Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tutorial: Paper Tape Silhouettes

I have discovered another fun new way to use all those fabric, paper, and washi tapes we have all been hoarding...a project that adds some interest to art journal pages, too...Paper Tape Silhouettes!
Above you can see how I used both the positive and negative space of some of the silhouettes I created for an art journal page exploring my Word for the Year for 2012.

Here is a step-by-step description of how you, too, can create Paper Tape Silhouettes for your art journal and other projects:

Step 1:  Cut an image from a magazine or catalog, from which you will create your silhouette.  It's fun to choose an image with an interesting outline--feet taking a step, arms outstretched in a dramatic gesture, skirt in a swirl.  Cut very closely along the edges of the figure.
Step 2:  Use a pencil to draw around the cut-out image onto a piece of white paper.
Step 3:  Cut out the image you just drew on white paper with pencil.
Step 4:  On another piece of white paper (I use drawing-weight paper), start laying down strips of paper tape, using the white cut-out as a guide for how wide the strips need to be.  (Don't waste too much tape by laying down lots more than you need!)
Step 5:  Keep going, laying down strips the full length of the cut-out image.
Step 6:  Again, draw the figure's outline in pencil.  This time, use the white cut-out as your guide, and trace the figure onto the tapes.
Step 7:  Cut out the silhouette that you just traced in pencil.  You are left with your Paper Tape Silhouette!
Step 8:  You can also use the "negative space" left over from cutting out the figure.  Just add a little piece of tape to the back of your cut line (you can see my cut line just above the "4" on the right hand side).  It holds the paper together, and you can barely notice the line when you use the paper in your art journal.  You are likely to cover it over with some other image anyway!  Or just extend some more tape over it.
So, here are three examples of Paper Tape Silhouettes that I have made:
And here is a close-up of the journal page I showed at the beginning of this blog post.  I used the silhouette of a little girl twirling around in a skirt:
I also used the negative space from the silhouette I created step-by-step above to practice lettering by writing out a quotation:
Learning to do some interesting lettering in my art journal is a current project of mine...something for another blog post entirely!

Have fun with your Paper Tape Silhouettes!  Let me know if you try them out; I would love to see your results!

And, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book of Days

I am participating in Effie Wild's 2012 project entitled Book of Days, officially beginning at the beginning of January.

Effie has invited anyone who is interested to join her as she seeks to develop a daily art journaling practice.  She has already created three videos for participants--one showing how she altered an old book for her own 2012 Book of Days, one showing how a basic composition book can be prepared for the project, and one showing how she created pockets inside her cover to hold letters offering appreciation to 2011 and setting intentions for 2012.

From there, she plans to provide us with two or three emails each week with tips, videos, and inspiration related to her own art journaling practice. 

A real sense of community is already starting to develop among those who have signed up.  Effie has already held one online chat (which I snuck in to check out for about one minute, but wasn't prepared to participate!), and plans to continue with those periodically.  Plus, there's a Flickr group that is already up and running, and a wildly active Facebook page.

All that, and the project hasn't even officially begun yet!

For my own Book of Days art journal, I chose a book from a library sale, called If We Had Wings:  The Enduring Dream of Flight, by Rinker Buck.  I made just a few key adjustments to the cover to "make it mine."  (You can check out the Amazon listing in the link above to see its original appearance.)
I chose this book because of its unique format.  It only has about 32 pages, which measure about 10 inches square (and I took some of those few pages out to accommodate collage elements and other pieces that will add thickness to the book).  All of them have something interesting about them--a pocket with a reproduced document inside, an envelope holding a letter to pull out and read, a flap that opens up from the side of the page.  It's an already altered book!  All of these features are going to make the book that much more fun to work with.

Effie encouraged us to select a word for the year as part of the process of creating our art journals.  As soon as I selected this book, I knew that a fun choice for me for 2012 is "WINGS."  I kind of like selecting a noun as opposed to a verb, and I also like all of the associations that the word brings to mind:  flight, airplanes, butterflies, fairies, risk, heights, energy, gliding...all sorts of associations that I can see playing out through the year, through my plans, and through my art journal.
If this looks like fun to you, it definitely isn't too late to play along!  Go to Effie's Book of Days site and sign up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Final Look

Here's one final look at some corners of my Gift from the Sea journal before I turn to a new art journal.
A note from Natty, who created the journal for me
photo of Anne Morrow, author of Gifts From the Sea
Using a transparency looks great on the page, but it's tough to photograph.
Up Next:  A look at my next art journaling project!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is It So Wrong?

So now that Christmas has passed, I can confess that right before the holiday I went out and bought a BUNCH of presents...for myself!

I had no idea that I was going to run into such amazing sales...whole stores that had EVERYTHING for 40 and 50 percent off.  How could I resist?

I had a heyday in Anthropologie, one of my favorite places to indulge in impulse buying.  Look at all I got for about $50!
If you are familiar with Anthropologie, then you know that's a good deal!
I've never met a candle or a notebook or a little box for no good purpose that I didn't like.

Check out this book Nomad, by Sibella Court:
In addition to yummy photos of global interior design, the pages give me plenty of inspiration for art journal layouts.
It fits into the whole "eye candy" category.
And check out this RIDICULOUS desk notebook that I just couldn't pass up:
There must be enough pages in here for MORE than a lifetime of lists.
And I know that I probably *should* be decorating my own journal covers, but I couldn't pass up these pretty painted-canvas covered notebooks on deep discount on the back table.  (Worrying about "shoulds" is a waste of time anyway, right?!)

