Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Red Chair Thoughts - along for the ride

I found some rather large vintage cardboard pieces children would play with, each made to look like a brick wall. When something unusual comes my way I find myself thinking of different ways to utilize it(other than what it was intended for). Sometimes, as in this case, I acted on my thoughts before I went on to something else. I started a Humpty Dumpty sculpture yesterday, to sit on the wall, working on it until late last night.

Usually, when I come out of my art stupor (regardless of the medium) I ask myself - now what? (I talk to myself a lot). Why did I just spend a day on this project? Where is it going, where is it taking me, can I change up my process even more, will I remain with this effort until it's finished?

In my stupor of who, what and where usually comes a serendipitous occasion.

Today I chose to follow a link to Lisa Kokin's web site posted on the Book_Arts RSS feed. I got an Ah Ha!! - actually is was an OMG!

If anything I do elicits in someone else, the same feeling I got when I looked at Lisa's work - even once - all my questions will be answered.

PS: If you go to Lisa's website know that each area's content is driven by the buttons to the left. As you chose a button and the object appears, the button goes from faded to clear. Really, really, cool work and web site.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baby Book for Gabi

This is my granddaughter, Gabi, on Halloween last year - getting ready to jump to her Daddy. She is this happy ALL the time.

I made a baby book to chronicle her growth ( 8 1/2" x 12").

I've made other baby books for friends using book board to make the covers but I was able to find a raw book board binder on clearance. I stripped the metal rings from the inside and finished as I did the other baby books.(see bottom of post).

The outside and inside were covered using 12 x 12 decorative paper and embellished with pearls, silk flowers, a dimensional butterfly, crystal lacquer, distressed inks and H2O paints. The inside sheets are stepped to provide a 1/2" space to put the age (all done in excel and printed on a printer) and two hole punched so additional pictures can be added behind the designated growth pictures.

All spare parts were used to decorate the inside of the book and the tab of each page; stickers, dimensional stickers, stamps, ink (each page was distressed), decorative paper, earring, etc.

This is one of my favorite baby books I made for a friend who was expecting a granddaughter. I embellished the cover a lot with H20 paints, a silk flower, buttons and cardboard flowers.

I'll open a flikr or picassa account and post the others.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Simple Saturday

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see. ~John Burroughs

These are pictures I took last year from the Gulfport, MS coast:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Encaustic Play Day

I've owned Ranger's Melting Pot and a block of Beeswax for over a year - I opened both packages for the first time today. Although I had the tools I didn't have something specific to apply it to. It was because I want to try to use encaustic on a piece of bisque clay (see Key to My Heart) that I took out my supplies to see how it handled. At this level of encaustic, using only beeswax, I'm sorry I waited so long. What a blast!

I played most of today at Bonnie's Art Tools. My biggest discovery is that, like most art, a little pre-planning is helpful to get a good balance of texture, color and content (unless you're Bonnie who can do it on the fly).

Supplies: 8 x 8 pre-stretched canvas, beeswax, brush, small iron, Ranger's Melting Pot and ephemera....

This is my art work (I need to pre-plan)... the flower is stamped on the inside of a used mailing envelope.

This is Bonnie's - who I've discovered is a natural at collage....

It doesn't look like we were at the same table does it?
Bonnie has her Butane Micro Torch on sale for 1/2 off so I got mine and I'm going to fire it up tomorrow and see what happens when I apply it to my piece of art above. Who doesn't love a new tool?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Idea Gone Bad

Have you ever had a fabulous idea that, in the end, turned out to be above your capabilities. This was one for me. It's been about 8 years since I pulled this together and have since learned when to cry "uncle";)

Inspiration: Computer hard drive destined for the garbage. Ohhhhh what fabulous, colorful, circuit boards it contained! AND I had just discovered heart shaped mold/plaster kits for making impressions of children's hands.

Somehow (it's a thin, thin, thread with me) - the mother board from the gutted hard drive turned out to be the backdrop for a water fountain (yep-complete with water).

My daughter Laura is an artist too. She agreed (can't remember how we got here) to put cotton in her nose and breathe thru a straw for two minutes while her face was partially submersed in molding material. Gotta love this girl! This is a scanned page from my scrapbook - before I owned a digital camera.

After the mold was made I created a plaster face cast, cut out the eyes, inserted a plastic tube in the mouth, painted it with black waterproof paint and adhered it to the mother board of the hard drive. It was glued to a rectangle vessel that would hold the water while it circulated thru the tubing and out of the mouth. Scary - huh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Treasures - I must have been a Pirate in a Previous Life

An enabler friend of mine let me know about an artist that was moving to Pittsburgh and having a yard sale. It was a sunny, glorious day - look at the treasures I found... (I've included the prices I paid because I like to see what others paid for their treasures and I've included my thoughts for the future of the treasure because that's what I've been told others want to see)
Cast iron ice cream cup mold (15" w x 7" h) - $8. The owner had obtained this from a closed ice cream cone factory in SE Atlanta. Possibilities are endless with this thing. Paper, paper clay, ceramic clay, etc. can be used to mold ice cream cones. They can be used as hats, a pin cushion, a doll body, parts for collage - geeze I'm getting tired thinking of this..... Old clock cabinet with clock face (25" h x 15" w) - $6. You don't have to go far to find something awesome for this. The door on the front of the box hinges open and doesn't have glass. Title: "He who steals time" Picture this - the clock face (which is already loose) lays catty wompass in the box towards the front and a face (clay or paper collage) shows in the recesses of the box surround by old newspaper clippings. Hands/claws are just visible coming out and around the outside of the door.
1940's scrapbook of form letters and author's critique (15" h x 11" w)- $6. I would love to know what the purpose of this album was. I want to grow as a book artist and add content to my books. This would be a good jumping off point for a fictional story.Metal cow muzzle (6 1/2" h x 6" w) - $1. I know you're thinking "how is the world did I get this so darn cheap?" I saw a bonnet. That's it, a bonnet. The bonnet could contain a head and/or ephemera that symbolizes childhood.Cast Iron Lamp piece (12" h x 11" d) - $1. I know, I know - what a steal! It's photographed upside down, as I would use it. I saw the bowl as a hat. The metal arm could come from the wall but I thought the back of the head would mount on the wall and the metal arm would hang in front of the face, or body, and contain misc treasures/pictures hanging out in front of the face as memories or dreams or, or, or
Old Lamp Shade - $3. This is beautiful. The doll is in perfect condition but hanging on by a clothespin - the fabric is now a soft, worn lavender. Aside from taking the half doll off and using her elsewhere and stripping the frame and using it to hang things on or sit birds on - I'm not sure where I'm going with this.Pure Joy Flour Sack (17" h x 10" w) - $2. Funny, this was the only thing I thought was overpriced. But I was having a ball at this yard sale, happy as a clam - all I could think of was that I needed that flour sack to make a book cover for a book for me to enter in my daily blessings (which are many).Misc iron treasures - $5. What can I tell ya. If I could weld (no I'm not going there) I could make a fence 20 ft long with all my rusty metal treasures. Doesn't this sugar cane cutter look like a parrot's beak?Misc other treasures - $5. Bag of corn husks, rasp, bird mold, etc.. Aside from the rasp that I'll use with my ceramic clay, everything else will be put in my "Things to go with other things" box.

No my husband wasn't with me (he was in Seattle) and yes, I took everything out of hiding to show him and he still loves me ;)

Fisherman - what do you think?

Chinese Proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"

Remember him... (napkin ring, blush brush and poly clay head) - he's painted and assembled now. The inspiration for this piece was the oil lamp I found at a garage sale for $1.00.
Coat - when viewing the fisherman I wanted to "see" the fish in his belly. I felt belly was "the heart" of the fisherman - his contribution so to speak. So, when I made his coat I lined it in white linen that was larger than the coat and, with a little help from some polyfil, would lay close to his belly when his coat was on.
Top stitching served two purposes - one was to keep the coat and lining tight at the edges and the second was to create a channel to put a wire frame in. Now I can style the coat where I want it because the wire goes completely around the bottom, up the sides and around the collar.

Hands - holes were put in the wrists. The hands and cuffs were sewn to the selvage at the wrist before the coat and lining were sewn closed.

Hat - the color of the brissels on the blush brush were too natural and brought attention there first. So I darkened them with an ink pad. I didn't make ears on the fisherman. At the time, artistically, it didn't matter. However, as I assembled him - it did matter. So I made him hat extenders with a tie.

Fishing pole - the fishing pole is a vintage wood crochet hook. If I decide to keep the coat it will get string and the same fish the fisherman has in his belly.

My current delimma is - does the coat detract from the message? I'm thinking (it takes me a little time) of getting rid of the coat, collaging light weight/water-colored paper on his the back of his belly and the proverb across his chest (diagonal above the water line).

I'll let you know...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Copic Wallet

I love tools. A lot of what I've made is because I wanted to try a new tool.

I created this Copic wallet (before Copic Markers came out with theirs) because 1) I just bought a Martha Stewart scoring board and was scoring everything at 1/8" I could get my hands on 2) I wanted to buy a couple of Copic Markers when I was at Impressive Ideas and couldn't remember what I had 3) I had just learned that everybody and their Mother was doodling (professionals call it Zentangle).

Supplies: 3 sheets - 8 1/2" x 11" white card stock (1 for cover, 1 for blank color legend, 1 for blank list), glue tape, glue stick, copic markers, metal tab closure.

Closed, the Copic Wallet measures 7 1/2" x 3 3/4".
The first inside sheet folds out and is used to color in what copic markers you own.
The second inside sheet folds out and is blank and scored every 1/4" so you have lines, but no lines, to write lists or notes, etc.
I doodled the front and the flap and colored it in with Copic Markers.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I remember getting my first 35mm camera (way before digital). I've had a knack for getting good, not stellar, but good pictures. I want to share a few. Learning Photoshop is on my "bucket list" - until then what you see here is how it was shot.

The peaceful loving nature of cemetaries draw me in. The stone testiment to someone having lived their first life on this planet and their second in the hereafter appeals to me.

I snapped this picture on a visit to the Biloxi, MS cemetary. When I got out of the van to take a picture of this weathered Cherub set to oversee a loved one I saw a bird flying around. I propped my arm up on the hood of the van and waited (not long). The bird graciously landed on the Cherub so I could take their picture together.

These pictures were taken in the same cemetary.

These two pictures were taken in a New Orleans Cemetary

The age on this concrete is fantastic.

New Mixed Media Bookmaking & Art Journaling Magazine

Just an FYI - Cloth Paper Scizzors is publishing a new magazine called Mixed Media Bookmaking and Art Journaling - coming this fall.

Monthly book making eye candy AND inspiration - Ya Hoo!

The Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine (pg 62) is calling for submissions.

There are a lot of successful book making groups out there. I'm hoping that CPS takes a page or two and highlights what these groups/clubs do to be successful.

Happy everything,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Got My Money's Worth

Since I'm a member of the American Craft Council I got into the ACC show Friday and Saturday for free - so I really got my money's worth ($25 membership comes free ACC show passes and the bi-monthly subscription to American Craft Magazine).

On Friday while attending a demonstration by Amy Gresens (she has a show next week at the High) on piercing and epoxy casting resin as it relates to jewelry - I met a two ladies that told me about a couple of fiber venues I'd never heard of.

So, in case you're not aware of them I thought I'd pass the info along.

Stitches South held at Cobb Galleria Apr 2011:
This is more about the processes of knitting, etc. than the supplies - that would interest me more.

SAFF in Asheville Oct 2011:
This is the best event website I have ever seen. At a glance you know when, where and the cost. It makes perusing the rest of the site a joy.
Look at the venue maps - holy cow - they're going to have a lot of vendors. I want to learn how to felt - I have all the supplies, including roving (I know - you're surprised). It appears easy and I could go to youtube to learn - but this looks like more fun.

One of the ladies I spoke to was from here and also told me about The Engineer Guy. A way, way, cool place in town to get modeling supplies - I'm going to visit next week.

I found that a lot of the newer vendors were eager to discuss their processes - whether or not you were buying their art. I have a piece of bisque ("here's my heart") that's crying out for some encaustic AND/OR some fabric strips dipped in resin. Fun, fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Made a Stamped Card - Yeah Me!

I'm not a card maker or stamper. That being said - once in a long while inspiration will grab me by the hair and I buy one of the newest, artiest stamps.

My friends Jenny ( and Miriam's( cards are inspirational - but sometimes it still doesn't help. I have to admit - I don't make many cards and the cards I do make usually don't make it in the mail. You may understand my dilemma when you see my card.

My sister has lost 25 pounds - all on her own. This card is for her.

I was visiting with Jenny at Impressive Ideas and saw the beautiful new stamps from LaBlanche. I chose the Marigold (3 3/4" x 5 1/2") because it reminded me of a ballerina tutu (are you starting to see my problem?).

A ballerina card wouldn't be appropriate in this situation. It was a celebration for cripes sake - a shout it from the roof top kinda celebration. So I took out my favorite - make me smile every time stamp - from viva las vegastamps and combined the two.

Her hair (Marigold) is colored using gamsol, Prismacolor Pencils and Copic markers, cut out and turned upside down. Her head was highlighted with pastels, cut out and inserted in a slit in the flower. I added black ribbon and pearls and shaded the card with my new favorite ranger distress ink, Wild Honey.
LOL - It's funnier in person.
This is what my table looked when it was all said and done....

I'm going back to sculpting.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Craft Council Show

I made a last minute decision, spent a little extra money and went to the premier of the ACC show tonight.

OMG! It was awesome. I was able to spend some time, since it wasn't crowded, with artists I admire. If you get the chance to go look up Nancy Kubale booth 513, Christine Kosiba booth 1108 (both sculptors) and bead artist Kathy King booth 304 (she developed an incredible new bead pattern - I bought her book).

If you want to get a close up look at encaustic (sp?) art there's a really good encaustic artist at the show - Marge Luttrell booth 415. She's teaching a class at Arrowmont in August.

I was surprised. There were no book artists.

Hope you get to go. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Mews

I made another pendant using copper sheet cut to 1 1/2" x 1", a carved bone cat head, book pages, a watch part and a rhinestone. It's something I'm familiar with and can pretty much guarantee instant gratification. A sense of producing something.
Monday, I bought something at a thrift store (a thrift store that had 1/2 price day for cripes sake) - it had cardboard bricks in it - the kind kids play with. This morning I woke up thinking about Humpty Dumpty, in clay, with a crack in his head (actually he's all head or all body) sewn together with red yarn and him holding a big needle, sitting on the brick.
I'm procrastinating. I really want to get my hands into clay ("Heart Strings" and birds are already in the works). But this takes putting all my other things aside and immersing myself in clay. Chances are whatever I work on won't be done by the end of the day, or the next day. Sooooo, I choose one of my other ideas, one that can get done, NOW.
Believe me. I consider myself blessed to have these issues.

Yeah Me

As of this morning I have lost 35 pounds (thanks to Weight Watchers) - Yeah Me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

E6000 Glue Tube

Regardless how careful I was in screwing the lid back on my tube of E6000 glue - it would dry out. So I tried something different.

I left the lid on the tube and put a hole in the side of tube towards the top.

After getting the glue that I need I put a piece of duct tape over the hole. When I need the glue days/weeks later I just peel back the tape. Any hardened glue comes away with the tape and fresh glue is immediately available. The same piece of tape can be replaced back over the hole or you can use a fresh piece. Either way it's a lot less hassle than trying to get the glue out of the intended nozzle.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wedding Center Piece

June weddings are being planned and I wanted to share a table center piece (14" overall height) I made many many years ago for my daughter's wedding reception (I can't remember how many we made - but it seemed like Edna (myBFF) and I made a gazillion flowers). The hem of Laura's wedding gown was trimmed in grey silk. These center pieces coupled with ferns and other typical reception frippery looked great. I made silver wire and glass beaded cake decorations and others silk flowers - if I can find the pictures in the next couple of days I'll share them too.

Supplies: 12" Glass lantern, lace trim, monofiliment, pearls, Silk ribbon, styrofoam ring, grey silk, tulle, candle, clear glass dessert plates and small terra cotta saucers.

12" Glass Lantern: About 4" from the top and 4" from the bottom of the lantern, lace trim was taped on using red line tape. Pearls were strung on the monofiliment and woven in a criss-cross pattern between the lace trim - giving the illusion of the pearls floating.

Ring: A styrofoam ring was covered in batting. The batting was covered with grey silk fabric and gathered as it was glued. Grey tulle covered the grey silk. Our hand made ribbon flowers were glued to the tulle. A white card board circle, 2" smaller than the ring was glued to the bottom of the ring.
Candle and support: A glass dessert plate was placed in the center of the covered ring. Four glass flat baubles were spaced evenly and glued along the rim of the glass plate so the glass lantern wouldn't move when it was set in place. In the middle of the glass plate was a silver painted terra cotta plant saucer turned upside down. A large candle, secured with wax, was centered on the silver saucer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Little bit of Repurposing - No Glue - No Sewing

The thing led to another and I came across a cute idea for repurposing 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It's great when you don't want to carry a full pad of paper with you. For example - you're going to a book, bead and/or rubber stamp show and you want to make notes that aren't necessary to keep forever. This is perfect.

Finished Size: 4 1/4" x 5 1/2"

I changed the cover so there are pockets for tickets, receipts, etc.

The example uses the cover of a new car brochure cut to 8 1/2" x 11" plus 3 sheets of 8 1/2"x11" preprinted (scrap) copy paper, a rubber band and four staples.

Fold all sheets in half - lenth wise - to 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" (writing on the inside) - then again width wise. Stack them together with the fold at the top. Notch the top and bottom at the middle crease.

Turn the cover over and bring the bottom left and right corners to the middle crease - this creates your pockets.
Staple the cover at the bottom outer edges to complete the pockets.

Put a rubber band around the middle at the notches and you're done. You'll be surprised at how secure this is.

I think kids would have fun with this. They can create mini books of their vacation using stamps, paint, pictures, etc...