Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What will you be when you grow up?

"Rabbit," said Pooh to himself. "I like talking to Rabbit. He talks about sensible things. He doesn't use long, difficult words, like Owl. He uses short, easy words, like 'What about lunch?' and 'Help yourself, Pooh'." -- Winnie the Pooh

48-ounce jar of honey
My family tree is void of royalty or wealthy ancestors, and we currently have no doctors or lawyers who would be forced to help us because we call them Uncle or Cousin.

What we do have in the family is a beekeeper: Two of them, actually.

You see, My Guy's grandfather is a 90-plus-year-old keeper of buzzy things. This grandfather has mostly passed on the business to a son, My Guy's uncle.

And we hear that soon My Guy's brother will be starting as a beekeeper journeyman!

That's such a relief. I'd hate to one day be forced to buy grocery store honey.

Just today My Guy returned from a holiday weekend trip to the beekeepery (do you like my made-up word?). Our cupboards and cabinets are again packed, positively chock full, of warm, glimmering, sticky joy.

So, it's with a sincere heart that I tell you, that I urge you my friends, if you have a son or daughter or young person in your life who asks for advice about what they should do in the future: Beg them to become a beekeeper.

You'll never be sorry.

Monday, May 30, 2011

E.M.O.: Haunted Design House

E is for Eek and all things Evil, like an Eyeball floating in a cocktail.

M is for Mmm and Macabre, like a Dirty Martini with an Eyeball garnish.

O is for Oh! and Outrageous, like a glimmery Orange background shining from behind a Dirty Martini with an Eyeball garnish.

Holy crap, I kill myself with the cleverness, the absolute smarmy nature of my vision for this week's challenge at Haunted Design House's Macabre Monday!

You guessed it folks, get out your dictionary and start looking for your own Eclectically Motivated Original E.M.O. (words that begin with, that is).

But, don't rush too fast ... after all the fewer of you that make it in time ... the fewer of you who I have to compete against to win a prize from this week's sponsor: Simply Betty Stamps.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Altered Alice Chapter 4 Challenge Week 5: Timely winners and honorable mentions

Hi everybody! Today's the big day! The day the winners and honorable mentions for The Altered Alice Chapter 4 are announced!

See that little image on this post? It's a teaser! You have to go to The Altered Alice to see who won, and the entire winning piece!

Don't forget to check out the honorable mentions, too! You know how we art bloggers love comments from appreciate readers and fellow artists!

Thanks to everyone who participated this month!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Magic: A Drunken Stampers Challenge

Once upon a time there was a wildflower garden at the edge of a forest grove.

Despite being shaded round the clock by giant fir trees and chilled day and night by alpine breezes, the flowers there were the prettiest, most aromatic blooms in all the land.

No one knew how this was possible until the day a little girl named Ruby arrived in the nearby village with an amazing story.

She had been playing with a bear cub, chasing him farther and farther into the forest, when suddenly she realized that she was lost. That would have been amazing enough, but this is a fairy tale and so all children play with wild animal babies.

Ruby happened upon the wildflower garden and, trying to ease her fears, began to speak gently to the flowers. She told them stories from her life, made up tales for them and asked the flowers questions about their own lives.

Pleased that someone had at long last asked the flowers to tell their own stories, the Flower Garden Fairy Lavender revealed herself to Ruby.

Lavender told Ruby about life as a fairy. Ruby learned that Lavender used her magic flower wand to give comfort and strength to the flowers, making them tall and strong and beautiful although they live in shade and cold. In return the flowers stood above her, protecting her home built of leaves and petals.

Listening to Lavender describe her wonderful, safe home beneath the wildflowers, Ruby became sad and told her new friend that wished she was back home. She wanted to see her parents and cuddle with her puppy.

“Oh dear friend Ruby, I can help you!” Lavender exclaimed happily. “Flower Garden Fairy magic works on little girls, too, because they are as beautiful and special as each of these flowers surrounding us!”

So Lavender waved her glittering wand, sprinkling Ruby with shimmering dust that sent her back to her village.

Just in time for her to create a magical piece of art for this week’s Drunken Stampers challenge: Magic!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Necro Neckware: Haunted Design House

Among my first ever UTEE projects were a bunch of UTEE shapes I'd made by dumping the hot goo into silicone ice cube trays.

The shapes you can pop out of the freezer these days are shocking, and wonderful: Someday I'm going to pick up this tray that makes Moai-inspired statues.

Anyhow, back to the point: UTEE, silicone ice cube trays and Macabre Monday at Haunted Design House.

This week's challenge, Necro Neckware, asks us to create a creepy, crawly bit of art that can be worn 'round the neck.

Around my house we're working on embedding LED lights into some of my UTEE shapes to create super neat glowy ... things. Until then I've been pleased with the possibilities provided by PearlEx and rhinestones.

Just look at this skull "cube!" She's filled with a bit of dark pinkish Pearl stuff and glitters with rhinestone eyes that were placed in the mold before the UTEE was poured.

Especially for this project I really wanted some sort of glow to add to my UTEE, alas I have no such product (do they sell glow-in-the-dark UTEE ... and why the hell not?).

Still, this piece does offer a shiny and glimmery and glittery bit of fun whether it's laying against skin or hanging in front of a sunny window (ahm, no, I mean moon-lit window).

You have until Sunday afternoon to show off your own Charm-ing skills at the Macabre Monday challenge sponsored by Kasket Kustoms.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Altered Alice Chapter 4 Challenge Week 4: Time

Thank you for dropping by to see my first The Altered Alice Guest Design Team Member piece!

Before we get into the mechanics of my piece I have to remind you to get on over to The Altered Alice to see what's been happening there. Seriously. What I create is OK, sometimes it's even very good, occasionally it's awesome: I like it in any of those states. But the art pieces that you're going to see at The Altered Alice will remind you of what you aspire to become as an artist.

I'm starting on my way with this piece in which I used the digi stamp "Wait for Me" from The Altered Alice's monthly sponsor, Fresh Brewed Designs. There's little wonder that I'm not the only Design Team Member, guest or otherwise, who chose this stamp since it's so completely cool!

My own piece started with a black and white print out of the Wait for Me stamp which I then colored with pencils and Sharpie markers: The Sharpies were used as I often do to highlight the hard lines and give the entire image extra depth.

I left Alice's face and hair with highlighting only before trimming the stamp and inking everything (except Alice, of course) with Distress Ink frayed burlap. This gave the tree and mushrooms a weathered look.

The trimmed image is mounted on a canvas that was sprayed with Butterscotch color wash before a clockwork mask was applied. A second wash of color, this time a homemade green-toned glimmer mist, was added and the rectangular clock stamp was added.

I removed the mask, added the round clock stamp and the game spinners which I'd made black and gold with Sharpie paint markers.The text, and the clocks, were stamped with black archival ink and the clockface near the top left is from a vintage watch.

Other items include the silver chain as a hanger, two idea-ology corners, lace dyed with color wash and clockwork bits from actual vintage watches adhered to the Wait for Me tree.

Whew, aren't you impressed with my description? I rarely worry about explaining what I've done, or with which products. I'm usually much more involved in telling you some random, unrelated story.

I guess the team at The Altered Alice are bringing out my professionalism: At least for now, before the silly genes overtake my I Can Be A Grown Up facade.

Until then you've got a few days to create your own amazing The Altered Alice piece, and show it off at, you guessed it: The Altered Alice!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vegas Wedding: A Drunken Stampers Challenge

We have a very special challenge this week, to honor our own Drunken Stampers co-founder Spike and her soon to be husband, Jeffrey!

We're going to a Vegas Wedding! Or at least our founders Peg and Spike are going to a Vegas Wedding, in Las Vegas, the rest of us are going in our imagination!

My piece is backed with Vegas-inspired Die Cuts With a View stock and mirror embellishments since Vegas is the City of Lights: OK, I know Paris is the City of Lights, but if you've been to Vegas ... alright, let's at least call it the City of Shimmer.

Everything in Vegas has a shiny reflection, I swear. That's probably why people go there and lose everything ... they think they're giving away money to a happy, shiny version of themselves. Or it's the alcohol.

Anyhow, Spike's dress isn't a Kimono, but I understand that it will be a black with red flower Chinese style beauty, so my Kimono is meant to convey that element.

Finally, we've got a simple "Love" badge with more glimmery bits!

How do you imagine Spike and Jeffrey's Vegas Wedding? Create your own vision of this important event, then join us at Drunken Stampers for toast to the happily-inebriated couple before midnight May 27, 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Distress Ink color blocking: Grungy Monday

Hi again everybody! Shocking, I know, but after my Tuesday post in which I bemoaned my nonexistent muse, all of you managed to get me back in the game -- twice today even!

Let's not go on and on about it this very second, but if you come back tomorrow afternoon you'll find a big thank you in the form of blog candy!

Until then ... we're talking about Studio L3's Grungy Monday ... on Friday! Woohoo!

OK, this week's Grungy Monday focuses on Tim Holtz's Distress Ink Color Blocking technique, and it is such fun!

Not only because, as with everything Tim does, it results in a very cool finished piece, but also because this one is dead simple.

It's alright friends. We can admit it: Occasionally Tim's techniques, well, until you've had a few hours to try and try again and go at it one more time ... it feels as if you'll never create anything that remotely resembles his example.

That does make sense since he's an expert, but it's still nice once-in-awhile to use a technique like Color Blocking that makes us all feel a bit of expertise.

My piece features seven Distress Ink colors, three lines of hand-sewn stitching, a fragment and Octopode's Steampunk Lady Audrey.

She was colored in an image-editing program and is showing off an uber-cool Glossy Accents mask lens.

Take yourself to Studio L3 to check out what Linda, the guest designers and participants from around the world have created!

And, as my Steampunk Audrey says, Pull yourself together! Make your own Color Blocking piece and then give us a peek!

Dali delusions: Haunted Design House

Dali is the fitting inspiration for Macabre Monday atHaunted Design House challenge.

Unsurprisingly this challenge led me first to the Ocotopode Factory and Lily Chilvers' outstanding Dali-pode; I used her version from the Artists Digital Collage Sheet.

After that it was only a matter of finding a bunch of clocks and other strange things, like those extra-cool voodoo dolls, to print onto ink jet Shrinky Dinks.

Color wash sprays in cranberry and purple twilight, a little sticky-back Fun Felt in single, double and triple layers, two game spinners and TADA!

A Dali delusions piece made more warbly and wonky by letting Dali-pode and his wee shrunken friends cool on spoons and tray edges and various other curved places.

Get yourself to HauntedDesign House where you'll find ideas and creepiness and lots of awesome art!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Frosted Petunias Artful Bag Challenge: May

This is my first ever Keep It Simple bag for an Artful Bag Challenge.

That's not the challenge; the challenge is to create your own paper bag, purse, clutch. My personal challenge was to keep it simple.

Because lately my mojo has gone to hell. Everything I make takes forever, and that's after I finally manage to even come up with an idea to get me started (Blogger crashing, and then the power failing several times through this weekend).

Do you have this problem? Two months ago I thought my issue was only work stress and lack of time. Now I realize that my arts and crafts abilities ... are broken.

Feeling broken is making things worse, because that leaves me psychologically shoveling out ditches full of mud and excrement when I should be joyously dipping my fingertips into a stream of colors and textures and ideas.

Ouf. Did I lose you back there? Lost me too ... damn it ...

So, back to my personal Keep It Simple challenge for the Frosted Petunias Artful Bag Challenge. I started with a lovely piece of Die Cuts With a View stock from the Far East stack, used a cut from a Cricut cartridge for the bag base and added a closure by combining a gold button and Chinese coin.

The cherry blossom branch is stamped from a home-cut stamp and embossed with copper-colored powder.

The final, and best, elements here are the lovely blossom gems. These are attached with an i-Rock that my lovely friend Terry sent to me!

She's the unbelievably skilled artist and creator at Terry's; she's also a wonderfully kind and funny woman who you should take the time to visit (hint, hint).

OK, enough from me with the whining and pushing you around to other blogs; erm, except for this one last shove toward Frosted Petunias where you can check out all of this months' amazing Artful Bags!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger glitches, power outages and weekends

Hello friends! As you'll easily note from prior posts today we here at the CuddlyBunny craft machine did manage to get a couple of projects posted.

Unfortunately since then we've had hurricane winds at our house (My Guy called dibs on flying monkeys ... I'm all about the lollipop guild and horse of many colors).

Anyhow, earlier this week I tried to blog and visit friends' blogs. Alas Blogger was having difficulties and my intentions were naught.

Now the power ... it went out about 10 minutes after my prior post ... and twice since then.

So, in an effort to not become so angry that I kick a hole in my monitor, I'm signing off for the weekend.

This means that you, my friends, fellow bloggers and artistic compatriots won't see me visiting for several days as the early part of the week is always busy for me at work.


No kidding ... in the middle of this ... no freakin' power ...

... blogger, despite it's issues earlier this week ... saved what I'd been writing ...

... but it's stressing me out and ruining my two days off ...so I'm outta here until Monday. I'm not even going to try.

Hugs, love and wishes for clear, sunny days filled with fun and joy ...

Mark of the Beast: Haunted Design House

The onset of Macabre Monday at Haunted Design House is apparently a very, very scary thing for me since it frequently leaves me unable to create a really good piece of art ... in fact the only decent Macabre pieces I've had were because of the beautiful digi stamps I've purchased from sponsors of these challenges.

In an effort to just move on though, I'm showing you the P.O.S. I finally came up with for this week's challenge. Can you believe it's the best I could do this time 'round?

Me neither.

And considering my personality, well, wouldn't you also think that I'd pull off a Mark of the Beast challenge as easily as I throw out a sarcastic remark? Must be all of that three of six sixes or something that sounds a lot like math that's confusing my creative abilities.

Next week expect me to submit a much better piece. Rumor has it that my horrific showing this week for Macabre Monday has given me a fantastic idea for next week's challenge.

Still. It would be best if you could light a black candle for me, and burn some sage or incense or something. Surely I'll need the help ...

By the numbers: A Drunken Stampers Challenge

The problems with Blogger throughout the week left me wondering if this post would ever happen.

Luckily, the ol' system seems to be somewhat less glitchy and we're back again for another Drunken Stampers Challenge. This week it's all about the numbers!

My card is a return to the cute side of things for me since it's for a three-year-old's birthday. I just don't think she'd care about having one of my odd Holtz, bug-eyed, smarty-pants sentiment pieces.

So, I turned to Bugaboo. As you've seen here before, I'm enamored of the big hair, big chested girls at Bugaboo because they easily transform into fun, envelope mailable cards for my girlfriends, coworkers, sister and mom.

But the childlike images at Bugaboo are wonderful, too! Just look at this cards' butterfly bear with the three-scoop cone! Isn't he the perfect friend for a little girl who loves rocks and birds and colorful things?

He's standing in front of a menagerie of threes provided by Cricut, and is mounted on a pedestal card so it doubles as a toy for a toddler (or something to tear apart because that's awfully fun, too).

That's it from me today since I'm honestly a little worried that Blogger is going to accidentally KERZAP! this post ... I won't feel as annoyed if I didn't spend an hour writing.

Get on over to Drunken Stampers, then, and show us your lucky number, favorite number or just any number that fits your preferred theme!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Playing card: A Drunken Stampers Challenge

Lots of you made us giggle and nod our heads in agreement with last week's Drunken Stampers Say it Like it is challenge pieces.

So we know that you'll easily be able to create something amazing using a playing card, thus meeting this week's challenge requirement.

Obviously I couldn't do it, because while I live in Reno, Nevada, I never go to a casino, gamble or even play any card games at home. My Guy does have a deck of Lego Pirate playing cards, but if you think he's giving me one of those, you must also believe penguins live at the North Pole.

As things are penguins populate the Southern hemisphere chilly spots and playing cards do not reside at my house: So I styled one myself!

And, don't you think it's groovy? I know! It is. Except, if I'd printed my Octopode Queen of Hearts* only a wee bit larger she'd fill up additional "character" space and look even more 3D!

Still, by adhering her base behind the playing card frame, and popping her head in front of the frame, well in person folks she almost jumps off of the page!

