Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy May Day!

I was thinking about this May Day project two months ago, but when do I start it? Two days before! Better late than never, eh? Last night I worked like a person posessed because I knew exactly what materials I wanted to use and how I wanted the finished door hangers to look.
The ingredients are: vintage newspaper (spray glued down on card stock for stability), hand tinted crepe paper (start with white, soak the roll in water, puddle red water color paint over the top for an uneven tint to seep through the roll, gently squish out excess moisture, set to dry on a heat vent- the result looks like the gentle tint of pink rose petals); ribbon (I had brown laying around) and lots of grungy, old buttons (I steered away from the white ones- brown was more dramatic).

I assembled the cone with a stapler and hot glued the embellishments, because I was too impatient to wait for slow drying glue. The tag was done on my current favorite typewriter (I own three).
This morning I filled each cone with some Hershey's kisses bundled in white tissue paper and then tucked in a small posy of spriggy silk flowers. I can't wait until tomorrow to deliver them!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Junk Journal

I have been going nuts making these journals. This one is for Margaret in NM, because she couldn't participate in the cereal box journal swap with school and all. And April 29 just happens to be her birthday so I had added incentive to get this journal made quickly! Her favorite colors are in the blue/ green family so when I found a cheese and bread stick snack box with those colors, the inspiration struck immediately! The graphics made me think of the pool and beach ("splashy" colors) so I unearthed a photo album I garbage picked from a neighbor when she was tossing her deceased ex-husband's stuff. The pool photos from the 1970s seem perfect! Cheesy!

This bathing diva's suit is the perfect color for this project and don't you love the zany camera angle? I covered up the box's unwanted graphics with fractal foil stars I cut from a mylar sticker sheet.

Inside the journal I included a couple plastic sleeves of embellishments since I don't know what Margaret has left of her art stash (she sent me a box load of it about a year ago when she was cleaning things out). I included metal fly screening, puzzle pieces (in blues and greens), vintage postage stamps, scraps of Chinese newspaper and Chinese fortunes, a silver toned house key, mother of pearl buttons, shell and star shaped sequins, etc, etc. One page in the book (tipped in) is made of clear Easter grass (gift shred) run through a laminator for a glistening water look.

Other pages are made of grocery bags, old ledger pages, and some atlas maps of the oceans -to keep the blue theme going. I also included a piece of loose marbelized paper just because I had it (I had a good time rummaging through little used boxes and folders of stuff in my studio).
Now go get some junk and make someone's day!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

No Naked Envelopes!

They have to leave the house addressed AND dressed! This envelope holds a cereal box journal for a Christian Paper Artists swap. The brooch is just to disguise my address for the photo- it's not traveling with the envelope (silly!)
Large shoe stamp, Limited Edition c. 1999 (suffice to say- you won't find it easily. I got mine in a stamp lot on ebay).

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Life as a Post Mistress

I have the rare privilege of working in a time capsule. I work very part time (normally 3 hours a week- Saturday mornings only) as a PMR (Post Master Replacement) at my local post office, just a block from my house. I often walk to work. The front lobby is all modern business and even the back room, you see just past the open window, looks mostly up to date. But there are timeless treasures hidden among the modernizations. I have the joy of collecting mail from the outside box secured with ancient padlocks that require an equally ancient flat key to open (my favorite key).
When the sales window is slow, I explore in the storage room- often to get acquainted with where certain supplies are squirreled away, but also to revisit the past- when a typewriter was used to fill out forms and twine was used to secure brown paper wrapped packages. Balls of string are still stored in a drab green metal cabinet along with a rubber stamp holder that I secretly think would make a wonderful steam punk Christmas tree. There are also lots of ancient, wooden handled rubber stamps, brittle with age; their once important impressions now long past useful, to anyone that is, accept a collage artist. ;)

