Monday, December 31, 2012

Dreamer boudoir mini album and journal

Dreamer Boudoir mini album and journal
This is the perfect bedside companion - a compact, ribbon-tied mini journal and photo album combined, where you can record dreams, jot down memories, keep lists and quotes, save notes and write drafts of letters. There are plenty of pockets and envelopes where you can tuck away small trinkets or love letters, lots of tags and photo mats for photos
I made this journal using the instructions offered by Steffogal1 on her expert you tube video for her "super cute and fast journal." And
I find this 7 1/2 by 3/12 boudoir journal to be the perfect size to keep on a bedside table so as to remember all those brilliant ideas, story lines, plans and fantasy that arise during that evening or early morning twilight sleep. The style of this "Dreamer" boudoir journal is a mixture of Victorian, Art Nouveau, shabby chic, bohemian and steampunk all wrapped together with ribbon. I used papers, materials, ephemera, flowers pigment inks and techniques from Graphic 45, 7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz, Prima, K&Company, and Recollections. Like the Victorians, I'm a great believer in reusing everything from advertising labels and items to scraps and tatterings left over from other projects or stuffed away in my stash.
The first page features a vintage photograph and a vellum butterfly by K&company, accented by a rosy border and some Prima and K&Company flowers. The second page shows some mulberry paper in a medieval design as the background with a Michael's dollar bin tag tucked into a border made with a Tim Holtz die. The third page features a journaling spot over some open stock French blue paper.

The third page is with a paper from the K&Company Mariposa paper stack  and includes a journaling spot and a place for photos. On the foruth page, I added a journaling tag from K&Company's 2012 Halloween collection and made a red striped pocket and poppy covered tag with paper from the K&Company Jullianne  paperstack. 

The fifth page uses more paper from the Julianne stack and a tag I made with more of the French blue open stock paper from A.C. Moore tucked into a border.  The coiled paper star is from my stash of years ago. On the sixth page, I made a medallion of the French writing paper and overlaid on a open stock Recollections paper.

This is one of my favorite pages with lots of journaling spots, page seven was cut from a get well card someone sent me.  It was too beautiful with it's deep sky blue not to use! And I added another K&Company journaling spot and then made a second one on the tenth page.  In between is a centerfold envelope with two pockets and the inset saying "Dream" with the beautiful bird is from open stock paper.

The third page shows an envelope and tag form Michael's dollar bins over some beautiful open stock paper and I love using advertising in my projects, just as the Victorians did so I used a Twinings teabag in a beautiful purple as a tag holder.

Family mini album portfolio

My daughter as a mother of two girls, is very involved with her family.  So what better theme for her boudoir journal than the joy and love a family bring to the world.  My eldest granddaughter, Kendall, constantly tells her mother she loves her - through notes on a wipe board on the fridge, through texts, and of course hugs and kisses. She also leaves post a notes here and there and creates a magnet heart out of her younger, one year-old sister, Deven's ABC magnetic blocks on the fridge. So there was no debating a theme when it came to my design of my daughter, Beth's boudoir journal. 
The only challenge was a difference in our styles.  I'm all shabby chic and Victorian business with my head in the past or steampunk's future past, and Beth is a minimalist, contemporary woman who prefers neutral colors over my mauves, browns, cobalts and teals.
I have to say this was simply mini journal I ever made.  I can't count the times, I had to snatch my hand away and return a wonderful item to my stash.  Her life is very busy since she works at our local hospital shortly after adults with brain or spinal chord injuries have come out of ICU. That;s is one active world - so when she comes home, while she prefers peace and quiet, she has the home of a very active family. As a single parent she doesn't have much time to herself so I was hoping this simply boudoir journal was small enough that she wouldn't feel too overwhelmed  to use.

