Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Christmas Project

I joined up with a group of crafty people who are working on Christmas all year long at 12monthsofchristmasproject. (see my button on the right!) The challenge for this month was "white" and here is what I ended up doing...

The jar is a small one I rescued from the recycle bin, (mild peppers I think). I covered it in a thin layer of white craft glue and then rolled it in Epsom salt. The top is finished off with some twine, a piece of lace ribbon and a flower made of paper from a book. I found the tutorial for the flower HERE.

I love how it turned out!! A friend is needing to make 27 gifts for a wonderful group of ladies and we've been brainstorming - this just might be the thing!!

Play along with us this next month?? The inspiration is "pink"!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Altered Book Tip-In

Sorry, it's been awhile since I've posted - but I'm making it up with this tutorial. Seriously, it's gonna be a long one! You may give up before I'm done - just so ya know!! :0)

I joined a swap doing a Tip-In for an Altered Book. I have to make 10 pages and mail them to the host and then I'll receive back 10 different pages. It is a great way to get new artwork and see what other people are doing without having to ship a book out (cheaper too!).

So, quick down and dirty basics for those of you new to altered books... You take an old book and make it your own by painting, gluing, sewing, cutting, etc. A tip-in is a page that you work on outside of a book, then glue/attach it into a book when it is completed. Google or YouTube it, it's fun!!

This tip-in is for a 5X7 page, so I cut my pages 5 1/4" X 7" so the extra 1/4" is left mostly blank so it can be easily added into a book. This is a Technique tip-in so I chose to do a napkin decoupage technique - an oldie but goodie.

First, make sure that whatever you are working on can hold up to what you plan to do. I wanted this to look like it was a page from a book, but to use the book I wanted - I'd have to glue about 10 pages together to make it sturdy enough. Instead, I used a piece of kraft colored cardstock and glued a page on each side using gel medium.

You can see the 1/4" margin I left for attaching it into a book. I'm using pages torn from a Latin dictionary. Next, I decided I wanted a small window. So when everything was dry I punched out a window (saved the inside piece, want to include it too).

I used a distress ink to give a little color to the square I cut out. I think I want to stamp something on it in gold and then maybe edge it in gold as well.

I found a stamp that fits perfectly and stamped it in gold. Hated it. Not only that, but the embossing powder stuck to the distress ink everywhere as well as to the letters. I brushed most of it off, but it isn't what I want.

I do like edging the little square in gold, so decided to do that. Used a glue stick to make the powder stick and then heated them to melt the powder.

Next I tried stamping again in a chocolate color, but it was too light - I finally went with just a straight black.

I liked this better, but it was still lighter than I wanted. The letters seem to blend into the background too much, so I am going to fill in the spaces and darken it up with a pen.

Can you see the difference? Now, I can move onto the next step!

Okay, we are finally at the napkin decoupage technique. I am not a great artist, however Rebecca Carter (Sagebrush Fine Art) is and they put her artwork on a napkin! A package of 20 were on sale for a buck. Yea!

Now, if you haven't worked with napkins before, they are usually only printed on one panel and there are usually two layers. These ones have bonus images in the corners. First peel apart the two layers, saved the blank second layer to use in a bit.

Then I take the printed image and rip it all apart so I can rearrange it. I just followed the basic design since it already is sectioned.

 I arranged them out onto my paper (ignoring the cutout window) until I found a design I liked. (I'm saving the little pumpkin for the back side).

This first design felt top heavy. I tried again and like this next one much better. I'm going to be overlapping, tearing, and making a mess - so I don't worry about this part too much. 

Now, I need a stiff brush and the gel medium again. Paint a layer down on the book page, place my design and then paint another layer of gel medium over the top.

While it is still tacky, I used my fingers to gently scrape away parts of the napkin so that the words from the page underneath showed through. You can see the words from behind the napkin, but this gives it more of a distressed look. I liked the look, the mess - not so much.

Now, set it aside and let it dry. It's lookin' good.

I wanted to mimic the gold edging that I did on the squares around the cut open window. However, embossing seemed like it would be a great big pain in my tush - so I went an easier route with a paint brush and some gold paint.

 Let that dry a bit and now I'm ready to do a little more distressing. The colors are really bright and I want it to have a little bit of an antique look and a bit more glimmeriness (shut-it spell check, it's MY word!). I tried distress ink and I seemed to be making a big ol' mess with little results. I ended up adding some more of the gold paint to a palette with some dark brown paint.

Added a bit of water to loosen it up, and slapped it on.

Remember the second layer of napkin that I peeled off? Here is where I grabbed it and rubbed off most of the brown and gold paint so that once again I could see the design. (Doesn't the gold edging look like embossing powder instead of paint?)

Ahhhh - pretty!! Now all I need to do is attach the little square to the front. Because this is a technique swap I wrote out some basic directions on the back of the page and decoupaged the little pumpkin back there. Here is the final page again in case you forgot...

Gotta get them postal - have a great day!!
(Seriously, was this too long?? Did you make it to the end?? Can you come over and play? :0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I love New Years! I love that I don't have to decorate for it or figure out what to buy for someone. I love that our traditions change depending on where we live and who we are with, so I don't have expectations. I love the feeling of a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning.

I may have gone a bit overboard this year however. The idea of being able to start something new and keep it going is so alluring to me... that instead of signing up for one thing, I sign up to do them all!!! Projects, challenges, diet plans, cleaning/de-cluttering calendars, you name it - I'll participate! I know I probably won't stick with most of them, maybe not any of them. I will start off with every intention of seeing it through to the end; and maybe, just maybe, there will be one thing that inspires me. One thing that I love and will continue throughout the year. There is a  moment, that moment when I had aspirations and inspiration, a dream of a project completed. I may only end up doing it partially, maybe sporadically, or I may just quit altogether. Then I will re-examine and analyze and then next year -- well, there's always next year!!

Things I am working on:
Organized 365 with The Happy Housewife
Project 2012 - a picture a day - you can check out my progress Here.
31 days to Clean - by Sarah Mae ( this will be a bit longer than 31 days, but I do plan to work through it)
12 Months of Christmas Project
Art Journal Every Day with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer