Monday, July 30, 2007

Taking the First Step

It is the end of a month that has required that I look at my life and make some decisions about where I am going and how I can get there. Although I have good discipline when it comes to my art I have never shown that same will power and strength when it has come to taking care of myself physically. The truth is I know that it has an impact on other parts of my life including my creativity. I have decided to take the bull by the horns if you will and make my health and taking care of myself a larger priority. To this end I am planning on working on improving my diet and starting to add more physical activities to my life.

The world seems to be looking out for me in this goal because my landlady and friend Colleen has also decided to make this a larger priority in her life also and we are going to try being exercise buddies. I think that having someone else with similar goals and someone to be accountable to will help both of us. We start tomorrow morning.

I am sure with several more months to contemplate my life and goals and time to slowly implement new positive changes to my life that by the time my husband gets back that I will developed some new good habits and that by the end of the BJP journey that I will see several changes in how I look at things.

I have finished my July page as you can see from the photos above. If you go to my Artistic Kreations and Passions Blog you can see an idea of how they are going to be hung up.

I am still working on my journal for the month and mainly need to figure out what all I want to say on the tags. It is just narrowing it down and organizing the thoughts. It will be part how I did it and part what I was going through and thinking during the process. In the next few days I will probably finish it and get a post in here with the finished journal.

I have also started working on printing up the photos for August and once I get them finished I will post the page before beading as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the Threshold

I am pretty sure I know what the key is, it is there on my lock, it says "Made With Love" The key is love, isn't it always? In this case I need to love myself enough to take better care of myself. Not drinking enough water, not eating a balanced diet, not working out; I am sabotaging my self both physically and creatively. How can I be a fully realized person if I am out of balanced. I hope that at least part of the solution is fully realizing this. I need to love myself enough to "want" to improve my life and find out the best way for me to incorporate good habits into my life to replace those that aren't as good for me. I have been dragging my feet as this realization has come to me but I think as this month ends I need to take the steps forward to help get myself healthier and with that I know that I will be able to take that next step that my art is ready for.

On a slightly less serious note I hope that I am not making anyone uncomfortable. I think that sharing this journey in this way is helpful in that I know there are others who understand and "get" it. I also think it is good because as others read this who maybe going through their own personal growth and struggles and it is always good to know that you are not alone.

My July page is mostly done. I have glued the back on and am adding the beaded edging onto currently. I also have work to do on the journal to go with it. If the key is going to show up in the piece it will either be in the journal or I have a feeling it will show up in one of my future pages, maybe once I am truly ready for it to show up. I am very thankful that I have this journey before me and maybe the fact that I have so much time to myself is a good thing. I have less outside distractions and more time for contemplation.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More Steps Forward

Friday, July 20, 2007

It has been a month of learning and growing and slowly figuring out where I am headed. I am still somewhat uncertain where this journey is headed and although I need to take better care of myself and focus on my growth as an Artist and a person I am still dragging my feet on stepping through the gate. (No Key yet Robin) I am not sure exactly what I need to make myself step through the gate. It is probably something like being willing to let go of something or just giving myself the permission.

My page has been coming along slowly, partially because I am planning on moving my website (so that it has my name instead of my husbands) and my main blog (now on Blogger) This has required me to learn how to do new things on the computer.

I have finished beading my flowers and am currently working on adding leaves in the background around the flowers. I have been very pleased with how the flowers came out and the leaves have a great grass like texture and I like touching them. The journal for this month is coming along as well although I am working on construction at this point and not what all it is going to say.

I knew that this project would be good for me and would allow me to learn new things and try different things together, but I hadn't expected it to unfold quite this way for me. I am very thankful that I joined in. I truly appreciate all of the friendship and support I am getting from all of the other participants and am so inspired by what others are learning and dealing with in their own journals.

Stepping Out Onto The Path Before Me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I have a feeling that the gate in this month's page is going to be more than a little symbolic to my life. In the last few weeks I have been feeling that I am on the edge of a change in my life. I am not exactly sure what kind of change it is but I find myself resisting it at times. I know deep down inside that it has been coming for a while and with everything going on with Wayne's trips to train and the move and now his deployment I have been too distracted to notice. Now as things are calming down and I settle into a routine and spend most of my time alone maybe I can focus and figure out what I need to to let go to take the first step in the journey to my future.

