Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 38

Final Variation (Front)
Final Variation (Back)

This week's card is the final glitter variation of the Happy Birthday Daisy card. As you can see, I kept the solid center daisy and used them alone or with a background. The one's without backgrounds were glued directly to the card stock. The ones with backgrounds were mounted using small glue dots for dimension.

I then changed the Happy Birthday salutation so that it took up less of the card and so more flowers would show through (as compared to the first variation--see below). I am not totally happy with the glitter which shows you what happens when you use a white background with jewel tone glitter. Also, this is what happens when you use a crappy glitter. The greeting was mounted using large glue dots.

The card stock is the Duplex combination of chartreuse and ivory.

Original Card (front)
Original Card (back)
First variation (Front)
First variation (Back)

I don't know which is my favorite card but I am leaning towards the original card. I have a lot of leftover materials from making these cards so I will have to determine what to do next.

Finally, I hope that you will follow along my 31 Days of Halloween journey. Everything starts tomorrow. I hope to see you then.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Coming This Week

Papel Picado
This week, I begin a new adventure on the blog and hope that you will follow along. Since I have some extra time on my hands, I decided to dedicate the month of October to Halloween. I plan on doing a 31 Days of Halloween feature on the blog. This feature will start on Tuesday, October 1 and will continue until October 31--Halloween.

This feature will be comprised of 31 ideas for Halloween that will include decorations, costume ideas, book reviews, crafts and art work for this year. The projects will demonstrate all levels of difficulty (easy to difficult) and time commitment (very fast to long term).  On Monday, I will share with you the final variation of the Happy Birthday Daisy card. One of the projects that I am working on for Halloween is the above Papel Picado panel; Papel Picaco is the traditional craft of papercutting in Mexico and is often used to celebrate the Day of the Dead celebrations.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More Chinese Container Explaining

On Thursday, I discussed how I painted a flattened Chinese Takeout Food Container. I labeled each of the sides of the container in the image above for reference.  I also shared with you the cutout sides which correspond to the front and back sides labeled above.

A couple of people asked me if I could demonstrate what I meant by the other notations--notably, the weak side and the hidden lid.

The weak side refers to the hidden sides of the container that only peep out behind the folded sections of the food container. The hidden lids are the two pieces that fold under, and peep out from under the slotted lids. I have labeled the images below to correspond to the flattened image above.  The left view is the side of the box which shows the two folded flaps and the weak side of the container that is hidden below these flaps. The right image shows the top of the box in a closed position. This means the two hidden lids are folded first and then the slotted lids are folded over them and secured.

Friday, September 27, 2013

On my Bookshelf

Today's book has to be one of my favorite bookbinding books and to me is the gold standard of how craft books should be designed. I must first say that I might be a little biased because this is one of my favorite authors that deals with bookbinding and journaling--Gwen Diehn. I have every book of hers that deals with these topics. Today's book is Real Life Journals--Designing and Using Handmade Books.

What is very special about this book is the way it is laid out. It is the perfect combination of techniques, illustrations, explanations, and examples. The book is divided into six chapters: Design Inventory, The Basics, Binding Instructions (putting the pages together), Cover Instructions (how to add the covers to your bound pages), and Journals Past and Present.

The Instructions and details are well done and illustrated. She includes two mini-booklets titled Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure and Bookbinding Essentials. What makes the book most successful, though, are the chapters associated with actual journals that she has designed.

In Chapter Two, she presents journals that she has made for clients. The beauty of this section is that she actually revisits the clients after they have had time to work in their new journal to see what worked and what didn't. I think that this is a brilliant idea. I have often wondered if my clients liked their handmade books after receiving the book. Did you like the covers, were the bindings too tight, did it lay flat enough for your needs, did it splay open when you were finished adding material to it, etc. It was beautiful for her to analyze the books and talk with the clients after they used it.

Another very successful chapter is Chapter Six: Journals Past and Present. The chapter presents profiles of people from all walks of life who journal and they discuss the process of journaling and talk about actual pages from their journals. The chapter ends with a gallery of journal pages.

