Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The day is what you make it

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

Dawna Markova Author of "Open Mind"

Thank you Linda from the Art Sook blog that is full of interesting techniques for the Make My Day Blogging award. (The Art Sook always makes my day)
The first person nominated to pass this award to is Noell of Paperclipping. She is a talented scrapbooker who through podcasts and tutorials explains concepts of good design or structure in plain English. Always learn something new from her posts. This month she has spotlighted some of my work as a guest artist.

Station Night Club

This week marks the 5th anniversary of a fire at the Station Night Club in Rhode Island in which 100 people died.

One of them was a good friend from my younger years. Funny enough when we would be out seeing a band or at a crowded bar, he would pull me aside to remind me that being a tiny person, if anything went wrong it would be easy for me to get knocked over in the rush and asked me to stand nearer the exits or out the crowd.

Safety in public places is something we all take for granted. It only takes a few seconds to look around when you are out and spot your closest exit – don’t wait for the stewardess.
A fundraising organisation has been set up to assist with the injured and families left behind.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Value of Time

Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you can not do more with it.M. Scott Peck

Friends & family value our creative handiwork but how do you find the time for exercise your muse. Appealing but practical gifts that can be assembled quickly are an important part of any crafter’s repertoire. Today I am sharing one of mines.

This 3 panel hanging message center uses 2 of the photo frames from the Kaiser Accordion Book, scraps of cardboard, ribbon, buttons and tags left over from other projects.

After pulling the bits and pieces together that suit the colour range and theme, the whole project takes less than 30 minutes to create.

2 photo frames from Kaiser
Heavy weight cardboard 3 pieces 5 x 5
Coordinating pattern paper x 2 sheets
Paint or ink
Embossing powder and stamp
Ribbon for hanger
Wide Ribbon 12 inches long
Cardstock strip of 4 inches for die cut tabs
Sizzex or pre-cut tab shapes
Buttons and embellishment
Clip and message pad
Red : Cosmo Cricket 2006 Christmas Paper Wonderland First Gift & Holiday Cheer Green : Walter Knabe Big Paper Block

The two photo frames need to painted or inked with a base colour to start. Finishing the edges of 3d objects with a darker color helps to create depth. The fastest way for me to achieve that is with a colored pen.

A paint resist technique like crackle glaze can take some time to dry. Embossing is a fast alternative to creating texture and interest.
I particularly like the Opals powders with many rich vibrant colors to choose from and as the name Opal implies, you can blend their colors without them becoming muddy for a lovely variegated finish.

While the photo frames are cooling, cut 3 pieces of heavy weigh cardboard or chipboard to 5 inch squares. Cover the squares with paper and ink the edges. File tabs were used on the green version to add a message about making time to enjoy life.

When gluing the ribbon on the back of the squares, the fastest way to ensure they are evenly spaced is to us a ruler. This is a trick my dad taught be me in carpentry when shingling a roof or setting fence pailing use of a template to butt against saves measuring.

You can probably see the use of a visual triangle for the collage elements. Hanging sure makes you more conscious of being balanced with embellishments, weight on the left has to be balanced with weight on the right

People often ask how I pull collages together. For me the rule of 3’s works easily and painlessly. For the most part it is only one or two colors in use in my assemblage and a very simple theme, in this case coffee time! Anything more than 3 it starts to get cluttered, the message is muddled and who has time for that? If I am using two colors it will be one theme, or with two themes I will cut it back to one color to equal 3.

It sounds ruthless but it is fast and works easily when deciding what embellishment is getting on board.

One thing that is worth taking time for especially if you are making a gift is to ‘back it up’. The back side of a hanging project may not see the light of day too often, but is that any reason to leave your plain old cardboard hanging out? It takes little time to cover the back with scraps of left over paper from other projects.
Most importantly – don’t forget to sign and date your creations.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


“Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A little Kaiser organiser that I will be teaching in the next few weeks, being organised is as simple as Addresses, Birthdays, Celebrations or ABC.

Products courtesy of Magic Moments

Nature's Imperative

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” H. G. Wells

This lovely example of recycled art is from Robin of Texas who I met recently in the Itty Bitty Valentine Swap. It is made from a collection of paper shopping bags, paint swatches, lace and bits&peices.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Je'aime Paris

'I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that person could be ME!' Anna Quindlen

A favourite quote, just right for Valentines Day and a theme for the new altered book with the theme of “je'aime paris”. Taking the quote for a bit of a twist on how everyone refers to Paris as the city of love, but as always if you do not have love within you, it can not be found there. Currently off in search of memorabilia and fittings to make this happen. Will post some peeks of what is developing.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mixed Media, ATCs and More

Mixed Media - The New Name for Arts & Crafts? It is not your granny’s crocheting !

By definition Mixed Media is the combination of using more than one type of crafting technique on a project, stamping & painting, or inking & distressing are only examples of the range of possibilities that fall under the umbrella of Mixed Media.

A few people outside the world of papercraft have poo-poohed Mixed Media as a new term for plain old arts & crafts, to which the Mixed Media gang have returned with ‘it’s not your granny’s crocheting!’

What is Mixed Media today? If mixed media is using multiple mediums it could be an altered canvas, Altered Book, Artist Trading Card (ATC), Art Journal, Decorated Journal, Mail Art, or Recycled & Refurnished products from around the home.

In the spirit of trying new techniques and skills that really are much easier than you might think I am giving my own little summary of some of my favourites.

Altered Books

“An Altered Book is when we take an old, unloved, discarded book and ‘alter’ with embellishments or additions to return it to that state of being special and unreplaceable.”

This is about the nicest thing I have ever heard about Altered Books or Mixed Media as it really captures what we are all about, recycling bits & pieces with our own personality to create something uniquely ‘you’.

There are lots of good instructional manuals on how to alter old recycled books for you too chose from. Many techniques used in Altered Books can easily be transferred to your scrapbooking pages, stamping, embossing, windows, pockets, collage and fold up flaps. Scrapbookers often use the similar process in creating Altered Books from newly purchased books or board books.

Links to where you can find out more about Altered Books include
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alteredbooks/ This Yahoo group has 7,500 members around the world who contribute to a huge reference section and gallery. It is rated as an adult content site.

Art Journal or Decorated Journal

Art journals or decorated journals are similar to keeping a diary but done mostly with pictures and images. Working with visual images uses a different part of our brains than words which makes for a playful and creative adventure.

Art journals are often recommended as part of artistic development or for people dealing with challenges in their lives as an outlet and a process in which we illuminate our inner selves. Art journals can be cut out collage of pictures and printed papers or drawings and doodles.

ATCs = Artist Trading Cards

As their name indicates, ATCs are tiny collectable pieces of art with a long history and only 3 rules.
1.An ATC generally are 2 ½ x 3 ½ inch

(64 x 89 mm) approximately the size of a deck of playing cards.
2.Art on one side, your contact details on the back and they are numbered.
3.ATCs should only be traded with others and not for commercial purposes.

Legends claim that ATCs span back thousands of years and that artist trading cards were traded between artists as a sample of their style or techniques. Sometimes the cards were used in lieu of a business card by artists, with art on one side and contact details on the back.

The official story is more recent with a Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann created a show based on ATCs in 1997 and started a trading session in Calgary Canada.

Cards can be made in any craft medium, scrapbooking, watercolors, collage and the loose term of Mixed Media.

A offshoot of ATCs are the "art card, editions and originals" (ACEO). ACEOs originated when artists began to create cards specifically to sell. Now there are "Inchies" as well that are simply a one inch by one inch ATC.

Catslife Press has a range of stamps designed at the right size for use on ATCs. http://www.catslifepress.com/catalog/atc3.htm
http://embers.typepad.com/e/ Emily Falconbridge Deck of Me = 52 weeks of ATCs on you

Mail Art

Mail Art is another paper craft with a long history. You have probably already tried this yourself. Have you ever kissed an envelope or written S.W.A.K. ? People have often decorated their envelopes with doodles and sayings. At various stages of history and for different reasons, artists have created art specifically for sending through the postal system.

Mail art can take the form of a handmade postcard or decorated envelope, a natural extension of card making and great way to use up paper scraps. You should check your local postal service for specifics and regulations on dimensions or issues affecting postage that would be charged for sending your art through the mail. We must be respectful that we live a less innocent time, much of the traditional mail art styles are things that would now attract concerns about security. Acting appropriately sometimes means enclosing your art inside a plain brown envelope.

My inspiration : http://www.nickbantock.com/

Recycled & Refurnished products
These are the altered clocks, altered canvas and million and one other items that scrapbookers have been painting and decorating. There is no end to what a creative mind can alter with pretty paper and glue. The critical choice is using the right adhesive products for the things you are gluing to and how to finish your project to allow it stand up to wear and tear.

Allyson Bright Myer recently published a book titled
Idiot's Guide to Altered Artin pages 103 and 199 you will see my projects

Friday, February 01, 2008


"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." Saint Augustine

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." Princess Diana

Loved these two quotes for ages and perfect to share with you today. Being nominated by other bloggers for awards makes for a wonderful day. Not only did someone read your blog but they thought enough to share one of their awards. Blogging is a strange little world where you get to peek into other people's creative projects, holiday photos or ramblings about their day.

Blogging does take time and effort to create the space and then fill on a regular basis with interesting titbits. Some of us do it for professional reasons and some for a way to connect with family and friends. What ever the reason all bloggers have something in common, we like to share the joy of our discoveries in arts, crafts, recipes, or life and the possibilities of all kinds of good things.

We might not see each other and am sure we all see lots in our world that is not great but continue to post - shining the spotlight on good things we can find sharing with anyone who cares to look. Some of my favourite bloggers include

Ladies, consider yourself nominated for which ever awards you have not received already as my way of saying thank you for being a bright spot in my day.

Lisa of Heart of the Nest and Imagination Cafe is hosting the One World One Heart event that is link 100s of bloggers from around the world, who ordinarily might not have got to meet.

The idea is that we post a RAK (give away) of our craft or something nice with all the drawings Valentines Day. Can not decide on the give away, shall I create something or assemble a collage package of bits & pieces for someone to do their own thing.

According to the little stats maker 100's of people visit this space every weekend, if you deduct my mum and best friends, that still leaves a few of you unaccounted for, from all kinds of places including Africa, India, Japan, and even Brazil.

As a warm up for this give away - why don't you post, say hello, wave your flag from where ever (you know I love to travel) and let me know what you think would be a good RAK. Then I can get cracking and contribute to this One Wold One Heart event as a reward or thank you to all of you.