Happy Holidays to Everyone!
This last week here in Colorado we were hit with a massive blizzard that seemed like it was trying to make up for the lack of November snow all in one go! I lost my internet so here is last week’s blog post, then on to this week’s.
Every holiday season I make lots of sweet and savory treat gifts and decorate tins and boxes for festive packaging. Tangie’s December Art Journal Caravan Collection Scandinavia is filled with fabulous holiday motifs.
I made some “collage” sheets of various bits from the Scandinavia collection in an 8.5 X 11 format so I could print the sheets at home. I printed on matte photo paper, adhesive backed canvas, and adhesive backed cardstock to make a stash of holiday items to make the boxes and tins.
Here is a photo of Santa Rain’s work table:
I tend to make a grand mess, make lots of projects over some days, then do a big clean-up all at once…I think this is pretty common to all artists this time of year! If you have a better system, please share! I wish I would find the time to have all my holidays lined up by December 1st, so I guess that stays on my “probably never in this lifetime” list.
Here are a few examples of my collage sheets, from various holiday Tangie Baxter kits, including the “Favorite Things: Baking”, “Winter Wonderland”, and the “AJC 13 December Collection Scandinavia”:
Some of the collage sheets are one element, copied and pasted onto an 8.5 X 11 Photoshop canvas, then I selected one row, and continued to copy and past. I re-sized the flowers and some of the cards to fit nicely onto the canvas, knowing I would be cutting each element out. Once I had the roses or other items onto the canvas, I used “Control + New Layer” (Mac: Command + New Layer) so the new layer was below the elements. Then I added a background paper to make it easy to cut without a lot of fuss for the elements that had uneven edges. Having said that, I spent a lot of time fussy cutting flowers!
For the hexagons, I started in the center of the canvas, and kept adding to the edges, lining each up like a quilt. On the edges, I placed a hexagon in the space, then selected the excess with the marquee tool, and deleted, repeating with the same hexagon motif on the opposite side.
The borders sheet I kept lining up each one with a bit of overlap, and then printed the sheet onto paper-backed fabric as well as paper so I could cut the strips and use as ribbons on some of my packages.
Here is an image of of a tin front and top:
And a box:
What to put into your box? Cards, clips to hang cards, and FOOD, of course! I love to wrap up treats in printed tissue paper with a decorated box, as the box can be used again or for some other purpose by the recipient.
take care and stay warm,
So here are a couple of recipes that are my favorites to box up for family, friends, and neighbors:
Parmesan or Sheep’s Milk Pecorino Crisps
*I am horribly allergic to cow dairy except for butter, so I make these with the sheep’s milk equivalent to Parmesan, known as “pecorino”, available at CostCo, or any healthy box store.
If I am making a lot of these, I use a grater blade on my food processor, otherwise it is the hand grater and some elbow grease.
PreHeat the Oven to 375 degrees
Line cookie sheets, or baking trays with either silpat type matting or parchment paper.
Drop 2 or 3 tablespoons of grated cheese roughly into a circle shape. Leave at least 3 inches between each circle of cheese.
Bake for 5 or 6 minutes, but stay close! These can turn into “burnt to a crisp” very quickly.
Slide the pan liner onto a cooling rack and leave for at least 20 minutes to completely cool. Using a spatula, slide each crisp off the liner and layer with parchment or waxed paper between in a tin or in a plastic bag.
*After cooling for a few minutes so the cheese starts to adhere to itself but before it stiffens, the crisps can be shaped by gently placing into a muffin tin or clean egg carton to cool completely. The crisp will form a “nest” type pocket.
I often give this gift with my rather famous mushroom/onion soup to float on top with some crusty bread.
This is my go-to sweet gift using pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or other nuts than peanut. I love peanut brittle, however I don’t always know if someone has a peanut allergy in the family of my intended gift recipient. I love this toffee style of brittle as it does not contain heavy cream or other milk product except butter.
