Monday, September 29, 2014

NATURE'S BLESSINGS JOURNAL PAGES...(EDIT ADDED)

“Isn't it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.” 

― Maud Hart LovelaceBetsy in Spite of Herself

EDIT:  At the end of this post I gave a link to an online class, please note that the designs you are seeing on this post are mine and NOT from the class.  The class is primarily on making variations of journal covers, some page examples are given as well as a lot of really nice printables to use in your designs.  I apologize for any confusion.

I recently had a little fun creating some journal pages for a swap, A Journal of Nature's Blessings, hosted by Karla of Karla's Cottage.  Participants were to make 6 signatures, the base being 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. folded in half to make four layouts per signature.  At least half of the journal pages were to be usable for the recipient to write, sketch, or collect/store special mementos. I used a series of pullouts, hidden journal note/sketch books, tags, and pockets to provide plenty of recording and storing space.  Inspiration for the page designs were to be our interpretation of nature's blessings.

My main ingredient for all my pages was glitter, lots and lots and lots of glitter, a whole container of glitter!  I was in a glitter kind of mood.  If you have followed my blog for very long and like to play "I Spy" you might see tidbits of past projects, supply stashes I made up, even tags or pages from my art journal recycled into the nature journal pages.  For instance on the layout below you might spy hand dyed/ stamped ribbons as well as skirts and wings from a fairy cupcake topper class I did a way back when.

Page inspiration:  Watching my grandchildren chase butterflies and pick dandelions, the awe, the wonder, and the joy of simple natural pleasures.

Page inspiration:  I spent the summer watching a robin family build a nest in the wisteria bush just outside my studio window, three tiny eggs rested in the nest and it was pure delight to watch the little hatch-lings feed, chirp, grow downy little feathers and finally gain their independence and leave the nest. 


Page inspiration:  Seasonal changes, autumn and winter, crisp frosty autumn mornings and glimmer snow dusted winter days, colorful foliage and falling snowflakes, the twitter of birds at the feeders.


Page inspiration:  Purple cone flowers and the large lilac bush blooming in my grandmothers garden where butterflies collect in profusion sipping natures nectar.


Page inspiration:  A color filled botanical garden stroll where every flower imaginable bloomed in profusion and the air was punctuated with bird song.


Page inspiration:  A little yellow warbler I photographed while strolling down a country lane, yellow sunshine and flowers spilling into the roadside, the sparkle of water from the creek crossing, patches of cool leafy green shade that provided resting places to admire the brilliant blue sky.


Page inspiration:  Cool ocean tones of blues, greens, and tans that mimic surf, sky, and sand...vacation at the shore where collecting shells, sending post cards, and watching seagulls sail are a few of my favorite past times. 



Page inspiration:  An abandoned fallen nest I found over the summer with three tiny eggs in it, I watched it for days to see if the mother bird would return but sadly she did not.  I collected the little natural wonder and saved it.


Page inspiration:  A colorful quilt patch that reminded me very much of the paper pattern, a quilt that was carried on many childhood picnics where clover chains were made and worn as jewelry, tasty treats were consumed, and softly slipping into naps on my favorite flower patch while listening to the cadence of my grandmothers voice as she told the cousins and I stories.  Sweet memories.


Page inspiration:  The simple pleasure of a walk in nature exploring, observing, collecting, something I have done since childhood.


Page inspiration:  Pockets and pictures, it seems I never set out to explore my natural surroundings without a handy pocket or a means of snapping a photo.  My pockets fill with little tidbits especially found feathers and I snap happily at whatever catches my eye.  I have recently framed some of my nature art to decorate my home.


Page inspiration:  The Victorians, during the Victorian era there was a surge of artistic representation of the natural world.  They had an entire language and symbolism of flowers, much poetry of that era reflects upon nature, painters created pastoral scenes, there was an emotional attachment to the things of nature.  Quaint children, chubby cherubs, and dancing fairies frolicking in natural settings were often depicted on fashionable greeting or calling cards.  The study of natural science became in vogue, private collections of natural specimens became popular, quite observation, recording and/or painting or drawing of observations resulted in nature journals. 


