February 29th and Another Card

February 29th is a special day for one per cent of the population who only get to celebrate their birthday every four years. I was commissioned to make a birthday card for a lady (B) who is celebrating her birthday for only the twenty-first time in eighty-four years. Her friend asked for a card that emphasized the fact that B. can now legally have an alcoholic drink, (based on a legal age of twenty-one).

Rooting through my stash of supplies I pulled out watercolour cardstock and Distress Oxide ink pads to create a card base.

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The colours were applied to the cardstock with a sponge, misting each colour with water and heat dried in between. Next, I chose a Tim Holtz stencil that I love but rarely use, to create a bit of texture.

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The ink was smeared through the stencil and misted lightly with water before lifting the stencil.

I chose a figure from one of the Tim Holtz paper doll collection that I thought might reflect the era when B. was a younger woman.A small calendar from one of the Tim Holtz ephemera packs seemed appropriate too. I  used a gel pen to draw a circle around the day and month. Next I typed out the words for the card front. All the components were glued to the card base with Alene’s Tacky Glue.

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Have a happy day!

Valentine Note Cards

Oh my, it’s been a long time since my last post. Life got in the way, as sometimes happens. However, I was  encouraged by a note attached to a Christmas card  from my DC to continue blogging.

Valentines Day was one of those “special days” that I looked forward to as a child because our teachers always let us have a party in the afternoon. It was filled with sweet treats and card exchanges. Some years we deposited our cards in a huge decorated box and other years we had made individual “mailbags” to receive cards.

One year, my mother sat me at the kitchen table to make cards for my friends. Construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons and paper doilies – it was a smorgasbord of craft supplies. I loved seeing my ideas come to life.  No matter the time and creativity that went into these cards, I don’t remember my classmates really liking them. They preferred the store bought cards with the cute sayings.

One morning last week I was exploring techniques with a Gelli Arts gel printing plate and acrylic paints. It was tremendous fun and I ended up with a pile of colourful abstract sheets of photocopy paper. I selected a few to cut apart and use as background for mixed media Valentines note cards. I  ran another sheet  through my Vagabond machine to cut out hearts. (A lot easier than using scissors! 🙂 )

These are for you:

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Have a Happy Day!

A Tale of Two Journeys

It had for many years been the dream of a DF to visit the country of her ancestors, the Ukraine. The opportunity arose this year when she was invited to join her Ukrainian immigrant friends on a visit to their homeland. Flights were booked, accommodations arranged and their three week journey began early in June.

My excitement for DF couldn’t have been greater and I am looking forward to hearing all about her adventures. Hopefully, she has taken hundreds of photos and kept a travel journal. Since I had just embarked on a journey of my own (making books), I thought she might like a “traveller’s notebook” style journal to encourage and help her along. There are dozens of ideas and tutorials available on Youtube about making travel journals, so after watching a few, I came up with the following.

The folio-style journal cover was made from an old hanging file folder covered with Tim Holtz’ “Eclectic Elements” fabric, chosen because of the map print.

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I added a Sizzix die cut to the inside cover for holding ticket stubs, stamps and other such snippets.

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Using cardstock and tea-dyed papers, I made three insert booklets. These were held in journal cover using elastic binding in a Midori style. I couldn’t stop  myself from inserting travel related quotes on several pages.

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Finally, I included a tag or two which DF could write on or use as book marks.Travel_journal-6

To my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day!

Crafting a Souvenir

Following our field trip to Graycliff I wanted to make a  souvenir/ gift for DC who initially had suggested the trip. Amongst the photos  taken were a few that included him which could have just been emailed, but I wanted to do something different.

Software was used to make the photos look  faded and vintage  before being  printed  on glossy paper. With inspiration from Youtuber Nik the Booksmith,  I proceeded with the next part of the project. She generously offered a “Polaroid” template to download. I printed several copies on glossy cardstock. The centres of each “Polaroid frame” had to be cut out with an Xacto knife.

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After gluing the frames to the photos they were added  to a small booklet which I had made from cardstock. It included space for DC to write his memories of the day.

Using Kraft cardstock, glue, string, brads, and a paper punch I crafted  a “folio” type folder  to mail the photo booklet to DC.

I happened to have a rubber stamp with a favourite travel quote which I stamped onto the back :

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It wasn’t exactly an apt quote since we had a destination in mind, but we did have a few detours along the road to Graycliff, so I guess one could say we “got lost”, if only for a few moments.

This project turned out to be only the first step on my journey to altered books.

Return From Respite, A Field Trip, Found Inspiration

It has been quite a respite from blogging, but not from creative endeavours. My current creative interest, oddly enough, arose from a field trip we took one blustery day last October.

We crossed the border from Canada and drove the hour or so it took to reach our destination, Graycliff,  Derby, New York. Graycliff was the summer home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Darwin Martin family of Buffalo,  New York. It was built from 1926 -1931 atop a sixty foot cliff on the south shore of Lake Erie  and has been restored and opened to public tours.  While I am not a fan of Wright’s architecture, my taste being “English Cottage/Shabby Chic”, I can appreciate how his designs incorporated the environment where they  were built. Since Frank Lloyd Wright also totally controlled all aspects of building from landscape design to interior decor and furniture, I know that I could never have worked with him!Graycliff-1

Our tour began outside  the visitor centre/gift shop at the front of the property. We encountered rain, hail and sunshine in the few minutes while our docent introduced history of the property before leading us to the main house. It was pointed out to us that when approaching the house, windows on the ground floor allowed one to see completely through to the lake at the rear. The water feature at the main entrance was designed to be a tribute to Lake Erie. water_feature-1

The foyer  branched into a sun room on the left, living room on the right and staircase directly ahead. Graycliff-2 We climbed the stairs to the second floor where bedrooms with ensuite baths were arranged off a window walled gallery along the length of the house. Several of the bedrooms opened onto terraces that availed lovely views of the lake.

I was excited to see bathtubs identical to our bathtub at home, (built-in, not clawfoot).Graycliff-7

At the far end of the second floor we descended a narrow staircase to the service areas of the house. There we found a butler’s pantry that led

into  Mrs. Martin’s flower arranging room. The windows here provided abundant light for Mrs. Martin, who was practically blind, to enjoy her flowers. In fact Wright purposely designed this entire house to incorporate as much natural light as possible because of Mrs. Martin’s diminished eyesight. The work counter was situated directly in front of windows and featured a double sink. Of all the rooms we saw,  this  was my favourite.Graycliff-10

The kitchen was located at the back of the flower arranging room. It was a spacious area that featured a porcelain sink, a  cooking range, and a  substantial refrigerator. Refrigerators were quite a novelty appliance in the 1920’s when  ice-boxes were more commonly available.

We left the service area of the house passing back through the flower arranging room into the low ceilinged dining room, followed by the living room, a fern room and the side porch.

We concluded the tour outside of the main house.

Throughout the hour and half of the tour, the docent was passionate about the history and restoration efforts at Graycliff and shared her knowledge with warmth and humour. I highly recommend a visit to this property if you find yourself in western New York, USA.

In trying to create a memento using photos from this field trip I discovered a new passion: altered books, but that’s a story for another day.