30 June 2011

Photography: Lily Pads


There was a bit of a miscommunication about what time my class started on Monday, so Nick and I used the free time to get an iced coffee to share and to drive to Roger Williams Park.

I wanted to take a picture of the carousel, but it was closed... again. I saw this bridge across the way and want to walk across it to see where it would go.
I saw lily pads and had to go closer to look. The flowers looked so beautiful and perfect!
The geese came over towards me, but when they realized I wasn't going to feed them, they floated away, but not before I took this picture.

29 June 2011

Art Journal: Two New Pages

Rainy Days

I'm a little behind in pages for Natty Malik's In The Sun art journaling course, but I wanted to share my latest two pages since I love them! The above photo is for the prompt "Summer Rain." I made the background by spraying homemade water color spray paints along the top and then adding a spray of plain water to make them drip. I love the effect and will definitely be doing it again in my journal. I cut the girl image from a TOAST catalog and the purple rain drops from a cute piece of tissue paper sent in Natty's collage pack. I added tissue papers along the bottom edge.

The text reads: "We hardly ever get thunderstorms in Rhode Island, and I actually miss them! I love rainy days because they give me an excuse to stay inside and make art... not that I need one!"

Triple Dog Dare

For this page, I was going to triple dog dare myself to go to Zumba class at a nearby gym, but instead I went out to brunch with my friend who I hadn't seen for a few months. Doh! I started thinking about how I hardly ever go anywhere except class, since I prefer to stay home and make art. I would worry that I was slightly agoraphobic, but really, I think it's that I'm a country girl living in the city! This is the page that emerged from that line of thought.

The text reads: "Sometimes I have to 'triple dog dare' myself to leave my house... It's nice here & I don't have to wear pants." [Yeah, yeah, TMI. Just keepin' it real.]

28 June 2011

Art Journal: Teen Summer Classes

I must confess that I have the best job ever! My main goal in life a few year's back was to find a job I didn't hate. I've worked a lot of jobs over the years. I used to keep track of how many different positions I'd had, but I stopped counting somewhere around 25. Yes. I really have had over 25 different jobs. I've worked as: a cashier, grill cook, waitress, shift supervisor, receptionist, editorial assistant, supermarket clerk, cleaner, babysitter, post office typist, telemarketer, writing tutor, camp counselor, freelance writer, and an art teacher. I've also had several small businesses (homemade bath salts, hemp necklaces, website design, and jewelry). Now that I'm teaching art classes, I know I've finally found my calling. The best part? My job hardly ever feels like "work"; I put a lot of time into it, sure, but it's so fun that I hardly notice!

This summer I am lucky enough to be working with libraries around the state of Rhode Island. I have three programs on offer: button making, shrinky dinks, and art journals, and each library got to choose which program they wanted me to run. I am psyched about all of the programs, but I have a special place in my heart for art journals.
Once I explain what an art journal is to the kids, they get excited. Most of them have ideas right away about what they want to do with their journal.

I like to fill the tables with lots of supplies: paint markers, magazines, colored pencils, stickers, and washi tape. I have learned that it's better to limit the supplies a bit so that I don't completely overwhelm the kids, so I stick to my favorites.
For this class, we had a mix of adults, teens, and younger kids. Since we had a small group, I was open to having a couple six-year-olds and their moms join us. I wasn't sure how the little kids would take to art journals, but I needn't have worried: they loved it!

This lovely lady had a butterfly painted on her face. So cute!

Justin Beaver: in Progress
This is Justin Beaver, Molly's cartoon version of everyone's favorite tween heart throb. Check out Molly's blog, PugPuppy, to see more of her fabulous work!
Love the text on David's art journal!

Looks like we have a new fan of washi tape!

27 June 2011

Buy Nothing Summer: Week One

I keep feeling like I'm doing a lot of work, but I'm not seeing the results. I decided to take a picture of the state of my studio and compare it to the picture I posted a week ago to see if I could discern any noticeable improvements. It still needs a lot of work, but things are definitely progressing! Considering that I fill three boxes with thrift store donations today, I am making progress, slowly but surely. What do you think?

I can't wait 'til I get to share the "after" shots!!!

