Monday, December 21, 2015

Castles in the Air Color Burst Collage on Wood

On cozy winter evenings you'll often find me lost in a reverie and dreaming about the days to come. There's something about the idea of a fresh new year that inspires me to plan and to dream big! For my latest Ken Oliver Creative Team project, I wanted to create a collage to remind to myself to keep on dreaming and building castles in the air long after the new year has lost its luster.

I love experimenting with Color Burst and a variety of materials, and I couldn't wait to see what would happen when I paired this magical elixir with wood.

As usual, the results were simply sublime! The sides of this 4 x 4 cradled birch block turned a rich espresso hue when brushed with Sepia Color Burst mixed with water and just a sprinkle of Ultramarine Blue. The beauty of Color Burst lies in its unpredictability, so you'll have to experiment a bit to create the color that pleases your eye. For the background, I spritzed the top of the block with water and then sprinkled on Ultramarine Blue Color Burst. Set the block aside to dry for a few minutes while you prep the papers for your collage. 

I like to use these porcelain dishes to mix my Color Burst. Just a tiny sprinkle with a few spritzes of water yields enough watercolor to stain a vintage french flash card, and as seen in the next image, a piece of vintage book paper. An Aquash brush filled with water makes it easy to add a wash of color.

One of my favorite ways to add text to a collage is to use rubber stamps and ink. Ken Oliver's Pegz Uppercase Stamps and Lamp Black Click It Ink Pad are fun and easy to use. I love how the stamps connect together. If you don't have enough letters for the entire word, it's very easy to just stamp out what you have and then add the missing letters at the end. I added a bit of Sepia Color Burst to this book page, cut out the words, and then edged them with the Lamp Black Click It Ink Pad to make them stand out from the background. One of my favorite tips is to use the blank endpapers from old books or pages that don't have much text on them to stamp out your words for instant vintage patina!

After the Color Burst stained block was dry, I used Yes Stikflat Glue and a palette knife to adhere the various elements. The castle image is a copy of a vintage photo from my stash simply printed on light weight paper. I tore the flash card, added some Ultramarine Color Burst and edged it with the Lamp Black Click Ink It Pad. I also used the ink pad to edge the wood block and frame the composition. At this point the collage didn't feel quite complete. It needed something to meld all the elements together. After staring at it for a bit, I decided to add some Rose Copper Leaf Metal. I simply spread a bit of Yes Glue in random places around the edges of the collage and then tapped on the metal leaf and brushed off the excess.

The metal leaf added the perfect finishing touch to the collage and unified all the elements. Gilded, sparkly dreams are the best kind of dreams after all!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you will have fun creating your own castles in the air. I've included a list of materials used in this project with links below. Questions about the project are always welcome!

Sepia Color Burst
Ultramarine Blue Color Burst
Pegz Uppercase Stamp Set
Lamp Black Click It Ink Pad
4 X 4 Deep Birch Panel
Rose Copper Leaf Metal Sheets
Yes Stikflat Glue
Vintage French Flash Card
Vintage Book Paper
Spray Bottle filled with Water
Paintbrush of your choice
Paper Towels

Porcelain Nesting Bowls
Pentel Aquash Waterbrush

*A Note about Adhesives
Please feel free to use your favorite adhesive for this project. Matte medium or a good glue stick will work very well. Any type of wet adhesive will require a longer. drying time of course. Yes Stikflat Glue is my new favorite because it's easy to spread with a palette knife, dries very quickly, works well with delicate vintage papers, and allows the papers to lie very flat.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hometown Cottage Collection Notebooks

I love the vintage charm of Ken Oliver's Hometown Cottage Collection! The pretty papers in the collection are inspired by the sweet little cottages and nostalgic picket fences of Newburgh, IN. This beautiful little town lies just across the river from my own home, and has long been a favorite destination for my family and me. It's so exciting to see this lovely place documented for the world to see.

As much as I love the photorealistic images of cottages and historic sites on the front of the papers, I am equally drawn to the patterns on the other side. The muted colors and classic prints remind me of vintage wallpapers, and I thought they would be perfect for a set of pretty notebooks to help me stay organized.

Only a few simple elements are needed to create these pamphlet stitch booklets. The notebooks I created are 4 x 6, but you can make them in any size you wish. Here are the materials you need to make your own:

Hometown Cottage Collection

Paper for the Inside Pages (I used inexpensive copy paper)
Mica (Optional)
Vintage French Flashcard
Cream Waxed Linen Thread
Binding Needle (I used a tapestry needle with a large eye)
Glue Stick
Sharp Scissors
Paper piercer
Paper Clips

