No More Boring Gifts!

One of the great things about the internet is that artist made products are literally EVERYWHERE, both original items and printed or graphically designed wares. I actually have a couple shirts I ordered from Threadless in college that I’ve kept for 8 years and can’t part with, though they are now either disintegrating or have super attractive sweat stained armpits. I’m planning to do fabric wrap canvases with them and use them for cool wall art because the designs are so gorgeous, I just can’t abide by throwing them in the trash.

Plenty of artists are out there on ebay and etsy and multitudes of similar platforms willing to customize their work to that special someone you may have in mind. I myself have just finished up an eclectic variety of custom requests, from hand drawn pendants to dolls to an artsy floral arrangement, which was definitely a first.

Basically, there is no excuse for giving a boring gift.

My day job (a pretty cool day job, if I do say so myself :)) is working as Program Coordinator for Express Yourself Artshop, an inclusive arts program geared towards serving all adult students, including those with disabilities. Many of the students are learning how to sell and market their work, and with Spring here we are beginning to prepare for multiple art and craft fairs.

With Mother’s and Father’s day coming up, it’s always best to start early. Creative gift guides are awesome, but oftentimes everything listed is in the 3 figure range …  I’ve put together some affordable guides that are a little bit of what I have to offer, a little bit from some of my amazingly artsy aquaintances, and a little bit from artisans I admire throughout the web.

Mother’s Day

Original Watercolor Seascapes $20 / Stained Glass Jewelry $47  / Artist Designed Mugs $15 / Artist Designed Hardcover Journals $20Hand Painted Votive Decor $6Hand Painted Wine Glasses $6Artist Designed Tote Bags $20 / Artsy Personality Dolls $15 / Handpainted Personalized Wooden Peg Family $116 / Hand Crocheted Pendant Necklaces $20

Ok, so the personalized wooden family is kind of pricey, but it’s just so darn cute!!!

Father’s Day

Artist Designed T-Shirts $25 / Steampunk Assemblage Desk Sculpture $15 / Superhero Bow-Ties $24 / Retro Sci-Fi Decor $20 / Artisan Wooden Boxes $30 / Artist Designed Tech Cases $45 / Artist Designed Travel Mugs $25 / Artist Designed Coffee Mugs $15

There are plenty of regular neckties to be found on etsy as well, but as the 11th Doctor says…

I hope you’ve enjoyed perusing. Now, hop to it! Time waits for no one ;).

 

 

 

Retro Tile Bathrooms Before and After

Even though I studied interior design in college and ended up going in a different direction afterward, I still love it. From time to time, I do still assist friends/family/acquaintances with their designing woes, and I’ve had a couple of fun opportunities over the last year or two to work with my parents in updating my childhood home. I worked with them to choose fixtures, finishes, and furnishings for the home’s guest and master bath, and they used a kitchen and bath design business and a remodeling contractor from the local Midland area to bring the project to completion.

My parents and I have pretty different design styles. They can be a little uneasy at times about bold colors, and favor timelessness. My mother definitely has a traditional style, and is not one of those people who wants to change a design up every other year (or even every 5). She especially wants more “permanent” aspects such as tile and cabinetry to be something neutral so that the space can be updated in the future if need be with not much more than a different color of paint on the walls.

The house’s original bathrooms were done up in (now vintage) tile, as were many in the neighborhood when originally built. My best friend down the street actually had an identical guest bathroom to ours, only accented in white instead of grey and sans crazy wallpaper. We decided to pay homage to the origins and stay with the idea of retro, bold, fun tile, but this time in black and white.

wp-1472597936784.jpg

Before: I may have mentioned the original guest bathroom was pink. In fact, this bathroom was just so into being pink that even the door and the window molding is pink. This is basically Dolores Umbridge‘s dream bathroom. It’s so odd and distinctly vintage, however, that it did have a certain charm and I was a little bummed to see it go. Yes, the ceiling is wallpapered – pretty trippy.

