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!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Water + Ink + Pen

I love this video.  I don't remember if I saw it linked somewhere else or just stumbled upon it.  The image of ink touching water, writing the words to the song that is playing... it's magic!
Click the video here.


9 * 11 * 2001
This is a piece of the wreckage from the World Trade Center. 
It now resides in a peaceful setting in a
Veteran's Cemetery in Kentucky. 
Other pieces are at locations throughout the country. 
 Remember the thousands of families who lost
someone that day. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Conquerer

I will not let this vintage ledger defeat me.  Gaye had this at her yard sale, and the two of us wrestled with it quite a bit, trying to figure out how the posts inside were holding the pages in.  Sure, we could have just torn the pages out, but we would have lost a good chunk of the left side of the pages.

The covers were in pretty bad shape anyway, so we disposed of those.  I ended up bringing it home with me to try again to dismantle it.  It turns out, every piece of the spine cover is made of metal.  The posts are firmly in place, and are nothing like the post binding we know today.  I suppose this ledger was meant to be a truly permanent record, never to be taken apart.
With my trusty hammer and screwdriver, I managed to get more of the spine pieces off, but I see absolutely no way to remove those posts. No slots for a screwdriver, no way to twist them.
The next step may be some goggles and a Dremel tool with a metal saw blade.  I will not be defeated!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Random Play

Sometime a girl's just gotta play.  No plan, no goal, no instructions. Below is just that. 

The only thing I had in mind was to try using paint as a resist.  I saw Tim Holz demo his distress paint used as a resist.  I bought only one color of the distress paint, Antique Linen, because he said it's the closest to the color of a manilla tag.  So, that's how most of these started out, using linen colored paint dabbed through a stencil, on a couple of cheap file folders.

This one does show how the paint acts as a resist.  It also shows where the paint blobbed in the middle of the design.  The metallic spray in the top left corner is much prettier in person by the way.
This is another file folder where I tested my sprays before spraying the other folder.  I also blotted my wet stencil here.  Later, I cut out three hearts from window screen repair tape.  They are naturally sticky, so I can move them around to see if I want to use them.
 This is another file folder where I blotted my stencils after spraying on the one in the next photo.
 My cheap file folders were a little too cheap - they warped and curled from the wetness.  I switched to glossy photo paper, just to see what it would look like.  I tried to tone down the color some with spritzes of water, but the ink had already dried and nothing happened.
 This is also photo paper, a piece I had blotted stencils on .  I really wanted a runny look, and since the water wasn't working, I tried bleach (I didn't have straight bleach, and used a bathroom cleaner that contains bleach. NOTE:  As always, if you are using bleach, use in a well-ventilated area.)
I sprayed bleach, then water, and it did begin to run a little.  I had forgotten I also had some paint on this before I sprayed on it.  When I started to blot off the excess water, it pulled some of the color and paint off.  Some of the paint that remains has a kind of crackle look.

I'm sure these will end up as "parts" in a collage some day.  And I'm sure I'll play more with the photo paper in the future.  It reacts so differently, there are discoveries just waiting to happen!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Treasures Galore

I had a fun day Saturday.  My friend Gaye had one of her famous Studio Sales.  This time, you paid one price to get in, then take all you want.  Gaye said she was too lazy to mark everything individually, but wanted stuff to move out of her house and to other artists' houses!  Believe me, you always get your money's worth when Gaye is in the mood to clean out her studio. 

This is just some of what I brought home with me...

A little of everything, but not so much I can't find a place for it.  It pays to know the yard sale queen!  You can't really tell in that last picture, but that is a negative in the middle.  I have a batch of them that I want to try using for sun prints.  I don't know why they would not work, but it should be fun to try.

The best part for me is always visiting with friends I only see once or twice a year.  Such a fun time.

Of course, while everyone is in the basement studio shopping, my main job is to stay upstairs to let people in and show them where the studio is.  During slow times, I wandered over to Gaye's china cabinet to take pictures of her Bailey's cups.  She keeps finding them, plus the accessory pieces, plus other similar pieces with faces on them.  She also just got a larger 2-piece cannister set that is adorable.

And so another sale comes to an end.  A fun time was had by all.