Just thought I would share some of my fun finds.  And while I'm at it, check out the hilarious site Anthroparodie.  They take the often-ridiculous, but always-cool-looking photos from the Anthropologie catalog, and provide an imaged back-story.  Always entertaining...enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Postage Stamp Holiday Greetings

Wishing You a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
(Images from Christmas stamps in my collection)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

We are enjoying remarkably relaxing days around the house here as Christmas approaches--as relaxing as a household with two preschoolers can be, at least!  Even though we've gotten a tree, decorated the house, bought and wrapped presents, done baking, played outside, had playdates, done crafts, and painted the dining room (!), things aren't feeling hectic or rushed, and I'm grateful to enjoy the feeling.

Here's a little peek into our household as we enjoy the holiday season:

We went one evening to enjoy the lights at Longwood Garden...we don't take the girls out after dark too often, so I think it's still pretty exciting for them.
We searched Linvilla Orchards for the perfect Christmas tree...
I was kind of "taken" with this little Charlie Brown Christmas tree that wasn't much bigger than Katy...
...but we opted for a more traditionally-sized six footer!
As one of our Advent activities, the girls tried warm apple cider for the first time.  It was a hit, and we've had it a few times since.  I've discovered the joy of Trader Joe's Spiced Cider laced with a little rum...for the grown-ups only!
Katy had her first preschool Christmas show.  Don't let that tinsel halo fool you!  She started the show by pulling her dress over her head, and ended it by crying out for someone to fix her fallen tinsel when she was supposed to be reciting John 3:16 with the rest of the group!  Her shenanigans were priceless though, and seemed perfectly appropriate for funny tales of a 4-year-old's Christmas program.
For one of the girls' Advent activities, all four of use went for a winter walk to enjoy the natural wonders God has given us to enjoy.  The girls collected leaves, acorns, and tiny pine cones in their bags, then brought them home to sort through out on the patio.  When we got inside, we said a prayer where we each thanked God for what we most enjoyed on our walk.
I'm not nearly so nervous about the potential mess in pulling out all the paints for the girls to play around with, and they love experimenting with the colors.  Look at those serious faces!
And I did a little serious painting of my own!  Michael and I finally painted our dining room yesterday after seven years of procrastination.  The end-result is not nearly as "baby blue" as it looks in the photo.  It finally looks like a dignified dining room; maybe we'll be more inclined to use it for its intended purpose, instead of just the kitty litter/recycling bin/storage space it has been.

Maybe it's because we started earlier on our decorating and shopping, or maybe it's because we've made a real effort to help the girls understand the true spirit of the season while starting the kinds of traditions that we'll stick with for years to come, or maybe it's because we're staying home this Christmas, so I don't have to think about packing everyone up for holiday travel (though I will miss being with my mom, dad, and sister)...It's a winning combination of factors to make this a very Merry Christmas season for our little family.

I hope that you also will be able to relax and enjoy the love and light and blessings of the season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Choice is Clear

I've been making several postcards as thank-yous and swaps, and have turned to a new art material I haven't used before:  transparency film.

Years ago, I purchased a transparency sheet filled with photos of girls with fairy wings from Art Chix Studio, but had never used it.  As I was preparing a postcard for Kym from Bliss Artworks, I decided to incorporate one of the images.  Stitching it to my postcard was the obvious choice, since I assume any sort of adhesive would show through from the back.
I had glued pieces from a sewing pattern as well as decorative tissue paper to a piece of cardstock, then added text pages and the transparency image, which I sewed around with my machine using two colors of thread.  Then I added a postage stamp and some postal rubber stamp impressions, and the postcard was complete.  Something about the playfulness and colorfulness "spoke to me" as appropriate for Kym.
At the same time, I was working on a postcard for a one-to-one swap with F.M. of La Wendula.  I chose a face from my files that was already on a transparency.
This postcard was also built on a foundation of sewing pattern tissue, but I covered it over with text, a reproduction of historical money, and other decorative tissue paper, rubbed away a bit for a weathered look.  I added two postage stamps (one of which looked like an uncanny mirror image of the transparency image!), and stitched around the elements with a couple different stitches.
F.M. noted that I had used her preferred color palette of neutral tones.  She also shared my postcard, along with the beautiful example of her artwork that she sent to me, on her Flickr site, here.

Finally, I sent a thank-you postcard to Seth, at The Altered Page, and once again went the transparency route.  This time, I chose a magazine image from my files and printed it out on my own onto 3M transparency film.
This also was built on a background of sewing pattern tissue, but I glued a section from an old Compton's Encyclopedia about "Mohammadens" (which shows you the age of the book, as they would today be referred to as "Muslims"), a small map of Africa, and some decorative tissue paper.  I stitched the transparency of camels walking by pyramids right over the top of these elements, adding additional decorative stitching that made me think of random footprints in the sand.
I added two African postage stamps--one a map and one a camel--to complete the thematic postcard. 

I love how the transparency film adds an additional image to a piece, but allows whatever is underneath to show through.  It adds almost a mysterious or ethereal quality to the work.  And it feeds my love of stitching paper besides!


Please check out Natty's blog post on Awkward & Beautiful where she shares the mail art and journal card I sent to her to thank her for the awesome custom book I've been using for my art journal lately!