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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

5 Simple Ways to Have a Better Day




Life has been difficult the last few years. Not difficult in the sense that I've lost my home or I have to scrounge for food to eat or that I've gone through a divorce. Quite frankly, I always feel that if I can turn on a faucet and fresh water comes out, I'm the most blessed person on the earth. But, I've gone through several changes in my life over the last few years, not the least of which was a change in my health. I have pain. Every day. Sometimes debilitating. And for this self-professed athlete, it has been very difficult.

I am a Christian. I love God. I read my Bible and go to church. I know that God won't let me go through this without wanting to be with me, wrap me in His arms and comfort me, and allow me to encourage others.

But, even with all of that, pain sucks. It is all I can do sometimes to not curl up, cry, and just let everything go.

However, there is a purpose in this. I don't always know what that is, but today I know that I can sympathize, understand, and cry with those who are going through similar circumstances.

So, as I've been dealing with the pain and all of the discouragement it can bring, I thought I'd share with you some simple things that help me. None of them are earth shattering or brilliant. They're just some things that have helped me to cope.

1. Acknowledge the things which are out of your control and do something about the things that ARE in your control. We often stress about things that are unchangeable. Find a solution to a problem about which you CAN do something, tackle it, and accomplish it.
2. Be thankful. You know that saying that is all over Pinterest? "There is always, always, always something to be thankful for" (or to be grammatically correct, something for which to be thankful). Well, there is. Always. Running water, a toilet, a smile, a sunny day, a snowy day, a rainy day, a hot day, a cold day. Get it? Find something that is good in your life and LOVE it.
3. Forgive yourself...and others. Remember that really stupid thing you said or did last week? Perhaps you need to apologize, but you definitely need to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Sometimes they're really big, and sometimes they're really small. But we all do it. And, have some forbearance for those who've done something stupid to you.
4. Find beauty in your day. Today, here in Lancaster County, PA, the corn fields are becoming lush. I'm SO happy for the farmers that the season has been conducive to good crops. It's a beautiful, sunny day. My husband's flowers are beautiful. I have a coffee table that I restored and I love it. My puppy is really cute. It's a good hair day. Get it?
5. Write a thank you note. This accomplishes several purposes. It makes you thankful, which makes your day better. And, it shows someone else that you're thankful, which makes their day better. And, it takes the focus off of your problems and allows you to think of others.

And yes, today I have pain.

So, I know this wasn't necessarily a brilliant post, but I hope it makes your day a little bit better. Now, get to work.

Fondly, Tami

Monday, June 9, 2014

Giveaway! Composition For Collage by Claudine Hellmuth



Hey, Peeps! I won a Composition for Collage online class, given by the wonderful Claudine Hellmuth, but I was already registered to take it (don't ask). I informed Claudine, and she is graciously allowing me to give it away! This class looks wonderful, and I'm very excited to take it myself. 
So, click here for the link and leave a comment below to enter my random drawing, which will take place on Friday, June 13 at 5 PM, EST. 
Please know that I conduct my drawings in a very non-scientific way. No Raffle-Copter here, folks. I just scream to the next room- "HONEY! PICK A NUMBER BETWEEN ONE AND XXX!" Please know that I'm also conducting this giveaway on my Facebook page, so you can also enter there. Good luck!
Fondly, Tami 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Save Your Money on Craft Supplies

Hey, Peeps. I've been thinking a lot about how us Mixed Media People love our junk supplies, and how we love to hoard collect stuff to use in our projects. I've also been thinking about products on the market, and how they are marketed to us suckers intelligent consumers. 

I went to one of my favorite Small Local Craft Stores. Believe me, there's nothing like them. I love that they carry cool products that the Big Craft Conglomerates don't. I like that I'm supporting them in feeding their families, not buying their next BMW. 

However, when I visited my Local Craft Store, I chatted with the owner, as I SO often do. She had been at a recent craft and hobby trade show. She was very excited about a new line of mixed media heavy bodied acrylic paint that had come on the market through a Large Company, that most of us know and quite frankly, idolize. 

