Thursday, February 28, 2013

NY Journal #5

There is no doubt in my mind that my favorite color to create with is BLUE. Blue makes me happy (although, my favorite colors to wear are orange or wine/burgundy). I love all shades of blue--mainly because blue reminds me of blue skies, and outdoors, and lazy days lying in the grass in a pair of shorts and staring up into the sky.

So, when my blue pages came about, I knew that I wanted to use one of my nature pictures. At times, nature is hard to find in NYC, unless you are in Central Park or in the outer boroughs. Nature smack dab in the middle of Manhattan is fairly uncommon--so when you see it, you tend to notice it.

This picture was taken on a pretty Spring day when the trees were developing their leaves. The picture was taken in Chelsea, in lower Manhattan. This was the only tree in front of an apartment complex. The base of the tree was sectioned off by metal fencing to prevent dogs from marking the tree. The roots of the tree had buckled the sidewalk so that the sidewalk was uneven when walking. I crouched under the canopy of the limbs to take this picture.

Two weeks later, the tree was cut down by the owner of the apartment complex. Apparently, he was being sued by someone who had fallen due to the uneven sidewalk caused by the tree's roots. In my mind, this might have been the very last picture taken of this bit of green in the grey urban jungle known as Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NY Journal #4

Today's pages were a pair of pages that I had termed "muddied." While I am still not a total fan of the way the backgrounds turned out, I am glad that I stuck with them and let them be.  For me, it is the fussing that gets in the way and can be totally debilitating. I can overwork a background until it becomes mush so I am glad that I stopped when I did.

If the paper had been heavier, I would have put an acrylic wash over the pages but since this is lightweight paper, I knew that I couldn't introduce too much water onto the page so I left the pages as they were. I picked the image because of the muddied/dirty look of the pages. In my mind--trash for trash.

I was drawn to this picture for a number of reasons. I was walking around NYC looking for geometric patterns. The week that this picture was taken, I was dedicating the whole week to taking pictures of symmetry and geometry found in NYC. Skyscraper windows, building symmetry, outlines, etc. I stumbled across this trash grate quite by chance. I noticed the bars of the grate but then noticed the rebar that enhanced/disrupted the symmetry.

Then, I pondered--were the bars to deny me access or to prevent the trash from escaping it's own jail.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Iron Craft Challenge--Week 4

This week's Iron Craft Challenge was to make "something inspired by a movie or television show" so I decided to make something associated with the Oscar awards--well not really.

You see,  life got in the way this time around so this was a last minute project that I had thought about but had put in my idea book for later. I was going to do a cool wax paper transfer of a James Dean stencil that I have been working on but just ran out of time. I was going to cut out the stencil and then airbrush it onto a tank top for this Spring/Summer when the weather got a little warmer. Maybe time running out was punishment for thinking about warmer weather.

My lack of available time wasn't totally my fault. I had allocated plenty of time to complete the project but my friends totally messed up my schedule. I was supposed to cook for an Oscar Night dinner party that some of my friends were hosting. They had requested a particular menu based on asparagus and eggs. I had three courses planned for eight people. When I arrived at 5 pm to start cooking (I had already prepped the meal at home) my friends informed me that there were now going to be 22 people coming and that they wanted to do the meal buffet style. I was in scramble mode (no pun intended) as I sent my friends out shopping for the additional items. I was so tired by the time that I finished Sunday that I couldn't even think about completing the original project.

So, using the Oscar Awards as a basis, I did a simple all occasion card that reads "and the winner is. . ." *. On the inside, it reads ". . .YOU." It is a simple card without embellishment but I think it works. I can't decide if I like the larger or small font. The card fits in a traditional sized business envelope.

* Yes, I know--the politically correct phrase is "And the Oscar goes to . . ."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 9

This week's card is the Guggenheim card from the NY series mentioned last Monday. This is another Gocco printed card with the same Duplex style card stock. This has a chartreuse exterior and a magenta interior. The interior is left blank for personal customization.

For those who don't know, Gocco printing is a home based screen printing method made famous in Japan. Every New Years, Japanese people send out well wishes for the new year by sending handmade (or store bought) postcards commemorating the new year. The screens are exposed using old bulb technology (similar to the bulbs used in old Poloraid cameras). The screens are inked with the color(s) of your choice and you press the ink through the screen (rather than draw it through like traditional screen printing) onto the surface of your choice.

