This is the place where I round up a corral chock-full of mixed media art, vintage collections, digital escapades, and some occasionally snarky observations about life with junk, books, rescue dogs and nearly-grown children.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mas Y Mas

 My Official PC Name Bade, all hand-made and sparkly with gorgeous gold glitter.

More and More, for sure!  Have I got Paper Cowgirl fun to share with ya'll?  Is Texas a big ol' state?  My name badge was in danger of getting bent to bits while pinned on my apron, so on Saturday, I pinned it to my cowboy hat, as you can see above.  I love the horseshoe theme!
I coordinated a "Faithful Horse" swap, providing a link to an awesome template from artist Ann Wood.  Because this was the last swap posted, we only had a total of six swappers, but I think lots of ladies wished they had joined us. The creativity with the template was astounding.  Once home, I displayed my herd on this ribbon board so ya'll could truly appreciate the artistic variety.  I used the map paper and cut my templates a little bit bigger.
 Detail of Quick Cutz embossing
One swapper sent her horse in a different direction and another used "Quick Cutz" Metal Embossing sheets for extra special detail.
One of Suzie Button's sweet ponies!
I participated in the Rodeo Queen Sash swap.  My swap partner was the wonderful Ms. Mendy, who added her signature bling-tastic touches to this white satin sash complete with shabby pink lettering and sparkly sequin edging.  It was a bit heavy to wear (the price of royalty!) so I had my son photograph me in it all my splendor, complete with tiara, upon my return home.
Here is a detail from the bottom of the sash:
Below is another horse from our "Faithful Horse Swap":
Hope you enjoyed these photos--I have more to show you!

Monday, June 28, 2010

We Lassoed Up a Good Time!

I made this banner in Mendy's "Digi Art" class, using my own background, postcard and cowgirl.  The pretty yellow rose was one of the awesome graphics in Mendy's class kit!

I'm home from the Paper Cowgirl Altered Art retreat, but have to cull my photos before I can do a full round-up of all the fun I had at the Paper Cowgirl event.  It was fantabulous, to coin a word!
You couldn't miss me in my bodaciously bright Paper Cowgirl uniform!

I met a whole passle of amazingly talented, generous, friendly women, and learned so many new techniques for my art.  I can't wait for next year!
The Waxahachie Courthouse is the "most-photographed" courthouse in Texas!

I did it all at Paper Cowgirl--I arrived mid-afternoon in beautiful  Waxahachie, TX, and spent some time photographing the famous courthouse and other downtown sites.

I had two awesome roommates--Ms. Jaci from Oklahoma and Sarah H. who is our own "Gypsy Mermaid."

I did my swaps at the Thursday Dove's Nest meet-n-greet.  I was in charge of the Faithful Horse swap.  We had six swappers and each pony was unique!
This still life shows just a FEW of the wonderful goodies in my Altered Art Tags class taught by Ms. Lisa of Tarnished and Tattered.  Lace, fresh herbs, chalk inks, burlap and hand-dyed ribbons.  What's not to like?

I attended four super classes on Friday and Saturday:  Blessing Tags; Altered Art Tags, Digi Art, and Pocket Books.
 Sarah (Gypsy Mermaid) and another Paper Cowgirl on the porch at the Catfish Plantation.  I don't think any ghosts came to visit during our dinner!  Our chatter and laughter probably scared the spirits! ;)

On Friday, I had dinner at the quirky Catfish Plantation and shopped downtown. I loved the at the superb vendor night on Saturday, where I spent most of the money I had set aside for the retreat.

But wait, there's more! I came home on I-35 East, and stopped at a favorite place--the Ross Antique Mall--then spent some time in Calvert photographing historic buildings.

I have so many photos to share and several projects from my classes to complete that it will take a few days to get the highlights organized. This is just to wet your whistle!

P.S.--I made a Bourré

I made a mistake when I was visiting Tarnished and Tattered, and signed up on Lisa's Soapbox Mr. Linky without thoroughly reading the directions.  I have notified Lisa and hope she'll remove my name from the list ASAP.

In Southeast Louisiana, this kind of thing is called a "bourré", which means a "mistake made due to over-enthusiasm or hurry."  It comes from the name of a Cajun card game called Bourré.  During the game, if a player makes a mistake--such as failure to follow suit, failure to trump or failure to beat the highest card in the trick when able--that is a bourré. The offending player must pay each other player a penalty fee that equals the size of the pot on the table.  You can lose some serious money!

Please forgive me if you came here expecting to see a beautifully decorated soapbox, but I hope you enjoyed your visit.  Sometimes detours are the best.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Swaps & a Summer Tea

We've been busy here at El Rancho Not So Grande.  On Monday, we had a Summer Solstice Tea, complete with homemade blueberry tea muffins, chocolate-covered strawberries, cucumber sandwiches and other dainties.

My daughter and one of her friends did the baking.

I did the set up and took photos.

Her guests dressed in Steampunk or Sweet Lolita Style.

While they were having fun, I continued with my swaps preparation for the Paper Cowgirl Altered Art Retreat.  Be warned, the following are spoiler pix of my swaps items!
With my daughter's help (she can sew--I can't!), I finished my Rodeo Queen Sash.  I hope my partner likes it.  I made a decorated hanger with a vintage hanger (someone else covered it in plaid material) so she can display her sash without damaging it.
I used scraps from other swaps and little mesh bags to make holders for my blossom swap items.
Here is one of my 21 ATCs.  If you look carefully on the bottom, you can see "Dallas."  I used a Texas road map for the background! 
I got a little carried away with my Faithful Horse swap pieces.  We have six swappers but I've got way more than six ponies.  They have lots of details, including embossed designs, flower extras and yarn reins!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Global Positions

Global Influences
Let's do some globe-trotting today--here are some out-of-this world items from my personal collection of globes, maps and cartography-related curios!  Above are a few of my vintage globes.

 I think Valentine's with globes or maps are the sweetest!  They are hard to find, though.

Detail of the graphics on a vintage game board called, "Game of the United States."

An older copy of Lucy Hammett's Texas Bingo game, found in a thrift store in Louisiana. Lucy Dittmar Hammett of Austin, Texas came up with the idea of Texas Bingo while playing Loteria, a Mexican picture bingo game, with her children. The illustrations on Lucy's other games such as Bug Bingo, Nature Bingo, and Texas Bingo are her own. Find out more about her games here.
A vintage lunar globe--from Etsy--made from metal, and mounted on a plastic stand.  It came with the original box and descriptive paper, too.  The Viewmaster reel, "Project Apollo," was published in 1964, and had artist's renderings of what  a lunar landing would look like--designed to excite young would-be astronauts!
I lived in Hawai'i from 1998 to 2001, so I have a number of vintage cartographic images of the islands.  This is a scan from a tourist brochure from the 1960s.

This is one of my favorite illustrated map images of Hawai'i, from a vintage tourist booklet. Each island is shown with it's official flower (the Hawai'ian names are in bold type).
 A couple summers past, I gave a "Global Positions" party for my husband's work associates.  The attendees were all Chevron employees with varied backgrounds and not everyone knew each other, so I needed a way to get people to talk.  The invitations were "passports" and each family was asked to bring a dish from their favorite country.  The party was a huge success--we had about 50 people and some really delicious food.  This was my coffee table centerpiece.  I put travel-related stuff all over the house and even hung a world map outside by the pool!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dog Days

Last year, I had 11 different foster dogs.  I get them from my local Shelter, where I volunteer.  I take care of them, then help them find new homes.  Currently, I have two fosters--the tiny Chihuahua my daughter (yes, she has dyed her hair green-blue for the Summer) is trying to snuggle.