Note! This is not meant as a “health food”! Loaded with sugar!! Remember to brush your teeth after eating!! I buy organic corn syrup that is non-gmo, made by Wholesome Sweeteners and granulated sugar from CostCo, organic Succanat also by Wholesome Sweeteners company.
Line a 10 X 15 rimmed baking sheet with oil if it is not non-stick.
*Combine in a minimum 4 quart saucepan:
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (one stick) of butter, cut into 1 teaspoon pieces (8) This is a rough estimate, just generally follow the lines on the butter wrapper
2/3 cup of water
*Stir all of the above ingredients in the saucepan over medium high heat until all of the sugar looks wet. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan with the base into the mixture of ingredients and continue cooking WITHOUT STIRRING until the thermometer reads 310 degrees F. It will be foamy, and tan colored around the edges, and will take at least 15 minutes depending on your elevation. At high elevation like my home, it take around 13 minutes, again, don’t walk away!
*Remove from the heat and take the thermometer out of the pan. Whisk in 1 teaspoon baking soda, remembering that it will be very foamy, then 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
* Add either 1 1/2 cups nuts and seeds (pecan, peanut, almond, pumpkin, etc) OR 2 teaspoons of spice such as red pepper flakes, ground cardamon, or black pepper.
Whisk in your choice of nuts, seeds or spices.
*Pour the entire mix onto the prepared baking sheet, tilting it around to spread the “goop” as evenly as possible. Sprinkle a few of the nuts or seeds on the top of the mixture.
*Cool absolutely completely and totally on the baking sheet, which will commonly take at least 1-2 hours. Don’t shortcut this step!
*Invert the sheet over a parchment sheet on the countertop or large cutting board. Gently break up the brittle into small to medium sized pieces.
*Package as desired and enjoy! The brittle can be stored in the refrigerator or an airtight container without refrigeration for up to one month.
Today I am going to post for both this week and next as 11/27 is the day before Thanksgiving here in the US…our daughter’s family is coming from Hawaii tomorrow to spend the week with us in western Colorado and are all hoping for snow. Yes, my sweet almost 2 month old grandson is coming with Mom and Dad for Grandma Rain to take a few thousand more photos of his beautiful baby-ness! Maybe I will recover from overwhelming grandparent mania, by oh, age 18 or so, but then again, maybe not. It will just be another phase.
These two lessons are about using a paperback book to make a 3-D card or desk topper. There are so many paperback books available at library and tag sales for practically nothing…I have a small box of books I’ve picked up at the library sales for 5-10 cents, along with some hardbacks to make altered books for less than $1. I occasionally match the topic of the book to the actual card recipient, but more about this later.
Here are two images of finished paperbacks, one is a card for a dear friend and colleague battling fourth stage breast cancer, and the other lives on my desk in my studio:
Let’s first look at the mechanics of making the paperback into a card base.
This is all about folding. First step, using a craft knife, cut off both the front and back covers of the book. I often save these to use as backing for some of the tidbits I push between the pages later, or you can just toss into your recycling bin.
This particular book is about playing Scrabble, and has special meaning for my friend as playing online while receiving chemotherapy infusions has helped her keep her sanity. I loved the paper of this book, but honestly it was such a lousy Scrabble guide I had no qualms about tearing the covers off and folding the pages into my card base.
When every page is folded in half to the center of the book spine, the base will form as a gentle arc. There are many variations to this shape that are easily folded, including:
*Folding each page at a different height for a stair step look, starting over again with the smallest size every 5 or so pages
*Cutting and Folding in a stairstep from small to large, then continuing from the peak, folding back to the smallest.
*Folding partial pages into triangles, rectangles, squares, or any other shape desired.
*Folding and cutting to form an organic or geometric pattern
*Folding and cutting to create a landscape or cityscape
*The sky is the limit!
The photo of my desk topper above was made by making triangle folds moving from the right, across the middle, to the left, and back in reverse:..I started with a center triangle by folding the outer corner into the center on both sides of the page. In between each triangular fold, I folded the page in half, towards the center gutter of the spine. The half page folds increase the stability of the overall base.
In the photo above, I am showing a center triangle. In the image below, my fingers are lifting the small right side folded into the center, while the left bulk portion of the page is folded into a left-sided triangle top. In between are the folded in half pages.
For this particular desk topper, I painted Walnut Ink onto the pages in a rather haphazard way…the pages could be sprayed with inks or paints, painted first, or after folding. I have a friend that can’t make anything without glitter glue, so of course, her books are heaped with lines of various colors of glitter. Gesso or other base could be applied to the pages, other pages glued on or stuck in, then sprayed or painted or ? There are a lot of options!
I brushed on Walnut Ink with a basic cheapo brush, going for a mottled look. I actually painted on the ink on the first third and kept on folding, cutting and folding until I reached the peak of the base. Then I folded groups of 6-8 pages in half, then 4 pages, then 10, just random numbers of half folds without triangular tops. These will hold up the triangles, making it easier to put the bits and pieces in between the pages.
In the image above, I have already started to tuck in pieces of painted, stamped, stenciled papers and cards.
Since my studio desk is over one hundred years old, made by Gary’s grandfather, I am super careful of anything touching the wood surface that isn’t absolutely soft. I made a felt base for the desk topper with a piece of cardboard attached with double-stick carpet tape to craft felt, then trimmed to size. I keep all sorts of card around, backs of sketchbooks, watercolor pads, paper tablets, etc. I love the thin card used to pack shirts or sheets. If I am the least bit concerned about archival quality, I will seal the cardboard with a Golden GAC 100, to prevent acid drift.
I attach the base of the paperback book to the cardboard using either double-stick carpet tape or some type of glue.
Once the base is adhered to the cardboard/felt base, I paint on Walnut Ink all around the visible area.
Obviously, there are so many different ways I could choose to decorate the folded pages! Or, just leave the pages alone and just fold. The card for my friend battling illness is a Scrabble book, kind of a joke between us about 7 letter Bingo plays, and I wanted the pages to be visible. In the next lesson I will show you some different types of insertions, including floral wire, seed packets, notes and journal cards, word poems, etc.
Lesson 13: Optional Items to Make for Your Paperback Book Base
Once again, I am so totally in love with Tangie’s Collage Sheet collections for so many reasons, and for this particular project, the printed sheets are an easy and fun way to give a set of variations as a gift with the card base. I tend to print off a batch of collage sheets, my own art journal layouts, photos, or other pages, and keep a stack by the computer or TV or anywhere that time is spent listening to a video or tutorial. I cut out bits and keep them all in a tray for the next project, many times first fusing the printed sheet to another paper or thin index paper or cardstock to stiffen, as this makes fussy cutting so much easier.
I also keep paper edge trimmings, little squares of card, photo trimmings, and other edge bits in a box as possible “attachments” for my collage pieces. Sometimes I glue, sometimes I use double-sided tape, or even permanent soft gel medium, to attach the printed cutout to the floral wire or card. I have a lot of covered floral wire from some mythical project lost in the mists of the past that I love to use for this type of insert as I can bend and bend over and over again without breaking the wire. I often attach little stitch samples leftover from a project, or a City and Guilds sample set, or whatever, and attach it to the floral wire with Golden High Gloss gel medium, Soft or Hard Gel, laid out flat to fully dry over at least 24 hours. The first image below is the front piece of free motion stitching on a piece of blue dupioni silk, glued to a spiraled floral wire. The second image is the dried Hard Gel. Once dry, all the Golden gel mediums can be cut or trimmed with a scissor.
Below is an image from my friend’s card, where I have glued a batch of bits together. The wire or card or other bottom portion is tucked right between the folded book pages, and voila’, instant interactive card.
I have a large and wonderful base that I use to organize which seeds I will plant next in my greenhouse this time of year. I found this paper from a now defunct shop in Colorado of vintage seed packets and decided to fuse each one to cardboard as spacers for my large seed collection. Once late fall arrives, I like to stick one or two into a base book with the seeds so I remember to go toss a few rows into the greenhouse beds for winter eating. In the spring, I would need a table top for all the varieties that I plant! Now, not so much, so the art work is a much appreciated reminder of all the gifts that gardening brings to my soul. The paper had been crushed and rolled badly, so first I pressed the back with a dry iron to take out some of the crinkles, then fused Wonder Under two-sided glue to the back.
Word Art is another fabulously fun option for an insert. Here is an image of another collage sheet of Tangie’s from the latest collection that I fused to Wonder Under, then after peeling off the backing paper, fused to a piece of thin card. I used the rotary cutter to cut between the lines, then either rotary cutter or scissors to separate the words. I keep a bowl of words on my desk and make little poems, affirmations, card greetings, or whatever with them. Sometimes I just line up words on my desk then sweep all back into the bowl.
So here again is an image of my desktopper:
I wish to you all a very safe and happy Thanksgiving…this holiday is always about gratitude for me. I feel so blessed on every level of my being, and I thank God for a long list every day. This month in my art journal I have been celebrating this incredible community of artists, the Art Journal Caravan, and our very own Tangie Baxter. So for all of you, I hope there are some moments in this holiday season to make art, to express yourself in color and form, even if just for a few moments here and there.
take good care,
The weather in Colorado has been magical this last week with days in the low 60′s and colder, crisp nights. The heirloom apples from a neighboring organic farm have been so delicious, and the big quandary is simply which variety of the 7 or 8 in the root cellar should we eat next. I love this time between Halloween and Thanksgiving as it feels truly like fall, with all the sights, sounds, and flavors of the season. Winter starts for me after Thanksgiving, despite the date on the calendar or the weeks until the winter Solstice. In today’s post I will be showing the process of making the first of three shadowbox collages with a fall theme, including my new grandson of course!
Here is an image of the first shadowbox finished:
Little Danny boy was just 3 weeks old in this photo.
I already have three shadowboxes that are 8 X 8, and right now I am “shopping” at home! So the size has been determined by the stash. I love shadowboxes that have three main parts, the outer box, the inner box, and the backing. These particular shadowboxes have a glass sheet that fits inside the outer cover.
I did the exact same process of adding the green in a layer below the photo…this was the same PSD file as the “pumpkin baby”, I just turned off this layer when saving the jpg file of the pumpkin photo, and vice versa.
While these two photo files were printing, I made some Photoshop backgrounds to cut up for the outer box. I wanted to cover the outside of the shadowbox because it was black and also more opportunity for cool collage. I used Tangie Baxter’s kits, “Field Notes: Fall”, and “Fairies”.
In the middle of making these three 8.5 X 11 files to print, I received my Art Journal Caravan email from Tangie with the news that the 2013 Collage Mania collection was available in the ScrapbookGraphics store! So of course my plans for the boxes needed to alter to include some of the collage sheets printed out. Below is an image of one of the collage sheets I used, along with #694, #707, and #768, and the preview. I highly recommend checking out the new 2013 collection as it is on sale right now and fabulous!
The next step in prepping my printed photos, after giving each a bit to dry completely, is to trim off the white edges. I use a rotary cutter to eyeball these types of cuts, but a craft knife or scissor works fine. If you are using a rotary cutter, please, please practice safety at all times…these are essentially rolling razor blades that are super sharp and deadly to tender fingers. Always use the safety guard every time the cutter is put down, and keep your other hand to the side or behind the blade.
Having said all that, I adore cutting photos with a rotary cutter for clean, effortless trimming.
Next, I will then confirm the size of the shadowbox inner area for the photo using the printed paper ad. I cut the photo paper edges away, then re-confirm using the inner box.
