Sunday, December 25, 2011

Parallel Paths & Universes

It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do for Lindsay's Parallel Paths & Universes book.  I decided I would do something with "The Twilight Zone."  I have always been fascinated by pop-ups and what they call "Origamic Architecture."  I found the pattern for this design in a book I have and thought it represented a parallel universe quite nicely.  I love how it folds flat and opens into a beautiful and surprising display.  Remember, the 58(!) parallel cuts have to be very precise in order to achieve this effect, so make sure to have a very sharp exacto knife on hand! 

Chunky Book Page Swap

I have the privilege of hosting a chunky book page swap for one of my on-line art groups (the Sketchbook Sisters).  We've had an average of 10 participants each round which means that each player creates ten similar or identical 4 x 4" pages interpreting the monthly theme.  Everyone sends me their completed pages and I re-distribute one page from every player to all the others.   You make ten pages and you receive ten different pages in return!

These are some pictures of the pages I made for our first two themes, "Music" and "Maps."

It's so much fun to receive your pages at the end of each round.  Just see how quickly our chunky books have grown after just two rounds!

Trying My Hand at Poetry Spools

I decided to try my hand at making these delightful poetry spools inspired by Kelli Nina Perkins for a Christmas grab bag exchange.  The tutorial can be found here:
What a fabulous way to use up all of my scraps of ribbon and trim!  Rather than creating random poetry however, I selected some favorite quotes for my thread spools.  Here are some of the quotes I used:
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined~Henry David Thoreau

Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible~Unknown

Minds must soar before people do~Unknown

Inspiration: Revelation a divine influence arouses feelings awakening creative vision

Say what you want about aging, it's still the only way to have old friends~Robert Brault

It takes a long time to grow an old friend~John Leonard

Sweet friendship refreshes the soul

True strength is delicate~Louise Nevelson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tryptich for a Friend

I wanted to find a way to share a quote with a special friend of mine. I had a beaded wire embellishment that I wanted to use--somehow. I decided to try my hand at making a tryptich which would allow me to use the beaded embellishment as a closure.
I cut the tryptich template out of white cardstock. I then colored the front and back using a pale pink ink pad. Next, I used white ink to stamp the pink background with handwritten script. I printed the quote onto vellum, tore it out and adhered it to the inside of the tryptich. I added a pink dragonfly charm above the quote. To close the typtich, I created to slits through which the beaded embellishment could be threaded. I tied a lavender polka dot ribbon around the tryptich to complete my gift.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

To Imagine is Everything

I wasn't quite sure what I would do for this month's spread in Tamara's "Imagine" book. I got to thinking about the power of imagination and all of the wonderful things it can lead to. I brainstormed and came up with a healthy list of things that spring from imagination.
The color palette I envisioned was tiffany blue and antique white, crackle medium--very "shabby chic." I used the tiffany blue as my base color which showed through the "crackled" antique white top coat. Next, I created 36 windows to showcase each of those words. The fun part was rummaging through my embellishment stash to find shabby chic doo-dads to decorate each of the windows.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mini Fairies for an ATC Swap

By special request, I made 5 mini fairies for an ATC swap. I must admit that making my fairies on this small a scale (2 1/2" x 3 1/2 ") was a bit of a challenge for me, but I love how cute they all turned out. I almost couldn't part with them!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

100th Post: Exploring Phobias

What fun I had working in Kathy's book this AB round! Her book is all about PHOBIAs. Seems there is a phobia for just about everything!
Remember I went ziplining for the first time in my life this past summer? Well, part of the exhilaration I felt was because I managed NOT to let my fear of heights stop me from ziplining. It really was a wonderful and liberating feeling. I still have a fear of heights, but I now know that it is not an insurmountable obstacle for me.
Not surprisingly, I decided to do a tribute to my zipline adventure for this spread in Kathy's Phobias book. after all, it was about conquering--at least for my birthday--my acrophobia (fear of heights). I began with a packing tape transfer of two photos taken along the zipline course and secured them to the page for my background. How fortuitous that I located a page in Kathy's book with Dr. Seuss's poem, "Oh! The Places You'll Go."
I always like interactive spreads and thought that a zipline lent itself to a slide mechanism. I re-sized pictures of me "zipping" and created an image slide with them. To do so, you cut out two small circles (ideally, they should be smaller than your image) and secure together with an eyelet. Glue your image to the top of one of the circles. Next, cut a 1/4" slot along the path you want your image to move. Here, I cut the slot along the zipline. Insert the top and bottom edges of the slot between the two circles. Now your image has a track along which it can slide. Fun!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Erte Fashion

I took a step back in time to complete my spread in Dee's "Victorian Era" book this round. I have always admired Erte, the art deco fashion designer. Over the past five years, I have managed to find an Erte calendar and I save the old ones for their fabulous artwork. They come in handy for spreads like this!
I selected four images which I copied onto cardstock and then cut out. I then embellished each figure with nail polish and nail gems! For my background, I had a fabric sample that had a very art deco feel. It was a loose weave and would fray easily if left unfinished. I took some lovely beaded trim (compliments of my sister-in-law) and sewed it to both sides. I took a different fringe trim for the bottom. The figures themselves are attached through the fabric background onto the pages of the book with various brads. Very simple, yet elegant.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Speaking of birthdays...

My husband surprised me for my birthday with a Big Island getaway! The mystery destination for my birthday weekend--a Volcano hideway!

I woke up in a rainforest on my birthday!

Flowers from my sister-in-law for our room

Little did I know, he had another birthday surprise in store for me. However, my husband needed a co-pilot for the drive. I was only allowed to view the driving directions which he promptly tore out from an e-mail. The suspense was killing me! When we arrived at the "Umauma Experience," I realized my husband was taking me ZIPLINING!

This was the fourth zipline on a 9-zipline course. I was told an episode of "The Bachelor" was filmed at this location (next to the river). Would you be surprised to know that this line is the length of a football field? Our guides clocked speeds of 57 mph on this line (yep, there's an app for that). Look at me go!

Pausing to take in a view of the Umauma Falls while waiting for my turn to ZIP!

This is the position they tell you to assume if you want to slow down on the zipline. Stretching out your hands and legs increases wind resistance, slowing you down.

You tuck your arms and legs in if you want to INCREASE your speed on the zipline. (I saw no need for this manuever while I was ziplining)

Yet another surprise awaited me when we returned from the Big Island. I came home to this absolutely amazing birthday cake created especially for me by one of my talented birthday sisters, Debbie. It is a vanilla cake with chocolate filling (YUM!) decorated just like a Tiffany little blue box, except this measures about 8" square. Look at the jewelry pouch she made out of fondant. It looks so real! And the piece de resistance--she showered the cake with "diamonds" made out of sugar. How clever! Debbie is the hostess of our Hawaii Altered Book Round Robin and baker extraordinaire! Cake and fondant icing are just a few of the tools she uses to create beautiful works of art--too beautiful to cut! Thank you, Debbie!

July Birthdays

Using the pulled paper background technique I mentioned in my previous post, I created these birthday cards for two dear artist-friends of mine who also happen to be fellow-Cancerians! Happy Birthday to all your July babies!

Pulled Paper "Alphabetica"

There has been a lot of buzz about a new technique book called "Surface Treatment Workshop" by McElroy & Wilson. There are 45 different techniques outlined in this book. For my book this round ("Alphabetica"), I decided to try the pulled paper background.
I began with watercolor paper as my base. I painted the entire surface with red acrylic paint. I then added touches of yellow using bubble wrap. Once the paint had dried, I tore thin strips of paper out of a telephone book (Alphabetica theme, remember?) and applied the torn strips to the painted background using gel medium. I burnished the torn strips and after 1-2 minutes, I began to pull the strips of paper off the painted surface. The longer you leave the paper on, the more of it will stick. You can remove some of the paper by gently rubbing the paper off with your finger. Experiment for your desired effect.
I added each letter of the alphabet using stencils. I was not happy with all the blobbing of paint, so I outlined each letter with a sharpie pen to add definition. Finally, I created a pocket and tucked a tag containing a write-up of the technique for future reference.

A Sampling of Summer Fairies

Columbine Elffrost

Buttercup Goblinglitter

Cherry Elfwitch

Hazel Goblinwand
Inspiration for my fairies continues through the summer. These fairies were made to celebrate milestone birthdays, wedding wishes and just because...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Penny Leis

It's graduation season and in Hawaii, it's traditional to give leis. Many years ago, I learned how to make leis using pennies. There are many different styles of money leis. Some use paper bills (fan folding, origami) and others use coins. I prefer to use pennies because the size and weight are just right. Dimes are too small and light, quarters are too heavy--and expensive! With a lei like this made with quarters, the graduate may be tempted to take it apart for the money!
The leis in the top two photos each took about 250 pennies. I wrapped the pennies in 4" x 4" cellophane squares (using the graduates school colors) and strung into a lei.
I made the lei in the middle photo for my 11 year-old niece who graduated from 5th grade. A full penny lei would be too much for her, so I made a lei with $5 in quarters decorated with lace trim.
The leis in the bottom two photos are also penny leis. I took 140 pennies and wrapped them individually in 3" x 3" cellophane squares tied with curling ribbon. Then the pennies are strung together carefully rotating each penny 90 degrees so that they form a circular pattern.

May Fairies

Heather Elffly

Columbine Rainbowglitter
Gossamer Moonglow

Buttercup Elfwand

Columbine Goblindancer

Columbine Rainbowwand
A sampling of my May fairies...

Earth Rhythms & Morphscapes

I absolutely love how this spread in Su's "Earth Rhythms & Morphscapes" came out! Again, focusing on new techniques, I went with Scratch Art which I had never tried before. I had the scratch art special paper--shiny black gloss, but when you scratch the surface, holographic paper is revealed. What fun!
My first ideas centered around making a scratch art spirit animal, but alas, I can't draw--even if it is just scratching. So, I began to journal about things that are "me"--where I was born, significant people, places and events in my life as I grew up. In no time, I had enough words to fill several pages. then I started by simply writing the words in free-form swirl patterns across the pages. The technique is so simple and I really like the way the flow of the curves played right into Su's theme of Earth Rhythms.
By the way, you can actually make your own scratch art paper by coloring a piece of cardstock with crayons (no white showing). Press hard to get a good layer of color. Then paint the entire sheet of cardstock with black tempera paint mixed with a drop of liquid dish soap (2 tablespoons paint to 1/4 teaspoon dish soap). Allow the paper to dry completely, then use toothpicks to scratch. Give it a try!

Speaking of Turtles...

This is the spread I ended up doing in the Turtle book this month. Since we are focusing on techniques, I thought that a simple pull-out tab would work nicely with the turtle. I decided to do a spread illustrating a scene from the Aesop Fable about the Tortoise and the Hare. I have to say that it was the background (scrapbook) paper that bought this whole spread together. I was struggling with how to make the background. At first, I thought I would gather sand from the beach and glue it to the page for my background. However, when I dug up this particular sheet of scrapbook paper, not only did it look like sand, but there was a path going across the page! I immediately visualized the race course where the tortoise takes the finish line "by a neck."
When you pull the turtle's neck out, the moral of the fable is revealed: "Slow but steady wins the race." I reprinted the fable in the foreground on vellum. And just for fun, I added the silhouette of the rabbit's head and ears to show just how far behind the tortoise he was.