October 31, 2010

Pink Ribbon Warrior Woman - Blog Candy Winner!

Hi everyone!

BIG thanks to everyone who joined in the Warrior Woman blog hop!  It is amazing to see all the beautiful creations that were made in honor of women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer.  The photos in the Flickr Group are gorgeous!  Thanks to everyone for the incredibly nice comments, both here and in Flickr.  This was my entry:

As promised - I have some  blog candy to give away, and the Random Number Picker selected..... drumroll......#12........

Awesome idea, and awesome art, Ellen! Love it! The flowers are spectacular. Great idea, and a bunch of my fave artists!
Lori, please send me an email (ellenvargo@comcast.net) with your address and I'll get THIS into the mail ASAP!

Thanks again to everyone for joining in to honor these amazing women!!! And a big congrats to our muse, Sherry Goodloe who is TOTALLY winning the battle!!!  We're so happy for you, Sherry!!!  Check out Sherry's blog today to see who she chose as the big winner!

My friend Mary just had her 3rd chemo treatment, and her tumor is already only HALF it's original size!!!  WOOHOO!!!

Also - big thanks to the design team and our fearless leader, Linda!  It was an honor to work with such talented women!!! They are:

Hels Sheridan - http://pinkleart.blogspot.com

Jennie: The Artistic Stamper - http://theartisticstamper.blogspot.com

Judy Wood - http://creativearts-jwood.blogspot.com

Linda Ledbetter - http://www.studioL3.blogspot.com

Nancy Crissinger - http://whatsnextnancy.blogspot.com

Sharon Sutton - http://seraph1959.blogspot.com

Tracy Jacobs - http://nosparemoments.blogspot.com

And thanks to the SOOO generous Daisy from eclectic Paperie!  Daisy is so kind and donated the main prize package for this event.  Good luck to all!

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and a Happy Halloween!!!


~ ellen.

October 29, 2010

A tisket.. a tasket... a Studio 490 Basket!!!

Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend the entire weekend with THE Wendy Vecchi!  I've admired Wendy's *ART* for a long time, and was really looking forward to meeting her and seeing not just WHAT she creates, but HOW she creates.  The classes were, of course, divine, and I'm so happy to say that, while I still admire Wendy for her *art*.... I now admire her as a person, too.  She's lovely.

So.... what is this leading to, you might ask.... Well.... I really wanted to bring a handmade gift to give to Wendy, just as a way to show my appreciation for all she does for all of us, and let her know that it really is appreciated.  There was one large problem... what to make?  I didn't want to make something that Wendy could make herself, because she's SOOO good at what she does!  It would be very tough to compete with her talent, using HER products.

Well, I remembered a basket I had made a few years ago (*yes, it's true.... I MADE the basket*) and I thought it would be cool to embellish the basket in some way.  This is what I came up with:

I decided to make little charms out of Wendy's stamps!  It was super easy, and I love the way it turned out!  I stamped LOTS of Wendy's images onto shrink plastic using black STAZ-ON ink (most of the images were stamped onto a frosted shrink plastic, but I stamped a few onto white, and one onto black as well).   After the ink had completely dried, I cut out each image, and punched a whole in the top, or the most logical place for hanging.  (*very important to do this BEFORE you shrink the images!*)

I used my heat tool to do the shrinking - worked like a "charm" !!  HAHA!  Some of the more intricate images were a little challenging during the shrinking process, because they twist up on themselves and stick together, but I didn't lose any of them!  After they were "shrunk" (is that a word?) they never go completely flat, so I took a big acrylic block and pressed the image flat onto my craft sheet - worked great!  Then I colored the back of each charm with alcohol ink.  Important to color the BACK because alcohol ink will dissolve the STAZ-ON and the image would go "bye-bye"... (learned this the hard way... trust me....)

Here's some more shots of the basket --- there are charms all the way around the outside and when you twirl the basket it makes the best "chinkety-chink" sound!  Like a charm bracelet. 