I chose a green botanical graph paper paper from a  K&Company's small designer paperstack by Brenda Walton. Then I accented the cover with a green polka dot edge border cut with a Tim Holtz die and tinted the edges green. to keep to her a simple theme, I added a :Family is life's Blessing" embellishment and simply the letter "B" for my daughters first initial hidden in the foliage.
The second page has a pocket made from a seven gypsies paper over a K&Company paper from a stack I've had about five years - I can't remember the name.  I found a tiny scrap that says "I" along with the hart symbol and added it to a top edges border and beneath it added a word sentiment, "scribble daily and have random thoughts." The tag inserted in the pocket is made with metallic copper card stock. The 3rd page is more of the copper cardstock but this time, I embossed it with a Sizzix swirl die and tinted it with purple Perfect Pearls.  On top is a Smash memo list.  I love the little light bulb!   
On many of the pages, I designed all the word sentiments to mean something when read in order such as "Discover, Quick! Quick! Write that good idea down. Happiness.
A pocket and tag I made with paper form the Julianne paper stack takes over much of this page, along with a rondelle which reads "The best thing to hold onto in this life is each other.  The fourth page starts off with some open stock Recollections paper and another Smash list to which I added the recommended "Remember This"  And beneath that I added a quote by Mother Teresa,  I cut from a bookmark,"Small Things doe with great love bring joy and peace."
The fourth page layout I did in greens and browns, since my daughter loves neutrals.  The focus and fun on these pages are tags made by Debbie Anne Parent  over at Ephemera's Vintage Garden.  there are tow different kinds the dramatic mandala flowers and the beautiful dictionary birds. I made a simple pocket on pg 4 and used a stylized belly band on page five made with a Tim Holtz die cut.
The fifth page has another belly band I made with two different card stocks and word sentiments "Together" and "Good Times" and page six Has another Smash to do list and at the bottom I added the word sentiment "Love" which I cut from a 2011 Christmas card.
The final page has a key on brown background and a pocket made from a Julianne paper, along with another Ephemera's Vintage Garden garden ephemera tag and a copper tag and the final page is made with the a family word paper from open stock at A.C. Moore and the pocket is made with some handmade mulberry paper, a border, and the two words "Cherish" Laughter" finalize my thoughts on how our family strives to be.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Architectural Art

I'm fortunate to live in an area of the south which is vibrant with the arts.  It wasn't always so, over 30 years ago when I moved here from Massachussettes, but it has grown so more over the years.  During the hippie days many of the artys and artisans fled to th emountains where inspiration lay all around them and land was inexpensive. But now the arts have also moved into downtown and even better for me, the Far West End or the Pebdletson Street area, which is like the Montmarte area of Paris. Because of the 65 galleries in Greenville and 100's of art studios - there are plenty of places to find inspiration and sometimes even the oddest supplies.
As much as I love paperarts, there come the times when I need the smell of linseed oil and the weight of heavy metal in my hands- so I leave my scrapbooking area and head into my studio.  I've been painting for ten years and as I've explored lots of techniques, I've discovered my most rewarding work is mixed media - especially oils and metal.  Copper is my favorite metal to work with because of its versatility in colors from copper, to various shades of verdigris depending on the decay to a burnt bronze color when heated.
I went through a period when I lived in my art studio at the Village Gallery in the Pendleton Arts District, when making assemblages was challenging and fun - but I've found it limited to whatever found objects I had on hand - with oil and metal, I can tell the story through the painting and it's theme, then add the metal as accents, exaggeration or even as an exclamation point.  I love architecture but like with everything else I paint, it becomes transformed during my personal perspective on the world - part of it due to my bad sight since 9 years old, the other due to the dreamy aspects I tend to add to every scene in my head - and as often as I can in real life, as long as I'm not driving - and then there's the emotional angle - I am a highly emotional person so everything I do is driven by whatever emotions are driving me at the time. A very fine painter,         put a name to the style - "Emotional Expressionism and that works for me.
I'm working on a series of architectural paintings, inspired by the work British born, Wendy Farrow, whose paintings make me want to be walking through the buildings or standing outside - she also does figurative work, landscapes, abstracts fine arts photography. Her travels, time living in Canada and Paris offer lots of inspiration for her architectural works.
These two paintings my series (I have a third in the works of London Bridge) were a lot of fun to do. The first one is called decision and was inspired by the movie "Stay", probably my absolutely favorite movie of all time. I loved the paintings form the movie but also the film maker's play on the Hudson Bridge, which is so beautiful and seductive, that it becomes a main character in the film, and is the love/interest and antagonist for the lead character an artist,  brilliantly played by Ryan Gosling.   I chose some of the same colors and tonality used in the film, and kept the New York skyline bathed in mist and drizzle, as its shown in one profoundly potent scene.  Then came the fun with the metal - I simply used graphite (a form of metal - lead dust) for the suspension wires of the bridge and then incorporated a drawing I did of Henri Lethem encased in a hammered metal frame displayed on a found piece of brass (I pick things up in parking lots and from the side of the road all the time).
For the city skyline, an artist since 911 must deal with the whole emotional miasma of the empty spots were the twin towers were.  I chose to focus on the Chrysler building by adding a neat folded metal piece,  but I couldn't leave a blank area in the skyline so I added two copper obelesiks as a sort of reminder to myself mainly.  My skyline is not realistic at all with the line up of skjscrapers in New York - I wasn't going for realism here at all since "Stay" is often set in a dream like or otherworldly setting in the minds of both Henri and his psychaitrist, Dr. Sam Foster played by  Ewan McGregor
The second painting is part of my series of drawings and paintings which I'm creating to help flesh out the plot of my steampunk novel in progress, Orchidelirium.  The building is based on a ruined estate in wither Britain, Germany or France from a vintage photograph I found in a shop on Etsy.  The seller sold a number of photos which had not title or photographer credit.  I never knew if they were the sellers own cast offs or if he owned a photo lab and these were developed but never picked up at his store. The photos ranged from the 1950's and onwards and most of them were in black and white and all looked to be taken by professional photographers, I received everything from nudes to architecture, urban to countryside shots - although the countryside shots depicted a photographer taking photos of the country!  Not wanting to limit the photo by adding it to a collage, I decided to paint it instead.  It morphed a bit in the process which suits my idea fine for the mansion of Arisfont Flourent, a main character.
The house is set in England not far from London and is in near ruin.  I incorporated two lovely pieces of metal  - the one near the top of the building is a cast off from my friend Ryan Calloway's blacksmith Shop, Creative Iron works. 

  At one of his art shows, he had boxes of cast offs outside with a sign on them "Free"  so I carted off one I could actually carry.  This is forged and cut iron and it's heavy! If you have a chance you must visit this blacksmith shop - it's large and amazing and Ryan, who was a blacksmith and did restoration work in New Orleans is a master blacksmith.
Oh yes, back to "Waiting" The bottom piece is also heavy and a find with a story - up in the Blue Ridge Mountains you'll find one of the sparkling treasure hunting shops in a town called Saluda, NC. It's just one of three beautiful towns  filled with art and originality, which also includes Tryon,NC and Landrum, SC,  in the string of gems along the way to Asheville,NC
Random Arts is a rarity - a shop with heart and soul and all the goodies you need to feed both!  You will never know what you'll find here - but it will always be surprising and magical.  It's a paradise for altered book artists, journal makers, extreme scrapbooking, assemblage and jewelery artisans.  All the findings are here - many vintage, some rare, all enticing.
This reminds me that its time to make a trip before the snows make the curvy mountain roads scary and see what's in store.  Random Arts also features workshops with nationally known artsists and artisans throughout the year so don't forget to check out their schedule of events.
Okay, so back to "Waiting."  The piece of metal on the bottom of the building was one I found in a grab bag at Random Arts and it serves well as a sort of gate.  It's also very heavy and is obviously a part of some type of machinery - I just don't know from where, what it did or why they made it.  But it's fine with its cryptic markings and adds the paradox of uniformity to a painting that is anything but.  Tucked into the left hand corner is a photo of Ellen Terry at 16 my Julia Margaret Cameron, my absolute favorite photographer of all time.  I was fortunate enough to see some of her original works at one time in New Orleans and promptly purchased the most expensive book I've ever owned there - but boy, it was worth it.  I encased Ellen, who represents Cecila, the protagonist of Orchidelirium.On the left side I added three "windows" using Tim Holtz fragments through which Cecila can see parts of London, including London Bridge, which was  a market district during the late 1890's. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Inventor, Scientist, Maker Steampunk Portfolio

 Are you or do you know one of those brilliant inventors, electrical engineers, makers or scientists, always writing notes in all the odd places, and promptly forgetting where you put them? Well search no more - this Nathanial Dillon Pocket Size Portfolio portfolio is the perfect place to tuck those notes and schematics, blueprints and materials lists - and not to forget the ever growing project list. Need a pocket to hold small bits of metal or wiring? There's a pocket for that. What about an envelope for those gadgets so small that if lost, you;d need telescopic monocle to find it? There's an envelope for that - and what about those ideas that streamed across like you brain pan like a series of comets as you enjoyed a fast-paced discussion with your peers, but alas drank Absinthe and now how La Fey Verte has made your mind like a sieve! there's contraption for that!
Fear no more, .. stashing those all important items without which no project can proceed is so easy in this 7 1/2 by 3/1 2 Nathanial Dillon Portfolio - the best stationer's invention on the market - part diary, part notebook, part mini photo album for shots of those inventions you need to use for reference.
There's cards for evidence of the results of experiments, cards for keeping reports and many blank cards and tags for jotting down results and scribbling out the theorems. How did you ever mange without this one-of-a-kind, never to be outdone magnificent portfolio
 Give your wife, your lover, your assistant a rest and keep track of all that essential info all in one compact fold-able place. Compact enough to smuggle anywhere - the rebels in the Equinox Uprising can attest to that!
Even if we don't travel for a live demonstration to your town, don't miss out. Not yet available at stationers or mercers, not even at the rumored Mica Above Air Market - the Nathanial Dillon Portfolio is fun and fast to make! You'll be the envy of anyone with an idea! All you have to do is follow  Steffogal1's most excellent you tube tutorial.  
The style of this portfolio is inspired by one of the main characters, inventor, scientist engineer, Nathanial Dillon,  in my work in progress steampunk novel, Orchidelerium. It is both steampunk and Victorian and the template is based on the tutorial for the super cute and fast journal by Steffoga1. I used papers, materials, ephemera, flowers pigment inks and techniques from Graphic 45, 7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz, Prima, K&Company, and Recollections. Like the Victorians, I'm a great believer in reusing everything from advertising labels and roadside metal findings, to scraps and tatterings left over from other projects or stuffed away in my stash.
The cover in browns - is a bit chaotic, as the brilliant synapses of a brain must be emptied and app;lied to paper all at once. As Nathanial Dillon says, "out of Order,of the comes Chaos.

. For the cover I used a background paper from K&Company's Julieanne paper stack, then added lots of bits and pieces from my stash.  I wanted a journal that addressed all types of science - from neuroscience (hence the heavy metal mask on the cover, as well as the timepiece (made with a card stock clock face and real watch housing,.  I loved this Official time sensitive sticker because aren't all projects time sensitive - a good inventor has to develop his ideas before anyone else does!  And the blue tag is a found object from a textile mill site and the vintage stamp had the look of  Austrian inventor, Tesla, scientist or psychiatrist on it.  He reminds me of Sigmund Freud, the father of neuroscience.  I don't remember where I found the illustration - it was in my science file or what it is - can anyone tell me?  But I had fun surrounding it with amps which to me make it look like the mouth of the Hadron collider - I know that's an odd jump but that's how my mind plays. There are a few jaggedy lines - to me representing electricity made from old school layout tape from my days in advertising before computers when we did all our ad work cut and paste.
The electrical lines continue onto the second page, and actually pretty much throughout the book.  The second page has the background of a paper by 7 Gypsies and layered on top is a tag pocket made of  textured embossed metallic copper card stock because as all scientists know copper conducts electricity . The "Evidence" tag is also 7 Gypsies. Beneath the tag are warning labels, a fragile label and a light bulb reminder because our scientist, with so many ideas running through his brain all the time, becomes a bit scattered from time to time so leaves himself reminders.
The third page is my favorite - this is another paper form the Julieanne paper stack and its so perfect with its copper gilt foil accents. The hand is pointing up to who knows where, the electrical current is amping up and the real hammered copper pocket is ready for the schematics of the next invention. A  "zero" piece in silver and green, as well as a found steel object contradict each other, while the inventor tries to control the electricity by funneling through the steel object, the embellishment, still registers "Zero,"  Still more work to do!
The fourth and fifth  pages, I used 7 Gypsies and open stock papers from Michael's or A.C. Moore. On the fourth page I created a large pocket using paper from the Julianne paper stack and tucked in a plain blank photo mat.  Beneath the electrical wires is another warning label which states, "ATTENTION -  New batteries may require two charge/discharge cycles before reaching full capacity.  Prior to using the battery, it is recommended to carry out two charge/discharge cycles."
 You might be wondering where I found these labels - I found them years ago at the most marvelous recycling thrift store I ever heard of.  It''s The Scrap Exchange located in Durham, NC and at one time, volunteers would go and comb the land fill for industrial items emptied by the truck load.  they carted them back to their warehouse and set up shop.  In there I found medical items from when they still used glass, x-ray equipment, all types of parts from machinery and rolls of warning labels, as well as thousands of other items, bins, hold-alls, springs of all sizes.  You never know what you'll find and it is the absolute to die for place for any scrapbooker, maker or inventor.  they have a wall full of rolls of industrial and commercial labels!  On top of the page is a Graphic 45 tag which I love of a mad scientist testing his flying machine. And on the next page is plenty of journaling with a Smash journaling list and a school notebook tag tucked into a border.
The fifth page I used some 7 Gypsies scraps using a triangle corner pocket to hold a black photo tag emblazoned with a chemistry bottle. a nuclear green paperclip, holds a pen tip as a reminder and another warning sticker keeps our scientist focused on the dangers at hand. The sixth page is made of metallic copper card stock embossed with steampunk gears using the Tim Holtz embossing folder and my Sizzix. At the top is a title card, and below is a double photomat pocket. It opens up for plenty of room for step by step photos and with the flap pockets are two additional photomat cards.
The 7th page bears the label "unbreakable"  (I love the paradox of fragile and breakable all in the same portfolio) with a mini library card holder containing two cards, one a narrow materials list, and a red photo mat card with cryptic designs and letters. The library card holder is accented with an embossed and title card accented with gold leaf.
 The 8th page is another metal copper card stock embossed with a Tim Holtz embossing folder and displaying columns of numbers (plans for a difference engine?" accented with Ranger Inks and Perfect Pearls.  The page overs a to do list, with a Smash reminder to our scientists to write it all down before he forgets or gets distracted by another concept all together.
The 9th page is chock full of tags.  Two are held in the upper pocket bearing an old map.  The smaller is a Graphic 45 tag - perhaps a reference page ripped from a book, the large tag was tucked there by Nathanial,s lady friend, Cecila.  It is the newspaper listing of all the events, parties and performances scheduled around London.  She's so hoping he'll remember how he promised to take him to at least one event.
Below is a pocket made out of woven steel and inside and embossed tag for photos. 
The tenth and final  page is quite pivotal.  Because our scientist has been working so hard on such volatile projects, he's left a photo of himself in case his lab should come to some unfortunate end - explosion, destruction by the Industrial 5, There's also a tag for him to write his full and final report on his findings, as well as a sealed envelope - a note to Cecilia, a last will and testament,  instructions for stabilizing fissionable materials, disarming an explosive device, the recipe for his latest alchemical concoction, or a theorem of physics?  Who's to know except the finder?  And "ah-ah" the finder shall say, before or perhaps after opening the enve4lope And there they will discover a key embedded on a the steampunk pocket...where time is always running out. . . But to what fits the key? His heart, his chest of ancient banned books, his locked cabinet of wonders, his apothecary shed, his below ground distillery, a the housing of Schrodinger's cat, or a getaway 1920 Ford or craftily hidden airship? Only the finder shall know.
Available on my ETSY shop, Gail Gray Studios. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Absinthe boudoir journal and mini photo abum

