Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whimsical Birds

I received a new book for Christmas called "Birds - The Art of Ornithology", and has wonderful images of birds drawn/painted by different people over the years. I have always wanted to learn how to draw birds, and have drawn a couple over the past year, but this book has made me want to draw more. It isn't that I necessarily want to make them look realistic..... but rather I like to make them look a bit whimsical - which I think the bird above is... he is a bit "off" from real, and came from a couple of different bird images in my new book.

This is the head of a Cotton Pygmy Goose that, according to my book, is or was found in Asia and Northern Australia. Unfortunately it doesn't say if the bird still exists or if it is now extinct, as the picture I used as a reference was painted in the 1700's. The artwork in the book is lovely, and I believe will inspire me to draw more pictures of birds - but for me to find out more information about the birds, I will need to do some research.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gifts in the Mail!

The day before Christmas I recieved two lovely gifts in the mail. The first package was from Mystele, from a trade we did. She sent me a lovely ornament, a print of a wonderfully smiling girl, and a package of paper cut outs (they are all wonderful, but the binoculars are my favourite!)

I also received a beautiful quilted postcard from Chris. It was from the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap that I blogged about before. I was fortunate to receive 2 postcards from Chris!

When I got these packages in the mail, it made me smile and think "its just like Christmas!" and then realized oh yah it is Christmas!

I hope it was Merry for everyone!

P.S. I was thrilled to receive from my husband a online course with Misty Mawn that starts in January (and a new hockey stick!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Pretty Little Book

Teabags with flowers, leaves, seeds and

material laminated between became the cover....

When held to the light the teabags are translucent and showcase the embedded items....

The pages inside are crisp pieces of vellum that are also translucent

and therefore if I end up writing in this book it will probably just be on one side of the page....

This featherweight book may end up standing around looking pretty rather than getting written in....perhaps it is that type of book - we will wait and see.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy New Year! - well almost

I decided this year to transform this Christmas tree skirt (which I bought for just under $8)
- It was a nice big one, and not too fancy... just what I was looking for.
So I took it, and added many layers of paint, and ink, and then stamped on it with foam stamps

Here you can see a close up of the many many paint/ink layers.
But I wasn't going to use it for a tree skirt.....

Last night our family had a new years gala - it is difficult to have it at new years, as so many things are happening, so we gathered last night for our family gala. And as all of our family gala's go this one had a dress code.

the dress code was whimsical formal, with an emphasis on the extravagent and silly.

Well although my dress was not all that extravagant, (what can you expect from a $8 tree skirt covered in paint) it was silly and lots of fun.

The gala was great fun, with an emphasis on silly........
not sure when I will get to wear a tree skirt again!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Pendants

I have been busy making things, but most of it is things I can't share until later (you know Christmas and surprises and all)

But I did decide to chance it and show you these pendants I made. I am hoping to make a bracelet that incorporates the small clock, but I am not sure yet - it may become part of a necklace. But the last one in the picture, will be a pendant for my sister in law. It contains a picture of her mother (my mother in law) from when she was a little girl.

Here is the beautiful picture it came from.... and yes Oma is now 91 years old!
And now I must go and get it finished and in the mail

Friday, December 10, 2010

Postcard Swap

A while ago Beth Nicholls hosted a postcard swap, and I participated. The theme was home, so I took a picture of the mountains I live beside, carved a stamp of a rustic little house to use, and sewed on some mini images. It was fun to make.... and then I mailed it off to Florida.

Yesterday, my postcard arrived from Alabama. A quilter named Chris Wheeler made it for me. I was thrilled to get it, as I was beginning to think it must have gotten lost in the mail! On the back Chris wrote: Meet Henrietta my chicken we had for a year, and one day she did not come home. Thanks so much Chris!

If you want to see more of the postcards that were created check out this link.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creating With What You Have On Hand

This lovely miniature chair was made out of slices of a black walnut shell. It was made many years ago, and I treasure it.
My grandparents made it. They made many wonderful things, and mostly out of whatever they had on hand. They rarely bought supplies for their creations, but used whatever they had at hand. Growing up I loved to go to their house and see what they had made or were making.

They have been gone for many years, but I know part of my love for making things out of whatever I have on hand is partly due to them. I found this newspaper clipping about them in my belongings in the past year, and it hangs on a beam in my studio.

These coconut shell faces that they made also hang on a beam in my home. Together they made so many things - ships in bottles, carved book holders, wooden men that danced jigs, owls, family chains etc. My grandpa often did the carving, while my grandma did the painting. I remember my grandma telling me the hours went by so quickly when she was creating things. I too feel the same way. I also love to make things out of whatever comes my way.

This book was made out of things I found in the recycling box where I work. Someone had put in an old flower field guide. Many pages were cut out of it, but many were still in tact, and I used those pages for the covers of some books.

At the same time there was a package of old posters (wonderful thick paper) that hadn't been used. The posters had text and images on one side, but the other side was blank. And so the posters came home with me too, and I cut them down and sewed them together to become the pages in this book.

This little booklet/card and envelope were also made using those old posters. My old sewing machine (the one my mother used to sew my clothes when I was young), has spent quite a bit of time sewing these posters!

When I started making books, I collected old books that were heading for recycling, and recovered the covers to make new covers. But it bothered me that I wasn't using the pages. Then I got an idea to cover the old pages with acrylic paint, and they could be written on again.... and that is what this book is made from. One tip for anyone thinking about trying this is to use a ball point pen rather than a felt pen for writing on the pages. I wrecked a lot of felt tip pens before I figured that out!
And so I continue my grandparents tradition of making things out of whatever I have on hand. This past summer I scooped a box of old campground envelopes out of the recycling bin, and ideas of how I am going to use them have been swirlying around in my head ever since.
I can't wait to have some time to play with them!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paper Christmas Stockings

For Christmas this year, my husband wanted to send stockings full of presents to his sister and family. When we went to buy stockings, I decided that I should make them instead of buying them - and because I prefer to sew paper to material, I decided to make them out of paper.
To make them I got big pieces of heavish paper - they were actually old posters that I have saved and used for various projects. I painted on a thin layer of water on the white side of the paper, and then drew with bottles of water based inkers, and let the ink run. I continued to move the ink around by using my paint brush to spread the colour. I then let the sheets dry, and stamped with foam stamps and white craft paint.
When everything was dry, I cut out stocking shapes, ensuring the stockings were wide enough in the curved area that we could put in the presents. I reinforced the top of the stocking by gluing in an extra layer of heavy paper , and then I sewed them together - and added a bit of detail with a black marker.
I like them much better than the store bought stockings.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pictures From Inside

It is -42 degrees outside today, and the sunshine is limited. I was in the middle of cleaning up when I looked out the window, to see the bit of sunlight we get on these winter days, and picked up my camera.

The sun coming through the branches was lovely, so staying inside so my camera and I would both stay warm, I took a few pictures.

The light was only there for a few minutes, but it was beautiful when it was there.

And now I have to get back to my cleaning, and if the day warms up ten degrees or so, we will be driving the 100 miles(one way) to take my daughters to thier hockey game. Otherwise, I may have some time to make some Christmas gifts!