I also wanted to find a way to work "Make Art" and "Studio 490" into the basket, so I made Wendy's famous memo pins with glossy accents to spell out each phrase - one on each side of the handles of the basket.  Here's a few shots to give you an idea of how it looks.

And here's one last shot of the basket handles - I love how they're all twisted together and weave right into the basket.  I added some fiber to the handle to give it a little artistic touch.

I wanted to make sure that the basket had been delivered and received by Wendy before I put it on the blog.... I had a real blast making the basket for Wendy, and I was so pleased that she liked it.

If anyone is interested in the basket part of this project.... it was a kit I got on-line... click HERE to check it out if you want.  The basket I made is called the "Sandy Neck Basket".

Hope you enjoyed ---- have a great Halloween Weekend!!!


~ ellen.

October 27, 2010

WOYWW - Work in Progress

Hi fellow peepers!

Time for another sneaky peep around the craft desks of the world.... check out Julia's blog HERE to join in the fun!

Last night I started a mini-book - no specific purpose for it, just making a book for the FUN of it.  Here's the work in progress - LOTS of Studio 490 stamps by Wendy Vecchi selected, stamped on grunge and cut out... Who knows where they'll end up, but it's fun to think of all the possibilities!

Just a quickie today --- hope you're having a good week.  Thanks for stopping by!


~ ellen.

October 24, 2010

Drippage with the Downeys


Made it safely home from Pennsylvania, where my sister-in-law and I spent Saturday afternoon with Donna (and Bill, who is super nice, too!) Downey!  We drove up on Saturday morning, and passed through Gettysburg, PA - the trees were definitely at the peak of fall color... check out these beauties!

We took the Inspiration Journal class, which Donna refers to as "Creativity 101".  At first I was confused by that description, but when the class got started it became clear very quickly!  Everyone in the class got one of Donna's Inspiration Journals - we all got the same cover, which was VERY smart on her part, otherwise we all would have been whining "I wanted THAT one!!"  Just like little kids... gotta give them all the same thing or the bickering will follow.... anyway....

We started by painting one page (and not necessarily the first page) with ONE color of paint, however we wanted.  Then we immediately moved to another page, and painted it with TWO colors of paint, again, however we wanted to combine the colors (or not) - NO RULES in art journaling!  Then immediately moved to the next page, where we were told to use a pencil to draw or write or mark up the page in whatever way we wanted. All three pages were done very quickly - not a lot of time to over-think what we wanted to do - very uncomfortable for some (including me at times!, but very good for me, too.  I'm definitely an "over-thinker").

Here's where the fun really kicked in.... Donna told us to take our journals and move to someone else's table!  We couldn't take any of our own supplies or embellishments with us, but could use anything we saw at the desk we landed at.  AAACKKKK!!!  We were given about 10-15 minutes to build onto one of the pages we had started, using ANY of the stash available to us at that person's spot.  WOW!  It was fun!!!  Rummaging through someone else's stuff discovering all the things they used to create with, and figuring out how to incorporate that into what we had started on our own - it was a little weird, but super fabulous!  I had a ball!!!  (of course, the first seat I landed at belonged to Staci, the owner of the store, so you know she had TONS! of stash to play with!!).  Then we got up and moved AGAIN to another spot and did the same thing!  HA!  I thought it was awesome, but I think there may have been a few people in the class that were really uncomfortable with the idea of someone else using their stuff.  Personally, when I got back to my desk, I couldn't even tell what had been used!

Here are the first two pages that I painted with MY paint, and began to embellish with OTHER people's stuff.  I'll continue to work on them some more til I'm happy with them.

After that we went back to our own tables, and learned a few more techniques for creating backgrounds for pages, including the famous DRIPPAGE..... basically just using a watered down paint or other medium to DRIP paint randomly down the page to create layers of color and interest.  I love the random nature of this technique - you always get a different result.

Then we learned how to make 3 different kinds of fabric flowers....

5-petal flower
no-sew flower

And the yoyo flower, which I didn't have a chance to try.

