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Creative Casey's Blog

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mandala Journal

I started this mandala journal about a month ago.  I used binding needles and bound the journal (though the binding stitches were totally made up by me).  I found that I love working with gel pens lately especially ones that have sparkles in them.  I labeled each mandala with the date they were created and titled each one.  This is probably one of the few times I've really enjoyed and gotten into creating mandalas. I think partially because I created smaller ones instead of large overwhelming pieces.

"Inspiration for Lunch"


"Controlled Chaos"

"Letting Go & Moving On"

"Life's Ups and Downs"

"The Wishing Well"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Carnations for Patients

This week has been very hectic at work. I didn't get lunch on Tuesday but I did come across a great way to spend a 10 min. break.  In a main lobby area they were hosting "make carnations for patients".  I spent my 10 min. sitting with a student and colleague making colorful tissue paper flowers that are put into vases made out of creamer containers turned stained glass by decoupage and tissue paper.

The woman who started the program was there and shared her story with us. She shared that she has been in recovery from leukemia for the past 14 years but when she was diagnosed and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital she realized that when she left that environment she wanted to do something that might be more inspiring for others that have to be there.  They can't have real flowers on the floor due to scents, allergies, and mold issues so she thought "why not tissue paper flowers".  She started making these flowers and bringing them to the hospital. Eventually others heard about the project and wanted to help.  She now collects 2,000 handmade flowers over the course of the year and then in late October she gets together with many volunteers to put the flowers in the decorative containers and deliver them to the floors at the hospital.

This is such a great idea and cause. My goal is to collect tissue paper from the holiday season (you know all of those gift bags you get with tissue paper) and I want to invite friends over on a cold winter evening for hot cocoa and chocolate and make a bunch of flowers to donate. If you are interested in finding out more about this program, giving to the cause or starting your own Carnations for Patients program check out the following site:  Info. is Christine Pettrone/Coordinator and email is:

If you have tissue paper you want to send my way for this project send me a comment below and I'll we'll exchange information.

Theres are the ones I made. 4 in 10 minutes!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Mobile Sketchbook Tour & Oh so much more...

Last week I received an email that the Sketchbook tour was coming to a city near me, Buffalo. The was coming in 3 days and was from 5-9pm on a night where I taught class after work until 6pm.  Therefore I knew this was going to be a long day to begin with and then I'd have to drive 1.5 hours to Buffalo to see the mobile library and back again in same day.  I did a call out to some friends thinking that if I had some fun people to go with it may not be so rough. Luckily my friend Sarah was up for an adventure.

So after an all ready long day/week we headed out to downtown Buffalo on a beautiful Thursday evening. It was great to get some time with Sarah to check in on how life was going and we got to enjoy Fall time in Western, NY.  We made it to the mobile sketchbook library and spent some time checking out books.  There were some really talented artist and some other let's saying interesting sketchbooks.

After spending some time at the mobile library we went into the WNY Book Arts Center which was sponsoring the tour;  This was an awesome store/arts center.  There was all kinds of homemade cards, screen prints, and book binding equipment. There was also altered books throughout the stores as decorations.  And to celebrate the sketchbook tour the store held a sketchbook making station. It was super cool.  They used scrap ink screen prints as the covers that you were able to choose from and showed you how to create a sketchbook by adding papers and binding the book together.

We left the event and completed our Buffalo adventure with going to The Pearl. Apparently this is a well known Buffalo brewery. I had the most amazing gouda cooked with beer soup and a wonderful chicken wrap. My friend had the most delicious looking turkey bacon sandwich on sour dough bread with french fries. Yummy!!!

We headed back in the opposite weather then when we left. It was down pouring and lightening for most of the return trip and we got back late but it was totally worth the long day. So glad we went!!! Thanks Sarah!!!!

Haunted Houses

My mom was in town this past weekend and I had purchased a groupon for the Dark Matter Charity Haunted House. The proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald house;  So although my mom and I went to the haunted house even though neither of us like horror/scary things.
The worst part perhaps was the 45min. wait outside when it was cold out and misting.  We froze!  But I guess it was worth the sense that we were totally scared the entire time in the haunted house.  The actors and design of the house was very spooky. We screamed a lot, I dragged my mom a lot and she almost had a heart attack.  In the end, we survived but had to have some cookies and chocolate afterwords to relax. :)

Halloween Outfit

The goal of my Halloween outfit was to make sure I can run in it and that it can be transformed and last until actual Halloween.  I'm running in the Johnny's Run Like Hell 5k this Saturday to raise money for Camp Good Days. My mom is excited that she will be in town and can watch the race.  Perhaps the best part of this race is that it is literally around the corner from where I live. My friend Stephanie (and neighbor Bob's daughter) is also running the race so my mom will have company on the side lines.  It will be an interesting race because it is at 3pm which is a random time for a race but understandable when a bar is hosting the race as post race food and drinks is at the bar.

