Monday, May 31, 2010

dream journals and flying lessons

I love to make dream journals. They are a wonderful way to recycle old books into journals that can be reused in a new way and may be cherished for many more years to come. I call these "dream journals" because I personally use them to keep my creative ideas and quick sketches in them.

 Kelly Rae Roberts' ecourse started yesterday and one of Kelly's first suggestions was that we have a journal or something similar to write down notes, ideas, dreams and goals ... I was so happy that I already had a dream journal ready for this course! I used a book that my youngest daughter and I used to read called  "I Love My Little Storybook" ... it is beautifully illustrated and written by Anita Jeram. I didn't use my daughter's book as she still has it on her book shelf but I did find a copy of it at the second hand store and knew that I would use it one day for a dream journal for myself.

I have one dream journal listed in my etsy shop right now and a few dozen just about ready to add ... maybe by the end of this week ... if this ecourse doesn't take up too much of my creative time! They are really easy to make yourself if you have the right supplies.

Here's how I make my dream journals ...


1. gather your supplies: a hard cover book, blank paper (I use a heavier weight card stock), hole punch for book binding (mine is by CarlaCraft), single hole punch tool and hammer, spiral binding (also by CarlaCraft), self healing mat, wire cutters and pliers, paper cutter

2. Cut the spine off the book with the paper cutter so that you are left with the two covers and loose book pages. Trim the book pages with the paper cutter so that they are all the same size.

3. Measure the size of your book pages and cut the blank paper to the same size.


4. Hole punch all of the book pages and the blank pages with the hole punch on the left side.


5. Using an extra paper with holes as a template, mark where you need to hand punch the front and back book covers. Punch holes in the covers with the hand punch and small craft hammer on a self healing mat.


6. Put the book together by alternating a few book pages with a few blank papers. If you want to leave all of the book pages in the journal ... so that you can still "read" the story ... you may have to limit how many blank pages you can add. You will be somewhat limited by the binding as to how many pages you have in the final book ... play around with it a bit until you get the balance that you want. Sandwich all of the papers inside the covers and add the spiral binding by starting at the top and twisting the binding through the holes.
Once the spiral binding is in place cut the extra binding with the wire cutters and fold both ends over with a pair of pliers so that the binding stays in place.

 

Now I'm ready to start my "flying lessons" ... time to go and do some dreaming ...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

bloom where you are planted


My husband was in Boston on a business trip for a few days this week ... I hate it when he is away (I don't sleep well when he isn't around) but I do like to take advantage of the extra time that I get to spend with my girls and my art. I managed to start working on four boards for collages ... I finished one collage last night which I called "bloom where you are planted".  

  

I was originally going to do something different with the flowers but I remembered that I purchased a bunch of vintage pop bottle caps the other week and I ended up re-working the flowers so that I could add the bottle caps. I'm pretty happy with the way that the collage worked out. 

I have completed the backgrounds on the other three boards ... I'll just have to wait to find a little more time to continue painting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

garage sale signs

We just celebrated the official start of summer at the cottage this past long weekend ... the Victoria Day holiday (also known as the May "24" weekend) is always a busy cottage weekend in Ontario.

The girls and I had our annual garage sale on Saturday. It rained all day ... lucky for us we have a garage at the cottage and were able to stay dry. I had so many positive comments about our garage sale signs that I thought that I'd share with you what I did.

I recycled some metal sign holders that were discarded in the open fields by our house ... these metal frames combined with plastic signs are used a lot during election time and throughout the year by small businesses. The metal frames are easy to stick into the ground (no hammers needed) ... and hold their shape really well when you add the fabric sleeve.

To make a fabric sleeve for the sign, I cut an old white curtain (bedsheets would work too) into a 48"x24" panel. Then I folded the fabric in half (24"x24") and sewed the two sides together so that I had an opening at the bottom that could slip over the metal frame. 