26 June 2011

Blog Redesign: Unveiled

Well, it's taken me all day, but the redesign of Crafty Moira is complete (mostly). I have been meaning to do a redesign to this blog ever since I started it. I mean, I know html. I've designed lots of graphics and web pages, so why didn't I take the time to make my blog look nice? In part, it's laziness, I'll admit it, but also: I kind of started this blog thinking I'd get bored with it in a few weeks and abandon it. I never expected that I'd love it so much!

Nick and I did a photoshoot a few months ago, so I used my favorite images to create the blog. One of the pictures was so pretty, with my hair blowing in the breeze and the water of Stump Pond behind me, that I decided to use it as the inspiration for the redesign. (The picture above makes me laugh, especially with the caption I added. It's day 8 of my Buy Nothing Summer, and I'm sure I'll be feeling that way any day now!)

I'd love to hear what you think about the new look! If you come across any problems, please let me know. It's been, oh, a decade+, since I learned html, so lots has changed since then. It's looking good for me on my Mac, but if you are a PC-user and it looks like crap, please tell me so I can try to fix it! All of the tabs at the top work, though the "Classes" tab is still under construction... for now! I'd love to know what you think about the new tutorials page and my new about page! And, hey, maybe you'd like to grab my new button for your blog? 

24 June 2011

Art Journal: Secret Message


I received a lovely package of assorted collage materials from the fabulous Ms. Natty of Awkward and Beautiful today, and I just had to incorporate a few of the pieces into my art journal right away. The telephone paper, the scallop circle, and the adorable little envelope all went straight from the mail to my page. The tiny envelope is my favorite part!
Don't ya just want to pull the tab to find out what it says?
Sadly, I don't have anything all that luscious to include as a secret message.
Text reads: I thought it would be cool to write a secret message, but I don't really have any secrets... darn!
After making this page, I worked on organizing my art journal supplies for a while, until this little furry beast told me it was time to take a break.

Hey, kitty, don't mess up my newly organized paints!

I know it looks like the third drawer is full of washi tape, but it's not.... yet!

Buy Nothing Summer: Day Six

It's Day Six of my Buy Nothing Summer, and I have to admit, so far, it hasn't been that big of a deal. I haven't caved and gone on a crafty shopping binge. Shocker!  I did get an email from Sharpie about their new fabric markers, and felt a bit of a pang, but quickly deleted it. So far there hasn't been anything that I wanted to buy, which has made it easy. Just wait until I need something though... yikes!

In terms of organizing, I managed to sort through two boxes of papers on Tuesday. I condensed my keep pile into a way smaller stack, about 1/5 the size of what I started with. This was a huge pile of student papers and assignments, and I've been meaning to go through them for months. I decided to keep a small selection of my favorite student papers (about a dozen, out of dozens), plus some blank worksheets that I know I'll use for future classes. I had about 3 dozen folders that I considered keeping, but then I decided that if I used folders again in the future, I'd just buy more when/if I needed them. I don't usually like to toss something useable (obviously!), but after watching two seasons of Hoarders on Netflix this past week or so, I'm definitely inspired to get stuff outta my house! All of the unwanted papers went to the curb to be recycled and are now out of my life.

I do keep using supplies from my stash, but the problem is that I keep using little things, which hardly makes a dent in the pile! In order for me to get this place organized, I need to start tacking some of the bigger projects. When I think about what takes up the most space of my consumable stash, it's zippers, papers, fabric, and blank canvases. Although the zippers are currently tucked away neatly, I do have a cool idea in mind for those that I'd like to try this weekend. To do so, I'll need to access my sewing supplies.... yikes! Wish me luck on that one!

Next, my goal is to tackle one box a day (at least!) of unpacked craft items. When I come to an item that doesn't have a "home" just yet, I'm going to have to find a use for it pronto! I do have an empty storage drawer under my desk, so I'm going to work on figuring out what I'll be using it for. For the last few days, I have managed to meet my goal of unpacking one box a day. Here's hoping I can keep it up!

Finally, someone mentioned that they keep daily supplies separate from occasional supplies. I thought that was a great idea! I have quite a few supplies for metalworking jewelry, but I haven't done anything with them for a year. I know I should get rid of them, but I do have hopes that I'll eventually be able to experiment more in that area. I managed to condense those supplies into a small plastic shoebox plus my soldering iron. This will be packed away into the 4 feet of currently unused space in my linen closet. It's really inconvenient space, so I figure it's perfect for occasional projects. Perhaps if I never miss these supplies, I will get rid of them later.

I have a tall storage unit with 4 small drawers and 3 large drawers that I think I am going to use for my art journal and collage supplies. The top drawers will be for my current journal-in-progress, markers, pens, pencils, washi tape -- all the smallish stuff that tends to clutter my desk. The bottom three drawers will be for vintage photographs, printed collage sheets, magazines, and other paper ephemera. The goal, and I don't know if I can really do this, is to get rid of whatever paper doesn't fit in this unit, preferably without it being crammed to the point of being difficult to use.

I just spend half an hour arranging space under my desk so that I can store my two show suitcases (a pair of Mary Kay suitcases that I snagged for $7 at a yard sale last year). I am storing my tent, tables, and tent weights in my friend's massive basement storage unit across the street, but I don't want to store inventory down there because there was a huge mold problem two years ago that ruined a lot of my stuff that I'd stored there when I was out of town for two months. (Ugh, that sucked!) I figure if the suitcases are under my desk, they are safe, secure, and convenient, if I need something from inside. Considering that I just dropped off tons of inventory at two of the places where I sell my work, I shouldn't need to access them until September, but if I do, it won't be a huge pain.

My goal for today is to finishing packing away the rest of my inventory, mail out my etsy orders for the week, mail out my zipper giveaway prizes (I'm seriously delinquent on those!) and move furniture a bit so I can have the storage unit for art journal stuff right next to my desk where I work.  After that, I want to unpack my sewing machine so I can get started on my zipper project. Hurray!

See all of the Buy Nothing Summer posts here.

23 June 2011

Art Journal: Mini Washi Tape Spools

I'm teaching art classes around the state of Rhode Island this summer, and the classes I am most excited about are the art journal ones. I have been in love with art journals since I first discovered them, and sharing the joy with my students is a real blast. Each student quickly develops his or her own style, and it's so fun to see all the different ways that they tackle the concept.

One of my new favorite things for art journaling is washi tape. I resisted the lure of the pretty Japanese paper tape for months and months, but after a great day at the Providence Arts Festival earlier this month, I decided to treat myself. Since I've been having so much fun with washi tape, I definitely wanted to introduce it to my students this summer. Since I can't afford to buy a roll of washi tape for 176 students (!!!), I needed to find a way to make smaller rolls. In the past, I have wrapped masking tape around cardstock for the kids to take home, but this idea is way better!

I found an etsy seller who sells "Washi Tape by the Foot." You get up to three feet of your choice of their many available washi tapes and it comes wrapped on a wooden spool. If you are interested in trying out washi tape, this is a great way to get a selection without spending a fortune! For me, however, I already know that I love it and need so many spools, that I knew I could do it myself for very little expense.

I found wooden spools in packages of 20 at Michaels for $2.99 each. [If you wanted to get crazy, I found a site online where you can buy them in packs of 100 for $9.99 + $10 shipping. Can't find the link right now, but will update if I track it down.] I measured out 12 inches of tape and carefully wrapped in around the spool. It's actually harder than it looks to do this straight! Still, I was able to get 140 wrapped while watching television yesterday afternoon.

In addition, I wrapped another 20 spools with more tape (maybe 5 feet?) that I will have on the tables for the students to use during the class. Using these instead of the full rolls means that: a) the full rolls won't get destroyed in one class, b) I can have multiples of each color so students get a variety at each table, and c) students will know what the spools are in their kits! Each student will get a take home kit with a marker, a pen, a glue stick, some scrap paper, and one spool of washi tape all of their own. Fun, right?

21 June 2011

Art Journal: Vacation-Inspired Page

Yesterday's vacation video prompt in Natty Malik's FREE online art journal course, In The Sun, inspired me to create this tutorial on making your own DIY mini polaroid prints. (No Polaroid camera required!) Today, I want to show you what I created using those mini prints. [Ironically, yesterday was my first day back to work after a three-week vacation!]

For the background, I wanted to do a blue similar to the blue used in the Young Veins video. As I was painting, I decided I didn't want to do the whole spread blue so I just did the edges on the left page, plus added some texture with sequin waste. I used orange and yellow homemade spray paints (just acrylic paint and water in a spray bottle) to brighten it up.