And the rest of the class was "free time" to play with different techniques and ask whatever questions we wanted.  Donna was fabulous --- it was great to meet her and see her wacky sense of humor in real life.  It was a fast-paced class, which was great for me, it really made me STOP thinking too much, and just create.

Pam and I went back to the cabin and played in our journals until midnight!  Here are some of the pages I'm working on - none of them are "done" yet, and it's weird for me to have so many pages in-progress --- I like to do things in order, and finish one thing before I begin another.  Gotta go outside the comfort zone to grow and learn - LOVE IT.

this was the pencil-drawing page, which I've started to "tangle"
random patterned paper & book text-will add more layers for sure!
nothing but stamped images --- now what???
Our "happy" item, which we had to fill with writing
photo transfer - still have some paper to rub off the image, but I love my happy giggling buddha - he definitely makes me "happy"  he's in my garden...  :)
Here's a group picture of our class with Donna - of course it had to be taken in front of the Vera Bradley display.... Donna is a BIG fan....

of course... I had to be right next to Donna.... that's me in the blue shirt....  
Another fun-filled weekend.... I had a blast, but will be glad to spend the next two weekends at HOME.  Good to go, for sure... but good to be home, too!!

Have a great week!

~ ellen.

October 22, 2010

Off to Pennsylvania!

Hi all!

Another crafty weekend has arrived!  This week I'm off to take Donna Downey's Inspiration Journal class at Grove's in Huntingdon, PA!

My sister-in-law Pam and I are leaving at stooopid o'clock tomorrow morning for the 3-hour drive to her cabin ....

 .... which is only about 45 minutes from Grove's.  Perfect location!  And we're WAY familiar with the drive there, and with the town of Huntingdon!  Plus we have a *free* place to stay.  What could be better?  A weekend with Pammy!!  I'm lucky to have such an awesome sister-in-law --- it'll be a giggle-fest.... my favorite.... :)

It's a beautiful time of year - I love the fall foliage, and I'm hoping it will look something like this... which was taken at about this time of year - the view from the cabin....

Can't wait to see the Inspiration Wednesday videos in *real life*.... Donna has such a great style, and cracks me up with some of the stuff she says in those videos... should be an awesome class!

Hope you have a crafty weekend!


~ ellen.

October 20, 2010



It's Wednesday - so time to fly around the globe peaking at craft desks!  If you want to join in the fun head over to Julia's blog and check it out!

I spent the whole weekend taking classes with Wendy Vecchi (I may have mentioned this once or twice.... haha)  so haven't had a spare minute to tidy up!  My actual workspace is pretty tidy, but the surrounding areas are piled high and a proper MESS!

Yes - that is a pile of Wendy's new ART PARTS!  They arrived at the store the day the classes started - perfect timing!  So of course I had to grab some up before they disappeared!  We got to play with them and they are just AWESOME.... can't wait to do some creating of my own, now that I've done some project's "Wendy style".

Here's the other end of the counter/desk....

Supplies packed up getting ready to go to a Donna Downey workshop this weekend!  Saturday, it's all about the "Inspiration Journal"... I'm really excited to meet Donna and learn more about "drippage" in person!  Should be a great class.

And.... one last picture.... this one's for you Hels.... I've been teasing her... OK.... maybe torturing is a better word.... I've got this bag started, and it's getting pretty full.... full of stuff I'll be bringing to her when I arrive in the UK in.... 38 days!!!  She's been dying to see INSIDE the bag... no dice.... here it is!  Any guesses???

Have fun snooping!  Thanks for stopping by to visit!  Have a great day!!!

~ ellen.

October 18, 2010

The Perfect Wendy Weekend!

Hi everyone!

Well if I was excited about my weekend BEFORE it happened... I am full-out OVER THE MOON to tell you about it.  It was completely and utterly *perfect*.  I took FOUR classes with Wendy Vecchi at The Queens Ink in Savage, Maryland, which is my all-time favorite LSS. 