blue-bath-montage.jpg.jpg

After: Saying bye-bye to the original vintage was so worth it, however, for the end result. Since we didn’t have to worry about the guest bathroom transitioning into a bedroom like we did for the master bath, we could go with a fun color not present anywhere else in the house, and chose a cheerful pool blue. Being the only color present that isn’t a neutral, the room is pleasant even for those who don’t like to be surrounded by rainbows 24/7. The white is broken up by pops of black in the striping and the textile accents. The ceiling is still kind of fun, though certainly not wallpapered! I chose a paler shade of blue rather than just going with a stark white to balance the already ever present, high contrast, bold blue- to – bright white transitions. My parents also love antiques, and there is a variety of vintage glassware and decor scattered throughout. We also chose some unique vintage inspired hardware that further adds to the little air of whimsy in this room. The artwork on the wall is a print of one of my watercolor and ink pieces, The Idealist.

wp-1472597943538.jpg

Before: The master bath had already been through one soft redo in the 90s due to some cabinetry that was not faring too well. It had mainly been done for utilitarian reasons, and had pretty much the opposite problem of the guest bathroom … it was very, very bland.

gold-bath-montage.jpg.jpg

After: Hello, gold! Black and gold play off of each other so well, so a lot more black was incorporated into this bathroom. The cabinetry and shower are opposite each other, so to balance all the white tile with the dark counters we outlined the shower itself and the inset shelf in black tile, and used a more concentrated floor tile. The photography on the walls are photos of birds my dad took, one of his hobbies being hiking and “collecting” birds on his journeys via snapshots. And, of course, more vintage glassware (I have an addiction! Luckily, they love it too).

Another fun project completed! Next, my parents will be picking my brain about the living room. Maybe I can talk them into more brightly colored walls … maybe even purple! Only time will tell ;). (Mom, if you are reading this, I promise I’m joking).

Happy “Inspire Your Heart With Art” Day!

Happy “Inspire Your Heart With Art” Day everyone! As I’ve told you before, I love holidays – I mean really love them. There is always that slight letdown after the marathon of nonnstop holiday excitement from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years … Who knew there was this fun little holiday to tide us over until Valentine’s Day and Easter? I cannot believe I just learned of its existence this year … !

What a perfect opportunity to send some inspiration out into the world through sharing what my students have worked on throughout the beginning third of my first full semester as program coordinator for Express Yourself Artshop at Creative 360. My students pretty much feel like family members at this point, and I know I mention them a lot. But, for those new to the blog, Express Yourself Artshop is an inclusive arts and wellness program open to all students, including those with physical, mental, and psychological challenges.

I’ve worked with the program as an instructor since it was first established, and I am blown away by seeing how each student has grown since we first met a little over 2 years ago. Without further ado …

A snapshot of our amazing watercolor class! Everyone has such different styles and interests, so it is fun to see what each student comes up with.

Next, the gallery of Heather D.! I call this student and friend my “artistic soulmate” because we share a love of fashion, big eyed girls, and everything retro and vintage inspired.

Our classes are not all about art for your walls. Tons of cool functional and awesome looking wares are being created in our Woodshop class this semester as well. I love this log cabin inspired bird house, I think because it reminds me so much of childhood Lincoln Logs!

It is so much fun to be able to decorate your home with handmade pieces that are unique, and that no one else will have. You don’t have to be what people think of as a traditional “artist” to do it. The top two pieces, by Colleen D. and Amber E., are canvases wrapped in fabric with a cutout from an art print collaged overtop. The wreath below can be created easy and stress free with any medium sized to large craft punch, a wreath form, a free afternoon, and a lot of hot glue sticks handy.

Proud smiles!

Creating, whether your goal is to become a world famous artist or just to calm your mind and relieve some stress, is a HUGE confidence booster. It is also an important tool of communication and self expression, speaking from experience myself. I challenge all of you to try to make at least one thing today, even if it is just a doodle. Happy inspiration!

 

 

New Job + Adventures In Upcycling

Many of you who have read my blog before have probably heard me talk about Express Yourself Artshop, an art and wellness program open for adult students of varying abilities, especially those with disabilities. Artshop is one of the programs I have taught with since its beginning a little over 2 years ago. Our Program Coordinator moved out of town last month, and being that Artshop has always been my favorite out of all the programs I teach with, I applied for the position. This week it is official, from now on I will be with Artshop full time. I have a lot of ideas, a ton of brilliant people helping me, and I cannot wait to see how the program grows and evolves. I dare you to watch the video below and be in a bad mood.

