Monday, March 27, 2017

White Space...March life{365}

Ins and Outs of Life {365} for March

This month we are going to work on embracing the white space. What is white space? It is the open background on any layout. For this month I used white cardstock as a base so you could really see how this works. Sometimes the background becomes so busy we lose the focus of our layouts...the pictures! This month I really tried to keep the backgrounds simple and let them truly be less visable.
In the layout below I used some strips of various sizes to draw the eye to the photo mats. This is the kind of technique that you will either love or be more ambivalent about.

This next layout moves to a filled background. I wanted you to see the difference and to have a clear example of how a filled space demands visually arresting photos to be able to draw the eye to them. I love this layout. It has so many possibilities for me. It would be easy to lose the pocket and tags on the bottom right area and add a cluster of four square photos to fill the space.

This layout has almost equal parts open background and filled background.  The filled area is slightly less. I did this on purpose. If I were to make it even the layout would not have the visual interest. It is the difference along with the strips of color that keep the eye moving back and forth. I could have left the tag in the bottom right off but I liked the sentiment so I left it in place. 
The title itself stands out because a) it is a horizontal element on a predominately vertical layout and b) because the horizontal band across the bottom is not in color but in black and white.

This last layout is my favorite and has the most white space. The paper itself has the scooter and balloons on it. I add only two small vertical strips to mimic the horizontal balloons and then just three horizontal elements in the mat, the descriptive words and the title piece.  This will really be striking when the right picture is added.

One more note on this month's layouts. Because of the busy colors I chose in the papers themselves it was really fun to add the bold black and white prints to pop the colors!

I hope you have fun with this kit. I would love to see what you do on your own embracing white space!

A huge thank you to Jodi and Jared Sanford of Fancy Pants Design for getting these beautiful papers to me so quickly. This is one of those amazing companies that deserves our support!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Ins and Outs of Life{365} 2/17

This month I chose Flora from Carte Bella Paper as our papers for Life{365}.
I fell in love with the colors and patterns.

Here are your four layouts for the month

I wanted to point out a few little ins and outs to making this a successful month for each of our subscribers.

Your kit comes with each layout stacked in such a way that the parts and pieces are in order. If you take it from the packet carefully you will not have to search so much for the pieces to each layout.
You have three individual bags of embellishments.  Since this paper line came with only a sticker sheet and that just isn't enough for some of us (me) I shopped and created embellishments to go with the layouts.  This required more work on my part but I really am delighted with the results.
Explore your embellishments but be aware that if you lose them I cannot replace them.
I used a simple technique of piecing the background on the last page.  I explained it on our facebook page, Michele Makes Art, but simply stated I took one piece of background paper and cut it into two pieces. I left the UPC strip in place  You will find these pieces in your kit.  Glue the smaller piece to the larger piece using the strip as a splice.  It is an easy technique and allows you to use both sides of
 the paper. 


I did a great deal of fussy cutting in this kit.  In the picture above you can see that I cut out the printed doily shape from a card and then took the larger 5x5 piece you will find in the kit and cut a shadow of the shape.  Behind this I tucked a striped heart and faux glass heart I made for you.

If as you are putting your layouts together you would prefer to use the opposite side of the paper please do.  These are your layouts and you should make them your own!

I hope you will have fun putting these layouts together.  Your March Life(365) will be ready on the 20th of the month.

These kits are shipping today.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Sometimes I start things with all the best intentions but my timing is wrong.  This blog was just such a thing.

I started it with the best intentions.  I was going to share my life with my family and my friends and whomever else may have stumbled upon this little space on the internet.  It was a failed attempt but like everything else when a better time arrives perhaps we do better.  I hope so.

I have been on a journey through art throughout my life. 

