Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vintage Collage Swap

Here's my items for the vintage swap below. These are going to Jan just as soon as I can get them in the mail. For the postcard I used stamps from Hero Arts (lady) and Lockhart (inchie border) and some pretty Basic Grey striped paper. The roses are real dried flowers. Jan lives in Alaska so I feel good giving her a bit of summer to get her through the winter!

On the arch I used stamps from YanKiwi (key) and PaperArtsy (ration book). I aged the yellow Fleur de Lis with alcohol inks and covered it with Glossy accents so it wouldn't scratch off.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vintage Collage Swap

I decided to host another collage swap with my swap friends. Here's a photo of what each person got and the idea is to choose 3 items and make a card, postcard, ATC or arch for their partner. Some people are making extra because there's so much to choose from and it's so much fun! I was going to put in just a few things this time so all the swap items were more likely to match, but it was too much fun to keep adding to the envelopes I was making. Can you believe almost all this stuff was stitting on my desk getting in the way!? I should do about 50 more swaps and then maybe my desk will be clean, LOL!

Anyways—here's what the swap contained:
Club Scrap Faux Postage Sheet
Pins that have tiny buttons on the end
Vintage wallpaper from the 50's (pulled straight off the wall of my dear Great-Aunt's house as a rememberence)
Prints of some vintage sailor photos (each swapper got a different set)
CTMH Paper Lace
Pearl Brad
Antiqued Copper Brads and Eyelets
Yellow Fleur de Lis Brad
Vintage address book page
Square Scalloped punch out
Oval Scalloped acrylic sticker
7-Gypsies Aged Label (each swapper got a different one)
Some Club Scrap cardstock
Some pretty patterened paper

Do you think that's enough to choose from? What would you choose to make something with? I'm having trouble choosing from making a masculine or feminine vintage item. Maybe I should do both—I am really thinking I need to make arches since I never get to do those. Oh—it's fun having choices!

I will update with links to everyone's final product as they come in.

Here's Jan's Arch

Penny's (items #1 & 5)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey, Ma! Guess what I made!?

I took a beading class 2 weekends ago and here is the product of my class. My very first pieces using wire stringing techniques. The nice lady at the shop did the wirework for me on a vintage Chinese coin that I picked up in Macau. I picked out the beads and colors and did the stringing. I used a combination of cheap and expensive beads but I liked the mixture of sizes, colors and shapes. I used real and fake turquoise--I wish I had some real turquoise chips to use--maybe someday I will find some that are just right and then I can restring it from scratch. In the meantime I was happy to create something new.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kitty Goodness!

For all who are wondering, The kitties are doing just great! They are almost done training us too! They have trained Matt to give them treats so they can beg (sigh—I had it so they never begged but Matt said he *likes* begging kitties!) They have trained me to play on demand and to go downstairs in the morning when they say. They got fixed 10 days ago so tonight Boo gets her stitches out. Here's a photo of them sleeping like angels—they are so attached to each other!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Birthday Card

Hope you didn't think I abandoned you all! But it's been really hot upstairs and the kittens are very demanding of my little spare time. As soon as I sit down, Boo wants to play and play! Anyways, here's a birthday card I made for a coworker. Stamps are from Impression Obsession and Purple Onion Designs. I colored in with my copics and topped the parfait with glossy accents.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hell Money

Here's another installment of my China Collage Share. This is called "Hell Money". It is traditionally burned at funerals to make sure the deceased has enough to get them through in the afterlife. They use the word "hell" to refer to the underworld; not meaning the same "hell" as we use in Western speech.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stamping Score!

I went to the Carson Stamping Convention this weekend and I scored the coolest grab bag ever! Just $30 for a huge bag from http://zettiology.com. How cool is that! It was so good I really wish I had splurged and got the second bag they had, but when I went back an hour later they were all gone! Here's the images I got—$150 worth of stamps for me. I spent my time on Sunday cutting them all out and mounting them. Forgive my sloppy indexing—I got a little lazy.It is fun to buy grab bags from good companies because it is like a treasure hunt! Matt was helping me look through them and we both though there was a stamp that looked like a map. Matt said it was probably Europe. I knew he had to be right, so imagine my surprise when I stamped it out and it was Albert Einstein! I laughed out loud! I am so glad I got two of him in the bag—I've always wanted an Albert stamp so now I have double!