Then I cut a painted backing paper as I have never seen a shadowbox that is exactly 8 X 8 or other designated measurement. I use the same inner paper ad as a cutting template, then using double-sided archival tape, affix the paper to the backing of the frame first. Here are the two glues, above, that I used for this project. Obviously similar products will work just fine. I avoid using wet glues with photos that are home printed, and frankly, most of the time regardless, just to be safe.
The continuous line glue dots I mainly use for the decorative bits later on. I use the tape lining up to one corner, then peeling off the protective cover, all around the square. Then I line up the top two corners of the painted paper and firmly press down. I smooth from the top to the bottom, then turn the backing over and trim right up to the edge of the backing with the rotary cutter. Once I have the painted paper mounted and trimmed, I center the trimmed photo into roughly the middle of the backing, confirm with the inner box, and tape “glue” the photo down. Be gentle smoothing over the surface of the photo, and consider covering the print with tissue or other paper first just like a press cloth when ironing. This is another reason to wait until the photo is absolutely dry before mounting.
Now comes the really fun part…decorating the outside. Using one of the collage sheets, I made a measurement of the length, and cut a strip of paper. There are many ways to do the next steps, so my way is not the proverbial highway! Some folks would rather do strips for each part, but I find that a bit tedious. I line up the front inner corner with an extra 1/8 inch, make a fold along the outer box, then holding the outer box upright, I make another fold from the side to the back.
Then I poke my index fingernail into the inner corners in prep for the continuous glue line.
Laying aside the folded paper for a moment, I attach a glue line to the inner bitty frame, then double-sided tape to the edges all the way around to the back. Now I line up the fold on the outer side first, and press down firmly, then the inner portion of the frame. Third, I hold the box upright again and smooth my hands over the paper from the center out. Last, I press down the portion that wraps around to the back, trimming carefully if there is excess paper.
I repeat this for the opposite side of the box first, then piece together the other two sides using the same method. I once again confirm that all is attached.
Now I line up the mounted photo, the inner box over the mounted photo, and the outer box on top. I want to add further cut pieces of the collage sheets and my printed backgrounds to the outer and inner portions of the shadowbox and I want to make sure I don’t obstruct a clear view of the photo itself. I used the glue lines on smaller pieces like the branches, and the double-sided tape for larger pieces and underneath the bits that I mounted inside the inner box to create depth. So here’s another look at the first finished shadowbox…it’s late now and I’m off to bed, planning on finishing the other two tomorrow!
take good care,
After a fabulous 12 days with my new grandson, I am home and happily working away in my studio. The weather has shifted towards late fall and early winter and my thoughts are turning towards upcoming holidays. Today I am going to show you a project that is a terrific hostess gift for a holiday party or even just a lift for your own kitchen!
Ok, I have to slip in one photo of the baby boy that has totally stolen my heart and soul:
Ok, Grandma Rain is now willing to move on to art!
I bought these two wood edged trays at IKEA in the sale bin for under $10, with the thought that a collage in the center would improve the look drastically. Given that the center was a melamine type of surface, I used an appropriate glue and printed out various bits and pieces from Tangie Baxter’s kits, including El Cuatro Day of the Dead, Field Notes: Fall, and the Collage Sheet mania package. I also gathered up leftovers from my collage bin stash from previous projects.
Here are two images below of the finished trays, with two out of three coats of sealant outdoor Mog Podge:
Let’s take a closer look at the process of creating this type of collage:
Here is the empty tray in all its non-glory! The wood edges are lovely, a soft finished pine, so I could see the potential. I had a few different ideas so I first gathered up a batch of leftover printed “Tangie-ness” to layout some possibilities.
I decided to go for poppies and fall themed items and tried out a few layouts. The second image is not glued, just laid on top of the tray.
I was happy and decided to start applying glue, and of course changed my mind half a dozen times! I used Nori glue made by Yatsutomo brand as I knew it would stick to the melamine surface of the tray, and is water soluble for easy clean up. Plus it gives a bit of time to reposition!
