Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stampendous Trash to Treasure

I'm a hoarder. Not of all things, but many. When it comes to empty sticker sheets, I have the darndest time putting them where they belong once every sticker has finally been used. After all, some of these have been with me longer than my own children! That's funny, but it's not a joke, lol. 

So, this last year I have made a huge effort to a. not buy any more stickers, and b. use up as many stickers as I have available, especially those that have had like, two or three left on them for ages. And while I recently succomed to a small shopping splurge at Scrap That's closing sale, I have also made a considerable dent in the amount of space that all of these sticky bits need for keeping!

The only thing I found discouraging was my complete inability to throw away that empty packaging... so I needed to have a space for sticker sheets with stickers, and sticker sheets without. And that, my friends, is just ridiculous. Especially when space in any crafting area is at a premium... on Saturday, I finally did it.

 Upcycling Saturday 
I grabbed that considerable stack of empties and I dumped them into the garbage. I even crumpled it all into a big ball, so I'd be less likely to try to retrieve them later in the day. Like five minutes later. 'Cause this isn't the first time I've tried this method of disposal/effort!

But then, guess what? I went back to my craft space and stood marveling at that newly empty space, and inspiration hit- BLAMO! And back to the garbage can I went, to retrieve before mentioned ball of garbage to carefully smooth out and look at with a fresh gleam of creativity in my eye.

What if... I used the sticker backs on a piece on top of a piece of paper- let's say it's patterned. And then, what if... I used my new WeRMemory keepers stamping tool to fill in those "frames" with all of those stamps I have and also don't find much use for. I may have danced in my pants just thinking about the possibilities!

 This idea was...
What a fun project! Both kids were so interested in seeing how I was going about placing the clear stamps, picking out colors with me, and marveling at how easy it was to stamp repeatedly in the exact same place (most of the time). I know the clear acrylic block/clear stamp combo is supposed to make that an easy task, but my stamp skills are not all that terrific, nor do I usually care to be careful when I'm making a mess.

The best part about this process was that if I didn't love the results, I didn't feel the need to keep them. That is HUGE! So I gave them to the kids. What, you didn't think I'd actually throw them away, did you :-)

Trash to Treasure #318: Stampendous Sticker Sheets!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Tender Loving Care Remembered

Today marks the unfortunate passing of one of my favorite relatives. Aunt Lisa was and will always be remembered as a warm, giving woman who gave generously to many her broad smile and genuine laughter. As a teacher, she touched the lives of many. As a cherished wife and dependable mother, she will always be missed. As my cousins continue to mourn her too-soon passing, we look to the moon and hear her voice, rich and full of love, saying as she often did, "I love you to the moon and back... and so much more."
Seeing Kaitlyn Hermson's vibrant photo posted on the Key Peninsula Facebook page one morning, I knew it would be the perfect pairing to a heartfelt outpouring of grief rendered online by Lisa's daughter just days before.
I chose to hide this journaling just as that anguish is often hidden by her family and friends; there beneath the surface but only accessible to those who seek to share the sentiments expressed.
Losing a loved one reminds me of the light of the moon, which shines both brilliantly in the night sky, illuminating our planet while remaining distant, out of reach, fading in and out of sight as time passes, so do those memories of our departed. Some are too lovely to even bear thinking on... texts, voicemails, personal effects, photos of a life well lived, and a legacy of love and laughter; each are reminders to live every day to the fullest.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MOPS Painting Preview

    I love being part of a large family. With one side of my family tree spread out over the Midwest, and another grove with roots that extend all the way down to Mexico, I have so many cousins, so many links to life; it's a true blessing. When my family dreams out loud of traveling across country without the limits of public schools to hold us back, I know in my heart that there would be many, many stops along the way in various small towns and large to visit family from both my mother and father's side of my personal family tree.
I love the symbolism of the Mayan Yaxche Celia tree, the Tree of Life. With thick extensive roots, a long straight trunk and branches that extend all the way to the rainforest's canopy, the Yaxche tree represents life in the past, present, and future. When I think of my family, this is the image I have: all of my cousins, lined up amongst the branches of our lineages, "the same, same but different."
I've been having so much fun teaching at painting parties over the last year! My MOPS group has invited me back in May to lead them in a class, and I knew as soon as they asked, that the Tree of Life would be the ideal class to offer. First of all, Yaxche is a Mayan word, and the class is in May :-) and, it's on Cinco de Mayo, which in our country means going out for a Corona or a Modela Negro, but in the land of my Hispanic ancestors, represents so much more. Even my Norwegian cousins celebrate the first day of May!
Now usually, I practice teach my classes on my willing daughters, and I did this time too. I also had  the good fortune to be recommended to a MOPS group meeting on the outskirts of Lakewood who needed a crafts teacher at the last minute to go with their month long theme of Celebrating the Artist Within. I don't actually know if that's the name of their theme, but I was at their meeting to teach on Tuesday, we watched a video where a woman basically to do just that... she also said a lot of what I tell people,  that it is of vital importance to take- to Make- to time to explore your creative boundaries. To celebrate with what makes you feel good expressively. To not be bothered by the mistakes or mishaps you may encounter in your quest to achieve artistic perfection, because we are always learning along the way. And as my man Bob Ross always said, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. 
Coming this April, I'll be spending time at the YMCA's Women's Wellness Weekend, a sleepover camp nearby, with my best friend of over 30 years. In between giggling fits, challenging rope courses, kayaking and bow and arrow shooting- yes, it's that kind of camp- there will also be craft classes. Or should I say, CraftWithAnna classes! Cause, yes, I managed to get myself invited to teach two classes during the three day weekend.
The director of programing I decided that my ideas of a mini album autograph/address book with accompanying greeting cards would be the perfect treasure for campers to put their photos, journaled memories, and contact information for people they meet and want to stay in contact with after camp ends (it's amazing how quickly friendships form). Then the greeting cards will be right there to send a quick note or copy of pictures inside to those new gal-pals.
And with my newfound love of teaching painting classes, the other class will be focused on trendy handwriting styles; we'll paint ourselves a little power word or phrase to focus on. Of course these will be set against vibrant backgrounds that reflect both our present and future self desires :-) And should any happy accidents occur, we'll simply paint over or incorporate them into the artwork!
Remember, I teach classes of many sorts to artists of any capability, ages 3 to 85-ish :-) Classes are usually an hour to 2 hours long, and range in price depending on how many supplies I provide, usually between $15-$45 a person.  I teach for Two Water's Arts Alliance, and coming this Spring I'll also be teaching for the Tacoma Community College through their Continuing Education program. I'm also available to teach for children's birthday party's, at in-home wine nights, and for office groups looking for a group experience. Prices range according to the size of the group and whether they are for or non-profit organizations. Remember, no two pieces will be exactly alike, or it just wouldn't be a CraftWithAnna class!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Continuing Education: Photo Fun With Mini Albums

