Thursday, March 26, 2009

Apple of my Eye

Over at One Powerful Hour Fiona has set the lovely theme of Eyes...

The minute I heard about the theme this design popped into mind. The couples image is from Alphas Stamps (the same one I used on the Valentine Tags a few posts ago) and the apple is from Paula's Kit Club.

I stamped the eye in brown ink and then covered the apple with extra thick embossing powder so it is glossy like a real apple (kinda bummed that doesn't show here)

To Finish I added the German Scrap and computer generated the words.

I had a ton of fun creating this!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Tags

The latest Circle of Friends monthly project, and the last one I'll be able to participate in until the move is a Spring Themed Tag Book. The hostess sent us all a tag template and she will be making the books for us, we send her our tags and some fibers for her to put them together. The minute I heard the theme I thought of the Fabulous Flower Oracle Deck of Tarot cards that I got from Alpha Stamps I have been so stingy with these glorious Victorian "flowers personified" cards. But I just knew this was the perfect use. I needed to make 10 tags...the most participants in a swap ever! So I selected my 10 favorite and/or most likely to cut and show nicely. I stamped a heavy white card stock with a floral background stamp and chalked it with coordinating colors for each of the different flower images. Setting this with a matt finish. Next I stamped a circular stamp with all the months and a poem that helps us remember the number of days in each month from Paula's Kit Club making sure that the Spring months were visible. I colored the "spring" section with a coordinating color to highlight it. Finally, after cutting each flower out, I attached them, anchoring them to the lower portion of the tag. My finishing touch on the front of the tags was to stamp the Doodled bird that I love so much from Alpha Stamps, cover him with Diamond glaze and accent his movement with seed beads in coordinating shades. The hostess asked that we decorate the backs, at least a little, so I found a light green decorative paper and adhered it to the tag, mushing the fabulous Pink/Green beaded flower fringe between the two a hope that they will survive a bit better...I've seen this particular fringe come apart a number of times in transit... I stamped the month stamp again, once again highlighting the spring portion. Inside the circle I glues the flowers meaning, according to the Tarot cards. To finish the back off I stamped a small ruled book from Repeat Impressions, and I filled the lines with some fun words from Another Stamp company and on the bottom line I glued the name of the flower. I hope that everyone enjoys my tags as much as I enjoyed creating each one...even though they all have the same stamping they still seem very unique to me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Holt Sisters

Last year I read Beauty and the Spy for a swap that I was in. When I started the book I did not know it was a series. If I had I'm not sure I would have read this book or the following two and that would have been a shame.

My mind is a little fuzzy on the first book since I read it a couple of months ago but I do remember thinking that the characters were very believable and that the romance between them did not seem to come out of left field, it was well developed.

In the first book Julie Anne Long sets the stage to reunite three sisters. Beauty and the Spy is about finding out what happened to the sisters parents that would cause them to be separated.

The book wraps up enough of the loose ends and has a wonderful romance line so that if you did only want to read one book it would be fine. But I really enjoyed Beauty and the Spy so I picked up her next book.

Ways to be Wicked is my favorite of this series when it comes to the romance.

This sister is a dancer who has had a lover in the past making her a little bit freer than her other sisters.

Julie Anne Long weaves a number of the characters in this book into the story line presented in the first. But you did not see them in the first book. It is their relationships to the other characters in book one that binds them.

The final chapter of the Holt Sister's was a bit off for me. The romance was not as good as the others, at least in my opinion. The main characters fought it a little to much and then dived into each others arms way to easily.

This book is also much longer than the others. And the story that is not part of the romance line is all about finding the girls mothers. Since in this book they are all three united.

I thought it wrapped up nicely and was well done. However at the very end when all the daughters are happy with their husbands the author did something I thought was unnecessary. These books were about the daughters and all of a sudden she throws in (only a line or two, but enough to bug me at the end) a romantic bit about the mother Anna. The book didn't need it in my opinion.
All in all these were a delight and fast fun reading. No over the top sex scenes and romance that is believable. I will read more of her books.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sue's Season Journal

Here is the latest Circle of Friends journal. This one featured the Seasons of the year. We needed to pic our favorite season and make a layout using any format and embellishments.
Can you believe that after going through seven members that not one entry had been done for winter! Well, in truth I don't have a favorite season, I can think of pro's and con's to all of them. But since Winter is about to be over, this coming up Friday, that was fast, I decided to be the black sheep and highlight Winter.
A few weeks ago for my challenge blog One Powerful Hour I made a card about my favorite vacation, which was skiing, so I decided to play off of that card.
I think what I am most proud of is the background paper. It was a solid blue that I stenciled using various mixed acrylics snowflakes all over. I then spritzed the paper with a white shimmer. To me it really does look like snow.
The other feature that I think really makes this layout is the images inside my window. I clear embossed multiple layers and then stuck them in the freezer so they would crack, it looks like ice formed on the images.
I hope Sue enjoys my Winter layout...and I'm looking forward to the next journal

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Because I am Proud

Last month I joined a Swap hosted through Alpha Stamps. It was a 6 for 6 valentine themed tag swap. Why did I wait to post them until now? Well, when I saw all the other fabulous tags the swappers created I thought mine looked sloppy. It took me until just a few days ago to realize that I was being silly, I put a lot of time, thought and effort into creating these tags. Yes, some turned out better than others, and a few I downright don't like. But when I mailed them off all in all I was proud of what I created and I can't let anything other artist do make me feel like I am not worthy. So, here they are at long last.

I decided to use images from two different collage sheets, Valentine Bird Hearts and True Romance. I've been doing a lot of experimenting with acrylic paints recently so all the tags got a coat of paint, some got a few based on the look I was going for.

The tag on the right I painted with black and then stamped the music score with versa mark which I then covered with various shades of pearl ex powders. Once I sealed that I clear embossed a swirl pattern on top, just to add a bit more interest. I cut the heart out of the Valentine bird image and outlined it with black glitter. Behind the heart I mounted coordinating feathers and finished the tag off with various fibers, some of them from Alpha Stamps.

This tag I used my absolute favorite image on. There is just something so romantic yet down right dirty about these two figures. The tag was painted with a pinkish acrylic. On an off white tissue paper I black embossed the music score, crumpled it and then glued it over the entire tag. Next I layered the image on top and then I stamped the word Love along the side. I added a bit of diamond glaze to the word and then sprinkled some pink glitter randomly over it so the word is not entirely covered with the glitter. To soften the edges I painted them with weathered wood distressing paint and finished the tag off with some coordinating ribbon.

The tag on the right I experimented with a bit. I started by painting the tag a deep red. Then I clear embossed a heart directly onto the tag. Mixing up a pink shade of paint that accented the image as well as used the same red on the base I then painted the entire tag again. I let this dry slightly before wiping it off, wiping in one direction only. The paint on top of the embossed heart came away instantly, and some of the other paint came off but not in its entirety which was what i was going for.

After adding some Twinkling H2O touches to the roses of the image I cut it out and affixed it so the heart peaked out between their kiss. The vine is a felt sticker that I added touches of glitter to. And I finished this tag off with a fun pink ribbon that says "Kiss Kiss" all over it.

This tag is my least favorite. I just couldn't get the vision in my mind to transfer to the tag. This is also the only tag with the entirety of the collage image on it. I embossed various shaped hearts on purple tissue paper and then glued it around the image. I added diamond glaze to the swirls that were on the image, making sure to bring them out on top of the tissue paper. I affixed some whole punched circles randomly all over the tag, I was trying to make it look like the images circles spilled out onto the tag. Finally I outlined the heart with some glitter and then affixed some fibers.

I am not one for the color purple so that could be partly why I don't like this tag, but something about the composition just seems off to me.

I really enjoyed creating the tag to the right. There are a ton of layers on it. I started with a coat of off white acrylic paint. On top of that I stamped various colors of twinkling H2O squares to mimic the patchwork pattern on the collage image. Next I black embossed the cherry blossom stamp. I then used the same technique as I did on the "Kiss Kiss" tag. Covering the entire tag with a pinkish cream acrylic paint, letting it dry partially and then rubbing it off. Finally I affixed the heart. It is coated with diamond glaze that I sprinkled black glitter along the edge. Once that dried I outlined the heart with more black glitter and sewed on buttons with a shimmery black thread. Lastly I attached a wide ribbon.

This tag is actually the first one I did. There are two layers of acrylic paint. A custom mixed color to match her dress serves as the base and then another custom mixed color is dry brushed on to match his shirt. I mixed a shimmer in each of the acrylics so there is an iridescent effect.

Next I black embossed the floral image. After trimming the couple out I affixed them and covered the bottom harsh edge with a sticker that says "All is nothing without you" To finish this tag off I clear embossed the edge of the entire tag adding some pearl ex powder to the embossing and then affixing the ribbons.

I do hope that the swappers that receive my tags like them. If not I get to take some solace in the fact that I learned a lot about mixing acrylics and layering with them. I also learned that tissue paper and i may not get along when it comes to art.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fruits and Veggies

I have the honor this week to be the Guest Designer at Make a Moo or Two

I selected the theme, Fruits and Vegetables due to my love of all things vintage, like the vintage cut outs on the veggie moo from seed packets. I also think this can be so much fun, b/c there are so many different fruits and or Veggies out there.

