Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Come Into the Garden" Altered Book Spread

This altered book spread is for a fellow member of my altered arts group. Our group meets once a month and we exchange books when we see each other. At that time, we give presentations of our work, to the whole group. It is such fun to see what everyone has done and to see the reaction of the owner of the book that I have been working in for that month.
The theme of the book that I was to work in for this month was "Favorite Things". One of my favorite things has got to be gardening. I love digging in the earth and watching things grow and watching all of the natural fauna that comes to our yard when we lay out our organic feast of nectars and pollens. Of course we also get lots of birds because we don't use any poisons to kill the bugs. The Carolina Wrens and the bats do just fine with those details! See! Can you tell that I love to garden?

The background papers used on this side of the spread is the green that I showed in a previous post. I stitched down the felt leaves and the Ric-Rac trim stems and then glued on the felt flowers and hand sewed the beaded stamens. I am very pleased with this page. There is some glae on all of the following pages as I used some metallic paints in all of my work. In real life the papers are extremly rich looking.

FOr the pockets on this page, I glued several book pages together then ripped off the corners and then applied the paint in layers , scrapping the paint off with an old credit card. Then I simply punched small hole through all of the pages and inserted the little flower brads to hold everything together.

There has been a developing genral them in this round robin. One of the artist participants decided that she would make a book within hwer book. Other artists have picked up on this idea on their own and last month almost each book had a minibook contained somewhere with in the layout. My mini-book, for last months spread was the Elizabethan Ruff, shown in a previous post. My intention for at least one of the pockets in the garden spread ,was that it would hold a mini book made from seed packets. Each seed packet would hold a tag with a gardening quote and one of my personal garden photos.

Here is a picture of my first piano hinge book. the spine is made of painted bamboo cooking skewers that are lashed together with nylon thread at both the top and the bottom.

The book pages swing open quite easily on the thick paper hinges that are attatched to the packets with more floral brads.

The tags were covered with text pages from an old Horticultural Dictionary on one side and with more of the green scrapped paint paper on the other.

All of the pictures on the tags were photos that I took in my garden in Oklahoma. (One of the few things that I miss about Oklahoma is my collection of fragrant antique roses.)

The last shot is the green side of the tags with the gardening quotes. One of them reads , "You know that you are a gardener if you find compost a fascinating subject.", another one states "Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint and the soil and sky as canvas." Elizabeth Murray

Cobalt Blue Altered Book Spread

I have been working very hard on my art during the last week. The kids finally went back to school after flu and snow days. Hopefully something resembling quasi-normal routines will kick in !!

The following project is another Altered Book Spread for True Colors Round Robin that I am in charge of. This work was done in the Cobalt Blue book. I have been looking forward to working in this book for a long time. I have been putting aside pictures and buttons, trims and wrapping paper. The background blue paper used in this spread is the blue paper that I made last week and have displayed in the previous post. I went with one of my favorite color combos: Yellow and Cobalt.
The yellow and orange papers used for the petals are also made from the paint scrapped paper in the previous post.Along with the phrase" Live Life Like A Sunflower", there is small white writing running along the edge of the petals that says: Stay Open, Bend with the breeze, Turn your face to the sun, Brighten someone else's day, and Bloom where you are planted.
I made the center of the sunflower with a section of an old wicker chair seat . Irescued this treasure fom the dump, my Mom was going to toss it- most people would !! I believe that it was the seat from a little swedish rocking chair that had been a favorite of my grandmother. Inside many of the holes in the canning I glued brass and copper colored seed beads to give the impression of seeds. I am really pleased with the texture and depth that the canning added to the piece.
The other side of the spread is something completely different. I cut up pieces of saved images and wrapping papers, ticket stubs and fibers to make the background for the poem that I rescued froma discarde childrens book. I am showing two views of the is page as in the first shot some of the images are covered by the fibers and the vintage shade putll with the blue bird on it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Latest, Greatest Technique!

I have had more fun making these papers! This technique is amazingly freeing and unpredictable, probably the reasons why I like it so much. I have made sheets of paper that have been embellished with an overlapping layer of test pages from a large number of sources. Then, depending on a certain theme or on a whim, I have applied acrylic paint and moved it around and scraped it off with an old credit card. Some times I have used many different colors, applying one at a time. Lately though, I have worked within color families, again working with one shade at a time with drying time in between applications. I painted two of these sheets today and I have specific projects in mind for their use.

I used 5 different blue paints on this sheet, including one metallic, hence the glare! I will be using this as a background for a spread in Cobalt Blue Altered Book.

This golden orangs sheet will be used to make sunflower petals for another Altered book spread. I used 8 different paints here. Oranges, yellows, a red, a copper metallic and a gold.

This blue sheet was used for background for some stamped letters in a project that I will be posting very soon. This scrapping was done on 140 lb watercolor paper with no collaged text applied prior to painting. I laid it down on the orange sheet just for the gorgeous contrast!!

This green sheet was made usingtext from an old Herbal recipe book and an ancient Horticultural dictionary. I found both books in the leftovers of a Library used book sale. Trash to most become my treasures!! I used 5 differnt greens and a turquiose metallic on this sheet. It will be used for the background of another Altered Book spread that I have in the works. Currently, I have three altered book spreads to work on!! Yikes!!!!

I did this pink, purple and red sheet because I felt like working with these colors. I don't have any plans for it yet but it will certainly be used for something!! As the last step on this sheet I used a piece of sequin waste to stencil the star shapes on with pink metallic paint. It gives the piece lots of sparkle!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sick Day Creativity

My ten year old daughter, Becca, has been home from school all week with the flu. We have been spending lots of time watching movies and reading and snuggling and, just recently she has been catching up on missed school work.
One large project that was due today was a Bio-Box. It was quite a clever way for the kids to do research and present information with out having to write a boring old report. Each child was assigned an important person from Virginia history. Then they were to do research on several sub topics about that person and present the info on the panels of a paper covered Kleenex box. Becca's historical person was James Madison. She had done her research via the internet, long ago. But we needed to do the rest. The tissue box got emptied during her illness! Becca decided to cover the box with orange paper as James Madison's home, Montpelier, is located in Orange County, Virginia. She had discovered that Madison was responsible for the writing of the majority of the Constitution, and therefore has become known as the "Father Of the Constitution". She wanted to do something extra for her Bio-Box so she could achieve an "Outstanding" grade. We decided to try to make our own Quill feather pens. I had been given some wonderful turkey feathers in Oklahoma and I was even able to find the feathers!!! I know that Turkey feathers make the best Quill pens , so we gave it a shot. We shaved down the tips to a sharp point and tried out the pens with some black ink. Becca was absolutely thrilled, the pens worked and she was able to write with one!

Here are some of her doodlings!! The expereince made her realize how difficult it must have been to write back in the 1600 and 1700's.

here is a picture of my happy girl with her project with four functioning Turkey Quill pens, as the writer of the Constitution would have used in his important task!

History Class Dismissed!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

February Colors 4x4 pages

Today, I am home with a sick little girl. I am afraid that it is the flu! SIGH!!!! Lucky for us , she is not one of those kids that runs scarey high fevers!! She is happily parked in front of a movie and I have been creating, of course. There is laundry to be folded and dusting to do and I could try to find the red carpet under the dog hair, but what the heck, it is much more fun to create!!!

I am working on getting these 4x4 pages in the mail for a swap. They are due at the end of February. Now they are done and I am quite happy with them!

I made the background for these [pages using my latest favorite technique. I collaged pages from old books and some old sheet music and then scraped on several layers of red and pink paint. I let the paintdry between each color change. I love the way that the edges of the different papers absorbs the paint. The last paint that I used was Pink Pearl by Lumiere, as I wanted to get that pearly luster as a last touch. When all the paint was dry I added bits of Hershey's Kiss wrappers from Valentines day, for even more sparkle and shine! Then i cut out the 4x4 squares from the big sheet, added the quote that had been inked with warm red and feed the silk ribbon thru the holes.
Below is a close up shot so you can read the quote!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Valentine Flower Pin Dolls

I am having lots of fun with these little dolls. I am now creating pins with them. They are such fun to wear ! When I wear one on the days that I volunteer at my daughters elementary school, the pins get lots of attention. The kids are starting to really look to see which pin I have on!
For the Valentine girls, I have added lots of hearts but each doll., no matter what the occassion, always is given a special heart!! This dolly's arms are made from hand made fabric/paper beads and her legs are made from rolled Hebrew text from an old prayer book. She is infused with tons of great karma!!!

White Inchies- 1x1 inch fabric collages

These little creations arequickly becoming the ART Group Swapping Rage. First it was ATC's then paper 1x1 inch squares and now fiber and fabric 1x1 inch squares. The group that I am swapping them on is calling them "Inchies". We are doing a whole color spectrum over the next several months and then folks do different things with them. I plan to mount them all together in patch work fashion. I have seen this done and it makes for a stunning presentation.
I put these together using white felt as the foundation and then quickly handstiched a piece of tea dyed jaquard fabric over the felt. Then I added bits of lace, beads and buttons and some tiny paper flowers and they were good to go. Took me about an hour or so. It was fun and different and fast!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Doggie Lumbar Support

As I have been spending a bit more time at the computer lately and Buddy is not really comfortable sitting on my lap with the key board on his head, he has decide to find a spot somewhere else. Now, whenever I sit down at the computer, Buddy jumps up over the arm of the chair, turns around a few times and settles down behind me.. I am now perched on the edge of the computer chair, but my lower back is so nice and warm!!! often he will rest his head on the arm of the chari, which means that his head and neck are tilted at about a 45 degree angle. He will snooze this way for as long as I am at the computer!
What would we do without our wonderful pets?????

Fabric Post Cards

This has been a very busy week, but I have had to finish up these post cards as they are supposed to be in the mail today!!!
We have been iced in here in VA and the kids have been out of school since Tuesday the 13th!!!!!!! Apparently the parking lots and walk ways at the schools are solid ice, about 3inches thick and they are having to chop it out by hand!! The temp has not risen above 19 degrees all week so no melting has been going on. With the wind it has felt like 2-3 above. I can't believe this!! I'll take 3 feet of snow any day , at least you can plow snow!!! Thank goodness we never lost power, like many folks in Maryland! I would have really gone nuts!!!! Everyone around here was so upset that we were not having any winter-I haven't heard about that issue THIS week!!

Anyhoooo, back to my Fabric Post Cards (FPC's) The cards are for an alphabet swap- for the letter B. These are my Beautiful Blossoms. The flowers are cut out of flet that has been heated and melted by a heat tool. The melting causes the shriveling and color changes and the lacy holes in the fabric. I then had to add some beaded stamens and leaf veins!! I simply HAVE to add beads!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Winged Things" Altered Book

I have created a Sign-In page for the Round Robin that is ongoing, having just begun, in my Altered Arts group. The theme that I have chosen is Winged Things, up to the interpretation of each artist who adds to my book.
Behind "the nest" is a pocket to hold the sign-in tags to be filled out by each artist. The sign-in tags themselves are in the shape of large eggs. I created the nest using raffia, fibers, thread, feathers and sticks. It is very dimensional so I had to remove quite a few pages at the begining of the book to accommodate the bulk. The first artist has worked on my book and she tied a "leash" to her egg and added eggs along the leash. The other end of the leash is attatched to her spread. She is a very clever girl!! She did a wonderful job! This was the first time that I have been able to have a spread presented to me by the artist. It was very exciting! Now the book is with the next artist and I will get to glance at her work next month. The book will make the rounds to a total of 10 artists. SO I will finally be able to have it in my hands for a long study., but not till September.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Tudor Queens Altered Book

Yesterday my Altered Art group met and we shared our work from the first round of our Round Robin. This past month I have been working on a spread about Queen Elizabeth I,in a book with the Tudor Queens as it's theme. I was the first artist to work in this book, so naturally I chose Elizabeth! I had great fun with this project and I managed to learn quite a bit as well!!
I did two full spreads in this book. And I decided immediately that somehow I wanted to incorporate an Elizabethan collar in my work, I just wasn't sure how that would fit in with everything else.
For this first page, I used a piece of silk brocade fabric for the background and I sewed on the pearls and gold trim. I stubled upon a wonderful little book about English Royaltyat Goodwill and it bacame the source for many of my images. How lucky can you get???
The second spread includes some crushed velvet bias ribbon that I had in my stash, as well as other bits and pieces. I came across the very old postage stamps and the definitions of Elizabeth and Elizabethan in an old Junior Dictionary. I had great fun with the little lace medallion. I beaded it up with little crystal seed beads, to add a bit of sparkle.

This next picture shows a close view of the collar that I created from watercolor paper. The original piece was twice as long, but I soon realized that it would be far too bulky for the book. I sewed the whole thing together as I wanted it to be very sturdy and it was much simpler to sew that lace on rather than glueing it to the paper edge. The button on the outside of the collar is made from polymer clay. I made a mold of an actual vintage button and used that mold to make the clay replica. I highlighted the details of the button with Pearl-Ex powders. Inside each of the pockets I put tags, each one different.

Each tag was madeusing a different image and on the reverse side , I wrote out information about Elizabeth and england during the time of her reign.

More tags.

The owner of this book was extremely pleased with the work that I contributed to her book. I was very pleased as the whole project turned out better than I had anticipated!!! I just love it when it all works out this way !!!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Paint Scrapping With A Twist!

I really love this technique and I have been doing alot of experimenting and developing methods for paint application that seem to work very well for me.

The two papers on the left were done on 140 lb. watercolor paper. I have been applying puddles of paint to mey meat try pallette, picking up the color with my old credit card scrapper and laying down one color at a time. Each time I apply color, I leave some space blank and then let each color dry. Then I apply the next color. THis allows me to have areas of pure color as well as areas of layered color. In this way I am able to achieve almost a "madras" or plaid effect and have no problems with muddying colors. But I also do not get the wonderful effects from color mixing.

I have also continued to play with scrapping paint, in the manner described above, over sheets of colllaged text from various sources. When the text is torn and then colllaged onto sketch paper with a glue stick, the edges absorb the paint differently than the surface area. In this way I was able to achieve wonderful differences in color intensities. once each color layer had dried, I applyed metallic paints to a rubber stamp and stamped over the top, to finish things off.

Now what to do with my sheets of glorious color?? I liked some of them so much that I thought about framing them , as is. I might do that in time. But for now I have a Tag Swap that I am participating in with my Altered Book Group, so I cut several sheets up to make tags. There are Nine others taking part in this swap, so sometime in the next couple of weeks I will get an envelope stuffed with other artists tag creations! Trips to the amil box are so exciting these days!!

The tags look so very different when they are cut and the colors are isolated from the overall sheets of color.

Weekly Buddy Sighting!

Buddy, the dog, was very involved in all of my projects this week. We both gravitated to the sunny bay window in the kitchen for our work/snooze area! I will post shots of my Altered Book projects later today, once the glu dries.

After work time and Snow Day play, Becca and I enjoyed some nap time on the couch and ,never to be left out, Buddy provided a welcome heat source!

Becca was off to other things but I was way too comfortable! Can you blame me?????!!????

Eventually, it was time to make dinner but Buddy was not ready to get up. So Pepper, our Rat Terrier/Heeler mix, and no relation to Buddy, jumped up and took my place!

And who is in charge of this house??? What a silly question!!!!

What would we do without our pets?????

New Projects!

It has been awhile since i have posted as we have been experiencing Phone?Internet problems due to the cold: or so the phone company claims!!

Anyway, I have been staying busy! I have been working on several Altered Books for various Round Robins, scraping paint, beading necklaces for teaching samples and cleaning up after snow playclothes shedding children!!! You know: snow encrusted hats, mittens, boots and snow pants left in a soggy heap by the front door. But Oh, how I love kissing those snow chilled rosey red cheeks!!

On to the projects!!
This is a necklace that I have created for a class that I will be teaching at the end of the month at THe Whistle Stop Bead SHop , here in Stafford. This pattern is called a Dutch Spiral with Bugle Beads. It is actually a very simple stitch and it always makes a stunning piece! THese pictures do not do the piece justice. The Bugle beads are a shiney metallic purple color and the little Delica seed beads are a Matte finish green and purple raku. I ended the piece with Bali silver cones.
The necklace is now on the sample board to "Wow" everyone who walks by! Now if we can get some folks to sign up for the class, I will be a Happy Beader!!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Winter is HERE!!!

In case anyone out there is wondering, winter has arrived in Virginia! Today is a raw cold day, the damp cold that goes right to your bones. On Monday the temperature is not supposed to get above the mid twenties!!!

The dogs don't like the cold much. Pepper is oblivious for about 5 minutes and then she wants in. Buddy wants an indoor potty facility !! He does not understand why I am being so very cruel and insisting on his venturing into the cold out of doors!!

"If I don't see you, you will not see me curled up on this nice warm down comforter!"

" But Mama! It's cold outside!!!!!"


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