Monday, December 24, 2012

The Story of Inez

Corinne's book is a family scrapbook of sorts and artists are invited to add to the story of the people already in this family album.  I had a few old photographs and wanted to find a way to incorporate them into Corinne's book.

I was drawn to a photo of a little girl that was already in the book.  I decided she would be Inez at the age of 4.  

Inez, age 4

Since the pocket behind her photo was empty, I decided to create a pocket accordian book to house the other photos I was going to use in my spread and to tell the story of Inez.

Envelope accordian book

Front of envelope accordian book

The first photo in the accordian book is a baby picture (given to me by a friend who found this baby photo at an antique sale).  I imagined Inez an orphan.  
This is believed to be the earliest picture of her.

As Inez grew into a beautiful young lady (this is an old postcard from 1917), she was often found in the company of men.  

As a young lady, she enjoyed the company of men.

As she got older,

a dark side of Inez began to emerge.

This photo is actually a lenticular sticker, so the face changes as you tilt the image.

And by age 30, Inez had gone completely mad.  Here, I sliced up an old photo to show a split personality, a shattered mind. 

By age 30, she slipped into complete madness.

 OK, I admit, the story line I came up with is rather dark, but given the only old photos I had, I thought Inez made for a pretty interesting relative!

Mixed Media Play

Look what you can do with a 5 x 5 canvas, a little red acrylic paint, a heart-shaped die cut, a rubber stamp, perfect pearls in bronze, a sheet of music, vellum, gold joss paper, bubble wrap, bronze lumiere paint, red glitter glue and gold shimmer spray.  Valentine's Day is just around the corner...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Playing with Artistcellar Stencils

I haven't really used stencils in my art work before, so this month's chunky page theme was something new for me.  My dear friend, Lisa, generously gave me a "Venice" stencil which her company, Artistcellar, carries.  Who knew the canals of Venice would make such a stunning graphic?  I played with metallic purple and gold spray inks (which are the colors of Carnevale di Venezia).  The stencil is 8.5" x 11", so I was able to make my chunky pages two-sided by cutting two 8 x 4" strips and folding them in half.  But I still felt that my pages were missing something...That's when I came up with the idea to use the Comedy/Tragedy masks to decorate my pages. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paper Feathers

I absolutely LOVED doing this little project!  I had seen these paper feathers made out of old hymnal pages on Pinterest and just had to give them a try!  I think they make a nice gift.  You could use all kinds of different papers for your feathers.  Imagine foreign text, colorful comic book pages, leftover wrapping paper, pretty scrapbook papers--the possibilities are endless!  Since I made these feathers with hymnal pages, I plan to give them to the members of my mother's choir group for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

I had so much fun experimenting with the bargello technique as I worked in Amy's book this month.  Her book does not have a theme, so it allowed me to play with this idea I've had for awhile.  Playing off the title of E.L. James' best selling book "Fifty Shades of Grey," I began to pull all my pretty black, white and grey papers.  I used the bargello technique to showcase all of the pretty shades of grey.  I hope Amy likes it as much as I do!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Victorian Times

Lori's book has a Victorian theme.  I know that she loves lace, so this was an easy spread to do for her.  I stamped a faint lace pattern over the existing pages of the book (it was a blank book with ruled lines).  I used an aged crocheted doily for the background and then incorporated a simple tab pop-up for this image of a Victorian woman.  I framed the image with a scrap crocheted piece which I secured with mini brads.  I finished my spread by adding a few little Victorian trinkets for accent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Got Humor?

Amy's book is all about humor...
I appreciate humor but I prefer subtle to slapstick.  Not too long ago, I saw this sign at the entrance to a jewelry store and it made me smile.  I just had to take a picture of it.  And what do you know?  It ended up serving as my inspiration for this book.  Now that's MY kind of humor!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lace Chunkies

This month, we explored "texture" as the theme of our chunky pages.  What could be more rich in texture than lace?  I created these lovely pages with my never-ending stash of lace scraps.  So much fun to make!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet the "Altered Ladies"

Back in August, I attended a class in altered book techniques where I was fortunate to meet several people who were new to Altered Books.  Their interest and enthusiasm were absolutely infectious!  It was no surprise when the group expressed interest in trying their hand at an altered book round robin.  Our group of 10 dubbed ourselves "The Altered Ladies." 

