Saturday, December 31, 2011

Free Belly Dance Class and New Class Series

    • When
      Monday, January 9, 2012
    • Time
      6:00pm until 9:00pm
  • Where
    TRUST ARTS EDUCATION CENTER, , 805/807 Liberty Avenue, Downtown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Description
    January 9th

    6-7pm STILETTO FIT (formerly Club Dance), beginners
    with Instructor, Jame Elis

    7-8pm STILETTO (formerly Club Dance), intermediate/advanced
    with Instructor Jame Elis

    8-9pm BELLY DANCE all levels
    with Instructor Narah Kimberley Arrington Minardi
    Join us for an evening of free classes, refreshments, and fun. R.S.V.P. required. Enjoy a free Soul Ice to cool you off after class.


    Art of Dance Classes for Adults, ages 18-up

    STILETTO FIT/Pump Pulse (formerly called Club Dance Workout)
    Instructor-Jame ElisMondays:
    6p-7p beginners
    7:15p-8:15p inter/advanced6 weeks for $50 or $10 for drop-ins.

    For the every woman looking for a sizzling hot dance class. Dance to the hottest music while sculpting and toning your entire body. Excellent lower body workout, non-stop calorie burning strength class. Great stretching component, and high energy dance session. Heels preferred, not mandatory (comfortable shoes allowed). This is closest to being Beyonce that you will ever get!

    Instructor-Narah Kimberly Arrington Minardi
    Thursdays 7:00-8:00pm.
    6 weeks for $50 or $10 for drop-ins.

    Learn the ancient art of belly dance! A dance of pure joy and celebration that will tone your whole body and increase flexibility and endurance. This transformative dance builds confidence and body awareness. All the while, you are having so much fun, you will think you are "cheating"!

    This class, suitable for beginners as well as those with experience belly dancing will begin with a yoga warm up, move into belly dance technique, continue with combinations or a mini-choreography and end with a cool down.

    If you'd like to join us, let us know on the Facebook event!  See you then!

    Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Ornaments Handmade and Sentimental

A and I made several new ornaments for the tree this year.  This one I made with a 1 1/2" hole punch, a round inchie image (from maybe?), a vintage letter, vintage buttons and Distress Stickles.

This one was cut from the Art Chix card stock  holiday tags.  A cut some of them and I cut some.  He glitter glued some and so did I.  A hole punch, a hook and it's done.  

A loves his engines, and so they must adorn the tree! :)

This one is from the Animal Rescue Site.  A great place to buy since proceeds go to helping feed animals in shelters or global programs.

Another from the Animal Rescue Site.  Love me, Love my Dog! :)

And another.  I customized it to look even more like Dana.  :)

Enjoy your holidays!  Be safe and relax!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Almost Winter Solstice

That post about holiday countdown calendars got me excited to make our own.  Here's how you can make one like ours (I'll reference this next year so you can count down for more than 4 days if you like, but don't let the short time stop you. :) )
1. Lightly sand 24 playing cards (optional)
2. Punch 24 small, 24 medium and 24 large circles out of patterned scrap paper using paper punches.  Alternately, cut them out.  You can use lids as templates or free-hand.
3. Ink the edges to distress (optional) and draw about 2 circles around the edges.  Mine are messy are artsy, just the way I like it.  I used a sharpie fine-tipped pen.  I also used it to hand write the numbers.
4. Glue the stacked circles together and then staple to the sanded cards.
5. Sew across the top of the sanded cards.
6. Stack the sanded cards on top of 24 other cards and sew on 3 sides to make pockets for tags.
7. Cut tags (smaller than your sewn area) using an electric cutter (I used my Cricut).  You can also use a paper punch or cut by hand and punch a small hole or staple the string/cord.
8. Use jute to string the tags.
9. Write special activities or special treats on the tags.  We wrote "popcorn and a movie", "go see Christmas Trees at Museum", "Read a big stack of books" (really big- Mommy and Daddy took turns with each book), (and others below).
10. Wrap jute around a batting and velvet covered (stapled) board and clip cards onto jute with mini clothes pins.
My rock drill he'd really been wanting to use.

The 2 thin shells we managed to drill through.

Paper snowflakes have continued to be a huge hit.  The Trader Joe's sales flyer  made some great ones.

Now, I'm back to sewing (set up a temporary kitchen station for more progress) and the rest of the day.

Happy almost Winter Solstice!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Hafla Tonight!

Enta Omri, probably my favorite song Ishtar plays, is my song for tonight!! And a little bit of sparkle in my costume for the festive holiday theme.  If you are in the area, come join us!  It's a lovely way to celebrate!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Art Links for Kids and Grown Ups

This one uses a CD to make a cool looking mosaic tiled frame.  Also from the Art for Kids blog- a bit about the Strathmore ATC's for Kids kit. The blog author, Kathy Barbro wrote the projects for the kit!

Traci Bautista is teaching a free online workshop starting January 1st!  I've posted about Traci's book, "Collage Unleashed", and a couple of her videos here.  She has a new book, "Doodles Unleashed", coming out February 1st.  Today on her blog, she has some great recycled materials holiday projects!

oh, and I put another ornament up on Etsy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Really Inspiring Links

White Hot Truth Danielle LaPorte  Just too many posts I've read today to tell you what I found enlightening.  Just start with the "most popular" ones listed to the right and get sucked into all the related posts.

Christine Kane Vision boards! Yes!!!

Kelly Rae Roberts on letting something go that's really good to make room for something better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Links for Holiday Countdown Calendar and Mercury in Retrograde

Free Victorian clipart found here.

DH and I decided there was no need to buy for each other for Christmas again this year. But, if we hadn't, I might suggest this course by Misty Mawn for myself. Her work is very inspiring and so is her book, Unfurling.  Perhaps there is an artist on your list?  Perhaps you should add yourself to your list? :)

If you want to make an advent/holiday countdown calendar, there are a couple posts out there I found interesting:

Maya*Made has one here.  And here. She also has an adorable house version that could be made into an ornament as well.  Threaded Basil wrote about her Maya*Made advent calendar here.  Her idea of cleaning up the playroom before diving into the treat is excellent!

Amy Karol, a.k.a. Angry Chicken has a post on one she made here.

If you want to make this, but are fretting because we are already 5 days into December, might I suggest being an "anti-perfectionist" and doing it anyway?  You could start tomorrow or even 5 days from now and it would still be exciting and fun.  A 20 or 15 day countdown is still a long countdown, don't you think?  A has been asking if it is Christmas (our tree is up), so maybe we will add this to our project list.  It would be a great lesson in DIY, re-using, counting forward and backwards, creative expression and valuing time together.  I adore Maya's idea of using "time tickets" in the pockets ... things like "hot cocoa date with Mommy" or "ice skating date with Daddy".

In other news, if you have also been experiencing miscommunications, wrong thinking, past issues resurfacing, and faulty information (via people or with phones, computers, cars, trains, etc.) it is due to Mercury being in retrograde.  A LOT of people I am in contact with have been complaining about just these things and with good reason.  This one's a doozy!  Why do I know?  I looked it up for my own sake.  Woah.  Glad I re-ordered my Hyland's Nerve tonic before now.  Looks like things should settle down on January 1st.

Maybe A and I will get on that countdown calendar today.  Making stuff is always good for the soul. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Yule Goat and an Honorable Mention

Did you know that the Yule Goat preceded Santa Claus in the lore of yesteryear? Apparently, he used to go around demanding gifts.  Maybe someone thought that wasn't very nice and then the story changed to the Goat giving out gifts for Yule.  Then, the Goat morphed into Santa Claus.  Above, you can see Father Christmas riding the Yule Goat. Hmm... interesting.  A way to transition the old with the new or is it like Durga riding the Tiger?  If you would like to read more about the Yule Goat, go to Wikipedia's link here.

As of late, it has come to my attention that while the mass consumption which supports large corporations is a sad mess, the idea of a magical guy who brings joy to children is something that appeals to me. Angelo knows that Santa is a "game of make believe that grown ups like to play too", but still gets excited seeing images of Santa Claus.  He knows Mommy and Daddy bring him presents, so it isn't the gifts that make Mr. Claus magical to him. It warms the cockles of my heart. :)

If you are into Santa Claus and other vintage Christmas imagery, you can check out my ornaments section in my Etsy shop. Or, if you're in the area Dec. 11th, you can come to the Local Artiste Market at Sterling Yoga.  I'll have magnets, journals, cards, jewelry, etc. 

A new camera is mine! So, I won't say there will never be another iPhoto pic here, there will be lots more photos in a better-than-they-were way. :)  Plenty of sewing projects on the docket ('tis one of the sewing seasons), so hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures of those to share with you soon.  

Oh, the Honorable Mention?  My Alice Girly over at the Altered Alice! :D

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shop Handmade on my Etsy shop!

There are some Black Friday/Cyber Monday price reductions in my Etsy shop!!  Journals, original collage art and more.  There's a swap/sell gathering I'm going to tomorrow and I'm vending at the Sterling Yoga Artiste Market Dec. 8th 2pm-8pm.  Send me good selling vibes! :) (thanks in advance).