I spent all of Saturday beading on my July page and have a very good start on my flowers. Since they are closer to the viewer I want them to have more detail and dimension. I have been using layered backstitch, peyote, picots and netting to ruffle the edges of the petals and add depth to the piece. I haven't spent any time beading on the piece since Saturday although I did take time to start working on the journal to go with it. I will try to get some photos of where I have them so I can add that.

I would like to thank all of the people who have given their thoughts and prayers to Wayne and me and to all of the wonderful people who have left comments about my work. I have truly enjoyed looking at all of the work that everyone else is doing and if you haven't checked out the BJP blog has links to a large group of very talented and varied group of beaders, from beginners to those who have been beading for many years.

The Journey through the Gate Continues:

Friday, July 6, 2007

My journey through the gate continues: part of me is definitely looking at this months page as a journey. In truth I am looking at this whole BJP as a journey; to discover new techniques, combine different things, of memories of where I took different photos, and the process of being alone. It is all part of the journey.

I decided that the rectangular gray/black beads I used last month would also work well in the stone gate for this piece. I also found some squarish shell beads that I thought would give the feel of the construction of the gate. I haven't decided on whether I want beads on the steps on the bottom of the piece. I think once I bead the flowers I will get a better feel for that. I have just started the flower and will work on that more tonight as I watch the beginning to the 3rd season to Dr Who on the SciFi network. I will probably try to take some photos of my progress on my flowers tomorrow.

The Gate into My World

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Ever since we visited the Chateau-Sur-Mer a "summer cottage" ( or mansion to the rest of us mere mortals) in Newport Rhode Island and taken photos of the gate, the image has captured my imagination. I have always liked images of doorways, gates and looking through windows. They give themselves over to the story of what is out there and allow viewers to embark on their own journey. The background in the original photo wasn't that interesting but once you combine it with the drama of the sun setting in Hawaii it became much more interesting.

I cut the stone part of the gate out and needed to replace the metal gate with one of my own. After some consideration I decided that I would make the gate sections out of wire covered with seed beads. I used the original gate from the photos as a pattern. You will notice that my gate isn't perfect and although I considered re-doing it I really like the almost dilapidated feel of the gate. It was sort of like the gate has been there for a very long time. I found a heart charm at the local Michaels that said "Made With Love" and had a lock like center, it was a pretty good size to go with my gate. I made the 3 gate pieces separately and then added them to the piece.

Part of the reason I had chosen to make the gate with wire is that I wanted my gate to open. I attached the 2 side sections to the page and then made wire staples that I pushed through the background where I wanted the hinges for the gate and Viola! I ahd a gate that could open and you could walk into my world.

An Early Start

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Although today is the official first day of the month I got a bit of a head start on my July page. This month's page has already taught me a few lessons as I try out new surfaces for printing out my photos.

After I had chosen my photos and layout for the month I thought about what feel I wanted them to have. The large round stone gate led me to feel that I wanted to try using a more textured surface to print on.

In my collage work I have used white tissue paper to add texture to pieces. I decided to take some light weight inexpensive cotton fabric and apply white tissue paper to it with a 50/50 mix of white glue and water. I tore the tissue up into smaller pieces and crinkled them up and then opened them up and glued them down, overlapping the pieces and making sure that some of the wrinkles stayed in. The biggest challenge is not to play with it too much, the tissue paper is fragile when wet. Once this was dry I ironed it to make sure it was fairly flat to go easily though the printer. I then cut the tissue fabric into 8 1/2" x 11" pieces.

The printing taught me some lessons as well. Using higher quality printing isn't always the best option when printing onto unusual surfaces. I had to do a second printing on the background photos, although it was dramatic with the higher quality printing it was also a bit over saturated and I lost some of the details.

I printed all of the layers onto the tissue fabric and then adhered the background and gate images to EZ-Felt. I wanted the stability for the background and I wanted the added bit of dimension for the gate. I cut out around the gate so that I could layer it over the background image. The ink from the printer is not water proof so I did spray a light coat of poly-acrylic to it so that I wouldn't get ink on my fingers when I worked on it.

