Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Free Junk Journal Tag set. Enjoy!

Bees and Paper-whites over music ephemera.
 To download this pretty spring tag set, right click to isolate the image, then left click on image and select  from menu Save Image As to download to your computer.
Junk Journals are a new passion
and a way to sort my photography
Coffee dyed papers, cut card stock placement holder sewn for shabby distressed look 
and my photos. One page from a signature representing "Wicked Plants" exhibit.

One of four signatures from a trip to Jamestown Settlement. I used one photo as a tuck spot 
with paper cut greenery and a placement holder for three other
 photos and included an envelope with a dried leaf.

Photos from one signature of an exhibition of Amy Howard's "Wicked Plants" at the local
 science center fit nicely in the placement holder. I can fit five photos 
per holder with plenty of room for journaling and tabs to separate subject 
 rooms of exhibit. The photos give the paper booklet a nice substantial feel.

As much as I love creating digital photography there is something missing when you can't hold an item in your hand. I miss real photographs:) I have years of images that sit patiently in file folders in my computer waiting for me to view them, reminisce with them, create with them. But out of site does perpetuate out of mind.

With apps like Snapfish and others offering 100 free photos each month I decided to give it a try.  Snailmail delivers and  the simple pleasure derived from holding these glossy paper images is hard to describe. On the first day of each month I look forward to selecting my 100 photos to bring to life. 

Six months and 600 photos later, now they as well sit stored in a paper folder in a cardboard box...out of site, out of mind. Problem not solved!

I liked the look of junk journals and tomes I was seeing on Youtube by artists like Nik the Booksmith in particular. So I plunged into coffee dying plain papers and designing the photo or ephemera holders, based on a Tim Holtz's design, that easily accepted  the 4 x 6 photos I was storing.

Not to be overwhelmed by creating an actual book I started with a single signature. I gathered six sheets of printer paper, dyed and dried them. They were folded in half and sewn down the center.  Giving me twelve pages in a signature. The coffee dying process created texture and continuity to the pages and the holders. Sewing around the edges of the holders gives more texture. I love all the strings hanging off the holders. That may change over time but right now I love the feel and authenticity they give.

Each signature can easily hold twenty five photos and give plenty of room for journaling and adding ephemera in the 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 booklet. I have started keep blank signatures and parchment envelopes ready that I can take with me on trips to write thoughts in the moment and collect and will add my photos when snailmail delivers the next month.

I think you could say I have this "out of  site, out of mind" issue finally sorted out:) I love holding the signatures, flipping through the pages adding notes as I remember experiences and thoughts.

I am close to having six signatures finished now and it's time for a mindset to bind these memories into a book that will live on my coffee table to enjoy with family and friends. 

A new adventure, a new learning curve, bringing life and texture to digital images..."ain't life grand"?

Friday, November 29, 2013

HOHOHO 40 % Discount in my Etsy Shop

 Black Friday Sale...40% off enter code HOHOHO at checkout in my Etsy Shop. Hope you will visit and find a treasure you can not live without:)  https://www.etsy.com/shop/WondrousStrange   Merry Christmas my dear friends:) Any and all items are fair game:)  My muse is crying to make some one of a kind fine silver baubles...so look for some new items in the weeks to come. I will adapt some of my raku  molds to bring them to life in silver. Have a favorite you want me to try???

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reveal Day and Blog Hop! Art of Science Creative Challenge: Orion’s Nebula... Fata Morgana

Today is reveal day for the artists participating in the first annual Art of Science Creative Challenge first introduced here. Taralinda Muses challenged us to create something, anything- inspired by this NASA image of the birthplace of stars… Orion’s Nebula! 

Flight of good away from evil  Morgana

This mirage was so obvious to my muses eye.  A Dove was being either released or pursued. I took the Good verses Evil  road to this image. The Dove is being pursued by the evil  Morgana of the Arthurian legend.