Having participated in a few AB RRs and various art swaps over the years, I was honored to serve as hostess for this inaugural AB RR of the Altered Ladies.  We gathered initially to go over the logistics of how the AB RR would work--especially with two of our members participating from the mainland.  We decided to take a month to select our books and themes.  We are scheduled to meet every third Saturday of the month to show our work and exchange our books.  We have an interesting variety of themes to explore in this round.  I am excited to see what everyone has done to kick off this AB RR.  We have even set up a blog where we can post photos of our work to share with our mainland players who are unable to attend our monthly meetings.  I hope you will check back often to see our progress!

The book I chose for our Altered Ladies' AB RR is entitled Wind Sand & Stars by Antoine Saint-Exupery.  It is a story about flight, but it is also a story of adventure. The book explores the potential in people for greatness of individual creativity and spirit.  I loved this idea so, I decided to keep my theme open--to allow the Altered Ladies to explore and experiment with what they have learned--or are learning. The introduction to my book invites them to think of this first altered book round robin as embarking on an exciting journey. I tell them to be prepared to go where they have never ventured before. To discover their creative selves. To stretch themselves as artists. To let their imaginations run wild.   To feel free to express their unique voice or point of view.   To dare to experiment with new techniques and ideas. The sky is the limit. Do not be afraid to soar!

For my intial spread, I used the book's title for my inspiration.  I had never done a niche before, so now was the perfect opportunity!  My girlfriend had furnished me with a bunch of fashion watches (after purging her Mom's stash!) and I couldn't resist using them in this piece. 

The background for my "Sands of Time" spread was created with the Apparatus Artistcellar stencil and the pewter colored Inka-Gold (Thank you, Lisa!)  I embellished the background with gear die-cuts (a gift from Bea!) and Tim Holtz sprockets and spinners.

Of course, all of this manipulation caused the spine of this 1939 book to crack.  A special thanks to Lori who helped me repair the spine before it goes into the rotation.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Aloha Stephanie

My husband lost his college roommate to leukemia this past week. They had not spent a lot of time together since those college days. Life goes on. You begin your career, then you get married and start a family. Before you know it, decades have gone by, but the friendship remains.

Six years ago, Stephanie was diagnosed with leukemia. She fought her disease like a champ. She had three bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, radiation and tried a host of other therapies when nothing else seemed to rid her body of this disease. She was in and out of hospitals unable to go out in public again because of her weakened (non-existent) immune system. She even spent many, many months in Seattle--separated from her home and children--undergoing cancer treatment.

Stephanie has two beautiful children and her illness prevented her from participating her their school activities.  She missed many of her son's waterpolo games and her daughter's dance recitals. Most of their memories from the past 6 years were visiting their mom in the hospital. I can't imagine how she must have felt knowing that her cancer would take her from her children much too soon.

Stephanie used the time she had left to prepare her children for life without her. She had a posse of angels that cared for her throughout her illness. They brought her to and from her doctors' appointments.  They cooked for her.  They prayed together, laughed together and gave her much needed emotional support.  Her faith gave her strength, hope and peace.

Shortly before she died, Stephanie contacted my husband and asked for Kentucky Fried Chicken. We picked up both original recipe and extra crispy and headed over to see her. Although she still had an appetite, it was difficult for her to eat.  She was getting around in a wheelchair and wearing a sling (her bones were so brittle from the radiation that her arm had broken in three places), but she was in good spirits. Sporting a ball cap, she asked us if we wanted to see her "mohawk."  As she removed the cap, she explained how the recent radiation to her lower jaw knocked out a large section of her hair giving her a half a mohawk. The cancer had taken just about everything from her except her sense of humor!

As we left that day, my husband described her as a wilted rose. Her body was battered and beaten by the cancer. She fought a long and courageous battle, but it took its toll on her. I couldn't help but notice that after all she had been through, she had absolutely no anger or bitterness. She was such a good person and pure of heart. She had accepted her fate so gracefully.  All that was left was a calm peace about her. Amazing. It brought to mind a line from the movie "Out of Africa." When Meryl Streep's character is preparing to leave Kenya, she goes to the governor to beg for his help and the governor's wife says to her "I'm sorry I won't know you." I feel that way about Stephanie. We lost a beautiful person the day Stephanie died, but heaven gained an angel. Aloha Stephanie...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Leather & Lace

Here is the spread I created for Hope's AB entitled "Diamonds & Rust."  This is such a gorgeous little book.  When I think of "Diamonds & Rust," I think of opposites: refined vs. raw, delicate vs. rugged, feminine vs. masculine.  Leather & Lace.  My spread was inspired by words from a Fleetwood Mac song:
Bring to me your leather
Take from me my lace
I admit I went a bit overboard including all of these delicious pieces of lace, trim, crocheted doilies--even cheesecloth--to create this spread.  Oh, and I did soak some of the pieces that were too white in some leftover coffee to give it that "vintage" look and feel.  I felt badly that I was only the second person to work in this book and my spread turned out to be quite bulky for her little book.  To remedy this, I ended up using floral corsage pins to secure the lace pieces onto the pages.  This way, if Hope needs to redistribute the bulk in her book later on, my spread can easily be moved.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chunkies Go Postal