When I looked at the solid blue page, I decided I didn't like it all solid, so I wanted to do something to break that up. I suddenly imagined a palm tree there. I'd had a magazine earlier this week with a palm tree on the back cover, but I must have recycled it already, because I couldn't find it. I did, however, know exactly where my green tissue paper would be. I ripped the paper into shapes I hope would approximate a palm tree, then when I looked in the tissue paper box again, I realized I still had some brown tissue paper that my friend, Cherie, had given me years before. I made a trunk for my tree using that. I used gel medium on top and bottom of the tissue to add it to my page.

I played around with the DIY polaroid prints a bit until I found an arrangement I liked. I attached these using my Tombow, but I'm sure gel medium or double-sided tape would have worked well, too. When I came home from work and looked at my spread in progress, I thought of the Weezer song, An Island in the Sun. I decided to use the lyrics for the page, since it sure looks like the kids in the photos are having lots of fun: "On an island in the sun, we'll be playing and having fun."

I really love how the text turned out! I did the text in a blue Decocolor market. Then I outlined slightly inside the letters with a white Uniball signo pen (best pen ever!). After that, I traced around all the words to add brightness with a yellow Sharpie poster-paint marker. Finally, I outlined the letters with a black Sharpie poster-paint marker.

Here's the finished page:

Well... I think it's finished anyway. I might end up adding some detailing to the tree on the right side, but, really, I think it looks great as is, so I might just leave it alone. What do you think?

20 June 2011

Tutorial: DIY Mini Polaroid Prints

When I watched the video for today's prompt this morning for Natalie Malik's free online art journaling class, In The Sun, I knew instantly what I wanted to do: polaroid pictures! I know that I have an actual old school polaroid camera under my desk, but I wanted to use my Polaroid POGO printer to make mini polaroids. So tiny! So cute! I haven't done my page for today yet, but I'm so excited by my mini-project that I wanted to share right away.

To make your own DIY polaroid prints without a polaroid camera, you will need:
  • photo prints of images you like [Note: If you don't have a POGO like I do, you could get one-hour prints at your local photo shop very cheap. Or you could just use images from a magazine cut to size... why not?]
  • 3x5 blank white index cards, or any white card stock {You could just plain white printer paper, sure, but using card stock gives the mini polaroids a bit of heft like a real polaroid would have.}
  • glue (if you aren't using a POGO)
  • ruler
  • scissors or exacto knife

Choose the prints you want to use for your mini polaroids. Remember that you will be cropping the image into a square shape, so try to choose images based on what will look good in a square shape.

If you are using a POGO print, you just have to crop one-inch from the longest side of the print. You can see that for some images, I just cut an inch off the side; for others, I trimmed a little from each side. I have a metal ruler that is two inches wide, so I used that as a cutting guide. You could also draw guidelines with a pencil.

If you are using a larger size print, you can make a square by cropping the long size to the same length as the shortest side. (I know, duh, right?) Or you could make a square viewfinder in a plain piece of card stock (just cut with an exacto knife) and use that to find the best part of your image to crop. This would work well for finding an image in a magazine, too.

For the POGO, you'll affix your square using the sticker back. For another print or magazine, use a glue stick or your choose of adhesive. After making this first two prints, I realized I'd have less cutting if I placed the image in the corner instead of towards the middle. I was able to make two mini prints from each index card. Trim to size. I just eyeballed this. Basically, the bottom is about a third the height of the image, give or take. Then you'll have a thinner border at the sides and top. If you wanted this really precise, I'm sure you could find the exact dimensions online, but I didn't care if it was exactly right.

Enjoy your cute DIY polaroid prints! You'll be seeing mine soon in an art journal spread. I'll link it here whenever it's done. Have fun!

Buy Nothing Summer: Day Two

The Before Shot
Just to give you (and myself!) a sense of scale for how much crafty stuff we're talking about here in my major summer-long destash and shopping moratorium, I decided to use my fancy new camera to take a panorama shot of the pure chaos that is my art space. I took the shot by standing in the kitchen. The door on the left in the picture is the front door to our apartment. The sheer magnitude is staggering, right? It's a little embarrassing to put this out there in cyberspace for the whole world to see, but in order for anyone to understand why I'm being so crazy as to pledge not to buy any new supplies for eleven weeks, I need to share.