I can't wait to receive my swap pages in return!
I hope you all enjoy a fantastic week.

Blessings,
Sandy

P.S.  FYI: Karla has created a very affordable ($15.00) fantastic tutorial for how she is making all the journal covers plus page examples for creating your own unique treasure, if you would like to check it out you can find the details HERE.   I just purchased the class, I love learning new tips, tricks, and techniques from other artist I admire.  The cover she has created for this particular project is for sale also if you would like to purchase a pre-made cover ($30.00) to fill with your own pages.  If you would like one of the pre-made class examples she will be listing those for sale soon also.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

GIVE AWAY WINNERS...


I would venture to bet that some of you were wondering if I were ever going to choose a winner or winners for the input on choosing a tag line for my blog.  I chose not to choose just one person or even a couple of people, I mean how could I choose a winner when I am still pondering the idea myself.  So what is a girl to do if she has yet to take any of the suggestions?  One thing is to decided on a winner...You ALL win!


If  you were one of the 20 responses to this post, please access the email link on my sidebar to send me a mailing address.  Each of you will receive an ephemera and embellishment inspiration kit from my studio, lots of fun goodies to kick start your art.  I will be contacting you all individually through your comments in addition to this posting.  Congrats! 

Why the delay in announcing?  I had to make up the kits first :)

Thank you for all the wonderful feed back!

Many Blessings,
Sandy

Friday, August 15, 2014

DEFINING MY BLOG GIVE AWAY....

GIVE AWAY  CLOSED
How does one sum up the purpose or content of ones blog in 10 simple succinct words to make it clear, understandable, relate-able,  leaving a positive impression of what it has to offer the reader?   The simple answer would be to have a good tag line.  The hard part is coming up with one.  I recently contacted my sweet friend and blog designer extraordinaire, Karen Valentine of Valentine Design and My Desert Cottage, to give my tired blog a fresh new look and she did just that.  Now I need to define the focus of my blogging.  That is where I need your help...please, pretty please, pretty pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?
Truth be told you only have a few seconds to make an impression on your reader and for them to get the content of your blog, hence the tag line.  Tag line:  a memorable phrase or sentence that is closely associated with a particular person. (ex: NIKE - Just Do It!)  I am looking for a tag line that will help define my blog content but also capture my artistic style and passion for words.
I am a self-taught mixed media Indie artist, hobbyist nature photographer, and word smith.  I consider this blog my online journal where my individual creativity and imagination are expressed in visual form of mixed media art (primarily collage, fiber & textile arts, book arts, and jewelry) and the written word.   I draw much of my inspiration from my natural surroundings and personal life story collections to marry art and words in one mixed media style or another.
Long walks and deep silences help me to get in tune with my intuitive creative self.  A saunter through nature with camera in hand connects me with creation which is an endless fount of inspiration of texture, shape, and color combination.  Many natural forms turn up as personal imagery in my work such as leaves, nests, birds, feathers, flowers, etc. My artistic style often incorporates vintage textiles, ephemera, and/or images, found objects, hand made embellishments, and careful attention to detail combined with text.
Here is where I need your help. Tag line ideas please!  For now I have my favorite art quote under my blog banner but I want to replace it with a tag line.  My first thought was to use the greatest compliment I have ever been given about the way I see my world..."She sees art in everything..."  But I thought that might be a bit general so I could tack something on the end like "She sees art in everything...mixed media art with a story." or "She sees art in everything...narrative mixed media art." or "She sees art in everything...narrative mixed media creations."  I am not sure these are quite right either.