Our chunkies have gone postal this month!  
The mail art theme certainly makes for some beautiful and colorful pages.  I love seeing stamps from different countries from all over the world.  The postmarks make me wonder what these faraway places must be like.  How long did it take for a piece of mail to travel from its origin to its destination?  
When I was in LA recently, my girlfriend and I happened upon a little thrift shop called "Inheritance."  The store was filled with a lot of old, antique furniture pieces, but it was the glass candy jar in the corner that caught my eye.  It was filled with dozens of old postcards from another era.  And it must have been my lucky day, because many of them were from Hawaii. 
I pawed through the entire collection.  Time stood still as I saw these images from 1930's Hawaii.  There were a few actual postcards that had been sent from Hawaii in 1932 to someone in Illinois.  The store owner had gotten some scrapbooks through one of his customers.  They were filled with postcards that had been collected and saved over the years.  The first scrapbook he dismantled was one with the Hawaii postcards in them. 
For my pages, I constructed a 4 x 4 square envelope.  I used old manila folders to give my pages a vintage feel.  I decorated the fronts of my envelopes with a stamped lace pattern and a faux postmark.  On the back side, I cut out portions of  some leftover postage stamp wrapping paper I had and affixed them to the envelopes.  I added a few more postal marks using additional rubber stamps.  Inside the envelope, I tucked one of the vintage Hawaii postcards.  Aloha from Hawaii!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Give Your Friend A Hand Swap

Anna is hosting our "Give Your Friend a Hand" swap.  The idea is to trace one of your hands and decorate it however you like.  I painted my hands pink and used a floral stencil to create this henna-like pattern.  I decided to include a wrist so that I could place a bracelet on each hand.  It just wouldn't be me without the bling, right?  I made a total of 10 hands.  All of us will send our hands to Anna and she will distribute one hand from every player to each participant, binding them at the base of each hand.  I've had a sneak peek at some of the other hands made for this swap and now I can't wait to get my complete set!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Themeless in Honolulu

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a very distinguished and elite group of artists in a small altered book round robin.  Tickled, I simply could not pass up the opportunity to be able to share art with these talented ladies!
I didn't have much time to prepare a book for the round, so I did something I've never done before.  Like some of the other participants, I decided NOT to have a theme for my book.  Why not give these artists absolute freedom to create their art in my book?  The more I thought about this idea, the more I liked it.
Of course, not having a theme made it difficult for me to figure out how to start my book...I have to say that my inspiration came from a few different sources.  Earlier this month, a dear friend from Palm Springs showed me an altered lace book that was just so delicious!  Second, I will soon be working on a book for my Hawaii AB RR whose theme is "Diamonds & Rust."  I had already decided that I would do a spread inspired by "Leather & Lace" for that book.  Both are song titles, but I really liked the juxtaposition between the refined versus the crude.
Now, I don't usually work with fabric.  It's just not me.  But I gradually brought out the scraps of fabric, ribbon and trim that I have stashed away and began to pull the textures and colors that I was drawn to.  It soon became apparent that I was channeling a very vintage, victorian piece (also not me).  I assembled the different pieces, added a little touch of gold, a little bit of hardware and topped it off with some bling and this is what I came up with! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wine, Women & Song Chunkies

I almost forgot to post my chunky pages for this month!  Our theme was "Wine, Women & Song" and everyone had fun creating their pages.  I was inspired by a saying that I found on an old hankie that read "Who does not love wine, women and song, remains a fool his whole life long!" 
I went with a "retro" feel taking this image of a 1950's housewife who clearly enjoys her wine.  I ran the image off onto a transparency and sandwiched it between two sheets of contact paper.  I cut out the quote and also sandwiched it between the contact paper.  It's hard to see in these photos, but I added color to her dress by sprinkling some colored glitter to the one side of the contact paper before sealing. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I just loved Cindy's theme for this continued Dark Side round robin!  Lyrica Obscura.  So many the end I went with the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" because of the rich visuals the song lyrics create.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
Cindy's book marks the end of the Dark Side AB RR.  I am excited that my Seven Deadly Sins book will be coming home to me soon, but sad to see this round come to a close.  I was thrilled when I received an invitation to join another small group of artists in a new AB RR!  Now off to find another book to alter...

Gathering with friends

I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with not one, but two of my Sketchbook Sisters last Sunday!  I was vacationing in Los Angeles and made arrangements to spend a day at the flea market with Bea (left) and Sox (middle).  Bea met me at my girlfriend Michelle's house and we drove to the Pasadena City College Flea Market where we met up with Sox who made the 2-hour drive from her new home in Palm Springs.
We had fun roaming the aisles and aisles of vendors who were selling anything and everything you can imagine.  Sox scored on a wooden cigar box and a few pairs of some vintage leather gloves.  Bea was on the lookout for ephemera--vintage postcards--to use in her fabulous mail art.  I found a few small stray/broken jewelry pieces to use in a few altered book spreads I have coming up.  Oh, and I almost forgot--I picked up an old Reynolds trombone for my husband.  Thankfully, it came with a hard carrying case, but once I made that purchase, I had reached my two-piece luggage limit for my flight home!
After leaving the flea market, we dropped by a cute little art/craft shop called Zinnia.  So many adorable things in that store!  How I wish we had a store like Zinnia here in Hawaii!  We capped off our day together with a late lunch at a trendy eatery called Lemonade.  It gave us a chance to talk and share our current projects.  Sox brought her gorgeous lace book to show us.  Bea and I drooled at each and every page.  Teri (also from our Sketchbook group) was part of that Lace Book round robin.  Beautiful work!  Makes me wish I could sew...
All of us had a wonderful day together and look forward to the next time we can meet up again!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Secrets & Conspiracies

The inspiration for my spread in Dorie's "Secrets & Conspiracies" came from a recent visit to the Museum of Death in Hollywood, California.  It's not a museum for the faint of heart.  There are grisly, gruesome photos of murders, fatal accidents and executions.  I found it absolutely fascinating!
Caution:  Do not read this next paragraph if you are easily offended. 
My favorite room was the "Serial Killer Archives."  In this room was a collection of letters and artwork of some of history's most notorious serial killers.  Again, it was so fascinating to me how these twisted minds could be so creative.  One serial killer crafted pop-up cards.  They were perverse, obscene and crudely constructed, but they were pop-ups nonetheless.  And you know how I am a fan of pop-ups!  The most intriguing piece however was a series of miniature jointed nude human figures--not more than an inch tall--engaging in various sexual positions.  Ingeniously powered by a "windmill" created from a single playing card, the figures actually move when you gently blow on the windmill.  The power source (windmill) and figures together fit into a plastic cassette tape case (remember those?)  Eight different cassettes were showcased here.  Fascinating.
The collection at the Museum of Death in Hollywood would not be complete without a section about the infamous "Black Dahlia" murder.  Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, was brutally murdered and dismembered in Los Angeles in 1947.  Her murder has never been solved.  It was a sensational crime in its day--and even by today's standards.  I was compelled to do a spread on the Black Dahlia.
My spread resembles the desk of a weary detective mulling over the information gathered during the investigation.  Over the years, the pages have yellowed and the photos have faded.  Her image is so haunting.  It is hard to believe that her death remains unsolved to this day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Honolulu Altered Book Round Robin Begins Anew

It's been a couple of months since our last Honolulu Altered Book Round Robin ended.  I knew the books for our new round had to be completed by August 11.  Yet, I waited until the week before to start preparing my book.  Of course, when I was finally ready to begin, I realized that I had selected a book with a glued binding!  Aaaack!

In a mad rush, I went down to my favorite second-hand store (on a Friday night, no less) and frantically scoured the shelves for a book with a sewn binding and that would suit my chosen theme, "Alchemy."  In time, I discovered a book on Rocks and Minerals which had a nice size and shape.  There were plenty of pages for 18 artists to work in (yes, this RR will take at least another year and half to complete!) 

After thinning out my pages, I started by decorating the front cover with metallic stamp pads:  lead into gold.  I surprised myself when I found an extra large alphabet stamp set buried in my stash of supplies.  I literally do not remember when or where I purchased it, but it certainly came in handy for this spread.  The letters were so bold and the size fit my book just right!  I also decided to use my Perfect Pearls for the lettering, in keeping with my metals theme.  The back cover is decorated the same way, only I added alchemy symbols to mark the sign-in spaces.

In the second photo, I wanted to tell the artists a little more about my theme.  I printed out a list of synonyms for "alchemy," which included change, transformation, metamorphosis, etc.  I am hoping that one or more of these words signifying change will inspire the artists to create their spreads in my book.  It was sheer serendipity that the page I planned to use for my prompts contained this beautiful quote by Marcus Aurelius:

"Observe always that everything is the result of change,
and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well
as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them."