The difficulty of Gocco printing is that materials are no longer being made so people are scrambling to find alternative materials. The bulbs are no longer made so people are using thermofax technology to print screens. If you are a craft hoarder like me, you can judiciously use the materials you have on hand in hopes that things will work out.

Friday, February 22, 2013

On My Bookshelf

Papercrafting In No Time is an exceptional book that provides step-by-step instructions for 50 paper projects. The book is divided into five sections: Living Spaces, For Kids, Gifts, Cards and Party Time.

The book outlines basic techniques that do not require extravagant materials or tools. The projects are accessible to all skill levels and include: paper piecing, cut outs, rolled and folded paper techniques, basic sewing, and decoupage.

Projects include: cards, paper beads, decoupaged eggs, mobiles, gift bags and wrapping, banners and bunting, and many others.

This is a great book for specific instructions dealing with paper crafts or as inspiration for those needing a little push into delving into paper crafting. This is an invaluable addition to any craft or reference library.

Full disclosure: Neither nor the author have provided any compensation for this review. The book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NY Journal #3

Today's pages were some of the pages that I termed as "muddied." At least the left page seemed muddied. I was satisfied with the right side of the pages but the left side had me worried. I decided to add a photo of the Naked Indian which had a nice mix of dark and bright colors. Once the image was added, I was happy with the way that the pages turned out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NY Journal #2

 These are the first complete pages for my NY Journal. Since the pages were green and yellow, I decided to add an image of an outcast tree in the heart of Manhattan. I was so taken aback by seeing a tree in the middle of the concrete jungle that I literally took about 15 photos of the tree from different angles.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NY Journal #1


This is the opening page/title page of my NY Journal. The page will have an acetate overlay that displays the title of the journal (once I decide what that would be. The photo is of the Manhattan skyline at night. The photo transfer process is a clear contact paper technique that can be found in any number of photo transfer books.

The beauty of this technique is that it allows the background color to add/enhance the actual photo. Also, because the paper is removed from the back of the photo, there can also be a distressed look added to the photo depending on how much paper is removed or that stays.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Week 8

This week's card is a Gocco-printed card from my NY Series. These started out as postcards and have developed into folded cards. I still haven't decided what to do with the background as of yet, but this simple image with no background has been well received. The card stock for this card is the duplex series. This version is orange and magenta. The cards are left blank of the inside so they can be used for any occasion.

Friday, February 15, 2013

On My Bookshelf

On several occasions, I hope to share with you some of the books that I have on my bookshelf. The books will be chosen at random. This week's book is Book Art Studio Handbook by Stacie Dolin and Amy Lapidow.

The book delves into various bookbinding techniques and structures. The projects include: Albums, Books, Enclosures, and Advanced Projects. While there are several interesting projects most of them seem to be more amenable to people who have some bookbinding experience. This book has many step-by-step instructions and lots of good photographs to illustrate the steps for each project.

Unfortunately, the projects use advanced techniques that aren't fully realized for the inexperienced bookbinder.

Full disclosure: Neither nor the authors have provided any compensation for this review. The book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Post #2

So after making the big mistake of not measuring my brownies for the cellophane bag that I was going to use, I had to find something to recover from the great mishap. So, I had an "I", heart, and a "U" already cut out of brownies so I wanted to design something to do.

The  bag topper came to me as I was falling asleep two nights ago. I quickly jotted the idea in my notebook and quickly fell asleep. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get to it until late last night although I was thinking about it during work all day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No More White Pages--Part4

This is the final posting regarding the background pages. Next week, I will start sharing the finished pages as I complete them.

The final muddied pages.
Desert Rose
Blues and Purples
More greens and yellows
Oranges and yellows
The last page of the book will be the colophon. A colophon is a printing term that refers to the last page of a book that indicates attributions, printing details and other details regarding the publishing of a book. Sometimes there are dedications and/or general notes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Iron Craft Challenge--Week 3

The topic for the third challenge of Iron Craft was hearts and flowers in reference to Valentine's Day. I am still making valentine's cards as I write this so I need something that was easy and quick. One of the projects that I am working on is a series of children's goodie bags that the kids of several of my friends want to hand out in their classes. I mentioned the project in an earlier post. For the Iron Craft Challenge, I wanted to create an adult style goodie bag. I decided to use store bought brownies and cookie cutters to put appropriately shaped brownies in the cellphone bags.