Oh, and there's the Decorative Papers workshop at Sterling Yoga December 2nd! Super fun!! Join us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Altered Alice Fall Colors Challenge

This time, I'm gonna make the deadline!! Whoo Hoo! Drew this Alice Girly for the Altered Alice Fall Colors Challenge.  Colored her with Prisma pencils, chalks and acrylic paint (a la Suzi Blu's La La La coloring methods, with my own interpretation). The background is acrylic paint, sponged ink and a stamped Tim Holtz tree.  I punched the leaves from some index cards I painted.  Distress Stickles are around the border. 

Maybe we should have a Mad Tea Party instead of Thanksgiving dinner...
Copyright 2011 Narah Kimberly A. Minardi All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Gratitude

I do not have a picture to share to go along with this video, and I didn't see a way to embed it, but I am very Grateful to have found it.  It is quite inspiring.  It brings Giving Thanks to a whole new level.

"Live every day as if it were your first and your last."

Enjoy this 10 minute talk by Louis Swartzburg. (Warning, there is a naked rear in there, in case you care about that sort of thing. ;0)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Card for Baby J

copyright 2011 Narah Kimberly A. Minardi All Rights Reserved

This is a card I made for my college roomie who's having a baby soon.  I seem to make Love the central idea in baby cards because I've not known greater love than for my babies and am happy for my friends and other loved ones who are about to experience the same.  (P.S. A decided I should add the string and I think it's a wonderful addition. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make Decorative Holiday Papers!

I have another workshop coming up on Dec. 2nd.  It is 7-9:30 pm at Sterling Yoga in Dormont, PA (2889 Glenmore Ave.) I'll be covering several new paint and ink techniques you can use on paper to use in gift wrap, gift tags, ornaments, holiday cards and collage!  You can even "re-claim" the gift wrap if you see it heading to the recycling bin to use in projects later.  Or, encourage the recipient to do so.  :) It's going to be lots of fun! There will even be wine and chocolate to get your creative juices flowing.

$40 includes wine, chocolate, instruction and all supplies.  You'll be able to use these techniques for years to come, so you can always have a creative, personal touch to your holidays and beyond.

I hope you'll join us!  If you do, please register so I'll have enough supplies on hand: 412-260-0533 or sterling

Check out this holiday collage I made with examples I created for the workshop:

copyright 2011 Narah Kimberly Arrington Minardi.  All rights reserved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beautiful Digital Art

Keeping track of another link here.  Some beautiful digital art, website templates, etc.  Check out: 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Handmade Halloween Costumes

You'll recognize the mask DH is wearing as the one A  painted.  A's costume is made of wool felt from a pattern I drafted.  Dana's "ghost" costume is just material tucked into her collar.

Here, A shows off his spider legs.  The black widow marking was my husband's idea and handiwork.  It is automotive reflective tape- decorative and a nice safety feature for an all black costume. It consists of a pair of pants, and oversized long-sleeved shirt with a casing/elastic at the bottom and a separate hood (though, I did tack it down after he had it on. No sticking him with the needle, believe it or not.) The legs are stuffed with poly-fill and tied off for the segments.  the ends are all connected with quilters' thread.

My ghost costume was inspired by this one. (I opted out of the fishnets and heels.) It's the one I ironed the material, drafted the pattern for, cut and sewed in about 3 or so hours (lots of anti-perfectionist methods in play).  Now, deciding on a design... well, that took quite a bit longer.  There are no finished seams or hems, but there was a lot of snipping and ripping.  If you'd like to know more, please contact me.

Out collecting Treats.  You can see the Trick-or-Treat bag a little better here.  The outside and lining are both quilter's cotton for cuteness and strength.

Hope your Halloween was awesome!!!!!

Unrelated, I found a site that lists sheet music images from the Library of Congress. It is massive and though I'm not sure I'll ever get through it all, I'll have fun looking!

Also, check out for the Altered Book Workshop flyer.  Today is the last day to register!!  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mad Hatter Gone Batty and More Halloween Fun

Happy Halloween!!! It's the BEST day of the year!!!!!!

We already have been celebrating with lots of creative activities around here, and Trick-or-Treat will be a great topper tonight.  For us, it isn't even about the candy, but a way to face and celebrate the shadow side of life.  Plus, all those trick-or-treaters are pretty darn cute!  Even before we had Angelo, we have always loved Trick-or-Treat.  It's a great way to be a part of community if only for a short bit of time.  Our plans for the candy (since we eat such low sugar food and candy is so rare in this house) is to let Angelo have a few pieces tonight and give him the option to trade the rest for a super special toy.  Yes, it is bribery, and it's not a regular feature here, but today is an extraordinary day!

This was for the Altered Alice challenge- the Mad Hatter at his tea party with Twinkles.  So, Twinkle Twinkle little bat it is!  The background (on a plain index card) is a couple of stamps plus some sprayed mica ink (twinkly).  The image is colored with colored pencils and the polka dots have added Stickles (twinkly).  The bats are punched from a book page I sprayed with Tulip fabric paint/dye over cheese cloth.  The border and outlines are made with a Sharpie micro tip pen.

