Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mermaids and Pearls

There was no way I was going to pass up a Mermaid themed swap so when Kim over at Art JOY stuff posted this swap I signed up.

All three of my ATC's are fairly similar, the images differ but I went with a pearl and kind of vintage underwateresc touch.

The images are from Alpha Stamps, as are many of the embelishments and fibers. 

I did a quick packaging on them and sent them on their wave last week. 

I can't wait to see what everyone else has created and what I get in return.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Art Share ~ Stamp Out Crime

It's that time again, time for another Stamp Out Crime ATC.  This one is by Mark H. and it represents a series of books by John J. Lamb

Mark's summary of the series is
"San Francisco detective Brad Lyon and his wife Ashleigh retire to Remmelkemp Mill, VA in the Shenandoah Valley, where they make artisan teddy bears and solve murders."

This series reminds me of my little sister who had the best teddy bears ever, she collected them from all over the world.  However, she hates mysteries so the connection is kind of ironic. 

This is book 1, The Mournful Teddy

When San Francisco PD Homicide Inspector Bradley Lyon was wounded in a gun battle and forced to retire, he and his wife, Ashleigh moved to her childhood home in a tiny rural community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Now the couple works together making artisan teddy bears and adding to their enormous collection of stuffed animals. Their lives are peaceful and happy until Brad finds a murdered man floating in the river. When the sheriff refuses to investigate the killing, Brad and Ash begin their own inquiry and learn the dead man is connected to the theft of a rare and extremely valuable teddy bear produced to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic. The Mournful Teddy is the first in a series featuring Brad and Ash Lyon.

The above is book 5, the most recently published

While Brad pieces together his latest “Claw and Order” bear for a local teddy bear show, Ash—who’s now an auxiliary deputy sheriff—finds a local farmer done in by an arrow through his heart. The Lyon’s investigative skills may be razor-sharp, but this case has stumped them. Was it a hunting accident—or was the farmer being hunted? Now Brad and Ash must decipher the elusive clues of the murder while organizing their first teddy bear jubilee in town. And with the suspect list growing, they’ll have to work fast to root out a killer before more innocents become endangered…

At this time I have completed my second set of ATC's for the group Stamp Out Crime (so be looking for those soon) and I can't wait to see what everyone else has created and share them with all of you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, full of great wealth and glamour, home to millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister May are having the time of their lives, thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business. Though both wave off authority and traditions, they couldn’t be more different. Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and living the carefree life ... until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth, and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the villages of south China, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the foreign shores of America. In Los Angeles, they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with their stranger husbands, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life, even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules. At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends, who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection. But like sisters everywhere, they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other but they also know exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other sister the most. Along the way there are terrible sacrifices, impossible choices and one devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel by Lisa See hold fast to who they are – Shanghai girls.


Recently I joined the local library's book club, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See was the first book on the list.  I am so glad that I went, it was fun to discuss the book and on top of that the author, Lisa, joined us via skype!


Lisa wrote Shanghai girls from Pearl, the older sisters, point of view in first person.  Usually I love first person point of view books but this one fell short for me.  Lisa's style of writing, while beautiful and filled with wonderful descriptions, was one where more telling than showing was done.  When I brought this up in discussion many agreed that a bit more dialogue would have been nice.  One woman did point out that at the time this book is set in the Chinese culture was very secretive and did not discuss many things.  However I fell that a lot of the jealousy between the two sisters could have been shown rather than told. 

Shanghai Beautiful Girls Calender pages
Pearl and May posed for these Calenders while living in China

Lisa did a lot of foreshadowing in this novel so very little of what happened, good and bad (and there is a lot of bad) was a surprise to me.  When something did surprise me it felt out of character. 

I found the history in this book absolutely intriguing, Angle Island, Paper Sons/Wives and the difficulties of assimilating into America .  When we asked Lisa about how and where she got all her research she enthusiastically said that most of it came from Family and Friends.  That she was given pages and pages of old letters and journals from people that lived during this time period and that she toured Angel Island before it became open to the public.  Lisa has a wonderful sight dedicated to all the research she did on this book with tons of Geographical Locations and Historical Links, you can visit it HERE.

Entrance to China city, 1939
China city is where most of the book takes place

Honestly I think the best part of reading this book was getting to chat with the Author.  She grew up in Chinatown, Los Angeles and is 1/8th Chinese.  Lisa comes fro a long line of writers, her grandfather wrote for a paper in Texas and her mother is Carolyn See.  She talked about how she visited all the locations in the book and ate the food the characters ate.  It was very interesting to learn that when she wrote Shanghai Girls she had no intention of writing a Sequel.  The ending of Shanghai girls is rather abrupt and while I see what she was going for I wanted more closure.  Well, she did end up writing a sequel Dreams of Joy.

I've decided to move on in my reading, and not pick up Dreams of Joy.  Shanghai Girls was not my favorite book ever but many of the women at the discussion did enjoy it. 

I give Shanghai Girls 3 out of 5 Sprinkles of Glitter.


This is the third Birds in Hat coaster that I made for Alpha Stamps.  It is also my favorite. 

I have absolutely fallen in love with the clear sticker option that Alpha Stamps has for many of their Collage sheets, I used the Bennett Animals ABC's on his coaster.  The background has a bunch of stuff that you can't make out in the picture, drat.  And I custom made the hat, after all all owls can't be wise. 

Today, June 24th is the final day to sign up for the Birds in Hats Swap.  And you would be a Dunce if you don't :) 

Just click the image above and it will take you to all the information you need to sign up for this fabulous swap.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet the Alpha Stamp Design Team Blog Hop WINNER ~ Take 2

So, I've been trying to get this kit out of my house for a while now, she needs a good home, she's just gathering dust in my studio. 

Well, I've drawn a new winner
the winner is....

who said...
Love the 3-D form of the birdhouse, very pretty. And thanks for the feather tutorial - I never would have thought of that :-D

Beverly please e-mail me your information or leave it in a comment (I won't publish it) and I'll get your kit out to you ASAP.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Steampunkish Bird

This is the second coaster I created for Alpha Stamps with the theme Birds in Hats.  I am constantly drawn to steampunk but never seem to be able to nail it.

I think overall everything needed to be bigger and then it would have looked better.  Wax is holding down all the clock parts along the edge of the coaster.  And I used a number of watch parts on his hat. 

I was also kinda going for a Tin Man heart thing but in this case a heart that needed a sprocket to work.  Yes, that is a red heart inside the gold bird. 

I twisted a bunch of wires together to make a connection between the compass parts and the clock parts on the bottom. 

There is still time to sign up for the Birds in Hats Swap, sign ups end this Sunday June 24th. I would love to see you join us.
I still have not heard from the winner of the kit I created for the Meet The Alpha Stamps Design Team Blog Hop

my winner
who said... What great fun! Lovely work

Please see the original announcement post for instructions on contacting me.  If I haven't heard from you by tomorrow morning I will be drawing for a new winner. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paper Feather Tutorial

I first shared this tutorial as part of my "Meet The Alpha Stamp Design Team" post where I promised I would post this separately making it easier to find.  So, here it is but first thing first...

I still have not heard from the winner of the kit I created

Well, it's been a few weeks and I still haven't heard from my winner
who said... What great fun! Lovely work

Please see the original announcement post for instructions on contacting me. 

This Friday, if I still haven't heard from you, I will be redrawing.  If you post a comment on this post I will add your name into the original pile (even if that means you will get 2 entries).  I really want to give away this kit!  It is fabulous!

Okay, onto the tutorial
This tutorial is an alteration of one I found on Pinterest. 

Karen B. of Todolwen made some beautiful Hymn Page Feathers and supplied a wonderful tutorial

Here is an image of Karen's feathers

Print out or draw your own feathers. 

Trace the template onto your desired paper and cut the feathers out.
Because my paper was thin, when I went to cut the feathers out I stacked two sheets of paper together and then cut. However if your paper is thicker remember you will need to have a front and back for your feather.

Now it's time to cut some wire.
I used a medium gauge wire but suggest a nice thick one. Cut the wire slightly longer than the feather.

Glue the wire in place and smush the feather pieces together.

Now it's time to really turn it into a feather.
Start cutting downward from the edge towards the wire. I like to make sure the cuts are nice and uneven.

Give your cut feathers a little edge ruffling by running your finger along them and curling the paper in towards the wire.

Karen wrapped her stems with matching paper, I had a really hard time doing that so I decided to wrap my stems in coordinating seam binding. I dipped the wire end into the glue and curled the seam binding around it. Once it was dry I cut off the excess ribbon.

For some reason I distress everything, so the feathers got a quick brushing of tea dye and vintage photo distress inks.

Not so surprising is that I added glitter. I put a small amount on my finger and ran it along the edge of the feather, then sprinkled the glitter on.

And voila, mini feathers!
Thank you Karen for the wonderful tutorial and the inspiration to make them. I hope you like the alterations I made and that they inspire you to make some paper feathers of your very own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kill 2 Birds with one Stone

A while ago Alpha Stamps held a blog hop and the design team shared some of our work.  Well I didn't share it all so here are some more pictures of my "Kill two Birds with one Stone" piece.

As I mentioned in the blog hop I like to tell stories with my artwork.  This one I came up with after seeing the phrase "Kill to birds with one Stone" on the Bird Words Collage Sheet created by Teri Calia

So I found two lovely birds topped their heads with a hat similar to the one I've always seen depicted on Marie Antoinette in her final moments (from collage sheet Just Hats) tossed a Guillotine and a couple of stones in there and voila I've killed two birds with one stone. 

There is still time to sign up for the Birds in Hats Swap, sign ups end this Sunday June 24th.  I would love to see you join us. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Art Share ~ Stamp Out Crime

What little girl didn't love the Nancy Drew Mysteries?  For Andrea L's contribution to the Stamp Out Crime ATC swap she selected one of my all time Favorite Nancy Drew Novels.  Andrea did a fantastic job incorporating all the major themes of this book, the lake house, the locket and even one of Niko Van Dyke's records! 

Nancy Drew and her friends are plunged into a network of strange events when they visit Misty Lake. The very night they arrive, they meet pretty, red-haired Cecily Curtis, who seeks Nancy's help in solving two mysteries: one concerning Cecily's fiance, Niko Van Dyke, a popular singer who believes that his record company is cheating him of royalty payments; the other, involving a family treasure hidden before the start of the Civil War--Cecily's only clue being half of a gold locket.

To view other Stamp Out Crime contributions please select the label stamp out crime from my blogs left hand sidebar. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

Two women competing for a man's heart — Two queens fighting to the death for dominance — The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots — This dazzling novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines. Biographers often neglect the captive years of Mary, Queen of Scots, who trusted Queen Elizabeth's promise of sanctuary when she fled from rebels in Scotland and then found herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The newly married couple welcome the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court. To their horror, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

This is a review of the Audio Version

I absolutely loved listening to The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory and was thrilled when I realized that The Other Queen was performed in a similar fashion - with different voices/people reading the various points of view.  There are three different point of view in this novel, Mary Queen of Scots, George Talbot and Bess of Hardwick.  Each reader captured the characters personality perfectly. 

Mary in captivity, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1578

I know very little about the history of Mary Queen of Scots so the historical portion of Gregory's book was intriguing to me.  Especially since Gregory decided to write this from Mary's point of view instead of Elizabeth's.  My one issue with Mary's character is that she seemed very much like Catherine in The Constant Princess (which I didn't care for), always steadfast in what she believed in and never giving up. 

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury

George drove me nuts.  He was a very repetitive character, always thinking and saying the same things.  When he fell in love with Mary he became simpering.  He never once came across as a strong person that a Queen would put in charge of imprisoning the rival to her thrown. 

Bess of Hardwick, 1550s

Now Bess was an extremely interesting character and I think I could read an entire book about her.  Gregory portrays her as a woman who doesn't need a man but knowing the time she lives in puts up with husbands.  She is sufficient in accounting, dealing with her tenants and has a level head.  George is Bess's fourth husband so she had already acrewed her money and knowledge.  The interaction between Bess and George is also interesting.  They at one point seem to have been in love but once Mary is in the picture everything changes.  But George doesn't leave her out in the cold, that might be his only redeeming quality.

All in all listening to this book was probably better than reading it since it was a bit repetitive (I think that would come across worse in the books).  I am not thrilled with the Title choice, it is a little to close to The Other Boleyn Girl for my taste.  I'm glad I listen to it because I know a bit more history now, however I would recommend The Boleyn Inheritance on audio before I would this one.

I am linking up with 

I'm going to give this one 3 sprinkles of glitter