To keep the signs looking a little more professional looking, I created a 20"x20" document in my computer to format the type for my sign. I printed the document in sections on 8.5"x11" paper and taped all of the papers together. I placed the final (20"x20") paper under the fabric and traced the letters with a black fine point Sharpie permanent ink marker. I repeated this on both sides of the sign. Then I took a broader tip permanent marker and filled in the type on the larger letters.

    
I wanted to add some colour to the signs for visual impact ... so I added flowers to the bottom area. The flowers were from a Hawaiian lay that I bought at the dollar store. I simply hand sewed the flowers to the fabric with a centre button.

The cool thing about these signs is that it rained all day Saturday and they stood up really well compared to everyone else's cardboard signs. Many of the women who came to the cottage asked where we had the signs made ... my youngest daughter was quite proud to say that we made them ourselves!
The only thing that I will do differently next time is to only use Sharpie brand permanent ink markers. We used Sharpie brand fine tip markers and Staples broad tip markers. Both brands said that they were permanent ink - but it was very clear when it started raining which markers did not bleed!


 I also wanted to share this adorable card that I picked up in Walmart a while ago ... it's from Taylor Swift's line of greeting cards. Her card line is sooo cute ... great graphics, fun pictures and the words are perfect. Taylor Swift had a couple of concerts in Toronto on the long weekend ... my oldest daughter Haley was at the Friday concert ... needless to say, we listened to Taylor Swift songs all weekend at the cottage!
So happy that summer is here!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

memories in a bottle


I've been a scrapbooker for years ... even before the scrapbooking "craze" started well over 10 years ago ... but I'm not what you would call a traditional scrapbooker. Oh yes, I have tons of {unfinished} albums, boxes of patterned and plain 12x12 papers, scrapbooking tools and supplies ... but I only scrapbook when I feel like it and I tend to think outside of the "page" a lot.

My "memory bottles" are one of my favourite ways to keep track of  our family holidays on the beach. They are super easy to make and I can incorporate some of our beach treasures into the jar so I reduce the amount of beach glass, shells and rocks that collect in drawers and closets around the house and the cottage.

The first picture is an example of the memory bottle that I made after our trip to St. Lucia this winter. This is a closer look at the bottle ...



Here's what you need to make these yourself:

1. a bottle. I use new or old bottles ... just keep in mind that you will want to see through one side of the glass and the mouth at the top has to be big enough to fit a small photo.
2. sand. In this example, I used beach sand from our cottage as the base ... you don't have to use sand but I do find that sand or something similar (small beads, glitter, etc) help to keep the picture in place before you start adding your other elements to the bottle.
3. picture. Before you start cutting out pictures, cut a piece of blank paper to figure out what will size photo will fit inside the bottle and that you can get it through the mouth of the bottle. If the picture you want to use isn't the right size and you have photo editing software on your computer, resize the photo to fit before printing and cutting.
4. tag and ribbon. I use tags to decorate the outside of the bottle and to write something about what is inside. I also like to add charms, beads and stamps to the tags if they have some connection to the memory. Assorted ribbons tied around the top of the bottle top add colour and tie into my decor for display.
5. stuff. This is the fun stuff inside the bottle. Use anything that you want to go with the memory ... shells, beach glass, ticket stubs, beer bottle caps, whatever! You may need to use chopsticks or something similar to move items around in the bottle once your photo is in position.

 

This is a back view of my memory bottle from St. Lucia ... you can see that I added text to the back of the tag (the front features a stamp from St. Lucia). I've positioned shells and pebbles in behind the photo to keep the photo upright. You could add a second photo to the back ... I don't because I place these bottles on a shelf and you can't see the back.

There is no right or wrong way to put these together ... they don't have to be beach or holiday themed ... just have fun with them and get creative. Make one or make a bunch of memories.

 
You could make these memory bottles with the kids too ... they'd make great gifts for father's day or for a favourite teacher at the end of the school year! 


