Saturday, January 29, 2011


The firm I worked for deployed me to the Mississippi Gulf Coast a year after Hurricane Katrina struck. I worked there for three years - coming home permanently to Atlanta one year ago this February. I thought I understood the devastation until I got there. The media didn't begin to portray the courage, hopefulness and kindness of the Gulf Coast residents. I'm richer for having worked there.

Below are 7 mixed media collages I made while on deployment. All contain pictures I took (with the exception of the eye of the storm) printed in sepia or black and white, and treasures I found on walks. The frames are 8 x 8 wood - purchased unfinished. They were painted a coffee brown and black and highlighted with color by wrapping a roller with string, rolling it in turquoise paint and then rolling it over the brown/black paint.

No 1: The eye of the storm. Treasure - tile from a destroyed bank.

No 2: Tub. This tub was all that was left standing on a slab that a house once stood on. Treasures: old screen door hinge and blue glass drop.

No 3: Sailboat and Mermaid. The picture shows a sailboat in Waveland sunk and laying on its side - two years after the storm. Treasure: metal mermaid with attached pearl chain.

No 4: Crab. I found the body of a crab and barnacles on one of the first walks I took on Gulfport's coast. I drew the legs and copied them over lace.

No 5: Carpet. This was so strange to see - I'll never forget this. The only things left of a house in Bay St. Louis were the concrete pilings and the carpet hanging down that used to be attached to the floor above. Treasures - bits of found tiles & glass.

No 6: What was old is new again. A picture on the opening day of the new Bay St. Louis Bridge between Waveland and Bay St. Louis. Treasures - oyster shells.

No 7: Church. Perseverance and determination - gotta love the human race. The front and middle of the church are GONE. In it's place is a large hand painted sign directing everyone to walk next door. Treasure: door hinge.

Butterfly Pin & Metal Corners

Two Dilemmas...

1. I didn't push the development of this butterfly I posted a couple of days ago and it was bugging me ...
2. The curved, simple, metal corners are a favorite of mine. My friend mentioned the other day she didn't like them very much and gave me hers. I got to thinking that there must be another use for them besides being attached to paper. There is! They make awesome dangles, scales, etc.

I couldn't get the rivet out of the butterfly without a lot of work so I improvised. To bend the heart for more depth - I used two dowels; one on top in the middle and two underneath down both sides and pushed. I aged the wings by brushing on liver of sulfur. Rhinestones replaced the pearls. Body "tags" were made by cutting the metal corners in half, flattening one end and making holes using an awl at the narrow end and a hole punch at the large end. The "tags" were secured first by 30 gauge metal wire and again when the size 14 iridescent seed beads were added and strung in and around the tags. Now it's officially a pin.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Sewing Frame - (Not your ordinary)

Well folks - I spent the better part of today visiting with the boys. Michael, Dick and HL (Michaels Art/ Craft Store, Dick Blick Arts and Hobby Lobby). It's been awhile since I've walked every isle to see what's new and what could be used for something other than it's original intention. It was a good day.

I want to share with you what I made last year. The SE Guild of Bookworkers had a spot at last year's Decatur Book Fair - Ann Frellsen demonstrated sewing book signatures using a sewing frame. Well, I knew if I was going to start making books, I needed one. Hers was hand made, prompting me to investigate via the internet on how to make a sewing frame.

My sewing frame: My intention was to use materials I had on hand. I already had the box that had been purchased at a flea market. It's hinged, hand made to hold chess pieces (I made a pendant out of the queen but that's another blog). The wood pieces were from a child's building set I purchased at a garage sale. The stip of wood glued to the underside, front, was an oak threshold remnant put in place prior to cutting the slot. The inside is collaged with a 1918 newspaper I found at a yard sale. The wood slats, also from my stash of "things to go with other things" were inserted to compartmentalize the inside so the pieces don't fall out of the slot when the box is closed. The snap on the outside of the box is from a cigar box. The best part - the "book club participants" - were part of my stash and is a delight every time I open the box.

It's compact, sturdy and works like a charm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Play Day and Altered Jewelry

I spent time today experimenting with findings (things that go with other things). Bonnie's Best Art Tools has a sale on enameled metal doo dads (the official name escapes me) that are generally used for decoration by threading a ribbon from side to side. I couldn't resist a sale and an opportunity to see what else could be made from these things. At the same time I picked up other metal doo dads (a mesh heart and brass corners)to play with.

Since these, to me, were meant for paper crafts - I had to take them somewhere totally different. Everything went into a piece of jewelry. I also tried etching and didn't like the results. I'm a baby blogger - you only get to see the good stuff right now.

Metal enameled heart (7/8"x 7/8") with stretchy cord, glass bead and base metal wire.

Metal Enameled Heart using base metal wire, repurposed chain and rhinestone rondells.

Same pendant - used cord vs chain.

1 3/4" x 2" - This could have gotten blingy but I kept it simple. Mesh heart, brass corners riveted to heart (and bent), tiny pearls. Can be worn as a pendant or pin.

Tools and Storage

The SUN is out today!

I want to share a storage idea that works for me. My three work tables are 4' deep by 8' wide and waist high. I put wheels on repurposed wooden file trays to help me organize my work space. My hand tools are assembled in the trays by use. This makes it easier to get to my tools for a project - all I have to do is grab the handle on the front of the box and pull it to me. When I need the full depth and width of the table it's easy to just pick up the trays off the work tables and set them aside. Easy - peasy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clay Day & Book Covers!! Ya Hoo!

The February Book Arts Club is going to be working on polymer clay book covers using molds, stamps, transfers, etc. Wanting to add to the choices of molds I used some things of interest I had on hand (the items in the first picture AND a cat plaque) and started baking.

In preparation to make test pieces of the molds, I discovered my small blocks of poly clay were too old and too hard for me to soften. I really, really, wanted to mold the cat into a book cover so I opened some paper clay (Knead-O) that I've had in my drawer for a little while, crossing my fingers it was still good. It was perfect! I rolled out the paper clay to 5 3/4" x 8 3/4" and added the paper clay molded cat (the cat relief is about 1/8" high). The paper clay was very easy to work with and promises that I'll be able to refine, sand, cut and paint it after it dries over night. Way, way, too cool.

Since I was already elbow deep in clay I decided to use a picture of a kimono I had drawn to embed in poly clay and use as a book cover. The picture was reduced in size to 3" x 4", printed on my laser printer in black and white and baked into translucent clay. It came out OK and would have come out better had the image been sharper. I'll post it again when the book is finished.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book 3" x 3"

The pattern for the binding is in the paper back book - Book Arts by Mary Kaye Seckler. I changed the size and the closure so I could use supplies I had on hand and remnants of signature paper used on other books.
Supplies: Flower patterned paper, Blue fiborous paper and Gold Card Stock. The gold card stock is sandwiched between the outer flower paper and the inside fiberous paper so the gold shows thru the fiborous paper. PVA Glue, Gold ink, Eyelets, Gold elastic cord, Blue waxed linen thread, Air dry terracotta clay, Rub on metalics.
Process: The binding is easy and fun. I would use it again. Unlike the coptic stitch - the signatures (11 with 6 sheets each) don't fall open leaving gaps. One of the changes to the process I'll make on my next book using this binding is to use my Japanese Screw punch to make the holes. By virtue of being highlighted in the slit made for the binding - the holes stand out. It would look cleaner if I had used a hole punch. I made the leaf embellishment to correspond with the pattern on the paper using air dry terracotta clay and rub on metalics after it dried.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clay Class - Sneak Peek

My daughter says I have Art ADD and my husband is an enabler. There's gotta be a meeting for people like me somewhere.

I'm taking a clay building workshop from Red Weldon (awesome). I went to Daven's clay store today to pick up a clay tool Red felt confident would be helpful. Big Mistake. It was a freakin candy store. After drooling over every tool and kiln in the place I spied a flyer announcing PMC (precious metal clay) classes scheduled for next month in the building next door. I'm engrossed in making books and working in clay and my husband is encouraging me to take this class because I could use it in my mixed media pieces. Gotta love him.

This is a sneak peek at my first piece..."Find The Key - Win My Heart". It's a once a week class so stay tuned ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011


I struggled with designing a logo to fit ME - it just didn't happen.

My mother lived with me. On the rare occasion that I would have to leave the house before she got up in the morning, I would leave her a short note by the coffee pot. One morning, wanting to make her smile, my signature "J" included eyes and a mouth. That was it -that was the start of my logo. My daughter Laura artistically added the name and design. WA LA - now I could blog and stick it on things!

Mother passed away December 3, 2011. I'll never look at my logo without thinking of her.

This should have been my first blog. But I'm a person that would read the end of a book to be reasonably sure I'd enjoy it - before I spent hours reading it. Not always - but I'm just sayn.

Book Pocket

Book Pocket: I was impulse buying at the book store and saw a book I thought I had but couldn't remember if it was mine and I let someone borrow it - or my friend owned it. At any rate I bought it and discovered later I already owned it. Sooooo, I decided that, with my brand new logo in print, I would make something to help me keep track of my books and let my friends know, if they forget (like I do) where a book belongs when they're done with it.

Supplies: 2 1/4" x 3 1/2" envelope // Rubber stamps & ink //
Printed Logo and/or contact information on plain paper (easier to read). PS: These little pockets can be made with scraps of paper.
Process: Pocket & Ownership Info: Glue envelope flap down and cut in half. Tape/Glue one half of the envelope (opening up) to the inside cover of the book (before gluing the pockets down I stamped them with various stamps). Tape/Glue logo with contact information just above the envelope. Ownership Card - 2 1/8" x 3 1/2": Print same logo with contact information on plain paper - cut to 3 1/2" x 2 1/8". I put my logo in Microsoft Word, typed in the name of the book and the author and added lines for for names and dates - I got six to a page.

Now you can take the card out, note who's borrowing it and put it away in a safe place (which means I get to build something to hold them - yeah!) You'll know if you have a book before you go shopping and your friend knows where the book belongs when it's ready to go home. Not to worry - I can attest that this will not prevent impulse buying.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nail Hugger

I was deployed to MS for three years to help out with a Katrina project. In that time I got to know the area and love the people. We, my friends Debbie and Rusty and I, would venture out on the weekend and pick up treasures found along the road or parking lots. During this time Gulfport was renewing the center medians along the gulf highway - dead trees were being carved into water animals (google this, you'll be amazed).

Size: Approximately 6" tall x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick Oak

Important: Everything has a history. Open your eyes to possibilities.
Artsy/Crafty: Polymer clay, piece of tree, stains, clear spray-on finish and my Dremel - I LOVE my Dremel.
Project: My friends each found a rusty square head nail(I kept looking but never found one). The question was how to display it without altering the nail. I picked up some shavings from the tree carvings, carved out (with my Dremel) ovals for the head and hands that I molded with polymer clay. The shape of the square nail was carved out so it would stand behind the hands - with a ledge at the bottom for it to sit on. A small hole was carved in the back for hanging. The head and hands were glued in place, stained it and sprayed with a clear finish. The nail just sits in it's space, not glued, being held by the tree.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Pendant - MOP Bird on Eggs

I'm finding my way around the blog world - hope you'll hang in until I get it reasonably right.

Important: Improvise - keep loose - play
Artsy/Crafty: Metal gauge = the smaller the gauge the thicker the metal. I mixed metals - copper sheet and sterling wire. Sometimes that's not good for me - but here - it wasn't important. I used a small amount of glue on the pages - the type is immaterial for this project.
Project: I wanted to make something with a 2"x1" piece of 20 gauge copper that I had bought and remembered a cute pendant featured in the Semiprecious Salvage Book. I'm making art books now and this incorporated treasures I already had on hand. I changed it up but the premise is the same...

Size: Book Only 1 1/8" x 1" // Complete with bird and flower 2"x1".

The copper piece (20 gauge) was difficult for me to get crisp bends in (it was cold in the garage and I wasn't taking it out there). I found a sheet of copper screen-like metal (24 gauge) in my stash and cut out the size I needed with tin snips - it cut and bent easily. The inspiration piece just had a chunk of blue tourqoise on top. Changing it up to add pebbles of tourquoise for eggs, a mother of pearl bird and red flower gave it a little more interest for me. The pages are from a book that had no value or content interest - cut to fit and burned around the edges.

Japanese Screw Punch (book drill) - bit holder

OK - here goes - first post...

Keep in mind that I like to change/improve/build things to fit my work style. To that end, when I purchased my Japanese Screw Punch (one of my top three - can't do without - tools) from Bonnie's Best Art Tools ( it came with a plastic box to hold the handle and a nice small plastic box (with dividers) for the bits. I wanted everything combined into one box using what had come with the punch, and set out to do just that. The pictures show the bit holder after punching holes in book board and before sanding, after sanding and covered with Washi Paper and then the finished bit holder in the same box as the handle. If you want specifics please don't hesitate to email me.