Monday, May 31, 2010

Mini Banners, A Funny Award and Some News

A while back I signed up for a mini banner swap at the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group (EWV....aka, Everything Wendy Vecchi).  Of course I did.  When in comes to swaps I have zero resistance.  And I have the cluttered work table to prove it.
The swaps came in the other day, and I have to say, I do love them.  As soon as I can figure out where in this tiny stuffed-to-the-rafters (if I had rafters) studio I can string them, they will be hung. they are.
From Debby, our fab host:
And here's the one I sent out:
Thanks all you crafty chicas!
Those who know me know how I feel about most blog awards, and though I appreciate the bestowment (?) I don't accept or forward them any more.  Until today.  My very talented and amusing friend Lori presented me with this one, and it is one I will gladly take.
Too funny!  I don't have the patience to explain it, and Lori already did that so well on her blog, so I'm just gonna do some creative stealing blog-lifting, and just copy (and paraphrase) what she wrote:
And the rules are:

1.  Express gratitude to the blogger who bestowed the award unto you... Copious,grovelling …I am not worthy… gratitudes.   Yes, Lori, I am thankful, I am humble, I am unworthy.....

2.  Display the picture on your blog proudly.   Check!
3.  Be nice and provide a link to the person who gave it to you.  See below
4.  Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth, or switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie. I'm not telling which is which.  (They're coming!)
5.  Nominate seven (I'm doing five.  Sue me) creative writers who might be into doing this. See below
6.  Post links to the seven five blogs you nominate and let the owners of those blogs know. OK, here's my problem with this one....Lori already nominated people that I would have, plus, I sure would have nominated Lori, so what I'll do is just list some names of people whose blogs are not only full of cool art, but who consistently crack me up.  They can accept it, or not, follow the rules, or not, pass it on, or not.  I just want you all to know where to go when you need inspiration and cheering up.
So some outrageous lies (or are they outrageous truths?) about me:
1)   I applied to NASA to be in the Teacher-In-Space program
2)   One of my earliest dreams was to hitchhike across America, and I did get part way there
3)   After I broke Mick Jagger's heart, he had to settle for Bianca
5)   The FBI has a file on me
6)   Unlike Lori's outrageous lie, I actually did meet Donald Trump, and gave him my hairdresser's business card
7)    Tim Holtz reads my blog for his inspiration

Visit the blogs of these funny and creative folks:
And finally, on to the "news."  I am one of the guides, leaders, facilitators (pick the noun you like best) of a group working on altered books.  I'm no expert, but I've done a few, and I love exploring techniques.  It's hard to describe them on a yahoo group, so I decided I'd do it in blog posts, so there could be photos with the text.   But, I wanted it all in one place and not mixed in with my usual ramblings.  So, (drumroll for the BIG NEWS), I created a new blog, just for the altered book project.
If ABs are something you're interested in, please check it out. This is a go-at-your-own-pace project, no deadlines, and everything I post is a suggestion only.  Plus, I have links to sources that know way more than I do.  I really outdid myself in the creativity/originality department when I named the new blog:   The Altered Book Journey
Sue me! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Grungy Book and Ribbons Tamed

