Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Teacher gifts: academic calendars with Papaya postcards and a bag of Swarovski crystal pushpins for the Director
She was so excited for her first day of Kindergarten! 
The backpack helped . . .
Cool Mom points for letting her wear a dinosaur t-shirt on the first day of school (read, a day that will forever be documented in pictures)?
"What was your favorite thing about school, Love?" 
Answer: "My backpack!"

5 mornings a week. My friend Nina is her teacher. Lucky us. This is the last year of kiddie school before big bad first grade. . . How did this happen? My baby is going to be 5 next month and I still remember bringing her home from the hospital like it was yesterday. Now she wears t-shirts from the boys department and is obsessed with dinosaurs. And. Goes. To. Kindergarten.  . . . Dramatic sigh . . . 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

MMM: Cool It Down

"I exist."
7 x 5 Altered Tin

I decided to try my hand at a white palette when prompted to Cool It Down this week for Mixed Media Monday. I was thrilled to find a few pieces of old and rusted decorative tin recently (once used for ceiling tiles and molding), and thought it may be interesting to pair it with a vintage cabinet card.

This piece was very simply created by first cutting a piece of molding to the desired size and shape with tin snips before adhering a small piece of wood (which was first painted white and distressed with charcoal) to the front for a secure base. The vintage picture is so beautiful on it's own, that after playing with various pieces of empheria and college materials to add to the piece, I finally just pushed them all aside so that it may stand alone. The only other addition is a simple statement taken from a vintage book. It reads, "I exist." 

Thank you for your visit: I look forward to seeing what everyone else does this week  . . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday's Thought

"Every creative person sets up vital currents in life that enrich the world. He has subconsciously accepted life as a vital, joyous experience and his consciousness seeks out the unusual. He wants fresh ideas in his mind. He chooses to keep his world flexible and his viewpoints expanding. He is clear in his certainty of good. . . The entire area of both his conscious and subconscious mind is alive with the present and creatively anticipating the future."

- Raymond Charles Barker, 1957

Sunday, August 22, 2010

MMM: Seeing Red

"Call Me Poppy"
8 x 10 Canvas Panel

I promised to show you the final results of the piece I started in Cynthia Anderson's Play on Faces class at Art Unraveled, and this week's Mixed Media Monday prompt, Seeing Red, gave me the perfect excuse to share it. . . 

The 8 x 10 canvas panel was first covered in a series of vintage ads, most of which were focused on children. I then gave it a wash of cream acrylic before forming the shape of the face and neck with Golden's Titian Buff (my new favorite flesh tone, thank you Cynthia). I drew the little girl's face in with pencil until I got the look that I wanted and then painted it in with various acrylic paints, mixing them as I went along. Final touches included decorative and sharpie pens for highlights and refinement, and a vintage Poppy dictionary definition, washed with watered-down acrylic, as her collar.

Thanks for looking! I can't wait to see what makes everyone else see red this week. . .

Kristin xo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday's Child

Vintage Children's postcard from the 1930's
Image from Flicker, provided by Monday's Child

I got my Dolly when the leaves were falling
It was the end of September, you know
When this tiny gift was presented to me
To teach my heart to grow.

She was small and bright
And as I held her tight, 
I whispered into her ear:

"Don't worry, baby, I'll be your Mommy
I will love and protect you here
I will dress you and feed you and kiss you and need you
And in my heart, you will always be near."

The seasons changed
But my vow was the same
And as we grew together fast,
I remembered the day when she came to me
And I was a Mommy at last:

"Don't worry, baby, I am your Mommy
I will love and protect you here
I will dress you and feed you and kiss you and need you
And in my heart, you will always be near."

And now, look at her!
My darling little girl,
Tiny fingers holding on tight
A baby for Dolly, just presented to her
On her fifth birthday, tonight.

I watch them together and lean in close
As she rocks her baby with care
A small, sweet voice repeating with pride
The words I had hoped to hear:

"Don't worry, baby, I'll be your Mommy
I will love and protect you here
I will dress you and feed you and kiss you and need you
And in my heart, you will always be near."


The above was written for Monday's Child, a weekly challenge site which encourages those who are interested to write a children's story, poem or verse in response to a vintage image. To see other's interpretation of the same picture, please check out the link above. 

Kristin xo

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MMM: Embellish It

"Tree House"
Wallpaper Journal
Detail of ladybird
Detail of treehouse

A little later this week than usual - but I was still able to finish the first page in my new wallpaper journal for this week's Mixed Media Monday prompt, Embellish It.

The wallpaper journal was created on heavy watercolor paper with Yes! paste and several pieces of decorative wallpaper. I have around 10 pages, all of which are ready for well, something, before being stitched into book form. This particular page will be the center spread and was made using pale yellow striped and damask papers. I have been heading in a new direction since learning to draw and paint faces, and was eager to try a lady bird - this one is complete with lipstick and an apron. . . . The spread was created by first drawing (and erasing, and then drawing again) the basic forms before painting them with various brushes and acrylic. I then completed the piece with several pens, including Pitt pens, glitter gel pens and a few versions of Sharpie paint pens. The embellishments came in the form of fabric leaves (which were washed with more paint) and, not to disappoint, Swarovski crystals.

Thank you for looking! I will be catching up with the other MMM entries starting today . . .

Kristin xo

Sunday, August 15, 2010

You're Invited!


So glad you could be here to celebrate my First Blogiversary with me. A year ago today I sat at the computer and wrote my first post. I will never forget how nervous I was - and as I reread my thoughts from last year, I notice that the word "fear" was used on several occasions. I remember that my hands were literally shaking as I pushed the "publish" button for the first time: I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that, after years of wanting a blog, I was finally going to muster the courage to try it. But I didn't do it for myself.  If it was just for me, I may not even be here today . . .

You see, you may not know this, but the reason I started this blog at all was to spread the word about our  hope to adopt again. Adoption can be a numbers "game," and I was looking for a way to let as many people as possible know about our desire to bring home another baby. I was really looking for help; and when my friend suggested I start a blog, I thought I would give it a try. But then came the big question: what would I say? And to quote a family member at the time, "uh, who's gonna read it?!" I didn't know. But I knew I was going to give it a shot. So, after years of being a faithful reader of the Stampington line of mags., including Artful Blogging, I decided to focus on my art and joined a weekly challenge site in order to get people to know I was here . . .

And this is where you come in. What I didn't know a year ago when starting this blog in an effort to find a baby, was that I was giving birth to a side of myself I didn't really know I had. For years I created art in my head (and for the occasional gift or two), but with the excuse of this blog, I was actually doing it on a regular basis. And with each new challenge from Mixed Media Monday, I forced myself to try something different, to do something that I'd never done before. I became hungry for knowledge and, as you started to comment and offer words of encouragement, I became hopeful for praise. I never knew how much it would mean to hear positive feedback - and from people who "get it." It can change a person. I found my art developing, becoming hopeful, telling my story and, especially in the beginning, becoming a vehicle to express my hopes and fears of being a Mother for the second time. 

And then, about half way into the year, when I was on a "roll" and feeling a bit more comfortable with my art, I joined The Artistic Mother's Group, an online group of women who are going through the projects outlined in Shona Cole's book of the same name. And there I found not only who I was becoming as, dare I say it, an artist, but I found friendship and camaraderie in fellow Mothers. And I started understanding that some of the excitement and frustration I felt being at home with Kendra was common. Gasp. I was not alone. I was beginning to understand that a lot of the things we feel as people,  artists and Mothers are universal. We all want to be happy and live fulfilling lives. We want happy relationships and happy children. We want new experiences and to be proud of what we have to offer. We want to leave our "mark" while at the same time celebrating the successes of others. I have found all of this with you, and in the last year. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Although I can't say that I found a Birth Mother this year, or that we are any closer to having a sibling for Kendra, I can say that I am positive that it'll happen. I just know it will. And of course, what started out as a way to find a baby, has become a path to finding who I am as a person. I have never been happier than in this last year: I have my beautiful family, happy as we are and looking forward to the future, and I have a sense of who I am among you all. So grateful to support and be supported by you as we are on our paths to find how we can make the most of what we are given. I have finally lived the words of the quote that I spent my twenties repeating: 

"The future lies with those who believe in the BEAUTY of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Now . . . on to the best part of a party . . . Prizes and Presents! There were over 61 comments left for the Big Blogiversary Giveaway, 60 of which wanted to be included. From that group, the winning number was split right down the middle . . .

(drawn this morning)

And the winner is . . . YOU! 

Now, because I want everyone to go away with something from the party, I have a goodie bag for you all! Please feel free to download the following images to use as you wish. There is everything from vintage French text to the cover and interior pages of a vintage children's book to a vintage school picture to, my favorite, a collage sheet of several vintage Old Maid playing cards. All are from my personal collection and most have just been acquired. They would be great for mixed-media projects, art journals, scrap pages, well, you know better than I do. I hope you enjoy them. . . 

Thank you for coming, and for your continued support of my art and life. I am honored to be on this journey with you and look forward to another year of laughs, love and fingernails covered in acrylic . . ..