The first class on Saturday morning was a Ranger class, technique based, where we learned lots of different techniques for using distress inks, perfect pearls, the new perfect pearl MISTS!, different stamping techniques, paint dabbers, pigment inks, watercolor stamping, etc.  To a large degree this was just an opportunity to see how WENDY does these techniques, because as we all know, everyone has a slightly different style!  Wendy was awesome - demo-ing each technique at the demo stand and then we'd all go back to our seats and do that technique.  Here's a sample of some of the tags we did - my fav's....

The second class, on Saturday afternoon, was an ART PARTS project, using the small square frame and scalloped edge, and stamping, inking, altering, grunging, embellishing the HECK out of it.  It is gorgeous!!!  This project focused on incorporating pigment inks and combining them with distress inks - awesome new look to the existing color palette.  Here's my finished project, so elegant!

On Sunday, our morning project was this mini book.  LOTS AND LOTS of cutting involved in this one, but worth every minute!  This is just chunky, funky *heaven*.... here's a few of the pages:

And, last but certainly not least, Sunday afternoon was another ART PARTS project.  This time using the small circle bases, posts and then STUFFING tons of embellishments into the center post!   Delicious...

That's the ART-PART of the weekend, which exceeded all my expectations, which were pretty high to start with.  But I must say, the BEST part of the weekend was just seeing and interacting with Wendy.  She is kind, laid-back, SMART, generous, sweet, funny, gracious, and everything you could hope for.   She's a class act, and I'm so happy I got to know her a bit over my two days with her, and *really* proud to count her as a new friend. 

"Queen" Patti was delightful as well.  I'm so lucky to have access to such a great store, only 30 mins from home.  If you ever get the chance to take a class with Wendy, I highly recommend it... you won't regret it for a second! 

OH!!! I can't believe I forgot this part!  In the Sunday morning class, I won the door prize!!! Check it out!!

Maya Road mini book kit, grunge shapes (dots), and Maya Road chipboard birds & bird cages! NICE!
And, of course, the obligatory "ME & WENDY" picture.... I felt a little geek-y asking for the picture, but I really did want one with her. Thanks for an awesome weekend, Wendy!

(she's even wearing "tumbled glass" and "brushed corduroy"!!! Love it!)
Hugs to all - see you around later this week!

~ ellen.

October 15, 2010

A Wendy Weekend!

I can't believe it's finally here... I'll be spending the ENTIRE weekend with Wendy Vecchi!  She's teaching 4 classes at The Queen's Ink and I made sure I got signed up for all of them!  Before I even knew what the classes would be... because it really didn't matter!  I've never taken a class with an artist I *really* admire, so of course I'm extremely excited!  Hope I sleep!

I'll blog all about it next week, for sure!!!

Hope Wendy isn't feeling too camera shy this weekend - fingers crossed...

Hugs to all,

~ ellen.

October 13, 2010

WOYWW and Presents!

Hi everybody!

Getting a late start on WOYWW - not feeling great today... didn't get a chance to take pix of my desk today, so thought I'd share some pix of the before & after of my studio renovation!  If you're not sure what I'm talking about - click HERE and pop over to Julia's desk to check out the crafting desks around the world! 

Here's the before picture:

When we moved into the house, this was our bedroom... then it was transformed into Jack's PLAY room (yes, he has one, too!)... and then, because I was growing out of my small room downstairs, Jack was kind enough to "donate" his room to me! 


Little Miss Handy!!   Putting up my shelves from IKEA - one of MANY shelves/drawers from IKEA that had to be assembled... which I LOVE to do.  I was such the tom-boy - always helping my Dad with projects around the house.  I've always loved *making* things - almost doesn't matter what.

And after:

Full of stash and WELL used!  I love that I have room for FOUR people to sit and play together.  The drawer units from IKEA are on wheels so they can be rolled across the room to make space for two more people! 

Here's a pic from last year (the walls are so bare!) of me and my 3 bestest friends (Connie at the end, Matty next to her, then Pam - my sister-in-law, and ME!). Making our TH Christmas Tags!  And ... incidentally ... that is my ARM/ELBOW sitting on the desktop!  But it looks really WRONG....

This is turning into a long post.... but I have to share what came in the mail yesterday, all the way from the UK!!!  Yes, folks, another package of goodies from HELS!  She is spoiling me *rotten* (and I love it!)  LOL! 
New steampunk stamps from the Artistic Stamper!, ART PARTS!, "Oh My Dear" stampotique stamp, suede flowers by Maya Road, amazing chipboard shapes, and a Hels Original... the keychain tags she did last summer!
I'm over the moon... and still counting the days until we can play together IN PERSON!  We're down to 45 days!  WOOHOO!  No, I haven't started packing yet (other than mentally).  And guess what!  Hels has signed us up to take a class with THE Linda Elbourne!!  Talk about spoiled!!!

Don't forget to check out the Warrior Woman Blog Hop for Breast Cancer Awareness!  There are LOTS of chances to win blog candy!   Click HERE if you missed yesterday's post.

Have a great Wednesday!


~ ellen xx

October 12, 2010

The Pink Ribbon Warrior Woman Blog Hop


Today I am honored to be participating in the Pink Ribbon Warrior Woman Blog Hop in honor of all women who have had, currently have, or ever will have breast cancer. Big thanks to Linda Ledbetter for coordinating this blog hop - Linda - you ROCK. 

(read to the end - there is blog candy involved!!!) 

We're celebrating the healing journey of our dear friend, Sherry Goodloe, who's recovering from her recent surgery, and has just learned that she won't have to endure chemo or radiation! Sherry is our official Warrior Woman Muse for this hop, and is someone we all love and admire. Of course, so many of our friends and loved ones-- if not we ourselves-- have faced breast cancer, and our art is intended to honor each and every woman who has, is, or ever will fight this battle.

In honor of my good friend Mary, who was recently diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and just began 20 weeks of chemo last week, I made this piece as a small way to support her on this incredibly difficult journey.  I'll be giving it to her at work today.  (Yes.... she's still working!  So dedicated...) I'll share a little more about her story in the Flickr Group (details below).

Please join in by visiting our blogs (listed below) and finding some inspiration for your own art. In many cases, there's blog candy to be had for those who leave comments!  Keep reading!!!

The Pink Ribbon Warrior Woman Blog Team is:

Ellen Vargo - http://1036art.blogspot.com (you're here!)

Hels Sheridan - http://pinkleart.blogspot.com

Jennie: The Artistic Stamper - http://theartisticstamper.blogspot.com

Judy Wood - http://creativearts-jwood.blogspot.com

Linda Ledbetter - http://www.studioL3.blogspot.com

Nancy Crissinger - http://whatsnextnancy.blogspot.com

Sharon Sutton - http://seraph1959.blogspot.com

Tracy Jacobs - http://nosparemoments.blogspot.com

After visiting each blog on the hop, please create your own work of art in celebration of the Pink Ribbon Warriors, and upload your masterpiece at the Warrior Women Blog Hop Flickr Gallery:

When you upload your photo, make sure the Privacy is set to "Public" so everyone can enjoy your art. This will not effect the privacy settings of any other photos you've uploaded to Flickr.

You're welcome to dedicate your art to someone specific (or any number of special someone's), and please use the "Add a Description" field in the gallery to tell us about them.

Submissions will be accepted through October 30, and on October 31, our Warrior Woman muse, Sherry, will choose a winner who will receive an amazing prize package, courtesy of our sponsor, the incredibly generous DAISY at eclectic Paperie.  This is the prize package from Daisy - remember - you have to post a picture of your project in the Flickr group to be eligible for this prize.

(PLUS, Daisy will add, and I quote, a PAIL of assorted stickles to this package as well!)


if you're interested in a chance to win a prize package from my personal *stash*... please leave a comment on this post - I will use the random number generator to pick a winner on October 31st!  This is what you could win:

Small silver birdcage charm, rock candy crackle paint, peeled paint & rock candy distress stickles, Claudine Hellmuth's multi medium (matte), 3 teeny tiny glass vials, and a necklace I made using the Dichroic Illusions technique on Tim's 2nd DVD
Thank you SO much for stopping by and joining in the Pink Ribbon Warrior Woman Blog Hop!  Please be sure to visit the other sites on the hop.  I can't wait to see the amazing projects in the Flickr Group - this is such a talented network of artists, and I am so very honored to be part of this great tribute to the warriors among us.

Hugs to all!

~ ellen

October 7, 2010

BRITISH INVASION (in reverse!) --- 51 days (and counting!)


OK this may not be exciting to anyone but ME and a certain *batty* British BFF of mine, but I have SUCH EXCITING NEWS!!!   Here's a hint!

After several weeks of plotting and planning (and trying VERY hard to keep our respective mouths SHUT!!!)  and trying to find dates that work, the stars aligned and I am going on an incredible trip!  


We became VERY fast VERY good friends just a few short months ago.... it's one of those times in life when I just KNEW I had found a true *kindred spirit* (for any of you Anne of Green Gables fans out there, you know exactly what I mean --- this is *very high praise* !!!) 

Without getting too mushy... I do want to send out a very big THANK YOU to none other than THE WENDY VECCHI.  It all started HERE, on March 11, 2010.... Wendy posted what was then, and still is, absolutely the COOLEST, jaw-dropping art I've seen... EVER... it just really knocked me out.  

That project was done by HELS!  So that's what sent me dashing as quickly as possible over to Hels' blog, and I've never looked back since.  This summer I made a perfectly innocent (or so I thought!) comment on Hels' blog, lamenting the fact that I don't live in the UK because I wanted so badly to be part of the tag swap Hels was organizing for UK peeps... much to my delight she wrote back to me and said she was up for a swap!  I was SO EXCITED!  

Once the emails started... they basically never stopped!!!  And here we are, only 6 (almost) short months after I discovered she even existed.... and I'm flying "across the pond" to MEET her, PLAY with her in THE Room of Stash, and STAY with her, too!  (I'll be staying in the "Wendy Vecchi Suite" --- don't worry Wendy.... I'll warm it up for you.... LOL!)  

How lucky am I????  Seriously folks.... I feel very very blessed to have met such a lovely new friend.  And if it wasn't for Wendy... it never would have happened..... so.... I'll say it again.... THANKS WENDY!!!  "Friends In Art" has a whole new meaning!!!  ("HELS 'n' ELS" ..... I know.... corny.... but I like it!!!)

I'll try to contain my excitement between now and November 26th.... but it will definitely spill out into the blogosphere from time to time.... 51 days to go.... and I'm definitely counting!!!

Hugs to all,

~ ellen.

October 6, 2010

WOYWW and a Special Announcement

Hi everyone!

Before I get started with my workdesk - I have an exciting announcement to share with you all!  Let's do the announcement first.....

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of our good friend Sherry Goodloe-- and ALL our loved ones who have, are or will ever fight this battle-- I'm taking part in a Warrior Woman Blog Hop! Mark your calendar now to join in! All the details will be posted here next Tuesday, October 12th.   Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping in to snoop around a bit!  It's Wednesday again and that means it's time for WOYWW - What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  This week I have some new stash that was delivered yesterday - waiting to be put away.

And because I KNOW you're dying to see what's in that box --- I'll oblige and show you:

Some new paint dabbers that were on sale, new TH charm clips (these will be used on this year's Christmas cards, so I needed LOTS of them), the new Tidings tissue tape, some Claudine Hellmuth multi medium, and some free chipboard alphabet letters (Daisy at eclecticPaperie is SOOOO cool - she always throws in a freebie - and they're usually really COOL freebies, too!).

I also wanted to share some recent "finds" from our antique shopping adventures:

Found this awesome old tool caddy - the wood is worn smooth ad discolored and chipped up - in essence... it's *perfect*!!   And, even more perfect... my embossing folders fit perfectly in it!

Antique bottle - looks like it's been in the ocean - all pitted but silky smooth.  An old jar filled with antique buttons, and a little mesh basket also filled with buttons - all white so they can be altered to any color with alcohol ink!
Hope you're having a great week - thanks for popping in!


~ ellen.