A Fata Morgana is an unusual a complex form of mirage that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon. It is an Italian phrase derived from Latin for "fairy" and the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, from a belief that these mirages were created by her witchcraft to lure sailors to their death.

I love working with digital alteration and decided to softly highlight this image to show a mirage of Dove, representing all that is good and light, with the sorceress who is almost grasping the Dove.

Morgana's features are subtly brought out by some digital masking, and the Dove's wing is accented to add to the mirage.

I hope you can see the mirage I have described:)  If you have the time to look at the original  image full screen...I wonder what your muse would see?

I also have this challenge offering of an older raku pendant that I made several years ago.   This pendant has holes through to back so if held to the light the stars appear in the openings. Or a flashlight shined close will project the star alignment on a background:)

Thank you Taralinda Muses for the challenge! I have long felt an attraction to this night sky image. I had a great time losing myself in Orion's Nebula once again!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tim Holtz Tattered Florals Challenge...My Secret Garden Mosaic

Original Mosaic using Raku tiles featuring Tim's Tattered Floral's.

I have enjoyed seeing so many wonderful artists and crafters take up +Tim Holtz 's challenge to work with his Tattered Florals Die. Though I rarely work with paper, I was inspired to see if I could translate his floral paper cuts and embossing folders into my medium of choice...Raku.

A stag peaks through the foliage of Raku flowers and leaves. I used just one layer of die cut here and embossed with my textures.
The center floral's are from Tim's die cuts using grunge board to cut the pattern. I embossed the grunge board with a texture folder and used that to cut and texture these pieces. There are four textured layers that make the flowers.

A black hare hides in the leaves and one of the die cut florals.

I love to create organic shapes and Tim's die cuts give me the basic shape to work with. I have used some of my own textures to heavily emboss here.

Here is how I used Tim's Tattered Floral Die to make the majority of the flowers.

I rolled out a flat of clay, rolled the Tattered Florals Die cut into the clay to emboss, then cut around the grunge board. The grunge board really keeps its shape and kept its embossing through all my presses so far.

I rough formed the large petals of die cut and embossed and cut the smaller center.

I scored and slipped the two pieces together to form one flower. I will wait until they are bone dry to sand away any rough edges. Each petal has been rounded and lifted to make it very dimensional.

Still have sanding to do before bisque firing this piece. Then a healthy layer of glaze and the perfect raku flower is ready:)

I will be happy to answer any questions you might have:) This was a fun project and I have already encorporated Tim's Hearts into some pendants and cabochons...but that is for another story telling time:)

Enjoy your weekend...and always...Health,Happiness and Abundant Creativity to you all:)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Come Celebrate with me...Cancer Free for one Year!!

It has been a long journey. It has been an amazing journey! One that has humbled me, strengthened me and made me more passionate about everything:) Last year at this time I and my family were preparing for my surgery, a double mastectomy and lymph nodes in my right arm, as a result of Stage III C Inflammatory Cancer and hoping for a good prognosis. Months of nasty chemotherapy, Anne Penn Hospital and staff becoming a second home and family for me, all to bring me to this surgery and testing to see if the right cocktail of drugs had held the cancer cells at bay. Not only did they not "go forth and multiply" they were annihilated! Post surgery brought news of no residual cancer found. The smile on my Oncologist's face as he shared the news will remain with me always. As will the sound of my husband's voice on the phone gently crying with joy when I told him the news.

I am so fortunate!!! I remain one year cancer free....a heartfelt thanks to each and everyone one of you for your support, and emails with words of strength and courage and laughter. Harry, and Steph, and Birgitta and Mary Anne, you  are treasures for your attentiveness!! Every email, every prayer and gift helped in my healing:) There are so many other internet friends that helped in the process:) You are my village...I am so fortunate!!

Okay...enough said...let's bumpy segue to a more important topic:) CREATIVITY

The raku disk is one of my creations.
I just had to show you these pieces by fancifuldevices.etsy.com. She is an amazing "create from the gut with full abandon" artist. And artist is the right description!  

The raku collar was a gift from my kiln god:)

 I have admired her work for a very long time, but her use of my raku has led me to a need to understand where her raw creative nature originates. I feel like a stalker...I have searched her shop, and found her blog and now can not stop reading her old posts:) Open and giving and funny and mind blowingly creative, you owe it to your self to check out her work in both her Etsy shop and her blog... fancifuldevices.blogspot.com

 And on that creative note....a few of my new stored up creativity pieces...

Spanish coins, crown, skull and cross bones under watchful eye of reposing octopus.

A new bracelet....

Silk sari ribbon from Designtalentedone.etsy.com knotted to play off the texture of the pendant.
A whole bunch of treasures to list or work into wearable art....

And even more to glaze...now the decision is what to do with this one:)

Thinking about hand painting this one in high pigment paints and going for a Poe Dark and Dreary look:)

Enough for my first post in many, many months. Just wanted you to know I am well, and alive, and falling head first into my passion of art.

Health,Happiness and Abundant Creativity to each of you!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Alma ... A Bead Embroidered Doll By KittyJ

 Alma looks like a 1920's serene beauty to her creator... Kitty of Kittyj.etsy.com. I can agree whole hearted:)

Alma has a raku face (made by my little hands) and a large vintage art deco silk embroidered pieces front and back. Alma is approximately 5" high. She is bead embroidered from Kitty's original pattern on ultrasuede with many sizes of seed beads including a lot of the tiny size 15's. She has a mysterious vintage German glass scarab, (looks like the real thing!), a raku flower  by Wondrous Strange Designs, many vintage beads, Czech glass, crystals, sew-ons and genuine pearls making her quite opulent!

 I love Kitty's talent and patience...so much patience in working on such a magical project. So pleased to have two of my little treasures incorporated in Alma!!

 Kitty says of her work " My dolls are inspired by many cultures, and the work is improvisational and meditative in manner."

Enjoy her shop!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Be Still My Beating Heart:)

 Julienne Chouteau recently sent me a photo of her lovely daughter 
showing  a few of my raku treasures at their best:)

    Julienne has combined a raku horse head pendant with raku stars and wings and silk ribbon to create an airy yet stunning statement necklace. As you know....I love seeing how artists use my raku creations...always arranging them in ways that make me smile and feel proud that I had a small part in their work:)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Intimate Dance With Inflammatory Breast Cancer....

This has been a hard post to write. Partly because I am such a private person, partly because of raw emotions. I sit writing this in the local hospital's Cancer Treatment Center (hairless by  the way) while receiving a full day of chemotherapy drugs. This is my second treatment session.  Six sessions in all, each session lasting 21 days...so well into February I will be receiving chemotherapy.  Then there will be a mastectomy followed by more months of radiation and chemotherapy. Fifty two weeks in all to rid my body of cancer...or so we hope:)

I tell you this because my cancer did not start as a lump. It started as a redness and swelling on my right breast that looked as much like a bee sting as anything else...but obviously was not:) Four days later I was sitting in a doctors office thinking I had an infection  of mastitis. So antibiotics were started...but because my doctor was proactive...he scheduled mammograms, ultra sounds and got me registered in a local program to help with financing with breast and cervical cancer should this be more than an infection. A week later after biopsies, on October 13, I was diagnosed with a rare form of  cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It travels fast and loves to spiderweb to the other breast, to bone marrow and brain tissue. I was fortunate that this was caught before it traveled any further than my right breast and the lymph nodes under my arm. So I am Stage III C IBC. Nineteen days after diagnosis I started  Chemotherapy...what a wonderful world we live in:)

I tell you this because...don't take any chances if something unusual and visual  happens with your breast. There was and is no pain from the cancer. The first I was aware was the redness. But thinking back...for several weeks I had been easier to fatigue than usual. But when you are sixty...you tire easier:) I put a lot of this on just being older...but was not the case:)

So....run, do not walk to your nearest doctor if these signs show up. May not be anything...thought mine was simple infection...tired to just being older. But neither were routine for me:) The only fighting chance you have with this nasty invader is recognizing it quickly!