To be fair, we've only been living in our new place for three weeks now. It's not that I've been living with this mess for months and months. (That would drive me completely insane, I'm sure. I'm already a little insane.) The boxes aren't unpacked because I haven't figured out quite where to put everything. In addition, I am combining what was three separate areas in my old apartment into one: school supplies, art sale supplies, and my own personal stash. Keep in mind, too, that we recently went from living in a three bedroom apartment, where we each had our own studio and a gigantic living room to a combined living area / dual studio. [If you are wondering why we made such a drastic switch, let's just say the price is right, the location is stellar, and the place is beautiful.]

School supplies are supplies that are kept separate from my own stuff (at least in theory) and are used exclusively with my tween students. The supplies are currently being stored under my large craft table and have not been well organized since classes ended on June 2nd. [Supplies get crazy during classes, so I reorganize everything in between sessions. I'm behind because of the move!] I definitely need to destash some of the school supplies, because what has happened in the past is that stuff gets destashed from personal to school, but that's lower on my list right now since I have until September before I need most of this stuff. Oh, and I'm deciding right now that if I add from my personal stash to school, I need to get rid of something from the school stuff in order to accommodate it!

Art Sale supplies includes both display items that I use in my booth and finished inventory. This stuff was previously stored in its own closet, but will now all be stored under my desk. Since I am taking items into two different consignment shops this week, I haven't put it away yet. I'm hoping to have this stuff stored by the weekend. I won't need most of it again until September 10, unless I sell a lot of items on etsy between now and then.

Personal Stash is a little bit of everything and seriously out of hand. This is the bulk of what I'll be tackling this summer during my Buy Nothing Summer challenge. I want to have it both culled in size and better organized by the end of the summer. Wish me luck, because I sure need it!!!

If that wasn't bad enough, I do have crafty stuff in two other locations in our apartment. (Please bear in mind we have a one-bedroom apartment... yikes!)

I currently have all of my fabric, yarn, and sewing supplies stored on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. There's four feet of space up there, and I want to make use of it. Eventually, I'll like to have well organized school supplies up there instead of boxes of sewing stuff. I put the sewing stuff up there because even though it's still in boxes, it is actually somewhat organized, and I figured I don't have a place to sew yet anyway so why have it in the way. I destashed a lot of sewing stuff before the move so this is the creme de la creme. Haha!

In addition, and I don't have a picture of this, I have 14 plastic tubs full of zippers, organized by color family, currently stored in the bedroom closet. Like the kitchen, there's a lot of space on the top shelf so I'm trying to use it wisely (or, perhaps, unwisely). I did recently develop a cool technique for those zippers, so expect to see more about that here in the coming weeks! (Sorry to keep you in suspense, but I want to be able to show you pictures when I reveal my cool idea!)

Now that I've shown you the complete chaos that is my crafty life at the moment... have any tips for me? If this was your stuff, how would you start addressing it? I've tried starting in one corner and working my way around, but I keep getting overwhelmed and/or inspired to start creating. I've made art every day since I've moved in (which is amazing!), but I haven't made much progress in getting organized. Help!

See all of the Buy Nothing Summer posts here.

Make your own Buy Nothing Summer pledge! Feel free to grab this button for your blog:

Make up your own rules for yourself, addressing whatever your problem area is, and comment here with a link to your blog. I'll be posting a list of participants in a few days. We need the support!

19 June 2011

Buy Nothing Summer: End of Day One

I would have preferred for my first day of the challenge to be one where I completely avoided temptation, but I needed to go to Michaels to pick up wooden spools for a project I'm doing with my students this summer. [You may remember that one of my exceptions to the Buy Nothing Summer challenge I've set for myself is that I can still buy supplies for the arts classes I teach for teens.] Luckily, even though Michaels is packed full of crafty goodness, I knew I could resist buying anything, especially if I stayed away from the clearance aisle. I do shop at Michaels, but generally it's for class supplies, not as much for myself. I buy most of the supplies I use online, in thrift stores, at yard sales, or at Jerry's Artarama. Michaels I can handle.

I walked in and headed straight to the wood crafts section. I didn't look around, I didn't meander, I didn't check out the clearance area. I found the packages of wooden spools. I grabbed what I needed and beelined right to the register. Nick didn't say anything at the time, but later he told me he was impressed at how quickly I was in and out. I was, too!

