SWAT Color challenge

Hi! It is time for another SWAT Challenge. This time, we are hosting a color challenge. For my take on this challenge, I decided the gold should definitely sparkle, because if you can, you should always shine!

I made a thank you gift for a friend who helped my husband with a major project. She adores Almond Roca, and I adore mason jars, and this is the combination of both!

I created a mixed media tag to include a special thank you note. I started with the Kraft base and added some Dylusions white spray. I selected my layering papers, and then added some ribbon flowers, sequins and buttons with collague pauge.

On the back, I added a white background and some washi and wrote my personal note. I decorated the jar with a chalk sticker on which I wrote thank you. To make it stick, I had to use some foam adhesive squares to keep the label secure.

I hope you are all well, and find someone to thank! Create a project using the color board, and of course use your own interpretation of the challenge. Don't forget to link up to SWAT to enter our great prize drawing.

This month we Have an amazing sponsor! And one lucky winner will win a $20 Gift Card to shop at......Flying Unicorn Store. How Awesome!


SWAT- Selfie

Hello! Happy June!

This month we begin with a Selfie challenge at SWAT! Creative Embellishments has a great prize for one of our participants, a $20 gift card! Link up to us with your selfie project and have some fun!

Henri Mattise

Vincent Van Gough
I decided to take a completely different spin on the selfie trend and go retro. Self-Portraits are the original selfies. Some of my favorite artists are Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gough, and Frida Kahlo. Their portraits are self-critical, emphasising the flaws perceived in themselves, which is an interesting contrast to today's selfies, which focus on looking perfect.

Frida Kahlo
Generally, I feel pretty imperfect, and I thought that a selfie is a great way to reflect on my life for the moment. I tried to include elements of things around me.

For mine, I used mixed media to create a selfie. I used Uniball pen to make the face, and acrylic paint for the colored background. To get the background, I did a couple of Gelli Plate prints, and then rinsed them off in the sink. The detail work is a mix of Uniball and Sensai pens. As I was finalizing this project, my youngest insisted on helping. First instinct is to tell her no, of course. However, I asked her what she wanted to do, and she said "draw".  She reminded me she also said please. I gave her a pen and she decorated the space around my head with hearts, and then connected the hearts with lines. Her details were a perfect fit, and I am proud to have a collaborative work created with my daughter.

Budgie working on the hearts
 My selfie ended up an image of how I see myself, and how she sees me, which is with a lot of love. I'm pretty lucky.

Share with us at SWAT! Have some fun, and reflect on yourself for a bit.


SWAT- Handmade Flowers

I hope for most of you, Spring is in full swing! Right now, in the Pacific Northwest, it has been warm, and the flowers are blooming. This week for SWAT, we are growing our own gardens, with handmade flowers!

I love seeing handmade flowers, and I am always amazed when I see intricate origami or assembled flowers. For this challenge, I decided to make roses, one of my favorite flowers.

These are a version of the popular spiral flowers, but I make a few adjustments. I used brown paper bag instead of cardstock, and ripped the edges of the spirals for a rougher edge. After gluing the flowers, I misted them. Finally I squished them to get more depth and variation in the petals.

For the base, I cut some black chipboard into a heart, and drew the lace detail. Then, I attached my flowers, leaves, and vintage buttons, and glued and dyed the ribbon.

For me, the thing about flowers is their imperfection makes them beautiful. Of course, we have a great prize up at SWAT if you play along, so start making your own garden!



SWAT Color Challenge.

It is time for another challenge at SWAT!!! This time, it is a color challenge, with my favorite palette, the printer's palette. Cyan, Magenta, Black and Yellow.

For the color, I used mists and stamped some images. I was going for a simple sentiment, so I didn't want to overly work the card.

Of course, I added a little sparkle, just because I love just a touch of glitter.

As always, SWAT has a great prize lined up if you play along and link up to the blog.

SWAT- FLOWER Challenge.

This week, SWAT has a fun challenge for you to try. The challenge is to make a layout that includes elements using the letters from the word "flower". Here is my go at the challenge.

F- Fussy Cutting
L- Lettering by hand
O- One photo
W- Washi
E- Enamel Dots
R- Ribbon

This is definitely a layout that didn't know what it wanted to be. I began with the lettering, which was part of a practice I was doing trying to improve my hand lettering skills. That sat about for several weeks, until I saw the yellow paper, and I knew that the two belonged together. Then, I fussy cut the yellow, green and white flowers, and arranged them around the circle. Again, the project sat because I was stuck. Then, I decided that my oldest on her first horseback ride was a good fit, so I added the photo, the background and the "in Life" to the original circle. At that point, I decided I had enough elements that fit the "FLOWER" theme that I decided to finish the layout. I added washi tape, enamel dots, and ribbon to round out the layout.

