Sometimes I get into a groove, and I focus almost obsessively on one of my art types to the exclusion of nearly everything else.  Right now I'm doing a little bit of that, although I don't at all regret the wonderful little spool I just made or any of my other experiments from the past few weeks. Still, I haven't been getting in any writing time outside of blog and newsletter articles.

This made me start thinking about ways to combine my writing and my visual art, and thus this week's experiment was born!

We know that no two artists or writers will produce identical works even using the same starting point--theme, prompt, color scheme, what have you.  But what would the same creative do with one jumping off point and two completely different forms?

I decided to head over to my favorite site for writing prompts, Toasted Cheese, and check out March's offerings.  I picked out my favorite from the month, March 9 ("An antique ring around a tree root").  This week, I'm going to do a written piece and a visual piece from this prompt to see what happens.

A picture of a toasted cheese sandwich, just to hold you over until the experiment results are in.

So, who's going to join me in this?  You can jump in with the same prompt I'm using or choose another.  It doesn't even have to be from Toasted Cheese.  You just have to use the same prompt to create a piece of writing and a piece of visual art.  I'd love to see what you come up with , so drop me a note with your results.  Have fun!



After a hectic week, I finally got to sit down just this evening and finish my first poetry spool!  I did get my fabric and a few spools painted earlier in the week at least:

And I found these absolutely perfect springy buttons at a bead store I visited yesterday:

Then finally tonight I sat down with a couple of magazines (I didn't happen to have an old book on hand for cutting up) and clipped out words that I liked.  I glued them to my fabric strip and tried to photograph it, but I couldn't get the whole found poem in--I guess I'm a little on the wordy side!  Here's a snippet:

The full poem reads: "Spring blossoms bright and wild a meditation in color and flowers--nature's story in bloom."

So, as you may have noticed, I changed a couple of things.  I painted my fabric rather than using inks to color it; this actually worked out great, and even the fabric I painted with regular acrylic paint came out flexible enough to wrap around the spool.  I also used text from magazines; I had some on hand, and I really liked the varying fonts and colors I was able to find.  And finally, I didn't do any embroidery on the piece, but that was a matter of running short on time rather than not wanting to do it.

So here's the final product, my first spool all wrapped up:

I really enjoyed this project and can see so many types of spools to make.  Christmas ornaments, anyone?  I hope you'll try this one out; it's great fun and very gratifying to have the finished little gem in your hand.  If you do try it, send a picture.  I'd love to see more of these!

I'll be back on Tuesday this week to get started with the next experiment.  See you then!


Sorry.  I just couldn't resist that subject line! 😀

I found this week's experiment, thread spool poetry, in the Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine newsletter last week, and I fell in love.  It comes from the wonderful Kelli Perkins (she wrote Stitch Alchemy). I love her work, plus this project incorporates some of my favorite things--threads and paints and words!

I've gathered my supplies:

The cloth is a leftover bit of linen I had from an embroidery project.  I didn't have any nice, old wooden thread spools on hand, but I did find these really cute ones at Michael's (they have them at most craft supply stores, plus I saw some cute ones in different sizes at several places online).  Then I gathered some paints, including my beloved Jacquard Lumiere Halo Pink Gold.

I am going to experiment with painting the cloth (the Lumiere is a fabric paint after all) rather than using inks on it as was done in the samples.  I'd like to experiment with the alcohol inks at some point, but for now I wanted to stick to supplies I have on hand.  I might get some fun, brightly colored buttons to go with my spools, too.  We'll see what I come up with at the end of the week. Meanwhile, if you're making spools, send me some links to your photos!



It seems as if this is becoming a habit.  My "easy" art projects are developing complications when I'm not looking.

I made a postcard for the Art House Co-op "Mail Me Something" project this week.

This mail art piece wasn't tricky to complete.  The only problem I had while making it was that I forgot to leave space for postage, so the stamps are covering my original "from" section.  But I just wrote it again underneath and decided to embrace the imperfection and keep this as my finished product.

So where did the problems come in?  In the photography.  I confess, I have a thing for shiny and sparkly.  On this piece, I used my favorite paint, Jacquard Lumiere Halo Pink Gold.  Gorgeous color.  Really doesn't photograph well.  And then I added metallic, shimmery butterfly stickers.  And the back of the piece?  A metallic green paint.  So, same problem.  Ah, well.  That's the price I must pay for having sparkly things. 🙂

Here's the front:

And here's the back:

The text is a Mark Twain quote: "It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want--oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

There's a lesson in this simple, imperfect piece of art.  The big lesson is that it's okay to have imperfections.  I think we get really hung up on things being perfect, clean, symmetrical.  It's our machine made age; we don't usually see the variations that show that something has been made by hand.  But the differences are what make something art, that make something special and full of heart.  So don't ignore the imperfections.  Don't discard them.  Embrace them and enjoy them and know that they make your piece of art--your painting, your collage, your story, your poem--unique and special and yours.

See you tomorrow with the next experiment!