Is that eye cool or what!? I had no idea what it was going to be. I thought maybe a sailboat or something. I stamped it and turned it around and around until it was the right side and there I saw the eye! Surprise!
The stamp with the Asian characters on the bottom left is what made me get this bag instead of the other one. I love Asian stuff so I thought it looked good. The other one had an Egypt stamp in it with Horus so I really wish I had that one too. But Asian is cooler than Egypt on the "Llama Cool Scale" ha ha!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Comic Relief

Here's another set of images for our Chinese Collage Share. These came out of a small booklet I bought on Cat Street in Hong Kong. It is some sort of mini comic book with each page telling part of the story. I'm not quite sure what it's about, but I love the illustrations.

Feel free to save these to your hard-drive by clicking on the images to enlarge and then right-clicking to save. Enjoy printing them out to use on your collage. I hope you make something and post a link here to share!

Click on the image share link at the bottom of this post to find the rest of the images I am sharing for our Chinese Collage Swap.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do you like Stamps?

Well, I happen to love stamps! Both the rubber kind and the postal kind. Here's another image share from my China Collage Swap. Hope you enjoy the stamps! I bought them from a street vendor near the Museum of Macau. I paid wayyyy too much for them (I think about $5, US) but I really loved them.

I also over-paid for a beautiful hand-carved antique ivory skull-head bracelet at the same time. I think I paid $12 for that. I'll post a picture for you all one day. I do love it and actually wear it sometimes, so it was worth the money to me.

Click to see the large image and right-click to save it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oliver ATC

Oh, funny! I found this unposted ATC that I did for a "cat" swap a couple of months ago. When I made it I racked my brains searching for the perfect name for an orange kitty. Little did I know that I would soon have an orange kitty named Oliver (Ollie!) And we just got him by chance, too! I knew I really wanted a boy kitty and he was the only boy in the little so he was destined to be mine!

Stamp by Stampin' Up! Couch is hand-drawn, papers by foofala (I think!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kitten Update

Some of you have asked how the kittens are doing. As you can see they have settled in just fine and they now own us!

They play like wild demons until they pass out from sheer exhaustion. I'm glad we got them both so they could play together. When they are apart they will cry until the other one comes near.

Little Boo is the brave one, even though she is smallest. Whatever she does first, Ollie will follow. She hunts hard, plays hard and sleeps hard. When she sleeps it is like all the bones fall out of her body and she goes limp and just purrs like an angel. Don't let her tiny face fool you as she is hiding behind her brother. There is a reason her nickname is "Destructress" as you can see in the next photo.

Can you tell one of their favorite play toys? They love to play in the shutters. Boo loves to hang off them like a monkey. Little Ollie is getting a bit of a belly as he is growing so it is harder now for him to wedge himself into the shutters but that doesn't stop him! I will be glad when they are both too big to get in there because I have to be careful they don't accidentally tear the screen while they are chasing each other and looking at butterflies outside.

Here's sweet Ollie sleeping. Isn't he an angel? He and Matt have really bonded. Ollie likes to sit with Matt and watch TV. Kitty purrs at the drop of a hat; even if he's eating or playing he will purr. He's a happy little thing that just wants the kitty "good life." I think he has it, what do you think?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well, since I am taking so long with my image shares, I figured I would give you the "big whammy" next! Here are some wonderful images for you to print out. If you right-click on the image above you can save it and print an 8.5 x 11" sheet of these lovely ladies.

I got these vintage cards in Hong Kong in a small antique district called "Cat Street". As romantic as that sounds the street was named because it is narrow and long ago was a great place for thieves and cat-purses! Despite the history, if you go to Hong Kong, you must check out this street! They have lots of thrift-shop and vintage finds if you don't want to take a chance on the pricier (and possibly phony) high-end antiques.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chinese Collage Swap - Play Along!

I have a great group of friends I swap with and we have swapped for a few years together. One of the fun type of swaps we do is called a Collage Swap. The hostess will send each participant a package of similar goodies and then we all make something with it. I decided to hostess this time since I came back with such cool items from my vacation.

If you want to play along at home I will be posting spoilers and some images that you could print to use for your own art. If you make something, I'd love to see what you made. Please post a link! The rules we are following are pretty simple: Use at least three of the items (in whole or part) to make an ATC, but feel free to bend the rules or make anything you want. It is so fun to be inspired by what others did with the same items!

Here's what was in my package:
1. A piece cut from a modern map of Hong Kong
2. An old Chinese coin (the kind that is round with a square hole in the middle)
3. Some pages from a small vintage book that looks like a small comic story
4. An old Chinese postage stamp
5. A printed copy of some old Chinese images—each player got a different image
6. "Hell Money" which is fake money that is traditionally burned at a funeral
7. Decorative papers that are also burned at funerals
8. A page from a beautiful book that was illustrated with three drawings per page
9. Some ATC bases; one glossy base and two vintage playing cards from Las Vegas (obviously not from my trip, ha ha!)

Click the image above to see number 7, which I posted for your first image share. Once you can see the larger image, right-click to save to your computer for printing. This is funeral paper so you can give your loved one a good send off to the afterlife. I can't remember all the characters' meanings, but I do remember that part of it is supposed to mean "smooth sailing" which seems like a nice sentiment for a port city. The original papers are printed on soft paper with a metallic foil finish to the center. These were purchased in a small outdoor market on Taipa Island, Macau.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Macau Casinos

Did you know that Macau is a new gambling capital? It is wilder than Las Vegas and growing even faster. We're not big on gambling, but it is one of the main reasons people go to Macau and one of the few things to do there at night. And since Macau is so small, you can't help but walk through the casino areas on your way to the sites. This first picture is of the Wynn and MGM which we didn't see inside.

We went inside several casinos but unfortunately, they won't let you take pictures. The nice thing is that there's free air-conditioning and free bottled water inside. Well, almost free; I ended up gambling about $75 away while we were there. That ends up to be about $8 American, which is still a lot of money to waste on air-conditioning, ha ha!

My favorite building was the New Lisboa. It is a grand and crazy-looking structure that looks like a stylized Lotus flower, the symbol for the city. It was also explained to me that it was a dragon head; perfectly poised to eat the Wynn Casino! The bridge that connects Macau and Taipa islands serves as the dragon's backbone and his tail is a carved wall that runs up the hill on the side of Taipa Island. I love the symbolism of it all and the crazy-cool modern architectural vision of the building.

Unfortunately, it was my least-favorite casino inside. It was garish and overdone with no style whatsoever. It was covered with shiny things of different sizes, shapes and colors. Nothing matched, except in the contest to be the most gaudy thing ever. But the air was cool and the water was free!

This is the old Casino Lisboa. It is another crazy building that reminds me of old Vegas from the sixties. Wacky, kitchy and a little funky. It had that retro-Vegas feel inside too; full of black marble and gilded mirrors. Stylish with its own old-school fashion. And how could you not love its crazy charm?

The Venetian is on Taipa Island, tucked away from the other casinos, but it's worth looking into. It is the largest casino in the world and the second-largest building in the world. It is 50% bigger than the Venetian in Las Vegas. It was kind of stunning to be inside of it. I was really overwhelmed at how big it was and how *much* of everything there was.

We got lost inside the casino trying to find our way out and back to Matt's parents. I walked for miles it seemed to find the ladies room; past hundreds of slots and a band playing some old 80's tunes. I was distracted by all the lights and sounds and colors and it was a little too much for me.

There is a mall upstairs with top-quality shops and I think it was bigger than South Coast Plaza, our local upscale mall here at home. There is of course; an indoor canal system and it was a little eerie and beautiful to hear them singing as they wound their boats through the system; like bats trying to use sonar to find their way home. I loved the canals, but I was thrilled to leave the casino and head back to our hotel.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Identity Theft?

I got a funny email with a bunch of animal pictures in it with matching animals of different types. These two were my favorite—can you guess why?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Meet Boo!

So we couldn't resist the sweetness of the little black and white kitty. Matt suggested "Boo" if it was a black kitty and he didn't like my suggestion of "Molly" so we decided to call her Boo! She is just a little darling and so is Ollie. They are quickly taking over our home to make it theirs.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We're expecting. . . KITTENS!

Oh yes—it is finally time—KITTEN TIME!

We are both so excited and tonight we are driving to Whittier to pick up our new friends. We are getting a little boy orange tabby that we will call Oliver, or Ollie for short. And we will choose between two black girl kitties; one all black and one with a little white. It will be hard to decide. I'll let you know later who we get. Feel free to add your name suggestions. Thanks to his current "human housekeeper and personal kitty servant" for this cute little photo of Ollie to share!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Obsessed with Color

Have you ever been obsessed with color? Can you guess the direction of my latest obsession? Photos from my vacation in Macau.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

First glimpse of Macau

Here's our second night of vacation. Our first day was spent flying and checking into a room in Hong Kong. The next morning we got up and the guys got fitted for their suits in HK. Then we boarded the ferry for Macau. We got there in time for dinner with friends at the hotel. Here is the awesome view from our room. We actually stayed on the bottom island, Taipa; which is right by the University so we could see across the bay to Macau Island and see the new casinos. Isn't it pretty?

