Wednesday, June 29, 2011


"leap and the net will appear"
john burroughs

sometimes you've just gotta......
go for broke......put your heart and soul into it.......
pull out all the stops......knock yourself out.....
shoot for the your own thing.....
give it a whirl......stay the course......
and go for it!!

{journal page created using micron pens, pan pastel, 4B pencil.
"leap" letters were made with scrapbook papers}

Monday, June 27, 2011

inspiration monday

last week our lettering group hosted a workshop with irish master calligrapher denis brown.  it was such a privilege to watch this maestro demonstrate his skill......and i was so inspired, that at one point i felt tears start to well up in my eyes! 
{insert deep sigh and long pause.....}
but as easy as i always want it to be, it always comes back to the same message:  
practice, practice, practice.
so practice i shall.  but you know how it is......

once i get started, my mind starts to wander and i get inspired to do other things with that pen.

and before i know it,  i've completely jumped off the path.

um, or should i say, i've completely jumped off the cliff......

you can treat yourself to a sampling of denis' exquisite letterforms here.....

{practice lettering and other "stuff" done with a 3.8 mm pilot parallel pen}

Friday, June 24, 2011

smart problems

a little friday-einstein-wisdom to take you into the weekend!
have a great one!

{journal page finished using koi watercolor, watercolor pencils, micron pens, 
pan pastel, 4B & 2B pencil}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

les papillons

when it came time to get ready for my girls weekend in orlando a couple of weeks ago, one of the first things i did was pack my "hotel goody bag" know, that sweet collection of art supplies (along with a little stash of chocolate to nibble on) that you just can't live without while you're away from home.  i took one of these new journals from strathmore......

my growing collection of tombow markers.....

and these.  no way could i ever leave home without 'em!

we took a side trip to the craft store to see if there was anything we just couldn't live without.....(have you ever noticed that it's SO much more fun at the craft store when you're with your art buddies?!)......and i found these fabulous butterfly stamps......

and later that night i played in my journal, using this technique, while nestled in one of those hotel dream beds, surrounded by my favorite supplies......and my chocolate stash......and proving to myself that it really doesn't take a lot of supplies to be creative.  (but please don't mention that part to my little dutch sweetie.....he might start to wonder why i need all that "stuff" in my studio........ :))

Monday, June 20, 2011

inspiration monday

there's a lot to be said for giving yourself permission to take a rest......i had visions of reading books, catching up with old friends, shopping at my leisure......but every time i sat down to "rest" i'd get distracted by one of the many things that needed to be done in the house, and as a result, instead of taking a breather, i'm absolutely exhausted!  one of the things i did treat myself to, though, was an inspiring girls weekend getaway to orlando for a drawing workshop taught by lettering artist kristin doty.  we started out by introducing ourselves to our pencils......

and then we got into all of that mind-bending left-brain/right-brain stuff.  kristin gave us an image that was upside down, and she told us to "draw what you see, not what you think it should be".  by seeing images as nothing more than a set of lines, it's a lot easier to draw what you see......rather than seeing something as a "face" or a "foot" (and knowing that i'll completely freak out because faces and feet are hard to draw!).

when we were finished with our drawing, (and after a mini break to quench our left-brain/right-brain with mega-quantities of chocolate) we were allowed to turn it right-side up and a sweet geisha girl was revealed!

then things got really scary interesting.....just when my left-brain/right-brain had entered the no-brain zone, the next challenge was to draw our hand.  yikes!  i have lots more shading, highlighting and general drawing to do on all those craggly lines and wrinkles.....and maybe add one more important thing......

the perfect finishing touch.......heeheehee.

{drawings done with an HB and 4B pencil.
heart added via the magic of photoshop.}

**thank you SO much for continuing to visit my blog while i was on break.  
your heartfelt comments made my day!
you are the bloggy best and i appreciate each and every one of you!!!   xox

Friday, June 17, 2011

vanna, may i please have a consonant? ...................... {elvie-encore-post #9}

i'm a real sucker for anything that has a clever use of letterforms. so when i spied this box of swedish happiness during a recent trip to ikea, i instantly had visions of using them to leave notes for my little dutch sweetie on the kitchen counter, or playing cookie scrabble.....

but my abecedarian dreams were shattered when i opened the box, and discovered that it was filled with only the letters i, k, e, and a. three vowels and one consonant? this was a challenge that would send any wheel-of-fortune veteran straight into an alphabetical tailspin!

so, since there was no letter b in the box, i decided to create one for myself.....
in the form of a plan b.....
and just dunked them in a bowl of c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.

i just love finding new ways to use letterforms!

have a great weekend!  i'll see you on monday!

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on february16,  2010

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

stamp carving 101......{elvie-encore-post #8}

would you like to start carving your own stamps, but don't know where to start?  one of the nice things about stamp carving is that there's relatively little investment, and you get a great return with a wonderful collection of hand-carved artwork!  for the carving material itself, my favorite product is the artist carve block, Mastercarve,  by Staedtler.  it comes in different sizes and really does cut like buttah.  my second favorite is a product by Speedball called's pink and comes in different sized sheets so that larger stamps can be carved.

once you have your carving material, you'll need a sharp blade.  the most popular and accessible are the carving tools made by Speedball.  the handles are usually plastic and have a removable bottom for blade storage, and the tip allows for blade changing and removal .  i use the #1 v-shaped blade for detail work, and a larger u-shaped blade to remove the excess material from around the outside edges.  one thing that i would like to stress is that these blades are very sharp...make sure that you keep your fingers out of the way (i speak from experience on this one!)!

Staedtler also makes a set of carving blades that are very nice.  unlike the Speedball, these blades are not removable, but permanently fixed in their handles.  another difference between the two is that this set is much more of an investment than the Speedball set.  for me, personally, the handle seems less bulky in my hand and easier to use, and i was able to use my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to help with the expense.  most of these supplies can be found at many on-line sources, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels (they usually carry the blades).


once you have your carving block and your carving blades, it's time to start carving!  i've been following geninne's blog for quite some time and she recently made a great video on stamp carving (view it here)...she does beautiful work and it's always fun to learn from the best!  enjoy!

this is my new "bliss" stamp!  the word was originally written with a brush marker and then carved from a speedball speedy-carve block using a Staedtler blade.  for the image, white ink was stamped onto black textured paper.

**edited:  since writing this post, i've also created a stamp carving video......
you can watch it here!

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on may 19, 2009

Monday, June 13, 2011

inspiration monday......{elvie-encore-post #7}

i am often asked if there's a story that goes along with my heart-in-hand avatar, and i'm reminded of a day trip i took about 20 years ago.  we lived in the midwest at the time, and a friend and i decided to head out to a quilt show that was being held in a nearby town.  we ended up driving through amish country, and while i had known about their lifestyle, i had never actually experienced it up-close and personal.  it's hard not to notice their complete devotion to such a simple lifestyle, but what struck me even more was how they were able to convey this same simplicity into their artwork.  some of the most beautiful quilts i've ever seen were seen that day...the patterns were uncomplicated, the colors were true and rich, and the workmanship was exquisite.  and just as we were leaving, a small pillow caught my eye, decorated with a heart-in-hand, and with the words "hands to work, hearts to God".  i fell in love with it then, and twenty years later i'm still loving it...and i'm still inspired!  

inspired by heart-in-hand, i created this small quilt almost 15 years ago.  
i've used this image as inspiration for many pieces of artwork over these past years.  

{i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of an inspiration monday post originally 
featured on april 26, 2009}

Friday, June 10, 2011

{to do}......{elvie-encore-post #6}

hope you have some fun things on your "to do" list today!

{journal page created using micron pens and watercolor pencils}

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on september 9, 2009

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

discoveries......{elvie-encore-post #5}

i've been making blank journals for several years now, and as much as i love to create the journals, for some reason i have a mental block when it comes to creating in the journals.  i've been so inspired by many of you who are so good about filling your journals with creative play....and i've been thinking that it's time to jump on the bandwagon.  so....i finally took one of the many blank journals that i've had forever and made some marks on the first page.  it's not fine art. mainly, because i've discovered that i'm not a "fine artist".....i'm a "fun artist".   and i've also discovered that a little watercolor pencil, micron pen, doodle art, and ice cream sandwiches make for journal page happiness!

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on august12, 2009

Monday, June 6, 2011

inspiration monday......{elvie-encore-post #4}

here's a great way to add a lot of inspiration to your workspace using a minimal amount of supplies.  first, you'll need a metal wire can be any shape or size that you choose.  mine is about 28" tall, and i found it in the home decor section at hobby lobby......i've also seen these at target and other fun places.

next, you'll need something to hang all of your goodies.  these are called "dangling clips"...most craft stores sell these in the jewelry supplies aisle.  if you can't find these, you could also use small clothespins, or anything else that will help you attach your items to the structure.

lastly, just clip whatever inspires you and hang it from your structure!  some ideas are greeting cards, bookmarks, business cards, small pieces of artwork, ribbon, photographs, love notes, post cards......the sky's the limit!  have fun!

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of an inspiration monday post originally 
featured on january 26, 2009

Friday, June 3, 2011

lovin' from the oven.....{elvie-encore-post #3}

my sweet tooth is reminding me that it's 3:45 in the afternoon......and that means chocolate!! today's pick: the form of an eight-by-eight inch pan of pure chocolatey happiness!  but, here's the dilemma:  do i cut a piece large enough to satisfy my cocoa craving, and then be done with it?  or, do i cut a more lady-like square, and then do the "brownie whittle" know, when you cut a small piece, and then go back a few minutes later and cut just a sliver (to even up the edges, of course), thereby saving on mega-calories by eating such a tiny piece......and then repeat the whittle as needed (to even up the edges, of course).....or until the entire first row is gone, and then proceed on to the next row.....

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on november 12, 2009

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

i heart my mary janes......{elvie-encore-post #2}

it's probably a little silly to be so attached to a pair of shoes, but i must confess that i love my mary janes.  i think that i've walked at least a million miles in these shoes.  i've been told that i need to give them up and wear something a little more "grown up", but instead i choose to replace the elastic under the buckles, for the fourth time now, so i can walk another million miles.  besides, grown up shoes hurt my feet.

i heart my mary janes so much that several months ago i took a drawing class and decided to use them as one of my models...and then make some note cards!

and to carry it one step further (good pun? bad pun?),  i just had to carve a mary janes stamp.  and this pair will never need to have the elastic replaced...... 

i'm currently on a little bloggy break......
this is an encore presentation of a post originally featured on april 14, 2009

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