Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The beauty of November

November in Michigan ...
  •  the trees have flung most of their leaves in crunchy heaps on the ground.
  • the days are cooler and the nights can be downright COLD!
  • we know, oh how we know, that winter winds and snow and bitter cold are just around the corner.
But in spite of the raking and shivering and dread that curbs our enthusiasm for November, there are beautiful things that happen. And occasionally, they are captured in full color.

That sky! The last stubborn leaves that just won't let go. The promise of milkweed for years to come.

...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28-29

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Splatters and flower frogs

Sometimes the conventional wisdom doesn't work.

A few of the conventional ways to get paint splatters on artwork are:
  1. Use a toothbrush or stiff bristle brush and pull your finger across the bristles. Bristles up or down... your choice. 
  2. Dip a small paintbrush in paint. Hold the brush a few inches above the surface to be splattered - parallel to that surface - and and tap the handle against a pencil or the finger of your other hand.
  3. Dip a straw into your paint and then blow through the straw. 
The nice thing about splatters are that they are unpredictable. The bad thing about splatters is that they are unpredictable.

If you are trying to make them happen in close proximity to text ... yikes. Unpredictable is not good. So what's a person to do? Improvise...

Meet my perfect supposed-to-look-like-snowflakes-among-the-tree-branches tool.

An old, rusty, and obviously much used flower frog. No doubt this is the first time that it has been used for paint, but  now that I know what can be accomplished ... it won't be the last time! It produced everything I needed - controlled splatter, texture, speed!

I am looking at my collection with fresh eyes. I wonder... ?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coils and punches, paper and glue!

I'm really enjoying this venture into book making. I like what has happened so far, but my goal at the moment is to have spiral bound blank pages in a hard cover.... preferably one of the old book covers that seem to accumulate around here.

So I pulled out my coil binding machine, ordered coils large enough to accommodate my desired number of pages, and went to work on a small trial version. I decided to make it a sketchbook - one that I could give as a gift - if it turned out. 

The covers are cut from a lightweight cardboard box that is covered with gel-plate printed, crumpled and flattened, kraft paper.

Plan A was to punch the cardboard covers with my Rubicoil. Plan B, I discovered, involved using my beloved hand punch and achieving a 4:1 punch pattern very very carefully.

The Rubicoil was perfect for punching the hand cut stack of watercolor paper and colored card stock (including a few collaged with old dictionary pages)..... as long as I didn't try to do too many at once. After that it was a matter of twisting the coil through the papers and covers, cutting the coil just right, finished!

collaged page

front cover - inside

I can't say this was easy. There were soooo many miscalculations and mistakes. But in the end, I just love this little book. It's beautiful. The spiral works just like it should. 

Will I be able to transfer all of this experience into the spiral-bound-hard-covered-book of my dreams? Hmm. Time will tell. Right now? I'm happy. 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians1:6

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another Journal

I finished another journal a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday was the day of delivery.

The cover was part of my Hollander's haul. Every square inch a beautiful piece of paper. This was just a corner.

The inside cover with a verse to inspire and encourage. 

I made an envelope (a learning experience from resizing the pattern to making sure stripes were straight) for holding, ummm, I don't know! She can decide!!!

Another decorative paper page in among the vintage ledger paper. A happy page.

The back cover -cut from the same piece of paper but so different. 

I do love to make these books. I already have more book boards are cut and ready to go ... but I also have cards that I need to finish. Too much fun for a single human to deal with!

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4

Friday, June 24, 2016


Notes to self:
  1. Nothing stays the same.
  2. Be genuinely interested in the people around you.
  3. It's not about you.
  4. Learn to do things ... and don't ever stop learning.
  5. Love the Lord with all your heart and mind and soul.
  6. Find a reason to be thankful ... no matter what is happening.
  7. Growing old can be beautiful. 
Clematis vine in my yard late May -

The same vine this week -

Oh so different, but such a joy to discover.

The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mission accomplished

My big project for last week was to make a journal. I made a similar book for myself a couple of years ago, so this was a bit of a rerun, but different enough to require checking the instructions often.

Cover paper is handmade paper from Hollanders. 

Inside pages are vintage ledger paper cut to size. The pages are as different from each other as possible - accomplished by individually cutting each piece of paper in order to move the numbers, headers and footers around.

I even found a way to include one of my favorite prints from my gelatin plate. A fun way to end the book.

The best part of the project is that it was a request from my grandson. He needed a journal for notes from his Bible study. This made the effort pure joy.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psalm 119:9

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Duties and delights

There are times when the duties and responsibilities of life - even when it isn't your own life - seem to crush any creative thoughts.

The moments for paint, paper, fingers sticky with gel mediums ... beauty(!)... are crowded out by decisions regarding nursing homes, wheelchairs, and money. The serious nature of the latter pushes out the sheer joy of the former.

But I have discovered in recent months, that the creative spirit is a force that will not be squelched by overwhelming duties. How do I know?

The meals around this house have been as varied as the colors in my paint box. Creativity will seep through, like flood waters that will not be held back.

Life is beginning to return to normal here. There is time to look around, and be astonished, and enjoy the beauty of God's amazing creation. It was always there. I just forgot to pay attention.

Silly me.

Rejoice evermore. I Thessalonians 5:16

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thrifty homemade helpers

When my dearly beloved and I travel, we love to shop antique, thrift and junk stores. He has treasures that he hunts and I just hunt.

Most of my hunting consists of finding things to use in my art. One thing I love is the old wood handled message stamps once used by businesses. My growing collection has made me long for a rotating holder to keep them all in one location. It was hard to contain my reserved, cool exterior when I found this treasure. Best of all, it came with 4 stamps and cost $8.

 Happy ... that's what I am. Well... happy and organized.

A week later, another city, another store, I found this stamp with its ominous warning from a nameless insurance company. For $1 I could not resist adding it to my new holder.

I love the look of the small font text, but the message was too blatant. There had to be a way to push the message to the background without doing damage the stamp. So... I taped together - in random fashion - a few of the little scraps of paper ... 

used them as a mask and "yay!"... the fading of the You-are-hereby-cancelled message.

And, while I was finding uses for little scraps of paper, I discovered that punching squares makes quite an interesting, not quite so factory perfect, mini stencil. When I wear this out, I know just where to get a new one! Best of all, I can use this on anything without buying permission.

It's personally encouraging to make something that is completely original, your own brain-child. Makes me want to do it again.

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9