Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Little Rusty But Still In The Game

Hi you guys!


So you may have noticed, I completely lost my mojo for a while there.  Thankfully, (and I mean, I am REALLY grateful) it's coming back... at first just a trickle, but now I seem to back to my standard "barrage of ideas, not enough time to execute them because my pesky kids keep wanting supper.  EVERY NIGHT."

At any rate, I knew I was getting back in the groove when I started looking at used envelopes at work with lust in my eye.  Suddenly, throwing out all those vast expanses of pristine, beautiful kraft paper seemed so WASTEFUL!  NO!  It must not be allowed to happen!  I could MAKE something with that!  My nostrils may have flared.

Of course, I'm limited at work, both in time and materials, but I tore up one big envelope and folded it into this accordion to glue into my journal.  The winter tent photo I found in a trade magazine at work, and since the colours were totally irresistible, I ripped it out to add to my inspiration file.  Yes, I'm a big garbage picker, don't judge.

Once I got home, I glued the photo onto the envelope and set out to see if I could duplicate it with pencil crayons.  I find that trying to copy something is always a good learning experience.  Not just for my future career in counterfeiting or forgery if I ever get bored of the financial services sector... but also because once I figure out HOW something is done, then I can go ahead and adapt it to my own style.  You know, once I figure out exactly what "my own style" is. 

Then on the back, I went back to my other true love: making lists.  (Wait, maybe THAT'S my style...?)

Nothing soothes the soul like a good numbered list.  Plus it's nice to get all that clutter out of my head and down on paper.  Now my head is completely empty, save for the sound of the wind whistling through.

I wish.

No, my head is full of a new jumble of to-dos, thoughts, plans, worries and ideas.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Love Shelley!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blaque Jaque Shellaque

Guess who kept me company this morning while I was getting ready for work?

He's probably cooking up a dastardly plot right now. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I don't even know what I mean

Okay!  I'm back.  Sorry for the long break - I could regale you with excuses or I could show you some pictures.... which would you like?

I KNEW IT!  Okay, let's go! 

Last month I had the opportunity to work in a themed traveling journal.  Our assignment was to do a "sign-in" page that said a little about ourself, then one or two pages on the theme of "LOVE".   Once it's finished, it will be sold to raise money for charity. 

For the sign-in page, I kept right on with my circles-and-rays obsession:

And then for the themed page I did, this is what happened:

There's a coat of crackle on the page, which adds an amazing amount of texture, I think I'll have to try that again soon!

As for what I wrote, well.  I'm sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with that, but I don't really know why I wrote it or where it came from.  It just sort of... spilled out onto the page.  I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually but in the meantime, I've sent the journal off on its way to Minnesota for the next person to make her mark.

Stay tuned; there's more to come!

Love Shelley!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How quickly things change

So yesterday was basically the Worst Day Ever.  I'll spare you my rant, but the picture below is EXACTLY how I felt last night, no word of a lie.  I didn't feel all that much better when I got up this morning and I must say: strong emotion REALLY makes a page come together quickly.  HA! 

It's not fancy but it really says it all:

Things are mostly back to normal now, but there's a piece of pie in the fridge with my name on it, just in case.

Love Shelley!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Once upon a time, people used to tell me I was "too independent."  It wasn't a compliment.

Of course, with marriage and children, day-to-day routines and commitments, my tendency to "pick my battles" and basically just the passage of time, my fiery independence has mellowed out somewhat.

Then this past week, I had a sudden flare-up of my old determination and spirit.  It actually made me feel a bit more sparkly than usual, which just reminded me that maybe I need to be "too independent" just a little more often.  I made this page before I could forget that swaggery feeling.  Wait, is 'swaggery' even a word?  Never mind, you know what I mean. 


It seemed like the perfect time bust out some graffiti-style writing.  I'm not so far gone that I'd dare to do this on an actual WALL, mind you - but I did daydream about it briefly.  Heh. 

Now I really can't wait to see what next week will bring!

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So let's just keep this between us, okay?

So I know this is kind of personal, and she'd probably be PISSED if she knew I was sharing this, but my 8-year-old daughter has more than her share of irrational fears, and they traditionally bother her the most at bedtime.  I really try to be patient with her and reassure her that a lot of what she's scared of, could not possibly happen, or, if a particular fear IS semi-realistic, we work through the worst-case scenarios together and try to bring some reason to the situation.  But for a while there, things were getting kind of ridiculous:

"I'm scared that woodticks will get into the house and try to get me."
"I'm scared that a bear will come and break my window and get into my room."
"I'm scared that lightning will hit our house"  (this on a perfectly clear night)

One thing I'll say for her, she has an AMAZING imagination.  Anyway, one night after she finally went to sleep at 10:45pm, my own imagination got sparked up, probably because she was coming up with something new and different every single night for a while there.

I don't know, I think he's kind of cute!  I know you can't tell but his teeth and eyes are all shiny because I used a Glaze pen on them.  I'm especially proud of his nostrils and tail. 

Yeah, I know, now I'M being ridiculous.  SOMETIMES IT'S A COPING MECHANISM, OKAY? 

: )

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nope! Not done with these yet.

Here's an envelope I was working on last night.  There are many, many layers on here since I kept changing my mind on what I wanted it to look like - and it never seemed quite "done".  It's still not perfect but it's going in the mail today anyway.  I was going to show you a second picture - what my kitchen looks like since I farted away the evening working on this instead of washing the dishes... but I don't want to scare people away.  It's enough that you know that sometimes I get sucked in by the craft room tractor beam and my housework goes undone.  Pretty sure the Queen went back to England, so no worries about drop-in company, right?

By the way, this envelope is bigger than it probably looks - it's 5 3/4" x 9 1/2".  I'm just going to add the address and a stamp and off it goes to California! 

Until next time,

Love Shelley!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sometimes I get really mad.

I seem to have gotten into a bit of a habit of using these messy circles and the rays... and I don't want to become too repetitive but I have a feeling I'm not quite done with them yet!  I used to try to do something completely different every time I started a new page, but lately I've realized that some things just have to be worked out of my system in their own good time.  I don't always feel like I'm in control of this process, but things go a lot more smoothly if I just let these things happen.  I'm probably not POSSESSED or anything... obsessed maybe?

As you've probably guessed, this page was my response to a big pack of lies.  I was feeling pretty fierce when I was working on this!  It's amazing how your thoughts get clarified when you put them down on paper like this.  The best part is that I realized that there are certain things I won't put up with, and last week when I was put to the test I rose to the challenge and even impressed myself.  Someone I know was up to no good, which is generally none of my business - except that he was conducting his 'no good' on my turf.  I'm generally pretty easygoing but this whole situation made me really uncomfortable and I called him on it.  He might still be up to no good - but at least I don't have to see it.  I win! 


Love Shelley!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Journal Spilling

I recently picked up Diana Trout's book Journal Spilling and WOW is it awesome.  This is my version of one of the exercises she describes:

It was supposed to be a self-portrait but it didn't quite end up that way - this doesn't resemble me at ALL.  (I wish...)  Anyway, it was still a fun page to work on, and I still love working in my newsprint journal.  In fact I think I might make more pages and add to it.  That's the beauty of making a book with binder rings, it's so easy to add or remove pages and to work on one page at a time by removing it from the book.   Plus the pages are 9 inches SQUARE and sometimes I just love to work on a square page for a change. 

Okay, back to the drawing board!

Love Shelley!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This is one of my favourite recent pages.  I don't think the colours are exactly true on this picture but at least you get the idea.  It's a pretty bright and fun page!  Lots of watercolour crayon, and of course alphabet stamps.  Where would I be without my alphabet stamps?  I'D BE SAD AND LOST, THAT'S WHERE.

The quote is about not announcing your plans to the world.  I think that for some plans, it's great to spread the word, because you get help and support from the most unexpected places.  But sometimes, things happen much more easily if you just go ahead and make something happen instead of talking it to death first. 

By the way, I hope you don't come here looking for me to say something intelligent.  HA!

Anyway, that's all for today.  I'm off to Minneapolis tomorrow for the weekend and hopefully I'll have some good road trip stories to share when I get back.  I'm going down with a toothbrush and a pocketful of bail money.  What could possibly go wrong??

See ya Monday!
Love Shelley

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cookie Therapy

I was recently given a piece of really good advice in the form of a quote:

"We each have two cookie jars inside of us. One is for ourselves and the other is for all the people around us. We have learned to fill the cookie jar for the others and we bake a lot of cookies for this cookie jar. We have been trained not to bake cookies for our own cookie jar and we have also been trained to not even think about doing this for ourselves. Somehow, if we keep on baking cookies for others, our cookie jar will have cookies in it. Supposedly, others will be baking for us and everyone will be happy. But in reality it does not seem to work this way. Our cookie jar is usually empty and if someone does put cookies in it, they are never exactly the kind that we want at that time. No wonder that we start to feel deprived and resentful and angry as we watch others eating the cookies that we have baked. The paradox is so simple: fill your own cookie jar first with exactly what you want and let the overflow go to the other cookie jars. Keep your cookie jar full. Teach your family members to fill their own cookie jars first.” (Susanna McMahon)

I had this page started in one of my art journals, where I had tried out some copper paint and just basically played with some colours and made a mess.  So I came back to it to do this page - and where I tried another experiment on the bottom right corner and it bombed, I just stamped that number stamp over top to hide it.  Nobody was more surprised than me when it actually seemed to balance out the page!  Another happy mistake... I love those.

This is making me hungry for cookies!!!  Maybe I'll bake tonight.  I love baking cookies from scratch but right now I'm thinking of Pillsbury rolls of cookie dough and it's making my mouth water.  What's your favourite kind of cookie?

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Personal Growth - No, Really

A few weeks ago I was at an annual conference that I like to go to because I ALWAYS win a really good door prize, and also they serve grown-up dainty food like wee bits of toast with salmon and goat cheese and I get to pretend to be fancy for a couple of hours.  

Anyway, this year's speaker was a local woman named Stephanie Staples and honestly, she was one of the best speakers I've seen.  Maybe because she seems so refreshingly normal - she shared stories of goofy things she'd done, which made me admire her unself-consciousness, and was very encouraging, with lots of practical ideas.  She seems like the kind of person you could drop in on for coffee in your pajamas.  Anyway, one of the best things things I learned was this:

This explains A LOT.  It's not that it's BAD - this is probably the quality that lets me strike up conversations with strangers in public washrooms, and long lineups, and elevators.  And put all my ridiculous ramblings up here without really giving much consideration to my own public speaking career... HAHA!  Just joking.  Really though, the less I care what other people think, the more satisfying my life becomes. 

Aaaaaaaand, that was probably my last heavy thought for the week, hope you enjoyed it! 

Love Shelley!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I love my penpals!

I think my friend Holly will have received this book in the mail by now, so it should be safe to post.  We've been writing to each other for a while, but this last time she wrote to me, she had the genius idea of writing in a notebook so that a) we can comment on each other's letters, and b) so that we can remember what we wrote last time.  Anyway, the front cover was a plain yellow classic scribbler cover, and I decided to alter it.  I hope she doesn't mind.  Moooo hoo ha ha ha haaaa!  Actually at the rate we're going, it will only have to go back and forth one more time and then it will be full anyway.  I think next time it will be her turn to decorate; I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

And while I had all these colours out anyway, I also did a journal page - I didn't take a picture of it yet though, so you'll have to wait to see that one.  Actually come to think of it, I haven't even done any actual journaling on it!  Maybe I should think of something to say first before I start showing it off and calling it an art 'journal' page.  : )

So yeah, that's all for now, but yes, I'm alive and slowly working on a couple of things.  More soon... I promise!

Love Shelley!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why yes, I HAVE been busy this weekend.

Lately I've been using up a lot of discarded paper goodies that were destined for the garbage can at work.  They make GREAT mail art!!  This time, however, I got my trash art supplies from other sources.  When I see promising bits and pieces, my eyes light up and my pulse speeds up and it's as if I had just seen a big plate of hot gooey cinnamon buns, not some junk paper.  But hey, whatever rings your bell, right?  

I have a few penpals that I just love writing to (and receiving letters from) and this is a blank booklet that I made up on Friday night.  I've already filled it up and it's going in the mailbox tomorrow morning. 

And if you're planning on making booklets like this, I really recommend picking up one of those loooooooong staplers so you can easily put them together.  I use mine all the time, and I think it was only around twenty-five bucks.  My kids love making their own books too, so it gets a lot of mileage.  

Anyway, here is the envelope that that little booklet ended up in:



(and back).

That one... is sideways.  (I'm saying that in my very best Horatio Crane voice, where he says one line and then they cut to a commercial.)  (THIS is where I should have mentioned the looooooooong stapler!) 

Um.  Where was I?  Oh yeah!  I think I may have overdone it with the spots on the back of the envelope, because it looks a little chicken-poxy, if chicken pox ever showed up in a uniform sort of way.  It's just that I was having so much fun with the ink and I might have gotten a little carried away.

Also, you should know that I didn't intend to end up with this colour scheme again, but I guess I haven't worked it all out of my system yet.  Will there be more?  Yep, probably.  I still really like it.  I just have to remember who I've sent these ones to so that people don't end up getting repeats! 

But no worries, my little chickadees - I still remember how to use colour.  Here are two more envelopes that I worked on today while my kids were out bowling with their Nana.  I think I might send her flowers tomorrow... 

And now, since Blogger is acting so weird and I don't want to lose all this stuff that I just typed up, and plus because it's getting really late, I'm going to wrap this up.  It's time for a bowl of cereal and then bed.  

Goodnight everyone,
Love Shelley!

Just a little snail mail

Well, this started off as just a manila envelope, and I decided to draw a little birdie on it.  Of course, once I drew the little dude, then decided that he needed a proper tuft of hair, which was soon followed by the scallops at the top, and soon it got completely out of hand.  So much for a simple bird doodle!

This pic looks a little washed-out; it's a bit more vibrant in real life. 

I'm a bit behind on my mail so I'm trying to get caught up.  I'll show you all the outgoing stuff as it's completed.

Love Shelley!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The moose's name is probably Harold




I found, quite by (lucky, eye-poppingly amazing) accident, a how-to video by Roben-Marie Smith, showing how she makes envelopes out of old file folders.  Guess who has old file folders (I DO) so I thought I would try a couple of these.  They were so much fun that now I want to make about 25 more.  The only snag I ran into is that my file folders are pretty cheap ones - I don't remember where I got them from but they're at least   years old; and although at first glance they look perfect for this project... well, they're not square.  So I had to do some fancy folding and cutting to get the edges to all line up.  At first I thought I must be doing something wrong, but I guess my only mistake was buying el cheapo folders in the first place.  (The $20 sewing machine is a whole other story...)

Anyway, who needs files?  These are way more fun, don't you agree?

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I feel dirty today.

I started with a really pretty background, but grunged it up with spray paint and some quick-and-dirty lettering.

This is one of those ideas that's been floating around in my head for a very long time, and once I started getting it down on paper, this all went very quickly.  So: not pretty, but this is one less thing rattling around in my brain.  Win! 

Probably three more pages, and my head will be completely empty. 

Love Shelley!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

One of those days

I watched the Olympic opening ceremonies last night but I'd had such a bizarre day that I wasn't really in the mood.  I found it a little boring, to tell the truth... I really think it would have been more interesting if they'd have let a bunch of lions loose in BC Place once everybody came in.  Just like the original Olympics!  Heh. 

And that's probably more about me than you needed to know.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Here's a sneak preview of a few things that will be going out in the 9am mail tomorrow.  Only one is staying in Canada, and that's the valentine.  The rest are headed south.... where it's a little warmer and sunnier.  Ohhhh, how I wish I was going along for the ride.  Maybe if I slap a red label on my forehead and smile really friendly?  I've seen it work in cartoons...