Over at ATT, there’s a swap going on (that of course I had to join), where an experienced user of all things Tim (that would be me) is paired up with a newbie.  I’m to create something using my Tim stuff for my partner, and she will do the same for me.  I wanted to use a lot of techniques but also make something that could be done even more simply, should my partner want to give it a try.
So, I decided on a little notebook.
                                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The covers are made of grungeboard, which was inked with wild honey distress ink, embossed with a cuttlebug folder, and reinked with forest moss distress ink to highlight the embossing.  On the side near the coils, two of Tim’s on the edge border dies.  The brown one was inked with walnut stain distress ink and embossed with the same color of distress embossing powder.  The green border was inked with peeled paint distress ink, over stamped with a flourish then embossed with clear embossing powder.
The little bird is from Tim’s caged bird die, and it was inked and embossed, though I can’t remember what color I used.  I added some peeled paint stickles to its wings.  His crown of feathers is a piece of foliage idealogy that I cut up and rearranged, and attached with a brad (which cleverly forms the eye).
The charm hanging off the book is one of Tim’s, and I inked it and embossed it with peeled paint.
Inside the book are pages cut from Tim’s retro grunge paper stack:
And the back cover:
I’ve been working on a project to bring some order to my ribbon collection.  They were all on their original rolls, took up a lot of space, and were also scattered all over the studio.  They are going from this:
to this:
I’m making my own little bobbins from cardboard from cereal boxes, tissue boxes, even some random playing cards.  I’m not finished, but I’m getting there.  Now all my ribbon, fibers and threads fit in one drawer:
By the way, the plastic containers the various color groups are in are also something recycled.  My beloved  biscotti come in them, and I’ve been saving them not knowing what I’d use them for.
Speaking of bobbins, many of my ribbons had this plastic at the core.  It is two parts that snap together.  I saved them because they look like something I can use, but I have no idea for what.  If any of you have any thoughts on this, please let me know:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Journal Pages, A Technique, and yes, A Giveaway!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently signed up to be part of yet another collaborative journal group, this one with Frida Kahlo as its theme.  The launch date is June 15, and I have done some more work on my journal.
First of all, I tweaked my cover art.   Here is the original cover:
And here is the new (and I think improved) version.  Can you spot the difference?
Well, I didn't think you could miss it.  I drew the lizard on grungepaper, cut it out, inked it and decorated it with gel pens, glaze pens, german scrap, and dimensional pearls.  His eyes are half pearls that I painted.  You can't see his tongue, but it hangs off the page and is made of a coil of wire.  Pretty cool.
I've also been drawing some folkloric images on paper handmade in Mexico (thank you Lori!  see, I finally used some!) and added some to this page, which may wind up being my back cover,  Or not.  But it will be in my book somewhere:
I needed some sort of sign-in page.  My journal is very small (6x6"), but I was determined to give the artists tags to decorate and sign.  And, I wanted to use my new friend, the sewing machine.  I covered a piece of cardboard with fabric, then sewed on strips of acetate to form pockets.  There are enough for everyone in the group, and I did one myself.  Remember, the whole page is only six inches square.  The tags are tiny!
Next, I just want to remind you that every Tuesday (that would be today) I post Technique Tuesday on the PID blog, and today we're using bleach as paint.  Hop over there and check it out.  Sneak peek:
OK. Journal pages, check.  Technique, check.  What else was I going to talk about?  Oh, yes, my giveaway. Well, yesterday I shamelessly bribed you for six more followers so I'd have an even 100, and you've outdone yourselves, people.  I'm now up to 108.  LOL!   Well, this is what I have to offer.   Back when Tim's new book came out, he was giving away very cool work aprons for those who ordered the book directly from him.  He had only a limited number, and I was one of the lucky ones to receive one.    Subsequently, I got yet
another one, a gift from my friend Elena, host of the wonderful Key Largo retreat.   So, I am giving away one of them.   It's a nice full apron with adjustable straps, two big pockets, and plenty of blank space to decorate, if you care to.

And, of course, the top is already printed with some of Tim's most popular stamps:
So, if you'd like a chance to own this limited edition piece, leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner next week, after the holiday weekend.  But please want this to use it.  If I see it on ebay I'll be VERY upset.  And upsetting a Brookyn-born girl is not recommended.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How Do I Distress? And A Giveaway in My Future.....

It seems that most everything I create is done because a swap is due, I have journal pages to get out, or a design team project has a deadline.  Very seldom do I just sit down and make something with no particular goal in mind.  This weekend I found myself all caught up, and decided to just play with some techniques.

Is it serendipity or what?   Just this morning I saw that Tim has a great giveaway on his blog.  He wants to know how we all distress (use the distress inks), and one way to win is to create something and send him a photo.  I used distress inks all over my piece, so sent him this photo in a hurry:

It's a 4x" canvas, which was first inked with rusty hinge and crushed olive.  Some flourishes were added (some die cut, some stenciled on), and some perfect pearls brushed on in spots.
The flower was cut from Tim's tattered floral die (it's grungepaper), inked with wild honey and forest moss, then overstamped with french script in black soot.  A Maya Road stick pin is in the center.
I attached the rose to the canvas by nestling it in the niche on the back of an even smaller canvas then gluing that onto the larger canvas.
The flourishes around the rose were also cut from the flourish die....for these I glued silk fabric onto grungepaper.  I added a bit of gold tulle around the flower.
I made a little crystal and pearl danglie and hung it from the bottom of the smaller canvas with a tiny eye screw.
Here is a side view, so you can see the dimensionality (and the ruler ribbon I wrapped all around the canvas -- and further distressed with some forest moss distress ink).
And speaking of giveaways......I just noticed that I have 94 followers.  Amazing!  Well, just need six more to have a nice neat even 100.  If I should reach that magic number any time soon, I have a really cool giveaway in mind.  Do you read this blog but are not a follower?  No pressure, but.....giveaway....really cool one....I only need SIX more victims  followers.....I'm just sayin'....... 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Inner Ringo

Today my friend JennyB showed us how to make wire wrapped rings.  I like this technique, as no ring blank is necessary.  All you need is some wire, a nice (preferably) flat bead, and a gizmo called a mandrill mandrel, which allows you to size the ring properly.  (Duh!  Just edited my spelling....isn't a mandrill a baboon??)
I don't have a mandrel here at home, so no photo, but it is a tapered rod with lines and numbers corresponding to ring sizes.  After you string the bead or beads on the wire, you center them and hold the bead over the correct size on the mandrel and then begin the wrapping process, bringing one end of the wire up one way, and the other end up around the other side of the bead.  You finish it off by sliding the ring off the mandrel and wrapping the wire tightly a few times on either side of the bead to hold everything in place.

Very hard to describe in words, and I'm sure there's a video tutorial somewhere here in cyberland.  I did one with silver wire, one with gold, and one with a gorgeous chocolate brown wire.
Is this too much?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

Some of my blogging buddies do Friday Fill-Ins from time to time, and since I have no new art today, I thought I'd give it a go.
1. Time with friends never fails to make me smile.
2. I'm looking forward to making wire wrapped rings tomorrow.
3.Traffic noise is what I'm listening to right now. (actual traffic noise, not the name of some new group)
4. Potato salad must have mayonnaise in it! (duh!)
5.A toasted bagel was the best thing I ate today.  (well, so far the only thing I've eaten today)
6. Today was just getting started.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a home cooked meal, tomorrow my plans include making those wire wrapped rings with my art buds and Sunday, I want to read, watch TV and make art

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So, I signed up for a twinchie swap at Everything Wendy Vecchi, figuring how much trouble could making 6 two inch squares be?  Hah!  It is amazing how much more difficult I find it to design for a small piece than a large one.  Also amazing is just how much junk artistic elements can fit on such a space.
My twinchies are in celebration of my new-found interest in my former nemesis, the sewing machine.
The base is a 2" square grungeboard piece, that I embossed with a cuttlebug folder, then dragged through a puddle of ink and water, then brushed with some perfect pearls.   On the left I attached a bit of paper tape measure and Graphic 45 paper with a zig zag stitch.  I did a zig zag stitch!  Check out the cool multi colored thread.  It has a sheen too.  Soon I'll give up my paperqueen crown and be the threadqueen.  
I stamped Wendy's little stamp on a 1" square stampbord (great product!) in coffee archival ink, then put some rusty hinge distress ink over top.  I hate naked buttons (buttons without thread) so sat and threaded and knotted all 18 buttons by hand.  
I thought I was finished, but it seemed to want more.  So I punched some little rounds (standard size hole punch) of grungepaper, glued together a double thickness of those, then attached the tiny Jenni Bowlin letters to write "sew."  I really wanted to write "stitch," but after thinking about doing all that for a three letter word vrs. a six letter word, "sew" won out.
And here's a closer view of one of the twinchies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Marie's Closet and My Escape

When I got home late on Saturday, there was a package waiting for me.....Val's Marie Antoinette journal.  Val chose the theme of Marie's Closet, and we're to create an outfit for Marie to wear for any occasion we could imagine.  A few days before, I'd been messing around with the stencils left behind after cutting butterflies with my Big Kick.  I used them along with some color washes, inks, mica powder mists, etc. to make a background.  This inspired me to give Marie a "casual" dress for an afternoon spent catching butterflies in the gardens of Versailles.   Do I have any idea if people actually did that in those times?  No.  But it does seem like the sort of genteel activity that a queen might indulge in.
For this page, I took a sheet from Tim's Vintage Shabby paper stack (a blue one) and added some greens and purples, the other colors that appear in my butterfly background paper (which you'll see next). The paper butterflies were cut from a Cuttlebug embosslit.  I added tiers of lace for Marie's dress.  Her hat is just an oval of vellum with some tiny flowers and other bling.  The challenge was the butterfly net.  That I did with some jewelry wire, and attached the tulle with some sticky strip.  The bejeweled butterflies were part of the stash of Marie-inspired goodies that Daisy had sent along with her journal.  I've used a lot of what she sent in the pages I've done so far.  
What tickled me the most......I discovered that I actually own a stamp (from Quietfire) that says "papillon," which is French guessed it, butterfly!  I think you can see it stamped in gold in a few places.
For my journaling page, I took that background paper, added some vellum butterflies (which I inked, sprayed with a mica powder mist, and added stickles to), and attached my journaling (which was printed on parchment paper).

Val included patterns for little slippers to be used as her sign-in tags.  (Val is super organized and thinks of EVERYTHING!).  We were to decorate our shoe in the style of our pages, and this is what I came up with:
I'm very happy with these pages, and hope Val is too.

Now, over at PID, the weekly challenge theme is "My Favorite Escape."   For me, that has always been books.  This is a tag I did.  All images are from the PID shop.
If you're at all curious about the background, it will be featured on the PID blog tomorrow for Technique Tuesday.
It's only noon.  You have time.   Go make some art!

Friday, May 14, 2010

All In The Family

Jason has organized and is hosting a 20 page vintage photo themed swap for the ATT group.  The pages are 6x6", and the only requirements are that they contain a vintage photo as the focal image, use Tim Holtz inspired techniques, and some of Tim's products.
I had a plan......and in my mind it was fabulous.  After completing all 20 pages, did I love them?  Not so much.  So, I decided to use them as the backs of my pages and make 20 new pages for the fronts.  Crazy, right?
I knew from the start that I wanted to use some family photos, and here is the page I finally finished.  It's my dad with his little brother, and this page I do love.
The background paper is from Tim's Vintage Shabby paper stack, and I stamped over it with whatever stamps I had that made me think of summer pieces, admission tickets, an old fan, a baby carriage, an ice cream cone, an old camera, and bunches of cherries.
I printed the photo on matte paper, distressed and inked the edges, then sewed (yes, sewed, on a machine!) them onto pieces of frayed fabric that I'd dyed with some colorwash.
The butterfly was cut with a Cuttlebug die and embossed, then inked.  The antennae were done with resistors, currently my favorite use for these strange little objects.
I inked and sprayed some kraft cardstock, then printed Summer Memories 20 times, and cut them with a ticket punch.  It's held in place on the fabric with one of Tim's newest items, the Memo Pin.
We really only had to finish off the backs of our pages, but since I already had my original 20 pages, I used them for the backs.
That very dapper gentlemen is my grandfather.  He was a tailor and a very sharp dresser.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tags & A Card

One thing I really like about making tags is the size.  Large enough to create an interesting (I hope) design, but small enough to complete without investing an entire day.  First up, a tag with a Paris theme:
Way in the background, almost entirely covered, is a stamp we received in one of our classes on the Tim Holtz/Wendy Vecchi cruise to Mexico.  It's a very cool stamp with room for journaling, the place visited, and little calendars for circling the date visited.  Great for any travel themed project.  I stamped it directly on the tag with archival ink, then sprayed it with some color wash, inked it, and generally distressed it totally.  I added part of a die cut of the Eiffel Tower and then just a collage of french labels and logos.  I LOVE the tiny letters that spell out JOURNEY.  They're from Jenni Bowlin, and I glued them to 1/2" circles of red cardstock, and attached them with pop dots for some dimension.

My next tag combines grunge, steampunk, some recycling,  a little Tim and a little Wendy...wowza!  All my faves rolled into one small tag.
For the background, I sprayed the tag with a couple of earth tone color washes.  While still wet, I sprinkled some salt on it.  That didn't do exactly what I'd hoped, but it did result in a little bit of a pitted look.  I also used Tim's compass mini mask, inked over with vintage photo distress ink, but I think most of that ultimately got covered up.  But it's there somewhere.

The gears.....I glued one of my totally colored paper towels I love to save onto scrap cardstock and used Tim's Gadget Gears die to cut them.  I arranged them on the tag and then wondered what to do next.  I decided that Wendy's art chick stamp would look great, especially if I substituted some more gears and sprockets for the usual flower on her head.  These from Tim's idea-ology line. I stamped her on cardstock with vintage photo distress ink, then added some vintage photo distress embossing powder.   The typewriter key letters were a mad steal I found in one of those bargain stores.  I think I bought every package they had.

I needed an anniversary card and I hate almost every one I see.  They're either too sentimental for my taste, or their "humor" rubs me the wrong way.  I kinda like the one I came up with, and I found yet another non-seasonal use for Stampin' Up's Christmas ornament punch.
I don't know what the background is (besides being gorgeous) because I didn't do it!  My talented friend Nancy sent it to me along with a TON of other goodies, and I thought it was the perfect setting for my kissing fish.   Yep, those fish started out as that ornament punch.  Can you guess what I used for their tails?  Don't hurt yourself thinking.....I used SU's 5-petal flower punch, and just snipped off two of the petals together and glued it right over the little top of the ornament.  Looking at them now, I realize a heart punch would have worked too.
Instead of bubbles, the kissing fish have little sparkly hearts over their heads.  Just my opinion here, of course, but I really don't think this card has totally gone over to the world of cute.  A little cute, maybe.  But not completely over the top cute.  Right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Something Seedy and Something Blue

Got your attention?   The something seedy, sorry to say, is just that seed bead necklace I made started in a class I took with my friend Kahena last week.  I finally finished....all 7 strands.....and put it together.  Kahena was right; it is an easy mindless task to do while watching TV.  This is what we received in the class, and all you need to make seed bead jewelry.  Well, not all you need.  You also need some monofilament thread.  We used fishing line.  You can get the thread in a craft store, but Kahena thinks the fishing line is stronger, and it certainly costs less.
The little plastic gizmo is called a Beadalon, and low tech as it is, it really does work.  You pour some seed beads inside the bowl (which is a separate piece and rests on a stand), and spin it while angling the hooked needle inside.  Once you get the feel for the right angle, the beads really do automatically slide onto the needle.  This is a picture from the box the Beadalon came in, showing it in action.  Though action is a poor choice of word.  It's really very boring, and best done either in front of the TV or in the company of friends.
I chose a combination of black and silver beads, and this is my finished project:
I'm thinking of some sort of pendant to hang from it, but that's for another day.

I've covered seedy, now on to blue.   Also probably not what you were thinking of.  Nothing sad or sexual, just the color blue.  I'm in a blue tag swap, and this is my contribution:
The background is music paper, gessoed and inked, then stamped with light blue pigment ink, embossed with clear, then inked again with darker blue, so the fern stamp pops more.  I used all my border punches and some Jenni Bowlin mini papers in blue for the top and bottom of the tag.  The cage and bird are cut from Tim Holtz's new Caged Bird die, the cage in dark blue cardstock, the bird in some patterned paper from my stash.
Don't know if it shows up in the photo, but I used some Sakura glaze pens to doodle over the cage, and (if you can see it) the little bit of sparkle on the bird is from a Sakura stardust pen (at least I think that's what it is called) in clear.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Flowers Everywhere

I was reading Suze Weinberg's blog post about seeing flowers everywhere, and it's the truth.  In fashion, in jewelry, in home decor, in scrapbooking and the stuff with which to make them are everywhere lately.  I even got an email from West Elm today regarding an installation of the work of designer David and flower-related items, all made from the pages of old books.

Last night I met with friends to share some techniques and make some art, and without pre-planning, we all brought flower projects.  Heidi showed us how to make some floral embellishments (I'm thinking they'll make great pins) made from twisting and rolling strips of fabric....just like the old fashioned rag rugs.  Instead of sewing, though, we used a glue gun.  Check these out (the first two are mine, the rest are pieces Heidi made for me as a gift

The great thing about this project, is you can use up some ugly fabric, because after all the rolling and gluing, we sprayed the flowers with Glimmer Mist, which totally transformed them.  Then we embellished them with leaves, feathers, and assorted other bling.

I was watching this week's Taco Tuesday video on making metal flowers and was inspired to bring this project:

It couldn't be easier.  Strips of Ten Seconds Studio metal are loosely folded, accordian style, and manipulated to form a flower shape.  A bottle cap is glued to the center.  Using a 1" circle punch, cut some paper for the inside and then cover it with a layer of Glossy Accents.  Add a pin back  for a brooch, or a magnet to dress up the refrigerator, or use it to decorate a special gift package.

And now for a sneak peek of the upcoming Technique Tuesday for the PID blog.  No directions yet.  You'll have to visit that blog this week for that.  But all these flowers are made from circles cut from a variety of papers.  

Like I said, flowers are everywhere.