Thursday, September 25, 2008

Works in progress and a gift

So last weekend my daughter and I got together and worked on covering board books with fabric. After raiding the books at Saver's thrift store (but I ONLY bought 20 this time, honest!) we started stripping the pages. Then after several failed attempts to attach the fabric we figured it out! We both used pinks and greens for our books since most of my fabric is those colors and April raided my stash for a variety. I have not embellished any pages as of yet, but check out April's blog, she has made a good start on her fairy-themed book.
I used a chintz-style fabric for my cover:

Here are the pages that my husband compared to ravioli (they do resemble large ravioli!).

A close-up of two of the pages, the book only measures 3 inches by 31/2 inches so it's rather small:

While at April's we both had our sewing machines out and made some fabric hearts. I am in a swap to exchange hearts similar to the ones in the latest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I have made three as samples to play with, just need to embellish them to jazz it up! The denim heart is hand sewn from a jumper that is too short for me to wear to work!

I covered some journals that a dear friend at work photocopied from her husband who recently passed away. His relatives wanted his original journals so I helped her make copies. I hand painted the covers (they look like leather IRL), sewed them to cardstock and bound them with my Bind-It-All. I will be delivering it to her tomorrow at school. The cover is very plain, but I left it so she could add whatever she wanted to personalize the journals.

Messy, Messy, Messy

Does this resemble your working area? I can't seem to keep my craft table clear for more than 5 minutes! In this picture you can see at least three projects that I am currently working on: whale deco, mermaid deco, and cutting out comics for a friend's book.......... in the mail today I received 4 decos to work in. The good news is that I finished sewing my techinque pages (see previous post) and my Halloween pages for a local swap. Whew! Now if I could just get inspired to begin my first Beaded Journal Entry (not like it's supposed to be finished at the end of Sept. or anything............LOL). Ah, well.......... such is the life of a crafter/artist. I have found that if I don't have several projects lined up to work on, I drift aimlessly in my craft room......... so I keep myself busy that way!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Huge Swap Undertaking

I spent all day yesterday cutting and sewing 120 pages for a swap hosted by a Yahoo group! When I signed up for this technique swap I figured maybe 30 pages, but it mushroomed into something much bigger! The 4X4 pages are due sometime next month and I really pushed into overdrive yesterday. My background is fabric woven and then sewn to a backing using decorative stitches in colorful thread. You can see what I have done with this technique for a fabric postcard in a prior post (the checkerboard postcard). I cut and stripped the black and white fabric for six more pieces yesterday. Then I wove them into checkerboard patterns and began sewing. The pink feather pattern is complete and I got a good start on the orange fagot stitch before my shoulders started aching and I needed to take a break. This process took almost the entire day, but now all that's left is to finish the stitches, cut them and prepare the backing of cardstock with the directions! Whew! I have seen some of the pages that members have completed already and I cannot wait to get my hands on this "obese" book next month! I will be sure to post a picture when I receive this treasure!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Learning to Knit

No pictures to add to this post! April and I spent a couple of hours the last two Saturdays learning to knit at The Needler's Nest in Surprise just down the road. We had both attempted to learn via YouTube videos. Irene was very helpful! We learned two methods of casting on yarn, knit and purl stitches, ribbing stitches, how to fix mistakes, read patterns, and how to cast off when finished. Our homework between classes was to knit/purl a stockinette piece and bring it to measure our stitches. Mine came out okay, but I have to admit I ripped it out countless times so the stitches would be even and automatic! Such a perfectionist........... arghhh....... Since the class I have been attempting to create some stitch patterns, but my tension is very tight (a throw back to crochet) so I must persevere and fix it!!!!!!!!!!!!! My ultimate goal is to know how to knit when we move to VA so I can possibly learn to spin yarn at the Alpaca farm near our new house and then knit with the yarn......... I know, high hopes. I 'll keep practicing! When I perfect the ripple stitch I will post a picture, don't hold your breath. LOL.... happy knitting!


When I wasn't subbing, creating new decos, orvsigning established decos, I made several items for swaps (for Yahoo groups): The first is a fence swap for Treasure Art Trends. The requirements were a 4X6 page incorporating a fence. The background is painted with a yellow-tinted gesso resist sun, hand painted grass in foreground. The fence is painted cardboard strips and the fairy/mushroom is an enlarged stamped image. I used a combination of colored pencils, twinkling H2Os and Gelly Roll pens to color the image and then fussy cut it.

I really love how this ATC came out. It was also a swap at Treasure Art Trends, Things with Wings ATCs. The fairy is embossed onto a hand painted background and colored with twinkling H2Os. The starburst above her is stamped with white Stazon and embellished with Stickles. I bordered the card with a gold paint pen.

This is one of the two fabric postcard swaps this month at Fun Friendly. The theme was Pink and Brown only. I chose an abstract, geometric design and sewed buttons on with perle cotton.

A is for.... Arizona Applique: as an AZ resident I went with the Saguaro cactus (designed by hand) and added a blooming Cactus flower to the top using Prima paper flower and a pale yellow brad.

Deco Pages

So here are the Deco pages that I worked on ready to send to the next signers:
This is Raquel's Pocket Deco with Tags. I used a molding paste technique I learned in Jacqueline Sullivan's Journal of Surfaces Art Unraveled class for the dragonfly on the tag. Of course I hand painted the tag first. The pocket is collaged dragonfly, buttons, ribbon, and text.

This is an excess Deco I received some time ago from Jaime, it is a Travel Journal Deco. Each entry should be from the journal of the traveler. I choose to "visit" Hawaii and used a photo that I took on our visit last year to the big island of Hawaii. The paper is the same as I used in a journal I started on the trip.

This is Barbara's vintage Fashion Deco. I used two greeting cards that I purchased at Ross eons ago. I sewed the cut-out fronts to the plaid backs and embellished with K&Co. chipboard, ribbon, and cute button brads. Pink and green, my favorite colors!

Drowning in Decos

I cannot believe it has been over two weeks since I blogged! Yikes! I must be more diligent. Even though I no longer work "full time" as a teacher I have been subbing for two schools in the district and have subbed almost all of the 10 days for the past two weeks. When I am not teaching 8th grade Language Arts to hormonal teenagers I have been trying to catch up on swaps that are due. Here are the Decos that I created and have sent to the first signers:
Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- the mushroom was free-handed from Basic Grey paper (love this line). Alice was a "project" that both my husband and I worked on. It is an illustration from the book that I scanned and then enlarged to what I thought was "just the right size" for my mushroom........ my printer was out of ink so I emailed the Print Shop enlargement upstairs to Dave's email, printed it out, ran back downstairs to find that it did not print enlarged! Repeat procedure two more times (insert curse words here!)... get frustrated.... hubby likes a computer challenge and finally gets Alice to the correct size. Now I white out the mushroom from the original illustration, scan again, send again, print again, cut out, run upstairs to print on watercolor paper, color (not with watercolors as the ink will bleed!) and then fussy cut, glue, finally finished!!!!!!! If only I could draw, I could have saved a bazillion steps.......... oh, well............

Underwater Fantasy Deco in a "meander" style -- I handpainted the background paper (my newest obsession). This time I had to shrink the mermaid stamp (this was done prior to Alice so I had ink in my printer--whew!) and used my Gelly Roll pens to color her on watercolor paper.

Tin Deco: I colored the tin with alcohol inks and made an accordion book to fit inside. The chipboard embellishment is handpainted, on the back of the tin I adhered the little flower petals that came out of the front piece.

Winged Beings Deco: Again handpainted background, with collaged elements. The wings are painted skeleton leaves and the photo is a freebie from a blog ( I think The last door down the hall? )... if not check it out, she has an awesome blog! I attached some butterfly, fairy, and dragonfly charms to the fiber threads on the spine (not shown).

These decos have been sent to the first signers, might be awhile before I see them again!