Scrapbooking is a lot of fun, but ... take it from me, aftar awhile, those albums of 12x12 papers start to take up a lot of room! With over 35 albums stored around our home, looking for storage solutions is something that is a constant thought in my mind, especially when I start a new one.
There are times when I literally want to preserve every single picture from a trip, and while grid style layouts and smaller printed pictures do work in a larger format, I think it's a lot of fun to contain that vacation, family function, or school related event in a smaller, hand held version. Enter my friend the Mini Album.
Mini(ature) albums can contain as many pages as I'd like, and just as much ephemera. Often times I don't bother with protective sleeves, so I'm not limited by size constraints, either. This adds more variety to the overall look. With all the layers, page sizes, and "stuff" stuck on, I find it's a good idea to create with a theme of color to unify the contents and let the photos- the memories- shine.
In a few weeks, I'll be teaching a three week class all about Mini Albums at the Gig Harbor Tacoma Community College campus. You can follow this link: Photo Fun with Mini Albums, or search for class #5689 from the Continuing Education page. Meeting Wednesday nights for a couple hours, we'll create a binding system, choose a color scheme, and then add our photos and memorabilia for a finished keepsake worth sharing.
I'll also go over ways to store these dimensional works of art- but I'm warning you, you won't want to put them away! And you'll find it easier than ever to create a quick gift for a friend, like this birthday card mini album I made for my younger brother. You'll enjoy a fresh perspective on reserving your favorite sets of memories, and come to enjoy scrapbooking on a smaller scale :-)
Tacoma Community College
Gig Harbor Campus
Continuing Education
Photo Fun With Mini Albums with Anna Bradshaw
4/12/2017 - 4/26/2017
Wednesdays, 6-7:30pm

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Shobia Whoabie

Shobia first entered our family's life before I did; this Paint's proud owner Dave Sherratt has used Ray Bradshaw's horseshoeing services for years. We love looking out the back window to where he's boarded, his white spotted coat is easy to pick out of the forest patches that dot our acreage. Our little pony loves to tease him, and one of our goats relies on his underbelly for warmth during stormy weather, so we see his playful and protectiveness from or vantage points throughout the day.
It's when Dave comes to visit though that I get to see Shobia's true spirit shining out in the field. The time they have spent in the round pens on tours and during demonstrations of Pirelli-style natural horsemanship techniques is evident. Locked on to one another, a horse and his companion man dance a duet of communication through directive hand signals and reassurances.
Capturing the essence of one of history's favorite animals, one known and beloved by many, proved to be quite a challenge... and you, dear reader, may know by now, I love a good creative challenge. How about if I book myself to teach classes in horse painting? Check! Before I see if I'm capable of doing it myself... Check and double check!
I enlisted the help of some favorite YouTubers to guide my visualization and learned a lot along the way. Not only did one artists reference to "needing to paint about 5 horses to completion" prove true, before I reached a result I could be proud of, but I also learned that horses are a lot like people. In painting terms at least! Yes, the same basic foundational shapes of rectangles and circles will transform into forms resembling the subject matter, and yes, there is truly no two that will be alike. God simply didn't make carbon copies of anything out there :-)
Now, this month my locals will be able to take in a variety of my makings on display at Key Center's Blend Wine Shop. I've picked out a few sets of scrapbook pages, paintings, and collage ensembles that shine a spotlight on my childhood influences, current hopes, and ponderings on my artistic journey towards the future. Included next to some groupings are what I call story cards; they tell a deeper version of what's displayed on the wall nearby. Kind of like these blog posts, but tacked onto concrete :-)
And this summer, you too can learn to paint a favorite horse starring in your life story with me and a favorite beverage, out back of Blend en plein aire. All supplies will be provided, and no two paintings will be alike... After all, they will be CraftWithAnna inspired renderings!

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