This is my other foster, a little whippet-like mixed breed named "Tucker."
This is my own dog, our darling little rat terrier mix, Cross.  She is sweet and loves to give kisses, which is really why she is sticking her tongue out.
And this doesn't have a thing to do with dogs. It's a shot of my daughter's shoes and socks, which she wore with a sparkly party dress, to the Band Banquet.  She has her own unique style, and it never ceases to amaze and amuse me!

How's your summer going?  We're making crafts (I have Mod-Podge and hot glue stuck on my nails as I type this).  Leave me a note about the fun stuff going on at your rancho!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Travel Time

 Photoshop work done on a photo of a puzzle box graphic.

I'm excited about our summer travel plans--I've got trips planned to Waxahachie, New Braunfels (both in Texas) and to New York City and Washington, D.C.
This is not the license plate on my Red Van--it's a nifty hand-painted license plate I found at a Tomball, Texas Craft Mall.  While I am touring, I'll be gathering supplies and ideas for my ART.
While traveling, it's always important that you have maps and guidebooks.  BK (Before Kids) we used to lead friends in small caravans over the historic Mojave Road, which crosses the California desert between Needles and Barstow.  The Mojave Road Guide, by Dennis Casebier, is the definitive guide, with mile-by-mile narrative.  You can still travel most of the Mojave Road today,  but some areas we were fortunate enough to see are now off-limits.

After a long day of touring, you might want to check into a motel.  The Oasis has a great sign, but it's located right next to the West Bank Expressway in Gretna, Louisiana, so it might be a bit noisy.  Perhaps you'd rather go camping:

I always like to send postcards to friends while traveling.

And I generally buy some tacky souvenirs:

Orange Possible

Of course, it's always nice to come back home:
Because I can have plenty of adventures right at home!
What are your plans for summer travel?  Leave me a comment and let me know!  I might have an image in my ephemera collection that would be perfect for your post-trip scrapbook.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Paper Cowgirl Swaps Progress

The craft table is cluttered here at El Rancho Not So Grande--I'm working on my swap items for the up-coming Paper Cowgirl Altered Art Retreat, which will take place in Waxahachie, Texas in two weeks.

I'm nearly done with my Rodeo Queen Sash.  I just need to corral my daughter, who is the sewing expert, to help me finish the edges on the sash's bottom end and sew down some trims.  My Sash Partner likes mermaids and sweet color schemes, which means I'm using a different color palette than my usual orange-browns and neutrals.  It's been a challenge, but it's fun, too.  I've re-made a vintage horse show ribbon (I have a huge stash) with a mermaid theme, including a string of "pearls" and have created several faux flowers to cluster around the ribbon, which will accent the bottom of the sash.  I just need to locate my felt letters so I can add a special word--I'm leaning toward "CREATE" or "ARTFUL".

I'm embossing designs on my herd of paper horses.  They have paper and silk flower details, and I plan to add eyelets so I can thread "reins" through their mouths.  My 16-year-old daughter thinks they are cool.

All my swap items need to be attractively packaged, so I'm playing with treatments on some cute pre-made paper cones I plan to use to hold one-yard bits of vintage trims for one of the swaps.  My flower blossoms will go into little mesh pouches, and I want to add a cute detail to those as well.  I found a nifty padded hanger to hold my Rodeo Queen Sash.
 The biggest outstanding task is the design for my ATC cards.  I plan to use old road maps for the background and I have created several cowgirl "buttons" in Photoshop to use in the design.  One is featured above as a gift to my readers!  You don't have to be a Paper Cowgirl to use this, just don't re-distribute it or sell it as your own artwork--I created it from scanned images in my personal collection.
 This is a sample of one of the buttons I have created to use on the tag I'll attach to my swap items so my partners will know who made them.  I love this cowgirl--she's the author of a book on barrel racing that was published in 1961 in Cypress, Texas.

My Paper Cowgirl pendant, made by Ms. Dale of SeaDreams Studio has arrived.  It is so cute!  And my Cafe-Press order with my official tee-shirt (featuring the same design as shown on the pendant arrived tonight.  All I need is a real horse!