Sunday, March 28, 2010

MMM: Eggs

"New Possibilities"
8 x 10 Canvas Panel
Detail of poem
Detail of paint chips & Tim Holtz mask

For this week's Mixed Media Monday challenge, Eggs, I wanted to create something that spoke of our hope to adopt again. I found a wonderful vintage poem by Laddie Fisher that sums up how I feel about the subject. This piece represents Kendra looking upon the egg and all of it's New Possibilities . . .

This was created on an 8 x 10 canvas panel and has my favorite color as a base, Robin's Egg Blue. I wanted the whole thing to be a study in blues, so I started with a background of various blue paint chips. To that, I added some blue, cream and white acrylic with a brayer (over a Tim Holtz mask) and some of the circles that I was playing with last week. The egg was created out of decorative paper and the image of the little girl is from a vintage Mother Goose book. Final touches we added with charcoal, white China Marker and, of course, some beautiful pale blue Swarovski crystal stones (I so wish these photographed better!) on the child's toy.

Thank you for looking! I am eager to see all the beautiful work featuring Eggs this week . . .

Kristin xo

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Artistic Mother's Group

6 x 9 Altered Journal
Project 2

 1 and 2: "Creativity" and "Kendra-isms" Journals

This week's journal (inspired from Project Two in Shona Cole's new book, The Artistic Mother) is meant to be a place to record my creative thoughts (or mad ramblings) including poems, decorating ideas and future art projects. I love that I had an excuse - through The Artistic Mother's Art Group - to make something specifically for this reason: it beats writing my ideas down on random papers which I then loose!

This "Creativity" journal is a 6 x 9 art book that has blank pages so that I can write and draw in it. I tried to give it an edgy feel by using a lot of black in addition to the decorative and background papers, vintage French text and a personal photo (yes, that's me). I also tried overstamping as suggested in the book. It was sealed with Matte Medium and finished with a row of Swarovski crystals down the front.

To see more altered journals, please check out the Artistic Mother's button on this sidebar. . .

Kristin xo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption Stories

"Mommy, can I play on your (com)'puter?" (She likes to play games here). Not right now honey, I'm using it to write that letter I was telling you about. "What letter?"  The Birthmother Letter: the one that talks a little bit about our family in hopes to find our baby.  "God has a 'puter? An Angel 'puter?" . . ..

Sunday, March 21, 2010

MMM: Vintage Children

"Dance Now"
8 x 10 Canvas Panel 

Well, it's no surprise that I would be excited about this week's Mixed Media Monday challenge: Vintage Children. I find that I use a lot of children's imagery and illustrations in my art; especially those that have to do with fairy tales, children's fables or nursery rhymes.  However this week (because I knew you'd expect it), I steered clear of those altogether and instead, tried to capture the  feeling of Vintage Children (and their surroundings) by creating a bright and whimsical background for the "fairies" in the foreground. 

I have been reading Kelly Rae Roberts' wonderful book, Taking Flight and was eager to try some of the background techniques outlined in chapter 3: specifically, using a brayer to create depth and add color to a collaged surface. I created a subtle wash with blues and greens and to this added another element she suggests, a shampoo lid to create the white acrylic circles. 

In addition to the tips above, I also used magazine cutouts for the first time. The fairy bodies are from a children's catalogue and the ice cream cone was cut from a family magazine. The child's head (that sounds weird) was taken from the cutest vintage Kellogg ad and the house and birds in the background are also vintage. Both were from Art Freebies. Final touches included water-soluble oil pastels (loving these lately; they add such bold, blendable color), white pencil (Sharpie white china marker), glitter, swarovski crystals and snippets of a poem, Spring Child by Caroline S. Kotowicz.  

The text reads, "Sip now from the chalice of laughter / Dance now to the song of the breeze. . ."

Kristin xo

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Artistic Mother's Group

Altered Notebook (5 x 7)
Project 2

Detail of text and embellishments

Project two of The Artistic Mother's Art Group is to create an altered notebook to be used as a Poetry Journal.  I love the idea, and since we were given two weeks to complete the task, I decided to create two separate journals: one for Poetry and one (in the example above) for writing down Kendra-isms. I have always wanted a place to record all the funny and interesting things that my 4 year-old says, and this was the perfect opportunity. 

