Happy Chinese New Year

I stopped in to pick  up some Chinese takeout yesterday, only to find the restaurant packed with people –  a crowd at the door, either waiting for a table or, like me, waiting for their takeout order. I had forgotten that it was Chinese New Year.

I decided to celebrate in my own way (besides the food) by making a decorative paper lantern in honor of the occasion.

First, I picked out some decorative paper from my extensive collection.

img_20170129_224958.jpg

and cut it down to about 41/2 – 5 inches high and 12 inches long. This was an impromptu craft so I was just estimating the size.

img_20170129_224744.jpg

The lantern would be a diamond shape so the paper was folded out in the center “mountain” with 2 “valley folds” at either end.

img_20170129_224417.jpg

I needed something for the light to shine through, so I die cut 2 filigree strips and backed them with vellum.

img_20170129_224826.jpg

The tricky part was to cut a strip in the center of the outer and inner parts of the lantern and glue the vellum strips . But, after a lot of finagling, I finally got it all together. The vellum strips were safely sandwiched between the outer and inner sections.

I glued the two short ends together to create the squared shape so it would stand on its own. I may still add some embellishments to it, as it still seems a little plain, but I like the finished product. I added a flickering light in the middle (sorry, real candles make me a little nervous that close to paper) and sat back to view the effect.

img_20170129_225340.jpg

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted in art, crafts, holiday, New Years, paper art | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Dreaming of Spring – an Art Journal

I live in Michigan. I love living here and love experiencing all four seasons. I admit to getting tired of the summer heat by August, and we never have enough spring for my liking and am usually heartily sick of the cold of winter by February.  This year seems different. It’s only the first week of January and I am already dreaming of spring.

So I got out an art journal that I finished up last year to look through it and remind myself what spring was all about.

img_20160410_234541.jpg

img_20160410_234704.jpg

img_20160410_234616.jpg

img_20160410_234427.jpg

img_20160410_234458.jpg

img_20160410_234103.jpg

img_20160410_234350.jpg

img_20160410_234321.jpg

img_20160410_234143.jpg

img_20160410_234213.jpg

img_20160410_234249.jpg

img_20160410_234042.jpg

img_20160410_233909.jpg

img_20160410_233842.jpg

I own a lot of art journals – some handmade, other store-bought.  This is the first one I’ve actually completed and it was fun to go thru it again and dream of spring.

Posted in art, art journaling, biographical, Michigan, nature, spring | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodbye 2016 – Hello 2017

With the new year, comes the hope of a better tomorrow. My own personal hope is to find balance and patience for any difficulties that lay ahead.

Happy New Year to all my Friends and Family…

img_20161224_111725.jpg

img_20161224_112112.jpg

January calendar layouts from some previous years.

 

Posted in holiday, New Years | Tagged , | 3 Comments

More Altered Books -Women and Wisdom

I’m finally going to show off my favorite altered book page created for the round robin in which I participated. You can see some of the other pages that I made for the different themed books here, here , and here.

Rose Ann brought in a cookbook to alter, her theme being  Women, Wisdom and Recipes for Friendship. Every now and then, throughout the book were partial pages cut in half circles. As soon as I saw those pages I immediately knew I had to make some sort of a layout using the round shape as a fan. I couldn’t wait to get the book.

Here is the page layout completed:

img_20160201_100220.jpgthe left side of the page with the completed “fan”. img_20160201_100417.jpgThe left side without the fan. img_20160201_100318.jpg The right side of the page with the “fan” in place. img_20160201_100052.jpg The right side of the page without the fan.

I knew that the fan could be flipped back and forth from one side of the page to the other, and that there would be 2 ladies on either side, taking turns at hiding  behind the fan. That is as far as it went for about 2 weeks. Then came the flurry of a brainstorm – I would use old Japanese geisha prints and they would  flirt from behind the fan. It took a while, but I finally finally found 2 ladies with a similar look (probably by the same artist)  and printed them off.

They were cut out and glued on to a scrapbook page with a bamboo-like design on it.  I really liked that the figures were big enough to go beyond the limitations of the book and  off the top of the page. The fans were created with napkins , the slats or spines of the fan made by painting craft sticks and gluing them down. I carved a stamp to look like an Asian signature seal called a chop loosely using my initials (stamped in red). The quote I used was from “The Pillow Book”  written by Sei Shonagon, a lady of the Japanese court who lived in the eleventh century. I finished it all off with a small red tassel hanging off the bottom of the fan.

img_20160201_100220.jpgimg_20160201_100318.jpg

img_20160201_100417.jpgimg_20160201_100052.jpg

So this is how I tend to work, In half-planned sort of way. I have an idea, or at least a semi idea. I can picture in my head how I want it to look but I really don’t have a clue on how to execute the idea and make it happen. From then on I just play around until it all comes together. It always seems to work out in the end.

 

Posted in altered books, art, book crafts, crafts, hand carved stamps, round robin | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Gifts of Christmas Past

I feel so lucky to belong to 2 different art groups – both with very generous, supportive artists that I can call my friends. The ages, life experiences and skill levels of these women vary greatly but we enjoy getting together once a month to show what we are working on, fulfill a challenge or learn a new craft.  There are times where all we do is laugh and talk and eat. We’ve helped each other through sickness and health, happy and sad times. I’ve learned so much from them and they have helped me in my quest to become a better artist.

Every Christmas we have a gift exchange. The main rule is that it must be handmade. I have been able to dig up photos of almost all the gifts that I have made for the various members over the years; so I thought that it would be fun to reminisce about them in today’s post.

img_20161215_092846.jpgThis year’s Christmas gift to Beth was a paper cut shadow box. I had never made one before but studied pictures and You Tube postings and it worked out pretty well. My only problem was not planning enough space so I wasn’t able to light the display from behind and make it into a lightbox as well. Beth loves vintage campers so I added a bit of color on the cutout camper, along with some stickle icicles and a wreath on the door. Even without the back lighting, I think it turned out well.

img_20151208_121659.jpgI made an earlier version of a diorama 2 years earlier for Cathwren, using plaster bandage wrap to cover a handmade box and to clump along the bottom of the box to create snow. I added a miniature fence, wreath, tree and cardinal into the scene, as well as some snowflakes and a label with a seasonal sentiment. I did a little distressing, added a little blue acrylic paint and glued on metal feet so it could stand.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lynn received a set of matchbox ornaments that I had a lot of fun making. I found some plain white matchboxes at Hobby Lobby, then carefully took the lid apart so to punch a hole in the cover. I glued it back together and got the glitter treatment on the outside. Old, vintage christmas cards, were miniturized and glued inside as part of the background. Then the main figures were  cut out again,  and glued with pop up glue dots to give them dimension. Some of the cards didn’t have enough background to cover the whole inside so I added Christmas washi tape instead. A little thread loop at the top and some danglies at the bottom and they were ready for wrapping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had a difficult time trying to decide what to make for Rhea’s gift. Like most of my art friends,  Rhea dabbles in a lot of different crafts but she seems to have a real flair with assemblage. I decided to make some fancy paper feathers using a heavy white scrap paper printed with white designs. White on white… A few of them got the glitter treatment to make them even fancier. I figured that she could use them in one of her assemblage pieces. They turned out better that I expected;  the white on white look was very classy and elegant.

2013-12-02-11-59-19

Chris received a wreath from me; simply made from a wreath form, old book pages, some strong tea and a hot glue gun. I cut the leaf shapes free-handed (no pattern), soaked them in a tea solution to age them and glued them on to the wreath form. Even though it was simple to make it really did take a long time to arrange and glue down all those leaves. It ended up looking so nice that I made another one for my sister.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The very first year I participated in the gift exchange, I made an Asian influenced lantern for Lori.  I used 3 types of handmade paper, skewers,some embossed brass vintaj shapes and cord (the gold braided cord was unraveled to create a loose feathery look). The lantern was a little wobbly all-in-all but not too bad a try for someone new to paper crafts and mixed media.

img_20141203_202519413_hdr

img_20141203_202509557_hdr

I ended up making gifts for Brit on 3 different years. The copper-worked box (above) was made last year and I finished it so late that I ended up taking a photo of the outside and inside cover at the restaurant where we partied just so I could have a record of the work. The photos came out a little blurred. The box, when I bought it, had a mirror in the center. I removed the mirror and created 2 copper-embossed plates. The outside cover was an image of a fanciful cat (Brit loves cats) and the inside cover had the initial B. The box is designed so that if she wants to switch the covers around, she can. I aged the metal with Jax patina, then burnished the top so the patina was left in the debossed areas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An earlier gift given to Brit was a decorated cigar box, using metal duct tape  and a variety of metal-working tools in order to give it an industrial, steampunk look. The cover included chipboard letters, a couple of  different kinds of needlepoint canvas, copper foil tape, a vintage photo, a few cogs and black acrylic paint to age the duct tape. The inside was embellished with more Victorian beauties, copper foil tape, an old key and distressed scrapbook paper. I tore a few holes in the paper and glued down some old book pages underneath to age it even more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first gift I made for Brit was a pencil/marker pouch using about 6 plastic grocery bags ironed together to create a durable plastic fabric. I painted the inside of the outermost layer and added snippets of colored plastic  within the layers before ironing. Once the bags were all fused together, it was a simple matter to sew the pouch. There were also enough leftovers to create a brooch.

I think that you can tell by looking at these different gifts made over several years, that I like to explore and try new things; and that I have the most awesome friends that really challenge me,  stretch my skills and help me to grow as an artist. Their encouragement and positive feedback motivates me to do my very best. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

As Tiny Tim would say:”God bless us, every one!”

Posted in book crafts, christmas, crafts, holiday, ornaments, paper art, steampunk | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting Away – Altered Book Round Robin

Christmas is in the air so I decided to show off my altered book round robin project with a holiday theme. Chris had decided on her book theme as “Getaway” but when I got her book in December I thought that the one place I would want to be at Christmas is home, with friends and family together. I used my favorite holiday song “Home for the Holidays” and created a little village on the pages of her book.img_20160406_182530.jpg

All the houses are dark except the small blue one. It is bright with warm lights, a decorated tree and a wreath. Over the door it says Home Sweet Home.

img_20160406_182445.jpg

The houses were painted, cut out and glued on to the scene; white paint for snow was sponge-dabbed on the ground and roofs of all the houses. I also included some hand-carved snowflake stamps and stickle dots for a bit of shine.

img_20151207_110821265.jpg

I hadn’t planned it, but when it was completed, I took a look and decided that I must have been inspired by Dr. Seuss’ Whoville from The Grinch who Stole Christmas. Most appropriate for the season.

Posted in altered books, christmas, hand carved stamps, holiday, round robin | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Altered Book Round Robin pt 2

Letting Go

Letting go was the theme for Jeme’s book. I did a more literal interpretation and encouraged her to “sail away” from it all. I love the water and waves and wanted to do a watery theme. It was my first try at an altered book and looking back at it now, I can see that it is a little primitive.wpid-img_20151011_113303.jpg

wpid-img_20151004_172955699.jpgwpid-img_20151004_173030527.jpgwpid-img_20151004_173041926.jpgwpid-img_20151004_173058031.jpg

Still, I had a lot of fun creating the page and looked forward to next month’s altered book.

Posted in altered books, art, art journaling, collage, crafts, round robin | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment