April 30, 2013

Ranger U - Day 2


I'm back to share some more of my Ranger U experience.  I've actually made it home safe and (somewhat) sound.  Here's a recap from Day 2...

We started the morning with Claudine Hellmuth and her Studio line.

We got to work with her studio paints, mediums, gessos, and stencils.  We worked through several technique tags, doing transfers using gesso, multi-medium, paint, and even sticky back canvas.  We also did some collage, straight stenciling, resists, color blending and more!  Here's a shot of me and Claudine.  I hate having my picture taken at the best of times, but standing next to the tiny and gorgeous Claudine?  Well... anyway...

Then it was time for Ranger's famous Square Pizza Day!  I must admit I had my doubts... I mean how special could it be... pizza is pizza right?  OMG... I was wrong to doubt!  It was *DELISH* ! My fav was the buffalo chicken pizza... but the sausage and peppers was to die for, too!

After lunch we got more "Tim time" to learn about the Adirondack line, which included dye inks, paint dabbers and alcohol inks.  The pace was starting to pick up because I didn't manage to get any pix of this session.

And after that, we finished the day with the awesome Dyan Reaveley!  As you know I've been lucky enough to take several classes with Dyan, and honored to be part of her Design Team.  That said... any time with Dyan is FABulous, and she didn't disappoint.

We learned about her ink sprays and how they are formulated, how they are different from Color Wash, and then did a bunch of technique tags, building up the layers with each successive tag.  I thought this was great because it gave us a chance to repeat techniques multiple times, building on a layer each time.  Good teaching.

Time for a story... as you've gathered, I was lucky (so I thought, LOL) to be seated next to Jim (the Gentleman Crafter) Hankins. Jim and I met at CHA and when we discovered we were both going to Ranger U, I was happy to know someone and have a friend going in.  On day 1, we were sitting dutifully learning and listening when I felt a light *misting* of water hit me... mmmm hmmmmmm gonna be interesting... so I spritzed back... this turned into a regular occurrence... but it's water, so no harm, no foul.  HOWEVER.... during our time with Dyan, I felt a full-on spray on my arm... didn't think anything of it... but when I looked down... nope, wasn't water at all... can you imagine what a full-on spray of FUNKY FUSCHIA ink spray looks like!?  I was a cross between brusied/beaten and a burn victim!  Can't believe we didn't take pix...  It's all faded away now, but for half of Ranger U I was sporting some serious color!  LOL!

Here's our group inky hands shot after Dyan's lessons....

Anyway... we ended our day with Dyan, learned how she draws the fabric patterns in her new couture stamps - tricky, but once you get the idea it goes pretty quickly!

Another long day of learning!  A big group of us went out for Chinese food and then went back to the hotel to crash and rest-up for Day 3!  Stay tuned... I'll be back tomorrow with more... but now it's back to reality... heading back to the day job today.  I'm sure there will be a mountain of paperwork and loads of emails to catch up on.  But I wouldn't have spent those 3 days anywhere else!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.

April 27, 2013

Ranger U - Day 1

Hi everybody!

I made it! I'm here at Ranger U!  I've got a little time before heading over for Day 2 so I wanted to do a quick post to capture my experiences so far while they're still fresh.  It's a completely overwhelming experience (in a *good* way!) so I'm sure by the end of the day today I will have forgotten some of the detail...

I got here on Thursday, no problems, and met up with Jim (the Gentleman Crafter) Hankins' friend Zandra.  We went to "collect" Jim from the airport, and then we headed over to Scrappers Cove in Milltown, NJ!  Awesome store with lots of our favorite goodies, and of course we *had* to support the local economy, right?  Here's me and Jim... he's such a sweetie!

Then we drove back over to the Ranger area and met up with Marjie Kemper and Annette Green for dinner at Applebee's.  It's so awesome to finally *meet* the people you see in blogland in person.  Both Marjie and Annette are so, so nice. I'm happy to be sharing the Ranger U experience with them!  Here we are at dinner... (from L to R: Zandra, Jim, me, Marjie and Annette).

After dinner we all headed back to our hotel rooms to get plenty of rest for Day 1.  Was so cool to come into the classroom and find all of our curriculum binders all laid out for us.

The first thing we did was take a 45 minute tour of Ranger's warehouse and factory!  OMG... I am a *huge* fan of shows like "How It's Made" so I was in heaven! To see a line of stickles, going from a huge blue vat and being pumped into a machine where all the little bottles are lined up like soldiers, getting "Holly" stickles pumped in, applicator tip applied, lid screwed on, and sent on down the line into another huge bin for packing and shipping.  COOL!!!  And we all got to take a little bottle right off the production line!  :)  Mario took a few pix in the warehouse portion of the tour...

Then it was back to the classroom to get started!  We started out working with perfect pearls.  We dusted, painted, spritzed and sprayed lots of different samples, learning about all the ways they can be used either dry or wet.

Then it was on to embossing... learning about ultra fine, regular and Ultra Thick embossing powders and how each type will give a different result, depending on what you're working on.

Then we got to play with the girls from Vintaj and their brass pieces combined with Ranger's patinas.  LOVE.  We worked at a very fast pace and I had to finish some of my pieces back in the hotel room.  Trying to work fast with tiny little jump rings was not a good combo for me... kept dropping my teeny tiny jump rings on the floor - oops!  I'll take pix of the finished pieces when I get home - phone pix just aren't doing them any justice at all, but they are gorgeous.  We did faux enamel pieces using the melt pot, learned about some of Vintaj's other tools and reliefing blocks.

Had a lovely lunch of deli sandwiches and ate outside at the picnic tables.

And the afternoon was all about melt art!  Molds, cookie cutters, stamping, texture treads and more!   Again, there wasn't time to take pix during the class so I'll have to update you on the details when I get home.  But here's a shot of our foursome with our agate UTEE hearts... hard to see the detail but trust me... they rock!

And, finally, we ended Day 1 with the Ranger BBQ.  Burgers, GOOD NJ hotdogs, salads, cookies, beer and wine (yay!).  A great time was had by all and it was nice to be able to visit with some other students and learn about their part in this awesome industry.  We've got people from Korea, France, Spain, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, and of course the US.  I love the international component.

Will *try* to take more pix today - promise!  Better get moving - meeting up with Jim, Marjie and Annette for coffee and breakfast in 10 mins! Yikes!

More to come - stay tuned!

~ ellen.

April 25, 2013

Ranger U... Here I Come!

Good morning!

Just a quick post to say... the day has arrived!  This morning I leave to drive north to New Jersey to Ranger U!!!  So excited for what I'm sure will be a totally amazing weekend!  Thanks to *everyone* for all your enthusiastic support and excitement on my behalf.  This blog world is such a powerful thing... I've made some of my best friends ever.  :)

Here's a couple more journal pages to tide you over til next time.... enjoy!

Have a great weekend!  "See" you soon!  I'll try to post pix from Ranger U on Facebook... keep an eye out...

~ ellen.

April 24, 2013

Dylusions Journal Pages


My weekend away at Stamp Camp was wonderful, and much needed... I did manage to do some pages in my Dylusions Journal so wanted to share some of them with you...

This first page was just an expression of my night at the theatre with Mom. The background is layers of paint scraped on with an old gift card.   All the bold writing was done with a sharpie paint pen, and the smaller journaling was done with my Fudeball pen.  I collaged some elements from the Playbill onto the page as well.  What a great memory...

This next page just makes me laugh a little.  Sometimes you just want to cut through the negotiations on how to get something done and just say this... out loud... haha...  Once again, background is done by scraping layers of paint onto the page with an old gift card.  Lots of collage elements added, and the border was done with a big Montana paint marker and a white gel pen.

The last page made me giggle, but this one actually made me a little sad.  There's something about this person (is it a man or a woman?) that just spoke to me.  I gave him (her?) a cactus hat with a bird on top, and used my Poetry Prompts to create the journaling, and I promise, I didn't cheat!  I picked 5 pieces from the bag and this is what came out!

This last page was done in my ledger journal.  The background was done with a base of paint, painted on with a baby wipe, then added a layer of stenciling using both paint and Wendy Vecchi's embossing paste (for the chicken wire stencil).  Then I painted the flower using Golden fluid acrylics, outlining and refining the flower with the Fudeball pen and a white gel pen.  Journaling was done with black sharpie paint pen and white gel pen.  Clearly I still had some songs from "Les Miz" running through my head (and I still do!).

Hope you enjoyed the pages.  I have a few more to share, but you'll have to wait.... more to come.

Have an awesome day!

~ ellen.

April 11, 2013

Update on our House Adventures


Wanted to pop in and give you all an update on our adventures.  It has been crazy busy around here! Since early February, we have been preparing our house to put it on the market.  Lots of pre-packing, de-cluttering, trips to storage unit, trips to the dump, cleaning, organizing and home improvement projects going on.  Well, on March 30th we put our house on the market!

Just three short days later (really, only two since Easter Sunday was a holiday), we got an offer!  With a few adjustments and a counter offer, the contract was accepted and signed by Friday! Phew! Six days from market to contract!  All our work paid off!

THEN.... that same Friday night, we went to look at a house that had just come on the market.  It's in the area of town that I grew up in, it's close to my mom and my sisters, 15 minutes from work, and seemed to have all the elements we needed, and we knew it would go quickly.

We LOVED it, and submitted our offer the next morning.  By Sunday afternoon, our offer was accepted!  So, in the span of 8 days, we put our house on the market, sold it, and bought another one! WOW!

Many of you have probably seen this on my Facebook page, but just in case... I'll share it here.  This is a picture of my new studio!  Can you stand it?  (I can't believe it!)  Windows, skylights, natural light, and it's just beyond my wildest dreams.  I would've been completely happy with a finished, or even unfinished, basement, but this?  OMG!

This week has been consumed with scheduling inspections, gathering paperwork for the bank, and generally running on adrenaline to get everything turned around quickly, all while trying to keep things under control at my "pay the bills" job.

These are all GOOD issues to have.  Busy, busy, busy, but in the end we will have a new house, in a new location, which will fit our lives so perfectly!

Tomorrow I'll head to work for the day... after work I'm going to my Mom's and we're heading downtown to see "Les Miserables" at the theatre.  This will be the fourth time we've seen Les Mis - it's our all-time favorite show.  Then, I'll take Mom home and drive to my twice-a-year "Stamp Camp"!  I'm so excited to get there because I'll actually have time to CREATE!  And I'll get to see all my lovely art friends.

Then it's back to work next week... and the week after that?  OMG... it's time to head north to New Jersey for Ranger U!

It's been a wildly busy year so far, but so exciting to be working towards so many dreams and seeing them come true!  Sorry I haven't had much to share artistically, but hopefully my weekend away will change that.  Hope everyone is enjoying Spring.

~ ellen.