The notebook above was first removed from it's spiral, gessoed, and then covered in acrylic using a brayer (on both sides). The collage was created using the background papers (from project one), decorative papers (the elephant - so as not to forget - and the scalloped trim), circles punched from a vintage children's dictionary (I choose specific words such as "watch," "stories", "juice" and "today") a poem and the recent photograph that inspired it. It was finished with punches of color (water-soluble oil pastels) and coated with gel medium for protection. Ribbon, ripped fabric, decorative trim and (yes, again) a pink Swarovski crystal button completed the journal.

The text reads: Bright / clear / orange / Sticky / sweet / Bubblegum / surprise / Smells like childhood

I will post the Poetry Journal next week . . .

Kristin xo

Friday, March 19, 2010

Expect A Miracle

"Kids in Action"
(Photo taken for The Artistic Mother's Art Group)

"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."
- Immanuel Kant

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Kendra, age 4

May your joys be as bright as the morning,
And your sorrows merely be shadows that fade,
In the sunlight of love.
May you have enough
happiness to keep you sweet.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrows to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you happy.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness.
Enough wealth to meet your needs.
And one thing more: enough
determination to make each day a more wonderful day
than the day before.

-- Irish Blessing

Sunday, March 14, 2010

MMM: Party Animals

    "Having a Ball"
    Altered Mason Jar
    Interior Detail
    This week's Mixed Media Monday challenge is to create a piece of art based upon the theme, "Party Animals." I wanted to do something as whimsical as the prompt, so when I saw a big bag of gumballs in our pantry, "Having a ball" was born. After getting permission from the gumball owner (that would be my 4 year old), I set about altering a mason jar that I set aside for just an occasion . . .
    The Party Animal is a freebie from Stampington's Postscript and the only thing I really added to him was a bit of glitter and a hat. The hat was covered in glazing medium, decorated with the word "sweet" and, of course, a single Swarovski crystal. The lid of the jar was painted with several layers of acrylic and dotted with glue and glitter.
    I can't wait to see what everyone does this week! To check it out for yourself, please log on to   Kristin xo

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Artistic Mother's Group

Art Action Plans 1 and 2
Project 1

Art Action 1: blue with floral elements

Art Action 2: Yellow with fairytale collage elements

Our task for the second week of The Artistic Mother's Art Group was to create Action Plans or "To Do" lists from the background papers we created in week one. The project outlined in Shona Cole's book, The Artistic Mother, suggests that this could also work well with a babysitter list. Although I love the idea, I don't really use babysitters yet (lucky to have Grandma close!) so I choose to create two separate sheets for the same purpose. The intention of the Art Action Plans are to encourage ourselves to create something on a daily basis by defining and working though our goals. The finished sheets were scanned into the computer so that they can be printed out and used week after week....

The Action Plans above were created with handmade background papers, vintage collage elements including Mother Goose illustrations, scrapbook papers, alpha stickers (version 1) glitter, water-soluble oil pastels and, in version 2, a vintage poem. The poem reads:

In childhood days a heart is free, / Outweighs the fears of destiny. / When youth arrives, dreams still remain / To lace each day with love's rich grain; / But age is when the heart and mind / Must have the courage to act blind. -- Caroline S. Kotowicz

To learn more about The Artistic Mother's Group, please click on the badge to the right.

Kristin xo

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adoption Stories

Kendra and I were walking to the car the other day when she started talking about being a Mommy: "When I grow up, I'n gonna be a Mommy?" Yes, I replied. If you want to. Do you want to be a Mommy? "Yes: I'n gonna be a good Mommy an I'n gonna have a boy an a girl an . . . Mommy, my tummy is not broken?" Oh, no: your tummy is perfect! And you are going to have all the babies you want, don't worry. I love you, pumpkin-head. "I love you too, Mommy."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm Addicted!

More background papers for The Artistic Mother's Art Group
Project 1

Kendra getting into the act

Totally in love with creating my own background papers! I went right to work on some more, this time with my #1 helper by my side . . ..  If you are interested in trying this yourself, check out the wonderful tutorial on Shona Cole's blog.  If you would like to join The Artistic Mother's Art Group, click on the link to the right.
Kristin xo 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

MMM: It's Not All B & W

Altered Clipboard

Detail of ribbon and crystal button

This week's Mixed Media Monday challenge was to create something in Black and White with a splash of color. I bought this clipboard at the dollar store a few days ago, and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to alter it. . .

