keeping it in.

If you are familiar with the image above, you know about StencilGirl, a stencil company created by Mary Beth Shaw.

I’ve been asked to join the StencilGirl Creative Team.  Yes.. you heard it right.  I’m so excited and honored to be part of an amazing group of artists.  I’ve used several of SG stencils in previous blog posts and I can’t wait to use more.

Stay tuned for more details with announcements and some fun surprises.

Thanks for staying on this journey with me.  Now.. if I could only find my stencils packed away for moving.  No, I kid I kid. I got this.

Judy 

Stuffed Grape Leaves… Sito’s Way

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Hey everyone… it’s June and you know what that means?  No?  Okay, well is grape leave picking time.  I thought I would re-post how to make stuffed grape leaves.. the way my mom taught me.

Let me know if you give it a try or if you have any questions about it.  Most of all enjoy!!!

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Today, I’m excited to share with you a childhood recipe that is loved by the whole family to this day.  Stuffed Grapes Leaves.

First, let me say this recipe has never left our family.. eva.  My mom, Sito (grandmother in Syrian), has made this for us since we were little wee ones.  I think I had a few too many myself, but these are truly my favorite Syrian food.  With four daughters and one son, at least two of the daughters have made them.  It’s such a great recipe to carry down the family tree.

There are a coulple of ways (that I know of) the leaves can be stuffed.  Some cultures use lamb, some beef.   We use beef.  Mind you, this recipe has never be written down by mom, it’s all from memory.  My oldest sister, Joan, was able to capture many of Sito’s recipes for us and gave us our own Syrian recipe book.  Love her for that.  Oh, and my mom is still alive and makes these for family gatherings. She’s 86.  Yubbo!

Ok, ok.. I’ll stop chatting and get to it.  Here’s what you need:

1 -lb hamburg
1- cup long grain rice (uncooked)
1- 6 oz. can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice (or more for tartness)
3 1/2 cups of water
5-6 whole garlic cloves – OR whatever you like.. some people like more garlic than others
and of course… grape leaves.

Now, let’s talk about the leaves for a minute.   You can certainly buy a jar of prepared leaves at the grocery store. .. but we have never done that.  After all, grapes leaves are all over the place to pick from the side of road or maybe a neighbor’s back yard (thanks, Diane; check out her delicious blog and fun adventures).  The best time to pick them is in June, here in Massachusetts.

So, let’s say you want to be an ethnic diva and prepare your own leaves.  Great.  I’m proud of you.

Pick, say, 50 leaves; that’s a good number, I think. Bring them home and lay them out on a counter or table.  Snip off the stem and begin to put them in piles from largest to smallest.  Put about 10 leaves in one pile.. you’ll have 5 piles of leaves.  Make sure there are no icky bugs, spiders or dirt on them.  You want nice healthy looking leaves.   Now, go grab some string, yes, I said string.  You know the kind you sew with.  Roll up each pile of leaves into a jelly role like shape and wrap the string around them. You are winding the string around the roll about 8-10 times.. just get them secure enough that they don’t unravel.   Fill a pot with water and bring to boil.  Once boiling, put the rolled leaves in the pan and boil for about 1 minute.  You’ll see the leaves go from bright green to a darker shade.  Make sure you roll them around so it’s fully boiled.  Take out and drain and cool.

At this point, you can begin the stuffing, but you can also freeze these in freezer bags as they are (all rolled, boiled and cooled).  Then when you want to use them for a meal, just defrost ahead of time (I’ve had leaves in my freezer for over a year).  But, for this purpose, once they are cooled, unravel or snip the string and lay them flat, ready to be stuffed.

Let’s put the meat stuffing together.

Mix the hamburg, raw rice, tomato paste, allspice, salt, pepper all together in a bowl.  Mmmm the smell of the allspice and tomato paste… oh my.  Get in there with your hands and mix.  Ahh, now that feels good or as my girls would say.. “ew”.   Now, I know this may sound gross, but take a little of the stuffing and just taste it.. you don’t eat it, but take a little and put it on your tongue.  You don’t want it to be bland. If you like the balance, you’re golden.

Next….get your station prepared… on the table.. stuffing on one side leaves on the other.  Take one leave at a time, lay it vein side up and put a log shape of meat in the bottom center of the leave; stem side towards you.

 

Watch how it’s rolled… sides in first, the roll up from the bottom.

 

Ok..there’s ONE.  Now do the rest.  Make sure they are rolled nice and tight. You don’t want them unraveling when they are being cooked.  Great job… they are ready to cook.  I’m excited!

 

Get a pan.  Now, you want to protect the bottom layer of grape leaves as they cook.  We use broken dishes.  No, you don’t have to break your dishes.  You can use a good dish if it fits in the bottom of the pan OR line it with aluminum foil.  Again, the idea is to not burn the bottom layer.  One at a time, start to layer the rolled leaves evenly.

 

Once you layer all the leaves in the pan, you must prepare the liquid it will simmer in.

Take 3 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice and mix together in measuring cup.  Some people like more tartness, if you are one of those, then use more lemon.  Taste it and see if you like the balance.
Cut your peeled garlic cloves in half.  Pour the water/lemon mixture gently over the leaves, until they almost cover the top layer.. you don’t want the top layer submerged.  If you don’t need all the water and it’s at the right level, then STOP pouring.  If you need more water, then make a little more of the liquid.

 

Take the garlic and spread all over the top of the leaves.  I used granulated garlic that I mixed in with the water/lemon.  But, just picture a lot of garlic on top.

To finalize this lovely presentation, you need to set something on top.. Yes, more broken dishes or even a small plate.  The idea here is to put a bit of pressure on top so the leaves aren’t moving around from the simmering.  Sito uses her pressure cooker that she has down to a science.  That woman!

Cover the pan with a lid and let come to a simmer..you can get it to start boiling, then bring it down to low. You want to hear a simmer.. little bubbling sound, but NOT BOILING… nooooooooooo.

Let this simmer for about a hour.  I say “about”, because stoves vary. Some use gas, some have electric.  Mine took about 50 minutes and I had about 70 leaves.  Check them after 45 minutes.. test one. If the rice is soft and cooked, they’re done.   The liquid will evaporate; no need to pour any excess out.. there will very little.  GENTLY take each one out of the pan and present for eating.

 

More ideas:  This meat stuffing can be used to stuff cabbage rolls, tomatoes, summer squash or even red peppers.  Green ones too, but I’m not a fan of the green ones.  You use the exact same set up with the pan and the water/lemon/garlic.

Pair these up with a nice big salad, fresh bread and what a meal.

Please let me know if you have any questions on this delicious dish and if you make them, send me a comment; I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Judy 

“Bubble Time” – Feels so good……….

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.. to be hitting the art page again.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!!  Ready for the beach, sun, surf, swimming?  After all, it’s is coming on summer, right?  NOT THIS YEAR.  It’s damn cold here in Mass.  We had rain here all day yesterday.. but, psst.. come closer… I secretly love the rain and a dreary day.  I took advantage of it and after cleaning the house and after dinner, I went into the garage and pulled out my “sit down” art bag , made a cup of tea and sat in my comfy chair and prepared to go into my “art bubble”.  Yup, that’s what I call it… my “art bubble”.  I’ve always told my daughters when they were young.. “everyone needs their bubble time”.  Time away with yourself, some peace time, doing what you want and no one can bother you… a refresher, from the crazy days.. all the talk.. all the busy-ness in your life.

As a mom, it’s hard to find “bubble time”. I remember when the kids were really little, all I wanted was to go to the bathroom in peace.  Can I just have a little time to myself?  Nope, here comes my 5-year-old, Megan.. “mom, whatchya doing?”  Then comes my 2-year-old, Rachel … calling “Megaaaan, Megaaaan”  She found her.  “what you doin in heeya?”  Then the dog comes in and hubbie shows up eventually, saying “what’s everyone doing in here?”   Um, hullo.. why don’t you all just invite the neighbors!!!    Well, the girls are 22 and 19 now, so thankfully those days have been over for about 3 years.  No, I kid I kid.  But, I have to admit, my dog pushes her nose and opens the bathroom door now, as if to say “is it safe to come in”.  NO……..go away!!!!  God, no wonder I have irritable bowel syndrome.. sorry TMI.

So, off in my art bubble I went. And I tell you, it was so nice after being away from it for a couple of months or more.

What was the first thing I did? I pulled out my Moleskine watercolor pad, pencil and Koi watercolor set and played with drawing eyes, faces and doodling.  I never get sick of drawing eyes and other facial features, because I keep thinking… this will be the perfect eye, the perfect mouth, the perfect nose.  Nope, not gonna happen.  As my cousin, Wayne (great artist-read my post about him here), tells me.. “you gotta draw to draw, Judy”.  That IS true.

I went onto YouTube and found tutes on drawing eyes/faces.  Check them out.  What was nice about that, was I could pause the video when I wanted and took my time to try to get the hang of what the artist was doing.

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Not too bad, huh?   I really like the left one.  Just goes to show if you take your time with the details, you can achieve a pretty realistic eye.  I really need to work on noses and mouths.

Here are some others I’ve done in the past.. they are so so. But practice makes you better. .. and shading… shading changes everything.  I couldn’t do this 5 years ago.

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Then, I doodled some goofy pods and flowers then used watercolors to give it a boost.  So meditative.

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As some of you know, I am moving and we are selling our home.  I’m excited for the next chapter in our lives.  Get away from all the big house responsibilities, downsize and enjoy a simpler life in a coastal town.  But, if I can anyone who is thinking of moving soon or in the next few years ahead of you… PURGE NOW, as if you were going to move next month. Seriously, do a little at a time and continue to get rid of things you have not used in years. Sell, donate, throw away. There, that’s my 5 cents worth.

I’ll keep trying to get some creativity in my life to share with you.. and some summer recipes too.

Thanks for stopping by.  Love hearing from you.

Judy 

Re-post – Grilled Chicken Under a Brick..or a patio tile…. the best!

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Since is grilling time, and I’m a bit limited with art supplies right now, I thought I would re-post one of my favorite summer grilled chicken recipes.  Try and enjoy!

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Close your eyes and wish for the most delicious chicken you’ve ever had.   Look at that.. it came true, cuz that’s what I’m gonna give you.

I wish that you could have been sitting with us to enjoy this delishuuuuus chicken I grilled.. a whole chicken.. that’s right.  Some of you may have heard about the “chicken under a brick” recipe.  I’ve made it before on my stove top, then in the oven…..but this time I decided to try my grill.  It did not dissapoint. The most moist and tender chicken I’ve ever had.  No kidding!

Start with a whole chicken.  Mine was about 3.5 lbs.  Set the chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut down 1 side of the backbone, staying as close to the bone as you can. Cut along the other side of the backbone, removing it. (Save the bone for making soup or stock.)  Now, open the chicken and take the heels of your hands and try to flatten and spread it out.

I seasoned it with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and gave it a little massage, all over….  and really, you can use what ever spices you want for your taste.  It’s your world.

In the meantime, while I was attacking my chicken, I had the grill heating up on LOW.. this is key.  I let the grates get really hot.

Here we go…. before you put the chicken on the grill, find yourself a big brick, or two, if you have a bigger chicken.  I was fortunate to have a large patio tile that my husband found for me.  Now, wrap this brick with aluminum foil and give it a coating of oil or I used Pam.  Take the chicken and lay it out in the center of the grill, put the brick on top so it flattens while cooking and close the cover.   Again.. a low temp is key here.  Otherwise, you will get a charred chicken and it will not be cooked through.  Each side took about 1/2 hr to cook and I would turn it the last 1/2 hr.

Tips:
– At the point where I really wanted the chicken to takes its time cooking and not be overwhelmed with the strong heat and not get burned, I put my grill brush at the edge of the grates so when I close  the cover, it would not close completely.
– Before it’s done grilling, you can baste it with your favorite bbq sauce or marinade.
– When know one is looking, you can eat the skin and wings.  (I know, I know; don’t tell my husband)
Here are a bunch of images from Google that you can reference.

C’mon people.. you can’t tell me that this doesn’t look oh so good.  You can’t and I won’t listen (finger in ears… la la la).

Will you try it?  Is your mouth watering?

As always, THANK YOU for stopping by.  Leave some love.

Judy

Stencil Test Drive – Cascading Leaves & Winner of 3rd Journal

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Well, hello again. We have an amazing week of weather here.  I’m taking advantage of it a little (ok, a lot) by doing some garage door painting outside and even doing a little art in my garage, where all my art supplies sit.  Well, that’s a lie, really… I’m looking at my art supplies and apologizing to them for not giving them any attention.  Must be Catholic guilt.

This week, another stencil by Jessica Sporn is being tested.  Offered by Stencil Girl Products.  I’m joined by other great artists (links below) to test out the “cascading leaves”.  Stay with me here.

So, I’m trying to figure what I want to do with the stencil.  My art supplies are way back “there” in the garage.. so what can I get to and make this simple?  I was cleaning windows and I noticed that my paper towels had a very cool, and somewhat similar design to the stencil I was testing.  Crazy, right?  or serendipity?  I love the texture of paper towels in my art.

Here’s my garage with my supplies and stuff  Now, look at all that?  That’s what I’m keeping.  Am I crazy?  Ok Ok.. Let’s not go there again.

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(Oh, and p.s. if you are local, I will be selling some arts and crafts along with couches, chairs, kitchen table, bookcases… send me an email if you are interested.)

Sorry….back to art…here is the paper towel..

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I grabbed my bag of lace and paper stuff, a bottle of red paint, portfolio crayons, Collage Pauge and a paint brush… oh yes and a journal book.

Started by taking a teal crayon (what? where you expecting a different color?)  and rubbed it all over the towel, then I rubbed it with a damp paper towel to blend it a bit.  Then, I drew in each stencil leave openings with a black crayon.  Smooshed around a little.  Did it randomly. Glue it down on journal page.

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Now, what.. oh yes.. pack another box to bring downstairs.. move some furniture around.. my dog (Dixie) needs to tinkle.. make travel arrangements for my executive… ok, back to arting on my kitchen table.  Move my dinner plate over to the side and collage a little more.. and don’t get any medium in your chicken. Wait, that might explain something.  No, I kid I kid.

What did I have in my bag that I grabbed?  C’mon Judy, get creative here.  What can I do with only a few supplies?  Ugh… a challenge.  Or as “Inspector Clouseau” would say  “a shallaaaaange”.

I really had a hard time with this one because I have so much more on my mind other than art.  I felt the deadline approaching, but was committed to the stencil drive.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m worrying about something, I have a hard time focusing on other things.  So, I had a talk with myself and said “self… what is your problem.. art should be good for stress.. get your act together, will ya.. chop chop”?  I had to be a little tough on myself.. geesh.  Can anyone relate??

In processs…

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Final…

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I will be honest here.. I am not in love with the collage; I’ve done better, in my opinion… but I am in love with Jessica’s stencil.  I can’t wait to use it again and again.

So, go check out the other Stencil Drive artists and see what they did with the stencil.

Jessica Sporn
Nathalie Kalbach
Michelle Rydell
Roben-Marie Smith 

Thank you, Jessica, for inviting me on this stencil journey with you and so many other amazing artists. I’m honored.

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WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

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NOW………for the winner of my long, skinny journal….. Congratulations Gloria Zucaro!!!  Yay!!!!  I’ll contact you via email to get your address.

Happy Spring!!!  And thank you for your patience while I get through this massive purge/move. Don’t give up on me.  I”ll keep up my art and post as much as I can.  Your support means the world to me.   I’ll also be on Facebook if you want to follow me.

Judy 

Nother Journal Winner, Nother Give-a-way!!!

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The 2nd journal give-a-way winner is…………………..

Kay Wallace

Congratulations, Kay!!!!!!!!!!

Send me your mailing address and I’ll get it right out to you.

Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!!!

Next up to #3…. is my long skinny journal.  About 9×3. So cute.  Covers are loved with inky stamped and stenciled paper towels and fun embellishments with a lace edge.  Click for close up.

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Quick update:  Studio is clean.. newly painted walls.. all my supplies are in the garage.  In the meantime, now that I’m not creating a lot of art (because of this possible uprooting.. wait, did she say “uproot”.. yes I did.  More later), at least I can give some away… it’s a win win situation.. you win art.. I clean out my studio. Pay it forward; it’s how I roll.

Thanks for playing along and stopping by…. This is fun!!!

Leave me a comment.. I”ll pick a winner next week.

Judy ♥

Winner of Journal Give-a-way!!!!

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Random Generator chose a winner for my journal give-a-way….   And the winner is……………

Kathy Abraham….. congratulations!!!!   send me your address at judysheart@gmail.com and I’ll get it right out to you.. and of course I have some other goodies to add to it.  How excited are you?

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Ok.. ready for the next give away?   It’s this handmade journal.  Here is how I made it.  But below, is how it came out in the end.  With handmade polymer clay “button n’bellishments” and the paper beads on the edge.

1, 2, 3 go………..

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Thanks for stopping by and please pray for Boston that they catch the 2nd bomber brother. PLEASE CATCH HIM!!!!!

Judy 

Cleaning & Give-a-way #1

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Spring is tickling us here in New England. Let’s hope this nice weather sticks around now.

Speaking of Spring, let’s talk about Spring cleaning, shall we?  Specifically, my art studio. I said to myself.. “self, you are gonna get this studio into shape and you’re gonna purge your heart out”.  So, I began the process last weekend.  Put on my Bruno Mars CD and got to work.  Where do I begin? It was so overwhelming, to say the least.  Really, I’m being honest.  Why do I have so much stuff?  Why did I have a plastic elephant and an old tampon box.. why I ask you… why? That’s it, no more incoming supplies or junk will enter my studio. I have vowed to buy NO MORE ART SUPPLIES unless Jeffrey Dean Morgan tells me to.  I kid I kid.

And.. magazines and books?  Fuhgeddaboudit!  Too many that have been collected.  Well, time to donate and throw away.  I filled up my car and brought a load down to our local recycle station.  What a good feeling.  But, hey, I’m not even done.  I have more to go through. I’m sick.  I admit it. There I said it. I feel better now.  C’mon who’s with me here? Feel the same way?

I am ripping down the wallpaper (ahem.. clear throat here), I should say my husband is taking down the paper and we’ll paint the room (I hate painting).  C’mon, Judy snap out of it.. chop chop.

Another reason I”m doing this is …. we may be selling the house.  We’ve been thinking about it for the past several years.  So, this is what we need to do. Prepare.  They say that selling a house is one of the most stressful things you can do… right up there next to divorce.  Well, I say if I can get through this process without clobbering hubbie on the noggin, I don’t have to worry about the latter.

Why am I sharing my boring story with you?  Well, there is a reason.  As I go through some of my art projects and supplies, I realized what better way to share a piece of me than by giving it away.

Sooooooooooo, what that being said.. I’m having a GIVE-A-WAY!

My first give-a-way will be this journal I made with Jessica Sporn’s Starry Night stencil with Stencil Girl Products.

You can see how I made the journal here.

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So, you ready?  Leave a comment here and like this post on Facebook; and I’ll select a winner by Friday, April 19th.

I’ll do a few of these give a ways as the weeks go on.  They’ll either be art supplies, ephemera or smaller fun works of mine.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  If you have any suggestions for organizing, please let me know. I would love to hear about what you’ve done.

Judy 

Angel in the Window Coaster Collage – Stencil Test Drive

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My dear friend, Jessica Sporn, did a post on her blog this week about angels.  I was inspired.  So, when she asked me to test drive her new stencil from Stencil Girl Products called Windows & Doors, I said to myself, “self, you need to do something with an angel”…. and so I did.

As most of you who follow me know,  I love to collect coasters from restaurants.  Sometimes, our server is nice enough to give me a stash of them.. .but I do ask beg them nicely.  I love working small sometimes.  It’s just such a nice little piece of art.  The coaster surface is really great; it absorbs wonderfully and has the right thickness.

First, let me show you the stencil I”ll be working with… I’m going to use the top right church window. Seems appropriate for an angel, don’t you think?  Jessica really created a beautiful stencil here.

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I picked out a 4″x4″ rounded corner coaster and started to apply gesso.   Let dry. Then I applied some random colors and smooshed with my fingers.

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I pulled off some of the paint with another piece of paper.. this tip came from Jane Davies; simple and effective.  Then used a brayer to blend the colors.

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When I started to dry the paint with my heat gun, I started to get bubbles which is a very cool effect.  If you hold the heat gun very close, the paint starts to bubble.  Once I got the colors the way I wanted, I brushed a loose wash of acrylic teal paint with water on top and spritzed some alcohol on it to let the paint separate.  Can you see the texture it created?

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Now, I know I wanted to put an angel on my coaster, but I needed her face to show through, so I put a light coat of Titan Buff fluid acrylic paint (from Golden) in the section where her face would show.

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Now, it’s time to transfer my image onto the coaster. I printed off the angel image on the rough side of a transparency film (ink jet printer). I took gel medium and with my finger, rubbed some along the section where I wanted my angel.  I also put some on the image itself.  Laid down the image and gently rubbed with a soft cloth.  Wait a couple of minutes, then gently lift it off. There you go… I like that it’s NOT perfect.. it has a worn/vintage look to it.  Now, let her dry.. doesn’t take too long; about 5 minutes.

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Oh boy.. I get to play with pastes.  I used the Viva Decor Modeling Cream in gold for the window.
I placed it over the angel’s face, taped it down on one side.  Using my palette knife, I scraped the cream over the stencil and lifted it up… Beautiful window.

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Now, one of the panes was covering my angel’s face.. I had to gently scrape it off.  There she is.. so purdy.

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I added my spiral lace paper in the corner and used a pen tube as a stamp for some small circles.  Added gold ribbon lace to the bottom of the window.

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I found an old earring that I cut up with a wire cutter to make a window top.  When I cut the metal, it creates tiny rough metal edges; so I filed them down with a Chizzel-it.  I’ve had this for years.  I used it for engraving baked polymer clay.  Oh, who am I kidding.. it was just a fun toy.  You can also use 200 grit sand paper to file down the sharp edges.

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I added some glitter and painted around the edges with a Gold Leafing Pen. I love this pen.  It’s puts the best finishing touches on your work.

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I added a “believe” metal tag to the bottom.  After all, we DO believe in angels, don’t we?  Then I added some red lines of acrylic paint with my credit card that I changed to white in the end result… you’ll see why.