Fine.  I'll stay here, spreading joy and cheer by telling people it's "almost Friday."  They love that.  Heh heh heh.  OR!  Maybe instead I should start saying, "three more days till the next Lotto Max draw, and it's up to THIRTY MILLION!"  and then give them an enthusiastic two thumbs up.  What, it's better than squawking about the weather, right? 

Love Shelley!

* That was for Kristy.  She wanted me to yell it out the next time Mike asked me to do something but he's been disappointingly agreeable all evening.  Geez.  Men.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I hate Valentine's Day.

But I really love making valentines!

I know, that's weird.

This is actually a postcard.  I made it by layering a bunch of 4x6" pieces of newspaper together, giving each sheet a good coating with a glue stick, and using a brayer to get it nice and smooth.  Then once it was done, I think with 8 or 9 layers, nice and thick, I put it under a heavy book overnight so it would end up nice and flat.  Of course once I threw cheap craft paints at it, it did curl slightly.  That's okay though - I really wasn't going for the perfect look here.  The edges are raggedy and the paint is splotchy and the lines aren't even, and I KINDA LIKE IT.

Now.  Who shall I send it to??

Love Shelley!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another example of my stellar planning skills

One of these days I'll get the hang of getting the entire word on the same line.  Hee hee!

It felt great to get this page done; this has been bothering me for a long time and I needed to get it out.  Plus I like how grungy and messy the background turned out.

Hm.  I think that's all for now.  Over and out.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I like peace. You got a problem with that?

I'm just not one of those people who picks a fight for the fun of it.  Sure, I'll mess with people, but only if it's funny; never to start an actual conflict.  I agree to disagree.  I'm a lover, not a fighter.  Live and let live, everyone's entitled to their opinion, let it go - that's me.

Anyway, this whole topic makes me feel defensive, but don't worry.  I'm not a sissy or a doormat.  And it turns out you can accomplish a lot with a raised eyebrow and a "Pardon ME?!"

That's all for now.

Love Shelley!

Monday, January 25, 2010

By Special Request...

No, really.  Someone actually specially requested this!

These are so much fun to make that I practically yelled YES before she even finished asking.  It's on its way to her right now.  I hope she likes it!

More fun coming soon.

Love Shelley!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Experiment That Only Went SEMI-Horribly-Awry

Okay, it's probably not that bad.  I was looking a little 5 minute tutorial that Pam Carriker did at Stampington Studios the other day and I decided to try what she had done. 

She demonstrated her technique on an ATC but I decided to try it on one of these little 3x3 canvases that my friend Debra sent me from Dick Blick.  WOW do I love them, especially on their tiny little easels!! 

Anyway, mine is not as nice as hers and I found that blending the paint on the canvas was a little tricky but overall I'm still quite pleased with it.  I might actually try this again, only with an original idea this time.  Heh.

Love Shelley!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Please try not to laugh too hard.

My word for 2010.  I know I already have a lot of responsibility but I mean BEING responsible.  Like being caught up with my work so that when opportunity knocks I don't have to stay home and do the laundry I've been procrastinating.  Also being able to sleep at night because everything that has to be done, is actually done.  Like that. 

Yeah, I'm not sure either... but it's worth a try, right?

What's your word?

Love Shelley!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sneak preview of some outgoing mail

I'm working on a couple of things but nothing to show yet.  In the meantime, here are a couple of envelopes that went out today.

That's all for now, but stay tuned...

Love Shelley!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Next thing you know I'll be tagging train cars.

Hi guys!

Here's some outgoing mail.  I've been admiring graffiti-style writing from afar for a long time now, but this is my first attempt at doing any myself. 

Yeah... um, I really REALLY LOVED MAKING THIS!

Somebody hide the spray paint.

Love Shelley!

PS:  The lettering was done in regular sharpie and white sharpie paint pen. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Detailed and Cross-Indexed Master Plan for 2010

Why, what kind of resolutions did YOU guys make??