"She sees art in everything..."
"Nature based art with a story..."
"Art with a story..."
"Narrative mixed media art..."
"A mixed media journal..."
"Shared moments, shared creativity..."
"Inspired by imagination..."
"Slapped by a frog..."

Ok, that last one was just to see if you were paying attention.  Seriously, any of the above, none of the above, I am completely open to suggestions.  If I use your phrase or the idea of your phrase then I will send you (could be more than just one of you if I combine phrases or ideas) a jam packed art inspiration kit from my studio to get your creative juices going.  For those that are not chosen, I will draw a few extra names from the comments and send out kits to those as well.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment with a vote for one of the phrases above OR your phrase OR a 10 word or less sentence based on the above information I have given on who I am and what I create.  Any and all are eligible to enter, no standing on your head, linking, tweeting, or chirping required.

Thanks so much for your help and have a great weekend!

Blessings,
Sandy

P.S.  The photos are this weeks inspiration as I walked along a country roadside with masses of Black Eyed Susan's literally towering over me and spilling out into the roadway.  Exquisite!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

SONG OF HAPPINESS...



In a previous post I shared how I have been trying to pick up the pieces of a broken routine and found inspiration in a photo full of shards of broken bits.  I also showed the beginnings of a new piece of jewelry using one of those broken treasures.  I finally worked out the kinks in the enamel process and reworked the piece of ironstone until I got all the bubbles out of the surface and then the fun began to see how to turn a piece of pottery into wearable art...

I was inspired to use an image of a happy bright Eastern Blue Bird after weeks of trying to capture a photo of one of these winged beauties but it has eluded my camera lens.  It dips, dives, chirps, poses, and plays in the garden pond waterfall that is until I get out the camera.  He is a cocky little fellow who is happy to show off as long as I sit still observing, I guess he is camera shy.  Not being able to use his real image a copy from an old bird book was a good stand in...
Blue birds are said to be a symbol of love and happiness.  The feisty little blue bird flitting around my home has helped me to embrace the beauty, love, and happiness that creativity brings me.  Blue birds also connect me to my heritage of the Cherokee.  Blue Bird Medicine (in Cherokee: tsaquoladagi nvwati) was considered sacred for their blue color like the sky.  The Cherokee believed that at one time the birds were white or grey, then one day Bluebird found a lake up in the mountains, she bathed in it turning her feathers as blue as the sky.  They are considered messenger birds from the Great Spirit sent to teach lessons in admiration, love, contentment, hope, and happiness...
My lessons have been learned well this week as I have been a student of nature admiring the handy work of the Creator.  I have dipped into my love for creating something with my hands and found great contentment in my work.  My heart has been singing a song of happiness.  My hope has been renewed that broken things can indeed be made beautiful again...
Now, I am off to tackle a piece of bottle glass, until next time, wishing you all a song of happiness all your own.

blessings,
Sandy

Thursday, June 12, 2014

EMBELLISHED FABRIC BEAD TUTORIAL...

If you have spent any time hanging around my virtual studio you know I almost can't bear to throw away those delicious snippets and scraps of fabrics, fibers, and papers leftover from projects.  I am always looking for ways to use them up. One way I like to use extra fabric scraps is to make beads that can be used in jewelry making or mixed-media embellishment.  This not a new concept and there are various ways of making the beads, I thought I would share my preferred method with you.

BEAD MATERIALS:
* Bamboo Skewer
* Scraps of Fabric - generally a 4 to 6 inch piece - plain or printed cotton, muslin, and canvas all make good bead bases
* Aileen's Tacky Glue
* Spreader or Old Gift Card or Fake Credit Card or Small piece of stiff cardboard
* Wax Paper
* Printable Pattern (optional) - I usually just use my odd shaped scraps or free form cut them for shaped beads but for those who prefer a pattern the printable below works well for different shape beads of fabric or paper:
To print, right click on image, choose "save image as" on your drop down menu to save to your computer or choose "print" option and then print in your chosen print program.

