Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Loves of Marie Antoinette

So reads the title of my friend Inge's Marie journal, the last Marie book I have to work in.  It took me a while to decide which of Marie's loves to, family, Versailles, cake?  In the end, I chose jewelry, and I did have an ulterior motive.

Over a year ago, when I was still on the PID design team, I did several projects using their Marie images.  One was a bracelet, and as I was making it, it was in my mind that I would use it in one of the Marie journals.  I think we had just recently started that group.  For one reason or another, it never felt quite right in the other books, but I had a feeling it would find its way into Inge's book.  And so it did.

First, here is the bracelet.  The band is fabric, decorated with beads and other baubles and some funky fibers.  The Ranger memory frame holds a small picture of Marie which was covered with Crackle Accents.

So, my concept is, Marie loves beautiful jewelry.....especially when it contains her own image.  And here are my two pages:

I used Distress Stains, Colorwash, and Perfect Pearls mists to get the colors in the backgrounds.  On page one, I added stamping to create my own patterned paper.  The image of Marie was an internet find.....found, I think by Val.....and she is colored with markers and embellished with Liquid Pearls and glaze pens.

Both pages have a gold embossed leafy border (Wendy Vecchi stamp).  I didn't further decorate the second page because I wanted the bracelet to be the focal point.  I attached it with easily untied gauze so if Inge actually wants to wear it, she can.

So, for me at least, no more Marie journals to work in.  The queen is finished, long live the queen!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stayin' Dry

As I write this, Irene has been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm.  Hey, a rose by any other name.....she is still doing a good job of kicking ass.  I couldn't resist opening a window and snapping a few pix.   The raw wood you see on the trees is where large limbs and branches used to be:

Behind the trees in the next shot is a usually well traveled parkway.  Only official vehicles on it today.

Any blurriness is not due to the photographer's shaky hands....just a basic point and shoot camera trying to capture trees bending crazily in the wind.

One last can barely make out the Hudson River through the rain and fog.

Many folks have mentioned that this weather makes it so convenient to stay home and make some art.  I don't know about anyone else, but I can't focus on a thing besides this storm.  The news has been on non-stop and every time I try to do something creative I get distracted....checking windows for leaks, watching the poor reporters getting blown to bits in Long Beach and Coney Island....I tried to work on a book binding project and just kept screwing up the stitches, so I gave up.

And now a shameless plug.  Please check out Seth Apter's blog, The Altered Page.  It's a wonderful blog any day of the week, but on Sundays he has a feature called The Pulse, which posts photos and answers to questions by an assortment of mixed media artists.  Someone you might know (insert big smile) is in today's issue.

East Coast buddies.....stay safe!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting Smashed

Caught your eye with that one, huh?  Sorry, not that kind of smashed.....the journal kind.  Smash journals seem to be all over the place, and even my round robin journal group is getting into the act.  We'll be sending ours out in the fall, but in the mean while, I managed to acquire a second one (blame those blasted deal of the day sites) and decided to use it as my travel journal on the upcoming (yea!!) Tim Holtz cruise.   It's perfect for note taking, big enough to add photos, ATCs, and all the ephemera you collect on a vacation.  But.....I wasn't really in love with the covers.  This is what it looked like straight out of the bag:

I thought the red was too.....well, red.  And the kraft colored cover is OK, but kind of blah.  And I don't feel the need to walk around as a Smash Book adverstisement, so the logo had to go.  The design on the cover is not printed, by the way.  It is embossed.  Now that, I thought was cool.
An hour or so later, after applying many layers of ink and paint and torn up paper, and stencils and stamps...... this is what the cover looks like now:
Definitely more "me," and I'm happy.  I copied the cover of our class schedule from the cruise documents Scrapmap sent me, and that is now the "title" of my journal.
The back cover is similar to the front:

And yes, in case you were wondering, I did also change the color of the elastic that holds the journaling pen/gluestick.  I used black distress stain on that....and on the fabric spine of the book.  Works wonders.  Yes, I know I am a little obsessive about such things.  Don't get me wrong, I do love the color red, but not on this journal.  And if you're wondering why then, did I buy a red smash book, the answer is......every other color was out of stock that day.  I did mention they are wildly popular.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Marty's Masterpiece - A Sketch Challenge

Here is Marty's August sketch:

I interpreted this quite literally because I wanted to give it to a friend who won a monthly lottery in one of my groups.  The theme she selected was summer, so this sketch was perfect.  I made this wall hanging:

It was done on watercolor paper attached to chipboard and is pretty sturdy.  Here are the details:

  • background:  denim Adirondack color wash.  That's all!  It formed the variations all by itself.
  • fence:  cut from wood sheet using Tim's on the fence die, then dabbed with picket fence paint to create a worn out look.
  • palm tree:  Sideshow stamp, colored with markers, and extra leaves hand cut and added for dimension.  Coconuts cut from a specialty paper I have that looks like.....the outside of a coconut, LOL!
  • parrot:  also from Sideshow, colored with markers and attached with pop dot.
  • beach sign:  cardstock inked with a few shades of distress ink in the brown family, then stamped with archival ink, then covered with rock candy crackle paint.
  • sand:  the real deal, from last year's trip to the Dominican Republic.
  • shells:  also real, origin unknown.
  • shack:  pieced together from a variety of handmade papers and fibers found in my stash.

Check out my friend Heidi's blog to see what the rest of the Gotham City Stampers did with Marty's sketch.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still Headin' East, And Getting Closer

Remember this?

Yep, the cover of my then unfinished journal for an upcoming round robin.  The paper I ordered came, I created my signatures, did my sewing, completed the back cover and even worked on an art page to get the party started.

I totally copied Sox's great idea of wrapping a strip of colorful paper around the fold on the outside page of each signature.  That way, when you look at the spine (this is, after all, an exposed spine technique) you don't just see boring white.  I used some very beautiful origami paper.  Here's the spine:

And this is what the pages with the origami paper look like inside.  Whoever works on these pages can incorporate the papers into their art or work right over them.  Up to the artist.  I only did this to further decorate the spine.  Though they do look pretty, don't you think?

As for those stray red strings in the first photo, they are what's leftover after binding the book.  They can be tucked into the spine, but I read somewhere that one of the book binding gurus said that those strings are the sign of a handmade book, so I'm leaving them alone.

Here is my inside front cover.  I used more of the origami paper to reinforce the book tapes.

Same idea on the inside of the back cover:

The back cover itself is all fabric, lightly padded.  Here's a secret and a tip for any fellow lazy efficient workers out there.   I didn't feel like moving a dozen boxes to get at my fiberfill or whatever that stuff is called (since I didn't get to it I can't read the name on the package).  So I just took some fabric I really don't care for, folded it a few times and used that as my padding.  Works well and I never would have used that ugly cloth for anything else.  The fabrics that do show,  I found in a shop in Bar Harbor on last year's Tim Holtz cruise.  I think they're beautiful.

Since everyone in this journal group will be doing a two page, side by side spread, I did the first (single) page myself.  It may or may not be finished.  I'm still meditating on that.

The very last page is also a single.  I just used some paints (the scraped paint technique....apply paint, use plastic card to scrape it into the paper.  Apply more paint....etc.), some text and a coat of glaze.  Depending on the final total of artists it may stay as it is or become a sign in page.  We'll see.

The funny thing is, when Elena first suggested this journal I said I'd love to but only if it started in October, because I just KNEW I'd not have time to get it started any sooner than that.  And here I am, in August, all ready to go.  Well, if everything turned out the way we imagined it that would make for a pretty predictable and boring life, no?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Confess..... yet another addiction (I am so weak!)  I am a journal making/bookbinding junkie!  Who'd a thunk it?  Oh, I've always admired hand sewn books and even made a very simple one or two, but unintentionally (I'm sure) enabling friend Sox decided to go and post photos of her handmade journals.  First were the lace ones.  Oh my!  Then, what dragged me in was the fabulous asian inspired exposed spine book.  That was it.  I had to make one.  I did, a little sample which I blogged about the other day.  I've also prepped my covers for an asian round robin that's coming up, and just have to wait for the paper I ordered to make my signatures arrives.

However, addicts aren't known for patience.  I WANTED TO MAKE ANOTHER ONE NOW!!!!!  Then I remembered I have a whole bunch of beautiful two-sided 8x8" journal pages and one sided 8x10" background technique pages from a portfolio group I'm in.  All done by some of my favorite artsy peeps.  Why not use those?  For the larger pages, I just folded them at the 8" point (remember, they measured 8" on the other side already), which created a little bit of a page which would be perfect to "tip in" the two sided pages.  Yes, a little of one side would be hidden, but I so much wanted to use all these pages, and no, no, no, not another coil or binder ring solution.  I WANTED ANOTHER EXPOSED SPINE JOURNAL!!!

And here it is.....I even cut up the portfolio that my pages traveled around in, and it became my outside covers.

the spine

front cover (from my portfolio)

back cover (also scavanged from my portfolio)

What follows are the pages.  Any blanks or messed up ones will be covered with either paper or pages I haven't received yet, or I'll just do a background directly on them.  I DID NOT overthink the order of the pages; I just put two together to form a signature, stacked them and started sewing.  And yet, as I turn the pages, they all flow one to the next. 

There was one background page I couldn't use in a signature because it had been done on heavy cardboard.  No became my inside back cover:

Many thanks to Sox who inspired me to begin with, and Inge, who mentioned casually that she was planning to use the backgrounds she'd received in a journal.  And of course, to everyone in my journal/portfolio/mail love groups.  I think what I love most about this book is that it contains a little bit of each of you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Headin' East

My usual group of co-conspirators and I are getting ready to begin another collaborative journal.....this one will have an asian theme.  It's not set to begin until October, but I was inspired to begin thinking about it because of my friend Sox.  Check out the amazing journal she created for this adventure.

I really wanted to learn how to do the exposed spine binding, searched the internet and youtube and got help from Sox too.  Did a little practice piece using plain old copy paper and coaster covers.  For my journal I'll make the signatures from good quality watercolor paper.  Here is my first attempt.  Several oopsies, which I'm sure the more practiced book binders out there will see immediately, but frankly, I'm happy enough with it to feel confident that I can use the technique in my journal without totally making a mess.

Since it was a practice piece I just used some seam binding and black button thread.  I'll look for something better for my actual journal.  Another look at the spine:

What I really like about this way of binding is that the book lays flat regardless of where you open it.  Really handy since many artists will be working in it, and it will get thicker and thicker......

As soon as I decided I could make my own journal this way, I began working on my cover.  (My journal will be 6x8").   Just about everything on it (besides the bit of fabric and beading) was created with stencils....even the figure, but more on that later.

Of the many many techniques I learned at the May Lynne Perrella workshop in Connecticut, was how to use photocopies of images to create custom stencils.  Even if you are drawing challenged, using this technique allows you to create an image which is unique, all yours, and far far beyond a simple altering of an existing image.

I'll give you the short version, but I strongly urge you to get yourself to a Lynne Perrella class if at all possible.  It will change you and your art forever!

You find an image you like, and make multiple photocopies of it.  On one, you cut out the image completely.  This gives you both an outline of the image and a mask to use later.   On the rest of the copies you cut away small sections....maybe the hair on one, part of the shirt on another, etc.  Be as detailed as you want.  You could use 10 or more copies if you like.

What I did was first use the outline page to fill in some color with my portfolio pastels.  Then I used one stencil after another to fill in with various paints, inks, etc. and a whole lot of commercial stencils.  I love those from Crafters Workshop and use them all the time.  Absolutely the only free hand painting I did was the loose outlining of the figure, which I did with a very small brush and black Golden fluid acrylic.  Even the facial features, tiny as they are were cut out from a copy with a very sharp craft knife.

To do the background, I placed the mask over the figure and just added color and lots and lots of stenciling.  In addition to the commercial stencils I used sequin waste, which comes in many shapes and sizes.....not just the round.  The tiny gold stars on the bottom of the geisha's dress were made with sequin waste and gold paint.

At first I wasn't sure I'd be able to make the time to participate in this project.  Now I can't wait!

And by the way, even though the "stencils" are made of copy paper, they last.  I think all the layers of paint and ink and pastel just makes them stronger.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On The Borderline

This week's Making Art! challenge over at the EWV (Everything Wendy Vecchi) yahoo group was inspired by the card on page 30 of Wendy's first book.  Lori, our intrepid leader tells us we have now gone through all of that book.  Well, it is the 22nd Wendy would say, "yikes!"

For those who'd like to join in, but haven't been able to locate that out of print book (but I think Absolutely Everything still has some in stock), all you need to know is this:  include at least one scallop and two borders from any of Wendy's stamp sets.   I recently was the ecstatic winner of a gorgeous new one called Sentimental Art, and was anxious to use it, and so I did.

And since I have very limited creativity time lately, I once again did mine on a 4x4 coaster so it can be used in the birthday club I'm in,

The background, stamped directly on the white coaster is the dreamy lace background stamp from my wonderful new set.  I stamped it in Ranger's magenta hue archival ink (also dreamy!), then went over the whole thing with weathered wood distress ink.  Yummy combo.

I cut one edge with Tim's scallop on the edge die.  Peeking from behind that is the paper I used on the back of the coaster, this one cut with a Stampin' Up scallop punch.   I extended it a bit to bring the measurement back to an even 4x4.

Yet another scallop was stamped on a bit of manila.  First dusty concord distress stain was applied, then deep purple archival ink was used on Wendy's polka dot border stamp.  Three scallops when only one was required.....not bad for someone who was always being called out in school for underachieving.

The aqua dotted paper (which I think is from Webster's Pages) is under my second border.  First I colored another manila scrap with chipped sapphire distress stain, then stamped it with the flower background from Alphabetically Art using manganese blue archival ink.  Yep, I do love all the new archivals.  Rich intense colors that won't run no matter how much you wet them.  Back to the border.....I used a new (but forget the name) Stampin' Up border punch and then glued it onto the dotted paper.

The "perfect day" sentiment is also from the Sentimental Art set, and a few stick pins (one I know is from Maya Road, the other, I'm not sure) were tucked in behind it.

As for the is from the It's More Flower Art set.  I stamped it in deep purple archival ink on another piece of that aqua dotted paper, then changed the color with some pink markers.  Before cutting it out, I inked the back thoroughly with that rich magenta hue so that would show when I curled the petals a bit.

In the flower center.....a great new Clearly For Art technique directly from Wendy's blog this week.  Check it out here.  I cut the top off of yet another Maya Road stick pin and glued it in the center, allowing those crazy twisty bits to kind of circle it.