I started on the left and moved to the right, applying the glue to the back of the collage bit with a glue brush on top of an old catalog. I just turn the page whenever it gets too much wet glue, and eventually toss into recycling.
I then let the finished tray dry completely before adding a sealant to the top for waterproofing. In Colorado this takes about an hour! Most climates that have some humidity and aren’t at 6000 feet in elevation would require at least one day to fully dry and harden before applying the sealant of your choice.
Here’s what I did for the second tray, using collage sheets from Tangie’s “Purple Tide”, and other ocean related kits, on a background of my own painted paper leftovers from another project. I tore the background papers into strips, and occasionally used the deckle edged ruler to tear against. I then used the same Nori brand of glue to make the background first.
I did some “fussy cutting” around various bits from the collage sheets and added in a few other printouts from a Photoshop file I made from the oceanic kits. I glued each bit down to the background just like the poppy tray, then used a damp paper towel to wipe around the wood.
I also let this tray dry for a good couple of hours here in Colorado before applying the Mod Podge outdoor waterproof sealant.
The sealant is your choice…I went with the Mod Podge because it is water soluble, doesn’t have an off-gas of fumes like most varnish products, and dries quickly. I also often use Polyvine Wax Varnish, available at your local hardware or paint store, if I can work outside. Today we had snow for the first time and I was feeling moody about getting chilled, so Mod Podge it is! The image below the product photo is the second coat of sealant on the poppy tray…even in Colorado I allow each coat of sealant to dry for at least one full day, or two if it is damp and raining outside.
Allowing the sealant to dry in several thin coats is far superior for waterproofing, which I desire for a tray that will be used for tea and serving food.
And here we have two images of the drying trays with multiple coats of sealant:
Here’s an image of another tray I am working on for a gardener friend of my cabbage drawings and some photos:
take good care,
I am posting both Lesson 8 and 9 early as I am off tomorrow to see my new grandbaby, and of course, our daughter and son-in-law! I can’t really trust the internet connection there, so two lessons all at once, early!
Lesson 8: Making Paper Beads
Making paper beads from scraps and trimmed edges is a fabulous way to use every bit of printed page in your stash. I often make a set of paper beads whenever I am working on a new Junque Journal with the trimmed off top and side of the page that doesn’t fit in my Composition book. Last week we took a peek at my latest Junque Journal, with the paper beads on the binding side:
Now let’s take a closer look at how to make the paper beads:
Lesson 9: Embellishing Your Paper Beads
Now that you have some basic wrapped paper beads made, there are all kinds of fun ways to embellish. In this lesson we will look at some embellishment techniques, and a few end-uses of the beads. I set up all the embellishment options right at the start of making the paper beads, so it is literally start to finish in one go. Occasionally I have waited until the beads were dry, and sometimes even weeks or months later, added more embellishment to the tops. The beauty of these beads is that anything goes…the only real “mistake” is to get the bead soaking wet before it has a surface sealant of glue or embellishment, etc., as the paper WILL disintegrate eventually. Having said that, I have rescued paper beads by simply adding another layer of glue to the top!
In the photo image above, “paper cut” should be “cup”! I often will cut down an old paper cup to use as a holder for glue or glitter. The cup can be used over and over, just like the styrofoam tray pictured above. These trays are just washed and dried food trays. I also clean up and save those take-out hard plastic containers with a snap down lid…these will work to store a glitter or bead pile in between work sessions. I do put a rubber band around the lid for insurance, as dumping glitter or beads all over is a real pain to clean up!
Here are two other ways to add to the paper bead base, or leaving the paper out entirely:
Let’s look at a few ways I have used paper beads:
take good care and Happy Halloween, Samhain (Wiccan New Year), and El Dia De Los Muertos,
Hello fellow artists!
It has been a beautiful day in western Colorado…filled with fall color, misty clouds and first snow on top of the high mountain range I see from my porch. I have had the lovely experience of working on a new “Junque Journal” today, making pages using Tangie’s, “Tangible Plans” workshop. I love the Studio Art Box and the Tangible Plans workshops for transforming simple Composition books into my daily companion.