  • For a 4 x 6 notebook the cover needs to be trimmed to 8" wide and 6 inches high and then folded in half.
  • For the inner pages you will need 10 sheets of paper cut to 7 3/4" wide and 6 inches high. Fold the pages in half.
*Note: I like to trim the inner pages slightly smaller than the covers so that they will fit neatly inside. 
  • Nest the inner pages into the cover and use paperclips to secure. 
  • Use an awl, a pushpin, or a paper piercer to punch 3 holes in the pages and the cover.
  • Cut a 12'' length of cream waxed linen thread and stitch the book together.
*Click here for a link to a helpful diagram for the 3-Hole Pamphlet Stitch.
  • Embellish the notebooks as you wish. I used a piece cut from the Ephemera sheet, a piece of mica, a vintage french flashcard, and a book band. The band is made by trimming a complementary piece of paper to 1 1/2" high by 8" wide and connecting it around one of the notebooks with a bit of glue stick. The glue stick also works well for the mica and other decorative bits and pieces. 
I hope you enjoyed this fun project for Ken Oliver Crafts. These notebooks are perfect for jotting down random thoughts, sketching on the go, making lists, and more. They also make sweet gifts and can be mass produced very easily. Be sure to stop by Ken Oliver's blog for more inspiring ideas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Colorburst Indigo Moon Accordion Book

Hello and welcome to my first post for the new Ken Oliver Creative Team! I am so honored to be a part of this talented group, and I'm amazed at the many beautiful projects already being shared by my fellow team members.

Indigo Moon Color Burst Accordion Book

I love handmade books, so for my first official team project I wanted to create a special accordion book featuring Ken Oliver's Color Burst. These gorgeous watercolor powders are highly pigmented, and with just a spritz of water they explode into gorgeously vivid hues! Here is a list of all the elements I used to create this project:

Ken Oliver Color Burst Earth Tones Assortment
Ken Oliver Color Burst Ultramarine Blue
Ken Oliver Click It Ink Pad in Lamp Black
Ken Oliver Pegz Uppercase Set
Spray Bottle Filled with Water
Vintage Book Paper
3" Circle Punch
Mica {Optional}
Rigid Wrap Plaster Cloth at Blick Art Materials or Amazon
Disposable Bowl of Warm Water
Paint Brush
Paper Towels
Plastic Gloves {Optional}
6 X 6 Khadi Paper Zig Zag

The first step for this project is to remove the last panel from the Khadi paper accordion. Punch out or cut a 3" circle from this panel. Spritz the circle with water, sprinkle on some Indigo Color Burst and a bit of glitter, and then set it aside to dry.

Cut a length of plaster cloth the same size as the accordion pages and dip it into a warm bowl of water. Spread the plaster cloth on the accordion as shown and allow to dry completely. Be sure to do the same on the front cover. The plaster cloth should take about 15 minutes to dry.

*Please note that when working with plaster cloth it's important to use a disposable bowl. Use plastic gloves or wipe your hands with wet wipes or a damp paper towel. Never put the plaster down your drain or it will harden there. Instead, allow the plaster residue to harden in the bowl and then dispose of it in the trash. 

Spritz the plaster cloth with water and then randomly sprinkle on Indigo and Ultramarine Blue Color Burst along the entire length of the cloth. Spritz again with water and use a paint brush to move the pigment where you want. For the sky, I used a variety of colors from the Color Burst Earth Tones set. You can mask off the plaster cloth if you wish, but I had no problems with the colors bleeding into the cloth. Don't forget to apply the same techniques to the cover. Set the book aside to dry.

To embellish the front cover, use the Ken Oliver Pegz stamps and the Lamp Black Click It Ink Pad to spell out the words "Indigo Moon" or your preferred title onto the vintage book paper. Use a strong adhesive to attach the stamped title to the cover. For an extra bit of sparkle, add a piece of mica over the book paper. Glue the watercolored circle you punched out earlier to the second page of the accordion, making sure that it fits inside the punched out circle on the cover. I used Scor-Tape, a double-sided adhesive, for these steps because it's strong enough to firmly adhere to the rough textures of the paper and plaster cloth.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Thank you so much for stopping by, and be sure to visit Ken Oliver's blog often for lots of fun ideas and inspiration.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Snail Mail {Book Review}

Do you feel a little zing of excitement every time you open your mailbox? I do, even though I know I'll probably only find bills or circulars. How gratifying though to open that little door and discover a handwritten note! The book Snail Mail by author Michelle Mackintosh shares the idea of "Rediscovering the art and craft of handmade correspondence." So we can all experience the delight of a thoughtful letter or card more often.

I was instantly charmed when I received a copy of this book for review and opened it to discover 6 chapters brimming over with detailed ideas for communicating with friends and loved ones in a more meaningful way.

I particularly loved this quote and the accompanying forest of pretty papers found in chapter 1: Write Here, Right Now!

Chapter 4: Brown Paper Packages, shares several ideas for sending care packages filled with thoughtfully chosen items and indulgent treats to bring a smile to the recipient.

I loved this fun collection of letters in chapter 6: Getting the Most from Your Post! When I was in grade school, I had a penpal from Canada, and I still remember how thrilling it was to receive a letter from her! I plan to spend several happy hours poring over this lovely book, and I'm already inspired to create some projects from its pages!

Snail Mail by Michelle Mackintosh (Hardie Grant) Photography: Chris Middleton 
Please note that I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher, but all opinions are my own.