If you want to know more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer...click on the title above and go to the research site. Might be good information to keep in the back of your mind...for future reference. I hope you never need it, but at least a seed of knowledge is there. I had no knowledge of IBC. Just thought breast cancer was breast cancer...which is bad enough. My heart goes out to every single person who has had to deal with cancer in any form. Not only does it knock you off your feet mentally and emotionally...it takes your family and friends down the same road.

I can not tell you how much the support of family and friends have meant to me. The support of internet friends has filled in any gaps. I am doing well:) This is the beginning of second of my 21 day  sessions...so only four more sessions to go of the hard chemo drugs. I am staying positive, my family and friends are staying positive that this will be a cure for me. 

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself. "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."

Thanks for listening....any positive thoughts or prayers are eagerly accepted...my family and friends far and wide will keep me positive and on the path to healing. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Some become more special just by the nature of reality. You forget to say I love you enough, thank you enough, treasure each smile enough, each grand childs hug enough...there is always tomorrow you know....but maybe not:)

Thank you Gina, Steph, Harry, Cindy, Birgitta, Viki, Carol Ann and many others for all your inspirational words, healing thoughts and quotations of power of positive thought and living, gifts filled with the power of love...and prayers from lovely people of many faiths that I have never met. I feel the love and the connection...my family feels this love too! I treasure each of you!!

And if I have made any broken promises... please forgive me! I have been somewhat distracted this past month...but if you will remind me...I will correct the broken promise:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

First Ever B'Sue Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop....You're Invited!

It is a privilege to participate  in this First B'Sue Boutiques' Sari Ribbon Blog Hop! I look forward to seeing all the creative design of so many talented artists! Thanks to Harry of OscarCrow for alerting me to the hop:)


This is an older piece I did last year. Using a mixture of  my little raku treasures, silk sari ribbon from LaShell of Designtalentedone.etsy.com, Tracy Bell's generous lampwork and copper findings, brass key and other findings  this creation found it's way into existence:)The blue silk sari ribbon really pulls the piece together...I don't think it would be the same with out the ribbon. I wove the ribbon through the raku snake, around the neck to the front closure. Feels ever so nice against the neck.

This is a recent piece using a gorgeous black silk sari ribbon and a simple pendant I made using one of my raku bezels filled with a golden shell, Susan Lenart Kazmer's Ice Resin, and another of my raku treasures..a winged bat. A fun piece to create and one of my first attempts at ice resin. Once again...the black silk sari ribbon complements the pendant perfectly!

So here is a list of the other  participants...have fun picking a favorite....if you can:) I can hardly wait for the inspiration all this creativity brings:) 

Be sure and say Hi to Harry for me:) Enjoy!


The Sari ribbon blog hop list

 Vickie Wills

Susan Kennedy

Michelle Mach

Michelle Lee Hardy

Ruth Crawford

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle

Diana P.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques

Elizabeth Owens-Dwy

Connie Rios-Relyea

Jennifer Justman

Deb Davis


Cathie Carroll

Rosemary Cowit

Georgene Lockwood

Cathy Buckley

Harry Wood

Sonya Stille

Mary Deis

Heather Goldsmith

Susan Rouleau

Terry Matusyk

Pam Chesbro

Mary Shannon Hicks

Janice Everett


Kristina Johansson, Maneki

Kris Binsfeld



Catherine Jeltes


Sharon Palac

Deb Beechy

Jean Yates

Patrice Pfeiffer

Dorcas Midkiff

Lynn Perry Bennett

Linzi Alford


Cynthia Wainscott
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp
Alice Craddick
B'sue Boutiques Creative Group