Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday Field Trip

On Friday night I went to Colorful Creations.
They are a world-class scrapbooking store in Hyannis, MA.
Currently they are getting ready for crop on the cape 2009, a weekend extravaganza. This is an annual event, one that folks love and come from far away to join the fun.

They offer all sorts of classes and have a really nice dedicated classroom and work area. A couple weeks ago I got a notice about a course in making a journal, it looked fun and I signed up!

I had every intention of documenting every step of this class, but I got so into the work, I forgot to take any photos of the process and the other participants!

This is the front on my book.

The book is made of a canvas material with sticky back. I painted it, stamped it, added paper circles and then sewed it to the brown patterned fabric to make the cover for the book.

The kit for the class came with new music, ledger, graph paper and manilla cardstock. I added the remaining piece of scrapbook paper used for the medallions on the cover. It would be fun to add vintage paper and other bits from one's stash. The paper is held in pace with a ribbon, so it is possible to add more paper later.

This is the back of my book.

It started out as the front and then I didn't like the way I had stamped the dragonflys. I painted the cover -- a lot! It took a while to get it the way I wanted. The scallop circles, front and back, are a "mother of invention" solution (sadly, Frank Zappa was no where to be found!). Under the paper circles is a bit of a mess with crackle paint (I should never use it), and metallic paint that bubbled ugly. So, I found a great piece of paper (it being a scrapbook store they have a wonderful selection), used the punch and affixed the circles over my mistakes. I love how it turned out!

~ Marilee

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Altered Book Project

A friend and I are starting an altered book project. Neither of us has done this before, so it is all trial and guess and hmmm, I wonder if this works. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have started this if my friend hadn't encouraged me. I'm a great procrastinator (I do it very well) and tend to put off things if it's just for me. But if someone else is involved, I'm pretty good about getting going and finishing. So, here's the getting going part.

This was the book I was going to alter. It has really nice rag paper -- a textured, laid finish and part one is entitled "Prelude and Spring." What could be better? Well, a book that isn't so depressing and dreary! I can't look at a book and not read what's there and this book is miserable. All Great Depression realism, death, drought, family troubles. . . I don't want those thoughts anywhere near me!

This book works great. It's thick enough for some elements I want to add, sturdy enough and I like the paper. It had some illustrations which I removed for later use.

Following Bev Brazelton's suggestions in her book Altered Art Workshop, I removed pages and randomly painted facing pages.

I tried painting with two colors. I am using Plaid Decorator Glaze paints. I really like them. They are sheer, so the printing shows through.

These pages are at the very front of the book, so I started here. I glued four pages together to make the collage surface sturdier. That way the next two-page spread you see is green.

I just started adding images and embellishments. I cut an old ledger sheet into triangles to go around the circle image. These pages need something more, maybe lots more. I'm just not sure what. So I'm gonna let it sit and get back to it tomorrow.

This is what my worktable looked like at the end of the blue page. I pull so many things out to see if they will work and I'm just a very messy worker! In pride of place is my jar of Yes! paste. I used it to glue the pages together. I really love this glue, despite the fact that it is incredibly messy.

It was fun to spend most of the day making art. I wasn't sure I knew what to do, but the Brazelton book was really helpful and once I got going it was fun! I never knew painting book pages could be such a kick!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For My Mom's Birthday

I asked my mom to send me photos of herself as a young girl and this is my favorite. This one is a very subtly handcolored b&w photo. It's just so cute!

Next month, my mom will turn 80 years old. She's an awfully young 80. She lives in her own house, gardens, drives and travels. She has a new gentleman friend. She tap dances in a troup that performs at senior centers and nursing homes. When she first joined this group, she was the youngest member. That was more than 25 years ago.

My brother, sister and I are throwing Mom a party and I made the invitations.

I used the great photo inside, and on the outside, asked the question,
"Guess Who's Turing 80?"

The front has scrapbook paper, vellum, diamond dust and embellishments. It was a lot of fun to do, tho I'm glad there were not 50 invitees. Each one is just a bit different. I have tried, but I'm just not sure I am capable of making the same thing exactly more than once!

