Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Challenge ~ Chinese New Year

Happy New Year (again)!
2013 is the Year of the Snake!

According to Chinese astrology, the year 2013
beginning on February 10, 2013 and extending to January 30, 2014 
in the western calendar, is the Year of the Water Snake. 
The Chinese zodiac comprises 12 animal signs ~ the snake sign 
is the sixth among them. The astrology principles followed 
by the Chinese state that it is very auspicious to have 
someone in the house with the snake sign. Snake is a good omen; 
it is symbolic of the fact that nobody in the house will ever 
go without food. Moreover, if a person is born in 
the year of the snake, she not only brings luck to the house, 
but also enjoys luck herself!

The Forecast for 2013
The year of the Water Snake continues to see better times thanks to its well-balanced element combinations. This signifies a year when everyone could see an improving trend. Natural or man-made disasters and hostile energy will reduce considerably. A new sense of peace will fill the year. Countries will display better diplomacy and goodwill among each other, where more friendly coalition and cooperation takes place. Goodwill is abundant. The 2013 chart analysis also suggests there are sufficient resources for new prosperity to prevail. source

Sounds good! We shall see!
What is your animal sign?
Check out the Lunar Year Chart HERE to find out.
Are you a quick-witted, clever, charming, sharp and funny RAT?
Or a steadfast, solid, a goal-oriented, hard-working OX?
Perhaps you're a TIGER, charming, ambitious, courageous, 
warm-hearted, and highly seductive.
 RABBITS are popular, compassionate, sincere, 
and enjoy entertaining at home.
If you are a DRAGON, you are energetic and warm-hearted,
lucky at love and a bit egotistical.
Are you a SNAKE? You're seductive, generous, charming, 
good with money, analytical, jealous, and slightly dangerous!
HORSES love to roam free. They are self-reliant, money-wise, 
enjoy traveling, love and intimacy.
GOATS are creative thinkers and wanderers, can be unorganized, 
high-strung and insecure. They need lots of love, support and reassurance.
MONKEYS thrive on having fun. They’re upbeat, and good 
at listening but lack self-control. Monkeys are heartbreakers!
ROOSTERS are practical, resourceful, observant, analytical, 
straightforward, trusting, honest, perfectionists.
DOGS are loyal, faithful, honest, prone to mood swings, dogmatic, 
and sensitive. Dogs excel in business but have trouble finding mates.
PIGS are perfectionists who enjoy finer things but are not 
perceived as snobs. They enjoy helping others and are good companions.

What sign were you born under?
The Lunar Year Chart is HERE.

The challenge this week is to create something depicting either 
the year of the Snake, your own Chinese zodiac sign, OR
 any sign you particularly like.

As always, use any medium you prefer!
Leave your link with Mr. Linky below,
and please link back to Inspiration Avenue in your blog post.
Have fun,  *~*•-:¦:-•:*♥*:•-:¦:-*~*  get creative!
~ Maggie


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekly Art Challenge

Tiny Art:
ACEOs and ATCs

"ACEO" stands for "Art Cards, Editions, and Originals"
and "ATC" stands for Artist Trading Cards.

What does all that mean, you might ask?
When this type of art was first created, its purpose was to
share art by encouraging creative exchange between artists.

Both ACEOs and ATCs are essentially the same thing. 
Some say that ATCs are only meant to be traded, 
whereas ACEOs are meant to be sold.

But all you really have to remember is this: 
The size is always 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  
About the size of a sports trading card.

Absolutely any surface you can use to create art, 
you can use to make an ACEO.
Paper, canvas, fabric, wood, digital . . . the list goes on and on.

The only rule is the size!

Can you believe these lovely pieces are all so tiny?

So the challenge this week is to create an ACEO. 

Use any media you like and any subject matter
~ whether it's paint, collage, pencil or ink, pastels, 
a digital creation, fiber, clay, photography or all of the above ~
to paraphrase a potato chip commercial:
I bet you can't make just one!

If you like to create collages and mixed media art,
you probably have piles (boxes? cabinets?) full of
bits and pieces of paper and other material that you know
will come in handy some day. This is a perfect time to
make good use of all that! (So you have room to save some more :)

Let's see how creative you can get with some tiny art!
Entries are due by Sunday, January 27 at noon (EST).
Guidelines are in the right sidebar.

All of the above ACEOs are found on Etsy.
Click each photo to visit the artists' shops.

Just a Reminder:
This Friday, January 25, is the last day to join
the Tag Swap!

Read about it HERE.

And email your snail mail address to: 
if you would like to join in!

Add your ACEO/ATC entry to Mr. Linky below.

Have a great week!



Monday, January 14, 2013

Love and Romance

With our Heart Tag Swap coming up and Valentine's Day next month, I've got love and romance on my mind.   Last week, lots of people said they loved poppies but not everyone had time to make an entry.  
I've also been thinking about the wonderful resources that are out there for those of us who like to make art with digital images.  This week, I've combined the two to present a new challenge.  All of my examples were made from images collected free at various sites on the internet and I'll share all of the links with you!

If you love Valentine's Day, these types of images might tempt you.

Everyone knows that the international experts in love and romance are the French.

All of the pictures from this image came from
Still, you might love something like puppies, kittens, travel, dancing, chocolate, or old-fashioned ladies' handkerchiefs.  (Yes, I love old fancy hankies.) The point is, this challenge is all about you and what you love.  I promised to include links so I'll add those at the bottom.  These are just some of my favorite places to look for free images.  If you pop over to my blog you'll see more resources in my sidebar.  HERE

Please share your vision on the topic of Love and Romance.
And, if you haven't already signed up for our tag swap, I hope you'll do it now!  The more the merrier. (Click on the "Tags from the Heart" button on the right sidebar. 

Now for the freebie information:

Hope to see your entry this week!
Lou Anne


Monday, January 7, 2013

Poppy Challenge in January

Poppies are a favorite flower.

Ivon Hitchens (British artist, 1893-1979) Flowers

According to this source the poppy means that...
The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood; the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields. The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free. The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors. The assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.
In the book The Language of Flowers, poppy means consolation.

Darling earrings  source

A favorite blog read is BJWS; this paragraph is taken from her post found here about poppies.
In the World War I battlefields of Belgium, poppies grew wild amid the ravaged landscape. How could such a delicate flower grow bright and  wild surrounded by death and destruction? The overturned soils of battlefield enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to thrive and to serve as a reminder of the bloodshed during that and future wars. The use of poppies as a remembrance for those who served in war was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the WWI Canadian forces in 1915.
poppies on silk by McCarroll

Elsbeth Müller-Kaempff (German artist, 1869–1940) 

Poppies have been painted, photographed and written about since time immemorial.  Show us a picture or write about poppies and link back to Inspiration Avenue. I will comment on every entry and will surely  enjoy each of your posts.  Here is a linky picture to use in your post if you would like to copy it.

Inspiration Avenue Challenge Link
Use Mr. Linky below and join in the challenge!  You are next!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hi everyone!
Sign-ups for this tag swap are now closed.
The swap was lots of fun, and we hope to do another one!

To see the tags that were exchanged in the swap,
Would you like to join a fun Tag Swap?
Last year, our Postcard Swap was tons of fun,
and we're ready to do it again, this time with TAGS.

We hope you'll join us for our

As you can probably tell, the theme is  
since the swap is in honor of 
Valentine's Day and American Heart Month.

Get out your cardstock or pre-made tags from the office supply store.
Use glue, paint, stamps, stencils, decorative papers, embellishments,
ribbons, string, thread, pens, pencils, markers and more.
Any or all of the above!
Add a helping of your unique creativity and make 3 tags.

They can be gift tags, book tags, 
luggage tags, 
hang tags,
even bookmarks.

You'll be sending a handmade tag to 3 people and
will receive 3 tags back in the mail!

Here's how to sign up:
Sign ups start now and will be open until midnight January 25, 2013.
(That's Eastern Standard Time, see our clocks in the right sidebar)
Leave a comment on this post just to say Yes! I'm interested!

Then (very important!
send your snail mail address to: 

(Sending your info to this email address instead of posting in the 
comment section will ensure that spammers will NOT see your address.
And, we at IA will NEVER, EVER use your address for anything but this tag swap.)

Start creating 3 tags as soon as you can!

Soon after January 25, you will receive 3
names and addresses of the recipients of your tags.
The addresses will be emailed to you at the address you emailed us from.

Just remember, we are a global community so you may be
sending a tag or two overseas.

Our very tiny list of Requirements:
  1. You will need to make 3 tags.
  2. The size of each tag should be at least 2.5 x 5 inches (6.4 x 12.7 cm) or larger. Rectangles or squares are fine, but feel free to use any other shape.
  3. Each piece should be mailed 
in an envelope or package of some kind in order 
to protect the piece. 
  4. Have your tags mailed by February 8, 2013. 

   Other than that, the sky's the limit!

We will do all the magic necessary to match your address
with 3 others so that everyone sends and receives 3 tags.

Also very important:
Be sure to follow through if you join, because it's a 
real live person who will not receive a tag
if you sign up and then don't participate.

Sound like fun? We all think so, and can't wait to get started!
Deadline to sign up is January 25, 2013 

If you decide to play (or even if you don't),
won't you help spread the word 
by placing the Swap button on your blog?
(Code and button are at the top of the right sidebar)

As always, click the sample tags
to see the sources of the above art!

Just a reminder:
PLEASE don't forget a most important part of the swap:
 email us your snail mail address at
 if you want to join in the swap.

~ Maggie

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hello Everyone!

It's time for another Mail Art Swap at Inspiration Avenue!

Our art challenge this week, Gift Tags and Bookmarks,
(see challenge post below this one)
is the perfect lead in to our next swap!

We had so much fun last year with our Postcard Swap,
this time we thought we'd  try our hands at 


Gift tags, book tags, 
luggage tags, 
hang tags,
even bookmarks.
Whatever type of tag is dear to your heart!

The only common denominator is hearts, since
February is American Heart Month as well as
the month that hosts Valentine's Day.

We hope you’ll join in the swap!
Details will be coming next week, so please check back
here at Inspiration Avenue for all the info!

’Til then, make art with all your heart!
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