I resisted the urge to collage the board as I wanted to have a smooth surface to write on. With that in mind, I decided to use a monotone palette with paint and simple touches. After applying a few coats of Gesso, I used a Tim Holtz mask and painted over it with another few coats of black acrylic. I wanted a grunge look, so I tried not to clean or "pretty it up" after peeling off the mask. Instead, I scrubbed the board with sandpaper while the paint was still tacky and purposely rubbed a wet rag on top of the edges, scalloped bottom and polka dots. Finally, I added water-soluble oil pastels in both white and black to add to the messy look. It was sealed with a topcoat of matte gel and finished off with a charcoal ribbon (my splash of subtle color) and a Swarovski crystal.

Thank you for looking! To see more pieces on Black & White (with a splash of color), please log on to

Kristin xo

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Artistic Mother's Group

Background Papers in Progress
Project 1

Today marks the beginning of The Artistic Mothers Group: an online group of women who will be going through the dozen projects outlined in Shona Cole's new book, The Artistic Mother. We will have two weeks to complete each of the 12 tasks and will be posting our progress on a weekly basis. 

This week's challenge was to create background papers for our future projects. Those you see below are made from both computer paper and recycled materials and were treated with Gesso before being washed with acrylic and then enhanced with stamps and water-soluble oil pastels.

Completed Background Papers

Detail of Blues

I am looking forward to my participation and encourage you to do the same. There is plenty of time if you would like to join in: simply add your name to the list by visiting our group leader's blog, Trudy of Artistic Creations. To see a tutorial of this project and find out where you can get a copy of the book, please visit Shona' s blog or click on the picture of her book on this sidebar. 

Kristin xo

Friday, March 5, 2010


"Mike & Nancy's Place"
6 x 12 Wood Panel Collage
Detail of Swarovski Crystal Button
Quote: "Feeling the drunkenness of existence"

This was done for my Uncle Mikey who just recently lost his wife of over 40 years. I admit that it is "girly," but it is meant to represent her and her love of their garden. Lavender was her favorite color - and always reminds me of her - and the central images of the statue and plaque were photographed in her garden on the day of her memorial. 

I love to see how others create their pieces, so I took step-by-step pictures of this one in case you are interested. . .
6 x 12 Wood Panel ($1.49 at Michaels)

Gesso front and back of pannel.

Collage of vintage music sheets, ledgers, wallpaper and meaningful text.

Trim edges and cover whole piece in watered down white paint for a uniform look.

Add central images which have been cropped and
color-enhanced in Photoshop

Melt crayon on surface for pops of color.
I learned this trick from Pam Garrison.

Add details with colored pencils, charcoal and glitter.
Finish edges with paint and adhere quote.

Complete backside with Lavender paint.
 Sprinkle with iridescent glitter while still wet.
Drill holes into wood and attach ribbon (distress at edges with finger) and Swarovski button.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Expect A Miracle

"We always underestimate the future."
-- Charles F. Kettering

Note: Expect A Miracle and Practice Kindness are wonderful little boxes of inspiration that are meant to be shared with others.
They were a gift from my Mother-in-love and are from Compendium, Inc.
 For more information, check out

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Artistic Mother's Group

Shona Cole's New Book

Lucky me: I just returned from Barnes & Noble with Shona Cole's new book, The Artistic Mother. Between making meatballs for spaghetti (don't be impressed; this is my first attempt) and rounding up all the plastic dinosaurs outside (yes, I did make her help me - but when did she discover that dirt and dinosaurs are better than dolls?), I have stolen a few glances at my new (soon-to-be-favorite) source of inspiration. The book is laid out beautifully and encourages readers - busy Moms specifically - to find a ways to fit more creativity into their lives. 

The last half of the book outlines 12 projects to accomplish and Trudy Callan of Artistic Creations with Trudy has created a blogging group to go through them together. As she states, we will be "going through the projects in the new book together, blogging about it and linking to one another." I signed on to participate today and I would love it if you would do the same. It should be a fun project and a great opportunity to meet like-minded artists and Mothers.

If you would like to join in, please get the details from Trudy's blog at
Kristin xo