I mail the invites tomorrow and then I wait to hear from Mom about how she likes them.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Estate Sale Finds

Yesterday, my Friday Field Trip post was about Truro. Today, I actually went down there for an estate sale. The sale started at 9 am and I got there about 8. Usually this means I would be standing in line and not the first by any means. But a lot of dealers won't drive that far and it was windy and cold. So, I walked across the street and indulged in all this beauty!

The Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown.

Waves on the Bay.

The wind added spray to the waves.

I wish it was warm enough to go swimming.

Cottages in the sand, closed for the season.

The sale opened and there were some fun things:

A couple rolls of shelf paper with a 50's feel, a whole box of glitter tubes, dice and "scribbage" letter cubes and an amazing water color paintbox.

I have slowly been retro-fitting my bath & kitchen cabinets with glass knobs, so was delighted to find these. Karla did a tutorial on painting bird nests recently. When I saw this collection of wooden knobs I knew what could be done with them!

Next I went to the library to check out a book. They were having a book sale right next to the mystery section . . . How could I resist?

I bought books with great color prints, botanical drawings, covers I could use to make ephemera books, essentially books I planned to take apart. I love altered books and ephemera books like these made by Mary Green, and I really want to make some, but . . . . there's a certain irony. You see, I have a library degree and have worked for many years as a reference librarian. I wonder what the ALA thinks about altered books?

The photo is of Wellesley girls in 1945. The ledger and bill of sale pages are from the 1860's. The maps are from a book on Greece I purchased from the library.

Hope your day was as fun as mine!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Field Trip

I have taken this field trip many times, as I love this pond. It is calm and peaceful, and in the summer a great place to swim and kayak. This is another pond whose name I don't know. This one is in Truro, Massachusetts.

This was taken from the deck of my friends' cottage. This post really should have the sounds of frogs cuz there are lots of frogs there. There's some wonderful story about my friend's father moving snakes and frogs around the local ponds.
He was a character. But that's another story!

A closer view of the pond.

Years ago, I took a similar photo and used it in a silk screen numbered series of prints. The backgrounds were different and the image was this pine branch.

This is how one of the silk screen prints turned out. Most backgrounds were pale lavendar, pinky-brown, or blue to green to indicate a horizon line. I got a little wild with this one. I just discovered it this morning. I think I planned to toss it, glad now I didn't.

I am actually planning a field trip tomorrow farther down the cape from my friend's pond. Check back in the afternoon when I post pictures of a house on the beach and the fabulous finds (I hope) from an estate sale.

~ Marilee

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Puppy Love Tag Swap

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today has been a day of lovely treasures arriving in the mail. This card is from my friend Sarah who sends annual Valentine's Day cards with a letter updating her friends on the year's events. This one is particularly lovely and the sentiment is one I wish to share with everyone.

This package also arrived today:

It was very difficult to set up the photograph instead of tearing the package open.

I love each and every tag. They are so pretty. Each one is unique and creative and the book works perfectly together! Thank you to each of the artists and thank you Karla for putting together such a wonderful treat!

This is the front of the tag book with Karla's cover, a golden heart charm and the cutest pink scottie dog,

Next is a tag by Hope in lovely shades of pink, beige, and brown. I love the extra bits of ribbon she added at the top and all the embellishments.

These tags are by Nancy and Samantha Miranda and have such sweet images of young love.

You can see Samantha Miranda's lovely cut out vintage wallpaper rose and the back of Nancy's pretty tag.

I love the colors on Carrie's tag. I don't know if you can see all the details she put into this. The next photo, the tag off the the right shows the back with just as much care as the front!

Karoline's tag has a little puppy valentine that slips out of the pocket. She has also included one of my favorite elements -- buttons!

The last tag was made by Eleanor and is a fitting royal end of the book. The puppy, embellished button, ribbons, gold rick-rack and music all make me smile.

Happy Valentine's Day. ~Marilee

p.s. Samantha Miranda and Carrie, if you would like a link here to your page, just post a comment or send me your blog address and I will include it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Field Trip

Tiffany at Shabby Scraps proposed taking field trips in our local areas and posting about them on Fridays. I loved the idea and figured I would do it in the Spring when it was easier to get out and more shops were open. But today I was driving past this beautiful sight,

and had to stop to take pictures.

This pond is on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. I don't know its name and it isn't named on the maps. It looks like a kettle pond and is between Mill Pond and Follins Pond on the Northeast side of town.