Of course Paper Secrets is still spronsoring this great prize pack for this month. To enter, upload your FLOWER creation to SWAT.



It is time for another SWAT Challenge! This time, we're playing bingo! I loved this challenge because I remember playing bingo and elementary school, and trying to win those cinnamon gummi bears.  I don't remember what we were learning, math or spelling words or something, but those bears. YUM!

For my turn at the challenge, I used column 2:
  1. Stars
  2. Stamp
  3. Four different manufacturers
  4. Modeling Paste
  5. Mist

I enjoyed the challenge of creating against the bingo card. I hope you like my go at the challenge, and play bingo as well. Remember to link to us at SWAT. This month, Paper Secrets has provided an awesome prize pack, so get to creating and linking.


SWAT- No Twist Just a Sketch

It is time for another challenge over at SWAT! This time, it is a sketch. No special twist, other than whatever you do to make it your own.

For my go at the sketch, I decided to go a little different direction and switch up the shapes in some of the layers. I love that with a sketch, you can use it as a blueprint, or more of a menu to customize.

This layout was a hard one, as it is a photo from my father's memorial. Using a sketch helped me keep the focus on the feeling I wanted through paper choice and titles. I have a hard time with the photos of this event, so they are slowly being done one-by-one when one speaks to me.

Of course, SWAT has a little motivation to get you started....
FaberCastell Gelatos Designer Colors 4 pc. Tropical
We Have an amazing sponsor this month! And one lucky winner will win this Random Draw Prize from the Paper Bakery!
Link up your creations for an entry to win!


Monday's List- Documentaries

Lately, I have been watching documentaries on Netflix. There is something I find compelling and inspiring about documentaries. I find that documentaries hit me at an emotional level that feature films do not.  Here are five of my favorite:

1. Shut Up Little Man: From terrible neighbors to a viral phenomenon. The absurdity of the relationship between roommates is complelling and unbelievable.

Who should watch this? Anyone with less-than-delicate sensitivites interested in human relationships, viral media, or hilarious arguments.

2. Dear Zachary: A man's memoir created for his murdered best friend's son turns into a heartwrenching documentation of the aftermath. The filmmaker inadverently takes the audience on a devastaing journey that will haunt the viewer. Have tissue nearby.

Who should watch this? True-Crime show lovers.

3. Best Worst Movie This documentary answers all the questions that late-night TV watching brings. How does a terrible movie get made? Do the people in the movie know that it is terrible? What happens to terrible actors?

Who should watch this? Movie afficainados, anyone who needs a laugh.

4. Brother's Keeper: Impoverished, poorly educated farmers living in squalor struggle with the accusation that their oldest brother was murdered by Delbert, one of the younger brothers.

Who should watch this? Redneck-reality show lovers, anyone interested in human relationships.

5. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An exploration of the failure of a low-income housing project in St. Louis. The film explores the social changes that caused the literal implosion of this post-war modernist housing effort. Pruitt-Igoe is cited in anti-social welfare as an example of government programs being ineffective. The issues around Pruitt-Igoe highlight how gaps in legislation can cause the failure of social programs.

Who should watch? Those interested in social justice, or equality issues. Anyone interested in mid-century social trends.

What are your favorite documentaries? Share with me!


Throwback Thursday

This is a picture of my oldest at 6 months. Her eyes were always so perfect. She has huge eyeballs, and perfectly painted eyebrows. I adored when she looked up at me. Today, she still melts my heart looking up at me with those sweet baby blues. The pink bink is so perfect in this picture, she spent most of her first year rocking a Playtex Binky. Those things were like gold to find, so we would stock up every time we found them.

SWAT Drill 27- Mixed Media

It's time for another SWAT challenge! This time, get mixed up in mixed media. Whether it is your first go or you are a seasoned pro, we want to see your creations! As always, if you share with us,  you're entered into the drawing for our monthly prize!

For my go, I created a canvas. I started with decoupage, using Collage Pauge to adhere some My Minds Eye and Authentique paper to create a base. I used Golden Acrylic fluid paints to create a color wash with Golden Fluid Medium. I chose to work with a basic printers pallet of Magenta, true Yellow, and Cyan.  I like this combination because it mixes into vibrant, clear colors. 

