Tuesday, December 20, 2011

French Grammar Coptic Sketchbook

On a recent whirlwind excursion to Glendale, KY, I discovered a dusty bookcase lined with french grammars and textbooks! I loved the cobalt blue covers, so I scooped up several and brought them home to be upcycled into handmade journals.

I removed the inner pages, and filled this journal with sketch paper as a gift for my daughter. She loves to draw and make lists, so this will be a fun book for her to tuck in her messenger bag and grab when she's ready to make art on the go!

I used a coptic binding stitch for this sketchbook, so it will lay flat and stay open. A bit of washi tape over some black cardstock provides a finished edge for the tattered covers.

I like to put pretty endpapers inside my handmade journals, but I was so charmed by the bookplate and scribbled notes on the inside of this book that I decided to leave it as is. Coptic binding is a bit tricky until you get the hang of it! I watched many videos, and read many books, and this video was extremly helpful. Are you as obsessed with bookmaking as I am? If so, I would love to see your creations!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Graphic 45 & May Arts ABC Primer Book {Tutorial}

Welcome to day 5 of the May Arts and Graphic 45 Blog Hop! I'm happy to be participating along with these talented bloggers:

Nancy Wethington

Upcyling old books is an absolute passion of mine! The ABC Primer collection from G45 was a perfect match for a tattered junior dictionary I found at a library sale. This book would be a wonderful gift for a special teacher, a great scrapbook for school time memories, or for an art journal. Here's how you can make your own:

Remove the book block {all the inner pages} from an old book.
Use a brush to add glue {I used Collage Pauge} to the inside covers.
Add 2 lengths of 1.25" May Arts black silk ribbon {12" each}
{To determine the placement of the ribbon, center it on where the knob will be on the front cover of your book} Scroll down this page to see the knob on the front cover.

Measure the height and width of your book, and cut paper about 1/4" less all around.
The ABC Primer Paper is 12 x 12, so I had to cut an additional piece to cover the entire inside. To cover the resulting seam, I added a piece of Cavallini washi tape.

Use the ABC Primer paper to create 4 signatures for your book with 4 sheets each. The pages will be 12" wide, and should be the same height as the paper you used to cover the inside of the book. Fold each sheet in half, and stack 4 sheets together for one signature. The outer pages should be the full height and width, but some of the inner pages can be shorter in height.

Grid paper helps you create an easy sewing jig for your book! Simply cut it the same height as the book and the same width as the spine. Measure 1" from the top, 1" from the bottom, and in the center. Mark 4 evenly spaced holes as shown. Paper clips will hold the sewing jig in place. Use an awl or a paper piercer to punch each hole. If you don't have either, a large push pin works great!

Create a sewing jig for your signatures as you did for the spine, marking 1" from the top, 1" from the bottom, and in the center. This signature includes a shorter piece of paper in the center. Just make sure your shorter pieces don't interfere with any of the holes for sewing. Paper clip the pages and then punch the holes.

Sew each signature to the spine of the book, making sure to line up the holes. I used 1/4" black silk ribbon from May Arts to bind the book. Wrap the ribbon around the height of the book about 3-4 times to determine the length needed. Use a large eye needle {a size 22 tapestry needle works well} for the sewing. Begin stitching in the center hole on the inside of the signature. Leave a 3" tail {hold it in place with washi tape or masking tape} and then go through the top hole to the outside of the spine. Skip down to the bottom hole, then back inside through the center hole. Make sure the ribbon ends are on opposite sides of the center ribbon. Tie a square knot and snip off the extra ribbon. Phew! So easy to do, but tricky to describe! This is a basic 3-hole pamplet stitch. For a great visual diagram of the method visit this link at booklyn.org, a wonderful resource for anyone interested in bookbinding!

Embellish the spine by punching out some of the ABC Primer chipboard. Tie them together with silk ribbon and then tie on to the middle two binding ribbons on the spine.

