Thursday, July 31, 2008

China Update #1


Yay! we've finally heard from Spencer! He's arrived in China, so far he's enjoying the experience. What a relief to get an email from him, even though we've seen pictures posted of kids from the various high schools that went. It was good to finally hear from him. I got a chuckle out of his email I can feel his awe and excitement just like when he was a little boy and would get so excited seeing large caterpillar tractors and heavy equipment LOL

Hey guys,

Sorry it took so long. They don't have computers to use. The business center is just for mail and money, etc., but the plane ride was great. We had seafood and shrimp plus pork and noodles. it was quiet and dark most the time and I never once got sick. When we took off it was sooo cool, I felt like I was in the space shuttle. Oh and the city I'm staying in is well... think forbidden city but with 8 separate hotels, sports centers with a very large golf course and a waterpark. and it's all walled in. one of the hotels is actually the Staff Center and it's like a skyscraper. There are soo many gardens and it's not even in acres but in square kilometers/miles that's how big it is. I'm doing great and I'm picking up a little Chinese Mandarin and I'm getting to be a pro with chop sticks.

Love you all, and I'll see you soon. ttys.

Your thriving son

You can check out their tour photos posted each day HERE

Monday, July 28, 2008

Off to China...

ch4Nope not me, but my son is China bound. We said our goodbyes today as he ventured off on a trip of a life time! He's on his way to China to play his trumpet in the Olympic Orchestra.

Yep, I'm sure you guessed, I'm both nervous and
excited for him!

The Olympic Orchestra will encompass 2008 musicians from 40 countries, the "B 2008 OO" has as a goal to support the Beijing Olympics goal theme of "One World, One Dream" and "Green and Human Olympics".


The Beijing 2008 Olympic Orchestra is comprised of three core units - the RED Orchestra (Americas), GREEN Orchestra (Pacific/Islands) and the GOLD Orchestra (China). Members of these three units will join together to form the Beijing 2008 Olympic Orchestra.

The entity will perform together over the course of the two week performance run, also as three representative "hub orchestras" distinct in artistic flavor. Each hub also has superb, award winning delegations which will also have a chance to perform as their own performing troupe. In the case of the Americans, the "first choice" delegation represents the best in instrumental music programs of the American high school system.

They just found out before they left that The Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) Cultural Division has determined that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Orchestra will perform in Tiananmen Square as part of the China/International Olympic Committee (IOC) Cultural Celebration at the Olympics along with their other venues.

They are the first and only foreign group to ever gain permission to perform in Tiananmen Square.

The invitation is much like that given to the "Three Tenors" five years ago when they were the only foreign group given permission to perform in the Forbidden City. This is a great honor for them.

ImageThey'll be staying at the Grand Epoch City otherwise known as the Orchestra Village. The Grand Epoch City will serve as their Official Olympic Orchestra Village. The village is based on the old cities of Beijing and uses traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping. The village includes several hotels, a shopping area, performance and rehearsal spaces and other activities.

Here are sketches of one of their uniforms they'll be required to wear while performing.

Here's a challenge create your own American Cheer for the Athletes, get creative and let our Olympic Athletes know your rooting for them by checking out America's Cheer by clicking HERE

Check out the Olympic count down and keep track of our
Olympic Medal winners at NBC!

Olympic Medal winners at NBC!

Read an Update #1 of Spencer's

Adventure HERE

Read an Update #2 of Spencer's

Friday, July 25, 2008

Crafty Blogger Blurb Friday!

It's back to Crafty Blogger Blurb Friday now that things are back to normal! A few reminders.....don't forget to enter OTM's Artist Muse Contest! You can click HERE for details. Also OTM's still having their Sizzlin' Summer Special so hurry before it runs out and use the coupon code details HERE. Okay now have fun checking out this weeks blogger blurbs! :-)

About Family Crafts In honor of the upcoming Summer Olympics, why not create your own backyard Olympic games! Cross Stitch New to Cross Stitch? Learn the basic stitches and you will be well on your way!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world Over at Craftside you can get your fill of funky chicken wire jewelry, organize your bits with a slice of wood, embellish virtually anything with a crochet bullion stitch embellishment, stitch a "fierce" plaid dress from a pair of pants, and learn how to make an ATC tag to label it all!

Crafty Princess Diaries Are you a little "organic" sometimes when it comes to crafts? Sometimes "winging it" can be fun and productive as shown by these cool Blythe doll clothes crocheted by the Crafty Princess.

Layers Upon Layers Anitra Cameron shares the story behind her enchanting "Coffee Pot People"

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery The sweaters stayed in the drawer this week and crafts were made with a tiny globe and an empty cat shaped wine bottle.

The Impatient Blogger Margot talks about crafting a life worth living in this contemplative post.
Happy Creating!
Click HERE to read more
of Aileen's Musings!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shout Out and Thank you!

I want to give a big THANK YOU and shout out to my friend Tracey over at eeep! productions web design for coming to my rescue in helping me fix my blog design debacle !

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Carved Mermaid Project & Giveaway!

It's been awhile since I've carved stamps, but it's definitely something I really love to do, and find it very relaxing. If you've never done this before don't let it intimidate you! It really is fun and easier then you think. Stick to a simple design the first time around. I use soft white or grey carving rubber that can be found online or at your local art store. There are several different types of cutters you can choose from. My suggestion is to pick one that comes with several different cutting ends. The one I have pictured here is made by Speedball.

Step 1. Draw with a pencil your design like I did above or you can trace a design you like onto the rubber using graphite paper. Its probably a good idea here to remind you NOT to do what I did and write your wording the right direction....what I meant to do was write it backwards, so when it's stamped it reads the correct way ( Obviously I was sniffing paint fumes when I was doing mine!), but not all is lost (see below).
2. Carefully carve your stamp (small cuts are better then big ones). Just in case you accidental forget to write your wording backwards like me LOL You can use an xacto knife to cut around your image like I did above.
Step 3. Next color your postcard background
using chalk inks direct to paper. Keep lighter
colors towards the center and the darker
colors towards the edges.
Step 4. Ink and stamp your stamp (I usually mist the
stamp very lightly with water to make it juicy before I stamp it).

Step 5. Using fine gel pens, paint pens or micron pens outline your stamped image and add detail to it (Notice how the detailing helped pop the stamped image).
Step 6. Next I added a piece of printed transparency over the image (it helps add depth). You can adhere with brads, two-way sticky tape around the edges, vellum tape or run it through your Xyron.
Finished Carved Mermaid Postcard

Would you like this Postcard sent to you?
Leave me a comment and include your EMAIL (this is a must or I can't contact you) and I'll have my son draw a name 2 weeks from now and whose ever name he pulls I'll mail you the postcard to YOU! :-)
Don't forget about OTM's Summer Sizzle Special
Click the link below for the coupon code:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Art Smorgyboard!

Nature Fairy
5X5 canvas acrylic with velvet leaves and moss added.

Side view with gaffer's tape added.

I decided my Strawberry Field's piece ( needed a little something more so I added some black & white polk-a-dot gaffer's tape from 7 Gypsies to the edge of the canvas and folded it over. I love the way it helped make the piece pop!
Here's more a side view of it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crafty Blogger Blur Sunday!

Better late then never is what I always say! So it isn't Friday (read previous post ) but heck at least I've posted this week's Crafty Blogger Blurbs...right? Hope you enjoy them!

PS: I love hearing from people who let me know how much they've enjoyed my posting these, thank you :-)

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world Over at Craftside there is a fleece flower pattern from the new book Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals, a pair of necklaces that are simple and unique, a great tip on how to knit odd rows with not a lot of ends, two great ways to make ribbon photo corners and more!

Crafty Princess Diaries Tammy talks about how she accidentally inspired a newbie crafter while wandering down the isles of her local Michael's craft store.

Layers Upon Layers Cyndi's readers are sending in pictures of the best thing they've made so far this summer! Wanna join in?

The Impatient Blogger Some folks like to kick it old school, but The Impatient Crafter and her crew like to kick it Ye Olde School. Check out this fun filled video tutorial about making acrylic look like burned, aged glass and turning a vintage optical lens into an adorable pendant!

About Family Crafts If you are planning a party for an upcoming birthday or other occassion you have to check out some of these great resources! They will help you with everything from planning to cleaning up... Well, almost... Cross Stitch Stitch up an alphabet mini sampler or collect them all for a larger project. Help a child learn her letters.

Blog Design Debacle!

My apologies to everyone that has tried visiting my blog in the last few days. While I was away at my son's college orientation I came home to discover the annoying image photobucket had placed on my blog. Talk about confused I had no idea why! After delving deeper into things I learned that the gal who originally designed my blog had used photobucket as the host for my blog images for the blog design.....I also discovered that she is (shock) no longer in business! so my emails went unanswered as to what to do....since the account was in her name on photobucket I was not able to rectify things but I did find a way to grab my images and banner and get them uploaded somewhere else. Unfortunately my banner is now looking out of align and funky....I don't know enough new HTML to tweak it so if anyone does please email me so I can get it looking normal again. Hey at least its viewable now right :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sizzlin' Summer Deal!

It's been smokin' hot here!
I've decided to offer a sizzling summer special
use the coupon below to cool your pocket book off at

(Click the image to enlarge coupon)

Fun with Fruit!

I had a bit of fun with this piece inspired by some
wonderful strawberries I bought recently!
I started out by adhering torn pages from an old book to a canvas using fluid matte medium. I then mixed a bit of transparent acrylic glaze with blue gouache paint (yes you can mix the two of them no problem). Once I created the background I went back in with more gouache paints and created the horizon and then added the delectable realistic strawberries images...yum they look good enough to eat!!

Golden's Fluid Matte Medium

Transparent Glaze

Gouache Paints

Realistic Fruit Images

Strawberry Fields

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Golden Hand of Life Shrine

I'm revisiting a piece I created back in November. At that time I wasn't sure if it was finished or not so it sat waiting. Today I added brass candle cups turned upside down and screwed into the bottom for feet and an aluminum corner reinforcement piece hubby had given me after taking apart a screen.
Click the link below to see my post from Nov.
and view the before piece and my step by step process:
This is definitely another example of being patience and waiting for the right inspirations to come along to finish a piece.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Crafty Blogger Blurb Friday!


Layers Upon Layers Cyndi got to test some new Golden's digital ground products, and a waxed paper transfer collage is the result!

Crafty Princess Diaries Lesson 3 in Tammy's series on getting your craft work published talks about submitting your work to magazines.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world Variety abounds with summer centerpieces, retro gas photos, a sneak peek a couple of fun projects from the new book Felt Inlays, a how to make your own Calligraphy pen from the new book Modern Mark Making and a tutorial on how to convert a photo into a knitting pattern with a free graph of Jon Stewart!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery The Scissors are busy with Summer Sweater Projects

The Impatient Blogger Madge is in full tilt preparation mode for the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) Show. ACK!

About Family Crafts When you have a day when it is way too hot to spend time outside or when there is another reason you are stuck inside, you can keep busy with these Summer-themed coloring pages. Cross Stitch Use these tile patterns for bookmarks, borders, and more - let your creativity flow!

Read more of Aileen's Musings:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Muse Contest!

I'm feeling inspired, so I've decided to host an

Artist Muse Contest!

Grab your wooden artist manikins off your shelf and get your groove on with them and create your own art muse!

Don't have an artist manikin? you can order one at the link below

(OTM has them for a crazy cheap price so order more

then one while your at it):

(Meet Aletta my Art Muse)

Here's the details:

Create your own Art Muse,

You MUST use a wooden artist manikin (pictured below)

Post a link to your finished art muse image in the comments section on this blog. MAKE SURE you leave your email address (I can't contact you, if you don't leave your email address when you post your comment).

2 entries per person (contestant can only win once though)

Deadline Extended To: Oct, 31, 2008

After Sept 1st I will post a poll for everyone to vote on each entry. The first 2 dolls with the most votes will win the following:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bringing a smile to someone's face one postcard at a time!

My youngest son Morgan left for Boy Scout camp yesterday and I forgot then quickly remembered I needed to send him a postcard! I grabbed whatever was closest at hand carefully selected what I needed: watercolor paper, Color Mists, paint brush, Black Micron pen, gel pens, gold leafing pen and a multi glitter pen. With no idea in mind I just began drawing and a bird was born! I decided instead of spraying with the Color Mists I'd use a brush just like regular watercolor paints and painted the background then went back and embellished more with the gel and leafing pens. Whew~ I made it just in the nick of time before the mailman showed up! It's no master piece, but I know that it will bring a smile to my son's face! Isn't that the beauty of art? it has the ability to invoke all types of emotions :-)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gothic Mermaid

I'm slippin' in my piece for this week's Mermaid themed Gothic Arch Challenge , enjoy!

Crafty Blogger Blurb Friday!


Happy 4th of July to all my American blogger friends,

have a safe and sane holiday!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
There are giant pom poms, a giant aluminum craft project, "Superfly", and a fun video from the Knitty Gritty peeps.

Layers Upon Layers
Cyndi has DVDs to giveaway from "Beads & Beyond" Magazine!
No batteries required - Heather shares a list of low-tech tools for creating with polymer clay.

The Impatient Blogger
A link to three fabulous free projects on the Simply Beads website and some thoughts about inspiring creativity from a professional designer.

About Family Crafts
Is it time to start planning your Christmas crafts? Cross Stitch
When do you do the back stitch on your needlework projects? Vote in the poll and let us know.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Kicking off the summer Craftside brings you a password for 15% of Voyager Press titles through July 8th, a funky woven lamp project, the Making Designer Jewelry with Hardware, Gems. and Beads contest extended, a quick and easy party banner idea and some fun pictures from Swap-o-rama rama.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is "so" learning the ropes over at with her new jewelry making supplies shop. Is it too much of a hodge podge? How big of a learning curve are we talking about here?!

Read more of Aileen's Musings:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Firecracker Martinis & Christmas!

I know your probably wondering what the heck do martini's and Christmas have to do with art?!? Actually thinking about it martinis and art sound like it could be a good match...surely your creative muse would be flyin' free of that inner critic!
July's a good time to start thinking about Christmas...ack did I really say the "C"word!? I know, I know it's hard to think about that, but seriously if you start now on making some of those gifts you have in the back of your mind you won't be so stressed as it gets closer. Below is a calendar page I created from a blank calendar. A friend and I collaborated on a Martini themed calendar for a mutual friend of ours. This would make a great gift idea, you can use stamps, paints, paper, even digital art to create your mini works of art for each month. They measure open 6"w x 12" L and come spiral bound and are made from lightweight card stock.
Click the link below to find out more information:
I've posted the recipe below the image just in
case you don't have super vision and can't read the recipe.
Coo Coo Firecracker

Cucumber and peppers create a curious mix of heat and smooth cool. This drink was inspired by a visit to a restaurant in New Mexico. The service was poor, but the food was amazing--and I noticed that they used cucumbers in their water glasses instead of the usual lemon slice. This recipe takes a day to prepare, so be patient.

1 medium cucumber, sliced.
10 ounces of Absolut Peppar.
1 Serrano chili pepper.
6 pimento stuffed green olives.

The mix
Put your cucumber into a glass pitcher full of water and allow it to steep in your refrigerator over night. In the morning, pour your cucumber infused water into a few ice trays and pop them in the freezer. When your cucumber water is frozen, fill a martini shaker 3/4 cracked cubes. Pour your frozen vodka into the shaker and let it sit for a full two minutes. Cut your Serrano pepper in half and rub one half around the inside of the bowl of two frozen martini glasses. Lid your shaker and shake like crazy for a minute. Strain your elixir into your glasses. Float a cucumber slice on each drink. I cant help but suggesting that you listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers as you enjoy your martini.

Christmas Martini Recipes!

I've had a lot of hits because of this title all looking for Christmas Martinis so I thought I'd add a couple of recipes for you looky-loos :-)

White Blizzard Chocolate Martini

This white chocolate martini recipe will keep you warm by the fire. Add in a bit of romance and a furry rug...
4 ounces of Absolut Vanil vodka
1 ounce of clear Creme de Cacao
2 ounce of Godet White Chocolate liqueur
1 teaspoon of coconut flakes
2 freezing martini glasses
The mix
Add the vodka to a shaker half full of cracked ice.
Shake vigorously for a full minute.
Add the white chocolate liqueur, and Creme de Cacao.
Swirl the shaker for another full minute, and then let it rest for a minute.
Strain your martini into the freezing martini glasses.
Each glass gets half of the coconut flakes.
Stir each martini gently to start the blizzard!


Mint Patty Martini

Hubby loves peppermint and chocolate so it's the perfect combination!

3 ounces of freezing Absolut Pepar vodka
2 ounces of White Creme de Menthe
1 tablespoon of Peppermint Schnapps
1 ounce of Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
1 Starlight mint
2 freezing martini glasses
The mix
Add your vodka, Creme de Menthe, and Starlight mint to a cocktail shaker 1/2 full of ice and let the shaker stand for a minute.
Give ten good shakes, and add your Godiva Chocolate Liqueur and give another fifteen shakes.
Strain your cocktail into the martini glasses.
Top each glass with half of the Peppermint Schnapps.


View more of Aileen's Musings:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Music Maker

Music Maker
I guess I really am on a roll here LOL Mostly it's because I've needed to create, but I haven't had the time until late at night or early in the morning which is perfect for me to do digital work then. I've been asked several times if I could explain my steps, but honestly that would be very difficult to do. There's no direct steps it's usually a little of this and a little of think I'll try this...oops that didn't' work...oops I better undo kind of thing (I do work in a lot of layers if that helps any). ;-)