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oooh, things are getting so very close!  i have to jog my memory on what zany settings lulu wants for the pages files for the zine, then export 50 or 60 something pages, then it’s ready!

see what wonderful artists are going to be featured in this newest issue:

artist contributors in the altered bits zine

and want to see a peek?  if not, you better close this window fast ’cause i’m sharing.  please do note that these are only a portion of what you’ll find in the next altered bits zine issue… there is sooooo much great art it may make your head spin.  it makes mine spin, at least.  love it all!!

a peek at many of the amazing mixed media art pieces accepted to the altered bits zine

more soon.  🙂


omg, the zine is almost done!  i have a couple/few extra additions to add this week, bios to do, then it’s done.  i had to take a break from it this week though because my studio is a shit hole.  i’m sorry, but it’s true.  it was so messy and cluttered that there was literally a path to the desk and i had to hoist myself over boxes of bones and doll parts, canvases and other junk just to get to the other side of the room.  not cool.  so, it’s almost all the way tidy now and a clear space makes for a clear mind… and the ability to do MUCH better design/layout work.  want a peek of another one of the pieces?  here ya go (betcha you could never figure out who created this piece):

crackled took, art zine peek, altered bits zine

during the whole cleaning and crap excavation, i realized that i do way too much.  seriously.  there are only so many hours in the day and when i cook a bare minimum of 18 hot, nutritious meals per week, do a load of dishes or two a day, home school for 6+ hours per day (more like 8+ when you take breaks and attitude into account), do web design for existing “old” clients as needed, tend to my shop (that’s kind of a lie — i don’t think i’ve added anything in a year), do the zine, have two art groups for aspie kiddos (one for homeschoolers, one for public schoolers)… it’s just all too overwhelming.  and that’s not even the half of it, but you get the gist.  when i have “free time” or force free time by neglecting laundry, i love to create my weirdo assemblages, make handmade books, paint (i’m not that good at it but i LOVE it so who cares), make journals and cuffs, collage, art journal, etc.  too much.  so i decided that i need to go on an art diet.  i’m hereby no longer making wrist cuff bracelets or fabric art journals unless by special request.  instead, i’m limiting my art to painting, assemblages and books… and collaborations, but only one at a time (jilly!!).  there is only so much time in my life and only so much space in my studio.  i’m also nixing my ancient desire to learn to knit and crochet.  as a result, i’ll probably be getting rid of about 472 pounds of fabric and yarn… and crochet hooks and knitting needles.  et cetera.  i’ll save the good stuff for give-aways here.  🙂

cutting out the excess time-suck stuff means more art time and just as exciting, more time to catch up on what everyone else is doing!  it’s going to be like blog christmas, or whatever gift-giving holiday thing you’re into.  i miss my arty peeps (and nights of a full 8 hours of sleep).  slow down, alicia!

on the painting note, i love paint!  last year or so i started wanting to learn to paint portraits and figures “right” so i could start doing them wrong… i love the odd and disfigured for some strange reason.  my people often look dumb still, but it’s so much fun creating them.  anyway, i was recently commissioned to do a nude portrait, which scared the crap out of me.  recently is also a lie — it was over two years ago but he reminded me recently because i gracefully “forgot” due to fear.  so i created one this week and was a little surprised by the fact that i didn’t totally hate it.  the face is wonky, the limbs are uneven (love that), the hands are deformed (intentional), and her hair is abnormally red (among other things), but i don’t hate it, so i’m going to keep playing.  i can only post a peek because  he who commissioned me to create it hasn’t seen it yet.  i’ll share the whole thing at a later date if anyone is interested in seeing a weird naked lady painting.  i’ll take good pictures once the recipient has received it so you can see all of the texture.

mixed media nude painting, alicia caudle, peek

i’ve also been getting about an email per week requesting more art tutorials, namely texture techniques (without the use of chemical art supplies), recipes for my inks and dyes since i’m allergic to 98% of the universe and often create my own goodies, and some of my strange books and bindings.  so, i’ve started a new “two story book®” tutorial.  i haven’t written it yet but the steps are all photographed and ready for me to create some free time to compose it.  this one isn’t super decorated, but one of the couple i’ve recently created (click to enlarge):

two story book, alicia caudle

here are some of the inside [coffee stained] pages, all deckled and purdy on the outer edges

two story book pages, interior

and here is some close-up detail of my binding.  i’m totally binding illiterate when i read other people’s instructions so i just make up my own, clearly.  looks like an ancient book to me.

book binding, binding detail, two story book, alicia caudle

once the zine is complete and i’m working on the tallest handmade book project, i’ll be whipping up this tutorial for all who are interested.  and painting lots more nudes.  i think i’m obsessed.

gotta love those weeks of high energy and little sleep!  i’ve worked my ever-lovin’ arse off on the altered bits mixed media art zine and have managed to design 49 pages in the past week.  all i have left is fill a couple of blank spots (you may be able to help here — see below), finish the absolutely amazing artist interview (have all the info, just have to lay it out), add artist bios in the back, then complete an article that you will LOVE and ADORE (it’s not by me — but one of the pages appear to have been lost during my computer crap-out last february when i lost all the pages i’d already designed, blah, blah.  i will fix this or contact the amazing artist who submitted it… but i’m not telling you who it’s by ’cause surprises are good).

peek of an art piece in the "artful retelling of history" section of the upcoming altered bits mixed media art zine

(above is a tiny little peek at one of my pieces in the zine… category: artful retelling of history)

so, here’s the deal.  due to many things, such as my inability to properly count, someone silly submitting a piece to two different categories and me trying to add it to both before realizing the error, and my OCD-like need to have all new category sections starting on the right side of the page, there is still a bit of room.  not a lot, but a bit.  if you would like to submit super late for consideration of the zine, please do so by wednesday 10/24 at 9 PM (USA — PST).  i will need: high res photo(s) of you piece(s), your bio, your URL to site or blog, your location and an optional write-up on the piece(s).  and title of piece.  you can submit up to 3 pieces per person however space is HUGELY limited.  email to hi (at) altered bits (dot) com.

this is what’s left:

one half page (portrait orientation) in cabinet of curiosities
one full or two half pages in artful retelling of history
one half page (landscape orientation) in handmade/altered books and book pages (journal pages allowed as well)
tattered and torn is full unless i get two pieces i die over and must include — it would be a pain in my arse, but potentially worth it

i am also working on the tallest handmade book in the world project but i’m too ADD to talk about it right now — very focused on the zine.  i have not forgotten about it and now that school’s back in, art groups are back on.  super exciting news to share, etc.  but soon… this is zine time!  🙂

if all goes all planned, this zine WILL be ready for the holidays to but as gifts, etc.  also, i’ll be giving away at least one to one of the contributors and probably another to a non-contributor.  we’ll see once we get there (gotta save my pennies for little man’s holiday gifts first, hah).

UPDATE (about an hour later):

there is now only half a page in handmade/altered books and pages/journal pages
and half a page in cabinet of curiosities

only have a sec as my guys are taking me out to eat right now but i’m basically a moron and want to openly admit this fact (thank you, patty!!!)

the zine deadline is actually march 1st.  where the hell did i get february 18th?  (it’s my birthday today, and maybe i’m so old now that dementia has kicked in??)

ALTERED BITS ZINE SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS MARCH FIRST.  🙂  (not this weekend)  i can now breathe again.  phew.

nurse with head

first and foremost, i want to thank all of you for your sweet and wonderful comments and emails from my last most.  i have been SO busy that i haven’t had time to respond yet but i will, and i love and appreciate you all.

anatomical hearts digital collage sheet

now, on to biz…

i haven’t counted yet, but it seems to me there may be less submissions for to the altered bits mixed media art zine this round and the deadline is tomorrow.  i could be wrong though.  still, there were several people who said they had things to submit that i haven’t gotten yet so… if you let me know by the end of the weekend that you will be sending things, i can give you an extension until next friday, but only if you let me know so i can save a potential page for you (and i can’t make any promises).  otherwise, if you have your pieces ready, please get them to me by the end of the day monday if you can.  guess how i’m going to be spending my birthday tomorrow?  finishing MY pieces.  i have one started and not the other, neither are done.  ha. if you need more time than that, just ask.  i’m really quite behind and if i don’t have crap together i can’t really expect you to either.  i STILL have to interview the magnificent and wonderful artist who will be the center of attention in this issue too.  i really do suck.

collage for a cause, bird digital collage sheet

over the past few weeks i’ve been working on some new digital collage sheets (okay, months, but shhh — i’ve been busy, thus super slow).  i have three new “collage for a cause” sheets.  two “for the birds” sheets and one “hearts only”.  both my very own little bug studio (now an official non-profit) will receive 100% of the profits to start/finish our studio remodel for children on the autism spectrum to come art it up with my aspie son and me, and the other charity is the non-profit called the neighborhood center for the arts.  remember susan in a previous post?  you can catch up here if you missed it:

art journal borders and bits

i also started six new “art journalling borders and bits” digital collage sheets.  i think i’m going to tweak some of them in the next week or two but they are fun.  i’ve had lots of people ask “why don’t you do borders like everyone else?  my response is “i have no clue what anyone else is doing — i don’t have time to look at other people’s offerings”.  i guess i should!

collage for a cause, bird digital collage sheet

over the next few weeks, i will be adding TONS of stuff.  i have about a zillion bundles and kits here of varying sorts (art journalling, book making, vintage textiles, fabric and lace bundles, one of a kind randomness, new vials of about 4 or 6 kinds, etc.).  just ’cause i hadn’t added anything to my site in the past 7 or so months doesn’t mean i haven’t still be snatching it up.  looks like a hoarder’s nightmare around here right about now.  i’m proud that i at least got nineteen new digital collage sheets today AND lowered the prices on 90% of the “stale” ones that have been up for so long.  i’m also doing a buy two get one free, but no on “collage for a cause” sheets.  you can peek at them here:

more soon — i’m getting ready for a super fun arty day with the kids on monday as it’s a no school day for both home and public kids.  wooohoooo!  seriously sorry i suck at correspondence and returning emails.  i’m quiet while in a funk but i’m snapping out of it, promise.

i blink and it’s two months later…  seems to be the story of my life this past year and a half since i started home schooling and taking on infinite new projects.  but i’m still a happy one, so that’s good.

if you don’t like woes, skip this post:  long story as short as possible… last august we contracted a painting company to paint our house.  i did tons of research on historic paint colors most popular in 1919, which is when our abode was built.  i picked five hues that will probably surprise those of you who haven’t seen them yet (they were quite popular when the house was built but probably not so much the way we ended up doing it).  the contractors tested our house for lead and we had lead paint on it.  no surprise with a house as old as ours, but they assured us they would take all of the state and federal required precautions to protect us.  cool.  hired — deposit paid.  ready to go.

color interruption: rural green (main color), inkwell (blackish trim color), gingery (highlight color), gregorian revival blue (another highlight color), and french roast (porch floor)

colors of house paint we used
in a not-so pretty nut shell, a week and a half project ended up taking them over six weeks and they took NO precautions to protect us, our home or our yard.  free lead lesson: anything above 400 ppm (parts per million) in soil is considered severely hazardous or potentially lethal to children and pets. food can no longer be grown in it as the plant can leach the lead from the soil and harm you.  they knew that the side of our house was going to be a big huge berry patch with blue berries and currants.  nope, not any more — it was tested by a lead risk assessment company and turned out to be 2100 ppm.  so lots of blood tests must happen for the little man of the house and very sadly, our cat died last week showing all of the signs and symptoms of feline lead poisoning.

yesterday i received the final report and discovered that not only was our entire yard contaminated by lead paint chips and dust, but much of our interior due to being tracked in on our feet or blowing in through the windows (they started scraping the house with the windows open!!).  guess what the recommended plan of action is?  you will faint when you read this… or at least i almost did.

  • hire a certified lead abatement company to clean main floor of house (huge ordeal to clean lead dust), stairs and upstairs hall
  • scrub and potentially refinish hard wood floors on main level of house
  • remove and dispose of carpet on stairs and in upstairs hall of house, replace with ??
  • clean all exterior flat surfaces and areas dust/chips were collected: roof, gutters, tops of  cars, garage roof, porch, etc.
  • remove ALL soil/sod in entire yard, 4 inches deep (we have a huge yard for this area)
  • till 12 inches deep to mix up soil and lesson the toxicity
  • replace 4″ of soil in yard
  • replace grass with all grand new sod
  • fill garden areas with new organic mulch, replant all NON FOOD plants with all garden areas (i will be the one to pick or they can go to hell — i’m already furious, thank you)
  • remove raised garden beds and replace with new raised beds once new earth is in place, fill with new organic soil blend (we can grow only in raised beds now)
  • trim walnut tree branches to ensure proper sunlight reaches new planted sod and does not pose future risk
  • put pea gravel over all bare soil areas that cannot be planted in: base of walnut tree, chicken coop, etc. (if unsafe to have gravel in chicken coop, pour concrete slab)
  • since we have a 1920s little cute driveway with just the two strips, that may be ruined while trying to do recommended abatement tasks so new driveway may need to be installed

how much do you suppose all of this will be?  oh, based upon my research, anywhere from $15k to $50k.  we don’t have even half of that… so hopefully the paint company will fix their huge negligent problem and i won’t have to deal with taking them to court.  i just want it fixed so my son can safely play outside and none of our other three cats (or our soon to be adopted dog) will die.

to add insult to injury, there are lots of teeny tiny touch ups to the paint that need to be done BUT it looks fab from the street and much prettier than it was.  here’s a peek of a corner of our big, windowed front porch:

big front portch
you know the little over-hangy bits on the roofs of houses?  we’re going to paint the underneath of those green and black stripes next spring.  gotta add a bit of fun flair — that’s totally us.  but i don’t even want to think about house paint right now.  this has been serious hell.

so… because of all of this, i’m extending the zine deadline an extra month to the end of november.  i have had time for literally nothing since all this went down.

BUT, i’ve gotten some gorgeous zine entries so far!  i’ll post more about that soon.  i haven’t even had the time to respond to people yet.  and i will be posting about the tallest book in the world, too.  i have some HUGE thank you notes to send out and some stunning pages received.  🙂  xx to all!

there were an astounding 215 votes for the next altered bits zine themes and the top four are the winners.

the next altered bits zine will have four themes:

cabinet of curiosities (if you know me, you know this thrills me beyond belief!)
tattered and torn (this one actually surprised me)
an artful retelling of history (this was my choice, so of course i’m quite excited — love the merging of art and history!)
handmade & altered books and pages (you know i love this too!!)

i was a little sad that assemblage and dolls/doll parts didn’t win but then i realized that i could still do assemblage for any of the non-book themes, and of course include dolls or doll parts if i so desire… which i probably do!)

zine theme for mixed media altered art zine

submissions are now open!  deadlines for submissions is october 31, 2011 (that’s halloween so you may not want to wait until the last minute).  limit three submissions per person, with one main shot and up to two detail photographs of each piece.  you can read all of the submission guidelines on the altered bits website on the zine page.  please read the submission guidelines VERY carefully as it  is a huge amount of work to follow up with people if they’ve sent improper files or missing information (and i may not have the time to get back to you, thus you may not have the opportunity to be included, sorry).  i am very open to helping if you have any questions prior to submitting so always feel free to email me if desired.

i am just giddy with bliss right now as i’m holding in my hot little hands the very first ever print version of the altered bits mixed media art zine.  there are 46 pages of detectible goodness greatness!  twenty-one amazing artists have created the pieces in this zine and i am so proud to have been able to design it, despite all the glitches and delays (sorry!!  that won’t happen again).  i spent all of today doing one last iteration of the zine, uploaded it and have made it available for purchase from at

art zine, mixed media art, altered art, art, zine, altered bits, assemblage, collage, jewelry, altered dolls

soon i will be issued an ISBN number so it will also be available on amazon, and at that time i will order up heaps of copies for the altered bits shop too.

just to give you a tiny peek at some of what’s in the zine, i will introduce you to two gentlemen.  well, guys, at least.  first, jesse james.  i created this piece as a gift for my husband as he is a decedent of jesse james (which you can read about in the zine).

jessee james mixed media art, altered art, altered bits zine, alicia caudle

jessee james mixed media art, altered art, altered bits zine, alicia caudle

jessee james mixed media art, altered art, altered bits zine, alicia caudle

next, the storyteller.  he’s a quirky dude made from a wonderful anatomical doll i received from my super friend tracey kraft (actually, i think she sent me about 20!).  he’s the first in a series — wait until you seen the giraffe guy.  🙂

anatomical, altered art, mixed media, altered book, tiny book, deer heads, symbols, altered bits zine, alicia caudle

i did a girl too, but i shall share her with you another time.  i was clearly in a comical state of mind with her (and the guy above).

also in the zine is a wonderful and personal artist interview…

lisa jurist, artist interview, mudhound studio

lisa jurist art, mixed media, mudhouse primitives, mudhound studio

if the revisions i did today look as good as what i got in the mail this morning, i think you will like this zine (they SHOULD — all i did was move one page and alter a name misspelling).  i sure hope you all love it.  thank you, thank you to all who helped to create this first print issue of the zine!  i adore and appreciate each and every one of you!  in alphabetical order by last name: Jay Anderson, Seth Apter, Joanne Archer, Alicia Caudle, Finn Caudle, Katie Cahill, Kym Decker, Patti Edmon, Kerin Gale, Tricia Gillispie Scott, David Hayes, Lisa Jurist, Tracey Kraft, Melissa Majchrzak Buckley, Debi Mattingly, Kim Palmer, Lisa Sarsfield, Renate Starke Krammer, Esther Verschoor, Rachel Whetzel and Jill Zaheer — you are the best!!

the zine is not only available in print, it’s available as a digital download.  almost forgot that:

(i will be adding all participants to my sidebar soon, and send trackbacks for this post, but for now, i have to start getting the little one wound down and ready for bed.)

ohoh, i will also be doing a secret drawing this week — ALL participants names (except mine and finn’s) will be tossed into a hat and whomever i draw will receive a FREE issue of the zine from me.  i wish i could afford to send ALL of you a zine… but i can’t.  starving artist, and such.  xx


i will share the big, exciting (and somewhat frustrating) story later, but i wanted to give you a mini-update on the zine.

i got the zine in the mail today!!  i LOVE it!  all of the issues i was having were a stupid screen issue and NOTHING was wrong with the print files (only took three point six weeks to figure that one out).  i did have two tweaks: a misspelled name (omg!) and a black last page so literally JUST remedied that and look…

uploading the altered bits zine

at this VERY second, i am uploading the tweaks to lulu and the zine will be available for purchase!  i’ll post when it is, tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.  woots!  the file is over half a gig in size so it will be a long process to get it up there.

want a peek of the cover?  i lovelove it!!  well you get one whether you wanted it or not:

cover for the first altered bits mixed media art zine
that’s the back, spine and the front, but i’m sure you could have figured that out.  pretty, pretty!

more soon!!  AND voting for the next zine themes too!

second zine peekthis is the time when i get super quiet and don’t post for awhile… working on the zine like crazy (plus prepping for a wee show, a new etsy shop and working on pulp)!  i’m horrible at answering emails in times like this so don’t take it personally if you feel ignored (there are currently 979 unread messages in my inbox).

some pieces are still trickling in for the zine since i allowed a post-deadline deal of this friday for those that gave me a head’s up —  so exciting to see all of the magnificent work that you all have created!  thank you so much!  it feels like i’m playing graphic tetris: fit this here, squeeze that in there, turn this to go there, etc.  i have a couple of gaps, but i’ll figure it out, i’m sure (think there is a 1/2 blank page in the gallery section and a 3/4 blank page in letters and symbols but hopefully i will work it out and MAYBE a full notorious page).  if you get it to me by friday (PST — so saturday for some of you “other side of the world” folks), i MAY accept another piece or two but i’m not making any promises… not to sound like a big meany pants.  details are here >>

more soon.

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