Life is funny, and I never ended up actually working “officially” in the field that I went to college for, but am now doing something I never would have imagined. I’m not one for cliches but the old saying “Knowledge is never wasted” certainly rings true, and I see my interior design background creeping in in little ways throughout my current work. In my new DIY Decor class this semester, I’ve been exploring creating classy, elegant and beautiful decorations for the home using cheap, everyday materials. My students and I have combined my two loves; stylish and artistic decor, and recycling, or up-cycling in this case (basically never wasting anything). They have blown me away with their fantastic vision and their own unique style that they bring to the projects. There is a lot going on, and I’m excited to share more with you in the coming weeks and months.

Coasters by Lori : Wood Samples (It pays to have a boyfriend who works at a furniture store ;)) covered in book pages and magazine cutouts accented in metallic acrylic. Felt is applied to the bottom to prevent scratching. Sealed with mod podge aka my lifeblood.

Coasters by Lori : Wood Samples (It pays to have a boyfriend who works at a furniture store ;)) covered in book pages and magazine cutouts, accented in metallic acrylic. Felt is applied to the bottom to prevent scratching. Sealed with mod podge aka my lifeblood.

Salt and Pepper Shakers by Amber : Empty glass spice jars with holes punched in the lids. The tops are painted with enamel and the jars are wrapped with fabric and ribbon accent, sealed, again, with mod podge.

Salt and Pepper Shakers by Amber : Empty glass spice jars with holes punched in the lids. The tops are painted with enamel and the jars are wrapped with fabric and a ribbon accent, sealed, again, with mod podge.

Abstract Wall Art by Lori : Modern art using Sharpie pens and cutouts from transparent file folders

Abstract Wall Art by Lori : Modern art using Sharpie pens and cutouts from transparent file folders

Decorative Terrarium by Colleen : It's amazing what you can do with some fake plants , ribbon, and raffia.

Decorative Terrarium by Colleen : It’s amazing what you can do with an olive jar, some fake plants , ribbon, and raffia.

Decorative Terrarium by Michelle : All you need is an empty salsa jar, some fabric flowers on stems, ribbon to wrap around the lid base, and a little bit of creativity.

Decorative Terrarium by Michelle : All you need is an empty salsa jar, some fabric flowers on stems, ribbon to wrap around the lid base, and a little bit of creativity.

Book Pages and Metallic Paint = Instant Classy.

Every so often I get bored and dissatisfied with the state of my walls and need a change. I’d had some Alice In Wonderland etching coloring book pages framed above my couch since I’d moved into the apartment. I’d filled them in with markers, giving Alice hot pink hair, and my boyfriend was even starting to comment, “So… are you ever going to take those down?” Apparently the appeal of pink haired punker Alice was lost on him, and he also couldn’t fathom why I would hang up coloring book pages when I have so much of my own art at my disposal. I do decorate my home with some of my own work obviously, but you have to understand, I get real tired of staring at my own art. I’m staring at it the whole time I’m working on it, and when it comes to my walls, I want to give my eyes something new to get excited over. The coloring pages had overstayed their welcome a bit, and the magic marker was getting ridiculously sun-faded. But, I didn’t want to spend the time making 3 new fine art pieces just to hang above my couch when I knew I had exhibits coming up to get ready for.

I don’t know if anyone uses those 12×12 paper flip calendars anymore … They are a bit of a relic nowadays, but I always insist on getting one from those giant kiosks in the middle of the mall set up around Christmas simply for the cool pictures. Art Deco is one of my absolute favorite design periods, so for the past 2 years I’ve gotten the Erte calendar. This fashion artist is responsible for the loveliness below – so yes, he completely rocks.

