Saturday, October 12, 2013

Something Special

There is something special about a handmade gift, don't you think?  I was just sitting here thinking about some of the amazing artist friends I have met in the last few years who handcraft beautiful jewelry, fine art pieces, pottery, soap and lotions, fiber arts and other amazingness in their home studios, garages, and sometimes kitchen tables or storefronts.

Around this time of year,  although the jack o' lanterns may not even be cut yet, if we're smart, our thoughts will be moving on ahead to Christmas.  If you are one of those smart people and you have people for whom you need thoughtful gifts, consider something that's not only handmade but something that is made especially for them and no one else.  It's really one of my favorite things to do. I love taking little bits and pieces of people's lives and making them into a piece of art that can only be theirs.  Today, I'm sharing some of the custom art I've made.  I can make some for you, too!

This was a gift for my niece's graduation.  It includes her favorite Bible verse and a little piece of a letter dated 1923 from a niece to her aunt and uncle.  In it she tells them how important it is that she get an education.  

This one was for my son to hang in his dorm room. Some of his favorite Bible verses are in the background.  My friend Valerie took this great photo during a game a few years ago and even lived to tell about it.

I made this for my brother's family.  I thought the photo of their kids taken by one of their friends was super cute. I printed it in black and white and then recolored it.  Then it begged for a vintage map covered canvas and the perfect Emerson quote.  

This is my sister-in-law's dog, Ralph.  The vintage sheet music included a verse that spoke of kind of love a dog brings to our lives.

The original poem came first.  Then the gift morphed to a poetic blessing box for my baby niece's first birthday.

I've shared this one before. I made it for my mom for Mother's Day several years ago.  The photos are of her with each of her three kids. There's also a photo of her as a baby with her own mom.  The flowers are pieces of my grandmother's vintage aprons.  There are other family papers in the background including a note that my grandmother wrote on the flyleaf of the Bible she sent with my grandfather to World War II.

If I can make something for you, please check my About and Contact page for all the ways you can get in touch with me.  I'd love to hear from you and make something great for you.

I hope you are having a blessed Saturday!  

<3 Lori

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reboot Day 4

I'm doing a quick blog during lunch.  Today is Day 4 of the Reboot.  That means I have one more day of solid food before I start the all-juicing-all-the-time. I've learned that I really like roasted acorn squash stuffed with sauteed mushrooms.  I've also learned where to find those things in the grocery store.  It's like a whole new world. 

It's not like I never went to the produce department.  I've purchased plenty of apples and bananas and strawberries and romaine.  I have never, however, purchased acorn squash or leeks or kale.  So, it's been an experience.  

I love my juicer.  It works great.   People reported that juicers are really hard to clean.  I've not really found that since I'd read in advance to line the pulp bin with a plastic bag.  I'm sure that makes all the difference. 

I did not like the store bought carrot juice at all (and wrote a poem about it a couple of days ago), but the homemade carrot/apple/lemon juice I made was AWESOME. Love it! The green version of this bottled juice is pretty good in a pinch, but this red juice is my favorite in a bottle.  It's very sweet, so I'm sure it's bad for you.   My uncle, who's had heart bypass surgery, has a motto about food he says he learned from his cardiologist--"If it tastes good, spit it out."  Ha!  I'm still trying to find a homemade green juice that tastes really good.  So far, I haven't gagged, but that's not really a good marketing tag line.  "Drink my juice. It won't make you gag."

Here's another video I watched last night.  This guy makes juicing look super easy and fun.

Actually, these four days have really been the easiet four days of any attempt to change my diet I have ever made, and that's saying something.  I've done Weight Watchers (three times), Atkins, South Beach, 17 Day Diet, Oprah's whateverthatwas, SlimFast. I even took diet pills from my doctor a few years ago (who's now sort of a diet pill pusher if one were to base that assessment solely on the signage in her office).  The difference, I think, with this is that I'm not doing it to lose weight (although I do hope that's a cool side effect).  I'm doing it because I wasn't feeling well.  I was SO EXHAUSTED all.the.time.  I was feeling old!!   I don't want to feel old.  

Now I'm going to run over to the grocery store to get some of that yummy red juice before our staff meeting this afternoon.  Apparently, the plan is to have all kinds of sugary stuff.  I guess that's supposed to at least keep us upright even if it doesn't make our brains work better.  I'm going to actually try for both!!  

