A feast for the eyes

A feast for the eyes
A feast for the eyes

 

So it turned out to be serendipitous that Alpha Stamps asked its designers to create something Alice-themed this month.

Because my daughter will be a unicycling performer in an upcoming Alice in Wonderland Circus production this summer, Alice has been on my mind a lot more than usual. Considering that Alice was never on my mind before now, this isn’t exactly an earth-shaking change.

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I decided to make an Alice-themed paper cake. In a strange turn of events–as if we could expect anything else from Alice–a fellow teammate also created a paper cake. What’s wonderful is that both cakes turned out completely different from one another. Read the rest of this entry

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So many adorable pictures of my kids sit unseen in boxes. Now that “my babies” are teens, I am trying to make more time to showcase some of those special snapshots in time.

Here is a mixed media tiled frame I made to showcase one especially colorful picture of my daughter on a visit to Disney World. While I used a different technique, I was first inspired by the work of the talented Lora Mahaffey. You can see my tutorial featured at the ColourArte blog

BetsySkagen-CA-Tile-123316 .

 

 Great Stuff

Was Lewis Carroll a secret crafter?–an Alice in Wonderland Altered Tin

Was Lewis Carroll a secret crafter?–an Alice in Wonderland Altered Tin

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Becoming a professional crafter has changed my life. Monday mornings? Couldn’t be better! Daily commute? No sweat! I. Love. My. Job.

Admittedly though, it has made me a little odd. I am often going out in public with dyed blue fingers or traces of glitter in my hair. And seriously, who besides me makes frantic dashes to the dollar store before it closes for the night in order to buy cheap dolls to dismember?

Ummmm…Apparently several of you. When I asked fellow Alpha Stamps Design Team Members that question, more than one had done the same thing. One, who shall remain nameless, coughTristancough had bought 12.

Scary.

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This is not the first time I have dismembered body parts in the name of crafting…

Read the rest of this entry

Welcome to our cottage on the lake–sorry no synchronized flushes

Welcome to our cottage on the lake–sorry no synchronized flushes

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Next year will be the 75th anniversary of our family’s cottage and I thought it was high time to acknowledge our family’s long history with this humble yet special place on “da lake”.

Humble is not some half-hearted attempt at being polite. I literally mean humble. Our little log cabin has been flanked in recent years by McMansions haughtily looking down from climate-controlled alfresco kitchens and his and her en suites complete with synchronized flushing.

Betsy Skagen of Paper Calliope

That’s Me! On the back steps of The Cottage.

While I might not object to a few upgrades to our cottage–like being able to take a shower some place other than in the basement with chipmunks dashing in to sneak peeks at my lady parts, I cannot imagine replacing it with some giant lake home.

Our cottage has too much character, heart and history–from the open loft guaranteed to cause concussions in any adult over five feet tall, to the six-foot wide longhorn steer horns above the table that my grandfather acquired somewhere in Texas, to the 1960s retro motel towels that my uncle “borrowed” when he traveled the state with his construction crews.

Bobber-girl by Betsy Skagen

I bet people in alfresco kitchens don’t let their kids stick fishing lures in their swimsuits.

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Honoring a hometown hero

Honoring a hometown hero
Honoring a hometown hero

Prince was our hometown hero.

Most of us took a quiet pride in him in a typically reserved Minnesotan way. Writer James Lileks summed it up perfectly when he described his early encounter with Prince in this Star Tribune article. “Everyone knew it was Prince. Here’s the Minnesota thing: Everyone left him alone. There just seemed to be an understanding that you were not cool enough to go bother him. It wasn’t personal. It was just a fact. There’s Prince over here on the cool spectrum, and then there’s you, waaaay over there, and somewhere in the middle is Don Knotts.”

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I can’t help thinking how even though he was of the world’s greatest musicians and a revered rock star, Prince died all alone. I hope he knew–in spite of our reticent ways–just how much his hometown loved him.

I designed a stencil and subsequent altered tag as a small remembrance of him. I hope you check out my tutorial featured on the ColourArte Blog

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Great Stuff

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Celestial Pinwheels for spring’s evening breezes

Celestial Pinwheels for spring’s evening breezes

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It is almost magical: a warm spring evening, a light breeze and a starry sky. These celestial mixed media pinwheels remind me of this special time.

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Here is where you can see my tutorial on how to make pinwheels. 

These pinwheels kind of makes me want to skip out on all my work, make up some lemonade and go sit on my porch swing right now. Ah, but I have a lengthy blog post to write. Of course, I could just send you over to my tutorial

…and then…

…I could just…

 …play hooky…

 

 

A little birdie told me Mother’s Day is drawing near

A little birdie told me Mother’s Day is drawing near
A little birdie told me Mother’s Day is drawing near

For moms of young kids, Mother’s Day can be difficult. I bitched for years about not being able to enjoy the “holiday” because it meant racing around trying to honor my mom, step-mom as well as my mother-in-law before she passed away. At least my husband would help my kids give me a gift–I know single moms have it harder.  .

Losing my Dad and nearly losing my mom this year gave me an attitude adjustment. Immensely grateful my mom is still with us, I am determined to relish this day. Read the rest of this entry

Leaving the nest and letting them soar

Leaving the nest and letting them soar
Leaving the nest and letting them soar

 

For 18 or so years we keep our children safe–all the while strengthening their wings and slowly teaching them to fly. Finally the day draws near when they are ready to leave our nests and fly away on their own.

Suddenly, in the beat of a wing, the core focus of our lives is taken away from us. It is terribly tempting to tightly lock the door to the birdcage, keeping our vulnerable fledglings safe under within our care.

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Yet, a caged bird will not sing. We know we must let them fly away. There’s the saying that “if you love something, let it go free. If it loves you, it will come back.” Usually, our children come back. Yet we know deep that things will never really be the same. Our nests are forever changed.

I created this art, featured at Alpha Stamps, as testimony to the experience so many of my friends are going through–the bittersweet experience of seeing children leave for college or another adventure. The cage, which I made from paper mache, is lined with “bird advice” a mother might say to her children. Read the rest of this entry

Under the Mixed Media Big Top

Under the Mixed Media Big Top
Under the Mixed Media Big Top

 

 

Canvas Corp will soon be publishing a plethora of 4 x 4 canvases, uniquely created by each of their design team members. Since the canvases are supposed to reflect the designers in some way, I decided to create a vintage circus meets industrial canvas.

Skagen-4x4challenge2a Read the rest of this entry

A riot of spring colors–butterfly tag tutorial

A riot of spring colors–butterfly tag tutorial

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The promise of spring is here in the Northland with budding lilac trees and shoots of green forcing their way through the still frozen earth. After months of bleak winter landscape, the vibrant colors and textures of spring are truly a rebirth. My three-dimensional butterfly tag is meant to reflect the wonderful assault of color that spring brings. Please visit the tutorial on how to make this fun take at the ColourArte Blog.

 

Paper-Calliope-CA-tutorial-122330 Read the rest of this entry