Kristin xo

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Art Unraveled - Class 4

"Gridlock Wood Collage"
with Karen Michel
(all photos taken with permission from the artist)

My last class at Art Unraveled was with Karen Michel, mixed-media artist, instructor and author of two books: The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery and Green Guide for Artists. It was a wonderful day creating, as she puts it, "a visual conversation within a wood block collage." I loved that we were encouraged to use our own empheria and materials in order to create a piece that spoke to us. It was actually the only workshop I've ever taken where I completed something before leaving class (which is a statement about my slow-poke self, and not the instructors)! I love the results and hope you enjoy a few of my favorite shots from the day . . .

Instructor demonstration
A peek into Karen's supplies
The beginnings of my own wood collage
My finished piece

Thanks for joining me on this journey; I had a wonderful time meeting fellow artists and bloggers while being inspired by some of the best mixed-media instructors around. I encourage you to seek out as many classes as you can as I believe that they are essential to our continued education and development as artists and individuals. . . .

On another note, TODAY is the last day to enter for the Big Blogiversary Giveaway! If you haven't done so already, please feel free to check out the picture on the top of my sidebar for details. And pop by TOMORROW for the party and giveaway results. . . .

Kristin xo

Friday, August 13, 2010

Art Unraveled - Class 3

"Wisdom Book"
with Kelly Kilmer
(all photos taken with permission from the artist)

As we continue on our journey of Art Unraveled, I wanted to share with you pictures of an evening class I took with mixed-media artist and instructor Kelly Kilmer. In it, we learned to construct a 6 x 9 book from scratch. We made the spine, the front an back covers and 20 interior pages. Some of the pages were painted prior being sewn into the spine, and some were left blank to be completed at a later date. By the end of the 3 hours, I left with a big book just begging to be finished. Oh, and a new found love of Kelly herself - she is warm and kind and an amazing talent!

Here are a few snapshots of the evening . . .

Painted canvas spine
Some interior pages in progress
The final result - waiting for further inspiration
My hands at the end of class - so you know it was good!

Thanks for coming with me. I will post about my last class tomorrow: "Gridlock Wood Collage" with Karen Michel . . .

Kristin xo

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art Unraveled - Class 2

with Traci Bautista
(all photos taken with permission from the artist)

My second class at Art Unraveled was with Traci Bautista, an amazing artist and instructor who has her own line of products as well as being the author of Collage Unleashed. Her class was fun and fast-paced and I left with several layered backgrounds by the end of the day. She shared with us her tips and techniques on creating luscious, bold backgrounds that had a lot of texture and personality. We collaged on to paper bags, pieces of fabric and used mail packages as our canvas. It was a freeing experience and I know that I will take away a lot from the day.

Here are some pictures to show you the process . . .

Instructor demonstration
Some of Traci's examples - Stunning, right?
Some of my backgrounds in progress
My table by the end of the day

On to Kelly Kilmer's "Wisdom Book" tomorrow . . .

Kristin xo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Art Unraveled - Class 1

"Play on Faces" 
with Cynthia Anderson
(all photos taken with permission from the artist)

I promised to share with you some of the pictures I took while in Arizona last week attending Art Unraveled. It took place at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix, and offered several classes over a 7 day period. I was not there the entire time, but was able to take several day and evening classes. I will be posting about each of the four mixed media-classes I took over the next few days.

The first class, "Play on Faces," was with mixed-media artist Cynthia Anderson. She was a wonderful instructor who shared with us some simple techniques to draw and paint a face. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, but by the end of the day, I had (well, almost) completed the piece you see here. It is the same face that I reduced, enhanced and adhered to a pocket watch for the Mixed Media Monday challenge that I posted earlier. 

Below you will find a few pictures from the day . . .

Instructor painting lips on her piece
Quick sketches & collaged background ready for painting
Painted face / shape & the beginnings of a drawing
Final results for the day

I actually finished the painting today, and will post the final results soon. On to day two, "Textures.Layers.Collage" with Traci Bautista tomorrow . . .

Kristin xo

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MMM: Memories

"Time Flies"
Altered pocket watch

I just returned from Art Unraveled and this week's Mixed Media Monday prompt, Memories, gave me the excuse to work with some of the techniques I learned while there. First of all, I was thrilled to have painted my first face! I took a wonderful class with mixed media artist Cynthia Anderson and by the end of the day, I had completed the little girl you see here. This will truly be a memorable image for me, and I was excited to use it in the piece above. . . .

I started with an empty pocket watch and a pair of wings that I bought at the vendor fair. The little face was made by reducing part of the original image (created on canvas) by 60% so that it would fit inside the watch. Once I got the size I wanted, I further enhanced the copy with paint, pencils and various pens before adhering it to the interior with matte gel. I then used more gel to add German glass glitter to the inside rim of the watch. I love knowing that this will tarnish with age while still providing a lot of sparkle. The exterior was distressed with some black ink and the wings were attached to the back the E6000. 