The mystique of absinthe... how do we describe it? How we do we capture its essence of the Green Goddess? Well you can start with this Absinthe Boudoir journal, a place to schedule tastings, record favorite brands, list your favorite bistros, cafes and pubs which offer absinthe brands from around the world and right at home. This a compact, ribbon-tied mini journal and photo album combined is where you can record dreams, jot down memories, keep lists, contacts and quotes, save notes on tastings and write your experiences while visiting with The Green Fairy. and write drafts of letters. There are plenty of pockets and envelopes where you can tuck away small trinkets or love letters, lots of tags and photo mats for photos
I made this journal using the instructions offered by Steffogal1 on her expert you tube video for her "super cute and fast journal. The 7 1/2 by 3/12 boudoir journal is the perfect size to slip into a handbag or keep on a bedside table so as to remember all those brilliant ideas, storylines, plans and fantasies that are part of the absinthe drinker's experience. As with everything mysterious, you know you may forget them if top much times goes passes. And this is one of the Victorian, Turn of the Century, Art Nouveau, Steampunk journals, I have up for sale on my Etsy page at Gail Gray Studios.
The style of this "Absinthe is a blend of Art Nouveau, Steampunk, Victorian, Fin de si├Ęcle, French and a bit shabby chic - after all who has much to spend after imbibing in absinthe. C'est la vie!
Inside, tucked away in pockets and envelopes, a mini notebook and on the backs of tags, you'll find directions to accomplish that ghostly louche, absinthe quotes, advertising labels and illustrations of absinthe art and advertising, a list of famous absinthe drinkers, a place where you can list your favorite absinthe haunts and more. And there's lots of room for you to add your own notes on the experiences and history of the absinthe culture.

In this journal, I incorporated papers, materials, ephemera, flowers pigment inks and techniques from Graphic 45,     7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz, Prima, K&Company, and Perfect Pearls, Ranger, Recollections. Like the Victorians, I'm a great believer in reusing everything from advertising labels and items to scraps and fragments, left over from other projects or stuffed away in my stash.The first and second  pages shows some advertising from the hey-day of the Absinthe rage in Paris and beyond, as well as a pocket topped by a photo of the louche - when water is poured over a cube of brown sugar to cause the green absinthe develop a ghostly white mist floating in the body of the liquor.  Tucked inside the pocket is a vintage spiriteaux tag. On the second page is 1835 painting of La Fey Verte by Albert Maignan's 1835 over a metallic copper embossed and textured background made with a Tim Holtz embossing folder and by Sizzix machine and below is another embossed page depicting a sun in an art nouveau style accented with an absinthe label.
The third and fourth pages include a long vertical slide out pocket which holds a photo mat or a place to jot notes on tastings or brand. As an embellishment I added a Graphic 45 framed Art Deco woman.  The fifth page is made with a brown background emblazoned with keys and inserted in gutter holder is a photo mat and notebook where to list famous absinthe houses and local pubs, bistros and cafes which serve absinthe. A coiled paper flower competes the effect.
The fifth and sixth pages focus on the dreamy effects of absinthe, with ta pocket and a journaling tag, and an enveloped and a journaling tag/photo mat.  The envelope can be sealed for those special private entries. w pockets to record dreams, memories, and encounters before the Green goddess whispers in your ear and all is forgotten. Textured and embossed papers were used as well as a Graphic 45 Steampunk Debutante postal stamp.
The final two pages include a tag from Michael's dollar bins and a Smash note keeping page simply stating "Yes!"  Yes to favorite brands of absinthe!  Yes to absinthe invitations!  Yes to new absinthe friends!  All proclaimed by the vintage painting of a beautiful art nouveau woman hoisting her glass in a toast.

