Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Wallet

Here's a fun folded paper wallet to make, in case you need a secret place to stash your Christmas money, Christmas list, or coupons.  It also holds credit cards or would make a nice holder for a gift card you are giving someone (put the card in one side and a note in the other side).

I first saw this several months ago, but looked up the instructions again to try it with gift wrap paper.  The two below are wrapping paper.  That paper is a little too thin and probably would not last too long under heavy use.  The directions call for a 12 x 12 inch piece of paper, and scrapbook paper is a good weight to use.
The ones below were made quite some time ago.  The one on the left is scrapbook paper (single sided), and it is always in my purse, unfolded, with that week's coupons that I cut out of the sale papers.  The folded one on the right is made with Arches text wove art paper which had been the victim of a previous stencil spray/walnut ink paint session.  It was very hard to fold such thick paper into the wallet, but it is definitely sturdy.  I think Tyvek would be a great paper to use, but I haven't tried it. None of these have embellishments or closures, but those would be fun to add too. 
There are probably several places with the instructions, but the one I used is from Paper Source.  (Click here for instructions.)  When trying the find the link again, I discovered a lot of projects on their blog and web page how-to links.  So many projects, so little time....

Happy wallet-making!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The skies are safe

Rest assured, traveling public.  Your security agents are working to keep you safe and they do mean business.

In case you did not see this in the news, they recently disarmed a flying passenger.  It could have been a tragedy had they not acted swiftly. 

Here, read it for yourself, as per an article by Andrew Johnson... Dateline: St. Louis, Missouri.

TSA agents in St. Louis, Missouri, disarmed Rooster Monkburn, a cowboy sock monkey, of his two-inch toy gun after a woman brought the stuffed monkey through security. Agents said that it posed a threat because it could be confused for a real gun.... Phyllis May, who was flying back to her home in Washington state, has a small business selling sock monkeys.  She was also questioned for bringing the sewing supplies she uses to make the stuffed animals in her carry-on bag.  TSA agents told her they would have to confiscate the miniature firearm and call the police [although local TV reported they never actually called the police]. May's sewing supplies were ultimately returned to her. "Rooser Monkburn has been disarmed so I'm sure everyone on the plane was safe," May quipped.  "I understand [the TSA agent] was doing her job, but at some point doesn't common sense prevail?" May had named the disarmed monkey Rooster Monkburn after Rooster Cogburn, John Wayne's character in the film True Grit.

If you see this character, beware. I know I'm going to be careful about wearing my sock monkey slippers from now on.  That is all.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Deep Freeze

It's hard to believe, but a couple of days ago, my lilac bush thought it was spring because it was so warm.  It was trying its best to put forth some buds.  Today, totally different story.  Said buds are encased in ice.
As is just about everything else.

It's not as bad here as it is some places.  Only a couple of inches of snow, but with a quarter inch of ice underneath and possibly more to come tomorrow.  It's a good time to stay indoors, get out the telephoto lens, and annoy the birds.

The blue jays usually fly away when they see me at the window, but I guess when it's this cold and you fought off all your blue jay friends for the prime spot on the suet feeder, nothing else matters.

Stay warm and safe everyone!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's in the Details

I have a lot of rubber stamps that may look pretty shabby to some people.  But they are stamps from my early days of stamping, when I would mount rubber images on anything that was even half-way workable.  These pictured are my favorite Merry Christmas and Happy New Year stamps, from a company called Leavenworth Jackson (remember her?).  The script is beautifully done, and I have used them over and over.  I could re-mount them on a nicer piece of wood (after all, I did eventually purchase a band saw and sander just for cutting wood for stamps).  Or I could put them on some of the modern cling mount cushion and use them with an acrylic mount.  But to tell the truth, these stamps are so nostalgic for me, just the way they are.  I could find them in the drawer with my eyes closed, because I know one is on a round cork, and one is on a round piece of scrap wood. 
These days, I buy a mix of stamps - unmounted rubber if its available, mounted stamps if I like it and it's right there in front of me, and cling mount if that's all it comes in.

Recently, I ordered a stamp from a company that is an oldie but a goodie - Meer Image.  It's one of those small stamp companies that has been around forever,  plodding away, doing what they do.  The recent email introduced a new compass design.  There was a discount to pre-order it.  I love compasses, and this one was really nice.  So I ordered it.  In the past, most of what I have bought from Meer Image has been unmounted.  I had forgotten what it's like to hold quality in my hand. 

And this is quality you just don't see anymore.  The image is a great design.  The wood is nicely finished.  Steven's initials are on the stamp.  The company name is burned (?) into the wood. (I assume it is burned, as it reminds me of watching them burn the logo into the Louisville Slugger baseball bats at the local museum and factory.) The red rubber is finely detailed and stamps perfectly.  Quality all the way.  Even the paper it was packed in was a piece of drawing paper from one of Steven's figure drawing sessions.  It made me feel special just opening the package!  
There are still some businesses and companies that produce a quality product, but it's sad that something like this stands out to me, rather than being the norm.
At any rate, I will really enjoy using this compass.  I won't lose my way with this one!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Not Turkey Related

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S.!
I was looking for the picture I took a few years ago of the turkey that used to hang around in my yard.  I thought I must have deleted those pictures because I just could not find them. 
But, in the process, I found other cool pictures I had taken over time, some may or may not have been posted before.  Thought I'd post a few here...

Alphabet beads in a vintage inkwell
Learning to make paper flowers 
Tiny bottles..tiny beads..tiny words 
Book play with security envelope pages 
Flock of sandhill cranes flying over my house 
The star of the day!  He eventually stopped coming around, presumably because he was embarassed by my photo sessions and how I staged things around him! 
Enjoy the day!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Scenes from the last couple of days....

Lunch...Always have plenty of nourishment.

Play... Always take time to play.  (Meeting of the secret agents is highly recommended.)
I've been on the road, here and there, laughing and talking, having fun, thinking about getting back into teaching book/cardmaking classes, and putting work totally out of my mind!  It's good for the soul.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reporting for Duty

Remember the tote bag I bought that was mentioned in a previous post?
I finally got around to putting my cloth patches on it.  I had planned to sew them on, in case I wanted to take them off later to use somewhere else.  But that didn't work out too well.  It was hard to sew through the heavy canvas, so I decided to go with fabric glue. 
I used a different fabric glue than what I have used in the past, so this will be going through an endurance test. 

I got some of these patches off eBay and etsy.  Sometimes it amazes me how easy it is to get things that probably should be too official for the average person to obtain (i.e., official US Post Office patches).  But that didn't stop me from buying them!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sitting for a Portrait

I sat for my portrait over the weekend.  I think this looks exactly like me.
 You know, considering the artist is not yet four years old.  And considering that she kept saying "Don't peek, don't peek" and I had to keep my face covered.  And considering she had an extraordinary number of phone calls on her fake phone.
If you need your portrait done, my great-niece is reasonably priced, has a quick turn-around time, and will make you laugh yourself silly. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mail Bag

Sometimes you just need a mail bag.  Well, maybe you don't.
Maybe you just happen to stumble across a mail bag/tote bag.  At Hobby Lobby.  And you happen to have a 40% off coupon in your purse.  Not too sure about the whole key thing, but I have some fabric patches that will look great sewn on this thing!

Now I'm all set to tote stuff around.  Probably not mail, but Important Stuff.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


As a rule, well, I don't like to live by too many rules... I especially don't like rules when it comes to making art.  But for some reason, I seem to be jumping all over the place lately.  I felt like I needed to settle down, focus on something, try to reign it in a little.

I decided to get Pam Carriker's new book when I saw that it was 30 days of lessons, with a completed journal at the end.  It appeared that I had most of the supplies for most of the lessons, and she gives alternatives to the supplies I don't have. 