Thanks for letting me share my memory with you. I look forward to seeing what everyone does this week and encourage you to check out the giveaway on my sidebar if you have not already done so . . .
Kristin xo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Art Unraveled!

Finished altered gum packets

I'm headed to Art Unraveled this morning. . .. As a gift for my last birthday, my family chipped in to send me to Arizona for a few days of art classes and R & R. The day is finally here and I'm so looking forward to stretching myself, learning new techniques and meeting other artists and bloggers. In an effort to be fully present, I have decided to leave my laptop at home. I will instead be bringing a - what was that called - oh yeah, book. Imagine! But I promise to take a ton of pictures so that I can share them with you when I get back. . ..

Also, please feel free to check out the Blogiversary Giveaway if you haven't done so already - just click on the top picture on my sidebar for details. 

Talk soon,
Kristin xo

Sunday, August 1, 2010

MMM: Past Loves

Altered gum packet
Exterior cover
Moo card tucked inside

This week's Mixed Media Monday prompt, Past Loves, challenges us to revisit a technique, medium or color combination that we used to love working with. Well, I miss working with paper! I used to use it all the time: decorative paper, card stock, and even wallpaper were staples in my art wardrobe. Although I still use various papers in my work these days, I will inevitably alter it in some way. What used to be the basis of a piece is now often tucked away somewhere, layered in charcoal and paint. So I decided to keep it simple this week and use a single piece of wallpaper as a backdrop for the central figure from my blog header. I'm headed to Art Unraveled Tuesday, and will be offering these packets of gum to those I meet while there. 

In order to create the altered packet, I first created an 8 1/2 x 11 page from wallpaper, my blog image (illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1863 - 1935), an outline of colored pencil and (yes, some) charcoal. It was washed in a coat of matte medium before being taken to the printers. The printer was able to resize the image and print out several copies on good quality paper. I then just cut and trimmed it to fit the size and shape of the gum. Final touches were a single Swarovski crystal on the cover, a repositionable glue dot to open and close it and my Moo card tucked inside.

By the way, if you haven't done so already, I encourage you to enter my Blogiversary giveaway that can be found in the post below. I have offered some damask wallpapers that are similar to what you see here.  Also, if you are going to Art Unraveled this week, please let me know. I would love to meet you in person, and you already know that I'll have plenty of gum to offer . . .

Kristin xo

Blogiversary Giveaway!

One person will win everything on this table!
Detail Shots below:
Vintage empheria from my personal collection
Beautiful wallpapers
Vintage children's illustrations

Rubber mounted stamps
New items bought just for you
Swarovski crystals and more . . .

I'm happy to announce my largest giveaway yet! In honor of my First Blogiversary, I will be offering the following art supplies and empheria to one winner that will be announced on the day of my Baby Blog's birthday, August 15th.

I have pulled together some of my favorite things to work with in the hopes that you too will enjoy creating with them. They are as follows:

- 20+ beautiful wallpapers and borders. They are large in size and include damasks, stripes and toiles 
- 4 large embossed wallpapers ready for paint
- Several vintage papers including Mother Goose children's illustrations, Reader's Digest tear outs and some pages from a vintage English to French dictionary
- 2 vintage turn of the century postcards from my personal collection. They both have writing on the back
- 2 vintage dance tickets
- 1 vintage flashcard
- Several vintage Daily Cost Cards and Time Sheets
- 4 wood mounted stamps
- 2 distressed tags
- 4 new tickets; 2 each of Wish and Keep this Coupon
- A bag of Rochaille beads
- 3 large swatches of bold fabric
- A new set of 24 Oil Pastels
- 2 new sets of glitter
- A new set of pastel chalk sticks
- A few of my favorite acrylic paints
- 3 5 x 7 canvas panels
- 1 5 x 7 canvas
- A pretty blue button and of course,
- Several Swarovski crystals

Please leave a comment here in order to be considered. There will be one winner announced on the day of my Blogiversary, August 15th. You have until the end of the day before - two weeks from today - to leave your mark. You need not be a follower or advertise this to be considered, however if you do decide to post about it or place one of the above pictures on your sidebar (which of course I would love), please let me know in a separate comment so that the random number generator may count you twice. International friends are welcome and I will take care of all shipping costs.

Please do pop over on the 15th as I will be offering some fun party favors for all who attend . . . 

Update: please leave your contact information if you do not have a direct blog link so that I may contact you when you win . . . if you have already left a comment and wish to add anything, please feel free to email me. Thank you!

I wish you the best of luck,
Kristin xo