BEAD EMBELLISHMENTS:
* 20, 24 or 26 Gauge Wire
* Wire Cutters
* Round Nose Pliers
* Seed or Small Beads
* Fibers
* Paper Snippets
* Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS:

* Cut, rip, or snip your fabric into a 3 to 6 inch long strip (the longer you make the strip the fatter your bead will be), be sure to use at least a 1 inch width (the wider your fabric is the longer your bead will be), you can play with the measurements to achieve different effects
* Roll one end of fabric scrap around bamboo skewer working an inch or so away from the pointed end of the skewer until skewer is completely covered. If using  printable pattern be sure to roll the flat cut end not the pointed one
* Add a small bead of glue, fabric to fabric, making sure not to get any on skewer, you don't want your bead glued to the stick
* Holding the rolled fabric gently in place, lay on wax paper, run a bead of glue down the center of the fabric from roll to loose end of fabric
* Use spreader, old gift card, or face credit card, or stiff cardboard and smooth glue from rolled end to loose end of fabric
* Gently lift and roll between thumb and finger to coil fabric around itself on the skewer, make sure you don't wind too tightly or bead will not be easily removed from skewer
* If needed dab excess glue from spreader on end of fabric strip and smooth to secure
* Gently slide bead off of skewer being careful not to disturb the shape and lay aside on piece of waxed paper to thoroughly dry
Once the beads are dry they are ready for embellishing.

EMBELLISHMENT:

* To embellish, slide dry bead back onto bamboo skewer, this will allow you to tightly embellish without losing the shape of the bead or narrowing the opening
* Using paper scraps, fabric scraps, or fibers, arrange around bead (optional)

FOR STRINGING BEADS:

* Cut a 16 inch  length of  24 or 26 gauge wire per bead, holding embellishments in place wrap one end of wire around bead and twist a couple of times to secure leaving a small tail of wire
* Add a seed or small bead, loop wire around bead, continue adding beads and wrapping until you like the look of your bead, wind wire back to beginning, beading the opposite side of the bead as you wrap. Twist wire ends to secure
*Clip off excess wire, use needle nose pliers to tuck clipped ends into bead OR for an added decorative touch twist ends of wire together to from a 1 inch or longer wire rope, clip off excess wire, with round nose pliers curl into a coil, flatten coil to bead

* Slide off of skewer and string.

FOR LINK BEADS:

* Cut a 16 in length of 20 or 24 gauge wire
* Form a loop in the wire using round nose pliers as shown leaving a 3 inch tail
* Wrap loose tail of wire around long end of wire 3 times
* Slide a small bead onto the wire, twist 3 or 4 times to secure, clip excess
* Slide fabric bead onto wire
* Add fiber embellish to bead if desired (optional)
(I did not do this step in the demo)
* Wrap wire in a coil form up the length of the bead as shown, you can add seed or small beads as you coil if desired, wrap wire twice under beginning bead and coil back to other end of bead
* When you reach the other end of the bead make another loop, slip on another small bead, wrap loose end of wired around 2 times above bead, then 2 times below bead as shown
* Going in the opposite direction, wrap wire in a coil back to starting bead, wrap loose end of wire twice under bead, clip excess
* Add jump rings or chain your own beads to use as a link

SEALING:

The beads dry very hard and are very durable, however, if you choose to use any paper embellishment or make paper beads you will need to seal them against moisture, there are several options:

* Clear non-yellowing spray sealer, use in well ventilated area
* Tacky glue or Matte Gel Medium or other durable craft glue thinned with a little water and brushed on
* Mod Podge brushed on
* Clear brush on non-yellowing varnish
I like to make a whole bunch of the bead bases up (warning: this can be addictive) and store them in a jar once they are dry, often preferring to embellish as I use them so I can customize them for whatever project I am working on.

That's a wrap, gotta roll (more beads that is), enjoy!

Blessings,
Sandy
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