Although I am a little biased, this book is very, very, very, very (yes that is a fourth very) recommended for anyone interested in bookbinding, journaling, scrapbooking, paper arts, and creativity--that's right, recommended for EVERYONE.

Full Disclosure: Neither Amazon., the author, nor artists have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Glitter and Chinese Containers

Yesterday, I shared with you the above image about the flattened out Chinese Take Out Container. I immediately knew that I wanted to use these containers for some upcoming Halloween projects. I also wanted to try out a new product--Krylon K03807 Glitter Blast--Orange Burst (glitter spray paint).

I wanted to experiment with the flat surfaces of the container to see how they could be embellished for future projects. The first idea was to cut out peep holes on the two remaining flat sides of the container. All of the other side surfaces are either folded or adhered to each other. So the only true surfaces that can be altered are the slotted lids and the front and back flat side.

I decided to mark a cut out for each of these two surfaces on the interior of the box.

Parts of the Chinese Container
Flattened box with cutouts
I also wanted to see how the Krylon Glitter Spray worked. Unfortunately, the can that I tested stayed in the open position and would not stop spraying. Because of the overspray and my inability to stop the spray, I had puddles of product all over the spray area. Because the product puddled on the container, I had to use a blotting mechanism to remove the product from the Chinese container and remove extra paint.

Mess all over the place--
bad can of glitter paint
I reassembled the Chinese container and it was just as easy to reassemble as it was to flatten it. I was worried that the paint would affect the score/fold lines but I had no problem getting the box back together or adding the handle.

Top view of the reassembled box
I plan something special for these peep holes in a future project. The structure of the box was not compromised due to the cut outs. I plan on adding vellum and a stencil cutout and fill the container with a tea light.
Side view of the peep hole
I like the glitter paint but would have appreciated it if the can operated appropriately.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creative Inspiration

People ask me all of the time where I get inspiration to design the projects that I do. Sometimes that inspiration can come from anywhere. I was reading news on the computer when I ran across this video. It totally blew my mind.

If a Chinese food container can be unassembled and then reassembled, you can image the crafting possibilities? As you can see above, the container with the metal handles breaks down beautifully. Look at all of those flat surfaces just waiting to be decorated.

Oh the possibilities!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Iron Craft Challenge #19--Blood Plates

Bloody Hand Plate 
The project for this Iron Challenge was dedicated to Halloween. I knew that I wanted to do something with Window Clings on the underside of glass plates. This year there seems to be a plethora of new wall art for Halloween. The difficulty is that the that glued surface is on the reverse of the static cling.

To make these, I decided to use tinted Mod Podge. I used high gloss Mod Podge and tinted it with Crimson and Saddle Brown Dr. Ph. Martin Watercolor Concentrate. The image above is a "bloody hand print" that was glued directly to the underside of the glass plate. The glass plates were on sale for 99 cents. For the hand print above, I applied the tinted Mod Podge to the underside of the plate and then placed the static cling directly down on the underside of the plate, In other words, the non-sticky side of the static cling was placed on the glass. While the Mod Podge was still wet, I applied a layer of white tissue paper to the underside. Once this layer dried, I reapplied the tinted Mod Podge and another layer of white tissue paper (this give the mottled white color). For the last layer, I applied the tinted Mod Podge and then applied a piece of black tissue paper, which gives the plate the dark color and added depth.

Blood Splatter Plate
To make this plate, I decided to apply the decals with spray adhesive directly to the plate. Unlike above, the decal was applied directly to the plate rather than with the tinted Mod Podge. After this done, I applied the tinted Mod Podge directly over the decal. I then applied white tissue paper on top of the Mod Podge and decal. Once this was dry, I applied another layer of of the tinted Mod Podge and white tissue paper. I then applied two more layers finishing with a white layer of tissue paper (unlike above that ended with a piece of black tissue paper).

I will continue to experiment and refine the process but my next experiment will deal with the same process using acrylic plates.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 37

New Daisy Card Front
New Daisy Card Back
Last week, I shared a new Birthday Card that I had given my friend on her visit to New York City. That card is shown below. One of the problems that I had was that I had very little space to write on the back of the card due to the salutation.  

For this week, I changed the design of the daisy so it would have a solid center and therefore, I could use glue dots under the centers to provide dimension. The daisies for last week's card had to have solid border backgrounds cut out so that the glue dots could be used.

For this week's card, I also moved the salutation to the front of the card but mounted the same salutation on a border background so that it could be raised from the card and over the daisies. The new card has three layers--layer one is the red daisies mounted directly to the card stock; layer two is the lavender daisies that are mounted with small glue dots; and layer three is the salutation that is mounted with the largest/thickest glue dots so that it is raised higher than the lavender daisy cutouts.
Last Week's Daisy Card (Front)
Last Week's Daisy Card (Back)
I don't know which I like better. I might try one last variation where I use the new daisy but put it on a border background. I do know that next week's variation will involve glitter.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Coming This Week

Carlton Card #1
This coming week we will have another variation of the Daisy Happy Birthday card. My Iron Craft Challenge will be due on Tuesday--I have so many ideas from which to choose. I will continue my discussion of glitter and will offer a comparison between several different types of glitter on the market.

Carlton Card #2
I also wanted to share with you some inspiration for the Halloween season and some likely projects. The images included here were greeting cards from Carlton Cards that were found at Target. After seeing these cards, I have decided to make some similar designs on my own.

Carlton Card #3

Friday, September 20, 2013

On My Bookshelf

There is so much to like about this week's book--Cut Up This Book by Emily Hogarth. The book is one of my favorite books dealing with papercutting projects. It is one of those books that just makes you happy by glancing through the pages.

The book is divided into four sections--An Introduction and History of Paper Cutting, Techniques, Projects and Templates. The templates are full sized so you are instructed to cut them out for your own projects (not that anyone could ever cut up this book). The techniques are thoroughly discussed and the projects are presented in a clear and well documented fashion. One of my favorite aspects of the projects is that all of them are rated from 1 (easiest) to 3 (most difficult). Most projects are rated 1 or 2 (there is only one project is rated with a 3).

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in papercutting, paper crafts, or scrapbooking.

Sample Project--
Cut Paper Frame

Full Disclosure: Neither Amazon., the author, nor artists have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Glitter, Glitter Everywhere

As mentioned this past weekend, today's blog entry is dedicated to all things GLITTER. As many of you know, I have a love-hate relationship with glitter. I love the look of glitter but dealing with all of the mess associated with it is so problematic. Regardless of how hard I try, I can't seem to prevent the glitter from getting everywhere. So, what I wanted to do for you today was share with you some of the lessons that I learned from working with glitter.

Lesson #1--When you can use glitter paper/glitter card stock, you should. There is a whole lot of mess that you save yourself when using glitter paper/glitter card stock. Keep in mind, though, not all of the products are the same. There are separate thickness of each so try and get a hand feel of the material before buying. Also the backing materials can differ as well. Some of the materials use a paper backing (both a mat or glossy backing) and some use a film backing. Be sure to get the material that corresponds to your project. I prefer the glitter paper with a mat backing because it is much easier to cut.

Lesson #2--Not all loose glitter is the same. I prefer to use glass ultrafine glitter. I will do a separate post on glitters next week and compare them side by side.

Lesson #3--Use the right adhesive. There are special adhesives for gluing. Some people use a glue/lamination machine for their glitter adhesive. Some people use glue sheets (which is great for large pieces). I use 3M Spray Adhesive (strong bond--not repositionable). While it is best used in well ventilated spaces, I have never had any problems with the glue or fumes. Spray liberally and well and it accepts glitter beautifully.

Lesson #4--Attempt to reign in your glitter. The most annoying aspect about glitter is that it gets everywhere--regardless of how careful you. There are numerous products out there that try and help you corral the glitter and most of them are fairly useless. The difficulty of glitter is putting it back in its container once you have used it. It is fairly easy, if you are careful, to contain glitter in a small space while using it (and do NOT try to use glitter with a fan in the room). The problem arises when you try and move the excess glitter back into its container when you are done gluing. Usually, the glitter containers are so small that it is almost impossible to return the glitter to its container and this is when the glitter gets everywhere.

