If you like something you see, you can Pin It to your Pinterest. Hover over the picture and click the "Pin it" icon in the left upper corner.

Please know that anything on this blog is Protected by Copyright. As artists, we respect each other and do not copy or use someone else's work without giving full credit to the artist. Please be respectful of this here at Rasz Art Designs and at other artist sites.

July 31, 2011

where do blog awards come from?

Have you ever wondered where Blog Awards originated?
I have.
It is always such a thrill to get an award, being recognized by a fellow peer in blogging.
Sometimes there were rules attached too.

Yesterday Deirdra Eden Coppel over at A Storybook World  awarded me the Creative Blog Award.
Deirdra is also the CREATOR of this award and several others! Wow!
So I feel doubly blessed to have received this award and to also learn more about the award.
There are no rules attached and no passing it on to other bloggers. 
To read about the awards she has created, FAQs and how to nominate a blog for an award, 

Deirdra is a writer and artist. Her blog is great! Along with being a writer and artist, she also creates costumes & has some other projects going too. 
You can see more of Deirdra's work on her website: www.knightess.com.

Deirdra is my SHOUT-OUT for today!!!!
Thank you Deirdra for creating these beautiful awards and making us bloggers feel OH-SO special!

Art Room Update!
There is progress. As always, I am wanting to do things creatively and making it unique. Thus taking much longer than expected.
The room (well most of the house) has that faux-wood slat flooring stuff and since I am renting I have to make extra sure I do not gunk up the floors with paint and other messes.
In lieu of buying any carpet, I decided to make floor covering out of cardboard!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
And it's FREE!!!!!
I will post how and pics tomorrow (or maybe tonight if I get it done).
It's looking good so far.......

Have a blessed Sunday! 

July 30, 2011

another blog hopping adventure!

I really need to either start my posts first thing in the morning before I do anything else (drinking my coffee does not count) OR create posts late at night when the ideas come to me. Otherwise I start checking out other blogs, find links to more interesting sites and end up somewhere else; using up all my daily "sitting time".

However, it IS a great adventure and I love it!

Yesterday I read Sandra's post over at her Alchemy-Art Memories blog about a new Internet TV Craft Show starting up in August! You can read about it HERE.

The only craft channel I knew of was the weekly Art and Soul Online Radio show. An upcoming Craft Channel with lots and lots of shows?  I had to go check it out!

After reading about the new Craft Channel, I looked through the sidebars of the site and saw this cute little button for The DIY Dish:
DIY???? Gotta go there. So off I went!

The DIY Dish has 3 past seasons available to view, each with  cute "webisodes" of sewing and crafting projects! 
The DIY Dish will be joining the Craft Channel in August for their 4th season.

Since this is all so new to me, I am like a kid in a candy store. If you know of any craft/art/diy internet shows, please post them in the comments

So that was yesterday; a doctor's appointment, a wonderful afternoon lunch with a great friend, a little blog hopping and resting!

Art Room update: Nothing! My son flaked on me to go to the river with his friends, which gave me the time to enjoy lunch and laughter with my friend. It all worked out perfectly in the end: 

son happy and enjoying summer + mom happy enjoying good food and great company =

Have a Super Saturday!!!!!!!

July 28, 2011

help! need to move my art space...and empty-nest issues...

A couple months ago I created this cute little spot (little being 5'x5') as an art space.

This is a really small porch-like room that was added onto the back of the house I live in. The entire space is 5'x15'. It has a cement floor. The wall looking outside was built between the two outside walls of the house and has a big window and a door with another large window. I think the builders started to give up after building the outside wall. The roof is some old heavy kinda-clear plastic siding that is attached by nails to the framing leaving the entire upper edge of the outside wall opened about 2" or so.

Okay, I am telling you all this so you get an idea of the environment of my darling cute art space. 

I knew weather and bugs would be an issue. 

I set up my table against the wall where I knew the roof did not leak. 
I was aware that the winter would be cold and damp. 
No problem, wear extra clothes and drink more coffee!!! I can handle that.

I also knew that the summertime would be HOT! I love HOT so that was not a concern either.
I had no idea that the construction of this room would lead to it being a true Hot Box! 
No wonder it was never completed! 
They probably lost interest when the outside temp hit 90 and the inside was about 115!

I say tear down the outside wall and leave it an open porch, 
however I just rent and have no say in it.

The biggest problem I did not anticipate was was my art supply's ability to handle the weather. 

This kind of heat is not really friendly to art supplies.
My BRAND NEW water soluble crayons are melting and cracking.....oh no!  

Then last night the ants came for my brush water (they must be REALLY hot & thirsty to drink that).

With the afternoon temps in my art space/sauna reaching well above 100 degrees, I have been moving each project back inside onto the dining room table before noon.
I knew it was time to move things back indoors. 

My youngest son has pretty much moved out of his room and into his older brother's house.

His room is starting to look like an stark & empty storage area.

It's a beautiful sunny room with three windows.
Perfect for an art room.

So what's the problem you ask?
To me, it's still my son's room even without his furniture. 
He still has clothes in the closet .
(okay, winter clothes that probably don't fit, but it's still clothes in the closet)
I think I am having empty nest issues.
Okay, I AM having empty-nest issues!!!!

I need encouragement!
I need advice!
I need a hug!

Have you ever faced any "Empty-Nest" issues?

Have a Thrilling Thursday (even though it's already late in the afternoon)....

July 27, 2011

stuck on flowers...

Lately I am really stuck on little simple flowers.
pretty petite pink ones...
wonderfully wispy white ones...
beautifully blooming bright ones...

I have teeny-weeny flowers all over my yard
and I see them everywhere I go. 

So, of course, then I doodle them...
with random thoughts...
dreams and color...

It's simply wonderful that some of the smallest things in life 
can spark some of the biggest fires in our soul:

a little flower
a hug
a kind word
a newborn baby

And today's Shout-Out:
Craft Test Dummies!

I love the name!
The content is great to!

This site has product reviews of ALL KINDS of crafting products, projects to do, links, kids stuff, crafting news and more!

Hope you are having a Wonderful Wednesday!

July 26, 2011

finding creativity...

This morning I played around with recycling my old clean-up paper towels into new backgrounds for something else creative. 
I felt so content just looking at all the colors, smoothing the gel medium on with my fingers and listening to my favorite Pandora station

For me, colors, music and getting my hands REALLY messy gets me inspired.

What helps you find your creativity and inspiration?

And on the subject of creativity, today's Shout-Out goes to the Silhouettes tribute to America!

The beginning of this video is the intro from the show America's Got Talent, then the performance begins. 
The Silhouettes are an amazingly creative dance troupe.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

July 21, 2011

save the paper towels from paint cleanup...

When I first started playing with Mod Podge, paper and paint I would save the paper towels I used for painting and cleanup, dry them out, and use them again for collage.

I wondered what would happen if I created a background from one of the "recycled" paper towels. This time I used the Liquitex Gloss Gel Medium and glued the paper towel to a page of  Strathmore 100 lb Vellum Bristol Smooth paper. I really am loving both of these products!

It turned out GREAT! REALLY GREAT! Deep, coarse texture and bright colors! I wish my camera could capture the feel and look of the page. 
Here are a few closeups to give you an idea.
(You can click on the image to see it bigger for a better view, just remember not to close out the page and instead use the back button to get back to this post ):
Now what to do with it. I did not see anything this way:
So I turned it all around until it was upside down from where I started:
Then I saw it! I wanted to use only the same three watercolors that were in the paper towel to bring out the image, which was a challenge for me being new at all this.
It was interesting using watercolors on such a textured, glossy surface. I was unsure if  watercolor paints would even work. I just let the paint flow how it wanted. It worked amazingly well!
Here is what I saw then painted:
Her name is Hummin' Bird Lady

Here's a closer look:
and a little closer:

So now I am off to create more textured backgrounds with all these paper towels I have been saving.

But first, today's Shout-Out!
This Shout-Out goes to a brand new blogger, Sandra over at Alchemy-Art Memories. She is an incredible artist and just started blogging this month!!!! She has also blogged every day this month by doing Traci Bunker's 30 Days of Get Your Art On. What a great way to jump right in to creating and blogging.

If you have a moment, visit Sandra HERE , see all her creativity and welcome her to the wonderful blogging community!

Hope you are having a FABULOUS FRIDAY!

July 18, 2011

an amazing watercolor video...

I saw this video for the first time on Willowing & Friends . I have watched this video so many times since. I love the music and the amazing way she paints.
The artist is Michelle Brown and you can find her, her blog and her art here.

Have an inspirational Monday!

July 14, 2011

getting out of my comfort zone with art, heart & healing class....

After taking the Brave Girls Club Soul Restoration 1 Class (which I highly recommend) I found this incredible teacher and artist Tam Land of willowing.org. Tam is so creative and does these wonderful little whimsical girls too. On her site, there is a link to all her videos that are such a treat to watch. Tam has a great personality and such a creative soul. She also hosts Willowing & Artists Friends at willowing.ning.com which is quoted on the site as a "happy place for making art". And it definitely is just that. There she offers classes by her or by other artists. There is something for everyone including groups, videos, art by members, forums and so much more. Tam has generously offered up a FREE class called Art, Heart & Healing which I signed up for. It originally started last Fall however she has left it open with the video classes and PDFs available to anyone who wants to participate. I found such artistic encouragement and support from other members there. It really is another great group of women.

The painting above is what I made from the first lesson. I am not going to tell you the details of what this part of the class was about because I do not want to give anything away if you decide you may want to sign up. I will say that creating this piece had me facing every creative obstacle I have made for myself (afraid of judgement, rejection, not being good enough, etc...). This was the first face I have ever tried to paint and the whole exercise really pushed me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. What an incredible blessing it turned out to be...isn't that the way it always happens when we face our fears?

This painting now has such a deep, healing meaning to me. The words on the right side of the girl read
"you are safe to go out into the world and let your light shine".

And on the edge of her neckline is the word CONFIDENCE, something I am working on.

I was so happy and proud of painting my first face ever, and completing her through all the mishaps, frustrations and old tapes that came up for me while doing her. Normally in the past I would have given up thinking that I could not learn or doubting myself.

I found an old frame that was the exact size of the paper (go figure) and painted it. I hung her next to my bed above my nightstand so I could see her face and read these empowering words every day!

She's far from perfect, but so am I.
She is a reminder that I can learn to create, get out of my comfort zone and have the courage to share even though I am only a beginner.

So for anyone thinking they cannot draw, let alone paint a face, believe me YOU CAN! I am so excited to try again and again, finding my way through creativity.

Please share something you have done, created or experienced that took you out of your comfort zone and taught you a valuable life lesson along the way.

Today's Shout-Out!
I would like to introduce you to one of my Brave Girl sisters from the Brave Girls Club. Her name is Terri and she has a beautiful blog Comfort Cottage. She recently went on a trip through the midwest and has posted some of the most beautiful pictures including my favorites, pictures of the Badlands, South Dakota.
She also is an incredible artist and has a link to a Flickr album full of beautiful paintings with inspirational messages of faith. 
Terry's message today is about finding faith in God's goodness when life seems to be falling apart. I really love her art, her message and her beautiful photography! I hope you go over and say hello. I'm sure she would like that.

Hoping you are making it a GREAT day!

July 13, 2011

trying out a new gel medium...

ATC: altered paper collage using  Liquitex Gloss Gel Medium.
this has a great 3D appearance/depth to it.
When I started playing with mixed media art about 6 months ago, I was using Mod Podge for gluing and paper collage. Mod Podge worked okay although my paper would buckle most of the time. I just attributed that to operator error.

Then I was told about Golden Soft Gel Medium so I gave it a try. The Golden worked better, didn't ripple my paper as much and had a nice gloss when dried.. 

On my last trip to Michaels they were out of Golden so the sales girl told me about Liquitex Gloss Gel Medium. Since it really is a trip (over 60 miles round trip) to get to Michaels, or any other large art store, I bought the Liquitex to see how it worked. 
ATC: altered paper, acrylic paint, paper, ink
 The Liquitex is thick and leaves a very glossy shine. It works great, dries pretty quick and holds well. I also noticed that the Liquitex brought more depth to each collage I did, maybe because of the thickness or glossiness? I really like the finished look of my projects with the Liquitex.
The only negative thing I can say about it is that cleanup is a little harder. I have to use Pink Soap on my brushes and that works well. I use shampoo to get it off my hands, don't know why but shampoo works much better than soap to remove paint and goop. 
ATC: this is my favorite. i used paper, acrylic, watercolor and ink.
the picture is not very good and does not show the depth
or detail of the layers. the gloss brings out the colors great.
What is your favorite gel medium and why. I am trying to find the right one for me.

Shout-Out for the day!
Today's Shout-Out goes to Zentangles by Shelly Beauch. She actually finished her dream of a Zentangle a day for an entire year! 
If you like Zentangle art, you'll like Shelly's creations. She also has a beautiful poem on her blog that I love to read.

Hope you are making it a Wonderful Wednesday!

July 12, 2011

upcycled sweater to skirt, site for blogging artists and artistic inspiration...

Good Morning! Wishing you a most Happy Tuesday!

So...I had this thin sweater top. IT's actually purple and black however my camera decided throughout many pictures that it was more blue than purple. 

I bought this top several years ago. I thought it was cute and I could wear it with leggings. It is made from a very thin, inexpensive, sweater-type blend material. A little too cool for winter and a little too warm for summer. Since the bottom of the top has a tighter weave, it "poofs" right around my hips, tummy, bottom area making me look a little pregnant when I am wearing it and the horizontal stripes did not help either. My solution was to just put it back in my closet until I figured out something to do with it.

I pulled out this top the other day and thought I would either make it in to something else or I needed to send it to our local thrift store. The neckline has potential for anther top and I saw a skirt when I turned the top upside down.

Skirt it is! I was not sure that this fabric would even hold up if I cut it, let alone tried sewing it with my serger. I cut it a couple stripes below the neckline and ran the raw edge through my serger. It came out really cool. The serged edge looked lacey and it left an edge similar to a rolled hem look, except with serger loops hanging off the edge. The knit black bottom of the top became the waistband of the skirt!

what I learned from this upcylced project:
1. turn items upside down to get another perspective
2. cheap knit/sweater type material + serger = interesting rippled raw edge
(I'll post if this edge does not hold up)

Here's the finished skirt. I took this picture in a mirror and it did not come out that good but you can get the idea:

So in about 20 minutes, I created this cute little skirt that looks great with a black tank top! 
I kept the the neckline for something else and thought of making some fabric flowers with the leftover striped material. 

Calling all blogging artists:
There is a new blog dedicated to all kinds of artists. It seems to be a place where artists can list their blogs under up to three art categories! It's called artsee bloggers. A place to connect and find other art blogs. What a great idea!
Today's Shout-Out:

Today I want to share Amanda Trought's website Inspiration, Art & Creativity. Amanda is an inspirational, creative mixed media artist. She is currently doing 365 Days of Colour-Flower of the Day . She started the 365 days on June 1st and posts a beautiful picture of  a flower that she has either photographed or painted. Within her daily posts she adds several inspirational quotes or messages. Amanda's blog really motivates me. She is a beautiful, inspiring woman. 

~Have a great day~ 

July 11, 2011

i love lavender...

One (although there really are SO many) of my favorite things about summer is lavender.

We have some of the best lavender farms where I live. The lavender season is short so I normally buy several bunches a week to make lavender wands. To make the wands, the lavender has to be freshly cut so the stems can bend without splintering.

 My front porch smells so good from the bits of lavender I still have in the vase and the little buds all over the ground. Here are a few wands I made from this week's bunch of lavender.

Does anyone else make lavender wands?

What is something special you do this time of year?

Shout Out!
Today's Shout Out is not actually for a blog but for a Blog Talk Radio station called Art and Soul Radio hosted by Leslie Riley. 
I found this station from an interview with Leslie Riley I read. On her show, Leslie interviews artists including Kelly Rae Roberts, LK Ludwig, Pam Carriker, Diana Trout and many more! . You can listen to her broadcasts live and submit questions or listen to past broadcasts.
Today's interview will be with Dana Reynolds who is an artist/writer and the creator of Sacred Life-Arts

One more thing, I need help coming up with a "title" for the Shout Outs I have been doing at the end of my posts and if you like them. 
What do you think?
I really appreciate your input and suggestions. 

Hope you are having a great start to your week!

July 08, 2011

look heather, i drew a tree!

Look Heather...my first TREE!!!!!

I am posting this journal page for two reasons. 
First to show my friend Heather over at Little Red Henry that I actually drew one. She does beautiful trees! I have told her that I would post my first tree as she has inspired me!
Secondly, because I started getting into a little funk. Some of you may understand that feeling. I've been off work for a month, not been able to sit for very long at a time, been in pain, resting lots (which is very unfamiliar to me) and isolating a little; not a good combination. 
I felt a little empty, un-creative, unfruitful....barren... like a tree in winter. I thought of how comforting Heather's trees made me feel so I drew a tree, then added a few leaves, a few budding blossoms, the dragonfly (me) and of course the flowers that seem to be popping up on everything I have been doing in this journal. I thought about how this tree represented my feelings and wrote this:

a time to rest.
a time to heal!
a time to rediscover my creativity
my dreams
and purpose.
just like the barren tree
waking up
to the new life season,
i am waking up to my new season of life
i am entering.
i know that everything happens for a reason
and that the current events
are helping me learn to put myself first
for the first time in my life.
as i continue learning to rest, relax,
heal, create & listen
i come back to life.
i guess i need to let go of the past
just as a tree lets go of it's old leaves.
as i let go
i make room for the new exciting pieces of me
awaiting to emerge.
just like new leaves and blossoms
bringing in more beauty and life
i am emerging.

I spend time on each letter of each word that I do not pay attention to what I am actually writing until it is done. 
These words spoke to my soul. 
I realized this was a very good time for me in many ways.

I have been creating a little every day and will share some of that tomorrow. 

And now for a couple Shout Outs:
First there is a sorta local guy who makes spice blends. Normally I like my blends and am a little picky. I tried a couple of his spice blends at the Farmer's Market last weekend. He served them on Gluten Free Chex Mix  (oh thank you!) and in local olive oil! I was impressed, and not just because of the gluten free consideration. His spice blends were very yummy!!!!
I got two small packages at $3 each, one of Poco Caliente and one Chipolte Ole' and I have to go back tomorrow for more. Even the small bags have plenty of seasoning servings, I've just been using them on everything!
I have used the blends in pasta, eggs, steak, chicken, potatoes and in my salads. I am so impressed!
The company is Roys Seasonings. He has online recipes and sales at www.roysseasonings.com.
He uses all natural ingredients, and lots of ingredients too! Nice website and very reasonable prices. This is another must-have in my kitchen now. If you visit his site, see a seasoning online and wonder what it tastes like, just e-mail me and I will be happy to go sample them for you! Really...I could use it as an excuse to go do more taste testing!

Second Shout Out goes to Courtney over at Little Raven Ink. Courtney's blog is beautiful, colorful with honest artistic writing!  Today's post has a video of her creating an Art Journal page...incredible! This blog is definitely worth taking a moment to check out! Look at her Artwork and Photography Work Pages too if you get a chance. She is currently doing Traci Bunker's 30 Days of Get Your Art On which looks like great fun! The idea is to just work on art every day for 30 days. I really need something like this to keep my accountable.

I have missed blogging and am committing to getting back to what I love once again. I will blog and I will write and I will create...everyday...maybe not in that order.

Have a wonderful Friday evening!