Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekly Challenge at Inspiration Avenue
Pure Fun
The theme this week at Inspiration Avenue was "Pure". As much as I wanted to do a piece in soft whites, I knew it was something that was beyond my skills at this point. Would have left me wringing my hands on Sunday with nothing for the challenge. So the next thing I came up with was the pure fun my son used to have when he was a little tyke. As long as he was outside, he was overjoyed. Actually he's still that way. Loves to fish, skateboard, all that outside boy stuff.

This is a mixed media piece, 8 x 10. I could call it finished I guess, but I may go back and tweak a few things. This is why I will never get any original pieces in my shop. They are never finished!

Check out Inspiration Avenue on Sunday afternoon to see all of the "purely" fantastic pieces that have been entered this week!

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Amazing Creations!
for the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange
Romantic ATCs
These charming little ATCs were created by Tammy at Art and Inspirations for the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange. She used one of my collage sheets and added some lace and other embellishments to turn them into perfectly adorable valentines!  She has posted a step-by-step tutorial on her blog to show you exactly how she does it!

I've never made an ATC or ACEO before, but seeing Tammy's excellent instructions and finished product, I'm dying to try!  All of her creations are so inspiring ~ pop over to her blog to take a look! And don't forget to visit her Etsy shop; it's easy to link to from her blog!

I'm so pleased at the creations and tutorials we've had so far ~ there are more to come, so stay tuned! They will all be posted on Totally Tutorials too.
A New Tutorial
in the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange!
A Pillow Book
This one comes from Ty at The Lavender Daisy and she has created it with three of her favorite things in mind: food, music, and books! Sounds like she has been peeking at my own list ~ I can certainly relate to those favorites!

She used several collage sheets from my shop to create this cute little pillow book. And good news for some of us: no sewing required! Check out her step-by-step instructions on her blog, The Lavender Daisy.  The pictures and descriptions are so easy to follow, and you can customize it any way you want!

More tutorials coming soon ~ 
be sure to check back here and on the Totally Tutorials blog!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We Have Our First Tutorial
in the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange! 

An email button for your blog:

Here is something sooo informative for all of us technologically challenged bloggers! And since Blogland is populated with such a variety of people, I know there are a bazillion of you out there. I mean, so many of us artistic types spend all of our time with our muses, who has the time or the desire to be a techie?

Taylor of Maryjanes and Galoshes (I love that name!) has set up the process step-by-step for making a button for your readers to send you email. No more having your readers search around for a way to email ~ it will be right there looking as cute as a, well, button! Personalize it with your own graphics and and text, customize it to match your blog, it's all good! (I personally like the "Send a letter to the Queen" idea!)

Visit Taylor's blog to see the step-by-step process. It will be on  Totally Tutorials also.

Check back here in the coming days and weeks for lots more tutorials!
Sunshine Award!

A sincere "thank you" to Elaine of ChatElaine Jewellery  for this bright little ray of light just as we are beginning to get buried in another snowfall! Couldn't have come at a better time.

I first fell in love with Elaine's gorgeous lampwork beads when she entered the Wonderland challenge at Inspiration Avenue. I just love this red and white bead!

She has many more examples of her wonderful creativity. Visit her blog and Etsy shop to see what she does with fire and glass, as well as the beautiful jewelry she makes!

So the rules for accepting the Sunshine award are

~ Put the logo on your blog or within your post  
~ Pass the award onto 12 bloggers ~  
~ Link the nominees within your post ~ 
~ Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog. 
~ Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Alright ~ It's an extremely tough choice, but here is a mix of new blogland friends and some favorites whose blogs (and shops) are pretty special!  So, in random order they are:

ARTic Blonde Creations
Eco-Friendly Freckles
Art and Inspirations
Priti Studio
The Lavender Daisy
Maryjanes and Galoshes
Pics by Shel
Art Happens
Ambient Girl Designs
Artistic Accents by Darla

Be sure to visit the blogs and shops of these talented and creative artists. They will all brighten your day!

And thanks again to Elaine for giving me this award!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exciting News!

I'm so excited to announce the participants in the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange! Over the next few weeks you'll see some amazing art from these talented artists! They will be making some inspiring new creations and then, in a tutorial, showing you step by step how it's done. Below are their Etsy shops. Later you will see their creations here and be able to view their tutorials on their blogs. They will also be featured on   Totally Tutorials.

They are all so talented,
and I can't wait to see what they have created!
Be sure to stay tuned!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The theme at Inspiration Avenue this week was Mystique.
 I started out with an ethereal mystical lady, but somehow she turned into a saint. I don't know what saint. (There are so many to choose from.) I think she looks very pious. I fell in love with the photos of Sinaia Monastery in Romania and that is probably how it started. Anyway, what is more mystical than religion?

This was half painting~half collage until  I started running out of time (again!) and thought I'd better photograph it while the light was good. I then added some digital collaging to it so I guess that makes 3 thirds not 2 halves. Oh, I hate math!

Later, I think I will go back and work on the actual painting when I have time.

Visit Inspiration Avenue on Sunday afternoon to see all of the entries in the challenge.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where Have All the Birdies Gone?

What is going on? 
My bird feeder has looked exactly like this since 2009. It's been so sadly neglected by the birds, maybe I should put a sign on it saying "eat me".
I was busy during the holidays, and although in years past I put food out for the birds as soon as the weather got cold, this winter I guiltily put it off until after Christmas. First of all, I needed a new feeder (there is a cedar one decomposing in the yard, and another one that mysteriously disappeared). So, feeling a little thrifty after the Christmas money drain, I bought this plastic one for $9.99 at WalMart. I thought, "Plastic is not very green, but I can use it for years and years...the birds won't know the difference, the important thing is that they are getting fed... and it's a cute little gazebo with a cupola on top." So I took it home, filled it up, and it has not had one visitor since. My Etsy shop even does better that that!

So I am constantly thinking about all the reasons why the birds are not coming.

The first one has nothing to do with my feeder, since I realize    
I have not seen any birds ANYWHERE
in and around my town lately. We had some extremely cold weather in December, and maybe the ones who usually stay flew the coop for warmer climates. We usually have cardinals, blue jays, doves, and those little brown mystery birds. They all normally flock hungrily to the feeder.
Then I think, with even more guilt,   
what if they all died in the cold 
because nobody was feeding them? I dismiss this because our neighborhood is full of bird lovers. SOMEBODY has been putting out food. It's more likely that they have found some plentiful supply of bird seed and are ignoring mine. I know it takes a while for birds to notice a new source of food, but 4 weeks?? I think not.

Possible reason number 3:  
Could the birds be boycotting plastic?

Number 4:   
Could my neighborhood birds be spoiled?
Okay, I admit I didn't buy the most expensive bag of birdseed that was on the shelf. Remember, it was just after Christmas and I was a little light.  But normally, if the birds are picky or not, my furry little friends, the squirrels, will make sure the food disappears. Right now, I should have squirrels hanging upside down from the feeder having a feast. But nothing.

In fact, the other day I did see some evidence of wildlife in the yard. A squirrel was nosing around the garden, scraping in the dirt  looking for something he buried in September. He walked right under the bird feeder, stopped and looked up at the easy leap to get to the food, and you guessed it!
He continued on his way.
Something is wrong and I guess
I will continue to wonder what it is.