For example, a current product on the market is the Martha Stewart Craft Glitter Tray and Rack. While the product is useful as a glitter tray (especially when working on a large project) and is also very useful as a drying rack for three dimensional projects; it is much less useful in containing glitter as you try and return the glitter to its container. If you look in the bottom left hand corner of the tray, you see the exit hole of the tray. You are supposed to "sweep" all of the glitter into that corner with the brush and then pour the unused glitter back into its container (which in my case was about 1" in diameter). For me, it was a massive fail.

Martha Stewart Craft
Glitter Tray and Rack
To glitter my pieces for the last Iron Craft Challenge, I simply used wax paper that was then turned into a cone and poured the glitter back into its original container. While this felt more comfortable and an easier solution, there was still the chance that the glitter would escape the cone and get all over my work surface.

Lesson #5--There are two standard methods of applying glitter: submerging and spooning. In the first method, you simply pour the glitter from it's original container over the glued surface. This method increases the risk of wasting your glitter (especially if you lose glitter when trying to return it to its container). This method also increases the possibility of glitter getting everywhere. The second method is where you take a non plastic spoon and spoon loose glitter over the glued surface (while holding the glued material with a pair of tweezers). You then tap the glued material with the back of the spoon in order to loosen the excess glitter from the surface.

Lesson #6--Glitter is sharp. Protect any open wounds (even if they are paper cuts) from the glitter by wearing gloves. When you are done, you simply turn the gloves inside out as you remove them and it is another way to contain the glitter from getting all over the place.

Lesson #7--Baby Wipes are your best friend. If you have to clean up glitter from surfaces, wipe the area with Baby Wipes and most of your escaped glitter will be gone. There is something in the lanolin/soap in the Baby Wipes that collects the glitter.

Lesson #8--Contain your work space. Do not use your major/usual work space when working with glitter unless you want glitter to get into all of your projects--regardless of how careful you are. I work on a folding wooden TV tray when I glitter. This way, if I spill I will have a finite area to clean and hopefully it won't contaminate my other work surfaces. Since I work with paper so much, glitter can definitely be my Nemesis.

Lesson #9--Spray your finished, glitter project with Fixative. This will set the glitter so that it doesn't become loose through handling. Regardless of how hard you have worked, glitter never seems to be permanent on any surface once it has been handled. Give your project an extra chance by taking this step.

Lesson #10--When dealing with bright colors, you can hide the lack of glitter coverage by using a card stock that is similar in color to the glitter you are using. I prefer to just use black card stock to cover any errors that I might make in coverage. If you are using pale or pastel colors, either use a similar colored card stock or white/ivory.

Lesson #11--Most glitters come in weight containers (usually in ounces). While it might not seem like a lot, you will get a lot of glitter because it is very light. Don't over buy your glitter because a small container will go a long way.

Lesson #12--To solve my problem of returning glitter to those small containers, I have decided to purchase fast food storage containers in bulk to store my glitters. I purchase some interim containers from The Container Store to work out the process. The containers are roughly 4.5" wide by 5.5" in height and 1.75" in depth. I pour the glitters into the containers and will use the spoon method mentioned above to apply the glitter to my object. The container provides enough space to work with without fearing that the glitter will escape the area. When I am done, I will snap the lid shut and will store the entire container in a medium size storage container where all of the glitters will be kept in their own individual working containers.

If I have to work on larger pieces, I will work on wax paper and will use the glitter storage container as the pouring mechanism to immerse the larger piece to be glued. It will be a lot easier to use the paper to return the glitter to its new storage container.

I hope that you have learned some useful information about glittering and that something here will help you on your glittering journeys.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Envelope Challenge Summary

I think that I will be a little sad now that the envelope challenge is over. This doesn't mean that I won't continue to doodle on envelopes but it does mean that I won't be doodling on pre-created envelopes. After looking at the envelopes side by side, I see a few trends. Number 1, it seems that I prefer to work with the micron/ultra-fin tip markers rather than the fine tip Sharpie marker. Number 2, it seems that I prefer straight lines to curves. Number 3, it seems that I like circles and dots.

Envelope #1 Front
Envelope #2 Front
Envelope #3 Front
Envelope #4 Front
Envelope #5 Front
I prefer the envelopes with monochromatic themes as opposed to the ultra-colorful envelopes. When there was a lot of color, I prefer the envelopes where the color was covered by dark marker on top (envelope #4 Front). My favorite combined envelope was Envelope #3. My favorite envelope side was tied between Envelope #2 front, Envelope #3 Front and Envelope #3 Obverse.

Envelope #1 Obverse
Envelope #2 Obverse
Envelope #3 Obverse
Envelope #4 Obverse
Envelope #5 Obverse
After all is said and done, I am still amazed about how little variation there is between the envelopes and their sides. Also, I still wonder why I have such a difficult time in unstructured creative settings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More Envelopes--A Challenge #5

Front of Envelope #5
This is the last of the envelope doodle series. For this envelope, I decided to do the obverse of the envelope first which was a little out of the ordinary. Being the compulsive person that I seem to be when I am being creative, I don't know why I would always start doodling on the front of the envelope first. Maybe it had to do with dealing with the envelope flap but for this envelope, I decided to work on the back side first. 

Obverse of Envelope #5
Tomorrow I will share each of the envelopes next to each other so they can easily be compared and I will share with you some lessons learned from the experiment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 36

Back of the Card
This week's card is a Birthday card for one of my favorite people in the world. She is definitely a girlie type of girl so I wanted to so something special for her. The back of the card has the salutation and has enough room to write a short message.

The flat is made from Duplex card stock that has a lemon yellow on one side and a chartreuse on the opposite side. For the front of the card, I wanted to do a selection of daisies. The bottom layer of daisies are the blue daisies glued directly to the card.

The middle layer are the yellow/green daisies and the red/pink daisy. They are mounted using small sized foam dots.  The top layer of daisies are the yellow/purple daisies that are mounted with larger/thicker sized foam dots. 

I wanted to add some dimension to the card especially since I knew that I was going to hand deliver the card to her in NYC. All of the daisies on the middle and top layers were mounted to contrasting background card stock and the backgrounds were cut to add the border. 

Front of the card
The vellum envelope was fully lined with pop art paper featuring a different style of daisy. The card was designed based on the liner paper
Fully lined envelope

In the future, I think that I will design the daisy with a solid center so I don't have to mount them on the contrasting background. Overall, I am very happy with the way that the card turned out.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coming This Week

When time allows, I will try and visit with you over the weekend to preview the coming week so you can plan your daily lives around my future postings. This is the first in the series and we will see how well it works.

For the weekly card, I will share with you the latest Birthday Card that I gave a great friend this past weekend. This was the prototype and I have already designed two separate variations that I will share with you in future weeks.

Another post will deal with the lessons I learned using glitter.

The final posting in Envelope Challenge (Envelope #5) will complete the series and I will share all of the envelopes side by side so you can compare them and see my doodle trends.

I will also share with you some of my inspiration for the upcoming Halloween season. It's not too early to start thinking about Halloween, is it?

Finally, I will have another book review for you.

I hope to see you this week--Russ

Friday, September 13, 2013

On My Bookshelf

The week's book is one of my favorite books dealing with color theory and watercolor. I purchased the book thinking I was going to get lessons in making art journal pages. Most of the book deals with fabric painting but the lessons learned are applicable to making scrapbook/art journal pages. Dreaming from the Journal Page by Melanie Testa is divided into six sections: The What (Basic Materials), Color, Techniques, Drawing, Challenges, and Gallery.

The most helpful sections for me were Chapter Two (Color Theory) and Chapter Six (Gallery). There are a variety of different techniques discussed include color gradation, resists, image transfer, collage, stencils, and rubber stamps. Most of the techniques deal with watercolors (primarily) and fabric painting/dying.

Gallery Page

This book is very helpful for those people interested in creativity, watercolor(s), fabric painting, and art journaling. The illustrations are clear and decisive and are very easy to follow.

Full Disclosure: Neither Amazon., the author, nor artists have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Envelopes--A Challenge #4

 Today's entry is another in the Envelope Challenge. This is the next to the last envelope in the series.