Have a blessed day, friends!

<3 Lori

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Mail Art, I Love You!

 When I was a kid living in the tiny little town where I grew up, going to the mail box every day was exciting.  We used to get big fabric zippered bags of library books we ordered from the public library in the closest big city 60 miles away.  People sent cards back then.  I had pen pals and a long distance boyfriend or two who sent letters.  Before computers, email, Facebook, texting, blogs and all the other modern conveniences that make it so easy to stay in touch now, I wrote long, long (really long) letters and mailed a lot of cards.   I really love it still.  I just don't take the time to do it anymore  There is an inverse correlation between the numbers of hours I spend on computers and the legibility of my handwriting, which makes writing long, long letters less appealing.

But I still love going to the mailbox especially when I find something in there more fun than bills.

This summer, one of my favorite other artists to follow on Facebook and Instagram, Roben-Marie Smith had a giveaway of her newest class called You've Got Mail....Art on her blog.  I was so excited to win a seat! But the summer turned out to be completely crazy with camps for my girl and my mom having surgery and my son going to college.  I was able to watch the videos, but I didn't get to do any projects until the last couple of weeks. I have had a complete blast turning protein bar boxes and used manilla envelopes into fun art to help keep the United States Postal Service in business and make some mail boxes happy.

This is great class.  It's very affordable and you have forever access, two prerequisites for me.  The other is that it be AWESOME!!  This is that, too! 

I guess this blog has been serving as a stand-in for my long letters from long ago.  But, I'm working on my penmanship so that I can send these off, too.

May the good Lord bless you with a happy mailbox!

<3 Lori

PS--Click here to check out the other bloggers participating in Blogtoberfest!  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dollar Store Journal Makeover

I told you last time I was here that I would share with you what's in my travel art kit. I didn't get that blog written, but it's on my list, so I'll share that soon. 

In the meantime, I want to show you this quick and fun little project--a dollar store journal makeover.

You'll need:

  • A spiral bound journal from the dollar store.
  • A bunch of mod podge
  • Assortment of vintage and pretty papers
  • Paint, pencils, gesso, any mixture of media you like
  • A brayer is good to have but not essential
Here's how it started, already cute and with a nice message.  But, I wanted to personalize it, so it needed a makeover.

First, remove the covers from the spiral so that it'll be easier to work with and you won't mess up the paper with all that glue you'll be flinging around. I also roughed them up a little bit with sandpaper because I wasn't sure yet what I was going to do next.

I decided to cover them with vintage magazine pages first.  Although you don't need a brayer, it makes the process of flattening the papers a lot easier.  Bubbles in your papers are so annoying.  Try to avoid those by centering the paper over the mod podged surface. Then use the brayer to press the paper to the glue from the center and push toward the edges. If you try to seal the edges first, you'll almost always end up with bubbles, which are messy to fix.

You should end up with two vintagey covers!

It might be easier to finish out the inside of the covers now before you work on the front.  I'm always a little afraid a mistake or spill or messiness will ruin the covers while I'm finishing the insides.  You'll just want to try to pick a coordinating pretty paper. Like this.

Now it's time to decorate them up.  I missed the in progress shots from this point. But I added thinned gesso to lighten up the color of the old papers some.  I wanted to obscure the words but allow the lettering to show through.  Then I used my favorite Caran d'Ache NeoArt water soluble wax pastels to add color to the background.  I then transferred one of my favorite sketches using tracing paper and pencil transfer.  I tried to paint the image coordinating colors to the edge of the original covers that still shows under the spiral. I didn't cover the holes. Since I don't have a spiral hole puncher, I thought it would be cleaner to leave them.

 When the front is all done, dried, and sprayed with a little Workable Fixatif to protect the image, reattach the covers to the spiral, taking care to avoid scratching the paint!

This one was a gift.  The sweet lady's favorite Bible verse is Psalms 62:8, "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." 

The old Bible I tore the verse from had the serendipitous heading at the top of the page-"Divine Wings".  

Some things are just meant to be.

If you decide to remake a Dollar Store journal, I would love to see what you create! 

<3 Lori 

P.S.-I restarted my Reboot.  Of course, I had a sugary blow out in the last couple of days that included lots of rice, a giant piece of Key Lime pie, and lots of chocolate and Diet Coke.  Today has gone very well.  I ate kale!  And I made my first batch of green juice.  It didn't make me gag.  And the acorn squash was quite yummy.  I cooked real food with my own hands.  Big day. Very big day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blogging on the Road

So I missed yesterday of the blogging everyday thing. It's hard on the road. 

It is for me, anyway.

I'm in a big city at a training event for work. It's at a "retreat". But this retreat is one of those team building kinds of retreats, if you know what I mean. All the spaces are intended to engender conversation and comradery.  There's a ROPES course on the grounds. The restaurant is cafeteria style with mostly big group tables.  It's not so much of a "retreat" in the way an introvert like me might define it. The rooms, called "sleeping rooms", are sparse and kind of remind me of what a low security prison might be or a poorly decorated dorm room. 

This might help explain why I'm sitting in the car during the lunch break listening to the radio. 

I did manage to set up a little sleeping room art studio last night.

I'll write more for tomorrow about what's in my cute little vintage overnight art bag. 

May the good Lord bless you today with all the people you need and all the space you need. 

<3 Lori

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reboot Day 1

Because I might be too weak from starving to death and have difficulty remaining upright from no sugar or caffiene by October 1, I thought I would use my waning lucid moments to document how these first few days have gone and then share the post after the official start of the Blogtoberfest challenge.

So this "All Juice All The Time" thing is call Reboot. Here's a link--  Basically, the premise is to get lots and lots of nutrients through the micronutrients in fruits and vegetables, which you can do a lot more easily drinking it than trying to eat all that. The objective is to clean out your system from all the junk you might have been hoarking and change your taste buds so that you will be less inclined towards the junk and more inclined towards the fruits and vegetables--mostly vegetables, which are really not my favorites.  I love bread and potatoes and pasta and rice and SUGAR.

Day 1, Thursday, Sept. 26-- I'm not starting my Reboot officially today, but all the information says that one should begin to taper off one's indiscretions in the days or weeks (or in some cases months) before one starts a juice fast.  So I'm trying it. I ordered this juicer last night on Amazon with the 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, so it should be here tomorrow.  I also hoarked down the last of my Sour Patch Kids last night so that they wouldn't be tempting me with their sour and sugary sassiness.  That was good thinking.

6:11--The later in the day it gets, the worse this juicing idea seems. What seems like a good idea now is a hot brownie and some ice cream. But that's how I got into this mess, isn't it?  I did pretty well this morning.  I wasn't going to make coffee at all, but I wasn't confident I'd be able to find the shower without it, and that's not good for anyone, so I had one mug.  Tomorrow I'll try for less.  For breakfast, I almost always have an Egg White Delight from McDonald's if I'm in town or peanut butter and jelly toast, if I'm working at home.  Today I had a store bought green juice and some hot lemon water.  Yum-Yum!

Surprisingly, I made it to lunch without any emergency medical intervention.  I was emboldened because all my coworkers were there with me, so I got a salad.  It wasn't the vegetable only salad I had sort of planned on, but there was green stuff and it was tasty. Starvation will do that to you.  A berry juice stood in for my afternoon candy bar.  Since I was racing back and forth to the bathroom because of all the juice and water I was consuming today, I was busy enough not to succumb to other temptations.  Not so on the way home.  Ready to pass out, I went through the drive thru at Chic-Fil-A, but no steaming, hot, yummy, salty waffle fries for me.  Who got the fruit cup instead?  This girl. Yum.

6:33--It's going to be a long wait until bed time.


UPDATE:  I didn't make it past Day 2, just so you don't get your hopes up.  But I already wrote this, so I might as well share it.  You can get an idea of what a challenge this will be.  I actually have to be out of town tomorrow through Friday for a work thing. Juicing on the go is not that good of an idea for me I'm pretty sure.  So I'm back to doing the taper-off activities this week.   I'll be starting the official full on Reboot on Saturday.  For now, here's a little poem I just wrote about a new juice I tried today.

Ode to Carrot Juice

I do not like this juice.
I don't.
I will not drink it.
No, I won't.

This juice does not
Taste very good.
I would rather 
Chew on wood

To get the nutrients
I need
Than drink this juice
That tastes like weeds.

The End

Happy Blogtoberfest, everyone.  If you liked this post, boy, are you in for a treat!!!  I'm going to try to post in October!!!  Stand by for more poetic brilliance. :)

<3 Lori