To incorporate this quote into my spread, I masked the words with removable scotch tape before I painted my background.  When the paint had dried, I removed the tape and voila, the quote was spared!

For the spread seen here in the third photo, I decided to use techniques and materials that I love--after all, this is my book!  You see metallics, string art, hardware, bling, etc.  I also selected one definition of alchemy that resonated with me:

Any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

Now that my book is finished, I am excited for this AB RR to begin.  We have many new artists that have joined this round and I look forward to sharing art with all of them! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Magic and Supernatural

As my Dark Side AB RR continues, I got Becky's Magic/Supernatural book again.  This time, I had alchemy on my mind as it is the theme I have chosen for my own book for a new AB RR starting up next month. 

I like the images that are associated with alchemy.  I gathered up a bunch of the symbols for the elements and put together this spread for Becky's book.   The flag pull-out was the perfect way to showcase each of the 16 different symbols.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fears Revisited

A few of us in my Dark Side AB Round Robin wanted to continue for a second round.  I got the opportunity to work in Sue's "Fears" book for a second time.  Since I had recently worked in her book, I wanted to take some time to decide on a fresh approach to this theme. 

I stumbled across a quote I had written down (wish I could remember where I saw it) and wanted to incorporate it into my spread.  It poses the question, "What if your fears and dreams exist in the same place, would you still go there?"   I know I would!  I loved this image of a woman diving in, taking the plunge and it complimented this quote perfectly. 

I used the packing tape transfer technique for my spread.  The clear tape allowed the words of the pages to show through.  As you can see I had a bit of a challenge getting the spacing of the quote just right.  I had to abbreviate some of the words, but the message still comes across.  So would you?    

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Speaking of Butterflies...

I am not a scrapbook person, so I have never invested in a die-cut machine.  However, I recently inherited a Sizzix Big Shot Machine and finally had some time to play with it.  I took my butterfly die and a bunch of my scrap papers and started cutting out butterflies.

I have a stash of blank stationery which was screaming for decoration and embellishment.  For fun, I made a few pop-up butterfly cards.  Next, I took out my other new toy, a battery-operated sewing machine!  It only makes one type of stitch, and it doesn't have a very fine touch, but it does the trick.  Look how I sewed paper butterflies onto my blank cards!

The card in the middle photo will be a graduation card.  I cut out a bunch of words from assorted magazines and glued them to the paper butterfly.  Then I sewed the butterfly onto a blank card and embellished the head with a single Swarovski crystal.  I really liked how this turned out.

I can't take much credit for the card in the bottom photo.  It was created from a shell ornament I found at a rummage sale for 25 cents! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Whenever I pick up my next (and in this case, my last) book in this AB RR, I find myself always wanting to experiment with a new technique.  However, it takes time to find a technique that 1) inspires me and 2) that I have all the materials for.  In the case of Rebecca's "Wings" book, I turned to my friend Su for inspiration.  She and I got together for an art play date last weekend and she brought out a roll of contact paper and asked me for some glitter.  Before long, she had created a fun spread in a little hand-made book that she was collaborating on with a group of friends.  I liked the "see-through" effect that the clear contact paper had if you placed it in a cut-out shape.  I thought they would make pretty butterfly wings.

So that got me thinking of making a butterfly...but I can't tell you how many butterflies already made their way into Rebecca's book!  So then I wanted to do a completely different take on the "wings" theme--like doing a spread all about airplanes or something.  I thought about angel wings and even envisioned the gossamer wings of a dragonfly.  I really tried to get away from the butterfly idea, but when I went to look for outlines of different kinds of wings, it was this (butterfly) style that caught my eye.  Oh well.

I created a template for the wing by tracing around the edges.  I used this template to cut out a wing-shaped window in the pages of Rebecca's book.  Since the wings are mirror-images of each other, I reversed the template to create the other side.  Next came the fun part.  I printed the wing pattern onto a transparency and cut it down to the size of the book page.  Then, I cut out a piece of the contact paper (also the size of the book page) and started to decorate it with different types of glitter.  I found that placing the transparency of the wing underneath the contact paper gave me a guide where to place the glitter to fill in the wing shape.

When I was done with the glitter, I placed another sheet of contact paper on top and burnished it to fix the glitter into place.  I positioned the decorated contact paper between the pages with the wing cut-outs.  I lightly colored the background with pink and purple inkpads (since those are Rebecca's favorite colors) and added the pink ribbon trim to the edges of the pages to frame the butterfly figure.  I love how this contact paper-glitter technique gives the wings a truly delicate feel.