OK, so dig out your beat up deck of playing cards, blow off the dust and run over to Drunken Stampers to show us what you can do before midnight, Friday, May 13 (ouu! Friday the 13th!).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A new dimension: Grungy Monday

Few things are better than a project that comes together just the way you’d hoped.

This one started awhile ago, but it was brought to fruition by Linda at Studio L3. Or, by the Studio L3 Grungy Monday Tim Holtz technique of the week: Tim's video challenge originally featured in May 2008.

So, awhile back I found the Carousel Cricut cartridge that is packed with a fantastic font, but also some images that I was sure would be perfect for Holtz projects.

After all, what in the world is better to grunge up than a circus? What is more steampunky odd than a bear in a tutu? Perhaps it’s a monkey with an umbrella, which is awesome, because both images are on the Carousel cartridge!

Past Holtz technique-based projects of mine have featured Cricut cuts, but very few. Cricut just isn’t a grungy-ready source. It’s more, ahm, cute and cuddly. Unfortunately this means that Cricut isn’t exactly Octopode friendly, either.

What? You don’t know Octopode? Shame on you for not reading my entire posts with the attention they deserve!

Owned by Lily Chilvers, Octopode is home to a slew of fantastically steampunky creatures. Some are based on fairy tale characters while others are based on … Lily’s imagination (and whew, her imagination has definitely maintained a sense of wonder).

Anyhow, Octopodes are currently my favorite people. They’re charming and cute and cuddly and very What The Hell. I love them, and have known they also would be so fun with the methods and ideas that Tim Holtz shares on his blog.

Yet, my past is full of Cricut, Octopode, Holtz failures that were tossed aside with the incredibly frustrating knowledge that it wasn’t the techniques, products or stamps … it was my lack of artistic ability.

Until I found the carousel cartridge, the Octopode Whimsical Circus and Tim’s new dimension technique.

One shuffling of some mini tarot cards and tada! A grungy circus with Octopode’s Fortune Telling Nellie, Cricuts circus tent and Tim’s outstanding inks, glitters, text stickers and found object idea.

Yessir ... it all came together just the way I'd hoped ... in only a few days, weeks and months of prior attempts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Altered Alice Chapter 4 Challenge Week 1: Time

Observant readers of this blog will notice that I'm a guest design team member this month at The Altered Alice!
What no one needs to be terribly observant to realize is that I'm filled with glee and excitement for this guest spot! I love The Altered Alice!

So, below is the Chapter 4 Challenge Week 1 introduction written by The Altered Alice's Mad Hatter, Lynne Phelps, please read on and find the time to participate!
Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'
`If you knew Time as well as I do,' said the Hatter, `you wouldn't talk about wasting IT. It's HIM.'
`I don't know what you mean,' said Alice.
`Of course you don't!' the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!'
`Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.'
`Ah! that accounts for it,' said the Hatter. `He won't stand beating.'
-- Chapter 7, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Time marches on and it's time for a new challenge at The Altered Alice, and the challenge is to make something that represents TIME! Take your time, you have until May 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4:00) to show us YOUR timely creation!
There are so many ways to represent time: You could use a clock or a watch, hourglass, calendar. Take some TIME to think about it and then be sure you submit on TIME because TIME flies! OK, I think I have it out of my system . . . or is that my clockworks? 

Click this caption to visit Fresh Brewed Designs
Our sponsor this month is Fresh Brewed Designs, and they have some fabulous Alice in Wonderland digi images that some of the design team will be using. The randomly chosen winner of this month's challenge will receive five digi stamps of their choice from the Fresh Brewed Designs store!

While it is not required that you use Alice in Wonderland images, we do encourage it. Entries that feature some aspect of Wonderland will be entered twice for the prize drawing!

Three guest designers will be joining us for May:  Jess Marin of My Scrap Diary will be sharing her project in our Week 3 post, and Retta Fox of Foxy's Weblog and Tracy (CuddlyBunny) of Not a Moment to Spare will be sharing their creations during our Week 4 inspiration post.

I know you will enjoy seeing the work of these talented designers, some of whom you will recognize as past entrants to our challenges!