You can buy 12×12 scrapbook frames at any craft store and hang calendar page art as is (the cheapest prints you will ever find), but I decided to take it a step further to create the trio below.

trioThese pieces only took an afternoon to create. First off, a background made of book pages makes anything look instantly classy. If you are like me and love books, tearing one to pieces could take a lot of soul-searching. Therefore, I picked up the most dull, dry, uninspiring book I could possibly find from the red dot $1 bin at Barnes and Noble so that I wouldn’t feel I was doing any disservice. The opposite, I felt I was improving upon the provided material by turning it into art. I first tore out about 6 pages per picture, then adhered 3 pages layered on top and 3 on bottom to the cardboard backer that always comes with frames. I found brushing tacky glue onto the back with a combination of a cheap throwaway paintbrush and one’s finger worked best. I then flattened the bookpage-covered-cardboards under a pile of magazines to dry. While the glue was drying on those, I found 3 calendar pictures I liked and cut out the main subject from each page. You could do this with any calendar theme, cutting out a large central image be it a flower, an animal, a boat, your favorite entertainer, whatever makes you happy to look at. I then brushed tacky glue onto the back of each of my calendar cutouts. I pressed them on, smoothing them out with my fingers, making sure there were no bubbles, and then put the pieces back under the magazines to dry flat. Next, out comes the metallic paint! Metallic acrylic paints are just magic and make every single thing look way better. You don’t have to be an artist at all to accent your new decoupage calendar pictures with paint. The “distressed” look goes awesome with the torn out book pages, and for this technique the messier the better. Grab a large flat brush, and make sure you keep it dry – don’t dip it in water until you are finished. Dip some paint on your brush and simply swipe across your piece. The paint will naturally catch where the pages layer and overlap lending a cool texture. If you don’t feel intuitive with the paint, an easy out is to simply paint along the edge of the image you glued down to emphasize it, and also brush along the corners or all the edges of the actual rectangular piece to “frame” your collage. You’ll be surprised at how amazing these turn out. You’ll have people asking where you bought them, when all it was was less than $5 of supplies and a couple of hours.

Doing more rearranging later due to visiting the Midland Antique Festival and buying yet more wall art, I decided to make a wall collage above my dining table which is something I’ve always wanted to do. My framed original portrait drawing, collaborative mixed media canvas piece I’d made with my boyfriend, and my crazy little 60s-big-eyed-circus-child all had a vintage, weathered look to them with lots of beige and ivory amongst the pops of color. I needed some super small pieces to tuck in between the gaps in the arrangement, but 5×7-8×10 frames are usually meant for table tops and just don’t look right on the wall, and the frames’ heavy, dark edges were taking away from my more focal pieces. I needed something on a small canvas, but once again, was pressed for time. Though I wanted my collage to look good, I did not want to make 2 miniature acrylic paintings with all the other projects I had going. I had a value pack of 8×10 canvases I’d gotten at Michaels that calculated out to $1 per frame at the end, and decided, what the heck? When in doubt, cover them in book pages. Once I had the entire front and sides of the canvases covered in tacky-glued pages, I went to Staples and got 2 of my original works printed small on standard printer paper, tore the edges to make them uneven, and glued them to the relative center of my canvas. If you don’t make art yourself, you could still do the same thing with magazine pictures, digital photos you’ve taken, or works by famous artists copied from art history books. Antique or vintage-inspired images look best with the book page background. Of course, I had to metallic up the edges with some gold paint, and once again I had put in an hour or two of work for a really cool end product.

I fell off a chair and dented the entire right half of myself trying to hang this up, so it better look kickass!

I fell off a chair and dented the entire right half of my body trying to hang this up, so it better look damn good!

I hope some of you will try this out. Even not-so-great looking decor can be super expensive, and these projects are FUN even for non-artists (promise!) and will add a ton of personality to your abode. Collaging is even suggested as a relaxation technique when under extreme stress, so this project could be just what your day off needs. I’ll be taking a break from art and heading off to Ludington tomorrow for a mid-week weekend of hiking, swimming, and generally being outdoors from morning till the wee hours of the night. Hopefully I come back refreshed and inspired ^_^.

