Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fashion Tips...for Witches!

Sue's Hybrid Chunky theme was a little unusual.  It's a Witches' Handbook.  Tips for how to be a better witch, I suppose--at least that was my interpretation of her theme.

Knowing that she didn't want anything too "Halloweeny" or too "scrapbooky," I started thinking about what a witch should know.  I kept coming back to this idea of "proper witch's attire."  How to dress the part.  Eventually, this idea blossomed into fashion colors that were in season and how to wear them.

I found this gorgeous selection of ribbon trim in purples and lime greens.  I imagined a witch's basic black skirt accented with these bold colors.  At first, I wanted to be able to showcase several different styles, but the format of this chunky page is rather limiting (4" x 4").  Despite my idea to have a meandering book, I just felt it would get way too bulky and cumbersome to fold up all the pages and expect them to stay closed.

I ended up abandoning my idea of displaying more than one fashion style.  I decided to go simple and I am happy with how it turned out.  I used an old scarf as the base for my witch's black skirt.  I then added 6 rows of different trim alternating purple and lime.  I wanted to demonstrate how this season's hottest colors can be mixed and matched and even worn with a witch's signature black and white striped stockings.  I placed black boots on her feet and embellished them with black brads.

My description on the back reads:

Emerald Green is SO last season.
Show off your Wicked Witch’s Wardrobe this fall with the boldest brews of the year!
Passionate purples and luscious limes are casting spells all over the Salem runways.
Mix and match them.
Pair them with your favorite stockings.
The possibilities are endless!
Bring out your Inner Sorceress as you seduce them with your signature style!

Now, THAT's a well-dressed witch!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

At the Aquarium

I am going to be having a series of challenging altered book themes to work in the upcoming months.  The first of which was the Octopus book.  I mean how many different interpretations can there be for an octopus book?  How to make it fresh?

Well, I started by searching for pictures of octopuses that I liked.  I settled on this guy.  A beautiful blue color and lots of detail.  He was a bit larger than the book, so I could only work with his front half.  I toyed with the idea of playing with texture--the suction cups on the tentacles--but how to do this?  Suction cups are usually stuck to something, but what?  Glass surfaces hold suction cups really well...hmmm, what about the glass at an aquarium?  Of course!  I had two scenes pop into my mind:  what a child sees from the outside of the glass looking in and what the octopus sees from inside the glass looking out.

I searched for children's faces squished up against the glass but in the end, settled for a silhouette.  In my experience, aquarium exhibits can be really dark.  Eventually, I chose the figures of these two children who looked mesmerized by the large, gentle creature.

My experiment with suction cups was an interesting journey.  I began by cutting up an old shower mat for the suction cups but they just weren't the right size.  It was Su who suggested I use a glue gun and that worked like a charm!  I blinged out the eye of the octopus and collaged some colored tissue strips onto my background to look like seaweed.  I printed the children's silhouettes onto a transparency for the aquarium glass (love the reflection off of it!).  To secure the transparency, I used metal tape which gives the impression of an aquarium tank.

Happily, I think I succeeded in creating an octopus spread with a fresh point of view!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Murder of Darlene Flynn

I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out what I was going to do in Mari's Murder Most Foul book for this month!  It might have been because I had just worked in it a month ago (for Lori).  As always, the inspiration eventually hit me.  This time it came in the form of a story I heard on the news.  It was about the recent murder of a Southern California woman named Darlene Flynn.  Darlene was an avid shoe collector.  In fact, she held the Guinness Book of World records for owning an astonishing 16,400 pairs of shoes!  This is her story...

Darlene Flynn, 58, was known among the collecting community as "The Shoe Lady" or "The Queen of Sole."

Ms. Flynn started her collection following  a divorce in 2001.

The pages fold upwards to read:
A near-obsessive shoe collector, Ms. Flynn sold decorative shoes and nearly every part of her home, including a purpose built garage, was covered in shoes or shoe-related paraphernalia.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she first set the record for the largest shoe-related collection in 2006 with 7,765 items in her possession.

The pages below read:
By 2013, she had broken her own record with a collection of 16,400 pairs of shoes estimated to be worth about $500,000.

Among the more famous items are a replica of Cinderella's glass slipper, Dorothy's red shoes from the Wizard of Oz, an array of Betty Boop shoes and a vast collection of miniatures.

Next, the pages fold outwards to read from left to right:
Ms. Flynn and her boyfriend appeared on a cable television program entitled "My Collection Obsession."

On the show, her boyfriend discussed sharing his life with an "ultra-collector."  He was even filmed preparing her a shoe-shaped breakfast in bed.

She even named her dogs "Shoesy" and "Bootsy" in keeping with the theme.

Her goal was to "dance with Ellen DeGeneres in my light-up shoes!"

The middle pages then fold downward to read:

On July 22, 2013, Ms. Flynn was found dead in her backyard pool in Menifee, California under suspicious circumstances.  Initial police reports indicate she was killed as the result of blunt force trauma.

Her ex-boyfriend, Justin Charles Smith, 29, was arrested on charges of murder after he was seen fleeing the property.

The center section is finally revealed.  When the pages are fully opened, the spread looks like this:  

In the center, I placed the chalk outline of a dead body--wearing heels.  The body is surrounded by crime scene tape.  It reads:  "The Queen of Sole is Dead" and "I'll be surrounded by shoes when I die."