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To the right of the coaster, I added handmade polymer clay flowers in red with turquoise (what else) rhinestone centers. Then teenie tiny flowers to the bottom of the stems.  The leaves are made with music paper. I thought the dragonfly was a cute touch, too.

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Here is the final piece and a close up of window.

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Now, it’s your turn to go visit my art sisters to see what they did with Jessica’s new stencil… go now!

Jessica Sporn, our leader in this drive.
Carolyn Dube  (by the way, Carolyn has a new Gelli Plate Workshop starting on April 1st… what fun; I can’t wait!)
Maria McGuire
Corrine Gilman (Corrine is going to be teaching at Lucky Star Art Camp this Fall… they are so “lucky” to have her join their team).

AND…Thank you, Jessica for another amazing stencil creation.  What else to you have up your sleeve?  Hmmm?

Well, there you have it.  So, grab some coasters next time you go out (or have a friend grab one for you) and get creative with them.  Then, send me a picture and I’ll feature on my blog.  OR.. create it, put photo on your blog, then comment on my blog with your link back to your blog… Huh?  What the hell did she just say?  Go on… you can do it… I know you can.

Alert… Alert… Up Next:  Giveaways !!

Thank you for stopping by.  Share the love.

Judy 

Mixed Media Mail Updo

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Hey thereI know I know….I’ve been gone for about 3 weeks.  Life/work, once again, gets in my art way.  But no fear, I’m here now.

I’ve been working on this video for a few weeks. I finally found the time to finish it.  I started out as a large pamphlet I got in the mail.  I thought it would be neat to alter it with some mixed media magic. Once I finished filming, this sucker was about 45 min long.  So, had to cut it down a little and fast forward a lot.  I put some comments in so you would know what I was doing.   Let me know what you think.

If you have any questions about my process, give me a shout.. glad to help.

Now… enjoy!

Here are some close ups.

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If you  live in New England or even Massachusetts, you probably are ready for Spring like the rest of us. We’ve had enough snow this winter and I’m ready for a nice long walk… I don’t know… Maybe late April?

I hope you enjoyed the video.  Love to hear back from you.

Judy

Polymer Clay Bookmarks – Stencil Test Drive

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Here I am again, going for another test drive with Jessica Sporn’s new stencils that she’s created and are now sold on Stencil Girl Products. I love what my friend, Jessica, has created and by now, I think many of the stencils she’s made have new owners and they are creating beautiful art with them.  Like, this week, check out the other artists taking this stencil for a drive Marjie Kemper,  Nataša MayMaggie Nemetz and Maria Mcguire. This week we are testing Jessica’s “borders” stencils.  I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do with them… something different. So, I ended up making polymer clay bookmarks.  How, you say?  Well.. lookie there.. here is a video on how I made them.

Post Video Comment:  My friend, Raine, who is a great polyclay artist, mentioned that the reason why I had gritty raised edges was because of the leather texture.  Ah, DUH MOMENT, JUDY!!! Of course it was.  I’ve always used texture plates with clay, never stencils. So, when I put the clay against the leather, that’s why it was rough, because of the tiny pattern on the leather.  There you have it. I digress.  Thanks, Raine.   Don’t mind me, I’m in my own little world over here.

Some close ups of the final bookmarks… click pictures for a closer look.

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Don’t foget to check out what  Marjie KemperNataša May, Maggie Nemetz and Maria Mcguire did with their stencils.  I’m going there now.

I hope you enjoyed the video and the bookmarks.  They make great gifts.

Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you.

Judy

Healthy and Delicious Vegetable Chicken Chili

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Well, here we are again faced with another snow storm, but a little one, this weekend.  Time to hunker down, cook and share a recipe with you.

For those that follow me, you know I try to make my recipes fast and simple.  With my full-time job, who’s got time for long drawn out preparations? I don’t.  Here’s one you’ll hopefully love.

Today, I decided to make a chili with chunky vegetables and ground chicken.  If you are a vegetarian, you can completely leave out the chicken. It’s just as great without it.

Let’s go….

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chicken
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1/2 of a large onion or 1 small
1 red pepper
about 6 white mushroom caps.
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, plus 1/2 of another
2 cans of beans.  I used one kidney and one black.  Use what you want.  Rinsed and strained.
2 TBLSPN olive oil for pan

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Cut all the veggies the same size; about a 1/2 inch thick.  You want this chili to be chunky and full of love.

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In a large sauce pan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add ground chicken.  Medium high heat; Cook until no longer pink.

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Add all the veggies in the pan and stir and mix it all together.  Cook this on medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until the onion and veggies have all softened.  Can you see the difference in the pictures, above?  CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW.

