Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Junk Mail Art Journal Tutorial

Junk mail. Even if you are on the blocker lists, you still receive it. What to do with it? Make art. of course! You'll need:
           *Two envelopes, one unused (the kind that come inside your credit card offers and such)
           *Letters (the size of your book depends on how many you use)
           *Cover Paper (I used scrapbooking cardstock, but you could use any heavier weight paper)
           *Scrapbook or other paper for end papers
           *Tape (masking, and I also used gaffer's tape for the spine)
           *Gesso (found in the art section, this semi-transparent white medium prepares your paper        for painting)
           *Paint, papers, and other art supplies to fill your journal with!

Step One:

Slip the flap of the unused envelope inside the other envelope.

Tape the intersection on both sides to create the spine.

The book is constructed pamphlet style, so keep those letters folded. Turn the letter horizontally, and glue one end to the inside of one envelope. Fold the rest of the letter over it (it should do this naturally, from the fold lines that already exist).
Continue to add pages by taking one end of a folded letter and gluing it to the end of the previous letter. You can add as many as you wish, but be aware that the pages are not bound to the spine, so too many pages will cause the pages to pop out a bit.

I used four letters for this book.

To reinforce the spine (and make it look pretty) I used gaffer tape along the outside. Gaffer tape is a flexible, cloth tape that can be found in scrapbook stores and where book binding supplies are sold.
Glue cardstock on the front and back of the envelopes, but not over the spine. Tie ribbons around the outside as a closure, then add a second piece of gaffer's tape over the first, encasing the ribbon and the edges of the cardstock.
Glue decorative papers over the inside covers to create end papers. I used clips while it was drying to ensure the edges stayed down.

Gesso the pages to prepare them for your fabulous artwork! Some junk mail is brightly colored, so you may need a few coats, or you could cover the page with tape, paper scraps, recycled paper bags... use your imagination! 

Above are a few pages from my book. You can see a simpler book using just envelopes on this post. That's all there is to it! If you make your own journal, be sure to post a link in the comments. I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Random Tuesday

A few random bits for today. First off, if you are still making Easter decorations (as I am), you'll love this tutorial from Made blog. It's a Peeps banner!
It's a gray, rainy day today, so I tried to dress up the dull picture a bit;) It really is an easy and great looking banner. Her blog, by the way, is AMAZING. How did I not know about it before??? If you haven't been there, you should visit, and if you have a boy, you should check out her side link for celebrate the boy month. There are some great projects, especially if you are sewing for a toddler. Max is past that age, but I still found some neat stuff, and he's so skinny, many of the toddler pants projects would probably work anyway, with some added length.

Next up, it is March muffin madness at GFE. Now, why did she have to go and do this when I have a dining room table covered with sewing and art projects? Now I just want to go bake muffins! Muffins are BIG around here, and I can never freeze any because they all get eaten before I can, even when I make double batches. Yes, I will be baking up many of those delicious recipes on her site, and I'll post about them as I do. I can't wait to get baking! And finally:

another page from the bird book. Hold on to your hats kids, because tomorrow I'll be posting the tutorial on how to make this junkmail art journal. I'm sure you have all of the supplies you need in your craft cabinet and recycling bin! Hold on to that junkmail today and we'll put it to use tomorrow!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Do you Yudu?

**Blogger is having issues. I uploaded a new banner yesterday, a picture, and today's picture, and all have disappeared, with error messages. Sorry! Hope it gets fixed soon!

I got a Yudu machine this weekend! It's that new screen printer from Provo Craft.  Matt had tried to get me one for Christmas, but they were all sold out. Michael's had a good deal on it last weekend, so I decided to take a step up from Sharpie t-shirts. Way back in the Stone Ages (of middle school and high school), I did a little screen printing. This machine changes the process a bit. Now, I have to run a disclaimer here - I have only used it once. I've run into a few roadblocks in my quest to pull a bevy of t-shirts.  I started by scanning a sketch into Photoshop, cleaning it up a bit and adding text. Next, I grabbed my printer transparency that came with the machine, and ran it through the printer. It ran right back out, telling me I was out of paper. I tried it again, with a different paper setting; same thing happened. After messing with all of the available settings, I looked up Epson on line and discovered that my printer won't do transparencies! Nuts. (Yah, Cannon, my next printer will be coming from you!)