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a day of inspiration with my friend Robin Davis


admire the moon. be silly.
take risks. look on the bright side.
listen to your heart. don't fear love.
remember it's never too late!
don't run. face your fears.
be an optimist. open a new window.
laugh often. live today.
speak straight and true. be brave.
life is too short to be ordinary.
the sky's the limit!


... love these words ... I don't remember where I found them but they have been on my
personal stationery for a number of months now ... I created the stationery on my computer in Photoshop -
it's a mix of some of my graphics and some brushes that I bought years ago at two peas in a bucket .

I feel so inspired today ... I spent most of the day with one of my favourite creative friends - Robin Davis.
Robin is an artist who licences her artwork and has been a great source of inspiration for me.
You can visit Robin's website and blog to see her work.

 

This is one of Robin's pieces from Blossom Bucket ... I bought a few of these snow pixies last Christmas
... they are soooo cute! Her new pieces for Halloween and Christmas 2010 are awesome ... I can't wait to go to Robin's open house later in the year for a little "retail therapy".  

I had a bunch of blogging "how to?" questions that Robin was able to help me figure out.  We spent some time looking at websites and talking about supplies. It's great to have a day to just bounce
ideas off someone else. As much as I like having a studio at home to work in ... it can be a little lonely at times. It's nice to be with friends and have a reason to get out of my sweatpants!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

being a mother


"It was when I had my first child that I understood
how much my mother loved me."
quote from "for Mother - A Bouquet of Sentiments"

I started this digital collage last night for another project but ended up finishing it a little differently this morning when I remembered that I had this vintage advertisement in my collection of vintage newspapers ...


I am going to have some photos printed today so that I can finish my New York memory books and I think that I will have a few copies of my digital collage printed at the same time.


A mother holds her children's hand for a while ... their hearts forever.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Life is about creating yourself ...


"Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself."

I used this quote on a collage that I recently made for my daughter's room. I think that it is a great quote to be seen and remembered daily.

I signed up for Kelly Rae Robert's ecourse last night ... it is called "flying lessons: tips and tricks to help your creative business soar" ... and I can't wait until the end of the month for the course to start!

 

I've been a fan of Kelly Rae Roberts since I found her book last summer ...


"Taking Flight" was the book that I inspired me after my brain surgery. I took it with me to read while I was in the waiting rooms at the hospitals and doctor's offices. It's a great book that inspires your creative spirit and  Kelly explains many of the techniques that she uses in her collages. I'm sure that Kelly's ecourse will be just as inspiring and she will have lots of tips on how to create and sell ourselves. If anyone else is taking this ecourse, please let me know ... I have a feeling that the course is going to be full of really talented people that I can't wait to connect with.

I'm also really excited about some news that I found out a couple of weeks ago. One of my projects involving vintage crystals is going to be featured in GreenCraft magazine this summer ...

 

GreenCraft is one of the newer Somerset Studio magazines and I love how it inspires us to give materials a second chance whether they are everyday materials or vintage pieces that are restyled. I'm not going to say what the project is just yet but I've been decorating and crafting with vintage findings for years and it's one of the pieces that created quite a while ago for our Christmas tree. I can hardly wait to see how they photograph my piece ... I find the Somerset Studio magazines to be as beautiful to look at as they are to read.

 Here's a couple of the my recent collages that I incorporated some of my vintage finds ...


"art washes away the dust of everyday life" has some vintage crystals that I hung from the bottom of the wooden canvas ... hey, a girl can never have too much bling! ...


... the dress on my "enjoy life" collage has vintage rhinestone straps and the dress hanger is "attached" to a vintage crystal button.

I'm so glad that I had the courage to add a vintage brooch to
Robyn's collage (the first picture on this post) ... my Mother gave me the brooch a number of years ago although I'm not sure if it was hers or my grandmothers. I don't believe that the jewellery is of great value but I do know that it is seen more here on my art than it was when I kept it in a box in my drawer. I've passed the jewellery onto my daughter in a way that I think she will appreciate more when she is older (as well as right now)