This pond was covered by ice last week, when we had 20 degree weather.
This week it feels a little like Spring and the pond is thawing out.

Now is actually a great time to discover some of the 96 ponds there are on Cape Cod. When Spring and Summer arrive, some of these ponds become secret gems that you have to know are there because the leaves and lush growth will completely hide them! I love the look of the ice next to the thawed areas, and the way the light hits both!

Much as been said and written about "Cape light," which has this magical quality to it. We are surrounded by water: Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.

And if, like me, you grew up with the sun setting on water, there are places here, even tho it is on the east coast, where the sun still sets on water.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Staying Organized

I've been using the same format personal calendar for about 15 years. It's 2 pages per week, Days on the left. Notes/To Do space on the right. I always have more things to do each week than appointments to keep. I love making lists and crossing things off when they are done! So this format is perfect and I love it and carry it with me everywhere. When I discovered them, Day-at-a-Glance made them and they were pretty easy to find. As the years went by, a different division made them, then they got more difficult to find them and last October the 2009 edition was nowhere to be found. I broke down and ordered it from the company at twice the cost I usually pay!

It does come spiral bound, but in trying to fix it, I bent the binding completely out of shape and had to toss it. A friend was talking about the blanket stitch she uses on her penny rugs, so I thought why not bind my calendar the same way? As long as I was re-binding it, I decided to add a cover page, which it didn't come with. My ribbon binding is not ideal, but it does hold it together.

I love this harlequin stencil, which I painted on the new front cover and then added the Sizzix "Hearts, Tipsy" cutouts, silver paint pen designs, a stick-on gem and even a heart place marker. I think I was influenced by the nearness of Valentine's Day with all the hearts.

Next I'm going to make a cover that looks better than the plastic cover they come with. I made a cover for the old version and I have some of that pretty tapestry fabric around here somewhere. Maybe the old cover can be re-used. Now where did I put it?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back to My Roots

When I started selling the things I made, I was working with dried flowers. I had a one year old, I loved staying home with him and he took long afternoon naps. So I decorated all sorts of things: wreaths, birdcages, wooden boxes. If flowers looked good on it and hot glue would stick to it, it was decorated. One of my favorite items were rosebud pomanders and rosebud topiaries. They were beautiful, sold well and with the addition of rose oil smelled very nice!

Recently I discovered some rosebuds like I used to use. Unfortunately they were a buggy and I had to toss them out. Knowing I didn't want to make anything that might infest a customer's home, I turned to silk flowers for my topiaries.

I use mossy twigs for the "trunks," easy enough to come by on our property. Of course, the day I went to make these we had 4" of snow, so there I was trudging thru the back garden looking for fallen branches that still had the moss and were the right shape, size, etc. I had to run them under warm water to get the ice off and then let them dry. I really need to procrastinate less!

I finished these three yesterday. They need to get to their destination by Feb 15th so I worked steadily for the last couple days. Painting the pots, adding flowers, tweaking! It was fun to put them together. I also added pearls, glittered leaves, a sweet little bird, moss. I do love the feminine pink-ness of them. I ship them off on Monday and hope they are enjoyed as much as I enjoyed making them.

This photo is a reminder that perhaps it is time to get a SLR camera or figure out how to get close-ups on my little Nikon Coolpix S1.
Camera suggestions are always welcome to my email.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Puppy Love Tag Swap

I sent my tags off on Monday for the Puppy Love Tag Swap.
As usual, I was late, so I had to send them priority mail!
I was assured them would get there by Thursday!

My husband is a musician who also teaches at a music school,
so I asked him if he could get me sheet music for Puppy Love
I knew the song, but it was fun to learn Paul Anka wrote it.
I copied the music onto cream coloured card stock,
then cut out the tag shape.

I aged the tags with walnut ink.
Then I added vintage wallpaper to the other side.
I added puppy or young love images, buttons, cut-out hearts, beads, lace, rick-rack. Some of the tags have the music on the front, some on the back. I didn't make any two alike,
it was so much fun to come up with new ideas!

In the process of getting the materials for this swap together, I discovered all sorts of wonderful ephemera, old photos, old snapshots, scrap, etc.

This is my first art swap,
and I loved doing it.
Thanks Karla, this was way fun!