Some things I wish I could take home, like the "Giant" Apsco pencil sharpener that has the dial that lets you sharpen any size pencil -even those jumbo pre-school pencils! The paint spatters on its metal casing and probable dull blades do not detract from its mystical abilities to transport me to another time when getting up from a school desk to sharpen a dull pencil was a welcomed break from book work. And the smell of a newly sharpened pencil? Heavenly! In the present, with everything written in permanent ink or documented on computer, the Giant is relegated to perpetual storage.
Finally, there are the lovely, yellowed ledgers and other documents, still stored in a filing cabinet, forgotten by past Post Masters and never discovered by the current Post Mistress. Book keeping from the 1950s kept because no one has had the courage to throw out "government property", yet also no one has bothered to find out if the Smithsonian is needing to fill gaps in its small town Post Office collection. Hee hee! One ledger is even burnt on 3 sides, showing evidence of surviving Corder's Main Street fire in 1956.
WHY is all of this still kept? It just kills me to be so close to an altered artists' gold mine and not be able to touch it. Well, I can touch it, hold it, admire it. But then I have to put it back.
I thank God I work here. He knew it would feed my spirit.
And how can I not be inspired?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cereal Box Art Journals

I have collected cardboard packaging for a couple years, mainly for the warm brown interior than for the funky graphics (although Yogi teas and other tea companies have gorgeous packaging), but have only just now found an outlet for my obsession. Cereal box art journals! Cindy Ericsson at Christian Paper Artists was inspired by a blog post she discovered about a Teesha and Tracy Moore workshop and in just 3 days 17 women signed up for the one-on-one swap Cindy offered to host. Here's what I came up with for my journal(s)- because I couldn't make just one.

You can tell I don't consume beautiful, organic foods, but art can be made from anything and this is one project that literally defines "Trash to Treasure", because I invested in no materials. I literally salvaged things that would have been thrown out. Fifty years from now, this packaging will look quaint and the journal will be a time capsule. I used a cereal box for a base and sewed other packaging on top, using the largest zig zag stitch on my sewing machine and managed to not break a needle in the process- sewing through as many as 3 layers at once!

Interior pages are made up of grocery bags (sturdy and will hold up to paint and glue), pages from an atlas (also sturdy) and pages from a carpet salesman's book (huge pages with measurement conversion tables, graphs and floor plans). I bound the whole mess by pounding holes into my stack of paper through the spine of the cover with a hammer and nail (I do not own a Gator punch or hoity toity Japanese screw punch- ha ha) and sewed it (literally with a carpet needle) with vintage fish line (the weight of waxed linen and the strength of a Spartan).
These are so fun to make and the posssibilities are only limited by the materials- which are abundant. ha! I hope to make a lunch bag journal using an onion soup box for the covers (they are about the right dimension) and everyone I know will eventually get one of these, whether they want one or not! heehee Now go rifle through your pantry, finish up the cereal remnants and make some art!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter, Friends!

My mother did eggery long ago- a popular craft in the late 1970s, so when I saw this kitschy gem at the thrift store, I could not pass it up! It IS made from a real chicken egg, by the way.

And a sneak peak at the friendship tag swap I took part in with Patty, Margaret, Linda and Carole.

They got mailed today. Now to clean my house! We are hosting Easter for the Fam this year. I don't ususally volunteer, because I hate to clean, but my sister-in-law asked, so I said, "no problem" (it forces me to clean!)
Happy Easter, Friends!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Spring comes to a small town.
Photo by my four year old, Rebecca.
She was taking a picture of her grandma.
And that might be Grandpa's Harley parked on the street.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More ATC Paper Dolls

How many dolls do you see?

Friend-ship is symbiotic.

One friend lends a hand, while the other lends her shoes.

And both fold up neatly for (incognito) travel.
Now go make some art!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Library Pocket Card Skinny Books

Are these not Zutterly fantastic? Linda completely indulged me by generously binding a bunch of my library pocket cards as 2 skinny books. Linda even went through the trouble of finding the best titles for the covers- the skinny book standing up has the title, "Of Colors and Things" and the one lying down has the title, "Rebecca's Nap" (amazing, since I just stuffed a bunch of cards into an envelope for her, not looking at titles!) Inside, each book title is a sort of prompt. I can't wait to start playing in my skinny books! You can be sure that I will be posting the results!