So, I decided to try this paint. I bought a tube of it in a color that I really liked I didn't really have yet, which was a lime green color. That night, I watched a few videos from the Craft and Hobby Association where this paint was being featured. There were many qualities that this paint had, so I was excited to try it out. 

The next day, I played with it. As I collaged, I pulled a bottle of a different color and brand. As I squirted the aqua onto my craft mat, I noticed something. It appeared to have the same properties as the lime green color that was touted as being wonderful. 

So, I decided to experiment. Keep in mind that this experiment was less than scientific, but it was good enough by my standards. Technically, I should have compared the same color to it, but I didn't have it, remember? I also am not paid by anyone to do this, but if you want to pay me, that would be fine, too. 

I am not showing the Expensive Paint container, but here's the brand below to which I compared it. This is a multi-surface paint that I bought, mainly because I liked the color and wanted to try it out. It was $1.39 (without a coupon). The Expensive Paint was $5.99.


I squirted the paints side by side. They were of the same consistency (oops, I forgot a picture, but imagine two blobs on a craft mat, with gently formed peaks).

I painted them onto a piece of mixed media paper. They spread equally as well and had the same coverage.


Next, I painted circles onto a piece of plain paper from my printer (of course, I had to print something onto it, which is a copy of a deed from my grandparents' farm). They spread the same. Here you can see that the lime green color is slightly more translucent, but I would guess that that's because it's a lighter color. 


Here, I spread both paints and inscribed into them with the non-brush tip of my paint brush. Since the lime green colored paint was touted as being a great consistency, I wanted to see how the Folk Art paint held up. Both inscribed well. 


Then, I painted onto a surface that had been colored with gesso. They both also spread the same.


But wait! Perhaps the Expensive Paint would work better through a mask. Alas, it did not. Here, I used both on my Loopdeeloop mask, and as you can see, both worked well. 


So, why did I do this? I think the main reason was to empower you wonderful Mixed Media Artists to think before you buy. Is the value of what your buying really a good value? In this case, the less expensive paint is just as good, is a better value, and has a larger palate of colors. 
Will I go back to my Small Local Craft Store? Absolutely. But, I will buy fun hardware and embellishments that I can't make myself, instead. 

And, you know those shoes that you have in your closet that have a crack in the sole and water filters up and wets your dry socks? Yups. Those. Well, cut them up, add vintage buttons, and use them in your projects. 




As usual, thanks for checking in. Fondly, Tami

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Show Some More Skins- Part 2.

 Hey again, Peeps. I am pretty addicted to making skins, perhaps because I've discovered you can get some amazing effects with them that you can't quite get by painting with a brush onto your paper. 

Here, I had been using some Claudine Hellmuth acrylic paint. I had watered it down somewhat, and ended up with this. So, I dried it and put extra thick glossy gel on top (see Show Some Skins).


I also played with some other generic acrylic paint. I just spread some on my craft sheet with my finger, and then I swirled it with the blunt end of my paintbrush. Again, I dried it with my heat gun before I applied the gel medium.


Here are the pieces I pulled up from my craft sheet.


I especially liked this one. 


And this one, mainly because I loved getting the "dots" of paint to pull up.


This one picked up some of the bits that were on my craft sheet from a previous project. I know, I don't keep my craft sheet very clean. NO JUDGING!


I also experimented with glossy gel vs. matte gel. I like both, equally.


Once I adhered them all to my paper, I used some stencils and stamps. Here, I'm using my "Grater" tag stencil to apply a little paint.


Here's the image in blue. I also used my "Plain Circles" for the pink and the green.


Here is one of the skins with the leftover bits from the mat.


On the bottom left, you can see the blue swirls that were picked up as well. I just think the effects are peachy keen.


I did a little hand painting.


And I added some gold leafing for a little shimmer.


And here's another shot of the cool, swirly effect. 


So, there you have it. More techniques using skins. Let me know if you try it, and I'd love to see pics!
Thanks again for stopping by!
Fondly, Tami


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Show Some Skins!