No worries, you can draw with a Sharpie on the transparency instead. So, I traced my template and even the text looked just like the print out. Next, I adhered the photo emulsion sheet to my screen. This was new for me. Back in the day, I painted the emulsion on. After it dried, I placed the template on the machine's light table and burned the screen. However, when it came time to rinse, some of the detail lines on the template image began to peel off. I am guessing the screen may not have been wet enough when I put the film on, or maybe the kitchen was too bright.  Time to do a test run on scrap fabric.

My first pull wasn't so great - the text was over inked. My second pull was better, so I loaded up a t-shirt for the next pull. Well, it took a few runs to get the image filled in, and some detail lines were still a little faint. My big guffaw happened when I took the t-shirt off - I accidentally hit the collar on the wet squeegee, so I had a nice fat, black ink mark on the top. Yikes! I tried to carefully pull the wet shirt off of the platen, which wasn't easy because the adhesive on there is really strong! I finally got it off and rushed to the sink, trying to wash the collar without getting the print wet. Here's the result:

Okay, so the first run wasn't perfect, obviously. I spent some time poking around the web and YouTube, watching videos. I have noticed that I was definitely not using enough ink, and I probably should have weighed down the machine even more during the burning process. I discovered someone who made their own platens (the form you put your shirts on for printing) from plastic board (which is great, because those things are $20 each, and you need multiples if you are going to make more than one shirt at a time), and I also discovered that you can use the liquid emulsion on the screens. I think the liquid is better than the photo sheets, and much, much cheaper! Yudu supplies are expensive, and the machine is very large. However, I love that the burning, drying and pulling are all done on one unit. The screens are not the best quality compared to professional screens (which are much tighter), but I think for the work that I do they will be fine. As I play with this more, I hope I can find other ways to keep the cost of production down.

I had hopes to run some more designs last night, but the girl came down with a wicked fever and flu, and I spent the night taking care of her. Hopefully I'll have something new to share with you tomorrow, as long as her fever stays down!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I see...

No, not dead people, although I do watch Ghost Hunters every week in hopes of catching a glimpse. I see faces. Everywhere. It's been that way as long as I can remember - in rocks, clouds, hillsides, cracks in the pavement, paint splotches - they are everywhere. I'm sure I'm not alone in this proclivity, but it is great creative fodder. I saw this tree out my back window.

Do you see the face? Here's what i jotted in my sketchbook:
Your challenge today? Find a face. Sketch it on the back of a receipt. Take a picture of it with your cell phone. Take a walk and look. There is a world of faces looking back at you! (If you do find a face and post about it, link it up in the comments. I'd love to see it!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

small things

I went the unconventional route for Valentine's Day this year, and instead of music with  custom CD cover art, I wrote a book for Matt instead. It's a little workbook, of sorts, to encourage creativity through noticing the small things around you. As you know by now, encouraging creativity is one of my passions in life, and I had a really marvelous time creating the pages in the wee hours after everyone was asleep. It's been so well received that I decided I will sell them in my Esty shop (yes, it's coming, but no promises on an opening day yet). Here's a little peek:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring and Sid

Spring has definitely arrived in our little corner of California, with trees in full bloom (sneeze!) and weather in the low seventies. How nice of spring weather to cooperate with spring break. We built a secret hideout in the backyard, and the kids found a very interesting bug, which they named Sid (Junior, Delores, Sid... I think they save their best names for creepy crawlies). Max grabbed my iPhone and took copious pictures of their new friend.

