Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Pam Crawford

Pam Crawford has created a zine that is so colorful and full of pockets and samples that you immediately want to pick it up and thumb through it. I wasn't sure what her title meant until I read her introduction. Her zine is called The Dollar Store Zine. She explains that she lives in Presque Isle, Maine, far from any craft or fabric stores. The dollar stores are her local source for art supplies. I love that! Practical, and frugal, too.

Pam gives the timeline of how she created her zine, which is great for anyone wanting to create their own. She takes the mystery out of the creative process in her detailed descriptions of her brainstorming of ideas and her many uses of dollar store finds.

Her zine is a stack of bags that she stitched down the center. Each bag holds a finished project or items you can use in your own projects. She's typed the text and glued it on the outside of the bags.

I just have to tell you about what Pam has done with playing cards. Who can't afford a $1 deck of cards? Or who doesn't have a deck with a missing card or two? You now have a stack of up to 52 craft supplies. She gives an example of an ATC with a card base, an altered playing card, and my favorite -- a mini book. I love the mini book: how simple, but so cool. It helps that she found a deck of cards with a colorful butterfly back.

Pam groups her zine by the departments within the dollar store. The kitchen/home goods department yields paper towels, waxed paper, and freezer paper to paint, with suggestions to grab coasters, chopsticks, and paper plates for future projects.

While checking out the hardware department, Pam found a foldable wooden ruler. She's cut it into 3/4" pieces, and has made a charm for the zine owner. I can see creating a cutie pie charm bracelet for some lucky girl from your dollar store finds.

Pam has included a few how-to projects for you, with examples. This zine gives so many ideas, it could keep you busy for a month. Thank you, Pam, for a well-thought out and generous zine.

You can see a list of all the zines I received in the swap and the blog posts I'm doing about them here.
I'll be hosting my own zine swap, and you can see the details on the tab at the top of this page.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Kara Klein

Kara Klein recently took a vacation to Japan, and invites us to join her in her zine she calls Japan Dreams. The color-copied pages are brilliant with color, and cut in various widths for added interest. The cover is shades of orange and pink on cardstock, using tape strips with rubber stamped letters for the title.

This zine is a travel journal with memories of her trip as well as tutorials for little projects. Each page is loaded with background colors and scraps that she picked up in Japan. She uses postage stamps, stickers, photos, Japanese writing, origami, and includes a little packet of scraps for the reader to use.

Kara has stitched together a folder to hold the zine, that is probably made from a brown paper bag. a fabric scrap gives it a nice edge, and it is closed with a button and thread.

I've seen rubber stamps that people have carved, but she describes how to make one from a photo. She's used a photo of a lotus pod that she took in Tokyo. Using photo editing software, she has altered the image to use as a guide for carving a stamp. I never would have thought to do that. I think the idea of carving a stamp free-form is intimidating. This technique takes the stress of where to begin out of the equation.

Kara has adapted a technique called laminated collage to make her cover. She describes it at the end of the zine. Her description makes it sound so simple -- I'm definitely going to try it. If her zine doesn't make you want to visit Japan, you will at least be inspired to record your next trip in words, and scraps, and colors.

You can see my reviews of all ten zines I received in the zine swap here.
Carol Henley -- Wrandom Writings (1/6/11)
Irene Prior -- How to Use Markers to Create Colorful Works of Art (1/19/11)
Cris Peacock -- Words & Art Zine: Making Poems (1/24/11)
Lori Garver -- Brown Paper Bag Art (1/29/11)
Barb Nelis -- Left-Brain Heart (2/4/11)
Heather Simpson-Bluhn -- Journal Play (2/15/11)
Kara Klein -- Japan Dreams (2/24/11)
Pam Crawford -- The Dollar Store Zine (2/28/11)
Deborah Boschert -- Inspired by ... Architecture (3/4/11)
Judy Merrill-Smith -- Something Extra Number 3: The Invitation (to be posted on 3/12/11)

You can read about the zine that I created here or you can purchase extra copies of my zine in my Etsy shop here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Butterfly Reminder

Back in January, I told you about my idea to actually try some art projects that I read about in the many mixed media books that I buy. I've finished my first one, which came from Shona Cole's book, The Artistic Mother. Her book has really inspired a lot of people, and I know some artists out there have created art from her inspiring ideas. If you have made anything from her book and posted it on your blog, drop me a line and I'll post a link here.

