Saturday, July 18, 2015

< slightly evil laugh >

My kids are away at camp, so I took the opportunity to re-vamp the chalkboard that's painted on the side of our pantry cupboard.  We haven't used it in... oh, a while, if I can judge by the "31 MORE DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS" that I wiped off of it yesterday.  Prior to using it as a countdown calendar, I had been using it to write down the kids' chores for them every day.

They didn't like that.

Recently, they have decided that they are old enough, nay, MATURE enough, that they should be allowed to simply look around their environment and clean up anything that they deem necessary.  Why should I treat them like children and dictate their actions by giving them a list?  Tsk.

I like this idea in theory.  It shows initiative.  It shows responsibility.  It shows how much of a sucker I am for falling for it.  I probably don't have to tell you how much it did not work.  Between the sibling bickering and the wide-eyed lying about what chores were not obvious enough to have captured their attention (food wrappers on the couch apparently being invisible to the naked eye), it's resulted in more frustration for me and waaaaaay less cleaning for them.

Oh, also there was a sale at Michael's and I bought some chalkboard markers.  Wanted to try them out.  Result: I like 'em.

I'll be honest, I sort of slapped this together, I didn't make sketches or do much planning.  That's why the lines are wiggly and the letters aren't all straight, but you know what... it was fun.  Also, it washes off, so I didn't feel like I was too committed.  Seriously, FUN.  You should try it.

Since they're going to show up dirty and tired, I only gave them one chore - THIS TIME.  YOUR job is to not tell them the paint washes off, because otherwise that's how the mutiny will start.  All I know is, chores have to be listed, otherwise they don't get done.  Also, if your children are perfect angels and do their chores without parental haranguing, well, just keep it to yourself, mmkay?  Thanks.


Friday, July 3, 2015

I'll just put this in the corner.

The Royal Aviation Museum in Winnipeg approached local art groups late last year to request assistance with their fundraising event, "Airborne Art".  

Now, I don't belong to a local art group.  But I weaselled my way in anyway.  

The deal was, you get to snoop through their back room full of spare old airplane parts, take home something that you think you could turn into a valuable piece of art, then bring it back to the museum in time for their big week this summer.  They have two visiting aircraft - a B-17 and a B-25 WWII bomber - that you can climb up inside.  Apparently they are expecting upward of 10,000 visitors for this particular exhibit, which is a mind-boggling number of people that may be walking past a piece of art that I created.  See how I managed to bring it all around back to me?  It's a gift, really.

Yes, the grass needs cutting.

I got there last, so I didn't get the coolest stuff.  BUT I GOT THIS AMAZING AIRPLANE WING!!! I was pretty excited about it, until I remembered that 10,000 people were going to be looking at it.  Gulp.  Then I totally choked, and it sat in my living room for the next three months.  Accusingly.

I finally stopped procrastinating and got down to business.

After I'd finished it, I reflected that if I was to start over, I would do it completely differently.  But then I shrugged and went to deliver it.  Too late for regrets, bitches!

I have to admit, the colours absolutely thrill me.  I spent an obscene amount of time staring at the finished product, trying to memorize the different combinations and drips.  YUM.

The museum also let me have a bunch of 1950s and 1960s aviation maps to use, and you can see a lot of that detail beneath the paint.

From my own stash I added some airmail-themed goodies.

Finally, when I was only two weeks late, I drove off to the museum to deliver my objet d'art.  When I got there, they were already assembling all the other works into categories, so I got to see the other artists' work.

I had an epiphany.

I need to join an art group.

Seriously, these people brought ART.  Like, something you would put in an exhibit, or a gallery, or... or... or... a MUSEUM.  Ohmygah.  Yeah.  I felt totally outclassed.  Wait, not at all in a "please feel sorry for me" way or a "please compliment my art because I'm feeling desperately needy" but more in an "I HAVE TO STEP UP MY GAME" way.  Because seeing those other artists' pieces seriously opened my eyes.  I've been doodling along, dabbling here and there, and never really getting serious about improving.  

I love their beat-up, time-worn signs...
So.  The museum may not make a bundle off of my donation, but I certainly got more than I bargained for.  I'm going to make a more concerted effort to grow in my art.  This may go really well, or it may be an unmitigated disaster.  But if you want to come along for the ride, I'll at least try to make it entertaining.

Stay tuned.


Monday, June 22, 2015

*Drum Roll Please*........ THE STAIRS.

A while back my sister-in-law Marleen presented me with a project and asked for my help: she had been looking at images of decorated stairs on Pinterest and wanted to know if I could paint her stair risers to look like the covers of her favourite books.