After Michaels, we headed to Target, since Nick needed headphones. He suggested I check out the sports tops, since I've been saying for weeks I need to buy new ones. Luckily sports top are not remotely close to craft supplies, so I didn't feel all that bad about spending $3.74 (Yes!!!) on a cute tank top with a built-in bra. I'll be wearing it to the Zumba class I'm taking with my friend Jen on Wednesday. [In addition to losing lots of crafty supplies, I need to lose some serious weight!]

I think there's a definite danger in swapping buying crafts supplies with buying something else, but I gotta say that I don't feel like spending money is my problem. I am a cheap ol' miser girl if ever you met one. I rarely go out to eat since I am a good cook and enjoy preparing my own food. I hardly ever drink, and you will never find me in a bar unless I have been coerced with the promise of free drinks and no pressuring of oneself to sing karaoke. (Why do I fall for it?) I have a bad habit of wearing clothes until they literally fall apart, and I probably look like a bag lady half the time because all of my shirts are splattered with paint and dried up gel medium. Likewise, I wear shoes until it is physically unsafe to do so, and I swear I felt like a big spender when I paid $25 for a pair of clearance brand-name sneakers last summer. I haven't paid for a haircut in at least five years. (No wonder my hair reaches halfway down my back, eh?)

My problem is sheer accumulation of stuff: I went for a spell when Nick and I were searching for curb alerts every weekend. I came home with all sorts of wonderful, weird items, some of which actually got repurposed as planned, the rest of which is now in boxes in my apartment or, more likely, returned to whence it came. {One of my favorite finds from last summer is a vintage photograph of an older woman under a curved dome of glass in a gold frame. Josephina is now my crafty muse. I'll post a picture as soon as she's settled into her new home!}  Like most people, I cannot resist a good deal, particularly when said good deal is a lifetime supply of beautiful hemp for $4 or scores of pretty zippers in all shades of the rainbow for $16. I have the hardest time resisting a seriously good deal.

While I might not have purchased any crafty supplies for myself today, I didn't exactly make any progress on using up what I've already got either. Part of this is because we spent the afternoon with Nick's Memere, who was initiated into Moira's Sweat Shop. Together, the three of us bound over 50 handmade journals for use in my summer classes! Wow! Oh, wait, I guess I did use some of the beautiful hemp for that purpose! Hurray for me; I destashed, what, 1/10000th of my stash? Well... it's a start!

Tomorrow, I start my new job and will be teaching 16 kids how to make fabulous buttons in the evening. Before that, my goal is to set some sort of crafty schedule, as suggested by Laila, and to choose 5 specific items that I want to work on destashing this week. In addition, I have decided that you, yes you!, out in the blogosphere can help me with my task! I am going to start a collection of items that I will put up for grabs in a giveaway at the end of Week One of the Eleven Week challenge I have set for myself. Stay tuned soon for details on what you can win and how you can win it. (Hint: you will definitely get hemp and zippers!)

See all of the Buy Nothing Summer posts here.

Buy Nothing Summer: Day One

Buy Nothing Summer

It's day one of my Buy Nothing Summer. How do I feel: fine. It's going to be wicked easy in the beginning, because I know I don't need anything in order to continue making what I like to make. I suspect it will be harder sometime in August, because, ideally, by then I'll be starting to run low of some items. In a comment on yesterday's post about Buy Nothing Summer, Laila said that she has set aside one day a week for sewing projects. I like this idea because it definitely seems that there are projects that I'd like to do and just never get around to doing. Sewing is definitely one of those projects. I have lots of really gorgeous fabrics that I've been saving over the years, but, really, what's the point of pretty fabric if it's just sitting in a box somewhere? I'm going to think about this concept today and decide if a crafty schedule will work for me this summer. 

I decided to make a page in my art journal about the challenge I set for myself. I used the dog image from a takeout bag from Spike's Junkyard Dogs. It was in our recycling pile, but I just had to snag it for art making. Instead of putting it away in a drawer somewhere to promptly forget all about it, I used it immediately. The button in the lower left corner was a button that Nick gave me the day before. I looked at it, decided to punch two holes in it using my Cropadile Big Bite, and last night I sewed it into my journal using bright blue hemp. I don't usually add 3-D embellishments to my journal, so this was something new. I also used lots of washi tape, graph paper, Sharpie Poster-Paint markers, and a blue Decocolor marker.

