Tuesday, June 29, 2010

~~I'm so Honored~~

My good friend from our Etsy Mixed Media, Collage and Assemblage forum thread has made me the topic of her latest blog post here.  Melanie I cannot thank you enough!  Her shop , studio27 at Etsy, is full of the most colorful imaginative paintings, mixed media pieces and hand printed linocuts.  Please take a few minutes to see her shop or her blog, and discover a very talented, warm hearted artist.

~**~Get Well Soon, Mama Pig~**~

              Mama Pig's formal "portrait", photoshopped by my oldest daughter in what else, a vintage theme. 

Mama Pig's more recent picture,  recooperating from her injury.

3 years ago while browsing in our local humane society, we came across what was to be a new member of our family..... Mama Pig, the Guinea Pig. For $20, cage and all we brought her home as a surprise to my then 7 year old daughter.  She has proven to be one of the sweetest little animals our household has ever had, always greeting those who walk by with a  squeek of delight, and always ready to curl up in someones lap for a quiet rest.   She has been easy going, easy to maintain, she is just a great little pet.  However about a month ago, somehow she ruptured her cornea.  The vet indicated the best chance of saving her life was removal of her eye, and even then, rodents do not take surgery well and many times die from the stress of it.  I didn't want Mama Pig to suffer at all, but I also didn't want to throw in the towel just yet, so with some medications to control pain, reduce inflammation and fight infection, I brought her home for what seemed like a hopeless cause.  3 more vet appointments, a glaucoma test and a couple hundred dollars later,  I am happy to say that Mama Pig is doing outstandlingly well.  The vet is amazed, I am thrilled, and the whole family is relieved.  She is not completely out of the woods yet, as there now is always  a chance of her developing glaucoma, but with luck on her side, she will live out the rest of her life happy and pain free.  We saved Mama Pig's life... twice.  Once when we adopted her from the animal shelter, and now by not giving up when all seemed hopeless for her.  The point of this story is to prove how a trip to a humane society, animal rescue group or a local animal shelter, can save the life of a once homeless animal.  It can enrich your life as well. I will never regret any of our adoptions, and urge anyone thinking of  adding a member to your household, to please consider adoption.  Now more than ever, as many families are having to surrender their beloved animals due to financial reasons.  Please keep your fingers crossed about Mama Pig.  And please be kind to animals~~~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A New Tutorial...Learning (or Perfecting) How to Crackle!

I have been sorely neglecting my blog..... no excuses, other than life in general.  But,  I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and decided to start out with a tutorial on how to make any painted surface look like a time worn antique that has been sitting out in the elements for 100 years.  So take anything new (or old) you might have, and age it by decades in just minutes!  I've tried many methods, several products and have learned what I like and what I don't, what works and what doesn't (at least for me).  SO Linda and Pat, this is for you!!

What you will need :
    A project with a surface that is paintable
    Sponge Paintbrush
    2-3 shades of acrylic paint for the undercoat (colors that contrast with the topcoat, as these will be the crackles that show through)
    1-2 shades of acrylic paint for the overcoat ( These are the colors that will show overall when your project is finished) 
    DecoArt Weathered Wood brand crackling medium (This is by far my favorite brand out of all the ones I have experimented with.  I don't even bother with the rest)
    Delta Ceramcoat brand Gel Stain Medium (makes your paint flow much quicker and smoother)

Apply a coat of gesso over your surface. Let dry completely.

I am doing a Halloween project and want a variety of browns as the crackle colors and black to be my topcoat color.  First I  have very sloppily mixed shades of light and dark brown, mixed with a dab of the Gel Stain Medium.  Don't mix the colors well , if you want varying shades of colors to show through which I am striving for. Let this paint dry completely.

Next, apply a thick coat of the Weathered Wood. Don't forget to include the sides of your project, or anywhere that will show if you want an overall distressed look.  If you only want a portion of the item to be weathered and crackled, then you can scatter the crackling medium here and there.   The thicker you put your Weathered Wood on, the heavier and more noticeable  your crackles will be.  As the Weathered Wood dries,  you will notice how it kind of pools up in areas.  That's ok :) . Allow to dry to just a slightly tacky feel , but I have found that you don't want it to sit for too long after it is tacky/dry.  Usuallly an hour or so.

On a paper plate, mix equal parts of  gel stain medium to your acrylic paint(s) of choice.  I have chosen to use black, and add just a small amount of off white. Unless you want a uniform color, you do not want to mix the colors of paint completely, because again, you want a variety of shades.  I very haphazardly mix the paint colors, then encorporate the gel stain medium slightly.  Heavily dab your sponge brush to pick up the variety of colors/medium . You want your brush to be globbed with paint!

Working quickly, apply your paint mixture to your surface. Try not to overstroke your paint, but you can touch up missed areas if you do it QUICKLY. Work the paint around your surface, trying not to overstroke, but yet applying an even coat of uneven colors, if that makes sense!

Allow to dry. Some crackles will appear within seconds,  and others take several minutes.  Within the hour, your project should look aged, weathered and distressed.  Good Luck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gulf Animals in Need of Our Help

In light of the ongoing, and seemlingly unending tragedy in the gulf, I have decided to give 10 percent of my Etsy earnings to a much deserved charity,  Defenders of Wildlife .  As a teenager, I was a member of this organization.   Months ago I became a member of Etsy for Animals, and since part of being an active member of this worthwhile group of animal lovers is to give to an animal related charity,  I have decided to once again focus on Defenders.   I hope anyone who reads  this will somehow give to the gulf oil spill tragedy clean-up.  Some of the ways you can help is by shopping at Etsy, and search for Team EFA, to see what handmade goods you might find that members have to offer.  Or you can give to your own animal related charity, it does not have to be Defenders.  Every bit helps.  I also urge you to consider joining EFA yourself, and see how good it feels to give part of yourself.  These animals need us. Please do what you feel you can.