I just heard today that Tangie will be doing a series of tutorials in November on using the Tangible Plans workshop. I am so happy about this! Tangible Plans workshop is truly one of my favorite “go-to” collections of templates and options, all set up and ready to go with a thousand combinations that are possible.
I make new ones when the last are filled to the brim with bits, pieces, ribbons, journal words, lists, photos, and all the vast amounts of ephemera that pass by my eyes in a week. I use these as a daily planner, a place to store my ideas, quotes, seed packets, doodled drawings, printed art journal pages, little paintings, ads that have colors or compositions I want to remember, on and on. I tuck in pressed flowers and leaves, receipts, bits of life I want to remember in the future, and hold close, as well as lists of information such as the passport stamps of the Art Journal Caravan by number. These aren’t scrapbooks with formal layouts and photos, or my art books of art journal pages, though many formal pages are generated from the ideas tucked into the Junque Journal. I don’t know how I lived without one close at hand at all times!
This week I will take a look at the nuts and bolts of printing and making the Journal, next week the making of the paper beads, and then the making of ribbons and cords.
Last week I posted about couching and the making of a Junque Journal cover…this one was a gift for a beloved sister-in-law, filled with printed off Tangible Plan pages, with lots of areas for her to write or paste on. This one is all mine.
On the binding side are paper and fused silk paper beads made with cut strips from the edges of my Tangible Plan print outs. Next week, I will show you how to make these terrific beads that can be used in many ways including jewelry, book bindings, on tassels and cords, and as buttons and closures.
The cover is a page from Tangie Baxter’s kit, “Field Notes”, printed onto a photo paper and fused to a stabilizer. I made a collage of several flowers from Tangie’s, “Cuatro Day of the Dead”, bits of fused silk fibers, and a machine embroidered butterfly. Yes, that is a butterfly, for all of you that took the Symbology Workshop and attended the chat where I deplored the overuse of butterflies! I actually love the symbol of transformation, and the beauty of butterflies.
The cover piece was then free motion embroidered with variegated threads, and a few solid colors, including a zigzag stitch on the edges, then mounted onto the Composition book. I made a simpler backing in the same color scheme and also mounted it to the back.
Then I added the paper beads, the wrapped beads, a few embellishment charms, and hand stitched it all together with yarn and ribbon. Yes! Then on to the inner pages…
Below is an image of one 2 page spread from my last Junque Journal:
Above is a photo with one way to measure and trim the printed page before mounting into the Composition Book, by folding the side and top and then cutting off the excess.
Below is another method that I use the most often…using the Composition Book itself to trace around on the back of the printed page, then cutting it out and mounting.
Here is a view of my work table, and the pile of edges trimmed off the printed pages. I keep these in a basket for adding to the center bit of the Composition Book, or saving for the future.
And as a preview for next week, here’s a look at some paper beads in the making:
I am writing this blog post from Sedona, AZ., a few days before attending Tangie’s workshop at the new Artspirations Studio…totally exciting!
This week we will take a closer look at the making of the Junque Journal cover, pictured below, with a focus on couching:
Couching is basically where threads are laid onto the surface of paper or fabric and stitched down with another thread. The couching technique is often utilized for larger threads and yarns that do not pass through the eye of a needle or paper easily. I couched several heavier yarns and embroidery threads onto the printed Gypsy Diaries page for the Journal cover by machine, then used the threads for lacing with other threads and beads.
The paper or fabric needs to be heavy enough to support the attached layer of heavier threads on top, or be stabilized with other paper, fabric, or interfacing.
If I am couching to form an edge treatment, I will use a wider zigzag stitch so that the couching yarn is totally encapsulated with the edge of the piece. Literally any machine stitch may be used to couch threads by sewing machine, including straight, zigzag, satin, in either free motion or automatic mode, as well as automatic decorative stitches.
Couching works for an amazing array of embellishments from wire and pipe cleaners to feathers, knitted I-cord, and paper beads, in addition to any size of threads and yarns.
Couching using hand embroidery stitches has all the same variations and considerations, and will often require piercing holes into the base paper or fabric first for a hand needle to pass through the fabric or paper.
Some options for hand couching:
*One thread in the needle straight stitching over a single or double strand of yarn or thread.
*Couching any number of strands with a cross stitch, open chain stitch, blanket stitch, or herringbone.
Below is an image of some automatic stitch notes from one of my sketchbooks:
Below is another example of couched felt strips and yarns using various machine stitches:
Let’s look at the making of the Junque Journal cover:
By machine, for a book or journal cover I line up the front and back cover and stitch at the same time. In the image below I am laying down thread to lace, or use as the base of couching or interlacing. I have both the front and back cover lined up, and make a jump stitch between by anchoring the thread at the end of one and the beginning of the other cover, pulling the thread between.
Below: Here are the covers with the base stitching complete:
So far I have added both free motion and automatic decorative stitches to the stabilized covers. Below is an image of threads and yarns also couched by machine added to the covers. Now I will use the base stitches to add further couching and beads as embellishments.
In the image below I am using hand-dyed embroidery threads to lace and stitch onto the machine base stitches. I have also threaded beads onto some of the threads and interlaced between the rows of couched and machine stitches.
Below is another image of a Junque Journal cover that I am just beginning to pierce and stitch. I will also be adding beads and couched yarns to this cover. This is again a page I printed from Tangie’s Gypsy Diaries Workshop. So until next week, I hope you find some time to make art!
This week we will take a closer look at interlacing and piercing with paper, and begin to look at couching. These are wonderful skills to have in your toolbox for art journal pages, scrapbook or sketchbooks, or other art projects.
Interlacing and Piercing
Many thicker and heavier threads, yarns, and ribbons are too big to pass through a sewing machine needle, a smaller hand needle, and really shouldn’t be pulled through paper over and over since eventually both the fiber and the paper will fall apart. This is where piercing a channel through the paper first makes a huge difference, particularly if the hole is stabilized with a brad, an eyelet, or stitching. Piercing a hole before hand stitching on paper also makes it far easier on your wrists and fingers to form the stitch since paper will not fold and bend as easily as a fabric.
Below are a few pages from my hand stitching sketchbook:
Below is another image of holes that were punched with the larger Japanese hole punch into painted sketchbook paper, and the beginnings of chain stitch.
The next two images are the front and back side of one page out of my hand stitching book, with pen, ink, paint and marker drawings. The edges of the page were pierced with a seam ripper first, then overhand stitched first with yellow, then back the opposite way with green. In the lower right corner you can see the back side of the chain and feather stitching.
And another edge with pierced holes:
Below is another page from the same book, this one a stitched collage of my painted and monoprinted paper. I am using the machine stitches of the collaged bits to anchor hand stitches with a thicker thread. Since the automatic decorative stitches have a lot of thread bars, I can pick and choose where to insert the needle for my design.
It isn’t necessary to have a sewing machine to make the thread bars, you can also just lace thread through pre-punched holes, then use those thread bars as an anchor for further embellishment.
Let’s look at a “Junque Journal” cover I made from a printed page from Tangie’s “Gypsy Diaries” workshop. Below is the finished and mounted cover:
In part 2 of Interlacing, Piercing, and Couching, we will take a close look at making this journal cover which includes all of these techniques.
Until next week, take care and have some fun making art!
Well here we are a week later and the flood waters have receded, thank God. Meanwhile, our daughter is in labor with our first grandchild! Never a dull moment around here!
On to the second part of Thread painting, and a closer look at the mechanics of stitching densely.
Below is an image from a library slideshow as well as a photobook I made about our trip to Morocco, with tips on the traveling sketchbook: