It has been a crazy few weeks.

I don’t think I have stopped running in the last few weeks.  (don’t get confused it was NOT the exercising kind of running) . . . . just a lot of things happening in life.

First, at the beginning of March we went on a Paper Muse Cruise to Cozumel and Belize aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.  It was a wonderful time and during the “at sea” days I taught mixed media classes.

In the first class we constructed an Art Journal using a number of fun techniques on watercolor paper.

Paper Muse Cruise

Paper Muse Cruise

The 2nd class we created a canvas using Tim Holtz Distress paints and beeswax.

 

Whispers of Art, Ranger, Paper Muse Cruise, Michelle McCosh

Whispers of Your Art

Here are some of the different canvases that everyone made.  They were just absolutely fabulous

1stphoto 2ndphoto 3rdphoto 4thphoto

 

The third class was the Mariner’s Box

Mariners Box Paper Muse Cruise Michelle McCoshwe left two compartments open so that we could get souvenirs from the cruise.  I managed to buy a beautiful shell and some Worry Dolls that will go in mine.

and the fourth one we continued with more techniques in the Art Journal

Paper Muse Cruise

Paper Muse Cruise

Here are some of the photos from our Art Days.

Artdays3 artdays2 artdays1Artdays4artdays5Artdas6

we had 38 in our party and we were able to get the whole side of the restaurant reserved for us, although trying to get everyone to wave at the same time was impossible.

Paper Muse Cruise

In Belize some of us booked a private tour through NCQ Adventure Tours.  If you go to Belize I highly recommend them.

These are some images of Belize

Belize paper muse cruisePaper muse cruise Belize

 

We went to Altun Ha which is the most extensively excavated ruin in Belize and was a major ceremonial center during the Classic Period, as well as a vital trade center that linked the Caribbean shores with other Maya centers in the interior. The ruin consists of two main plazas with some thirteen temple and residential structures.

  The “Jade Head”, representing the Sun God, Kinich Ahau, was the most significant find during Dr. David Pendergast’s excavations. At approximately six inches high and weighing nine and three-quarter pounds, it is still to this day the largest carved jade object in the whole Maya area. The Jade Head is locked up in a bank vault so we did not get to see it, but, the ruins were amazing.

Paper muse cruise Belize

Paper muse cruise Belize

 

Paper muse cruise BelizePaper muse cruise Belizeruin2

Two of our group were teenagers and they decided to climb the first ruin we came to:

Paper muse cruise Belizethis was taken from far away.  Up close it is quite steep and tall!!

Apparently I mistook myself for a teenager that was in shape and I decided to climb up as well.

halfway-UpHalf way up and I am still smiling

crazy2

The girls were watching me and saying to each other “what an idiot I am”CrazyWhen I got back down I was told that this was the ruin that was not recommended to climb as it is quite treacherous.  Nice of them to tell me AFTER!!

After we had explored this ruin we went to the Baboon Sanctuary where we had close encounters with the Howler Monkeys.  It was amazing to hear them howl to each other.  I loved my time spent with them.

Paper muse cruise

Nacho and his wife who gave us the tour were so nice and provided us with water, sodas, tons of local snacks (yummy), took us to lunch and to a local grocery store so we could stock up on spices and then dropped us off at a market after giving each of us gift.  They are very knowledgeable about the history of their country witch they obviously love and we had a fantastic time with them.

Next stop the cruise ship made was Cozumel where we were treated to some street dancing and enjoyed shopping and lunch at a local eatery.  The dancers were incredible and their costumes amazing.

Paper Muse Cruise streetdance2 streetdance

 

During the cruise my Dad unfortunately suffered a stroke, I did not find out till I was in Cozumel and had phone service.  So once we docked I ran to Orlando.  (Luckily my Dad is expected to make a full recovery but, I thought I was going to have a break down when I found out).  Two weeks later I flew to Connecticut to teach an Art Journal Class at one of my friends stores and from there I went to Framingham, Ma to attend a retailer event.  Then I flew back to South Florida to host an amazing Mixed Media event with DJ Pettitt.  I brought a horrendous cold back with me and I am now just starting to feel like a normal human being again.  . . . . So it does not seem like I have stopped to breathe this year.  Anyway stay tuned for my recap of Connecticut, Framingham and DJ Pettit.

Sweets from my Childhood

I was in an Art Journaling class last week when one of the girls was talking about a Candy store in South Florida called To the Moon.  Apparently this store is a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.  They have over 13000 items in stock, their main focus is hard to find candies and chocolates from the early years and also a large number of international treats and they also sell some kitschy fun gift items.

While we were talking I suddenly remembered a candy bar from my childhood growing up in England called Caramac.  When I used to visit England regularly a few years ago I  used to treat myself to one but they were always a little harder to find.

My Aunt used to own a Sweet Shop on the High Street in a small town in Shropshire and I used to love getting a small bag of pear drops or a couple of parma violets when I visited as a very young child but I don’t remember if she carried Caramac.

Anyway someone asked me what it tasted like and I couldn’t describe it other than to say it was a distinctive flavor, so I googled it to find out how others describe it and came up with this:

A Caramel flavored “Chocolate” bar.  (there is no cocoa in it)

788px-Caramac

I looked up the definition and Wikipedia says:  The bar is a pale yellow colour, and is manufactured using sweetened condensed milk, butter, various flavourings, and sugar

aah. and I realized the reason I love it must be from the condensed milk!!

Now I remember the candy very well but not the wrapper, I wonder if they had a different one when I was a child. . . . but more importantly I will have to find out if this candy store carries it.

A long over due update

I bet you wonder where I have been, I am still here, I have just been unable to get off the hamster wheel for the last few weeks.

Here is a run down from the start of 2014

I had the day off on New Years Day, it was nice to have the day to myself.  I did a little cleaning and organizing in my craft room and even took a nap. My craft room would need a month of 12 hour days to get organized properly as it has been a dumping ground for the last 4 years.  One of my goals for this year is to get it back into a creative space.

January 2nd I was back at work, I taught five classes at the store and then I flew to California for a Trade Show and it has been non stop ever since.

The trade show which was held in Southern California was fantastic.  I love going to the trade shows not only to see what is new but to catch up with fellow store owners and my favorite manufacturers.  Over the years some of the industry people have become great friends and I love seeing them.  This year was extra special. . . I had some of artwork featured in my all time favorite manufacturers booth.  It was such an honor.  Ranger is an awesome company.  I can never say enough good things about them and the people that are associated with them.  Can you say “girl crush”

Here are two of my pieces in their booth.

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Ranger Booth

My two pieces are the Paintbrush Card on the left hand side and the Eiffel Tower Tag on the bottom.  There were no words to describe my feelings as I walked by the booth and recognized my art. :)

Here are some more detailed images of the card

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Paint Brush Card

I used Adirondack Paint and Archival Ink on the card.  The background was made with my Gelli Arts plate.  I also painted the brush handle on the gelli plate.  The brush incidentally came from my paint brush pot.  I often leave my paint brushes in dirty water for extended periods of time.  Not usually a good thing but in this case I though my brush was very “Arty”

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

The Brush!

I used some Tim Holtz Rubbings on the handle. I was going to paint the ferrule (the metal part of the brush) but I really loved the rust that was showing and did not want to interfere with it.

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Close Up of Rust

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Another view

Brush1

This is the Tag that I made.  . . . again I used Adirondack Paints and Archival Ink\.

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Eiffel Tower Dream Tag

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

another view

Ranger-Booth-Art CHA 2014 Tim Holtz Michelle McCosh

Bottom View

 

 

Since I returned from CHA I have been busy designing and teaching classes and getting ready for the cruise.  We leave in two weeks to travel to Belize and Cozumel for a few days.  I am teaching four classes on the ship, here is a little peek.

Cruise Projects Michelle McCosh

Sneak Peek

Just in case anyone going on the cruise reads this blog I do not want to spoil the surprise so I will schedule a post for when we have left Fort Lauderdale that will show the completed projects.

Two weeks after we get back from the cruise I fly to Connecticut to teach an Art Journaling class at the Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook,

Art Journal Michelle McCosh

Art Journal – The Power of 7

 

after that I go to an industry training event in Massachusetts.

I will be back April 1st and then DJ Pettitt comes to the store to teach on April 3rd.  Talk about a whirlwind.

As all of my classes are designed through the end of this month so now I have some time to breathe and will be able to update this blog.

 

 

How I did not become a Movie Star

When I was a young girl I dreamt, as many young girls do, of being a movie star.  I fantasized about being famous and living an amazing life in Hollywood.  It took me many many years, in fact till four weeks ago to realize that this particular dream is never going to happen.  Luckily I have a lot of other dreams.


I have been saying for three years or more that we are going to start making videos for the store.  I have been yakking, talking and planning and talking some more about doing them but never actually, well doing them.

I even took a class with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer at a trade show (CHA) on how to make interesting videos but there was always an excuse when it came time to start.

I don’t have the right equipment;

I don’t know how to work the camera;

oh no, I don’t even know what software to use and if I knew I would then have to learn how to use the software and I don’t have time

Like I said, excuses, all kinds of excuses.

I think in the back of my mind I was sabotaging myself into thinking it had to be perfect, a blockbuster video right out of the gate, that it had to be absolutely amazing, that would have everyone talking about how fantastic it was.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I was having a conversation with Dina Wakley and she was encouraging me (thanks Dina) to just do it. . . . and I decided to well, just shut up and do it.

I wanted to share with you how the video process actually worked, there are three of us helping to do this video, me, Lisa and Nancy (coworkers) and it took many days to do.

I got a tripod and borrowed a working camera.  We set the tripod up on the desk facing down onto my mat like this.

Shooting our video

Shooting our video

We actually have to stand up on a stool to see into the camera to make sure it is in focus, that we have my non stick craft sheet in the middle of the frame and then someone presses the “Record” button.  Fantastic we are ready to film

Video Take 1.  Finally got all the camera equipment working, sat down to film, Lisa sat in front of me watching me and she talked through the whole video. . . . Not to worry, I can always remove the sound track and do a voice over.  (yeah right, like I know how to do that)   I pick up a piece of chipboard to mask off a portion of the project, only to realize that I had written “Toilet Paper Rolls” on the chipboard and it shows in the video.

Video Take 2:  Sit down, make sure I have all the items around me that I am going to use, start the video and realize I can’t actually speak during the process.  I can’t get my mouth to form words out loud.  What the heck is wrong with me????  This is “IT”, the moment when it finally dawns on me that I will never ever be an actress. I can’t act, I hate having all the attention on me  and I am not at all comfortable in front of a camera. 

Video Take 3:  Sit down, Get everything set up, start filming and working. I am reading off a script and although I sound disjointed and like a babbling idiot I am actually talking, which at this moment in time feels like a huge accomplishment.  Finish the video, download it to my computer to review . . . . and it is completely out of focus.

Video Take 4:  Sit down, start the video, can’t find any of the tools I need as I had not prepared.  Did not know what I was working on, gave up and realized it did not matter as the lens cap was still on.

Video Take 5: Finally realize the tripod we have the camera on, actually extends much more than we thought.  So we can have the camera on the floor, right in front of me and we can see through the viewfinder and turn it on without being on a step stool. I mean seriously, we are that dumb!!!

So much easier to shot like this!

So much easier to shoot like this!

So I sit down, I have everything around me, I have my script and we start.  I talk, I create and it looks good.  We review the footage and it is out of focus again. frigg!

and then . . . . many attempts later we finally get some usable, in focus, well narrated video footage and the next hurdle is editing. . . . . and it turns out that this part is really easy. I do not know why this part frightened me.  I casually transferred the footage onto a thumb drive and give it to my husband to process. Yes, it was that easy.

The video is actually only four minutes in length but if you watch it 30 times in a row it will feel like a full length feature movie and you will have time to eat your popcorn.  Be kind in your comments please it took a lot of sweat and effort to get here.

and this is our video masterpiece, please enjoy!

 

Now I am just sitting back waiting for an agent to call me and thinking of the next video.

 

Teaching on a Cruise Ship

I taught Mixed Media classes on a cruise ship last year with Cheryl Mezzetti and I had so much fun I decided to teach on a cruise ship again.
So I am excited to announce that you can find me on

March 1 – 6, 2014

aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

a 5-Night Mixed Media Cruise to the Western Caribbean

 

Cruise Liberty of the Seas Royal Caribbean

Liberty of the Seas

leaving from Fort Lauderdale.

Classes

4 Different Mixed Media / Art Journaling Classes
we are limiting class participation to 32 crafters.
Update:  October 21, 2013
There are only 3 crafting spots left!!!
The Art Studio will be open 24 hours a day so you can play whenever you want
We will also have an on board store featuring the latest Mixed Media Supplies.
If you are interested only in cropping and not the classes we will have a special option just for you.  Call Everything Scrapbook & Stamps for more details on 561 432-5201.

 What to expect

The ship is sailing to Belize City, Belize & Cozumel, Mexico Share a high five with Shrek as part of the DreamWorks® Experience.  Put on your boogie shoes for hit Broadway musical Saturday Night Fever. Catch a first-run movie in the 3D theater or poolside under the stars on the outdoor movie screen. And finish the evening with a selection of reds or whites at the renovated, now-more-intimate Vintages wine bar.Liberty of the Seas has a FlowRider® surf simulator, rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, Royal Promenade, cantilevered whirlpools, mini golf course, and much more.

Sign-up Now!

   http://www.cruiseandcrop.com/PaperMuse2014.htm

Everything2014_Blinkie

I am busy planning all completely new classes.

I am literally exploding with ideas

It is going to be so much fun, I hope you can join me.

Cruising to the Caribbean

As a child I was fortunate enough to travel to a lot of wonderful places and countries.  I love traveling and seeing new cultures, tasting new foods and sightseeing.

Then I bought a store and traveling for me, apart from trade shows, ceased.

So I jumped on the chance to teach on a Mixed Media Cruise last year.  Cheryl Mezzetti asked me to co-teach with her aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. We traveled to St. Thomas. St. Marteen, and Coco Cay in the Bahama’s.  We also had three days at sea, which is when we taught classes.

The first class I taught was an Art Journal that could be used as a photo album, travel journal or technique journal.  There were different techniques used on each page.  Unfortunately I still have to complete the interior of my own album with the souvenir’s I collected.

art-journal-cruise

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