Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

Arlene's Marie Antoinette folder's theme is "In My Closet." Janet had supplied her with a number of beautiful wigs. Sox gave her many beautiful gowns. Carol filled her closet with other gorgeous clothes (I especially love how she made a closet from a flip book!) Well, how can a girl NOT have shoes in her closet?? Quelle horreur! To help this damsel out, I created four different shoes for Marie.

Pat's Japan Book

When my friend Pat joined us for the following AB RR, the theme of her book was "Japan." At the time I received the book, there was a story about a small fishing town in Japan called Obama City. The little fishing village was closely following our 2008 Presidential Campaign because of the Senator from Illinois who shared their name, Obama.

As I started researching for my spread, I was amazed to find Barack Obama's likeness in many unexpected places. There were banners with his image in stores. There were hamburgers named after him. There were even Japanese rice cakes decorated with a picture of his face on them! I collected all of these images and collaged them onto a two-page spread. I also added pull-out pockets around the pages that hid additional information about Obama--the City and the man.

Pat's Tea Book

Back in 2007, I invited a friend of mine to sub-in for someone in our AB RR that had to drop out. Since Pat was joining the RR mid-round, her book was only half filled. When the round was over, I offered to do a spread in her "Tea" book. As you can imagine, most people did spreads about teas, tea parties, etc. I decided to build my spread around the Michael Franks' album entitled "The Art of Tea." A neighbor of mine first introduced me to Michael Franks' music and the wonderful world of jazz back in 1977. We would listen to "Popsicle Toes" over and over again. This was the album that started my love for jazz. To this day, it remains my favorite genre of music.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kelly Rae Roberts style file folder

This evening, I attended Stamp Club, a monthly workshop hosted by DebZ of the Rubber Stamp Plantation. Lori Mitrulevich led us in creating a file folder decorated in the style of Kelly Rae Roberts. First, we took a piece of cardstock and wrote words on the paper. We then cut the paper into different sized squares and rectangles. We arranged the pieces onto the outside of our blank file folders and glued them into place. Next, Lori pre-selected a bunch of green papers and a bunch of pink papers and had us cut them up into squares and rectangles so that the colored papers would be glued in the spaces between the pieces with handwriting on them. We used music sheets and book pages to fill in the remaining spaces until the entire folder was covered with papers.

Next, we took beautiful acrylic paints (I used a green metallic, bubble gum pink acrylic and Liquitex antique bronze) to soften over the edges of the squares and rectangles. We used a wet sponge to dilute the paints so that they remained translucent. You want to be careful not to obliterate the writing or the colors of the papers beneath. It's nicer when the bottom layer is subtly revealed. Using those three paints, I filled in the empty/blank spaces with a wash of color. You probably shouldn't paint over the other colors otherwise it can get a little "muddy" looking. I used the darker color about the edges of the folder to give more definition.

For the drawing, Lori told us to visually divide the page into quarters. In the top quarter of the page, you will draw the head and her bun. In the next quarter of the page, is her neck. The third quarter will be her torso and the bottom quarter of the page will be her skirt. Now, I don't draw or paint, so this was quite a challenge for me. To my delight and under Lori's fine tutelage, I managed to draw a female figure that was halfway recognizable!

Lori instructed us to draw the head in the shape of an egg. For a more graceful (not stiff) neck, make the lines of the neck at an angle instead of straight down. The arms and torso were a bit of a blur to me--just kinda eye-balled things and tried to keep them in proportion. Fortunately, when it came to drawing her hands, ingenious Lori had beautiful flowers in all different sizes to place between her wrists, so there was no need to draw her actual hands!

We drew her eyes, nose and lips before painting her skin with a watered down pale pink. Note: In the interest of time, I chose to draw her with her eyes closed. Su helped me put some lips on her. I painted her top a Tiffany Blue and her skirt a pretty purple. Her hair is copper. We went over her entire outline in charcoal pencil to make her really pop out of the page. I finished off the folder with a light dusting of glitter spray.

I am quite pleased with how my very first Kelly Rae Roberts girl turned out. Su pointed out that the word "sweetheart" appears right over her heart. I love those little unexpected surprises! Thank you Lori for giving me the support and encouragement to make her!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Janet's Marie Antoinette Folder

I just completed my two-page spread in Janet's Marie Antoinette folder. I don't really know Janet, but for some reason, I get the feeling that she likes birds. I found this painted wooden bird in the 25 cent bin at a local thrift shop and thought it would be a good focal point for Janet's folder. The background papers are from my favorite second-hand store. I thought they were wrapping paper but when I opened the bag, I discovered the were actually scented drawer liners! I think Marie would approve of the perfumed papers, don't you?

Next, I created a birdcage out of this silver trim that looked like filigree wire. I topped the cage with this beautiful turquoise felt ribbon (a rummage sale find) and a vintage pin (from the same rummage sale--what can I say, it was a GREAT sale!)

On the left side of the page, I knew I wanted an image of a woman looking at the bird. The latest Sephora catalog had this face which was the perfect size for the page, the perfect orientation (looking to the right side) and perfect expression! I gave her a blue crystal ring and placed flowers in her hair. Simply beautiful!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A New AB Round Robin Begins...

Our Honolulu Altered Book Group's 7th round robin is now officially underway! We have a record-breaking 22 participants in this round, including faraway players from Nebraska, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, Michigan and even Canada! That means it will take about two years to complete this round! At our initial meeting yesterday, the books were revealed and themes were shared. I told our RR hostess that it felt like we were opening presents at Christmas! Each book was lovingly and beautifully prepared. The themes were varied, unique, thought-provoking. I could see everyone's wheels turning as they began to get ideas for each of the books they would eventually get to work in.

For this round, I chose a book entitled "Lost and Found." I thought it was perfect for a "Found Objects" theme. The term "found art" (also called found objects) is used to describe art created from common objects not normally considered artistic. The idea behind found art is that the piece of art derives its significance from the context into which it is put. My book invites the artists to incorporate a "found object" into their work. It could be something they stumbled onto while taking a walk, something long-forgotten that was re-discovered while cleaning out a junk drawer, something saved from a trip or something they "found" at a garage sale or thrift shop. And, if they don't have something like that, they can use a recycled or re-purposed item.

I prepared my book by gathering a bunch of items that I have amassed over the years and collaged them onto the inside cover of my book. I was able to incorporate one of the book's title pages into the middle of my spread by tri-folding it and gluing it down. I even colored a portion of the background on the left side with purple and turquoise oil pastels I found in the street one day while walking the dogs. I've also been fortunate to find money--coins and bills--on those walks. Do you know that you cannot color copy the newer bills (at least the $10 and $50)? I tried. The xerox machine wouldn't allow me to make a color copy of the bills! Interesting things you learn when you are into altered art...

For my sign-in page, I found a National Geographic "Sunken Treasures" map which I used to line the inside of the back cover. I then cut out the illustrations of lost treasures from the map and have asked the artists to sign one of the treasures and place it on the map.

If you want to see pictures of some of the other amazing books in this round robin, please visit our group's blog at

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sox's "Masked Ball" Marie Antoinette Folder

Today, I finished my two pages in Sox's Marie Antoinette folder entitled "The Masked Ball." To create this spread, I first painted the two pages with antique gold acrylic paint. I had the sheet music for an aria from the Verdi opera "Un Ballo in Maschera" (The Masked Ball) and thought it would make a nice background for the masks I wanted to create.

Next, I used two faces (actually make-up templates). My idea was to have the plain faces covered by masks. I took a duplicate of each face and cut out the eyes to make my masks. I then decorated them with lace, trim and some bling. I secured the finished masks over the plain faces with a brad at the chin (no, it's not a chin piercing). This way you can rotate the mask to reveal the face beneath.

Finally, I took a mask from the goodie bag of materials that arrived with the folder and added beautiful ribbons to create a tag. On the back, I wrote "Behind a mask, I can be whoever I want to be."