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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Technology and art converge (my day job meets my hobby)

So I have been receiving the new chipped credit cards of late. These cards with a chip called EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa is the latest attempt to thwart thieves from getting credit card details. One downside is that these cards transmit a signal that conceivably be read if your card is in close proximity to a reader. Whether this is practically likely, I don't know but since it's possible I want to mitigate the risk. So, I have decided to make sleeves for all my chipped cards. 

I tore a place of tin foil and used the Xyron to apply adhesive to some scrapbook paper. Then applied the foil to the inside of the paper. 


Then I made a template and traced it out on the paper and cut away. I also had to score the fold lines. 

Once it's done just remember that you don't want to apply tape to the foil but only to the paper side, on each flap. This will be folded back and adhere to the foil. 

One last touch is to use a circle paper punch to make a notch in the sleeve.

I made one for each chipped card!  Hopefully better safe than sorry!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inspired heavenly art

Today Dan and I visited an amazing and inspired art installation outside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, specifically for the Pope's visit.  It was conceived and created by artist Meg Saligman based on Sister Mary Scullion's research of the Pope's favorite painting Mary Undoer of Knots.  

All people have struggles, and we all want help "untangling" these struggles.  The concept is that people emailed or in-person wrote their struggles on pieces of special paper (actually the same paper used for the murals on buildings) and tied them all over the grotto's framework.  Then visitors can take the struggles and untie them and weave the pieces into nets to form virtual fabric.

We drove in and survived the barricades, and street closures.  It was a truly beautiful day in Philadelphia.  Here are some of the photos I took. 

You can see all the struggles streaming from the inside and outside of the grotto, as well as those attached to the strings running up to the top of the chapel.  Some are blank and these represent the unspoken struggles.  You can read them, and they are in different languages, illustrating how many different people have participated. Reading them truly gives you pause and me feel thankful for all the blessings I have.

Then we went to dinner and returned after 7:30pm because, for a limited time, the artist also created video images that are projected on the basilica dome.  The images are of candles, hands tying knots, the painting of Mary and key words.  It was truly amazing and according to my friend Dottie, who works for the artist Meg, this is the first time the church has ever allowed images to be projected on the dome.  I sure hope it won't be the last time.

In was magical and inspired.

We also wanted to see the grotto lit up at night.  There were so many people who were there writing out their troubles, untangling others and taking in the beautiful expression of mercy and comfort.  It was so incredible and all I could think is how many people will pass through during the weekend when the Pope visits.

What also struck me is how many struggles people have and that we all have them.  I remember long ago someone telling me a story that if everyone took their struggles and piled them in a massive array, and if everyone saw them, each person would choose to take their own back. I know I felt blessed when I saw so many struggles depicted visually.  It is also such a beautiful thing to create a work of art that everyone can contribute to and collaborate with.  There is so much bad news out there, so many negative things happening in the world, that being here, seeing this artwork and being a part of something so positive made me very happy and quite peaceful. 

While touring the Basilica and venturing into the gift shop we took selfies with the Pope, the cardboard Francis that is.  I wish I could meet him, but I do truly feel the positive spirit and love that seems to be embracing this rare event.  I am happy that I got to participate, even in a small way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Resin Obsession

I believe I am like most visual artists who are susceptible to dabbling in other mediums.  So I'm blogging about my latest, which is resin.  I purchased the two-part epoxy resin ages ago after taking a class with Katy, my local Zentangle CZT.  I'm a tad embarrassed that for some reason I was afraid to jump into the resin pool and get my feet wet. Finally, after taking a class at Beadfest a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time.
All I can say is now I am totally addicted.  I purchased the kit from Rio Grande which comes with the cups and craft sticks for mixing.

I first decided that I wanted to play with a little color.  I was told in my Beadfest class that we could use Adirondack dye inks.  So I added a couple drops and ended up with a cranberry-colored batch.  I poured the resin in my mold, after applying the mold release.  I also decided to try and mix in a little color and swirl it, without fully mixing it.  I thought the effect would be cool.
The pieces above are the result.  They turned out great, however they give off traces of color on my fingers.  So I am afraid that not fully mixing the color was not a good plan.  Also, the ring is a bit too flexible, and I think that adding the color affected the curing of the resin.  One other issue is that the mold release was not fully dry when I poured in the resin.  The result, which is hard to show, is that there are a few small cavities on the band of the ring, and next time I will be much more careful.  


The challenge is that this is a creative medium that demands a bit of planning. So it's best to prep several pieces and then do a "pouring" session. I've also heard that it's best to work with resin in warmer weather. So I might put this on hold for now. 

Monday, August 31, 2015


So in the interest of recycling I decided to hang on to some packaging that came in a giant box, which was cushioning another smaller box. It was, as I said, so giant of a box that the craft paper is 2' wide and 20' long. The nice part is that it's perforated and can be separated into sections.

As it happens, I wanted to make some special wrapping paper so I dug it out and used my giant stencils and made some wrapping paper.  I put the Distress Ink sprays to work.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blast from the past

In a former life, at least that's how it feels anyway, I worked and taught in a stamp store. I sure miss it, most particularly the people, Heather the owner, my friends who worked at the store as well as the customers!  It was my "Cheers" where we knew everyone by name. 

So recently I was cleaning out my studio and I came across the boards I made to advertise the classes I taught. Initially I would just leave samples of cards out at the store, until I realized that it's best to market the classes a little better. So I made these signs, I called them boards, and advertised the class samples. 

I really worked hard to put some of them together, so I decided to hang them up around the studio. Since I don't have much wall space to hang things I improvised and found surfaces where I could attach then, including the a/c duct work. Anyway, had to share these. 


Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Well I finally am coming back to life, creatively speaking. I dove down under the covers, trying to stay warm and taking a much needed rest. Now I have the urge to dust off the surfaces, clean things up and take a look around. Life tosses out all kinds of challenges and I guess I had been riding a lucky streak. This year has not been my favorite, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Now I want to come out and play!

I had taken a class with Dina Wakley last year and then I picked up her DVDs. They are great!  So I decided to try my hand using some of her techniques. Plus, I took another class with Marjie Kemper at The Great American Stamp Store a couple months ago, which was really fun. So I have many sources of inspiration going right now!

Marjie has a wonderful online class on Craftsy. It's worth every penny!!! She is such a generous teacher and a very nice person. The class inspired this piece, I used Distress Inks and the Ranger foam applicators. Then colored our girl with colored pencils. I adopted Dina's advice that "perfect is the enemy of done" so I just made it without anguishing over every detail.

So, I hope to show you loads more!  It feels good to be back.