Our whole excuse for this vacation was so my Father-In-Law could guest lecture at the U of Macau and we could all visit with his professor friend, Henry. We got to spend lots of time with Henry and his wife, Miho. They were great hosts and tour guides.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Bad Day to Live Through Twice

Well, I've been pretty scarce because we were on vacation in Hong Kong (yaaay!) I'll write more about that later, but First I will whine about the woes of traveling. You see when you fly from US to Asia, you cross the International Date line and you lose a day. When you fly back to US you gain the day back. So we left Hong Kong on Monday at 12:30 PM and we arrived in Los Angeles on Monday at 9:30 AM; 3 hours before we left. How's that for time-travel?

But it was a day nobody wants to live through twice; even if you like Mondays. My first Monday consisted of a workout at the hotel gym, packing and rushing to get a bite before we left to the airport and then a grueling 12-hour flight back to LA. We fly economy, of course, and there is nothing like being cramped in a plane when you can't sleep and you finished your good book in two hours with 10 hours to go. But we made it through the first Monday and finally landed—home at last.

But it was not a good Monday at home either. My Great-Aunt died when I was on vacation, and her funeral was at 1pm that afternoon. So we made it just in time (actually 10 minutes late) for her funeral and of course that was sad and emotionally draining. We were both exhausted wrecks and could barely make the drive without falling asleep. And we were in our airplane clothes; which for Matt meant a t-shirt and USC shorts. I didn't think about it until later, but I wonder what people thought about that. Hopefully they were forgiving and understood that at least we had made it to see my favorite aunt to her rest. If not, well then too bad; we did what we could. I know that our close family members understood and were glad to see us no matter what we looked like. And that's all that really matters.

So that was my Monday and my Monday Redux. I'm glad we made it through and I will never have to live that day over again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Another Bathroom Story!

So what is it with me and bathrooms? I swear I have a bathroom jinx or something. I was traveling this week for work. I had to go to the restroom after I picked up my luggage. The handicapped (extra-large) stall was occupied, so I squoze myself into a regular stall, along with my laptop, briefcase, coat, and my suitcase. The problem was that somehow I got everything in there, but I couldn't open the door to get out! Yep—there I was trapped in the airport bathroom and I couldn't get the door open because my suitcase was in the way. I was jammed in the corner trying to squeeze my bag so the door would open around it. Nothing worked. Finally I had to put my suitcase on the floor and mash it down and push it under the door, inch by inch. Once it was outside the stall I could open the door and get out. Of course, my suitcase was covered in bathroom cooties, but at least I was free and I could breathe a sigh of relief as I ran to catch my shuttle!

Now just in case you're the kind of person who wonders what kind of moron wouldn't go to the bathroom first *before* they got their suitcase, I would like to assure you that I did go first, but the shuttle took so darn long that I had to go again! Sigh—travel is rough!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Copic Comparison

Here are some comparison details of Alcohol Based Markers. This information is written to the best of my knowledge. I own each of these types, so have been able to compare them at home. I have supplemented the info with research from online and brochures. Please let me know if I have made any errors.

+ Cheapest (< $25 for 12 at Dick Blick) + Sold at M's with coupon
+ 156 colors
+ Easy to use brush & fine point like SU! markers
+ Coordinates with same colors of Prismacolor Pencils

- My least favorite marker shape - too bulky to use easily
- Hard to tell which end is broad/fine
- Lids hard to remove
- Case is opaque and hard to remove lid
- Stinkier
- Less light-fast—will fade faster

Fine Tip
Chisel Tip

Copic Sketch + Ciao
+ Easy to see which end is brush/chisel
+ Nice clear plastic case
+ Easy to find at online Scrap & Stamp stores!
+ Nicely named color scheme makes it easy to choose
+ 322 Colors
+ More shades of grey
+ More light-fast

Brush Tip
Chisel Tip

Copic Sketch
+ Sets to coordinate with Stampin' Up colors (Ellen Hutson.com)
+ Shape is flat so it won't roll
+ Color listed on top of lid
+ Holds more ink
+ Compatible with Airbrush out of box

- Most expensive (~$60 for 12)
- Harder to fit into case since they're oval
- Changing chisel to fine point is expensive

Copic Ciao
+ Cheaper (~$50 for 12)
+ Easier to hold
+ Smaller case
+ Easier to fit into case since they're round
+ Compatible with Airbrush with modification (put dimensional foam dots on can.)

- No fine point tip available

Replaceable Tip
Alcohol Ink based (can use on plastic or glass)
Acid-free when dry

Monday, March 24, 2008

268 Steps - My Motivation

Here's my latest motivation for working out! Yep--268 steps to see the giant Buddha in Hong Kong. I have to see him and oh, I hope those steps don't kill us. We are expecting 80 degree temperatures and 80% humidity! And 268 steps.

So we have been working out three times a week since January to train for this big event. I am just barely starting to see any results--I'm guessing it's because I'm in such bad shape. No, really; I'm probably the worst-shape person you know! I have asthma and have barely exercised in the last 10 years due to some health issues and problems with my feet. But I am ready to get back into shape again (I mean, some shape besides "round", LOL!)

It is hard because just doing the elliptical for a half hour makes all my muscles sore (even my back for some reason, and I don't even use the hand part of the machine) And my feet just ache and I limp the next day from it. But I am doing it anyways. At first when we started I would do it as easy as possible and not push myself at all. I have had trouble in the past with getting sick whenever I try to work out. I guess it just pushes my poor body past its last reserve. (pathetic, huh?) So I kept it easy and kept it up. I was angry at first; really angry every time we had to work out. I mean, I would feel rage about going there and I can't even explain it. I would scowl and sulk, even though it was my choice and I know I need to do this.

After about 4 weeks I stopped feeling angry and after another few weeks I don't even dread going. So after two months, that's my progress--I don't hurt *as* much and I'm not so angry. I still almost died climbing a hill in San Diego 2 weeks ago. I still have not lost even one ounce. My pants are still too tight. We walked on the beach yesterday and I still ached all over. But Matt said he noticed I was breathing a little easier on our walk and I stopped less. So progress is slim and slow but at least there is progress.

So say a prayer for me that I don't have a heart attack or pass out or something when I go to see the big Buddha on our vacation--I gotta get up there for the photo ops!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Copic Obsession

Yes—I have fallen under the Copic fever that everyone seems to have! At the last stamp show I attended I saw some at the Lost Coast Designs Booth. She had a sample pack for us to test and I could tell how much I liked them. I decided to splurge on myself and got both sets: Earth & Air and Fire & Water. This gave me a nice collection of muted tones; the kind of colors I love to work with. I used them in the card above; supplemented with some of my Prismacolor Alcohol markers for the bright yellow, red and black colors. I also had to use some of my Stampin Up! water based markers for the lighter grey and stone tones.

This made me decide to supplement with some more Copics from Ellen Hutson's store. I also got a blender pen which I highly recommend.

Then, since I am obsessed I decided it wasn't enough so I found this great bargain at Dick Blick. Click on the image to see more. This was a fabulous addition because it has all the primary colors plus black. It came with a pad of paper, which is almost a thin, tracing paper, but it shows off the colors so well. I have just used it to practice so far. The kit has a litle carrying case (for all my singles I bought!) and a great book on Manga & Anime. Even though I can't draw a stick figure, I have always wished to be an artist, so I read the book completely to get ideas and learn coloring techniques. I do recommend the book—even if you are just a crafter like me. It gave lots of tips on shading and coloring and some images you can photo-copy to use for coloring practice if you like.

So, here's my Copic Tip for you that I learned from the book and haven't read anywhere else. When you are coloring, put a layer of the blender pen first and lay it down on the paper like a primer. This will help the colors to blend together easier. It really does help. You can, of course, also use it on top of the colors once you have colored your image.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Macau's a go!

Yahoo! I thought I'd better update since we got our tickets--thank goodness for Frequent Flyer Miles! I will update more soon! We fly into Hong Kong and take a boat over to Macau! We are hoping we can meet Johnny and Manami from Japan in Hong Kong for our last 3 days.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Postage People ATC's

I joined a swap to do some postage people ATC's, which are all the rage right now. Basically, you find a postage stamp with a person or animal head and then find a body image to match and make them into an ATC.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it's much harder than it looks. Dymphie suggested that we find a body that is facing the proper direction and then color on the stamp to help blend the head into the body. That helped a lot.

I was lucky enough that I had a stamp that would match thes Paul Revere stamps. I hope none of the "Daughters of the American Revolution" members or some other heritage group get mad at me for dressing him in "drag", ha ha!

There are some fabulous examples of postage people here on the bockel24 site. Dymphie is another great postage people maker. And don't forget to check out Linda's who is the hostess for the swap I'm in! For more inspiration, check out this interesting photo form that is very similar to postage people, called Sleeve Face Photos

Patterened paper by foofala. Cardstock by Club Stamp and Stampin Up! Chocolate & Lady stamps from Club Stamp, zig-zag from Hero Arts, and postmark from Sugar Lump Designs