Birds & Words

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wood..... a Word...... and Something Wild and Small

Golly, this has been a fun challenge, hasn't it?  I have SO enjoyed seeing all the different ideas you all have come up with, your own interpretation of the theme.  Especially "wild".  There's a BUNCH of ways to interpret that one!

I've had fun with my own project, too.  I did a little mini book made with playing cards.  Sometimes I like to just pour out my little mini bits of collected ephemera and work them into a piece.  I keep a small jar on my desk and collect little things in it that I just don't want to throw away.  Every now and then I just pour it all out and see what I can use.
This is a photo heavy blog, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Click on any of the photographs of my mini book to see an enlarged image.
For those of you who were around in the late 70's, you may be a aware of an important philosopher poet who is a favorite of mine.  I have been thinking of him lately while I've been designing some projects.  If you haven't thought about him in a while, go back and remember this:

Let's Get Small
My project is very small this month.  It's fun to work on this scale.  Every page spread of my mini book incorporates wood, a word and something wild.  It was fun to interpret the words repeatedly.

Most of the page spreads use the nature for the "wild" element.  Here I've stamped a tag using my favorite wood grain stamp from Tim Holtz. 

For this spread, I cut out the butterfly from an extra playing card and layered it in the same position over the painted butterfly.

Some very small layered bits of fabric and some embroidery.  

A picture of my little sister on a clip is my "wood" element.  Our maiden name is Wood.  Isn't she sweet?

The cameo is a wooden embellishment from Prima.  I painted her black and mounted her on a scalloped oval die cut from a Paper Loft page.

I'm obsessed with this saying right now.  I saw it on Pinterest and I think of it every day.  2016 is the year of letting go of some old habits for me and this is just the encouragement I need.  The little wooden bird cage is something I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  I don't know who makes it.

Such a tiny little feather!  We found a bunch together outside.  Some little bird must have met with tragedy, but we collected and saved his pretty feathers.  This spread is inspired by Emily Dickinson.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers - 
That perches in the soul - 
And sings the tune without the words - 
And never stops - at all - "

I LOVE this quote.  I saw it in Pam Carriker's book and copied it into my commonplace book.  I designed a stamp for it for B Line Designs.  The bird is from one of Tim Holtz Vellum Ephemera packs.  The twigs are from my yard.  ;-)

My last page spread got a heavy dose of my little "bits and pieces" jar.

That little label fell off a jar of perfume I bought when Linda Ledbetter and I were shopping one night after a day at CHA.  I kept it and put it in my jar to use sometime.  It always makes me think of her.

The last lyrics from a Beatles album.  I think I reversed the words, but I don't care.  I like them this way.

I absolutely love charms on the spines of books.

I layered over the cover with some vintage hand crotched lace.   I left the ends long so they hang over the edges.

There wasn't much technique to my project, but I will share this.  I used washi tape as the hinge between each card.  We love washi tape, don't we?  Yes, but sometimes its not very sticky.  I used a strip of adhesive from my ATG gun to help it be stronger.  I love that thing!!

I sanded and dry brushed some DecoArt Titanium White paint on the cards front and back.  Once dry, I assembled the cards into a book and made a Sticky Canvas spine for it.


Many, many thanks to all of you who participated in this challenge.  Much, much encouragement to those who are watching but who haven't yet entered.  Maybe you still trying to figure out your project.  Maybe you are looking everywhere, searching for your mojo.  

Maybe your life is a bit crazy and creative time is hard to find.  (Can I get an amen?)  If this is the case, please know:  its okay.  Leave us a comment and let us know you are watching.  Believe me, we understand.  Sometimes life surprises us.  But we're gonna surprise it right back.  ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Cigar Memory Box

Happy Spring, all!!  I'm here in Texas visiting my family and I am LOVING the temperatures and, of course, the bluebonnet wildflower show.  Good for the heart!

April's Creative Adventure is brought to us by Annette Green who has challenged us to create something using a cigar box.  You can see Candy Colwell's take on this theme here.  Fresh inspiration will be coming Tuesdays and Fridays through April 26!

As always, I check Creative Carte Blanche first thing every morning to see what art you all have added.  Just click the "Add Your Link" box at the bottom of Annette's introduction post and follow the prompts.  The challenge is simple:

Okay, on to this month's adventure. Let's Think Outside the Box! Namely, a cigar box. They come in all sizes and are made of tin or wood in most cases, and you can find them everywhere. I find them at my local Goodwill, thrift stores, and of course cigar shops where they'll practically give them away just to get rid of the empties.

As a crafter/artist, I am drawn most often to 3D projects. Getting off the page, so to speak, and this is why I chose this adventure. All you have to do is take that cigar box and turn it into (or incorporate it into) art. So think outside the box, inside the box, all over the box. Whatever your heart desires!

If you don't have and can't find a cigar box, please feel free to improvise!   Use another box OR make your own box, put a cigar in it and call it a cigar box!  If you don't have a cigar, roll up some card stock, burn the end of it and its a cigar.  (Ha!  Just kidding about the cigar stuff.)

REMEMBER - You have carte blanche!!


I guess I've learned something on this Creative Adventure.  When you don't have a clue how to begin, rejoice!  That means you are about to find a new level of inspiration and creativity.  Turns out getting outside your comfort zone is a pretty cool place.

I don't know why this was so hard for me to begin, but it was.  I'll complete the backstory below.  But for now, here's what I did.

I picked up this cigar box from my friend, Carissa.  She and her husband own and run a year round Christmas store in downtown Estes Park, Colorado.  I was surprised when I saw it.  It was much nicer than I expected.  I thought cigar boxes were made of chipboard and hinged with paper and you kept crayons in them.  I guess I need to get out more!  This was a wooden box with pegged hinges.

I gave the box a light sanding and then dry brushed some black paint with the wood grain.  I rubbed in the paint and then waxed it with Annie Sloan dark wax paste, which gave it a rich glow.  It was really amazing how just these simple steps transformed the look.

I lined the inside with Tim Holtz Crowded Attic Paper Stash papers.  My husband cut me some short walnut pegs for the corners on which to suspend a shelf.

This was to be a Memory Box for Carissa's little boy, Tavin.  Tavin was just a baby when his grandfather suddenly passed away.  He was a wonderful, fun loving family man and the whole community was saddened at the loss.  Hopefully, this will help Tavin know his granddad a little bit with pictures and mementoes that will prompt stories of the things he loved from the people who loved him.

I put a picture on top that is the only picture taken of Tavin with his grandfather.  The hinges at the top are non functioning, decorative only.  The word band says "know in your heart that you are loved" and the little heart charm says "beyond measure".  Double click on any of these pictures for a closer look.

I covered a piece of chipboard cut to fit just inside the box with Sticky Back Canvas with an image transferred from another page from Crowded Attic.  If you haven't done image transfers with SBC, here's a video tutorial showing you how.

I put Tim Holtz' Hinge Fasteners in the corners for a lifting mechanism.  I collaged a few bits of memorabilia to the shelf and some loose items for story prompts about Carissa's dad. He loved to play squash and loved to drink Jack Daniels and smoke cigars.  One of Carissa's fond memories is of her dad making her pancakes on Saturday mornings while they listened to the Beatles.

You can lift out the shelf to reveal a section for loose photographs, letter and cards.  I mounted on card stock and fussy cut pics of a New York Jets logo, BMW motorcycle, and Joe Montana, all favorites of Carissa's dad.

This picture always moves me.  Much thanks goes to Carissa's husband, Josh, who gave me guidance on who Kurt was and what he loved.  What he loved most was his daughters.

Carissa gave the cigar box to me and I gave it back to her and to Tavin.  She is the one who really has all the memories and items that ought to fill this box.  My hope is it will become a place to tuck things that will one day go to Tavin and maybe he'll know his granddad a little bit more.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Untroubled "Triple Trouble" - Corrugated, Metal, and Lace

So how are you liking Creative Carte Blanche?  I am just loving this approach to the "online challenge" model which we like to call "creative adventures".  Judging from the fantastic art you've all posted, you are totally getting it and are feeling your freedom.

The Queen of Vintage Arts, HRH Candy Colwell has suggested an awesome adventure for us this time.  Combine the delicacy of lace, the rigidity of metal, and the texture of corrugated materials and ask them all to dance together on one piece of art.  Let's go for it!
This is the second shot at this one for me.  I first made a card that I will give to my aunt for her birthday, but wanted to keep the design.  So I added to my studio wall by recreating the card as a 4 x 6 burlap panel.  
For my lace element, I went to a huge bolt of wide lace that I bought at a garage sale.  Can you believe it??  I love it when I find stuff like this.
I used some gesso on the lace to stiffen it up a bit and to give it a shabby chic feel.  When I flipped the lace over after brushing on the gesso, I found I liked the flip side better, so I used that side.
 DecoArt Traditions paint in Medium White has become a real go-to medium for me.  Its not really white, more of a light tan color.  I dry brushed a bit of paint in a cross hatch on a panel of Wallflower paper to grunge it up a bit and tone it down.
 Here's my yummy paint.  It adhered to the metal beautifully and dries with a nice matte, chalky finish.
I used my Fiskars paper crimper for my corrugated element.  I scratched the edges of the Wallflower panel and dabbed a bit of Ground Espresso Distress Paint on the edges for definition.  
I used adhesive metal sheets from American Crafts on card stock and die cut Tim Holtz's Layered Butterfly.  My metal wasn't big enough for this big butterfly so I patched it in the middle.  I was going to cover that part anyway.
I mixed a little DecoArt Traditions paint with Mermaid Lagoon and Fossilized Amber Distress Inks on my craft sheet to color my butterfly.
  I tapped the paint on the butterfly with my finger and used a paint brush to pounce the paint into recessed areas and to blend the colors where they met.  I used my heat tool for just a minute and then rubbed paint away from the raised areas.
I poured liquid starch on the gessoed lace panel, let it dry and then die cut another butterfly  for a lace layer behind the metal butterfly.  Its a subtle element, but one that really adds to the piece when you see it in real life.
Tinted, stenciled embossing paste letters give another layer of texture.  I used a heavy gauge wire to back frame the butterfly.  Some of my heavier elements needed a bit more reinforcement than just adhesive, so I stapled it down.
I added a couple of strips of Cavalini wash tape for balance.  This panel is really heavy with the wire, so I drilled some holes with my Dremel and placed a couple of screws to secure it in addition to double stick adhesive.  These will be hidden by Butterfly Girl.
 I didn't plan to keep the "untroubled" theme from last month when I started out, but then I saw this sentiment on a Christy Tomlinson scrapbook paper and it just completed the story!  
The little girl image came from a free download on Tammy Tutterow's blog.  Do visit Tammy there, she does some pretty cool stuff.  Its a regular stop for me!
Our little Butterfly Girl takes her place on my vintage window.  Three done, two more to go!

The entries we already have are so cool in their variation.  Seeing the different ways everyone interprets the same set of parameters is awe inspiring!  So what will you create on your adventure?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mixed Media Embroidery

Creative Carte Blanch

Mixed Media Embroidery
Welcome to what we think is a new approach to online challenges and what we hope will be a regular stop for you to make 2016 your most creative year yet.  

After a lot of discussion and brainstorming, we wanted to make a place that gives you a creative nudge and then sets you free, encouraging you to find and express your own artistic voice.  From the entries thus far, you all are TOTALLY getting it and blowing me away with your art!  This one Creative Adventure could be published as a technique book.  

So far we've had posts from the amazing Candy Colwell and the equally amazing Annette Green.  Our view is not that we "lead" these Adventures but that we are all fellow travelers on this journey!  Look for more on Tuesdays and Fridays from these lovely ladies:

Let's get started!!

I have a passion for the concept of freedom.  It inspires me and causes me to be grateful.  But it's also a little scary!  Sometimes limits and guidelines become a safety zone.  Staring at a completely white canvas with no rules can leave me feeling overwhelmed.

I felt a little like that as I began.  So I started looking back over my art journals, notes, planner and sketches and started thinking about what moved my heart lately.  Then it came to me.  My One Word for this year is:
I knew this would guide my project.  I love dimension and texture and have been looking at lots of embroidered images and words lately and decided to try to tackle that by incorporating embroidery into my art.

Here is my finished Burlap Panel.  I have a collection of these on the wall my classroom and was glad for a chance to add another.  I've completed two, another is designed and ready to glue down and two more to go.

With a palette knife I applied gesso to the burlap panel in a crosshatch fashion.  Once dry, I applied DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Cobalt Turquoise.  I used a dry brush as well as my fingers to rub the paint onto the gesso.  I glued down strips of Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap with matte medium.  

After all this was dry, I used Andy Skinner's recipe for "dirty wash" which is my new favorite thing!  DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic mixture of 70% Paynes Grey and 30% Quinacridone Gold (I just counted drops), thinned down with a blushful of matte medium.  This gives you kind of a gel paint that has a transparent and vintage finish.  You can brush it over your textured backgrounds in art journals, cards, and over dimensional embellishments, and more.  It's a beautiful thing. (The picture above is before dirty wash is applied.)

I stamped flower images from Wendy Vecchi Botanical Art set in Archival Hydrangea and Leaf Green onto Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements fabric, then embroidered the detail in the flowers.  I needed to layer these to make the flowers have enough body to remain stiff when cut out.  I glued the flowers onto card stock panels and then onto panels of crinoline, a rather stiff fabric.

Layers glued together.  I used a brayer to fuse everything together.
My vintage irons help adhesives bind well.

Using a Craft Nib, I picked up a little extra Hydrangea ink and added some shading to the flower petals for depth.

Okay, here I owe an apology to embroidery artists everywhere.  I had my project designed in a sketch and thought I'd just put all together one afternoon.  Uh, no.  I had a lot to learn about embroidery.  So many stitches and techniques!!  If you are interested in embroidery, I highly recommend Mary Corbet's blog.  With dozens of videos and tutorials, it is so well written and instructive that it really makes me want to learn more and add embroidery as another tool in my creative kit.

I'm pretty new to this so don't look at my stitches too closely.  If you wear glasses, don't wear them. If you don't wear glasses, go ahead and put some on!!

I wanted to add a Scripture that provides the basis for my One Word to the burlap panel.  I wrote it out in phrases on pattern tissue paper with a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pen.  (FAVORITE pens.  I use them for everything.  Handwriting is difficult for me and these pens give me the perfect drag to help with control.)  Its an alcohol ink, so it won't bleed* when you add your wet adhesive to adhere to the burlap.   Doing it this way enabled me to tear the phrases into strips and gave me control over the line spacing. 

*While the ink doesn't bleed, I did discover that I could apply matte medium to the back of the tissue paper, press onto cotton fabric and the ink would transfer.  I'll need to be playing with this soon!

Elements laid out and ready to adhere.

The label is stitched onto cotton duck material.  The word was just sort of floating there so I used a single strand of embroidery thread and backstitched a border.  The word is done in a simple chain stitch.  My little birdy showed up and settled on the "T".  The little bird is from B Line Designs Flying Friends stamp set.

Close up of my flowers.  I trimmed around the image leaving a wide margin and inked the edges with more Hydrangea on a tiny bit of foam, applied with a pair of tweezers.

The burlap panel mounted on a vintage window.
Then added to the collection.
Have a lovely day and be free!!