May 31, 2010

A Meaningful Bookmark

photo taken in front of mirror to show front and back
shown separately below

I'm not much for words today but wanted to share a bookmark that I made for a loved one.  The CED theme for May was 'Intuition' and I tried to use entirely that when making this!  I went into it with no plan at all - just the intent that the bookmark would be one that would be meaningful to the receiver.
This person is someone who is a bit selective and it's hard to know what will be a good match for them.
Happily, it turned out far nicer than if I had planned it.  And the words and images on it felt like a good fit for the person.
Thanks intuition!

The backgrounds on both sides were done using a fun technique with plastic wrap and markers that I promise I will try to post about soon!  It works very well on thin paper without warping it but has a much more natural feel than if I tried to actually colour the background with markers.

The blue border on the darker side was done with the edge of a stamp I carved from an vinyl eraser with my new favourite toy: the Speedball Linoleum Cutter.
It feels about a million times better than using an exacto knife :-)

May 25, 2010

Slow Journalling on Conflict

A big thank you to Tammy of Daisy Yellow for introducing me to her style of Slow Journalling.  I found that I came to a deeper understanding of what I was journalling about than if I had written in the normal way. 
The care and time that it took to make my letters fit the varying sizes of space brought me more into the present and somehow, at the same time, tuned me into my intuition more.

Have you ever tried Slow Journalling?
At first it didn't appeal to me at all but I decided to try it and really enjoyed it.  It was a good stretch for me.

May 18, 2010

Grunge Star Rubbed Impression Page with Ink Pads and Cereal Box Stars

Did you save the shapes you cut out from the cereal box template project?
If not, you may end up cutting out shapes just to make fun pages like this one!

How To:

Lay a piece of thinner paper (ie printer paper) on a totally flat surface.

Take a stamp ink pad and lightly rub it and drag it around the page until you like how it looks.  *If you have an almost dried out ink pad this will be very easy.
All of mine are newer and the trick to prevent big blotches is to have the pressure so light there's almost none... and keep it moving!*

Repeat with as many colours as you like - preferably working from lighter to darker if you care about contaminating the lighter pads with darker colours.

When you like how it looks, take your cereal box shapes and lie them under the paper.

Take an ink pad of a darker colour (or the same as the most dark you have used so far) and rub over top of the paper in the area of the edges of the shapes until you like how it looks!

So simple and easy!

In the basic image above I just used 2 colours and only used the cereal box shapes on the final layer but you can play around to make this much more saturated, with shapes on various layers like this:

It only takes minutes to do but be warned - it's so much fun it can be addictive!
Now I just need a project to use these pages... which I will likely have way too many of soon :-)

If you do something like this and post on your blog or site, please let me know in the comments!  I'd love to share the links for readers.

May 14, 2010

How To Make A Drawing Template From A Cereal Box

Some people can draw crisp, clean shapes freehand.
Not I.

If I want a reliable, nicely drawn shape or line, I use a drawing template or ruler.
These are normally made from stiff plastic and are very durable.
At the moment, I have ones for circles, ovals and curvy lines.
I have been wanting ones for stars but am on a budget and felt like I couldn't justify the cost.
Instead, I decided to try making one from an old cereal box!
It won't be quite as durable as a plastic one but when it becomes unusable, I can simply recycle it and make another.

I used a cereal box but you could use any thick, firm 'boxboard' such as a facial tissue box, cookie box etc.  It needs to be thicker than cardstock paper.  I don't think this would work well with corrugated cardboard - it may be too flexible.

If you can draw well, you can draw shapes directly on the cereal box.
Or you can do as I did and print out shapes to use (many free templates can be found by searching Google with words like "free printable templates").
If printing, cut loosely around the shapes, leaving some of the printer paper around the shape - this will help you know where you have cut because the printer paper will be cut away.
In the picture below, the star on the right has already been cut out though I haven't popped out the piece yet.

Attach the shapes to the cereal box with a dab of gluestick.  This makes sure the paper doesn't slip while you are cutting.  You don't need to glue every bit of it though you can if you want.
Make sure you leave space between the shape and the edge of the cereal box - this will help the template be stronger.

Using a sharp exacto or utility knife, carefully cut along the outline of the shape.
I know you know this but I have to say, "Please be careful not to cut yourself!  Keep fingers, thumbs and other body parts out of the path of the knife" ;-)
I use a metal ruler as a guide - the cork that is normally on the back of these rulers has been removed so that it lies perfectly flat to the paper.
Cut from the outside edges of the shape towards the centre - that way you don't have to worry if you cut a bit too far - the extra cut will be into the centre piece that will be discarded at the end.
When you are done cutting around the shape, gently press from the bottom up to loosen the centre piece.
*If there are bits of the corner still attached, carefully cut them with an exacto knife.  Pop out the shape, trim any rough bits, trim the edges off the cereal box, recycle the scraps (or use them for one of the ideas mentioned below) and you're done!

In this second picture you can see the utility knife I switched to when I realised my exacto wasn't sharp enough to cut easily.  You can also see a 15-point star I drew using the small star template.
I still have room on this template to ad a few small stars.

*This template could be made stronger by gluing 2 layers of cereal box together.*

If you didn't cut too far into the centre of the shapes, you can use them for other crafts!

Here's one fun way I've used them so far:
Grunge Star Rubbed Impression Page

Other Possibilities: 
  • collage on one side of the shapes and glue into an art journal page
  • collage both sides and hang from a string somewhere just for fun
  • cover both sides in some kind of pretty handmade or cardstock paper, decorate with sequins, beads, jewels etc... hang on a string
  • glue onto canvas before painting to add depth/dimension
Do you have any other ideas for using the cut-out shape?
Tips to make this template process better/different?
Did you try this and post on your blog?
Please share in the comments area :-)

May 12, 2010

Collaged Sketchbook Cover, Art Journal Page Backgrounds

After using it for a while, I decided that the plain brown cover of my ecojot sketchbook was crying out to be made colourful!
Here's the result... which I will likely add more to over time:

And here are a few glimpses of what's inside.

This page was intended to be a background for art journalling but when it was done, I liked it so much that I couldn't write on it!  So I added a little piece in the centre and it stands alone.

Techniques used include dragging dye-based ink pads across the paper, shading in white parts with chalk pastels, border made with a rubber stamp and then coloured in with pens and markers.  The background of the centre piece is made by lightly turning an ink pad in a complete circle.  The idea for using ink pads on background came from the wonderful post Creating Colorful Journal Pages by Aimee of Artsyville.  I am in love with her vibrant blog!  You can also see a video that shows this technique and a few more here:  Art Journal Page Backgrounds

Done on a piece of paper and glued into sketchbook.
The above page was done when I was using wetter background techniques... which caused the thin paper to warp.  I've come up with a great technique that avoids this problem and will post about it soon.
Yet another piece where I suddenly found I didn't want to fill in the sky with words.  Though I did write in metallic pen on the bottom part.
Alphabet stamps found at a dollar store.  Tree stamp was purchased, bird stamp was hand carved from a vinyl eraser (so much fun!).  If flipped around, it can stamp waves/water :-)

May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Poem

I've been doing so much more creating since spring has sprung but, as you've noticed, not much in the way of actualyl taking photos and posting here!  I hope to remedy that soon.
I'd love to get a scanner to make uploading much easier (my camera is not the greatest and I get frustrated with the poor quality).

This month's CED theme is Intuition - a theme close to my heart.
On Sunday my intuition spoke up and let me know there was a piece of prose just waiting to come out as a gift of appreciation for my mom.

Thankfully I listened to that intuitive voice and stopped what i was doing to write!

Here it is (it doesn't rhyme :):

It's Because Of You, Mom

Children learn best by watching and experiencing
not by being told.

Therefore, what makes a great mom has nothing to do with parenting 'skills'
and everything to do with the kind of person they are.
That is what their children learn to be.
It's because of you, Mom,
That your children are the kind of people who
hold doors for strangers,
tip waitresses,
save worms after rainstorms
and encourage their friends to contribute to food banks.

It's because of you, Mom,
that your children are people who know it's
polite to say please and thank you,
rude to stare,
would never dream of butting in line ahead of someone!

It's because of you, Mom,
that your children are people who
are considerate of the elderly, the disabled, the infirm
treat animals and plants with respect.

It's because of you, Mom,
that your children are good people.

A greater gift I cannot imagine.

Thank you,
from the bottom of my heart,
for who I am.

May 7, 2010

I Won A Giveaway! Yay!

I'm so excited!

I just won my first giveaway that was put on by Rachel - a fellow Creative Every Day participant.
She blogs at Curls O Fred and her own words speak far better than mine would to her process there:
"As an attempt to express, process, and grieve after the loss of my daughter who was stillborn due to placental abruption at 30 weeks, this blog will be my words, pictures, paintings, drawings in my long journey away from a mere existence to true living again."
Her words and works of art regularly move me.  I am inspired by her determination to move toward truly living life again while still honouring her loss and grief.

I won an awesome bookmark and magnet that will be wonderful reminders of Rachel's indomitable spirit (and hopefully motivate me to pull myself up out of the mental muck and self-pity that I let myself get mired in so often).

You can go here to see the beautiful, vibrant pieces offered in the giveaway: Curls O Fred Giveaway
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