Thank you for visiting artful embellishments. This is the third year for this blog and I am so happy to keep publishing. I started in 2011 and began with a quilt of the week, this lead to the leaf of the week for my newly designed paper tree that is located on the wall of my garage in 2012.......2013 is going to bring a lot of excitement and positive change. As a personal challenge for 2013, I plan on designing a artist trading card each week to be featured on the blog.
With so many interests, there will be quilting, art quilting, leaves (and more leaves), as well as experiments in thermofax screen printing, fabric dying, and tons of DIY recycle projects. I may even enter that altered fashion scene. To a happy and healthy 2013, may we all find happiness in those things we create....thank you for stoping by artful embellishments.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ATC 121-125 Happy Halloween

 Trick or Treat! I made these backgrounds in August. I was up north enjoying the last of summer and painted some card board. I am really getting into the recycling. I then decoupaged, stamped, and used my rub ons to alter the base material. I then cut them randomly into ATC cards. I added the images and voila!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Making a Three Dimensional Design Project out of Trash!

 The project was for my 3D design class. We had to make a sculpture that represented ourselves or our interests. We had to predetermine our materials and have a theme.

I have always loved fashion, NOT THAT I HAVE ANY FASHION SENSE mind you, but love to look at fashion. So I decided since I do love my sewing machine, that I would make a 3D woman, roughly my size, and I do mean roughly, like a few sizes smaller........with a great dress all made out of recycled materials, mostly junk mail, tarps, and plastic grocery bags.  I included the shoes, belt, and purse as those added little bonuses!

The first part of the project required duct taping a mannequin to make the actual form. The duct tape I had to buy, but that is the only one of two materials that are not recycled. There are a ton of tutorials on line that demonstrate how to make a dress form from duct tape. I had contemplated doing one of myself, but the thought of being duct taped for a few hours, well it didn't sound appealing. So I used a mannequin, hence she is a lot more slender than I am.  I joked with my professor, "Hey, that's how I see myself in MY mind."

I got smart and used white duct tape. Here she is all, taped up!  You then cut down the back and stuff! I used all junk mail. Gotta love the United States Postal Service and their junk.......

Then I realized that the duct tape wasn't quite the look that I was gong for.....my neighbor who is about 5 peered into my garage and yelled, "Daddy the neighbor is making a mummy for Halloween......" (Ahhh the honest criticism of a 5 year old).  I didn't think that was quite the look I was going for so I then decided I needed to plaster her. Enter the second non-recycled material. I used old scrap material to help strengthen the plaster.  Most of the material was salvage from old projects and some clothes I was going to donate, like old t-shirts. This helped to stabilize her! This picture depicts her torso plastered and her arm which is still duct tape. You can certainly see the difference.

 I bought a dowel and a piece of wood from Home Depot and with some help from Mike
got the base built. Esmeralda was now standing. (I had to name her something high maintenance, she was taking a lot of time after all......)

On the right, she was painted a champagne color so she didn't look so ghost like. The dress was made from recycled grocery store bags that were ironed together. A technique that I owe to Alisa Burke. She is pure genius. I then drew my own pattern, sewed the dress together and painted the dress a mulberry pink. The white fluff at the bottom are actually recycled tarps that were from a construction project near my apartment that were tossed.

The belt and trim on the dress were done with pop tabs, thank you Darlene and Tracie for helping me collect a few hundred of those!

 The bottom came along nicely once I discovered the power of a heat gun, melting the tarps into a nice little flounce!
 The back!

The shoes were made from soda pop cardboard containers. The purse was an empty box from granola bars and they were covered in gum wrappers.
Her she is ESMERALDA! Hope you enjoyed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ArtChix Halloween ATC Swap!!!

Well I received my goodies from the ArtChix Halloween Swap! What creative ATC's. I just love them.

Frightful was done by Lisa Robinson. I am in love with the ArtChix wood laser cuts. They are too cute.
Scarey Witch was done by Liz .....
This one was so adorable as she used glitter in the most unique way. Most of it was hand done and so delicate.
 The Pumpkin Patch was done by Susie Shockley! Who can resist this little pumpkin?
 Boo was done by Tami Roth. Sunflowers are a favorite and I love what she did with the fence!!!!!
Finally Karen Morton did Trick or Treat. The frame is three dimensional and she managed to get the tiniest gems for the cats red eyes. Truly spectacular!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Painting three

 Painting three brought a new challenge. We had to use a palette knife with the Spanish palette. This contained Indian Red, Ivory Black, Titanium White, and Yellow Ochre.  It was such a great experience.

Below is a picture of Tom's painting on the left and mine on the right. We had the same still life that he so kindly set up.  The funnest part was on day three our daisies had started to slump. So a little imagination was required.

 The painting on the right is a close up of mine.

A close up of Tom's on the left. He does just the most amazing work. The true patience of a retired Kindergarden teacher.

Tom hard at work!

Kendra's painting!

Rachel's painting!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Frida Kahlo Swap

 Well the swap is in! I just received my ATC cards from the Frida Kahlo Day of the Dead Swap! Super fun!!! I got some really original cards and I enjoyed the uniqueness of each of them.  The first one (to the left) is done by Lynnette April of Sandy, Utah! I just adore her use of embellishments.
 This second one is representative of the holiday Day of the Dead! I love the lime slices for eyes. This was done by Frances Perea.
My final card was again from Lynette April. Too lucky to get 2 cards from her!  Since I have been busy with my formal art education, I am so happy others are filling my addiction! Happy ATC's.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Michigan Mud 2013

Michigan Mud 2013 was held at Delta College this past weekend. It was a weekend full of ceramics lectures and demonstrations by some of the finest in the field.  I was asked to volunteer with some of the other students. It was beyond any expectation.

I didn't take nearly enough pictures. However, when I finally got my act together, I took some photos of these artists and craftsman in action.

This first artist is Daniel Johnston. I think these pictures speak for themselves. danieljohnstonpottery.com/ 

Working side by side, Daniel was joined by Brian Kakas. Brian is an professor at Northern Michigan University. His work is very precise, and fascinating to watch. (I enjoyed the fact that is was very mathematical and technical, all while being aesthetically interesting.)

The entire weekend was filled with information and great demonstrations. I was lucky enough to be able to watch these amazing artists work.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Painting #2

 Painting #2 came due in a hurry. It is tremendously fun to watch everyone learn and grow. I enjoyed this experience. All of us did a still life, but we all stand at different easels. This is mine....
 Here is Tom's. He does a magnificent job and I love his use of color to add depth and volume. He is a retired kindergarden teacher.
 This is Kendra's painting. I just love her ability to paint the chrome bottle and the copper pitcher.
Here is James, he is always adding his own flair!

Here is James, Tom, and Kendra getting ready for critique.

Sea Scallop Swap

 These are the garland sea scallops that I received in my most recent swap. This first one wasn't signed. I love the gold!
Angie Miller did this beautiful scallop. I enjoyed the 3D embellishments with the starfish, shell and textured yarn.
 Kate Pyle did this gorgeous mermaid! I just love the fact that she went off the scallop with her sea weed.
 Sabine Busch from Germany did this lovely scallop. She even covered the back!
Barb Dankertson made this colorful seahorse with the coolest water bubbles!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


 As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am enrolled in a formal art program this fall. Truly rewarding is the best way to describe this experience. I am learning a lot, but I think the best part is interacting with people who are so different than I am. It is a refreshing change.  Painting started out with a still life. My first attempt was the one on the left. The colors were definitely too saturated and recognizable.  It was an effort to learn how to mix and apply oils.  Then to paint without drawing.......that was challenging as the eraser is my favorite tool.......It evolved to the one below. Definitely, a great experience in light and shadow.

 Getting ready for critique!
I am fortunate enough to have James in my 3D design class as well as my painting class. He took an independent study with Andrew our painting instructor this summer. He also states that painting is "his medium". I agree as this is his painting on the right and this is not the finished product. It was awesome!
Tom is a retired kindergarten teacher. He has been with me since drawing last semester and he is so much fun to have in class. He has a sarcastic sense of humor that keeps the class lively and fun. I love his rendition of the trash can behind the bison skull! Such great attention to depth, volume, light and shadow!