The picture above shows the cut up brownies but when I tried to put them in the bags they were to bit to fit--therefore, major fail. I decided to use some bulk candies (the sweetheart candies) in the same cellophane bags and then created the bag topper.

The finished project.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week 7

This week's card is for a Japanese friend of mine that is a little homesick at the moment. She misses her family so I decided to send her a card to brighten up her spirits.

This is a simple layered card that uses a sand colored card stock with a red variegated mulberry paper that has been cut with a deckled edges scissors. A red/natural reed paper is placed on top of the mulberry paper upon which a red Japanese maple leaf has been placed.

I have always enjoyed using natural materials for cards and a little bit can go along way. This is a perfect example of how little pieces of expensive papers/items can make a big impact. Most of these materials where from my scrap piles.

Friday, February 8, 2013

No More White Pages--Part3

This week, I wanted to share my NY Journal for the Sketchbook Project that I mentioned in an earlier post. I shared with you in a separate post that I was using colored pencils to add a background to the pages so I would find it easier to begin the journal.

What I didn't realize at the time was that I needed to make complimentary sets of pages that would work together rather than a single spread. Once I was experimenting with the pages, I realized that when coloring a single page that the left side of the page would not appear next to the right side of the page while in the book. I realized the error early in the process which was a blessing in disguise.

Once I did one set of backgrounds, I would then do a coordinating page that would appear next to it.

This will be the title page. The chipboard cover comes with the sketchbook
Greens and yellows
Dusty Rose coloring (My mom's favorite china pattern)
Muddied colors

Thursday, February 7, 2013

No More White Pages--Part2

When adding the lines to my pages, I couldn't decide on how to actually print them. When I work on the prototype pages, I realized that the black lines were just too much of a contrast. Therefore, I decided, at quite a bit of anguish, to use colored lines--which opened up a whole different can or worms.

Deciding on the colors almost caused me a panic attack. Eventually, the ADD took over and I did half of them in dark complimentary colors and half of them in complimentary pastel colors.

The other half of the muddied pages
More blue pages
More purples pages
More green pages

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No More White Pages--Part1

Here are another set of pages for the NY Journal. I decided to add lines to the right side of the pages so I could add notations, comments, and ramblings to my journal. Being the ADD person that I am, it took me two days to design the lined pages. I did it in Powerpoint and then printed them onto the pages.

While I may still cover up the lines in the final version, I have something to start with. Also, since I don't trust my eye when it comes to lettering/writing, I wanted to have some guidelines to use.

Yellows and Greens
Blues and Purples
Purples and Blues
Purples and pinks

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Post #1

Today's entry is a treat bag for the classmates of a friend's daughter. My friend was working on a budget but she wanted something different to share with the child's classmates. I designed these individual treat bags for a fraction of the costs to buy them prepaid. The empty treat bags were purchased from Sur la Table. The children's Valentine's cards were recycled from last year (they were left over from another project).

Empty treat bags
Children's Valentine's Cards (can be recycled)
Card Stock/Scrapbook paper
Hole punch
Brads (that coordinate with the size of the hole punch)
Glue stick or double-sided tape

Measure the the width of the treat bag and cut a piece of card stock to fit this measurement.

Measure the height of the Valentine's card and cut the card stock to the height adding 1/4 inch.

Center the Valentine's card on the card stock and glue/tape.

Using the center mark on most children's Valentine's card. score the the card stock along the center and fold.

Using an 1/8th inch border around the Valentine's card, cut around the top half of the card starting from the crease. Only cut around the two sides and top edge so that the top of the Valentine's card will release from the top of the bag (see the picture above).

Fill the treat bag with treats.

Fold down the top of the treat bag and place within the folded card stock.

Punch a hole on both side flaps that goes through both layers of the treat bags and both layers of the card stock.

Close the bag with the brads.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week 6

This week's card is one of my handmade Thank You cards. These cards are screen printed using the Japanese Gocco machine. These cards are made in a variety of colors and with a variety of ink colors. I tend to favor the white ink on the bright colored backgrounds.

These are flats so you simply write your message on the back. The reverse of the card is in an coordinating color. The reverse of this card in lime green.

A very simply idea but very effective and quick to make.

Friday, February 1, 2013

NY Journal Basics Part 3

Before blending
On this page, I started out with the idea of the color generating from some place other than the center of the page. The goal was a fan type sense of color starting from the edges rather than the middle.

Some of the orientation was lost when I blended the colors but I am still happy with the final result.

After blending