Although I had printed the flowers onto the tissue fabric as well, I didn't get the feel I wanted from them. They are closer to the viewer and the tissue fabric lends itself better to softer focus and softer whiter. I didn't like this and decided to print them out on the June Tailor Quick Fuse that I used for my June page. The difference was marked and I was quite happy with the new results. I cut them out and fused them onto the page. Oh, now to start the beading...

The Journal.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Not only have I had fun creating my June page, I enjoyed making the journal to go with it. I have pretty much finished it. I still need to do an "About the Artist" bit and I have 2 tags that I can add to if I want.

I think each of the journals will end up as unique as each page will. Although my original idea of putting them into a pocket on the back won't work I am going to continue working on them. I will probably make a box for them to go into once they are finished. I have started the card to go into the back pocket, just need to figure out what I want to say on the card. Probably a synopsis of what I have on the tags.

I am thrilled with how the tags turned out. I used purchased tags and then used water soluble oil pastels to sketch on them. I printed out what I wanted to say on to a vellum with a leaf pattern on it and then attached it to the tag with vellum tape. You can still see the sketching through the vellum and I couldn't have asked for it to turn out better. I attached a green printed paper to the back and then added small prints of my piece in progress or the details of it. Looking at it you can't even tell the original booklet was light blue.

Inspiration Strikes

Sunday June 24, 2007

July is definitely going to be different from June's page. After spending hours sorting photos and looking at my collection of detail photos my instinct led me to follow June's decision of using photos from any year that where taken in June (in this case July). That still left me with over 120 photos to narrow down into what I was going to use. I bounced around for a few days trying to decide and then let instinct guide me even though the look would be very different form the previous month. I am still planning on following the goals I have set. Some of the ideas it has inspired will lead me to try out new techniques.

I chose 4 photos and they will be combined and layered to create a overall image that will take up the entire 8 X 10 format. I am planning at this point to try printing the different layers on different textured surfaces and then putting them together. It should be challenging and a lot of fun.

Here you can see the general plan for how the images will be married together although since they will be printed and layered it will have more depth, even before I add the beads. I can't wait to get started on it.

The Last Stitch

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yesterday I finished the last stitches on my June Page and am thrilled with how it turned out. I have learned so much on this month and have expanded my available methods of expression. I have never used my photography with my beading and it included challenges of figuring out how to add the beading with out loosing the essence of the photograph.

I also spent a majority of my time yesterday working on the journal that will go with my page. I learned something, you should make sure that your pocket is big enough for your journal, that said; since my journal seems to have gotten a bit bigger than originally anticipated it won't really do well in the pocket when the piece is hanging on the wall. My solution to this is that I will do a journal for the month but for the pocket I will make a card with some of the information on it. The journals will be separate from the BJP pages.

I played with different techniques for the journals so far. The most fun was trying out the water soluble oil pastels that I bought while shopping for things Wayne needed for deployment. I used my inspiration photos as guides and did some loose sketches onto tags that will be covered with a patterned vellum that I have printed my journal entries on. Mostly this months tells about the project, my goals and some of the techniques I used. I will add photos of the journal when it is finished in the next day or two. July's idea has hatched and I am starting it's journalso that you can follow the path with me if you want.

Almost Finished

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I think that I am almost finished with the top for the June page of my BJP. I just have to decide if I want to add more rayon backstitching. My first instinct is to leave it (my husband would be amazed, my tendency is more is better) but I will let it go a few days and live with it and see what I think then.

In the meantime I am going to sew the sleeve for hanging it up and the pocket for the journal booklet started. I have also been playing with some ideas for July's page and will probably start my photo album and journal for that soon.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Considering Wayne has only been gone a couple of days I have gotten a fair amount accomplished on my page. I found the rectangle beads in shades of gray/black at the local Michaels and thought they would be fun way to play with the gray lines on the fabric. I also added some embroidery work with Rayon threads for some of the photos where the details were too small even for 15/0 beads. Since I used the fleece and EZ-felt behind the piece is starting to have a quilted look which gives it even more dimension. I have more work to do with Rayon and need to figure out what I am going to do with the one photo I haven't embellished yet. More Experimenting! I need to put in a little time getting the back made and work on the journal for it. The page will definitely be done by the end of the month but I am not quite so sure about the journal for this month. I guess no one said that had to be done by the end of the month.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Back to Work

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Well Wayne is gone now (for 6-7 months) and yesterday and today I am pretty much doing whatever I feel like doing which means that I have been spending part of my time working on my June page. It has come along further since I took the photos this afternoon but will continue to put on newer photos as I go.

I have found it interesting figuring out how I want to add the beads and still keep the photos as an integral part of the design. I am having a lot of fun and the beading is developing as I go.

After dropping Wayne off yesterday I stopped at Big Lots and found some 4 x 6 inch accordion fold books that I am going to use to make a little journal that will go on the back of my page. I bought 13 of them (1 extra) since they were only $2 each. I am sure they will look very different once I get each one finished. I can't remember who mentioned the idea of putting a journal page in a pocket on the back. I think it would be great to mention inspirations, new techniques and other things. The back of my quilt will have a sleeve for hanging and a pocket for the journal.

I have started going through my digital photos and started to get them organized and start narrowing down the field for the photos(s) that I will use for July.

A Pause

Friday, June 8, 2007

I don't expect to get much beading done in the next week or so. I won't have Wayne home for much longer and this is our last weekend (as far as I know). We have to get all of his stuff organized and packed and all of the last minute things around the house done that I need his help for.

I need to put a little time into my Swarovski Flower project for this years contest. It is coming along nicely but the entry is in a little over a month and I need to keep spending time on it at least here and there. I also have class instructions to write for my first 2 beading classes at the bead store that is closest to us (50 min away).

I think I will hang my piece up on my beading wall and when I have time I will add a bit here and there. I can add to it as I see what it asks for. The really nice thing is that I can put in a short amount of time once in a while and it keeps progressing.

I have been checking out some of the blogs of the other 240+ beaders in the project and it is really neat to see what people are coming up with and some of the really great ideas that people have.

As it Evolves

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It is really neat to watch my piece as it evolves. I really don't have much of a plan for the bead work on the piece. I am deciding as I go along. I planned out the layout of the background and photos but am letting the photos and such dictate where to put the beads. As I finish working on one idea I look for the next. I have no idea how much beading will end up on my piece. I want it to enhance the photos. I took some more photos of the piece but am having troubles getting the colors to turn out true. It is too windy today to try taking photos outside. I am spending time here and there working on the beading but with Wayne leaving in about a week I may not get as much time to work on it. I also need to write a set of class instructions for the class I am supposed to teach on the 19th and work some more on my entry for the Swarovski contest.

Let the Beading Begin

Monday, June 4, 2007

On Saturday I went through lots of fabrics and trims and chose ones that I thought would be good for this month's piece and possibly future pieces. After going through my selections a couple of times I found the fabric that I wanted. I then decided to add fusible fleece to the back of the fabric and made a sub-straight out of EZ-Felt. I wrapped the fabric around that and whip stitched them together. I chose a woven ribbon to border the piece and hand stitched that on. I printed my photos onto a piece of June Tailor Quick Fuse after arranging them and sizing them on the computer. (I love my i-Mac) Sunday I cut them out and trimmed a few of them and then ironed them onto the piece. Then it was time to start the fun stuff, picking out beads and start beading. I started with my largest photo because I had an idea of what I wanted to do with them. I am just working as I decide what I want in an area and will add as I figure this out. I am thrilled with how things are going and although this months will be a little less mixed media than I am hoping some of my later months will be. I am trying new things and hope they will lead me in new directions.

June BJP Start

Well here goes, we are working on the web-page, the journal page and everything all at once and hopefully even though Wayne will be leaving within the next 2 weeks I will get a good start on all of this. Yesterday I spent time working on my BJP pages for the website but I also started working on the ideas for the piece. I had already started to narrow down the photos that I wanted to use for the page and yesterday I decided to go with 7 images and played with how I wanted to lay them out. I love playing with ideas and had fun playing with where I want this piece to go. There are still plenty of decisions to make and lots of things I will let happen as I go along. After I finish this and writing in my main blog I will go to my craft room and start looking through fabrics and trims to figure out where I want to go with my images this month.