I didn't actually finish this in time to enter the challenge with all the other projects I had going on, especially sewing our costumes.  That's OK, though, since I really like doing challenges for the "challenge" aspect. Sure, winning is great, but going by someone else's guidelines while still having artistic freedom is a great way to stretch your creative wings.  :)

Here are a few more projects I've worked on lately.  I'll keep the descriptions short. :)

A with Sparky the Fire Dog at the Halloween parade, wearing the spider costume, but not the cute Trick-or-Treat bag.  Oops! 

One of A's Halloween decorations.  He cut out this, the skeleton and wolf man (because those are the only ones that actually link) from *Kaboose.  He stapled them together- easy and fun! They're hanging in the living room. :)  He's currently working on some of these coloring pages.  *Warning, the video ads are very annoying!

A having fun cleaning out the pumpkin.

A carved one of the eyes and drew the nose on this 1st one.

I absolutely LOVE this one!! A carved it with only the teeniest bit of help from Mama (holding the pumpkin and encouraging).  Love how children have such natural creativity and it looks extra creepy cool!

A Haunted house I painted, stamped and glued images to.  House form from Art Chix.

A Halloween bunting made from material I bought a few years ago.  It dons our entry-way.

I need to take a moment and mention my self-control.  In past years, I bought every Halloween magazine I saw, OD'd on Halloween art supplies, over-stocked on costume material and generally went nuts buying Halloween stuff.  This year, not a single magazine or decoration was bought, only material and art supplies in our stash were used, with this exception:  I only bought a few paintable forms for A and I to use (and some styrofoam balls for an art doll witch).  And we actually used them (except for the styrofoam... by the time I was into the sewing mode it was costume time.  But, we are a few steps closer to having her done.)!  BTW, the total for all the new purchases was about $15 or less. See below:

Couldn't resist this paper mache witch hat- I'd _just_ been looking in Bethany Lowe's Folk Art Halloween book and the supply list included "paper mache witch hat".  I thought, "yeah, right.  Because all stores carry that sort of thing."  I guess in the Bethel Park, PA Michael's they do!!  Also couldn't resist the antique photo finish here. :)

A picked out all of these himself and chose when and what colors to paint them.  

I know this was a long post!  (Aren't you glad I didn't add the "how to make a ghost costume in about 3 hours" tutorial?) Hope it adds festiveness to your Halloween mood!!! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Witch Link

Thought I'd try using a "Not Martha" method and keep track of some favorite links here on the blog.  Funnily, it is a "Martha" link.  :)

This is for making a Witch/Wizard hat:

Angelo's costume is made and I hope to get some pictures/video at tomorrow's Halloween parade.  Right now it is pouring, so I'm crossing my fingers for at least a break for the parade.  His trick-or-treat bag is also made- if only everything I made were that simple and satisfying.  Pictures to follow.

The material for my costume is mostly ironed.  Apparently, I shouldn't run the space heater and iron at the same time in the attic.  DH has switched the breaker back on (I avoid the basement if at all possible due to a mold allergy... it's really pretty under control, but just in case), but I took it as a sign to get back downstairs and get things set up for the morning, including print flyers for the next Mixed Media Collage workshop I'm teaching at Sterling Yoga: Altered books.

So, those are printed and now I should get some sleep.  'Night!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dia de Los Muertos

This is a collage I made for the Art Chix Day of the Dead challenge.  The skull I was able to draw here and there in my large spiral art journal pad.  The multiple purples on the canvas I painted many years ago and wasn't sure where to go next.  Figured it out, though.  Some orange splattered paint, mica ink spray, paper and "silk" flowers (also mica ink sprayed) and my cut-out skull were added.  The color was added with oil pencil on the skull.  An additional layer of mica ink spray was added to make the skull more cohesive with the rest of the piece.  

Please "Like" my picture on FaceBook and help me win! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Witches for the Price of 1

Maybe I'm obsessed.  Here are more witches for your Halloween count down.  Have I mentioned my digital camera bit it?  Yep, so all these and other recent photos have been taken with my iPhone.  You can click on the pics to get a better look.

Those of you in Pittsburgh come to the Mt. Lebanon Halloween parade on Saturday!! The family, some friends and I are going to be in it!  Just decided today, so gotta get on making a banner and such.  

In other seemingly unrelated news, Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts is a book that I really enjoyed.  She's really taken flight herself and it's very inspiring to this gal who's getting more into this art biz thing.  Her post, Telling the Truth, helped me remember that trying new things can make you feel a bit ungrounded, but that "ice water running through your body" feeling is really pretty normal.  She has a ton of posts, so enjoy them! :)