I searched and searched for a costume that I could run it, that would be inexpensive to make and that I could hopefully reuse when my friend comes in town for Halloween.  I decided on being the queen of hearts from the Alice in Wonderland Version.  I like that her back story is that her most spoken words were "Off with your head" yet no one ever was beheaded because her husband would secretly step in to save everyone.

I purchased all of the materials to make my outfit for $10. A couple of weeks ago I took my friend to Craft Bits & Pieces and purchased some red and black felt, black ribbon, and a fake rose.  Then we went to Saver's wear I purchased a black t-shirt and then we went to JoAnn Fabrics where I purchased some white, red and black tulle and thicker black ribbon.  That Sunday I set out to make the tutu skirt.  My pattern for the outfit was the picture below I found online.

Now what I can tell you is that tulle stinks to work with and no matter what I did it doesn't look picture perfect like this one does.  The tulle always bunches up and then the colors start to mix. Especially when you run and your arms rub against it and it twist while you run.  Oh well... the point is the outfit was cute, didn't cost much and it serves it's purpose. :)

Here's some race pics! I ended up trimming the dress shorter and changing the headpiece to a rose on a bobby pin.

I came in 2nd place in my new "older more mature" age group and surprisingly came in 10th overall for women.  There was a total of 308 runners.  I felt like I ran faster than I did. Oh well, it was still a wonderfully fun run.

Believe it or not it was a costume race but there was a lot of scrooges who didn't dress up.

Neighbor Bob, his daughter Stephanie that I run with, me and my mom.

Me getting my 2nd place trophy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Experimenting with Acrylics and Epoxy Resin

Since this summer I've been seeing a lot of artwork that has a very polished finish look to it even though it's on canvas. This was beyond a gloss paint finish put on the canvas.  During First Fridays a month or so ago I finally got to ask an artist what the finish was and it turns out it's an epoxy resin that is put over top the finished painting to give the final product a high gloss finished look.

About 3 weeks ago I finally took the opportunity to experiment by trying out some new techniques.  I had been waiting for good weather to work outside but I finally gave up, laid down a huge tarp on my basement floor and got busy creating.

What I did:

1.  I took acrylic paint and paint sample cans (picking out my colors as I went along) and literally threw the paint down on the canvases.  Yes, paint splattered all over (hence the tarp). It was so much fun (even way better than splatter painting).

2. Once I had all of the paint thrown on I took a spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol and sprayed it all over the paint. You will see the paint start to bubble and separate.

3.  Then I picked up the canvas and hit one of the edges with some force against the tarp over and over again. I would turn the canvas and hit each other edge and would continue to spray the canvas with rubbing alcohol to help the paint flow.  I continued to do this method and occasionally stopped to throw on more paint until I was satisfied with the way the canvas looked.  This technique creates an awesome marbleized effect.

4.  I let the canvas completely dry. Then I purchased a two part epoxy resin from Michaels using a coupon.  I used a throw away plastic bowl and plastic throw away knife to mix the resin.

5.  I then poured the resin all over the canvas and used a foam brush to rub the resin so that it would cover the entire canvas.

6.  Then 5 min. later I had to breathe warm air over the little bubbles that formed on the canvas to get rid of them.

7. I left to dry over 48 hours and tada beautiful pieces of artwork were created.

*These top 4 pics were taken with the craptastic phone I have.

*These and the very top photo were taken with my camera. Note: It's difficult to take pics even with flash off of because of the glossy finish. The one below is hanging on my kitchen wall so it as a reflection in it no matter what I did.

**Here's some tips I learned along the way. The resin dried quickly on the new canvases but on the recycled canvases that had paper and other mixed media on them already it took weeks to completely dry.  I used sand in the biggest painting and I really liked the look of this and it didn't seem to affect drying time.  You could do a lot of experimenting with pouring the resin on unevenly and leaving some of the paint exposed. You could also experiment with creating layers using the resin, such as a coat of resin, paint, and then another layer of resin.  The toughest part is that the resin is a fairly expensive material even with a coupon and it doesn't stretch that far.  Also big note, use a newer tarp. Apparently mine was old and the protective coating was warn down. Hence when I finally went to pick up the tarp weeks later the paint had seeped right through the tarp and so had the resin stuff the tarp to the basement floor. Needless to say I'm in the not so fun process of repainting the basement floor!