Friday, March 13, 2009

February Art Party

I am so blessed to have good friends and family in my life. I am even MORE blessed to be doing things that I love! As most of you know, I've loved scrapbooking and papercrafting for quite some time. Nowadays, I'm moving into Altered Art, as well. It's a mixed media type of art that combines pretty much any element that one finds attractive and/or meaningful.

February 13th was our first combined "Art Party". We (4 of us: Donna, Alisa, Nina, and I have started a journey together this year. We are trading ATCs every month and then having an altered art project and party every quarter, in an effort to live creatively.

I SO enjoyed our maiden party and ATC swap! I had one of the best times I've had in YEARS! Not only do I completely love and admire these 3 amazing women, I feel fulfilled when we bond together over the creative process.

Alisa, ever the gracious hostess, went all out to make it a lovely evening! From the wonderful display of hand-made and Vintage Valentine-themed decorations throughout the house,

right down to the pink sugar crystals lining the stemware, no detail went unnoticed.

We dined on delicious chicken spaghetti, salad, and yummy garlic bread knots (I'm a bread fiend!) Later, Dessert was a magnificient second feast of fresh fruits and chocolate sauce, pink champagne (and sparkling cider for me!), amazing little two-bite brownies (which I am embarassed to admit sometimes only took me 1 bite), and of course the French wonder that is the petit four.

We then moved into the family area for "art time"! Alisa had SO generously provided each one of us with our own surprise box of vintage goodies. I cannot describe to you how flabberghasted I was at not only the sheer AMOUNT of goodies she gifted, but the quality, as well.

There were sheets and sheets of aged sheet music, ledger paper, and journal paper all fromt he early 1900's. Additionally, there were wallpaper pieces, crepe paper, doilies, fabrics and trims, costume jewels and beads all beautifully tarnished by time.

Our project for the evening was an "altered" heart. How appropriate for Valentine's Day Eve! We were provided with a roughly 14" wood heart to decorate. Though daunting at first, I decided to just jump in and go for it! It was difficult actually "using" the supplies I'd just been given. They were so pretty and so cherished I just wanted to wrap them up, tuck them under my pillow, and sleep with them! Nonetheless, I am learning that beauty is to be enjoyed and shared. I am trying to live my life in the NOW and not just waiting for "good things" in the future. I'm trying to learn to be happy NOW, with the unfinished me that I am, instead of waiting for that ever-elusive day when I magically become "good enough"! This newfound ideaology includes using the "good stuff" now. So, I dove into that wonderful box of goodies and just let my creative sensitivites take over!

I am happy with my creation (though I know it is far from perfect), and more than anything, am pleased with how full of joy the process made me feel!

My altered HEART.

I had a little time to also work on a second piece. I wanted to practice using crepe paper. I love the vintage jewelry and beads Alisa made available.

At about 1am we suddenly realized it was LATE! Though the other 3 of us can sometimes be found lazing away on Saturday morning, Nina is a wonderful and devoted mother who needed to get up early to tend to her small children the next morning. Ergo, we put our art aside and got down to the most-anticipated event of the evening...the ATC REVEAL! For the prior 3 weeks, we had all been feverishly laboring on our first little ATCs, and couldn't wait to see what each other had come up with. I couldn't have been more pleased with the others' creations. Now, admittedly, we knew Alisa's would be GREAT, as she is an old pro! But, I was equally impressed with the workwomanship that went into Donna and Nina's pieces.

Donna's ATC--She Used Mica Chips and Gel Medium to Create This Look. Donna tries to teach me about real art mediums...but I still haven't got it all down!

Nina's "Gifts"! Love the Yummy Lavender Paper and Vintage Seam Binding.

Nina's Amazing ATC. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nina's use of color and fantastic hand-stitched rose!

Alisa's Perfectly-Packaged Treasures.

Ooooooh! Look! There's one with my initial on it!

Alisa's ATC is made by covering her card with Vintage Lace. I can't imagine the painstaking effort it took to cut out each delicate image placed over the lace!

I think she said she saw the idea on Cerri's"The Little Pink Studio" site! She did a wonderful interpretation of this clever method!

As each of us took turns "opening" our swap cards (I truly believe art swaps are better than Christmas...Christmas is for kids...THIS is for US!), I just got happier and happier! Everyone had invested her heart and soul into her creation. I loved to listen to the stories behind the creations.

Presentation is Supposed to be Part of the ATC Swap. For My ATC Presentation, I Placed My ATC Card, Along With a Jewelled Clip, Inside an Altered Box.

The Inside Pocket of the Box I Decorated to House My ATC. There Are About 10 Mini French Poster Images Tucked Within.

The Front Side of My ATC. I made the "roses" out of beads, wire stems, and tiny green sequins. I chose a quote from the Quote Garden credited to Victor Hugo,

"How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said."

The Back Side of My ATC. There are also a tiny lock and key hanging out from the side of the card. I love miniature things!

After the "gifts" had been opened and hugs goodbye, we all went home to a contented night of sleep. Nothing makes me feel better than to be surrounded by people I love and admire, who "get" me. I can't wait until our next swap! Cheers!


  1. Cheryl, I am totally LOVING all your stories and thoughts that you are leaving me. I hope you are keeping a copy of the things you tap for your personal history. So interesting and fun.

    LOVED this post. Wow. What fun.

  2. Cheryl, I loved what you created at the party and the fact that you were able to get two pieces completed, still blows my mind!

    Your ATCs.... INCREDIBLE! Every bit of it, from the card to the box to the ton of little images inside! Thank you so much for that!

  3. No details seems to have been forgotten at this FUN event. I love the little bead/floral wire roses you made to go with your ATC project and would love to see the creations you made. Every time I go to Barnes & Noble, I drool over the Somerset altered art type magazines. It truly looks like so much fun . . . but so intimidating. I admire that you are committed to living in the NOW instead of waiting for the perfect, elusive moment to try something new or use something cherished in a project.