So, Peeps, you know those bits of paint and gesso and goo that dry on your non-stick craft mats? Yeah, those valuable bits that you scrape away and throw out?
 Well, my mats get encrusted as well, so I thought I'd use all of those yummy bits.
"How?", you might ask?
Well, this technique isn't totally new, but I've read rules on making skins. Blah, blah, blah. I really don't like rules, unless they're designed to keep me safe. In that case, I'm all over them.
However, I thought I'd try something "new to me". There's probably a fab Youtube stint about this, but I swear I haven't seen it.
I take any heavy bodied acrylic paint that I have (stay tuned for my side-by-side comparison of an Expensive Name Brand vs. the Little Cheapies That You Get With A Coupon At The Local Craft Store)  and just smear it on my mat. Make sure that it's spread pretty thickly. You can see here that I didn't care that I covered snippets of other paints.


I used my heat tool to dry the paint, taking care to move the tool around so it didn't get bubbly. If it did, I would have called it a New Technique, like every good mixed media artist does.


Then I took any permanent ink that I had...


...and I stamped on top of the paint. Make sure the ink is permanent! You'll see why, later.


Dry your ink after you stamp. You will see later that I was impatient and didn't dry it well enough, thus, a New Technique.


Here's where I got a little weird. I spread some more paint in different shapes. Why not?


Then, I took my permanent markers and doodled just a bit. Again, I made sure the doodles were dry before the next step.


After everything was dry, I put a thick coat of heavy gel gloss on top and extended it beyond the margins.


You can even go thicker than this, but you don't have to.


Here's a nice thick layer on top of the heart.


Keep in mind that when the gel is still wet, you can sprinkle fun things into it, like micro beads, glitter, cookie crumbs (well, not the cookie crumbs).


Here, I followed the steps above, but added another layer of paint smutch.


Here is the above skin, stamped with one of my hand carved stamps
Now for the difficult part. You have to wait, and by wait, I mean, be patient. That is not my forte, but trust me, if you force this part, it won't work. The gel has to be good and dry. I generally wait a few hours, and more if the gel is thicker.
To peel off the skin, you need to get it started. Take a credit card and push one of the edges to make a lip to start pulling it off the mat. 


Pull gently. The thicker you apply your gel, the easier it will be to pull it off.


After you pull it off, you end up with this lovely mixed media stuff. It is way too much fun. 


Here, you can see some of the areas that didn't have paint, so it's transparent in those areas. Here, the skin is covering a copy of the deed to my grandparents' farm. 


Just for fun, I cut off the edges that were curled. Of course, I'll work them into another project somewhere.


Here's the circular one I made. You can see that I didn't wait for my dot stamp to dry before I applied the gel, so the dots smeared a little.


Here's the doodled arrow. The gel was extended out beyond the margins, which picked up the bits that had been on the mat.




And, the little heart with beads.


Don't forget that you can cut the skins into shapes. 


And here, I just cut the piece into a triangle to put on a card panel.



So, have fun making your skins. I'd love to see what you make, and how you make them. 
Fondly, Tami

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Easy Heart with Stickles

Hey, again, Peeps. This is another write and run post. I just thought I'd share a quick technique for making fail proof tiny hearts with Stickles. The pic is pretty self explanatory,  but I'll explain anyway. Put two dots close together. Take any small tool (skewer, toothpick, etc.) and pull down from the top of the dots. It's way fun!  And, don't forget to place your project somewhere where you won't mess it up until it hardens.  Just don't!
Fondly,  Tami

Monday, May 5, 2014

Watercolor techniques ANYONE can do

Hey, Peeps. I hate to post and run, but I have to teach a mixed media class soon. I'm so excited to be taking an online card class with watercolor techniques, which can be found here. I'll post more about it soon, but here are a few samples of what I did. Of course, I had to use my tag stencils from my Etsy shop. The thank you card used my "Bunched Up" tag stencil that can be found here. So, stay tuned....


Fondly, Tami