I hand designed the lettering, and added it onto the washed base. After, I used plastic wrap to add layers of acrylic over the elements. I added the circle using a Derwent Inkentense Pencil in Charcoal. Gesso was added with a Tim Holtz stamp. Then, I used a sequin mask to create depth. Finally, I added the hand cut heart and added the Charcoal outline. 
To link up your work, go to SWAT!

Throwback Thursday

This is one of my favorite photos ever. This is my Great Uncle Joe, Great Uncle George, and Grandad (Calvin). This photo is in front of a covered wagon, and the original has a weird ghost kid left over from old-school pre-Photoshop photo editing. My granddad's family was very poor, and real life Oakies (like in "The Grapes of Wrath"). They left the dust bowl of Oklahoma during the depression and worked as sharecroppers in northern Texas. Joe, George, and Calvin stories were always riotous tall tales of their misadventures and near death experiences. Back in the day, it was fine to let your kids run free across the countryside, play at logging sites, and nearly kill themselves by knocking over stacked logs.  Of course, there was also stealing moonshine during prohibition, which of course their dad said he was "giving right back" to the owner. I miss hearing the many stories my granddad told, he was a masterful storyteller, and lived so many misadventures.

Throwback Thursday

This throwback is from 2009, when the daycare lady grabbed me for a mommy and me photo at dropoff with my youngest. Of course, I am rocking the barely-dry hair and no makeup look. Budge is still in her bald phase, which ended early in her 4's. She looks about as awake as I do. Apparently, 6:30 am is not the best time for a photo shoot for either of us. I love the bulletin board in the back with the I can do photos. This particular year, all the infants were only a few weeks apart in age, so there weren't huge age gaps, and everyone was meeting milestones at about the same time.

SWAT Dril 26 LOVE!

SWAT is back with another Drill- This challenge-- LOVE! For this challenge, I chose to do a Mixed Media Canvas.

I wanted to stay away from the cliche representations of love, hearts, cupids, roses and the like. I decided to use a lotus instead of a rose. Lotuses bloom in muddy ponds, and rise from the mud at the bottom toward the light to bloom. The contrast of the pure flower against the muck in the pond is recognized as symbolism for purity and enlightenment in many cultures, especially Asian cultures.

Love is about growth. In some ways, the purity of love shines against the mundane and pain of everyday life. Love isn't a separation from hurt, is endures beyond, and is beauty within the mess.

Supplies for canvas:
Colored Pencil- a mix of brands
Acrylic- Daniel Smith and Golden
Paper- Authentique

Of course we want you to share with us at SWAT! Upload your creation to be entered for this month's prize.

Throwback Thursday

This throwback is of my oldest. The cool thing about being the oldest is that you get to knock your parents down a peg regularly. We had a wood stove, and were very careful to fence the area in order to keep her safe from the fire. This did not keep me safe from the fire, I managed to burn the heck out of my hand at least once a season. Seriously, I should have some sort of permanent scar or deformity from hitting the top of the inside door with alarming regularity. The gate also did not stop an inquisitive toddler from borrowing kindling regularly. She quickly figured out how to pull herself up upon the bin, and maneuver the sticks out of their cage. This was merely the beginning of her incredible problem solving skills. 

Throwback Thursday

This throwback is of the most perfect, lovely child to ever grace this planet, ME! My Grandma Mona is carrying me, obviously telling someone else how incredible I am. Look at those hands! I have got the gangsta style posing down. Clearly, a gifted infant. I have to give my Grandma props, her makeup is not dated, she looks gorgeous for any time. She still is as stylish today.

Monday's List: Getting Started with Art Journaling under $25

One of the questions that I see most often with art journaling is "What do I need to get started?" The lists of supplies can be extensive and pricey, which isn't resonable to just try something out. I decided to challenge myself and create a starter kit on a budget. He are my recommendations and justifications:

1.  Acrylic Paints
I'm choosing acrylic paints because they are the most versatile. You can create mists, washes, or build colors. Clean up is easy with acrylic.  This Golden Try Color set is a mixing set that is based on printer's colors. At $6, it is a great starter set. You could also pick up small tubes individually, just look for these types of colors so that they mix well.

To be cost-effective, you might start with a watercolor set. This Crayola set is under $3. To get the most out of watercolors, mist the pan with water and let it sit for 5 minutes. This allows the pigment to soften, and it allows you to get a richer color from inexpensive paints.

For free, you can ask someone who uses liquid watercolors to share a few dabs. Let the dabs dry in a tray, and you have created an custom dry watercolor set.

2. Paper
Spend your money here. In mixed media, light paper will warp and buckle. I abuse my art journals. I have run pages under the kitchen sink with the water on full blast. I love Bee Paper Super Journals.