This hastily made bug jar was once home to a plantain, comfrey, calendula tincture brew, which will come in quite handy if anyone gets bitten by one of those little buggers.

They eventually let him go, so he could eat and visit his family. As much as I like drawing bugs, I'm still working on the bird book. Another page, this time about bird feet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

ADD Reader

I have a great attention span, really. My college notes consisted of a few key words and lots of doodles, because I could remember almost the entire lecture, just from listening.  But when it comes to reading, well, that's a different story. I am an ADD reader. I typically have at least three books going at one time. I read a few chapters from this, a few from that. Quite honestly, it just depends on what room I'm in. I keep them scattered across the house, and when I have a moment, I grab the closest one (I'm sure many mom's out there can identify with the five minute reading breaks). Right now, however, it's particularly bad. Here's a list of the books I'm currently reading:
I'm listening to this one from an Audible download:
 and I have these two coming from Bookswim:
What are you reading?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Nothing to show today - I'm on a spring purging mission! Hope your day is full of leprechauns!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sewing Weekend

I traded the pen for the needle this weekend, and managed to get a few projects crossed off my list. The top priority was Madeline's dresses. She has four beautiful Hanna Andersson dresses that she won't wear because they don't have cats on them. Seriously, she will not wear anything unless it has a cat on it. So, I searched online for some simple cat coloring pages to use as templates, and appliqued cats on her clothes. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous at first. These are Hannah Andersson dresses, after all. Madeline, however, was delighted with the results, and I am, too. They really do look like Madeline dresses now, and hopefully they won't sit at the bottom of her drawer anymore.

My other project was a little wristlet from Sew Darn Cute. I altered the pattern a bit, since the printer was out of ink and I couldn't blow up the one that was included in the book. I made some mistakes, but in the end I think it came out okay. I will shorten the strap next time, and alter the sewing in of the zipper just a bit, but overall it makes a cute little purse. My one complaint with the book is that there are only written instructions - no diagrams. It's very hard for me to sew without diagrams; I rely heavily on them to make sure I understand the written directions. I have the Stiched In Time book from Bookswim right now, and it also relies heavily on written instructions (though there are a few process pictures here and there with the projects). I suppose that's why I love Bend The Rules Sewing and Weekend Sewing (which the checkbook cover/coupon books are from)so much. The diagrams are so clear, you only need to read through the directions once, or even just skim them for some projects. Maybe if I were a better seamstress it wouldn't matter so much, but since I'm low on the sewing chain, I love those step by step pictures!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Spiffy New Collar

Molly got a spiffy new collar today, from the pattern in Bend The Rules Sewing. I've had that book from Bookswim for so long now, I think I must buy it. Great stuff in there. I re-purposed the clip from the Disneyland lanyards we get every year with our vacation package. I even used the metal clip to make a lanyard for myself. Now I match the dog. Could I be that much of a goob? Don't answer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Alien Bread

Well, they are not really from space, but that's what the kids call these drop biscuits.  They are cheesy, crispy and wonderful, even if you are not gluten free. The best part, in my opinion, is the garlic butter that gets brushed on top. Heaven. As I've mentioned before, GF food bloggers have been my saviors since going gluten free, and the recipe came from one of my favorites, GFE (Gluten Free Easily). She's actually having a fantastic giveaway right now, which you can enter here. Maybe I'll have a few biscuits with lunch - did I mention that they freeze beautifully?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Indie Biz Binder

The Indie Biz class has started, and I thought I'd give you a little look at the binder I put together for class. The community that is being built for this workshop is amazing - I am so very excited about taking this journey with so many talented ladies from around the world. Someone just joined yesterday, so if you hurry, you might still get a spot. Trust me, it will be worth it! Just click that little button on the right!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


He may be cute, but he's trouble. The respiratory inflection is coming back. Phoebe has an infected eye. Since he's moved in, I've made three vet trips in two months. My pocketbook is empty. But how, may I ask, can you resist that face?