Sunday, February 26, 2012

Play Date - Mini Canvases

 Saturday our monthly play date group got together, although there were only three of us instead of the usual 6.  Sorry to miss the three gals who could not make it for various really good reasons!  Our hostess D ordered a bunch of 2" by 2" mini canvases for us to play with.  We each had 9 or more to potentially create a grid like final composition.
 Surprise, surprise, i decided to do something with birds.  You know you keep things that are too "good" to use?  Well i have been "keeping" a bunch of German scrap birds for some special project - so i figured it was time to use them.  the sizing is perfect.  Here you can see me experimenting wiht the layout. 
 Here is after all the birds have been trimmed of the little join-y bits.
 I applied assorted ephemera and lightweight papers is soft blues and neutrals - things like napkins, tissue paper and sheet music. I used gel medium to apply - mostly using my fingers to press and wrap around the little canvases.
 Here they are with the birds glued on top, plus some added embellishment like shell buttons, pearls and a little brass key.
 They look so nice on top of this vintage legal document - i think i'll frame them in a shadow box with this as a background.
 Here is S's work in progress.  She went with an approach to apply shapes and textures to the canvases - then coat everything with white gesso to blend it all together.
 See how interesting a composition this will make, mounted on another canvas.  I doubt very much this will remain white however!  S. is a master of brilliant colours - so i am sure she'll ratchet it up a notch or two with inks and powders.
 D. had fun with her mini canvases - starting by using stencils to apply bright colours with assorted shapes and designs for backgrounds.  She also added color to the edges.  Next she did some stamping - which was "imperfect" due to the soft spot in the middle of the canvases.  yes - these were ligitimate "wrapped" canvases - with a mini wood frame on the back.
 Finally she added postage stamps and completed her artwork with markers and crayons to bring out the colours and designs. A coat of Pine Tar will make them shine.
Look how cool they look on a black background!  Here she was drying them on a black tray.  D. might glue them all together to make a piece of art that resembles a handpainted mexican tile!
Thanks D. for the great idea and your gracious hospitality.  In addition to showing off our altered books, we did a show and tell of other projects we have worked on.  We have some great ideas for next month's play date - but we'll have to get concensus from the rest of the gals!

Altered Book Swap - Dance!

 I gave you a sneak peak of my friend Z's altered calendar "Dance" a month ago. Here are my finished pages.  We got together yesterday for a play date and to swap the books.  Here is MY book i already showed you, if you want to see how this project works.
 The interesting thing about this book is that it has a "portrait" orientation.  I used an image from a magazine with a field of flowers as a background.  Then the lady in the flowing dress was from another magazine ad. I cut slivers of the flower scraps and laid them on top of her dress for a visual effect of movement.  Hard to see, but the stickers say "2 B Free"!
 For this book, i went through all my magazine clipping looking for images related to dancing.  I found these two saucy ladies in a Vogue editorial.  They are wearing sort of flapper dresses with 1920's styled hair.  Too bad they don't look particulary happy about it!  Anyway - i used them to represent the dancing style of the Charleston. I dolled them up with some feathers in their hair and a touch of bling.
 Hidden below this fringe is their name, Flappers, and an extra leg was added to show a bit of razz-m-m-tazz.
 I could not work in a book about dancing with representing myself as a young ballerina.  Here i am on a page with a patchwork of Degas dancers.  I used some white paint to soften the edges and give a painterly touch.  A bit of lace, pearls, a little pink rose and a border of pink pom-poms complete the sweet soft spread. And yes, once upon a time, i had no boobs.
 February ended on one side, which meant that i had to do a "half-spread" in the book.  I used this image from a Vanity Fair magazine showing a male dancer in his studio.  I like how the grey and black image is offset nicely with some torn edges, outlined in soft pink.  Working in a calendar like this - you want to have some continuty, so it worked with the pompoms - albeit with a touch of juxtaposition of the masucline/feminine thing going on.
 Here is one of the sign in pages Z created at the back of the book.  There were little pockets containing a wooden tag to decorate.  I added an image of showgirl's fishnet stockings and silver shoes on top of a glossy tile background (from a tile ad actually) and added some yellow ribbons and a feather for that showgirl pizazz.
Here is the back cover of Z's book.  I wonder what other dance styles people will come up with for this great little book?!  For the month of March i'll be working in K's book, with a theme of 1963.  I'll have to come up with some interesting things that happened  49 years ago!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Banner

For the last two years i participated in valentine swaps - where you created 10 or so valentines and sent them to online craft buddies.  Then the fun of receiving a mailbox full of cards just for you!! This is what i sent out last year.
This year i did not do any valentines - but I still wanted to enjoy the fun of seeing a dozen or more pretty valentines displayed somehow. 
So i hung up some cording on pretty thumbtacks on a wall in our kitchen (where a canvas usually hangs) and attached all the valentines i received from the swaps.  Plus a few from hubby thrown in as well. 
It is so pretty to see all the feminine touches all in one place.  They are attached with mini clothespins. Thanks again to all the ladies who sent me the cards.  To see them closeup - you can check out HERE .
 I did receive one special valentine in the mail from my niece Erica. I love how the rich brown colour conjures up thoughts of chocolate! Thanks Erica!
This past weekend we took a lovely drive through West Marin up to Petaluma for lunch and a stroll through antique shops.  (anyone else glad that football season is over?)  We stopped to take this picture of a farm and vineyard - it is practically like living with Tuscany in your own backyard.
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Paper Beads Play Date

 Last weekend i had yet another fun play date in the city (that would be San Francisco) with friends to create paper beads.  Sadly our guide for the afternoon took ill and had leave right way, but she did leave us with some samples and inspiration.  The first step is to cut long triangles of thin paper - about one inch at the wide point to 12 inches long made a good sized bead.
 Next you wrap it around a wooden skewer you have first rolled in embossing ink to lubricate it.
 Next you dip it in melted UTEE - ultra thick embossing enamel - which has been melted in a Ranger melting pot.  I've had these things for years and NEVER USED THEM!  When the beads come out they get all bubbly - which probably means we were doing something wrong.  But D. discovered that blowing on the while twirling and cooling, reduced the bubbles and bumps.
 After you dip (or before) you can wrap the beads in thin wire or metallic thread.  You can dip them again and again - which builds up the size.  You can also dip or sprinkle on micro beads or glitter.
 I think these are D's beads - she worked really fast - flicking the beads off the skewer after the first dip.
 I think these are L.'s - she used alot of powders and colours to make interesting beads.
 These are K's.  She did a very neutral palette of book paper and copper wire.  They would combine nicely in a necklace or bracelet.
  And i think these are Z's beads.  She used some map paper which gave a colourful effect.
Sorry the images are not that great - and yes - they do rather look like larvae!
Rememeber the Creative Outlet play date?  Here is Dorothy's magnificent finished piece.  She is absolutley channeling her inner Michael DeMeng!

2012 Altered Calendar Round Robin

Sorry - something happened to the picture - i'll fix it tonight!
After a year of having no round robin altered book swaps, my group of creative friends started up a new project for 2012.  D. purchased a bunch of 2011 calendars (actually she got them free) at SCRAP, a San Francisco depository for cool cheap art supplies.  They are all the same, with B. Kliban cat illustrations on postcards within the book.  Spiral bound and quite small - they measure about 5" by 6".

Here are the interesting themes we chose for our own books:
1. Beach House
2. Dance
3. Beach Glass
4. Maps and Mustaches
5. Under the Sea
6. 1963
Yes - as you can see, three of us chose beachy/water/sea life themes - but there is just enough of a difference to make the round robin an interesting project for this year.  As i work on each of the books - i'll show you images of the covers and my pages.
For my book - the title is Beachouse  - mainly because i only had one "H" in the cute blue sparkly letters.  I am actually a master at turning letters into other letters when necessary, but in this case, it just fit so perfectly to spell it wrong!
On my intro page i asked the participants to think about their "dream beach house" and create spreads based on that, keeping in a cool clean colour theme of blues, sandy beige's and white. 
Each month we will swap books, and since there are 6 of use - we'll each work in our own books for January and July.  At the end of the year, we'll have a book filled with collage and artwork representing our chosen theme!
 I only did a "half spread" here - because our rules say that if the page has more days of the following month, then that page belongs to the next person.
This is what the blank spreads look like - we have the choice to add some journaling - or like i prefer- just to add pretty pictures.
 It is always a good idea to add your contact info in case the book goes astray.
  My sign in page features some seahorse stickers that the artists can sign and alter however they like.  Maybe they'll add some pretty plumage-like fibers and some bling!
 Here is the back cover of my book.  I took a window from one image, a beach scene from another, and cushions from two other magazines and collaged it all together.  The final touch was to add some pretty ribbons and lace to the spiral binding to add some texture.
I work on "Dance" next - here is a sneak peak:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Altered Composition Book Swap

I participated in a swap this month - whereby you were matched with two other people and had to create two altered composition books.  You mail one to each person, and they mail one to you.  Simple!  This was hosted by the same person who holds the altered matchbox swaps

 I started with two plain old dollar store composition books - black speckle on the outside, ruled pages inside. From conversions with my swap partners i knew i would stay in a fairly vintage theme - with one person requesting orange and other would default to my go to blue. the orange was a challenge at first - do i have enough orange? I sure do! It became clear rather quickly that i could make the theme all about butterflies. this would be a nice counterpoint to the second book about birds.
 Here is Beth's book.  I covered the cover of the composition book with assorted papers and lace and added birds cut from wrapping paper.  A silk ribbon is tied around the book with a pretty bow.
 Inside the cover i did a collage of 4 papers, including some french dictionay pages with birds on them, and added a pretty tag.
To carry the theme throughout the boog, on subsequent pages i stamped, collaged or added little birdie details like this.

 My goal was to make each page a delight.  But i did not decorate ALL the pages!  there were many left blank!
 Here is the back inside cover - using a page of handpainted deli paper and a few stamped birds.
Sorry this is tilted - but this is the back cover of the book.  Vintage wallpaper, sheet music and a collaged bird.
 Here is gretchen's book - she said orange was her favorite colour.  The cover of the book was done with a collage of papers and some sticky borders, a few lace medallians and a nice big butterfly wall sticker!  The hand dipped silk ribbon is tied around the center of the book.
 Inside the front cover i used a beautiful page from an anthropologie catalogue -a damsel surrouned by butterflies.  The facing page has some vintage ephemera and more butterflies.
 On subsequent pages i stamped and added more butterflies and envelopes.

 Inside each envelope was a little treat - some stickers or stamps.
 Inside the back cover was more hand painted deli paper (did i mention it glues beautifully?)
 The back cover was left black and white with assorted book pages and some alphabet washi tape.
Before putting the books safely in priority post flat rate envelopes, i wrapped them as "presents" with pretty coordinating wrapping paper, ribbons and for Gretchen, adorned with a glittery butterfly.

And here is Beth's book in the soft blue and aqua pallette i love so much.  This is the same wrapping paper i used to cut the birds on the cover of her book.  pretty organza ribbon and wee bird charm complete the package.
I'll write about the lovely books and goodies i received in return soon!