Loved the first lesson, mixing watercolors and making a color wheel on a coffee filter. However, I really didn't care for the look of the colors I mixed myself, so I used my old Prang set, with its bright vibrant colors, and made a second wheel.  I didn't care much for my second page either - it just seems too drab and dark. 
But I'm forging ahead anyway.  It's for me, it's not going on exhibit or anything...  What I really DID like is the scrap paper from when I painted my color wheel.  The color bled through the coffee filter and made a really great secondary wheel.  I put extra pages in my journal when I made it, and I think this will go in the journal at some point. 
This is the book - it looks a whole lot like her first book, but has the word "creating" at the top.  I think I'll enjoy doing this, even though it has taken me 7 days to complete one and one-half lessons!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I may need more cookies....

Washi tape.  I don't need any more, and I don't look for any more.  But it still has a way of finding me.  I am always seeking ways to store it.  I have shared some of my storage methods before.  Such as the postal sorter cabinet...
The wax paper boxes....
I have tried narrow plastic baskets....
These all fit in the plastic drawers where I keep most of my tape (except the cabinet above of course). Then I noticed a a clear plastic tray that came in a pack of cookies. It was perfect for holding three rows of tape, plus it has ridges in the bottom to keep tapes from getting too unruly.

I do like having my tapes where I can see what's there, plus I like to be able to grab a roll without too much trouble.  That's why systems with a dowel rod don't work for me.  I don't like to move several rolls of other tape to get to the one I want to use.

But having said that, there are tons of ways people store their tapes.  For some varied ideas, go here and have a look.  If I had room, I think I'd like the K-cup dispenser with its spiral tower holding rolls of tape.  So much fun visually. 

I may need more cookies though.  You know, for the tray....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Commitment Anxiety

I'm not sure what my problem is with this journal page I've started.  I know what I want to do and generally how I want to do it.  But for some reason, I'm having trouble gluing the parts down!

I started by putting some painters tape down the center of the page, then used a palette knife to place a smooth layer of white gesso on the left.  I pressed an old book page onto the gesso, rubbed it down, then tore it off before it could dry completely, leaving some reversed text there.

I then took a magazine page with a face on it, and traced part of the face on tracing paper.
I cut the magazine page in half but have not glued it to the journal page yet.
The tracing paper part of the face will go over the text.
What I plan to do is paint some details on the back of the tracing paper before gluing it down, and will paint more on the top of the tracing paper once it is glued. But for some reason, I'm having trouble thinking through the negative and positive, the reverse painting, etc.  I think I'm intimidated by the eye.  I'm not very good with painting eyes.  Don't be surprised if she ends with with a flower over her eye, or a patch!
Maybe I'm just thinking too much...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tip of the Day

Where have I been?  I have no idea.  Seems like all I have been doing is working and sleeping.  Next thing I know, we are well into October and I haven't posted anything all month!

My tip of the day is to look around you.  I'll bet there are things in your home that you see every day, but you have been looking at them so long, you no longer "see" them.  Take some close-up photos of them.  You will love those things all over again!
This is from a gift I received many years ago.  I've been trying to get some good close-up shots of things like this and having fun doing it!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Water Birds Continued

To follow up on the watercolor birds in a recent post, I have still been playing on that journal page.  It evolved into a page with lines, notes, and doodles, stamps, tape and scraps.  I'm still doodling on it, and it's been fun playing around on this page.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Okay, technically, I myself am not having a giveaway.  But if you are interested in winning a free class (or more than one), there is a blog party this week, and several instructors at Creative Workshops are giving away online classes.  I see several classes that I would love to win.

Anyway, my friend Gaye is giving away a free class for "Takin' Care of Business".  That's the class I mentioned a few months ago. The book has a segmented binding, and it is designed to hold a multitude of business cards - or it can be used for moo cards or ATCs.  Remember this (these are Gaye's books):

I love the book I made.  I constantly pick it up and look at all the cards inside.  Just a heads up too -- since this is fall festival time, if you are headed out to arts and crafts fairs, make sure to pick up some business cards.  Artists have the most colorful business cards!

So head on over to Creative Workshops here.  There is a whole list of links to instructors and their blog giveaways.  For Gaye's class, look just above the link of instructors and there is a link to her class.  Leave a comment on the Creative Workshops blog to win.  Then check out all the other fabulous instructors!! Winners are announced next week, so hurry.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Water Birds

1.  Spray water through stencils.
2.  Use brush to place watercolor into the water puddles made by stencils.
3.  Don't worry if the water runs and makes things look weird.

4.  Add more stencil design in the same manner.
5.  Use inkpad and sponge to add more stencil design in the background.
6.  Put aside while you try to figure out what the heck to do next.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nature Prints (without going outside)

How can you make nature prints without going outside?  I'll tell you.  I'll try not to be too long-winded.

I guess these are technically called EcoPrints, and I've admired what others are doing for a long time.  I have India Flint's book Eco Colour, I've read blog posts by her students, I've admired photos.  I knew for a fact, though, that as much as I liked the results I was seeing, there were too many obstacles for me to do that.  It took too many ingredients that I don't have.  It took days to see the results.  I don't do well with waiting that long.  Most of what they were doing was on fabric (although I'm happy to see more on paper lately).  The results are very detailed and vibrant with all the right ingredients though.

On my backburner list of things to do, I wanted to try these techniques on paper.  I wanted it to be quick.  I even bought a recent issue of Pages magazine, which had an article on Boiled Books.  It looked like we were closing in on something more my speed.

Then I was catching up on some blog reading and saw what Diana Trout has been doing.  Rather than go into detail, go to her blog and look at some of the posts from August and September.  I especially found the guest post there helpful by Jeanne Handley McLaughlin.

Still, though, having found this faster method, I knew I had to work this weekend and didn't have time to start something like this.  But my mind was going gangbusters, wanting to try it.  And that's how I ended up tossing and turning in bed, until I finally got up and did the quickest, most improvised eco printing ever.

I had some ATC-sized lucite pieces, and decided to use those for my outer pieces to hold everything in place.  That would be a pretty small accordian book, but hey, this was a quickie project!  I tore some paper into a long stip (I think it might be Artistico, hot press).  For leaves, I dug around in the back of my bathroom cabinet under the sink and found some old (and I do mean old) bags of potpourri.  I picked out some of the smallest and darkest leaves.  I sprayed my paper with the suggested mix of half water and half vinegar.  I laid leaves on the paper, folding the accordion as I went and holding it in place.  Then I clamped the paper together with the lucite on the outside.

I didn't have a bamboo steamer or a roaster, and wondered if I could just pour boiling water into a coffee can and put the paper inside (the ATC size, by the way, was a perfect fit for the coffee can!) But then I realized that I didn't want to wait for water to boil, plus I didn't want the paper IN the water.  Knowing I really needed to get to sleep if I didn't want to be late for work the next day, I ran the hottest tap water I could get, filled up the coffee can to get it hot, then poured out most of the water, leaving enough steamy water in the bottom, set the clamped paper inside on its "legs" and put on the lid. 
I'm sure the water cooled pretty quickly, and it probably wasn't too steamy in there for long.  But imagine my surprise to find this as the result this morning.  Not too bad for such a quickie and improvised project.
This is the back side, where I meant to add rusted steel wool.  Only when I was trying to pick up rusted bits with my gloved fingers did I realize I was using an old soap pad which apparently still had some clumpy soap in it.  I ended up with clumps on my paper.  Lesson learned for next time.
I can't wait to do more when I get a chance.  I already have some larger size paper torn and a larger coffee can.  And I'll be on the lookout for a steamer at the thrift shop!  The paper does have the odor of the potpourri.  Not sure if that is a plus or a minus at this point.  I thought it was nice having that bit of scent to it, but after living with it for a day, I can't seem to get away from the smell.  But it served its purpose, without me having to wander the yard at 11 pm looking for leaves!