As a child I remember wanting to write in cursive like my mother did.  Her handwriting was beautiful and I now realize it was her art form.  It was so much a reflection of her life, her desire to be better, be better.  She grew up hopelessly poor on a reservation in Arizona and one in Oklahoma. She was an orphan passed from home to home, used and abused, until she struck out on her own at the very young age of 15.  She was self taught in all her art forms.  She cooked, she sewed, she improvised and most of all she taught Patti and I to do much of that. She was beautiful and I loved her
Mom and Dad and Patti and I
I feel like I have been playing with art in some form most of my life.  I thought for many years that I did not do art until I was much older but that isn't true.  I sewed, designed my own clothes, embroidered my own art work on my clothes, doodled through classes, drew floorplans for homes I wanted to own, and a myriad of other things but never seriously until I began crafting when I was in my middle 20's.  Now I am in a new period of life and I am finding my own style, my own voice as an artist.  For the first time in my life I am not focused on how to make extra Christmas money or how to create gifts or just to make clothes for our little ones.  Now I am making art for me.
This is a shirt I began embroidering about 35 years ago.  It is still hanging in my closet although it no longer fits, waiting to find completion...I will hang it back up now.
So this year I started working within the Documented Life Project on Facebook.  It is a group of artjournalists and the wonderful girls at Art to the 5th give us weekly challenges and monthly themes to work within.  I am enjoying it but I am gets in the way of art.
I want to share my journey for the year and since this is the most consistant art challenge I have accepted I will share it here. 
I found the Documented Life Project a year ago and started a journal but it was the wrong time for me so I got very little done.
The one or two pieces I did get done are very special to me.  This is one of them.  It was about doors and the most important door to me at that time was the front door to our home.
This year the gals at DLP suggested a large art journal for the project.  I completed three challenges in this journal before I changed to a smaller journal/planner.  It is much more appropriate for me and my time limitations.  The top two images are from the large journal.  The two below are from the smaller journal.  I love both pieces and I am happy to have done this challenge twice!
I think that is enough for now.  I don't want to chase you away so soon. 
If you have a moment leave a comment, ask a question, or just let me know you were here.



Thursday, May 23, 2013


Introducing Emery Jane Williams
Grandchild #4
Granddaughter #2
and on and on and on!
Today a special letter came from Emery!  She drew a picture of she and Poppo and me.  It is perfect!  She loves us!  It made my day and since this is Friday Intro day I am introducing you to...
This is special attention to the smile because it never changes!  This smile is ever present on Emery

Emery has her own sense of style.  She knows just who she is and at the great age of 6 she will tell you exactly what looks best on her!

Emery loves being outdoors.  She is like bottled sunshine!

Emery loves to draw...she is getting better and better at it and has made me promise we will have lots of art days while she is here for the summer.

Emery is helpful although on this day she said she could do her job faster than Isa with one arm tied behind her back.

Emery Quote of the Year
Emery: I want to mow lawns this year.
Liam: You are too little to mow...who do you think you are Alexander the Great?
Emery: No, but I am Emery the Almost Great!
(see Gramachele rolling around on the floor laughing her head off!)

This is Emery's poopy face.  It doesn't show itself often...only when she really wants something badly and the answer is no...this day it was pierced ears.

This is Emery's best friends and sister Isabelle

Emery isn't afraid to see life from the highest point!

Emery loves dress up

Emery with Colin, Liam and Isa

Emery learned to quilt this year and she did a very good job.

Emery and Mommy giggle-fest

Emery wants to be a rock star like Taylor Swift when she grows up.  I think she is already a rock star!

Remember what I told you about style?  She is rockin' mom's boots!

Emery is generous.  This year she donated her hair to locks of love.  She is cute with short hair too!

This was Emery at a day old.  Those eyes are wiser than her age belies


1st Christmas
Emery and Daddy

Emery and me
In a little less than two weeks Emery will come to spend the summer with us.  She will bring with her her brothers and her sister and her mommy and daddy.  I cannot wait.  Time spent with these priceless loved ones means more to me than any other thing. Because they live so far away from us we have never had so much time to spend with them.  I am so is Dennis.
I get to be a grandma. He gets to be a grandpa
I get to be a friend. He does too
I get to share my summer with those I love. Ditto.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sometimes there was a storm in her brain