3. Adhesive
A collage adhesive is helpful. Start with a small bottle to see if you like the brand. A 4oz bottle of Mod Podge is under $3. Personally, I prefer Collage Pauge. An 8 oz bottle lasts me months, and a sealant is not required.

4. Pens
These Uni-Balls write on everything. I have used them on many mixed media surfaces and they write beautifully. They also do not discolor when wet, which is important if you want to paint or mix over your ink. You can use any pen, but test it with the technique you are using first, to make sure the Pen won't bleed.

5. Brushes
I like synthetic brushes with acrylic and watercolor. I also use them for collage. Pick a set with a variety of brushes. A sponge brush is also helpful.

Paint Set: $5.99
Bee Paper: $6.65
Adhesive: $2.89
Pens: $2.25
Brush Set: $5.99

Total: $23.77

I hope this helps those of you looking to try Art Journaling.



SWAT! Drill 25 Black and White +1

It is time for another SWAT challenge. This time, use black and white and one other color. I chose kraft as my color. Is kraft a color? I'm not sure, but brown is, and I picked the soft brown of kraft and bags as my bonus color. Luckily, It is also the color of cork, which made for some fun on this layout.

 I created this little plaque as an embellishment piece. I loved the idea of compass as the title for this layout, since it is an awesome photo of us done by Michelle Buck Photography. She really caught some awesome moments, and this one reminds me of how our hearts are drawn together.
To create the embellishment, I used a Fancy Pants cork embellishment and sketched my design in pencil. I used a Papermate Flair pen to darken the lines once I liked the design. I used Authentique Paper, MME Kraft Funday, and found ephemera. To give the layout dimension, I fussy cut the flowers and added some pop foam layers.

Of course, we want to see your go at this challenge, so share with us at SWAT!

Throwback Thursday

Oh my. This throwback is all sorts of awesome. I am so rocking those sunglasses. Where did I even get sunglasses and a purse? What did I put in said purse? I'm like 14 or something here. I look properly vampire pale, since I had acclimated to the Pacific Northwest. Look at that rad shirt my mom is rocking, I am positive there are sequins on that bad boy. We are on a riverboat in New Orleans. I remember it was freaking hot, so I look appropriately wilted. 


Throwback Thursday

A sweet photo of my dad and his dog. I can't remember the dog's name, but I think it was Queen. This photo is a perfect reflection of his early life as a farm boy. Could those suspenders and hat be any cuter?


SWAT: Drill 24 Button up this Sketch!

This month, SWAT has an awesome sketch with a twist, buttons! I love buttons because I remember playing "Button, button who's got the button?" with my grandmother. Below, is the sketch, which you can link up to us for the chance at a SWAT prize pack.

Here is my go at the sketch:

Seriously! This is some gorgeous stuff! Get to linking! 

Mondays List- Humility

We all have our little secrets. There are some things at which I am incredibly terrible. What dumbfounds me is how "simple" these things are to other people.

1. Running
Seriously, if you see me running, you better run also. Something terrible must be going down. I feel like Phoebe on friends when I run. Also, it makes my teeth hurt. I thought that was odd until a lady at Starbucks said the same thing.

2. Doing math in my head
If you want to see an exercise in futility, ask me to do any calculation above the ones in my head. It blows my mind when the people I work with have the answer to 82 x 21 before I have gotten past 1 x 2 is...
Once, someone told me that this inability is akin to being a math illiterate adult. I wanted to argue the point, but I am pretty sure that other people don't view grocery shopping as a lottery system at the checkout. Thank goodness for price checkers at Macy's, or I'd never figure out what the $79 sweater costs at 60% off plus an additional 40% with a 15% bonus pass.

3. Pancakes
I cannot make a pancake to save my dear life. I have never made a golden, perfect pancake. Mine tend to look like wounded warriors. If they are golden and beautiful, they are raw on the inside, if they are cooked, they look like a Target bullseye.

4. Grace
I am the clumsiest being on earth. I don't have an ounce of grace in my body. If you ask my mom, it has been that way from birth. I dream of being one of those women that float across the room with dignity and grace, but I tend to look like a  mix of a drunk elephant and a newborn deer. My youngest is the opposite. Thank goodness. 

5. Makeup
I have no idea what I am doing. I've gotten lessons at the counter, looked at tutorial after tutorial, and read the inserts. I have one look that I can pull off, which is pretty much vampire. I cannot put together the soft, glowy look, or the barely-there look. Going to the grocery store? Vampire. Wedding? Vampire. A casual BBQ? Vampire.