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Add your can and a half of the tomatoes, stir, then add the beans which have been rinsed in cold water through a strainer.  Incorporate all the beans into the sauce.  I started with one can of beans, but then decided to add another. Why not, right?

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Now, for seasonings:  Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder and ground cumin.  ALL TO YOUR TASTE.  Add more or less of what you like.  I end up with about a tablespoon or more of the chili powder and the garlic. Then add in the cumin as you like.  If you want some heat, then add a little cayenne pepper.. start small. Keep testing the taste to see what it may be missing.  It’s always better to under season, you can always add it.. but don’t over season, you can’t take it out.

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Now, if you can wait, let this simmer gently about 30 minutes.. if you can’t wait… GO FOR IT.. It’s your world.

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Serve this hot with some grated sharp cheddar cheese and some tortilla chips.  I used blue ones .   Just scooping the chili onto some chips with a little melted chese just makes your mouth so happy.  The corn, crunch, cheese and chili together.. oh my.   I have issues.. I watch too much FoodTV Network. Guy Fieri would be proud.

Notes: Now, this chili is practically fat free.. the only fat in there is from the olive oil.  I also used Sargento Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, but only because that was my choice. I draw the line on completely fat free products, however.. no taste in my opinion.  This recipe will serve about 6 people.  Save the leftovers for another day or mix in some cooked pasta for another meal.  Freeze the rest, if you want.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Stay warm if you are experiencing the cold like us.  This will do the trick.  ENJOY!

Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you. Let me know if you tried this recipe and how it came out.

Judy 

Gelli Prints – Recycled Box

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Well, I’ve been waiting for this week to come for about 4 months now. This marks the end of very long days, and sometimes nights, preparing for a very big customer event at work.  So, mission completed and have sent all the executives off on their trip. I promised myself once this week came, I would take some time off and enjoy some time in the studio….

…. and that’s exactly what I did this morning…… follow me, will you?

I recently purchased something that was contained in this long box.  I decided to recycle it … I could do something with it… right.. something for the art studio???  I think so.            CLICK ANY PICTURE FOR A CLOSER LOOK.

I gessoed all over.  If I were to do it again, I would sand the sheen off. But, a couple of coats; wait til each coat dries.  Tip: sand the box first.

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Then, I used up my Gelli Prints I had done over the past couple of months.  See my posts/videos HERE and HERE.  Measured, cut and glued.

I used Martha Stewart’s Decoupage Glue and Sealer.  I had it in the studio, so I do not favor it, really.

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One the sides were glued down well, I scraped the edges with a scissors blade to get rid of the excess paper coming over the edges.

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Then I used Pan Pastels to fill in any white spaces.

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It’s coming along.

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Took a rubber coaster and used it as a stamp (dots) with some Staz On black ink.  Then I used Distress Ink (walnut stain) to rub along the edges of the box to stain it or vintage-ize it (I made up that word).

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Not shown here, but I added some stamping around with black ink.  Painted a text stamp with white acrylic paint and stamped all over.  I also took some brown and orange paint mixed and filled in some of the corners of the box.

Ok.. now I must put some “buttons n’bellishments” on there, don’t ya think?  What to choose, what to choose.

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Then on the back.. I think a big face.  Yes?

I put a coat of the Martha Stewart sealer on one side and Liquid Laminate on the other.  The MS sealer had tiny bubbles and dried that way.  No big deal, but wasn’t crazy about it.  The Liquid Laminate was, as always, great.  Nice thin coat that dries fast.

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Ok, now it’s done.. what shall I use it for?  It won’t take anything to heavy, I had to think light.  I decided to use it for my smaller stencils and Gelli Print bookmarks I made. I LOVE! I LOVE!

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I love what embellishments do for an art piece.  My online “Buttons n’bellishments” workshop is over and I’ll be sharing the student results very soon, along with a Flickr group.

If you want to see what else you can alter/recycle with your Gelli Prints.. Check out Carolyn’s Heart Boxes and Corrine’s binder along with Jessica’s pasta box recycle.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  Leave some love.. I love hearing from you.

Judy

Blizzard of 2013 & Chicken Sausage Veggie Soup

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Blizzard… opening the garage door…

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This is going to take a while…. nuff said.

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Let’s make some soup, shall we?  Let’s call it “Blizzard Soup”.

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I can’t think of a better day to stay inside during the Blizzard of 2013 and create some culinary art for a change.  I’ve been due to post a recipe and this took me about 20 minutes to make.. no kidding.  Plus, feeling a bit under the weather, so soup is perfect.

Now, for those that know me, I do not measure much, especially in cooking… Baking, well, that’s a science and I don’t do much scratch baking.  Well, if you consider scratching your…. well, never mind… what? I meant my head.

So, this starts out real simple.  I had this in my fridge:  winter squash, zucchini, chopped kale, onions, cabbage and celery.  In my freezer, I had a 1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies that included corn, carrots, peas and green beans.  Repeat after me… “frozen veggies are my friend”.

In a large pot, put in 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Now saute…

1/2 of medium onion, chopped small
1/2 of the winter squash and zucchini, chopped small
2 medium size stalks of celery, chopped small

… for about 10 minutes until onion is transparent.

Defrost your frozen veggies in the microwave, then add them to the pot. Stir.

For spices, I just put in to taste:  salt, pepper and granulated garlic.  Whatever you want.. it’s your world.

Then add:

About 1 cup of chopped cabbage
About 2 cups of the fresh chopped kale (I bought mine already chopped and in a bag).

Stir all this together and incorporate; you’ll see the cabbage and kale get soft.

In the meantime, I defrosted the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and squeezed the meat out of its casing and cooked that in a frying pan until fully cooked.  Put aside.

Once the cabbage and kale are cooked down, (but not too much, you want it to stand up to the broth.  This is why kale is a good choice, as it’s stronger than spinach and doesn’t wilt as much)…. I added…

1 – 32 oz carton of Fat Free, Low Sodium Chicken Broth to the pot.  Add as much as you like.

Add the sausage (you can keep it all vegetarian if you want by eliminating the sausage and using vegetable broth instead).

Get it nice and hot and …………Badda Bing.. Badda Boom.  Done!

Add some grated romano cheese if you want and or serve with a nice piece of crusty bread.  Yum!

So, say you didn’t want to get into the sautéing and all that.  In a microwave safe bowl, defrost as much frozen veggies as you want and add enough broth to make a soup, heat and ….Bam.. done! Add some leftover pasta or rice to it, maybe… Bam.. done!  You get the idea, folks.  Easy peasy. It’s your world.. rock it!  ENJOY!

If you are in my neck of the woods, I hope you are safe from the storm. We managed to keep our power.. Amazing!  Pray that the ones without power will get it back soon.. Especially, the elderly and the ones with little kids.  Such as my nephew in Sandwich, MA with two little ones.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and post.  I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy 

Fabric Printing with the Gelli Plate

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Ok, everyone.  I keep it short, as work is taking me down this week. But I had time to play at Carolyn’s Gelli Print Party.. now every first Friday of the month..  Won’t you join us.  Check out her blog and all the linkys to the party.

I enjoyed some of the prints.. not all, but was still quite fun.  I imagine building even more layers of stamps and image transfers.  Endless, I tell you.. endless.

 

Here are some close ups of the fabric prints.  I increased the saturation, as the paint on the fabric is very suttle and the camera did not justify the colors.

 

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Thanks for stopping by.  Share the love.

Judy ♥

Mixed Media Collage from a Post It Pad

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I had so much fun creating my Post it flip chart paper collage.

It was hours of filming and editing, and would have been too long and I would bore all of you.. but here is a video of my process… sped up.  I would have kept it really time with my hand dancing, grooving to the music and talking, but it went on forever.  So…………

…. it started with my flip chart pad that I keep under my work surface.  An idea I got from Autumn Hathaway.. thank you Autumn.

Here we go…

Close ups. Click for larger view.

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Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.

Judy

Faces Inspired by Artist, Michael Lang

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I came across Michael about a year ago on YouTube.  I was fascinated. You will see what I mean if you take a look at this video.  If you don’t have time in your day, just watch the beginning, skip to the middle and then the end. You just won’t believe the end result.   He mixes a small amount of acrylic medium with his acrylic paints to make the colors just flow, blend and shade.  If you have time, watch some of his other videos.  Amazing!

So, I sat myself down to play with some faces, Michael inspired.  I did not use his method of mixing the paint and gel medium.  I used watercolor paints in a Moleskine watercolor journal. Whatchya think?

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It’s really freeing when you don’t have to make a mouth, eyes or lips perfect.  I loved using crazy, bright colors on the facial features.  Portrait rules are out the window.  Thank you, Michael.

Hope you enjoyed this fun little escape from the norm.

Thank you for stopping by; I’d love to hear from you.

Judy 

Gelli Prints Journal – Give-a-way winner!!!

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I had such fun creating this journal to give away.

Drum roll please >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

CONGRATULATIONS to …………………….Christie.  (chosen by Random Generator)

Christie…………… send me your snail mail and I’ll get the journal out to you.

Thanks for playing along everyone.  If I keep making Gelli prints, I’ll be making simple Judy Journals and I”ll be giving away more.

More to come.

Judy