Bird and Butterfly boudoir journal

Now that Christmas is over, I can show some of the boudoir books I made for gifts.  This natural one with the bird elements was for my son, Jeff's girlfriend, Jeanine, who  like my son, loves  hiking, the outdoors, nature, flowers, butterflies and dragonflies, this one is smaller than the ones I've made before at 7 by 3/1/2 inches and it's based on a you tube tutorial taught by Steffogal1 taught in very user friendly steps. 
 I used materials from  K&Company,  Mairposa and Engraved Garden  paper stacks, as well as materials ephemera and techniques from Tim Holtz, Prime and 7 Gypsies. 

Jeanine is also a writer and artist she can jot down notes, bird sightings, good artifact sites, keep photos of their outings, even stash bird feathers and small findings.  
This was one of my early attempts at making a portfolio style journal using the instructive tutorial Steffogal1 offered on her you tube channel.  I've been scrapbooking, making books and altered art journals for over twenty years and I think that by far, this is my absolute favorite format.   It has that Griffin and Sabine mystery hunting and treasure hunting aspect to it that makes me love turning every page - even when I made the journal.  Plus I love the fact this one project functions as a diary, photo album, journal and especially a keepsake holder thanks to the many pockets and envelopes.

On the cover, I used a sheet of paper from the Julianne paper stack by K&Company, then added two K&Company embellishments  flower and a bell jar showcasing a butterfly and flowers. The final touch was a fragment I made with a Tim Holtz fragment and a butterfly from the K&company Mariposa paper stack.

The second and third pages I used some Recollections open stock paper from Michael's and some more Mariposa paper.  The photo booklet is with paper from the Engraved Garden paper stack by K&Company and the tag is Mariposa.  the saying "It's a wonderful world" is form my from my stash.

On the third and fourth pages I used Mariposa and Julianne papers (the poppies and stripes) as well as a photo mat that looks like a mirror from K&Company's 2011 Halloween tag stacks.

The fourth and fifth pages are open stock paper on the left and Mariposa on the right with a border and title card and tag from my stash.

On the sixth page, I added a premade pocket and tag from the dollar bin at Michael's
the sixth and seventh pages were made with Mariposa and Recollections open stock paper and bling and embellishments from K&Company and a 7 Gypsies tucked into a pocket I added after trimming it with a Tim Holtz borders die on my Sizzix.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fun Steampunk boudoir journal

Once again, I made a boudoir journal using the directions offered by Steffogal1 super cute and  fast journal. Since I'm an avid steampunk participant, working on a steampunk book and having appeared on authors and art panels at Steampunk Cons, I'm always looking for new ways to create using the steampunk/Victorian theme. Since my main character Cecilia is a frisky and curious character - always looking for something to get into, i w3anted to highlight the more flirtatious and playful parts of her personality in this little 71/2 X 31/2 journal.  
This was so much fun to make, touching on both the steampunk and Victorian aspects of my steampunk novel in progress, Orchidelirium.  I often find that producing art is a good way to help flesh out scenes and chapters for my novel.   And since I mentioned before, like the Victorian, I love the idea of recycling advertising illustrations in art so this one has a lot of Trader Joe's illustrations - they are just too cool to leave in the ad flyers or throw in the trash.  I stayed with a muted color scheme in keeping with the Victorian era and of course added a pallet of browns to emphasize the steampunk element.  For the background pages and pockets, I used papers from K& Company's Julianne and Vintage Garden paper stacks, as well as some stock Recollections papers from Michael';s and A.C. Moore.
 In addition I used materials, flowers, ephemera, and techniques from 7 Gypsies, Graphic 45, Tim Holtz, Ranger Inks, Recollections, Prima and K&Company. Once again I've added lots of pockets and tags where I can tuck away notes about Cecila's character development or plot ideas. And there are photo mats where I can add photos of miniatures of some of the sketches I'm doing of my characters.  And of course, had a blast adding feathers and bling to each page.
On the first page, I used a Julianne paper from K&Company then added a corseted steampunk woman  as the main illustration.  I love the steampunk twist the Graphic 45 designers did on the Victorian corseted woman making her appear as if she just left the Upper Air Market, a wheel of streets, something like a steampunk version of Montemarte, which is suspended high above ground where rogues, dealers and thieves meet at the cabarets and in the shops selling rare black market merchandise.
However, Cecilia, as botanist at Kew Gardens, she   is just as much a Victorian lady who has a great deal of fun flirting with the men, although she's committed to Nicholas, a rather unconventional inventor.
The reason I love making these books so much is because they remind me of the Griffin and Sabine series where art and letters tells the mysterious story of the two main characters and actually holding the letters makes the reader feel as if they do are there - in the story living it out.
On the first page, we have the carriage ready to take her off on an adventure and here she has plenty of room to jot down new acquaintances, addresses, titles of musics, names of music she likes and of course any new botanicals she might come across.  And of course, she loves to tuck away invitations to the theater, or those new fangled moving pictures, appointment cards with her designer and that new photographer with his fancy camera, as well as invitations to picnics, teas, dances or tennis.  And lets not forget a gentleman's calling card - there's always a place to slip one in to keep safe.
On the second page, she's recorded illustrations drawn by that wonderful new artist in the area of her rowing on the Thames and enjoying tennis with Nicholas when she can steal him away from his laboratory and workshops.
On the third and fourth page, she loves to recall that wonderful party, where everyone took turns displaying a talent, reading poetry, singing, playing the piano or acting out a hilarious skit - one young man even performed magic tricks!  Cecilia displayed two of the new floral additions to the greenhouse - a rare and potent poppy and a newly discovered rose, discovered growing wild on a side of a hangar just outside of London in Staines where they build airships of all things!  but how she discovered this is a long  and dangerous story, indeed.
And then as we come to the end of the day, Cecilla reflects and unwinds, steps out of her corset into a loose fitting cotton work dress and goes into the greenhouse to choose flowers for the arrangements she'll make for tomorrow's festivities.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Myth and Goddess Boudoir Journal

I haven't posted recently for three reasons - one is that Loner aka Jeff has the next book of his Appalachian Trail journal that I made and I need to photograph it before talking about it on here. Secondly, I've been spending a lot of my time on my large 12X12 altered art Steampunk journal #2 after attending the Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza and being totally blown away by the inventions, costumes and  I've mostly been making Christmas presents so haven't wanted to post about them until after the recipients receive their gifts.
But now I'm making some journals to keep, some to sell on my ETSY and some to save as presents.
 I'll start with one I've made for myself.  I often make books for other people and never get around to making one I'll keep, but I gathered enough ephemera to make one of the useful journals that Steffogal1 taught in very user friendly steps in a you tube tutorial. 
First she offered  peek of it in this video and then she did a tutorial on what she called a super cute and easy journal.  I love the style so much I've been making them like crazy.  Most of mine I call boudoir journals because they're the perfect size to perch on a nightstand. Don't we all need a part diary, part mini photo album - to capture those thoughts and ideas when we have a few moments of alone time? Boudoir journals are ready for , dream recording,  romantic memories, jottings, list-making and of course, photos of your people, secret admirers and legged loves!
This was an important project to me at this stage in my life, as part of the focused Jungian studies I'm involved in right now. It was also part of my therapy following my doctor's diagnosis of my fibromyalgia early last year and an escalation of the chronic neuroimmune disease in July. And I'm sure the tragedy in Newtown, CT, brought to light how death and loss, while integral parts of life, forever change our perspective on life.

