Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Introducing Red Bear and a Blog Theme

I started this blog in September of 2006 and really haven't had much to say over the years.  Except for the odd commentary on the news or other stuff I tripped over while reading the internets.

I did find that I had a lot to say about the photos I was uploading to my flickr account, and it occasionally occurred to me that I could be doing all of that typing on this blog, rather than in the remarks section of my flickr photos.  It was only when I started participating in a blog my daughter started about me playing a computer game, that I realized blog writing isn't so scary and that I could do it.

Finally, a focus and a co-author for this blog!  Time to turn this into an Arts 'n Crafts blog.  Mainly paper crafts.  Cards, Altered Art Journals, Mixed Media, some Scrapbooking, Ugly Paper Competitions, Monthly Challenges, Zentangle and Z.I.A., Painting, Colouring, Lettering and Calligraphy, Stamping, D.I.Y. Craft Supplies and Tools, ... but mostly it's all about the cutting and the pasting of the paper.

Another thing I learned co-writing My Mom Plays WoW, is that everything is better with a friend.  It's easier and a lot more fun, to blog with someone than to go it alone. Enter Red Bear, I'll let her tell you where her moniker comes from.  This Stampin' Up stamp pretty much says it all about Red Bear and me.
We've worked together, had kids together, and been posted all across Canada together, and apart, over the past twenty five years.  Red Bear is a far more experienced crafter than I, she's been making her own cards as long as I've known her.  We've both crafted with the kids over the years.  Starting about five years ago we started branching out from stamping cards to other forms of artistic expression.  Having said that, I recently caught the card-making-bug.

We absolutely do not take our artistic endeavours seriously.  We are self-taught [I failed grade eleven art class], and we do this just for fun.

These posts will be about some of the things we've done that we'd like to share with you.  You, anonymous internet reader-crafter, whoever you are! [leave a comment and introduce yourself]  Or, are about giving credit where credit is due, and linking you up with other artists on the 'net that have inspired us and taught us.

Red Bear is a bit of a computer-phobe.  She loathes being online and is extremely data-sharing-paranoid.  I tried to convince her to start a flickr account, to no avail.

My continual requests to take photos of her work, fell on deaf ears.  I thought.  One day I received quite the package in the mail.  Red Bear is so against sharing on the internet, she had physically printed pictures of her work, put them in photo album sleeves and mailed them to me!

I finally convinced her to blog with me by appealing to the one thing that trumps her dislike of all things computer and internet related - saving money.  I doubt I would have succeeded with the cost of printing the photos alone, I believe what sealed the deal is that it costs so darn much to mail the photos across Canada!

Red Bear even went so far as to take a computer course.  Then, my snail-paced life intervened.  It's been a long time since she agreed to blog with me.  When she agreed, she said "As soon as you make the texture paste post, I'll start blogging with you".

Well, I can't make the texture paste post until I make an introductory post ... ... time goes by ... ... and here we are.  Today is the day the introduction to Red Bear, co-blogging, and a Blog Theme happens.

As mentioned, Red Bear and I have known each other for a long time. I was her on-job-instructor at work, then we were co-workers.  Here's a photo of us taken in 1988 at a "winter in July"-themed Air Traffic Controller Check-Out Party.
Gawd, those were the days.  That night was only the second time in my life, to date, that I got sick from drinking too much!

When Red Bear and I were pregnant at the same time, my husband went to pre-natal classes with both of us [which raised a few eyebrows that we took delight in.].  We were pen-pals for the many years our different work postings took us all over Canada and beyond. Serendipity brought us back together in the same geographic vicinity when the kids were finishing high school and getting started in their adult lives.  That's when we started  crafting together almost weekly.  One final transfer took her to the other side of the country and for the past three years we've been having weekly Skype Craft sessions.

Yes, we had to get our kids to learn us how to Skype, but as we were physically separated from our offspring, the motherly motivation was high so we learned quickly.  Then we realized we could use Skype for more than nagging, money requests, dorm room walk-throughs, and being introduced to our child's new friends!

When I began playing on the internet around 2000, I spent most of my time in arthritis and fibromyalgia support forums.  This was long before the days of facebook and we were all advised never to use our real names or reveal personal data.  My online "handle" from then was "Zoo" [that's where the name of this blog came from].  Since then, how much we reveal about ourselves online has come full circle, from being "required" to use our real names on facebook, to discovering the nefarious ways people can use data we reveal about ourselves, back to "don't tell 'em nothin".

We won't be using our real names on our craft posts.  I've always referred to my daughter as "Kidlet" and my husband as "Himself", and will continue to do so.  We'll sign-off our craft posts as Red Bear or Zoo so you'll know who is posting.

Some crafting background.

Red Bear's "go to method for adding colour" is chalk, with stamp ink being a close second.  Mine is watercolour pencils/coloured pencils, with acrylic paint being a close second. Red Bear operates at super-warp-speed, I am painfully slow.  I do have a good excuse, I am cognitively challenged due to some chronic illness, proven with neurological testing where I scored so-low-it-is-off-the-bottom-of-the-chart in cognitive processing ability.

Red Bear is very linear and task oriented, which is great when we just need to get some crap done.  I tend ramble and wander all over the place, getting distracted many times along the way from point A to point B, which is great for new discoveries.

We both love to make our own paper for crafting with.

We are very fond of putting our own spin on ideas and sometimes you can't even recognize the original work.  For example, we often talk about "Sumi Smoosh" as in "we could use some sumi smoosh paper for this ..." or, something Red Bear said very recently "We haven't done Sumi Smoosh in awhile, we'll have to do some soon!" Shortly after Red Bear said that, in preparation for writing a few of these blog posts, I looked up the original Sumi Smoosh by Diana Trout.  While I was re-watching the two videos, I wrote down this question to ask Red Bear at our next Skype Craft, "how in the world did we get from what Diana does to stamp ink pads and wax paper?".  Red Bear's answer, "That's just the way we roll".

I'm eager to blog about our version of Sumi Smoosh and how we turned a sticky lint roller and an empty toilet paper roll into endless, or revolving stamps.  We'll see how long it takes to get that post published!  [hint: don't hold your breath]

My favourite shape is a circle, Red Bear's is the heart.  Red Bear's fave colour is red, mine is green.  We are both fond of glitter and/or shimmer.  Fortunately we've discovered Perfect Pearls, iridescent medium, and fine glitter so we've moved away from what we now consider "kid's glitter glue" LOL

We are also fond of mocking ourselves, cracking wise, being sarcastic, and occasionally, we swear.

Phew!  Done!  One down, one to go.  If you're still reading, you may have gathered I tend to babble on and on and on.  Ya, ... that's not going to change.  I write the way I think and talk.

So, enough about us, and on to the crafting!  As soon as I get the texture paste post up, Red Bear will begin her blogging career.

Ciao for now, Zoo

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