Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013...

Getting ready to say Happy New Year to 2014 in a few hours...

Tomorrow I will start the New Year off with a 2 hour yoga workshop at It's All Yoga.

Photo credit: Yoga Journal

It is a dream of mine to be able to do The Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) some day, so need to work on my flexibility and balance this coming year.

HERE are some lovely Pinterest images of this pose.

And more inspiring yoga photos HERE.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yoga thoughts... and lemons.

It is getting easier. Not so many excuses (I don't have anything to wear, I'm hungry, tired, etc, it's too late, or myriad other words that have been keeping me from feeling better) and more doing. Slowly a change...

I went to the "winter Soul-stice" workshop at It's All Yoga last night and really enjoyed the 2 hour practice. And from it came another word for me to focus on in the coming year... soften.

Yes I know I had already chosen my word for 2014 as BREATHE and it will stay because for me it is the most important thing to focus on, but the idea of softening just hit a good chord with me so it might be something I keep handy in my mind as I go about my days too. Two other words/ideas have come from yoga lately too which I have noticed I may need to pay more attention to as well: aware (of myself more than things around me) and boundaries (as in paying attention to them within me).

And an interesting thing I am also noticing. My blog roll list is huge (on Feedly) and most of them are art blogs, but I am finding yoga blogs lately too and adding them and today I realized I have a fair amount of them in my DAILY READ list. And I am finding I go to them first. I enjoy reading of experiences other people have bringing yoga into their life. And I find truths in those blogs that I very well could have written in mine...

“... I remembered something important: practicing yoga makes me feel good. It allows me to move my body, stretching and feeling my muscles activate. It helps calm my mind and keep me centered. It allows me to connect with an entire community of like-minded people. But showing up at the studio for class does not happen by accident. It happens only when I prioritize and make a conscious effort.”
From Bekah: Outside the Box

And now to figure out what to do with my lemons, hiding in the backyard...

Friday, December 20, 2013

On Vacation!

16 days of blissful vacation... Winter Break, formerly known as Christmas Vacation, is here!

Some plans so far:
Clean up the living room, do a lot of yoga, make some art, keep cleaning up my art room and going through my supplies, working towards decluttering and destashing my stuff, and generally relaxing, maybe having lunch with one of my lunch lady friends (I seem to be one of the last ones to retire in a small circle of friends I have) and just enjoying 16 days off. We are not officially doing anything for Christmas this year so that will not be anything that takes any energy.

I got a new Moleskine Weekly Planner to do a better job of keeping track of what I am doing during the year because when I started thinking of what got done in 2013, I found I was short on memories or any documentation and it was hard to see where I had been in my creative journeying. Yes I have some blog posts but I am not really diligent about blogging so a lot of things fell through the cracks this last year.

This is what I got: (photos from Amazon)

The inside:

I like that there is a page opposite each weekly area for extended info or maybe room for some art... I do not plan to do a lot of art in it, more to keep track of what I do on a daily basis, but an occasional art burst could happen and there might be a place for it!

My intention is to wrote just a couple of sentences at night to document my days... one last semester at school, retiring, traveling, whatever comes my way in this next (hopefully exciting) year.

Also it will be a way for me to see how much yoga I end up doing. I have an odd idea about making sure I do yoga at least 108 times this coming year. 108 is a special number in yoga and when I broke it down I realized it was just 9x12... so if I did yoga just 9 times a month, for 12 months, I would easily reach 108. I may elaborate more on this later but if you are really curious you might Google "yoga 108" and read some of the various things that come up. Working up to maybe some day 108 sun salutations?

All I know is that I feel so much better when I practice yoga on a regular basis so I want to make that more of my life. I signed up for a Winter Solstice workshop tomorrow and a New Years Day Workshop at It's All Yoga, and then I will keep going to other classes as well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hot Glue Gun Stencils...

Who knew? Well apparently a few people judging from the You Tube videos available HERE, HERE, and HERE... but it was a new technique to me so I tried it this weekend!

You need:

tools for project

a hot glue gun and a LOT of glue sticks, some parchment paper or a craft mat (I used 2 pieces of parchment paper),and I used a brayer to press down as it gets hot and hard on my hands to press the glue flat.

then for the printing you need:

yellow layer

a gelli plate, acrylic paints, and a brayer to spread the paints as usual, paper to print on.

You can follow the technique in any of the videos above, but basically, you lay down a design on the parchment paper using the hot glue gun, immediately press the other parchment on top of it, flatten it (for the gelli plate I found this is needed), then when the glue has cooled, lift it away from the parchment and you have your stencil!

Here are a few I did today:


Primary set (a la Jane Davies above), yellow layer first, then red, then blue.


Yellow first, then orange, then teal, with a wash of part yellow-part gel medium to soften it.

olive-magenta print

Olive green and magenta, with a softening overcoat of gel medium mixed with transparent iron oxide (Golden)

and its reverse ghost print (my favorite of all these I did today):

olive-magenta ghosts

These are mostly tests, although there are parts of them I like and might tear or cut up to use in my journals or other art. When Leslie and I get together again after Christmas we are going to play with this technique more. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Linked to:
Colorful Gelli Party
Mandarin Orange Monday
Creative Every Day

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Moving on...

It has been a difficult couple of weeks with Pandora's death but I feel like I am finally able to move on. The first few days I could not come back into my art room without crying and seeing her in my arms but that is passing and I am feeling the need to create again. And with Winter Break coming up in a couple of weeks I have a lot of things to think about...

The thing that has been on my mind the last few days is creating another Word for the Year. I did it last year (see THIS post) and it was nice to think about throughout the year. I had it glued to my work table at school and several times when I was mad at the kids I would see it and work on letting it go. I wanted to make a word this year that built on that idea. I thought about what I did when I "released" and it was all about breathing. And now that I am back to doing more yoga practice I find the reminders to "breathe" coming fast and furious from all angles. And wouldn't ya know it, conscious breathing is still hard for me (to remember mid-asana or when I am mad). I need more work on that one.

So I decided for 2014 my word would be BREATHE.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

RIP Pandora

Rest in Peace Pandora. I am so thankful for the 21 years of love you gave us. You came to me small enough to fit under my chin in August of 1992 and passed peacefully in our arms this morning, 11:20 am, Nov. 28, 2013.

Monday, November 25, 2013

White post cards for a swap...

I made white post cards for the latest MMSA swap when I was at Leslie's yesterday. She had a lot of great white shapes already cut and a ton of other magazines to pour through to find white elements. It is harder than it seems to make something white and actually have anything stand out. Of course, now these are scanned a look darker than the originals a little so you could see the variation. Anyway now I have 3 postcards that I will actually send to the swap (and then I get 3 back from other people). The birdie one I made for the last swap ended up staying with me because I liked it and decided not to send it out!

white pc1

white pc2

white pc3

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend cleaning ...

Once again my arting area has become too crowded with "stuff" so I decided to go through some of the boxes I had along the hall wall and make some space to move things around. In my sorting I came across this little gem...

I was one and a half years old outside of my mom's parents' house. If you look carefully you can see I already had a full head of auburn hair (I always refused to call it "red") and I was already hanging out with a cat! That was Fuzzy, my grandparents' fluffy ball of fur.

This was a color negative, which I scanned against a very clean piece of white paper. Nice big 2" x 2" negative made it easy!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Put a bird on it...

Last Sunday I had fun arting with Leslie again. Of course we played with gelli plates for a while (like I need more backgrounds, oh but I do!) then we made some bird inspired things. I made a post card for the MMSA post card swap coming up which she kindly scanned for me. Still working on how to make my scanner show true colors better or I would be working on that if I had a moment of free time to do so!

bird pc

Gelli plate printed background, cut out collaged pieces from an idea in a book Leslie had by Roxanne Padgett titled "Acrylic Techniques", postage stamp, washi tape, pens, circle inked from (you will never guess this....) a piece of baby bottle nipple that Leslie had, cupcake wrapper for crest, and other miscellaneous paint/inks.

Linked to:
A Colorful Journey November Gelli Party
Paint Party Friday

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lately I have been thinking a lot about revisiting Iceland...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another ATC swap finished...

It was the last one on my list from last month and now it is done! It was another SWAP-BOT one of 4 ATCs using the same topic but made 4 different ways. I chose flowers as my theme.

Copic markers, sharpies, white pen, hand drawn flower:

Flower 4 ways 1

Doodled flower with sharpies and copic markers for colors:

Flower 4 ways 2

Collage of used postage stamps:

Flower 4 ways 3

Magazine picture, quote, raised sticker:

Flower 4 ways 4

Meanwhile today I am working on school stuff for my new ELL Science support class and converting yoga videos into .AVI so I can play them also on the TV, which is in the bedroom and has a rug in front of it which is more comfy than my cramped art studio. But there is also more cat hair (not to mention cats who seem to like to walk on my chest and laugh at me when I lay on the floor) so I may have to just make space in my art studio and use my computer.

Of course I could get my butt out the door and actually GO to more classes but I always think of it when no classes are happening.

Still thinking about INTENTIONS...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Early Friday morning thoughts...

Thinking about INTENTIONS.

That word has come up in THREE separate occasions this week, my NIA class on Tuesday, something I read online yesterday, and also my yoga class last night. I think it is a word I need to think about more.

What are my intentions for this blog?
What are my intentions for my art?
What are my intentions for my work (now teaching 6 classes since the new EL Science/History support class was given to me so I have no prep time in the day)
What are my intentions for my life now that I am near retirement? (well ok, 7 months away anyway)

And so on...
Just posting a reminder to myself here really. Think on these!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Catching Up.... again...

A couple more swaps I needed to catch up with. I have been so busy with work and a month long cold that I just have not been doing much art, again. It comes and goes but it is never gone for long.

So this was an ATC from a Swap-bot swap of making an ATC with sheet music and a butterfly on it:

music and butterfly ATC

And this was from the Dia de los Muertos post card swap on MMSA. I had started a few others when I was at my friend Leslie's a couple of week's ago but never had time to make them. I will just send in this one.

day of the dead post card 1

Both started with a gelli-print background, then I added stamps, collage, washi tape and postage stamp on the ATC. The DOTD card top skull image is from online and I wish I had saved the page so I could credit it. I will look for it when I have a moment, sorry. The La Calavera is one of the Loteria cards in B&W.

Linked to:
Mandarin Orange Monday
Colorful Gelli Party
Creative Every Day

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Orange Post Cards!

Still coughing but determined to get some art and swaps done as well as resting this weekend. I showed you some swaps I had already done a week or so ago and am now just finally getting them all sent. They were all for Swap-bot. Here are the last of them for this round: 2 Orange Postcards.

Orange PC1

Orange PC 2

Both are gelli-printed backgrounds with collaged bits of other gelli-prints, used postage stamps, and some rubber stamping.

And these are just in time for Mandarin Orange Monday which I can link to tomorrow!

I have gotten a lot more swaps in over this last couple of weeks and will get something photographed and posted soon!

Linked to:
Mandarin Orange Monday

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Almost back... again!

So no sooner than I thought I was back and getting over this cold it hit me for Round #2 and I was down for the count this whole last week, including totally sleeping away all last weekend. Finally now, later this week I am feeling better and hope in a few days this damn cough will be gone.

Meanwhile I took a very long break from my computer and blog and art and anything that did not involve getting over this cold and I am itching to get back to it all!

Last weekend's art play day with my friend Leslie had to be postponed (to this weekend) and luckily the few swaps I had left I have done and just have to send. Sort of neglected the photo taking part this time around but I will be more diligent for the ones to come.

Just wanted to let you know I hadn't fallen off the face of the earth, only felt like it! LOL

Monday, September 2, 2013

ATCs and a drizzling afternoon...

I was all set for another sweltering day today and now this afternoon it is 10 degrees cooler than yesterday and drizzling! No wonder it was so humid earlier! If we had cicadas here I am sure they would have been rubbing those little legs together today!

So I got some postage stamp swaps finished (again Swap-bot) and sat down for an afternoon of ATC making.

9-2 ATCs for swaps

The bottom two orange ones are for the Swap-bot Orange ATC with a Punched element. Added some postage stamps, then punched hearts, suns and swirls from some gelli-printed paper to contrast the orange-ness of the rest of the ATCs. A little doodling finishes them off and ready to go a few days early!

The other four are for a swap that needs an ATC with a postage stamp and maybe also for a washi-tape ATC swap. I haven't signed up for that one yet but the ATCs are made just in case.

I decided for me the best way to work the swapping is to check out the swaps, make the items then sign up, just to be sure I would get the items done in time. A lot of the ATC swaps are quick turn-around, meaning there is only a week between signing up and sending your swap, so many are for cards that can be made ahead of time. Those seem to be the kind I can keep up with while I am in school.

A lot of orange!

This long weekend is turning into a lot of orange!

I checked Swap-bot and found a couple of new swaps for orange postcards and ATCs and then realized it was Monday and I wanted to post a photo for Mandarin Orange Monday and there it was, all over my work desk (to which I may also add a link on Wednesday for WOYWW)! *** Edited on Wednesday: I added it!

WOYWW 9-2-13  Monday

The cards are collaged bits of gelli printed deli paper onto yet more gelli printed card stock. I collaged it then cut into 2 postcards and an ATC for the swap. Now I will add more bits to them and maybe some doodles to get them ready to send out. You can see my still orange brayer and bits of gelli printed deli paper (I may start calling that GPDP for short!) in the background...

Makes me want to run to the store and buy some orange juice!!

Linked to:
Mandarin Orange Monday
Colorful Gelli Party
Creative Every Day

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Getting caught up...

So the last couple of weeks I started back to school, got a rip-roaring cold, managed to get a couple of last swaps done and finally went to check my post office box... and was dazzled with the amazing mail art that came my way! I thought I would show you some of it here.

The swaps were from MMSA (Mail me some art) and Swap-bot as well as a few other things that came my way.

Suzanne @ Stempelkrempel:


Pamela @ Cappuccino Art Journal:


Postal Swap @ MMSA:

postal ATCs

Various ATC swaps (Swap-bot and personal):

various ATCs recd

And several envelopes of stamps traded and other notes and such that I didn't photograph.

And for next weekend, I am looking forward to another Sunday of art play next week with my friend Leslie, who has been very busy making wonderful arty things! Take a peek!

Now that I think I have the being-back-at-work thing figured out again (how quickly we forget over our long wonderful summer break that being back in school zaps the energy right outta ya!), and my obligatory first of the school year cold is done, I think I will be able to get back to being more regular about making art and blogging! Once I figure out how to organize all my new received art! (I should take a photo of my desk now and save it for WOYWW for Wednesday's post!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Getting back to a routine...

You would never know it by the lack of anything happening here, but now that school has started up again and I am a week or so into it, I think I am getting into a routine that will give me time and energy to do some arts & crafts. Boy oh boy was I tired the first week of school -- getting back to expending all that energy! And I have way more kids this year (even 4 or 5 more in each class seems to take more energy) -- they are saying we will get one more science section so maybe I will go from 38 kids in each class to maybe 36? Yeesh... hard to even think about DOING science with so many kids crammed into a classroom! I don't want to go on more of a tirade but this country really needs to rethink its priorities when it comes to education! I am so glad I will be retiring at the end of this school year!

More art soon!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Autumn Leaf ATC

So today I decided to play a little with my copic markers and stamped an oak leaf onto a card, then colored it in with a variety of pens (first photo). Then I scanned it and used my PaintShopPro program -- yes I *know* I have Adobe Elements 11 but the scanner comes up with the old PSP and I forgot to change it so I used it today. First I just did a negative of the scan (second photo). Then I did a colorize to see what sorts of oranges I could come up with (third photo). You know I like my oranges!

What excited me was how varied the colors were in the negative (second photo). The blues all looked blue to me but there was enough difference in their hues to make their negatives show a wider spectrum of colors.

Linked to:
Mandarin Orange Monday
Blue Monday

Zentangles, Zendoodles, and Rhondoodles, oh my!

I know Zentangles are all the rage, as seen HERE. And apparently Zendoodles are similar as seen HERE.

WHATEVER you want to call it, I like this style of doodling and recently decided to try it a little. I thought what a nice thing to have quietly on my table during boring meetings or in a few moments here and there at school... so I decided to make some ATCs and try out some of the designs. Mine are totally rank amateur and not following any one style in particular other, just mixing it up Rhonda style!

Here is the ATC I made yesterday...

Zentangle ATC

Looking at it this close up I can see where my black pen didn't hit the paper... not obvious at all when you look at it real size (2.5" x 3.5").

The most fun of all of this is scouring the Internet for all the fuss (and legal hassles) about calling an age-old doodle idea/form a "Zentangle" or a "Zendoodle" or whatever people are trying to tradedmark and patent now. And people even pay to get "certified" and then tell you what you must call this line or another line or dot and it is all pretty crazy (stupid-crazy) to me! I mean, give me a break!

I think I will just call mine Rhondoodles and do what I want! So there!

Linked to:
Show and Tell Saturday
Creative Every Day
Inspiration Avenue

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pink Post Cards...

Pink Post cards... Odd thing for a swap (@Swap-bot), I know, but luckily I happened to have a gazillion pink gelli-plate printed deli papers that I could tear up and collage for a post card or two!

pink pc

These were made by collaging a lot of pink gelli prints (torn up) onto an 8.5"x11" page then cut into post cards and ATC backings. I got 2 PC and 4 ATCs from one page of collage. I like them as is, but may spend a little time looking for other things to collage onto them while I watch TV later.

Linked to:
Paint Party Friday
Pink Saturday

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A background page and more ATCs...

To start out, this morning I made another painted collage sheet which I will cut up for ATCs. It is a piece of card stock that I had gelli printed last weekend and I added collaged elements. When I cut it, each ATC will have parts of the whole and then I can add more elements for each card. I can get 10 from one 8.5" x 11" page. (Google ATC template images and you will see)

ATC background page 8-6-13

And then I made some more ATCs for a swap from Swap-bot.

ATCs for Swap-Bot swap

Not sure why these didn't scan so well... guess I need to check my scanner settings again. Oh well, they are already packaged up and ready to send so I will just have to be satisfied with this quality of picture of them this time.

Linked to:
Glue It Tuesday

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Template for A2 size envelope

I spent a little time making more A2 size envelopes this morning and thought I would show the template (shape) I used. I used it to cut out the shapes from gelli-printed topo maps just cause I was too lazy to take scissors and do it that way!

This is what the template looks like.

a2 env

So if you have a Silhouette (die cutting machine) you can take this JPG and open it on your Silhouette, trace it and then save it as a studio file. After mucking around for quite a few minutes on Blogger, I find there is no place on Blogger to upload a file for you and Flickr doesn't see STUDIO files as anything it can upload. But it is easy enough. I used it on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and it worked fine!

If nothing else, just print it and trace around it with scissors!

Now to weed through all that old scrapbook paper I don't want and make envelopes!

More ATCs and some handmade envelopes...

Yesterday and this morning I made some more ATCs to swap. Flowers for the Swap-Bot Floral ATC swap, and wouldn't you know it, I forgot to scan all 4. These are the two left over. The ones sent were similar but in pink and purples. The background is gelli printed onto watercolor paper and the flowers hand drawn with Posca pens and Sharpies.

flower ATCs1

I need to come up with a good system of cataloging and storing my ATCs now that I am back to doing them. When I used to trade these before (late 1990s into the early 2000s) I didn't have much of any system and it drove me nuts! This time I plan to start out with at least a spreadsheet and addresses in a file. I could probably Google it and someone may have already made one available out there.

Then I had a request for some of the postal ATCs I had already sent out to the MMSA swap so I made some more to swap. I am not sure why I keep making five, which is an awkward number to scan!

More postal ATCs

And then I made some handmade envelopes to send the swaps in. I used some of the old topo maps I have that I have used to clean off my brayer from gelli printing. Big swatches of colors with the topo map showing through here and there. One of the fronts:


And one of the backs, glued closed then decorative washi tape on top.


Linked to:
August Gelli Party
Show and Tell Saturday

Friday, August 2, 2013

Back to Mail Art...

Years ago (like 20) I was very deep into mail art and swaps, with things constantly gracing my table that I had gotten or needed to send out. Then I stopped... (and many years went by where no art happened)... and now the Mail Art bug is back! There is something so fun about making a post card or an ATC (Artist Trading Card) and sending it off to anywhere in the world... and then getting one back again!

And then yesterday I got my first Mail Art in the form of a post card from Leslie! Testing out my new PO Box and making it pretty!

Postcard from Leslie

I hadn't played with the gelli plate for a while and it was calling to me so I made some starter background pages this morning which I will turn into post cards (or maybe ATCs, although I prefer to do a whole page then cut it specifically for those). I will do some more with these before I cut them into card sizes to wait to send out. I love the gelli plate... so simple: paper and paint and the result is always fun! (If not, just do another print over and eventually you have an unexplainable thing of beauty!).

postcard backgrounds

Here's a close-up of one I particularly liked:


And here are my very high=tech techniques for some of the patterns...

For the bubble lines:


And for the overlapping circles, I just used this contraption several times on the gelli plate before I printed...

circle maker

Here is how you make it:

circle maker2

Told you it was high-tech!

So now to just join more swaps and find some new Mail Art buddies and I am good to go!

If you would like to trade mail art (post cards or ATCs) please contact me using the contact form in the tabs above if you want to set up a specific swap. For just random Mail Art postcards, feel free to send me a post card and I will send you one in return. Don't forget your return address! My addy for mail art is:

Rhonda H.
P.O. Box 292745
Sacramento, CA 95829

Looking forward to seeing your fun mail art!

Linked to:
August Gelli Party
Paint Party Friday
Creative Every Day