Decorate the front cover with paper, washi tape, and a metal doorplate and knob from Graphic 45. The doorplate has a brad to attach it to the cover. The hole for the brad shows through on the inside cover, so I covered it with some 1.5" May Arts black velvet ribbon, and topped that with a ruler cut out from one of the papers. Embellish the signatures as you wish, and the book is ready to use!
I hope you've enjoyed the Graphic 45 & May Arts blog hop as much as I have! Don't forget to visit the other participating blogs, and be sure to leave comments at May Arts and Graphic 45 for a chance to win some amazing prizes! Thanks to both these wonderful companies for sponsoring a week of creative fun!

Monday, December 12, 2011

May Arts & Graphic 45 Blog Hop

If you love ribbon and vintage inspired paper goods as much as I do, you'll be excited to know that May Arts and Graphic 45 are teaming up this week for an amazing blog hop! All week long both companies will be featuring prizes, tutorials, and incredible inspiration. The picture above is a sneak peek of the products I used to create the tutorial I'll be posting on Friday, 12/16, but if you're ready for some fun right now be sure to visit the links below for Day 1 of this inspired week! Be sure to stop by the May Arts and Graphic 45 blogs each day for your chance to win beautiful prize packages from both companies! Here are the links:
{Day 1}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ribbon Revelry

Thanks to everyone who attended the Art of Ribbon Flowers workshop at Make Time to Create in Newburgh, Indiana last Thursday! Spending an evening playing with ribbon is always a joy! We made several beautiful blooms, and had a wonderful time exploring new techniques with May Arts ribbon. Many thanks also to the gracious hosts for the evening, shop owners Dolly LaBelle & Mary Shepherd. If you are local, or just passing through, Make Time to Create is a wonderful place to find inspiration and supplies for your crafty creations!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Art of Ribbon Flowers Workshop {Sneak Peek!}

These pretty little flowers are a sneak peek of some of the techniques I'll be sharing at The Art of Ribbon Flowers workshop at Make Time to Create in Newburgh, IN next Thursday! We'll be making the 4 blossoms pictured here plus 2 more for a total of 6. Please call {812} 490-4790 to register. Here are the details for the workshop:

{The Art of Ribbon Flowers}
Join instructor Kimberly Jones and learn how to create a bevy of beautiful blooms using gorgeous May Arts ribbon! You'll make 6 varieties of flowers with endless possibilities. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you’ll be adding flowers to cards, scrapbook pages, packages, jewelry, and so much more. All supplies will be provided. This workshop is limited to 10 students, so be sure to register soon!

*Please bring your favorite pair of ribbon-cutting scissor to class.

Date: November 10th, 2011 6 p.m.  {Thursday}

Class Fee: $18

Call {812} 490-4790 to register

Hope to see you there!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Twinkle It! Art Journal

Twinkling H2Os  and May Arts Ribbon are a perfect duo! Check out the art journal I created using these sparkly watercolors and lots of ribbons, papers, and more. A complete step-by-step tutorial is available on the May Arts blog, and you can get a download of the entire project by clicking this link.

I bought a few pots of Twinkling H2Os several years ago, but I didn't quite know how to use them. I dipped my paintbrush in water and then tried to pick up the paint in the pot. The result was a barely visible, tinted wash with a tiny bit of sheen. So when I received this set for the blog week at May Arts, I was determined to find the correct method for using them. I discovered this video by Marah Johnson that provided the perfect introduction to using Twinkling H2Os  .

The secret to success is: plenty of H2O! Water that is! As Marah recommends, prepare the pots by spritzing them generously with water, and allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes while you work on something else. The pigment is laced with mica flakes, and the water will release those sparkly flakes. A crater will form with the mica flakes at the bottom, and there's where the most concentrated color and shine can be found. This time around, I couldn't believe the rich depth of the watercolors and the intensity of the sparkle! Best of all, no splotches and spatters, just pure sparkly coverage! Can you tell I'm a bit smitten with this product? So much so, that I'm adding a limited weekly series called Twinkle It! Tuesday! Each week, I'll share something new from my explorations with the magic of Twinkling H2Os ! I hope you'll join me for the journey!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mood Boards, A Sneak Peek, & Blogging Inspiration

Good morning everyone! You may be wondering where I've been. My family and I took a magical trip to Portland and Seattle, and I've been in frantic catch-up mode ever since! I have so much I want to share about our experiences there, but in the meantime I want to tell you about some of my other doings in the past few weeks. I made the mood board that see you here for a May Arts
project that will be posting next week. I'll show how to take many of these lovely objects and transform them with Twinkling H2Os: my new-found love! This is the first mood board I've ever created with one specific project in mind, and it proved to be a very valuable tool. As I've mentioned before, I am easily distracted, and sometimes I lose focus when I'm working on a project. This mood board helped me remember what materials I wanted to use, and kept me on track. And it's pretty to look at too! Here's a little sneak peek of what I did with some of the materials on my mood board and the sparkly little pots of joy called Twinkling H2Os!

Creating a mood board is sort of like putting together your outfit for the day, or decorating your house. You gather a variety of elements and unite them with a theme, a a color scheme, or some other common thread. Designers and artists have a long history of using mood boards to collect their thoughts and ideas, and often use mood board for presentations to their clients. I've made mood boards in the past as a way to showcase some of my favorite images and art/craft supplies like this one or this one. But I didn't realize the full potential of these useful and beautiful tools until I started reading 2 amazing blogs: Decor8 by Holly Becker and A Creative Mint by Leslie Shewring. Leslie writes the Color Me Pretty column on the Decor8 blog, and she has perfected the art of the mood board!

Just look at the gorgeous board she shared on her blog yesterday! I love all the bits and pieces, the composition, and the color story. Leslie uses her mood boards as a starting point for creative photos and projects. The results are so inspiring!

Holly's blog, Decor8, is chock-full of beautiful images, inspiring design ideas, and lovely homes, as well as links to artists, designers, shops, and many other resources. Her new book Decorate is a wonderful read filled with over 500 visually inspiring photographs and lots of practical advice for making your living space both functional and beautiful. Her blog is always dynamic and interesting. I feel so energized and connected with the latest trends, design concepts, and creative people when I read her posts!

For the past 3 weeks, I've been happily absorbed in learning the secrets to creating amazing mood boards, how to improve my photography, ways to make my blog a better and more inspiring place to visit, and so much more from both Holly & Leslie via the Blogging Your Way e-course. Along with Holly's husband Thorsten Becker, they have put together one of the most informative, inspiring, and enjoyable online courses I've ever taken! All my burning questions about blogging etiquette, the best resources for bloggers, photography and photo editing, beautifying a blog, connecting with other bloggers: in short just about everything I've ever wondered about, are being answered! And the community and forum are nothing short of amazing! I want to express a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this journey. I am over the moon with with the creative energy this course has been unleashed in me, and I hope all the new-found knowledge I've gained will be reflected here on my own blog. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop by and see what I'm rambling on about, and I hope you all have an inspired day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shiny Object: Pugly Pixel

A shiny object is anything that catches my eye and makes me smile. I thought it only fitting that the first shiny object I share with you is the Pugly Pixel. What a cute name! But the Pugly Pixel is so much more than that! This dynamic and inspiring site is the weblog of the talented Katrina Tan, and it is packed with shiny goodness!

Pugly Pixel features free resources for web graphics like clip art, photo frames, bling for your blog, or photoshop brushes and textures. Don't ya just love these colorful tape strips? Fabulous!

In the marketplace even more fun and fabulous downloads are available for purchase at a great price. I love the Stationery Textures shown here!

While you're visiting Pugly Pixel, don't miss the tutorials page! You can learn how to remove backgrounds with Photoshop, make your own digital staples, and how to create unique Photoshop brushes like these pinking shears.

I chose Pugly Pixel as my very first shiny object to share because I fell in love with the site when I recently redesigned my blog! I used this incredible {and free!} blog stock photo of vintage sequins to create the buttons for my sidebar. I wish I had this collection in real life!

The Pugly Pixel has a very generous Terms of Use policy, so be sure to read it when you pop over to check out all the goodies on the site. Thanks Katrina for so generously sharing your creative talents! Your blog has provided me with many hours of happy distraction!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Handmade & Bound Highlights

I'm still thinking about the Handmade & Bound event in Nashville, TN last Saturday! The vendor booths, exhibits, workshops, and especially the talented artists I met made it a truly memorable experience.

The day began with the my Findings & Bindings workshop. We only had an hour for the class, so my husband Randy helped me get the kits ready, and precut 15 papers for each one! He makes a great studio assistant, and even brought me water, and took photos of the class. Everyone seemed to have a great time putting their books together!

When the class was finished, we explored the event venue at the Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film. What an inspiring place!

We saw huge signs made from cardboard...

Incredible art made from recycled materials...

and amazing handcrafted books at the Encoded Structures exhibition.

We browsed and shopped and met lots of wonderful people at the vendor booths...
and topped off our day with scrumptious mongolian tacos from the Happy Eating {Happy Japan} food truck. Yum! I'm already dreaming about attending again next year!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Workshop Wow!

The Designing with May Arts Ribbon workshop at Make Time to Create was so much fun! Dolly {one of the owners} kindly sent me these pictures of the class, including one of me with my hands over my ears! Dolly said she thought it looked as if I was saying "I've had enough!" Actually, I was thinking "Please don't take my picture!" A big thanks to everyone who attended the workshop, and to Dolly & Mary at MTTC for hosting it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Aunt {iques}

In my mind, a rainy Saturday lends itself best to either snuggling up with a good book or hunting for vintage treasures at an antique store. I had plans for the former, but when my sweet Aunt Marie asked me to go antiquing with her this past Saturday, I happily tossed my book aside and we hit the road! Our destination was the Princeton Antique Mall in Princeton, Indiana: 3 floors of fabulous finds.

I didn't buy this amazing herb cabinet...

or these cameras...

or this store display case...but I really, really wanted to bring them home with me!

I was intrigued and a bit mystified by this piece. There were lots of little glass lenses in the top drawer. Is it an optician's cabinet perhaps? If you know...please tell me!

I deeply regret leaving this beauty behind...

and I want to turn this floor of the antique mall into a loft apartment and live there basking in the incredible light spilling from that wall of windows. Bliss!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ode to Autumn

Autumn...I love ye.
Ok, so I'm not a poet, but I really do love the fall! I love the brisk feel of cool breezes, the colorful leaves, and the scent of pumpkin bread baking in the oven. It's such a warm and cozy, yet inspiring season. A few mornings ago, I opened my front door and found these beautiful mums on my porch! My sweet husband had snuck them home the night before because he heard me say I wanted some yellow mums this year! We are celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary next Friday, and that's another reason I love the fall! So I just wanted to wish everyone a happy first day of autumn and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

This mum was ready for its close-up! So pretty!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{Workshop} Designing with May Arts Ribbon

Make Time to Create in Newburgh, IN is celebrating its one-year anniversary next weekend, and I'm teaching a workshop to kick off the festivities! Here are the details:

Designing with May Arts Ribbon at Make Time to Create
Thursday, September 29th, 2011 6 p.m.
Class Fee: $18

In this technique-packed workshop we'll create a variety of blooms with luxurious May Arts Ribbon, create 2 types of faux polaroids for a scrapbook layout, transform a plain canvas mini tote into a stylish accessory, and make a versatile mini book using a simple binding method with silk ribbon. Please call Make Time to Create at (812) 490-4790 to register. Hope to see you there! Happy anniversary MTTC!