These three ACEOs are from Laura at LaRuscStudio. I purchased the 2 squirrels a while ago, and I have my eye on the blue jay.  Laura has a way with painting animals. I am a sucker for squirrels and these are especially amazing!  Visit her Etsy shop to see what I mean!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I've finished my "Sunny Cat" (2 days late for the challenge at Inspiration Avenue), but thought I would post it here anyway. I changed the background and worked on his face and body. Actually I'm somewhat pleased with the little critter; he looks a little more like the cheeky devil he is supposed to be. He's lazy as heck and likes nothing more than to find a spot of sunshine to call his own. A soft pillow never hurt, either.
I'm going to be listing this 8 x 8 acrylic painting in my Etsy shop. I'm hoping to add some paintings, mixed media, collages, and more as soon as they become available. In other words as soon as I am able to finish some that I like lol. The trouble is, they always take longer than I anticipate.
So thanks for looking, and many, many thanks to my wonderful IA teammates for your encouragement! xoxo

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't Forget to Enter the
Supplies for Tutorials Exchange
by Friday January 22!

Share Your Creativity
and Receive 
FREE Supplies! 
Click the banner above to read the details. 


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Three Muses Challenge
I did this digital collage for the Water challenge at The Three Muses. A tapestry background, a vintage image with a couple of filters applied. "Bubble" photoshop brushes courtesy of
As soon as I thought 'water', I thought 'bubblebath'!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January Thaw?
Please, please, I hope so!

The sun was out bright and early today and
I think I saw a tiny drip on the end of an icicle!

The weatherman is telling us it will go above freezing today
(39 degrees, whoo hoo!).
I have just about had enough of snow and ice.

These are pretty, but don't walk underneath them, could be even more dangerous than walking under a ladder. Yikes!
When I look at these, I think of the Inspiration Avenue challenge for this week, "Pocket Full of Sunshine". It's just been so long since we've seen the sun shining here! Since I'm not a photographer, I think I will not enter these in the challenge but maybe do a painting instead. Better get busy....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Supplies for Tutorials Exchange

Would you like to get creative with collage sheets?

Do you like it when you get something for free?

Do you love telling other people what to do?

If your answers are yes, yes, and yes then the Supplies for Tutorials Exchange is for you!

Choose up to FOUR collage sheets from my Etsy shop absolutely FREE; make a creation of your choice; and then teach others how to do it! The only requirements are: you must use my collage sheets (choose from 140 sheets, free from me!) and you must make a tutorial showing the technique to others. You post your tutorial on your blog. It will also be posted on Totally Tutorials and here on The Magpie's Nest. Link your post to your Etsy shop or website and just think of all the exposure you will get! Totally Tutorials is a great site that gets 400-600 page views a day. Check out more info about the tutorials at Totally Tutorials.

You can create absolutely anything you like using my collage sheets. Use whatever other materials you wish along with them. Your creation can be jewelry, collage, mixed media pieces, altered books, journals, just to name a few.  It can be simple or more involved. Remember, you may think something is easy to make but there are others who have never done it and would love to learn how! That's where the tutorial comes in.   Never made a tutorial? Check out these easy instructions on How to Make a Tutorial!

How to enter:
  1. Post a comment here on my blog or send me a convo to magpiemine on Etsy.
  2. Tell me a little about the item or items you want to create.  (No need to decide exactly which sheets you would like to use at this time).
  3. Include the link where you will be posting your tutorial.
    That's pretty much it until you get selected! Please respond by Friday, January 22, 2010. I will select from 3 to 5 artists to receive the freebie collage sheets. I'll be looking for a variety of prospective items, i.e. jewelry, greeting cards, journals, collage, altered art, etc. I will contact the winners by Sunday, January 24.

    If you are selected:
    1.  I will email you the digital collage sheets of your choice.
    2. Create your art piece!
    3. Make your tutorial. (Go to Totally Tutorials to see some really informative and fun tutorials.) Click here for how to Make a Tutorial! I know creativity takes time, but please finish your entry in around two weeks.
    4. Then post your tutorial (on your own blog or at Craftster, Instructables, or Cutoutandkeep). Include a link to my shop, so people can see where the collage sheets originated :). I will do a post on my blog so that my visitors can see the cool creation you have made, and also how to make a similar one via your tutorial. And send the link to Totally Tutorials so that Dotty, the lovely lady who originated this idea, can post it there! Okay, enough with the technical details, if you have questions feel free to convo me or post your question here!
    Enter here by posting as described above or send me a convo to magpiemine on Etsy. Please reply by January 22, 2010! Thanks for participating!

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Weekly Challenge at Inspiration Avenue

    My entry didn't turn out as I had envisioned it this week (and now I can't even remember what I DID envision!) but here it is and I hope it conveys a sense of a modern little Alice's idea of Wonderland. I began by thinking of what Alice would be like if the story were written today, instead of the prim and proper 19th century Alice. I was pretty certain she would be wearing a tutu. And be a little more hyperactive.

    I used acrylic paint, colored pencils, and tissue paper. The white rabbit is transferred to the page from the illustration by John Tenniel. The flowers and teacups are collaged. And what do you know, they are from my "Tea Cups, Saucers, and Fairies" collage sheet! The final thing I did was 'paint the roses red' like the card gardeners in the story (wouldn't want the Queen to have me beheaded). The roses were originally pink and yellow. Thanks to Elaine from ChatElaine Jewellery who gave me the idea of painting the roses after I saw her gorgeous red rose bead!

    Pop over to Inspiration Avenue Sunday afternoon to see all of the amazing entries in the Wonderland challenge. Can't say I have counted up all of the entries from previous challenges, but it seems to me we have a record number of entries this week!

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Giveaway at Dragonfly Design Studios
    A Taste of Summer 

    Many of you already know Stephanie of Dragonfly Design Studios, but for those of you who don't:   Treat yourself!  For a taste of those warm lazy days of summer (which we in the Northern Hemisphere are longing for so desperately), browse through her Etsy shop which is filled with the most exquisite summer flowers, and visit her blog to sign up for her giveaway. She is giving away one of her gorgeous paintings, winner to be drawn on January 25. My evil side hates to send other possible winners to sign up, since I registered to win it myself, but this is too good to keep quiet!  This is a beautiful Jackmanii clematis, one of my most favorite flowers.

    The stunning purple Jackmanii is probably the one most of us imagine when we think of clematis. But clematis comes in a startling array of colors, even green. Here are a few beauties:

    Montana "Marjorie"

    "My Angel"




    I wish I could say these beauties are from my garden, but as I told Stephanie, I sadly have no luck with clematis. I have no idea what I am doing wrong as most gardening books say they are easy to grow.  Every time I plant one, it refuses to flourish. Maybe I am killing them with kindness; I do tend to fuss around my plants a little too much! Some plants really prefer a little less attention and this may be one of those.

    This spring, you can be sure I will be trying again. In the mean time I will just have to covet Stephanie's stunning painting!

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    The Three Muses Challenge
    Bless you for looking! You are divine!

    I'm too tired to write any more *yawn*
    Good night!

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    This Week's Challenge at Inspiration Avenue

    "If I had a world of my own, everything would be   nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be  what it isn't . And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would.    You see?" ~ Alice

    Pop on over to Inspiration Avenue to get motivated to enter this week's challenge! The theme is "Wonderland" and we are hoping to get a glimpse into your most magical fantasy world!

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge
    At the Movies

    I have to confess, I am not a big movie-goer. I don't anxiously await the opening of the latest cinematic extravaganza like many people do.

    So when I heard the theme was "At the Movies" this week, I thought "Yikes, when was the last time I was at the movies?" and I came up blank! But I started thinking about the old glamorous days of Hollywood and the iconic stars that remain in people's minds even today.

    This mixed media piece is composed of photos of Katharine Hepburn and a shot of the famous Hollywood sign, plus acrylic paint, glitter, and tissue paper on canvas.  The quote is by Ms. Hepburn. (The glitter shows up more in real life. Another photography problem. HA, I'm working on it!)

    Visit Inspiration Avenue on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 3) to view the movie-inspired entries. And come back Monday to find the theme for the coming week! Anyone can enter as long as you have a blog to post your entry to.
    You just might get hooked!