I guess at this point that the only thing I am worried about in this challenge is the possibility of thinking, "Oh if only I had item X, I could do this with Y, Z, and beyond." If that happens, I will just have to figure out another way to do whatever it is I was thinking of doing! I'm an artist; I'm supposed to be creative and inventive. Let's just see how true that is.

See all of the Buy Nothing Summer posts here

18 June 2011

Busting that Stash: Buy Nothing Summer

Okay, I've been thinking a lot about the abundance of crafty stuff in our home, and not just because I've recently started watching Hoarders on Netflix. Nick and I moved from a three-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom place, so there's considerably less room for all of my supplies. I did downsize quite a bit before we moved, I swear; I even gave away several giant boxes of mixed media items to an artist in Connecticut and sold most of my yarn at a huge discount to a woman who teaches disadvantaged teens who to knit. We made many, many thrift store runs before our move... and yet the boxes are still piled up.

The problem is that everything has a potential use. I'm definitely not a hoarder holding on to completely useless things, but I do, admittedly, have many more things than I am likely to find time to use. I think the problem with letting crafty things go is that a use always turns up... eventually. And frequently after I've given said item away. Sigh...

The issue is that limited space really limits my options. Not only to I need to be super organized, which ain't my strong suit, let's be honest, but I need to get rid of more stuff. If I can't part with it by making donations, then the only logical thing is to part with it by USING it. I have already make a window privacy screen and a Swiffer cover without having to buy anything, so those have been small steps to busting my stash... but I completely countered that, I suspect, by giving in to my desires and buying a bunch of washi tape. (To be fair: I have used said washi tape every day since I've bought it, so I think it's a completely justified purchase.)

So, here's the plan: I'm going to buy nothing for my art from now until September 1st. No new markers, pens, or pencils. No giant dictionaries (ask Nick & he'll tell you that me + dictionaries = obsession). No more washi tape from Pretty Tape or Happy Tape.* No pretty yarns from Darn Good Yarns. [I have been coveting this one for weeks!] No boxes full of recycled wonders from the local recycling center. {This one might be impossible, but I'll do my best!} No yard sale treasures brought home to add to the clutter.

*Full disclosure: I ordered a huge stash of washi tape just this morning. Mwuahaha!

The only exceptions I'm going to make this are:

1) I'll definitely need to buy supplies for the classes I'm teaching. These items are strictly for student use and a required for my work, so these won't count in my Buy Nothing plan. I am, however, going to work on busting my stash by using as much of my own stuff (specifically: scrapbook papers, magazines, & other collage materials) as possible.

2) I might need to make an exception to this rule for business purposes, if I sell out of lockets or something in my etsy shop. This is pretty unlikely though since I think I'm well stocked on most items right now. Still, since I have a huge art sale on September 10th, it's possible that I might need to buy supplies for prepping inventory. Generally, this includes glue dots, zinc washers, and E6000. Maybe some 20 gauge wire or necklace chain. Possibly a spool of thread. Probably I have everything I need on hand or can make do without it if I don't. I am almost out of business cards though, which aren't a craft supply anyway. Just wanted to remind myself!

3) Um, yeah, so if I find something on the side of the road and I gotta have it; it's okay to bring it home. If I do bring something home; however, I must donate or trash something from my stash immediately to make up for it. I am, however, going to avoid my favorite "curb alerts" most of the time... I will be too busy making art anyway!

That's it! Eleven weeks (!!!) of buying nothing for my art. Can I do it? To be honest: I'm not sure! But I'm sure going to do my best! I'm pretty sure I have enough crafty goodies around me that I could craft all day every day for eleven weeks without running out of potential projects! I definitely have enough supplies to make:

  • a dozen or so art journals, especially if I make a journal using recycled cardboard and whatever random paper I find in my stash. It's totally possible that with a little ingenuity, I could double this number.
  • several full-size quilts or a bunch of smaller art quilts. (unlikely, but possible)
  • two decorative styrofoam head sculptures (hey, I gave away two!)
  • 20 or so embroidery hoop wall hangings
  • 10 mixed media paintings on canvas
  • about a billion hemp bracelets
  • 300 or so optical lens pendants (seriously)
  • umpteen Scrabble tile necklaces
  • several dozen bamboo bracelets
  • 5 dozen dictionary pencils
  • 1 funky recovered couch and 2 matching pillows
  • countless zippered pouches
What should you buy less of this summer? I challenge you to bust your stash this summer, too! If you are going to join in the fun, leave me a link to your blog and I'll post it here.