I suppose I should say "small formats," but I really wanted to go along with the adage.

This week, I'm going to make something for Art House Co-op's weekly project.  This week, the project is called "Mail Me Something."  The only requirement is that you make a piece of art 4x6 inches or smaller that can be sent through the mail without an envelope.  How fun is that?  Mail art!  I haven't done actual mail art before.  I've put things in decorated envelopes, but I've never done a piece that I put in the mail without any covering.

So, something new and fun, but in my favorite size.  I really enjoy working on small pieces, although usually they're beaded embroideries like this one:

It's called Sepulchre by the Sea, and it's based on Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabel Lee."  I really enjoy doing pieces like this, but I'm looking forward to doing something quick (and mailable) for a change.  Anyone want to join me in this? Doing something quick and a little messy, especially if it's outside your normal routine, is a great way to stir those creative juices.  And, as always, I'd love to see what everyone's coming up with.

See you at the end of the week with the results!


After many trials and false starts, I finally got some silhouette shots I like.  Here's my favorite:

I actually have one other that I like better, but there are power lines showing in it that rather spoil the shot (the hazards of suddenly seeing a great photo setup while in the car and having to take the shot quickly from a traffic light):

The first thing I learned in trying to get a silhouette photo--cats don't pose.  At least not when you want them to.  I thought a cute kitty silhouette in the window would be perfect for this experiment, but apparently the cute kitty didn't agree.

The second thing I learned is that rain is not conducive to silhouette shots, but that's not the most important lesson that came from this experiment. I ended up with some fun and interesting photos, but the best thing that I got from this experiment was a new perspective.

All week I found myself looking at everything around me differently.  I was examining the whole world from the stance of someone looking for silhouette shots.  I found myself noticing edges and outlines everywhere--my shadow on the wall when I'm sitting on the bed with my side lamp on is actually pretty cool looking.  I was noticing shadows and light, colors and hues (deeper colors make better silhouette shots).  This was a fascinating week, and I think I've come away with a new appreciation for everything around me, even the normal everyday things. Oh, I also came away with a really great photo that's going to be a fantastic background for a Halloween project in the fall:

Did anyone else get any cool shots or interesting insights this week?  I hope you'll leave a comment and let me know what you came up with.

See you Monday with the next experiment kickoff.


This week, I decided to try an "easy" experiment.  I'm going to do the Digital Photography School's weekend challenge.  This week's topic: silhouettes.

I picked this experiment for the week because I know I have a busy week ahead of me, and I thought an interesting but quick experiment would be a good choice.  This is something we have to remember with our creative lives--it's not always the time for jumping in to a large project.  But not having time for a big project doesn't mean there isn't time for creativity.  There are creative activities that can fit into any time slot your can wrangle.

Of course, I did a few practice shots for my experiment and was immediately reminded that not all quick projects are really that easy.  They become quick and easy with practice sometimes, but often getting to the point where your work looks effortless to others requires a lot of practice, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of mistakes.  Just keep working at it, and the "quick and easy" part will come.

So, my first attempts aren't so great, but at the end of the week I hope I'll have some quick and easy silhouette shots to share here.  Until then, have a great week, and try something new!


This planner has been quite the project. I loved making the book and decorating the tags to hang from the ribbons (they still need to be tied on). Here's a close-up of the back sides of the tags I made:

The front sides of these are pre-printed with various designs.  I am using three tags because, rather than New Year's resolutions I picked three theme words for 2010: Create, Explore, Thrive (you'll see these words on the front of my planner).  I'm going to choose three quotes to go with my themes and write them on the front sides of my tags before I tie them onto the planner.

And here's the planner itself:

Now comes the hard part--actually doing the work and putting the planner to use.  So far, I've chosen the categories my planner will include: Creativity, Work, Health, Learning, Fun, Spirituality, Home.  Although I completed my experiment for this week, making a planner, there's a lot of work still to do.  I'm looking forward to it, though.  It's exciting to think of having a cheerful, colorful guide to reaching my goals. I may post some updates of the planner as I fill it.  If you join me and make a planner of your own, I hope you'll share some photos, too.  I'd love to see what others are doing with this project.


So, here's the photo of my supplies for my experiment with Lisa Sonora Beam's planner project:

I went ahead and bought a few sheets of pretty paper and a few other bits and pieces to make my planner.  If you're experimenting along with me, you don't have to go out and buy anything if you don't want to.  The author says that she used papers and things she had on hand including pages from a font catalog for her planner pages.  I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up a few more sheets of gorgeous patterned papers.

I hope if you come across this post you'll join me in making a planner and trying it out.  Even if you read this months down the road, it's not too late to make a planner and some plans to go with it.  Even if it's December, you can make plans for the last little bit of the year.  Go ahead.  Get started, get your plans going, let them take off.  Now is always a good time to get started.

Jump in, and remember: Have fun with the project.  If you do decide to join the experiment, leave a note to let me know how it's going for you. I'd love to know what you come up with.