For the Fruit Moo I used cut outs from various decorative papers and I glittered a cherry finishing it off with a fun cherry ribbon.

The Veggi Moo as I already said has cut outs from vintage seed packets and then I stamped a stalk of asparagus on top.

I hope that this theme goes over well and that everyone has a great time making there Moo's. Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Lot of Book Reviews

Vampire Academy is the first novel in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I have now read all of or some of four different Young Adult Vampire novels, liking all of them.

This particular series, to me at least, is the darkest. There are a number of cuss words, references to sex and some hot and heavy scenes and the thing that hit me the hardest is that one of the characters cuts. Part of me feels like I may be way out of touch with today's teens but another part of me knows that this happened even when I was a teen, but I don't necessarily feel that some teens should read such things. There are various levels of maturity, to me this series is the most mature.

With that being said, I really like her take on the Vampires. She has two types, an immortal, evil kind and a mortal, good, magical type. There are also half bloods that serve as the good vampires protectors. I love the multiple layers of social classes that this element and more bring.

The other aspect of this book that I found wonderful is the characters are all vastly different. From the shy reserved teen struggling with depression, the ostracized kid whose parents made him that way, the headstrong rebellious one and many many more. Richelle creates a great and very realistic way in which all these different personalities (which do exist in today's society) mingle with one another.

I already have the next two books in this series and hope to get to them very soon.

I finally got around to reading book 3 of the Mercy Thompson series. She is one of my favorite authors right now.

A friend of mine told me that in this novel Mercy chooses who she is going to be with, Adam or Samuel...we have been guessing since book 1, Moon Called. Patricia handles this in a fascinating way that I won't spoil here, but I really likes.

Her novels are very fast paced I think I read the entire book in two days not wanting to put it down.

She also creates very realistic fantasy worlds. This book deals with the Fae, Moon Called was Werewolves and Blood Bound, book 2 is Vampires. Kinda makes me wonder what she will cover in book 4 which came out as the start of February.

I highly recommend this series to anyone that enjoys or wants to try Urban Fantasy. Also, if you are a romance fan, this book should be on your must read list.

What a disappointment this one was....I disliked it so much I don't really want to even write a review. It took me almost 2 weeks to read this Young Adult book.

It was shallow and unbelievable. Shallow because there was no real character or story development, when things looked like they were going somewhere the author would drop it and move onto the next scene. Unbelievable, because even a sixteen year old girl takes at least a few days to fall head over heals in love. Especially one that would be distracted by the fact that she is going to be sacrificed.

Don't read it, don't waste your time. A real bummer from the Author that wrote Ella Enchanted.

Island of Lost Girls is the second novel by Jennifer McMahon, her first being, Promise Not to Tell. I really enjoyed Promise Not to Tell, and her new book was no disappointment. In fact I'm not sure it wasn't better.

Her books are a little dark, murder, abuse etc... but the story she weaves is wonderful. Her characters are all flawed, but aren't we all, making it easy for you to connect with them even if you have not experienced the horrors they have.

But the really great thing is that she does not drag you so deep into despair that you feel depressed when reading. I concentrate on solving the mysteries.

While this book was a bit more predictable than her first it is still great and I can't wait until she writes another one.

Um Yuck! I have never read a Dean Koontz, nor will I ever again. It sounded right up my alley, kinda other worldly but this book was boring.

Every time it started to take off the author would reign it in and drag you through a totally different story line that seemed to have nothing to do with the action of the book, and in the long run didn't. So you read pages and pages of just story that doesn't answer any questions.

On top of that I felt that he wrote in a "bloated" fashion. Trying to sound smarter than he really is...

And lastly and most annoyingly, any and all questions he posed were not, i repeat NOT answered. And let me tell you there were quite a few of them.

When I went looking for the cover art I did discover that this is the first in a series. I will not be reading any more even if they answered all the unanswered questions in the first.

Cry Wolf is the first in a new series by Patricia Briggs that is a spin off from a short story found in the anthology On the Prowl.

I really enjoyed the short story and couldn't wait for this book. It is suppose to be about Anna and Charles, characters introduced in the short story and/or in the Mercy Thompson books. However to me this book was more about the Morak, Charles father, leader of the Werewolves, and another pack member. Because of this I was a bit disappointed.

If the book had not been advertised as An Alpha and Omega Novel and more as a spin off from the Mercy Thompson books I would have been more prepared for the story and less disappointed.

To me this one also didn't have the same non stop pace as her other novels. However, I am far from so disappointed that I will not pick up the next book in this series. As I stated above I love this author. I just wish she had introduced this story a bit differently.