I chose to do her Butterfly Reminder project. Of course, I can't just copy it exactly -- I need to take her main idea and tweak it a bit. The project is a little hanging piece for your wall that reminds you to do something for the day. In her example, she uses the words "Write Today." Well, that's a good goal, but I was thinking -- I have different goals every day. Sometimes I need to tell myself to write, sometimes to make art, and sometimes to exercise more. Although "exercise more" isn't specific enough for me. If it's vague, I'll never do it. Anyway, I decided I wanted to come up with a way that I could change the words.

After choosing my reminders, typing them on cardstock, and printing them out, I made little mica slots that the words could be slid into. My idea was to have an extra mica slot on the back to store the extra words. I attached the mica pieces using eyelets punched through the balsa wood base. I soon found out the eyelets wouldn't go through one piece of balsa and a piece of mica on the front and another on the back. Instead I just glued a little envelope to the back to hold the words.

I rubber stamped my butterfly design rather than cutting out a downloaded picture, as Shona suggests. I didn't feel like cutting around the edge of the butterfly because I thought the balsa wood was tricky to work with. It splinters easily and pokes your fingers when you cut it. I found that my metal cutting snips were stronger and worked better than regular scissors, so I just used them and kept the balsa wood in a rectangular shape. I did round the edges a bit. Balsa wood must come in different thicknesses, so either mine was thicker than Shona's, or she's just better at cutting than me.

I have two dangles hanging for the words because I wanted to have a verb and a noun for my goals. I used coated copper wire to hang the beads, which means it will always stay shiny. Now I won't have to worry about polishing it over time. If you're curious, some of my other words are: "Fly Toward Your Business", "Fly Toward Exhibiting Your Art," and "Get Moving -- Rollerblade", and "Get Moving -- Play Racquetball."

My next project comes from the book Book + Art -- Handcrafting Artists' Books by Dorothy Simpson Krause. This book doesn't have step-by step instructions for every example, but I will use one of the books as inspiration to make my own. I'm going to make an accordion book, like the one on page 70 called Hearts. It will be a challenge to come up with a subject for the book as well as the process. Would you like to join me in creating your own interpretation of an accordion book?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blue Necklace

Yes, that's a boring name, right? I always title my creations before I put them on Etsy to sell, but I'm having trouble with this one. I just finished this three-strand necklace and I'm at a loss as to what to name it. Do you have any suggestions?

I've used a bead soup mixture of blues and purples. Pearls and glass beads accent the strands, every inch or so.

I've joined the three strands within a silver Bali cap bead to hide the ends. The toggle clasp is sterling silver as well.

Any ideas for a clever name? Here are some of my favorite names: Susie wants Silver; Dangling Participle; Madame's Finest; Sultry Blue Moves. Post some of your suggestions here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Heather Simpson-Bluhn

Heather Simpson-Bluhn created a colorful zine she calls Journal Play. She color-copied bright collages for most pages, and machine-stitched the binding and cover.

She describes how to do a gesso resist with rubberstamps, inserting an example as a half-page in the zine. Abruptly, she gives a journal prompt on page 3 of the zine. This little prompt is attached with fancy tape to a piece of textured paper.

I'm getting that Heather is a lover of paper. Her collages use magazine bits, insides of envelopes, origami paper, and book pages. She's created an envelope from plastic by stitching the edge and binding it into the zine. This packet contains paper scraps we could use in our own collage.

For all of us who also have a scrap collection, Heather has included a how-to article for turning your scraps into paper flowers, which she calls "tattered blooms."

Heather extolls the virtues of listmaking, and urges us to list words as our own journal prompts. I find myself wanting to write in my journal, yet I don't want to stop reading her zine. She's also listed some mixed media tutorial sources on YouTube. When I'm done with a journal page, I'll be sure to hop on the internet to check out some of these videos.

If you'd like to see more of Heather's art, you can see her blog here.

You can check out the zine that I made for this swap here. I'll be posting more reviews of all the zines I received from the swap in future blog posts.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Little Heart Bling

I've always been a jewelry girl. I've been wearing necklaces and rings regularly since I was about 11. I just can't understand women who don't finish their outfit with a pretty necklace. If I go out without one on, I feel naked. I have quite a collection of necklaces, and a lot of charms. I thought I'd show you some of my heart charms on this nice Valentine's Day. This is by no means all, but it gives you a nice selection.

This first one is probably my oldest. My mom gave me this when I was about 11. It's smooth stone, and I wear it on a simple gold chain.

These two are also very old. I wore these all through high school.

A couple years ago, I participated in a Valentine's charm swap with 49 other women. Yes, I know, that means we each had to make 50 charms. It was so exciting when we received our packets in the mail. I loved them all, but this one especially because it was not red. I thought it was such a clever idea to do one in blue and yellow.

This is a polymer clay heart, handmade by Laurel Steven. She is an amazing polymer artist and you can see her work here.

Here's another old one. It is carved mother of pearl. Do you remember when mother of pearl was popular? Don't answer that, people will be able to guess your age.

These are two lovely green hearts, but unfortunately I don't wear green at all. Maybe for St. Patrick's Day I'll wear a heart for my spot of green.

And lastly, for some real bling, here's a gorgeous crystal heart from Baccarat. My dad got me this one. It's beautiful.

I hope you're all enjoying your Valentine's Day. Did you receive any heart bling from your sweetheart?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sending You Some Warm Weather

I know a lot of you up north have had your fill of winter and snow at this point, and the season is young. I'll send you some of my Florida photos, and maybe you can feel that yes, it may get warm again. I took these when I was visiting my dad in Cocoa Beach last week.

The lifeguards were on duty, but no one was swimming. The only people on the beach were walkers, like me.

Some little animal came by here earlier.

You can see here where many storms have pushed the sand up onto the boardwalk. While some beaches lose their sand, this beach has an abundance.

Keep warm! I hear another storm is heading for the northeast later this week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Zine Day -- Barb Nelis

As I go through each of the 10 zines I received in a recent swap, I'm struck by how different one is from the last. We all received the same guidelines for the swap -- handmade, at least 20 pages, include a how-to article, and some goodies for the recipient. Beyond that, they can be any size, reflect any medium, and have any construction.

Barb Nelis's zine, Left-Brain Heart, is a colorful feast for the eyes.

I think most of the pages are construction or scrapbook paper, each one a different color. The size is 5 1/2" x 8", with a stitched binding, but it is so chock full of inserts and examples, that the side is about 2 1/2" thick!

I don't think Barb has a blog where I can see her art, but she's included many collages in her zine. She's obviously a lover of words and quotes, colorful scraps, and stamps.

Most pages have some kind of a pocket or attachment for scraps and goodies. She's included how-to's for a folder pocket, a bookmark card, and of course colorful examples of each.

She's generous with her enclosures, including a large scrap of fabric that may inspire you for a future project, a couple of crocheted pieces, and a mini paper pad.

She's included one article about de-cluttering your life. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder: is she talking about physical clutter, or mental clutter? She's proved she is also a very good writer.

To see more reviews of mixed media zines, check out my blog again. I have five more to go!

To see the zine I made for this swap, check out my blog post here. You also may buy one online at my etsy shop here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Soldering is Not So Scary

Many of you know that for the last four years I've traveled to Portland, Oregon in October to take art classes at Art & Soul Retreat. I'm changing it up a bit this year, and will be attending their New Orleans retreat in July. I'm excited to be traveling with two friends who are new to the retreat scene. We've chosen one class that we'll take together, then we'll take three others. My friend will be taking a soldering class with Sally Jean Alexander. I took one from her my first year, and totally loved it. She's a thorough instructor, and teaches a project-based class. I recently came across the project I did, which I had given to my mom as a gift.

We collaged papers, using color copies, paint, pencils, and sandwiched them between thick beveled glass. I went with an Oregon theme, using postcards, stamps, a photos, and other items from my mom's Oregon relatives. We soldered down the sides to keep the glass sandwich together. All in all, a good first experience with soldering, which is not that hard after all.