21

Design Inspiration And Fun New Toys

One of the most difficult things we have to ask ourselves when buying a piece of art is, “Where the heck will I put it???!!!” I know I go through this same thing, because I love to put a lot of my own work up, but then I get tired of staring at things I spent hours focused on while I was in the act of creating it, and want to collect other artists’ work as well. Enter, polyvore – one of the most entertaining pastimes for a lover of both fashion and interior design. I discovered the app for droid while engaged in an epic Civilization V game on my laptop, waiting for my boyfriend to finish his turn (He takes really long turns). I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s been amazing to show people my prints in “real time”, actually in a room setting rather than just cropped on a screen. A piece of art you love and feel an emotional connection with can be the perfect inspiration piece.

For the Harry Potter fans out there, I think I may have unwittingly created Dolores Umbridge’s living room at home.  “Hopeful” Interior Inspiration by allise-noble

Of all of my designs thus far, this is the most reflective of my own personal “home” style.                “Rush Hour” Interior Inspiration by allise-noble 

But dear Allise … my house totally does not look like a magazine, you say. Yeah – mine neither … see below :).

A totally non-threatening, non-glamorous, everyday example of how I used original artwork in my kitchen. It's really all about repeating the colors found in the piece SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE at all in the room to tie it in and make it your

A totally non-threatening, non-glamorous, VERY low-budget, everyday example of how I used original artwork in my kitchen. It’s really all about repeating the colors found in the piece SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE at all in the room to tie it in and make it your “theme”. If the colors are harmonious, you can have as many different patterns, textures, and styles going on in one place as your heart desires.

In addition to redbubble, I also started using a new site, zazzle, which prints designs on an even wider range of products, and also offers multiple T-shirt options as far as cut, style, and price point. I am definitely a T-shirt girl, they make up 75% of my closet, but many have expressed to me that they aren’t sure how to make T-shirts look put together, and not like sloppy gym clothes. So, I’ve assembled some fun ideas, and I can tell you, you certainly can dress up a T-shirt, especially one that has lovely art on it :). I’m planning on doing more inspiration designs for both art prints and my clothing and accessories featuring original artwork, so continue to check back with me on polyvore. Remember, these are just ideas. A lot of the items featured on polyvore can be, well, ridiculously pricey. I found a pair of high heeled jelly sandals that looked like something I owned in 2nd grade going for $500 a pair (*cough* too much money, not enough brains *coughcough*). It’s just to give you an idea of how to make your new art print or shirt look awesome. Any of these items have similar, cheaper options at regular stores. Let me know what you guys think! So long for now.

Another awesome zazzle product, you can actually buy additional charms to hook on if you wanted more than just one, and you could have a whole art collection right around your wrist! 🙂

Wait, I Have Swag Now? There’s A First Time For Everything + New WIP

The Conceptual Portraits Collection

The Conceptual Portraits Collection

So, remember way back in the beginning of March when “I’d Have Been Happier As A Bird” was featured on RedBubble‘s front page? Well, one of the cool perks of that was I got a voucher to see some of my own designs in print, and I promptly ordered some greeting cards, a T-shirt, and a tote bag. I had been anxiously awaiting my fun packages trickling in (isn’t getting mail in general just the best, even when you’re expecting it?), and as of last week I received them all and wanted to share. I also have a new work in progress photo for an 18×24 conceptual portrait I’m working on, this time of a young girl rather than an adult which is something new. I tend to never take WIP photos, so appreciate it while you can! I’ll be sure to get better about that and share more of my progress as I begin new projects. I have quite a few idea sketches mounting up, so time to get to work!

Super cool T-Shirt in "I'd Have Been Happier As A Bird", and tote bag in "The Peacock"

Super cool T-Shirt in “I’d Have Been Happier As A Bird”, and tote bag in “The Peacock”

A little bit better lighting to truly see the designs ...

A little bit better lighting to truly see the designs …

Matching greeting cards! I was really pleased with how heavy they were, and with the sharp, high quality, gloss prints.

Matching greeting cards! I was really pleased with how heavy they were, and with the sharp, high quality, gloss prints.

"Wonderland" WIP

“Wonderland” WIP