Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Art" a Chunky Altered Board Book

This little chunky board book is about 3 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I bought 26 of them at a yard sale for $2.00. I have altered quite a few and given away quite a few. This one I decided to use a lot of stamps and scrap paper.

I peeled the paper off on this book. Mostly because the book is small and it was easy to get the paper off. I had a few days of spraying tags and miscellaneous pieces of paper and fiber with spray inks. Some of the ink I make myself and some were purchased. I spray in a fairly deep box that I line with cheap printer paper. I change the printer paper out when I go to a new color family. The background paper in this entire book is that cheap printer paper sprayed randomly with ink.

I chose a theme - Art. Pulled out some "art" related stamps and went to work. The cover is a transparency stamped and applied to the cover with brads. I split the cover page in half, applied brads then reglued the page together. I used clothespins to hold in place till dry. While the cover was drying I assembled some embellishment and inks.

Once the cover was dry I covered all the pages with the recycled printer paper. Then I just started working. The third page is a niche that I put the torso in. The torso reminds me of a figure sketch class that you might take. The last page has one of my dirty paint brushes cut down to fit the page and glued on. My favorite part of this book was that it truly was just a whim. One of those "what should I work on?" moments. I hope you will look at the things lying around your creative space and get inspired.

One Image - Three Ways

These are for your personal use. I hope you can find a place in your art for her.

Cheese and Beer Dip

Now what could be better than some warm pumpernickel or rye bread cut thin with cheese and beer? Maybe some fresh marinated tomatoes. Especially on these warm days and nights. You could add a salad and this could make a nice summer meal. Something light. Or maybe something to take to a Fourth of July get together.

Prepare and mix in a bowl.
3 cups grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese - 3/4 pound
1/3 cup - 1 1/4 ounce - crumbled Roquefort or Blue cheese
Add 3/4 cup beer, without foam, gradually, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth.

Blend in
1 tablespoon butter - softened
1 1/2 teaspoon grated onion
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco or Texas Pete sauce

Cover and chill thoroughly in refrigerator.
Makes about 2 cups.

Garage Sale Finds

It was ninety degrees at 8:00AM this morning. I knew it was going to be hot so that meant a quick morning with maximum sales. So I headed to the local high school where they were having 22 plus booths. I found the tin for 25 cents, two 1950"s cookbooks for 50 cents, the cute doll clothes - all for 25 cents, and a piece of material around three yards for 50 cents and they threw in some silk flowers. Hot and cranky people and only 8:45 AM.

I don't know about you but I have found there are four types of sales. The neighborhood sale, the Church or other organization sale, the moving "let's dump it all sale", and the organized sale. Each one has it's own unique treasures. Today was a "let's dump it sale" day. I like to go to neighborhoods that people don't have a lot of disposable income. They tend to spend their money on quality items because they will not be replacing them anytime soon. They also tend to hold on to things hoping to find a use for it or they remember how much they spent on it. These people tend to have the goods I like.

I found three sales on the same street with lots of treasures. The first house I bought my McCoy vase - $3.00. My big purchase so far. Then on down the street where I found still in the box a charming earring tree, metal, with a little birdhouse and blue bird on top - a big 25 cents. Onward to the next house. This place was different. Old surfer dude and wife. He had made fish out of broken surf boards and sold them to restaurants all over the south. They weren't for sale, but he was interesting to talk to and see his shop. I'll post later on him, it was rather amazing.

The surfer dude had a lot of bottles and rusted items. I bought a couple of bottles - I think I have a bottle thing going on - and a rusty old grater and spatula. The spatula had a heart cutout on it. These could be fairy wings in the future. He also had a Bakelite handle button hook and cake icer, a silver soup ladle, and old first aid kit complete with supplies, a cake decorating set - I am thinking polymer clay - and a very heavy fox head ashtray or dish made out of copper or bronze. Then I spied this old wooden cigar box filled with tumbled and polished rocks - $4.50 for the surfer dude. This is my haul for today. Time to go home and have something cold to drink and cool off.

Friday, June 27, 2008


This morning was one of those mornings where you just know you have to get up early and "do something". I live in a beach and riverfront community. The weekends mean TOURIST and lots of traffic. If you want to get anything done you have to do it early. Particularly on Friday. After about one PM forget it, the roads start to clog. So this morning I went to the River Front and downtown to take pictures. One thing about going early is that the only people out are the restaurant delivery trucks. As I left the waterfront I went down Second Street [one street up from the water] where all the clubs are and found this great wall of posters. About fifteen feet high and maybe forty feet long. These are a couple of photos I thought I would share with you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kayak Morning

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's June...I Hear Wedding Bells

It's June and all over the country people are planning weddings. Outdoor weddings, same sex weddings, beach weddings, formal church weddings, visiting the Justice of the Peace....every where spring has sprung, love is in the air, young and old, couples are making commitments. We even have a wedding coming up in my family. So in honor of the happy couples here are some free images for you to use in your art work.

A Very Small Altered Board Book

This is one of those two and three quarter inch kids chunky board books. They don't take a lot of time and are really fun to do. This one I glued dictionary pages on every page. Then I lightly gessoed over them making some areas heavier than others. I then inked the pages. I selected this handmade paper with brass dots over it in a leafy swirl pattern. This was the third element to bind the book pages together. Randomly tearing this paper and gluing it down gave me a background for the main images.

I selected butterflies and flapper women as my main images. I used a variety of stamps and embellishments. Even an old butterfly pin from my childhood. The window is for a doll house that a friend had given me when I was going through a heavy window thing. The niche is two pages glued together after the hole was cut and finished. I filled the niche with my image, a key and some sparkling gold beads to roll around. Then covered the niche with mica and secured with eyelets. Then, I glued the two pages together forming the completed niche.

This is a quick and easy altered book. I think this would be a fun book to do with a child. Maybe a rainy day project for the summer. It would make a nice animal or dinosaur book. How about fairies, mermaids or the ocean. You could use a lot of scraps from your work table to complete.

Glue Books

Glue Books are a wonderful way to recycle all those magazines you can't bear to throw away. Cut the images and words that attract you and store them in a zip lock bag. I sort my images into one and my words into another bag. Then toss those magazines. You will feel a hundred percent lighter.

My glue books are really just starters and motivators to work on other projects. Sometimes you feel like your muse has gone on a little vacation without you. A glue book is a way to bring that girl home. I start with just a small blank book - six by eight or so. I use left over paint to swipe my pages with to just give me a little background color. I put wax paper between the sheets and let it dry. Depending on how much paint I have left over and what I am painting I might get five to ten pages prepped. Then I set aside till the "blank wall"hits.

I am sure you all have had that feeling where you want to create but nothing comes to mind? I hope I am not the only one out there that gets this way. Then I grab my bags and dump them on a tray and my book and just sort of play with them. Or, I grab a few words and see what that brings to mind. Once I have a few images and words I start gluing them in the book. I might play for an hour or so till I have filled a few pages and feel like I have some ideas. Maybe it is color or a notion but I am usually ready to move on to other projects. Maybe it is the act of gluing I don't know. I just know at this point I am motivated.

Two things... First as I read through several years of these glue books I find that they answer things that have been rolling around in my sub conscious. Problems, questions, life events... they seem to mirror. Maybe that is why my muse is on vacation.

Second... there are several yahoo groups that are exclusively about glue books. One with Lisa Vollrath that is called Glue Books. You can meet a lot of like minded people through them. The other that I love is Gluebots. They glue calendars, 4 by 6's, swap, and have exchanges, etc. Great people here. Whatever you decide to do ...learn to recycle things into your art and have fun doing it.

Skinnies - Three by Five

These are my Skinnies /3 by 5 / for an exchange the Yahoo group Gluebots is having. We had no theme just make four and send them to the hostess. Of course I got a little motivated and made twelve. They are addicting. I like the size. I think it is because I have been making so many ATC's that I just needed a different format.

More Bandana Art

More Bandanna art. I am finding this technique to be additive. So much fun when you have just a short period of time or you are waiting for an appointment. Also very mobile. I did these with the dishwasher repair man here on and off for two days. There are several groups on line doing monthly challenges with this technique. How fun!

Gel Image Transfers

These are some tags I made this weekend. I think they will go into an altered book I am working on. It is one of those things that is just sort of brewing. The book is there, some embellishments are gathered, and the tags just sort of fell into place. How I did them....

They are images transferred onto the tag using gel medium. First I gathered the tags and used Color Box Chalk Inks to ink the tags, mostly around the edges. Then the images were selected. I printed them on to Office Max transparency film for inkjet printers. I then applied gel medium - Regular Liquitex Gloss- to the tag.

There is a lot of debate about gel mediums and which brand is better. I don't want to go into that. I find each brand has a purpose and if used correctly does a great job. I like this -Liquitex- because it is creamy like mayo and spreads really well, plus I bought a gallon for ten bucks and the price was great. That affords a lot of experimentation on my part.

So back to the tag.... I apply the gloss with a foam brush then run my finger over the gloss to make it smooth. Then lay the transparency on the tag - ink side down - and hold in place and rub with a bone folder or spoon to transfer the image. You can peel back the image some to check the transfer. Sometimes you have to lightly apply a little more gel in some spots and re- rub. I start rubbing the head first and go down and out. This is just "my way"of doing it.. Then pull up transparency and Voila the image is transfered. If you don't like the gloss look you can use matte gel it works the same way. Sometimes I transfer with gloss and then when dried I go back over it with matte gel. These I left glossy like a photograph.

Once the image is dry you can finish the tag. I applied more ink, stamped, collaged paper and added fabric flowers and buttons. Fibers will be added to the top of the tags at the end. They are hard to scan with the fibers everywhere.