You damn betcha I could.  I like books.  I like painting.  And I even like stairs, now that I think about them.  This project was right up my alley.

Well it took a while (sorry Marn!) but it's finally done.  She sent me these pics yesterday of the boards all installed and pretty-looking.

I know it's hard to see the top ones but they are:

 - Gone With the Wind
 - Charlotte's Web
 - Outlander
 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
 - Dracula

This was one of the most fun projects I've ever done and I love that they loved it enough to permanently install it in their home.  Biggest compliment EVER.

Now... back to work.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015



I signed up for a swap on swap-bot and got super-lucky - my partner ended up being someone I'm already BFFs with, so I immediately knew what kind of pages I wanted to do for her.  Happy, ridiculously bright, totally experimental ones!

I started with some fairly random 4"x6" pieces of cardstock from my overflowing collection, slapped a little paint, gesso and collage stuff on them...

... then started adding bits of bright colour.  I also darkened up the colours around the edges using some Inktense blocks and a water brush.  GOD I LOVE THOSE INKTENSE COLOURS!!!  They go on like watercolour, but then when they dry, they're permanent.  So you can keep layering without ever losing the work you did underneath.  Perfect for if you're not a talented watercolorist.  Ahem.

Some drips here and there, more random splashes (I wore a beret and tilted my head thoughtfully to one side while I did this)*

Some watered-down white paint to push the background into the background...

Ohhh, now we're cooking.  A few more layers of that juicy Inktense colour really brings the whole thing together.

Then a bunch of random marks and doodles with markers and paint...

A quote on happiness... (that was the theme, hence the bright happy colours)

And finally, I thought the balls of weirdness looked a little too floaty so I attached them all to long spires, as though they were alien-like eyeballs on stalks.  Nice imagery, hey?

Some detail shots:

Making these two pages brought me such feelings of peace and joy.  I definitely gotta keep doing this stuff.

But first... sleep.  Goodnight.

Love Shelley!

* I totally didn't.  I don't even recall wearing pants, now that I think of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


So here's how to make this postcard:

1.  Eat all the Alpha-Bits; disassemble the cardboard box
2.  Draw the shape of your monster onto the coloured side of the cardboard
3.  Cut out and base coat with white gesso
4.  Block in colour with gouache (thick highly pigmented paint that covers excellently*)
5.  Drybrush lighter colours on to get highlights - you can just add white to your first colour if you don't have two shades
6.  Make warty-looking dots by dipping the back of your brush into the paint and dabbing onto the horns
7.  Use a Stabilo Marks-All pencil to add outlines and shadows
8.  Stand back; admire work; slap a stamp on the back and mail it to someone you like

*yes, I know that's not a word

Go. Make monsters.

Love Shelley!

P.S.  This technique also works with Mini-Wheats.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pocket Letters

So here's a new idea: pocket letters.

I found them on Pinterest (where else), followed the links to the original post, and this is my first crack at making a couple of them.  Guess what: they're super fun.

You just take a 9-card baseball card holder, mine are from Staples, and fill up all the pockets with goodies for your pen pal.  Each slot is 2 ½" x 3 ½", the same size as Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).  NOT the same size as your Project Life cards.  Those are a majestic 3"x4" and won't fit in here.

Anyway, these were for people who like very specific things, so they were easy to create.  The first lady likes fabric, sewing, stickers, buttons, lists and gum.  Those are sewing needles, by the way.

The second lady loves her garden, used stamps, stickers, tea, band-aids, buttons, and things for gift-wrapping, hence the twine.  Oh, and sparkly things.  You probably can't tell by the pic but the star card stock and a few of the buttons are pretty glittery.  Hopefully she'll like it.

I wasn't sure how I was going to cram a proper letter into a single tiny pocket but I did figure out a way.  I folded a piece of card stock in half, then added 3 sheets of onionskin paper, also folded in half and stapled in. Because the card is so small I was able to use my regular desk stapler for this, no special equipment required!  The paper is nice and thin, and although I  didn't write a novel-length letter or anything, at least I was able to say a few things.  

If you're careful about how chunky all your items are, you can fold the card holder into thirds, because it fits perfectly into a business size or #10 envelope, and then mail it off.  It'll likely be heavier than a regular letter, so you might need to add more postage.  But if you don't make it too fat, you won't have to send it as a parcel.  Hooray!  

If you want to send bigger items, then this format may not be for you.  But for a novelty, it is kind of cool.  

Now, go make something!