If you decide to participate, feel free to grab this icon and link back to Crafty Moira.

190 x 200 pixels

17 June 2011

Art Journal: Artist to Watch

I was clicking around on Flickr today and found the work of The Kathryn Wheel. Gorgeous stuff! She's hosting a giveaway right now of her two new Art Journaling DVDs, and I so want to win! I would totally buy the DVDs, but the postage is so much! Sad Moira!

The Kathryn Wheel

Art Journals: New Journal Cover

I have been wanting to make myself a hard cover art journal for a while now. A week or two before we moved, I finally did it! I used 2 8x10 canvas panels, three sheets of Fabriano Artistico HP watercolor paper (140lb), some book cloth tape sent to me by Nancy Rafi, and some heavy duty black cord. I decided not to start working in it until after the move, though I was unable to resist painting some backgrounds. I would have started working in it on June 6th when the FABULOUS In The Sun art journal course started... but, um, I couldn't find it until Tuesday. Doh!

I used my favorite homemade spray paints to create the background, then did an image transfer using the cover of the newest Free People catalog. I used a paint marker to make the word "art" then embellished it by tracing the letters with a Sharpie Poster-Paint marker and uni-ball signo pens in gold, white, and silver.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I started, but I ended up doing the spiral around her eye with the uniball then decided to embellish her eyes more. I used a neon green Sharpie poster-paint marker to draw the vines all over the cover. I love how it turned out. I'm not entirely sure if it's finished or not, but it's definitely a great start. I've already done some very summery backgrounds inside, so expect to see more from this journal as the summer progresses. Yay for art!


I know it's probably pretty dorky to write "art" on the cover of my art journal, but I wanted to make sure there was no mistaking it. Haha!

16 June 2011

Art Journal: Summer of Love


Ah, summer, I have a love-hate relationship with the summer. I spend much of the year wanting summer to get here.... then when it does, I'm too damn hot and sticky to do much of anything except hang out in the air conditioning. I do love Rhode Island thought because we get lots of nice sea breezes which helps break up the heat... plus it's always cooler near the water.
I had fun making this page on an art date with my boyfriend, Nick, tonight at Panera. Panera is a fantastic place to art journal because you can get free refills on coffee and tea, the food is fabulous (when you aren't being gluten-free that is, sigh!), and they have nice big tables. This started as a prompt from the In The Sun online art journal class. I wanted to work with the color blue for the Summer of Color class that I just discovered... two birds, one journal page. (Psst... both classes are FREE!)
I glued a vintage dictionary page and a paint splattered paper towel with gel medium to make the background. I added blue with Portfolio watersoluble oil pastels (love these!). When Nick was cutting stuff out of a magazine, I saw the white-framed blue image so I asked him to cut it out for me. I drew the flower on top with paint markers. I journaled on graph paper (my new favorite-- thanks, Natty!) and cut a scallop shape on one side to show off the lovely washi tape better. At first I put down the yellow, then decided to pull it up and put down the black&white so the yellow would pop better. When I pulled it up, part of the dictionary page came with it & I think it looks so cool! Might try that on purpose for another page!
I used a Dymo label marker, old school, for the "summer of love" text. Put that on washi tape to bring everything together. I decided to do a dashed line down through the middle of text, then decided to extend it the whole way around for an off-center rectangle. The left side needed something after that so I started drawing the half circle shapes. At first I thought, "Oh crap, I messed this up" but then I kept going and decided I loved it. (Art is awesome, isn't it?) I then decided that I needed to cut the side of the page into the scallop shape. I totally didn't realize until after I was done that I had continued that scallop shape subconsciously. Very cool.
I adore this page. I am pretty sure it's my all time favorite that I've made... Yay!
The text reads:
Summer makes me feel:
* sticky
* like taking lots of showers
* happy when the skies are blue
* up for an adventure
* young @ heart
* creative
* melancholy for summer's past
* glad it's not winter
* cranky, if there's no shade
* athletic (almost!)
* night owl - I want to take siestas!
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