There are many online resources for transferring images. There are several yahoo groups. For me the most helpful group has been the Inkjet Transfer group run by Lesley Riley. She is the guru of transfers. And this group has some "in the know" people. They have the answer to every imaginable question. There art work is great, also. I also suggest taking a class in transfers. You can transfer onto about every surface....metal, plastic, fabric.. There are several good books out there. I actually like the Somerset magazine/book "Transparent" the best. It is full of inspiration and eye candy. So, I hope I opened a little door of thought for you today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Seed Packet Images

Rummaging around through an old box, I found a small treasure trove of old ephemera I had bought way back "in the day". Thought I would share these old seed packets. It is gardening time and I hope everyone is out enjoying themselves.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Clematis without Petals

Clematis without Petals Digitally Enhanced

Yard Sale Finds

Saturday was full of traffic. You can really tell when "the Season" has arrived here at the beach. Wild crazy drivers that think because they are on vacation it is okay to stop dead in the road and pull something out of their cooler. I went for my usual "biscuit and sweet tea" at a national drive through chain restaurant before starting and actually got yelled at by some man from Maine because the cashier and I chatted for a moment. I bought his food for him, figured he really needed a RAK. So that is how my Saturday morning started. Hope yours was fruitful.

I went to one estate sale. They are always sad. I bought the powder container. I love these. I got my grandmother's when she passed away. A turquoise glass one. Every time I open it I smell her. Brings back a flood of memories. Since then every once in awhile I will run across one that is just beautiful. I really like the way even the smallest of thing can have such style.

This was a lace day. I found tons of lace, sewing supplies, and ribbon. All bought for quarters. I did find two pieces of white ironstone - they belonged to the women's Mother. Along with some funky shell and mother of pearl earrings. A quarter each. These I will be taking apart and using in a mermaid swap. I also found a heavy duty metal stabler and two scrabble games for fifty cents for them both. Not a haul but a relaxing morning all in all.

A Photo for My Father

One of my earliest memories is getting up early on the weekends and picking strawberries or raspberries out of our garden for breakfast. I still remember Dad explaining to me that without the bees there would be no fruit. That they had a job to do and that we had a job to do. We could both do our jobs without bothering each other. Just respect each other. I believe those early mornings instilled a respect for nature and my love for gardening. Thanks Dad!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Recyling Techniques and Experiments

This technique takes plastic garbage bags and tissue paper, dress pattern paper, and a few images. You will also need a teflon sheet, an iron and ironing board. A well ventilated place is also a good idea.

First I assemble a sandwich of plastic bags sticking torn pieces of tissue paper in between. I used white plastic bags from various stores and clear plastic bags that my newspaper arrives in each morning. Place them on the teflon sheet and fold the sheet over so you are only ironing the teflon sheet. Do not iron on ironing board with out teflon sheet. If you do not have a teflon sheet freezer paper can be substituted. Use two sheets of freezer paper. You are making a sandwich - freezer paper/glossy side up or teflon sheet - then plastic bags and tissue - then freezer paper/glossy side down or teflon sheet. Iron away on a hot setting. Let cool. Then pull the teflon or freezer paper off. Everything should have melted together and become one sheet of tissue - plastic paper.

Second step, some images. I cut words and letters from the plastic bags. I also used some once used images on transparencies. I thought transparencies are plastic. They will melt into the bags. I put a layer of more plastic bags, these I cut up, some tissue and the transparency image then covered with a clear bag. Put my teflon sheet or freezer paper over the next sandwich layer and ironed. Melting everything together. I let it all cool. If you don't let it cool sometimes the warm plastic will distort or get small holes in it. Or the plastic letters will do strange things. You can remelt it or put more plastic and tissue on it till you are satisfied.

I played around with thickness and amount of tissue versus plastic. I found I like a tissue bottom and a plastic top. I also found that it runs through my sewing machine really well. I used a regular needle, but my layers were not really dense. I sewed and melted over the thread at times.

The most interesting thing was the the transparency DID NOT MELT. The clear plastic bag melted over it, but did not adhere to the actually transparency. I sewed around the transparency. With the clear plastic bag over it the transparency had a filmy quality that was nice. I took an exacto knife and cut the melted bag off the transparency and revealed the image. I decided with some of the images I was using I needed the detail. The example with the barn I only took part of the plastic off the transparency. I think that one is my favorite.

This technique has loads of possibilities. You could add fabric scraps, ribbon, film negatives, etc.. I like the idea of using up all those horrid plastic bags that just end up in our landfills and making art with them. This is just a few hours of play. I thought about how to use these sheet once I was finished. they are very pliable and could be used as journal covers, cut up in any size for ATC's or skinnies, etc... I have not tried painting on them with acrylics, but that might be cool, then remelting the acrylic into the plastic... Oh so many ideas and not enough time.

I also want to add that I have read several posts on some online art groups about artists using techniques to melt bags together to use in art work. I do not know if this is how they do it but after thinking about it for awhile this just seemed the most logical to me. I have not been able to find any tutorials about this nor did anyone want to share their particular technique.
I would love to see how anyone else does this and share ideas.