Some years ago Lisa...if you don't know Lisa I will have to tell you about her later on this blog.  She is my sister of choice and she knows me well...any way some years ago Lisa gave a me sweet little Sally Jean pennant that said, "sometimes she has a storm in her brain."  She said it was me.  She said I always have a storm brewing in my brain.  She is right.  Many nights I lay awake until the wee hours of the morning because I cannot quiet my monkey brain (that is what Patti calls the way our brains work).
I have been wanting to do something with my art to be a physical manifestation of the storm in my brain. Almost a year ago Wendy Vecchi came to Twin Falls to teach at our shop.  Wendy has become a dear friend and she is very good to share her love of all things inky.  She is also one of life's cheerleaders.  By that I mean Wendy knows what so many artists in my world do takes nothing from them when they encourage and celebrate those who are learning and growing.
While at the shop Wendy taught a class using a stamp I love...It is a womans head but it is created in an almost anitomical that I mean she is uniquely represented with a "monkey brain"....lots of little places for thoughts to roam and interupt other thoughts...that is my interpretation of her.
This is her in the lower left hand corner as I stamped her onto a piece of grunge board.
In Wendy's workshop we took her and created an art angel....I cannot tell you how much I love this piece!  She is happy-ness for me.
That is this favorite head stamped and executed to make a funky art angel.  Now as much as I love this piece and I truly do she does not reflect the storm in my brain so yesterday I began to create the storm.
I stamped the head on grunge board (I have no idea what it is I just know I love it).  Then using grunge paper (same thing just a paper weight and I still don't know what it is) I went to work stamping and cutting flowers, leaves, hearts and all the little bits and pieces of my brain storm.
The stamps come from stampers annonymous (Wendy Vecchi) the ink is Ranger Archival Jet Black
Next I gave her color.
Using Tim Holtz Distress Stains I colored her skin (tattered rose)...this took two coats.
Just a little tip here, dry completely between coats.
To add detail I used Tim Holtz Distress Pens.  I darkened her eyelids with two more coats of tattered rose but this time I used the pens.  I colored the whites of her eyes with Picket Fence.
(Here is a little tip from a past life.  When Dennis and I were first married I would color his black and white prints to create softly colored color pictures.  It was popular at the time and I learned a lot about adding color where there wasn't any.  One of the things I learned was that when coloring eyes you do not add a stroke of add color with tiny dots.  For this image I added the picket fence by making many tiny dots of color with the fine tip of the pen.  It looks more subtle and never looks forced.)
I added broken china blue to the iris of each eye the same way I added the white.  I made a small white dot on the blue for a reflection spot.
For her cheeks I spritzed the area with a light mist of water then added a daub of worn lipstick stain.  I let it spread with the water  and blotted with a tissue to keep it right where I wanted it.  I did this twice.
Her mouth is Worn Lipstick distress pen.  The lower lip is a stroke of color but the upper lip is dots...I also added a little bit of the worn lipstick to the shadow under the nose.
Last I spritzed the whole face with a fine mist of water to soften everything and leave no hard lines.  I let it air dry at this point.
I love this face.  It is soft.  It is peaceful.  It belies the storm in her brain. 
To illustrate the storm in her brain I created flowers cut and stamped on grunge paper.  Color for all this comes from Tim Holtz Distress Stains and Pens.  I added yellows , oranges, reds, blues, greens and even a little purple.
I stacked and layered the  pieces to make the top of her head seem to explode in color. I cut and stacked dozens of pieces...butterflies with tiny light bulb bodies, buttons, glossy hearts and an overload of color.
I love her...she is now part of a book I am teaching at the shop next weekend.
I will tell you this, she isn't finished.  I will have another version of her sometime soon.  You see to understand the storm in my brain you have to see into my heart and that is where she will go next. 
This girl looks nothing like me but she reflects me...not perfectly because art is not perfect...but she does reflect me in some ways and that gives me peace.

Friday, May 17, 2013


My dad held me holding my baby sister, Patti, the day she came to live at our house.
I think if you know me at all you know I am the eldest of two.
I don't remember a time without her and I know she would tell you the same. 
We were always "Patti and Michele".  She got top billing and I can't remember ever minding that.
She is two years younger.
I am 22 months older.
(Isn't it funny how that works)
I wanted to introduce my friends who may follow me on this blog and most certainly my children and grandchildren and generations to come to my those most important in my my friends and to the people I most admire.  Patti falls into all those categories
I have decided Fridays are the perfect day of the week to introduce you to someone new and Patti is the first of many.
This picture was taken 58 years ago. 
We are as closely connected as ever.  That is the way with us.  Although not all sisters are as connected I know some who are and they will understand (Joyce and Jo) that a day without your sister is a day without sunshine.
Here are a few of our growing up pictures with a more current one thrown in for good measure.
If you hadn't guessed I love Patti...she is the other side of me.  Someday we will grow old together...I will cook and she will gather eggs for breakfast.
 My dad's favorite picture of us

Junior High School in a photo booth at Woolworths

 High School...Senior Year for me Junior year for Patti

Love you little sister...see you in two weeks