 I started off with  a sheet of the 12X12
Engraved Garden Designer paperstack from K&Company. 
I just love this page with the crow. I've always had an affinity for the crow as a bird and The Crow both James O'Barr's graphic novel and The Crow as the movie, starring Brandon Lee were parts of the goth culture which was a rather important part of my life. The movie came out during the heyday of when my publishing house, Shadow Archer Press was publishing our goth culture magazine, The Howling.  Many of our staff and friends were huge graphic novel fans of such groundbreaking graphic novels such as James O'Barr, The Crow and Neil Gaiman's/Dave McKean's Sandman and we couldn't wait for the film to be released and had planned a huge gathering to all attend the movie in goth garb. But then we received the news of Brandon Lee's tragic death on the set in Wilmington, North Carolina (which I visited about ten years later.  I always become fully immersed in sub cultures and had done a lot of research on why O'Barr wrote the graphic novel and how director, Alex Proyas interpreted the story from his own personal perspective. The Crow resonates with me in many deeply personal ways and has been one of my totem animals - maybe as far back as when I was a child, and my father died four days after a fall from a tall building he was working on in Boston. 
I wasn't  allowed to grieve, except secretly because my mother thought it best not to talk about my father or his accident. I believe that America is amiss in rushing the grieving processes, major transformational stages of life. Periods of grief tend to teach us a great deal about loss, but also about love, depth, the true value of people as opposed to material things, as well as leading us to appreciate what's essential to a soulful life.
So for this boudoir journal, I tried to find items that spoke to that process as we travel through the various stages.
First of all I cut the page to 7/1/2 by 3 1/2 inches and then did the scoring and folding to make the booklet. I first added a cemetery sculpture of a mourning woman which I made with a Tim Holtz  fragment. I love using fragments because they're so easy to use to make small pieces of paper into artwork and add a 3 dimensional feature to any project. The woman in mourning further emphasizes the message of this journal.  The Victorians were students of mourning rituals and had many including photos of the deceased, jewelry made from lock of hair from the dearly departed, and other traditions which we might consider macabre.  But to them it was all part of the healing process.
On the second and third pages, I started out with a pocket made from a 2001 note card by Robert Frederick Ltd. that I couldn't bear to mail away, depicting John William Waterhouse's beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting The Lady of Shallot (1888) - this has long been an important painting in my search for soul and meaning as it represents one must set forth into the unknown despite the dangers which might be encountered.  The painting was based on Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem, written in 1832 -  The Lady of Shallot, where a maiden is locked in a tower and can only view a knight who rides by in a mirror. Once the mirror cracks, she feels she must go seek him our and sets of in her boat, dressed in white, floating through water lilies (both symbols of innocence seeking Camelot.
Our red-headed young woman does encounter love but loss, as well, as we all do. Inside the pocket is a tag from Michael's famous dollar bins. On the next page is an area to jot down quotes or thoughts above a photo of a statue which is in my Garden - to me she represents Demeter or Ceres - the goddess of growth and fertility, but also the mother of Persephone or Hecate who must bear witness to her daughter being abducted to the underground (our subconscious) by Hades (Pluto).
The fourth and fifth pages are about growth, blossoming, blooming to full flower and adulthood,  Life seems vital and vibrant, alive and alluring.   The poppy foil and gilt envelope from K&Company Julianne paperstack holds a tag for photos or writing and the book of  stems, leaves and flowers above offers room for photos.  On the 5th page the botanical from the  paperstack tag barely hides one of my sketches of a nude woman who learns to be vulnerable under the enchantment of new experiences, offerings, pleasures.
Below is a photo of the page with the photo book and poppy envelope opened, displaying the magenta colored striped tag inside  the enveloped.

On the 6th and 7th page, I chose a Steampunk woman holding a crow, from Graphic 45's Steampunk Debutante Collection, This woman is mature and decides to live a bohemian life given over to art, writing, reading and music. She holds the crow, a reminder that death must be acknowledged, and how its acknowledgement proves life as something sweet and precious - something important to savor each and every day. I made the art noveau tag from metallic copper heavy card stock using an embossing folder that came in a set.  I can't recall who made it though. It was a great set with four different tags or panels all in the Art Nouveau style.  To add inspiration for soul searching I added a "Mirror, mirror on the wall" type photomat accented from the 2011 Halloween tag stack by K&Company as well as a metallic copper and blue paisley border by K&Company. 
The 8th and 9th pages represent two more stages of a woman's life, first her abduction again to the underworld, an experience which is re-enacted over and over through fathers, boyfriends, lovers and husbands. Because women experience emotions so deeply leading in their ever-present  internal life, they sometimes feels they must give up parts of themselves to be committed to a relationship or to marry.  The 8th page with it's hues of reds and oranges represents all the intense emotions connected with these colors, passion, lust, anger.
I was so excited to spot the Trader Joe's Apple Cider one shipping trip and besides salivating over the idea of cider, I knew the illustration would have to have a featured place in one of my projects. The label is easy to remove (no glue on most of it)  and has a great texture. The illustration depicts these emotions in a unique and powerful way - the man is leading the woman up a ladder - to the heights of passion and life experience, but she refuses and struggles to escape because she's afraid of losing herself.
The tag just below, is from the Julianne K.& Company paperstack   and it's complex busy pattern, overlaid with gilt foil swirls shows how the spirals of life can be hectic and confusing and I tucked it into the bottom border of a bowed Cupid's mouth which is closed and silent.The background of the page and tag are both softer in hues of pink representing that behind all the emotional entanglements and doubts, order can bring order  out of chaos but our woman isn't ready just yet.
On the 8th page, she does indeed lose herself - in a wonderful way - bearing children - and this page shows the joys of motherhood and how losing oneself to the innocence of children, as presented by thew botanical card in the background of a lily, tells a different story. Another tag made of lime green cross-hatched card stock once again depicts the colors of  young life, but the crosshatching on the card shows how those lives Are 9intricately woven together from now on.
The final two pages represent the woman who has come to terms with her life.
On the 9th page I added another photomat from the 2011 Halloween K&Company tag stack and made a pocket from teal card stock, tucking in a card made from a piece of Recollections open stock paper from Michael. This tag: deeply-hued, voluptuous, abundant, rich in color, shows how the reds and pinks are deepened into mauve and burgundy through experience, reflection, insight and resolve.
On the 10th page, once again, I used a Robert Frederick note card of Proserpina by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This goddess, also know as Persephone, Rossetti saw as the empress of Hades - queen of the underworld, who has become adept at exploring her subconscious depths. She is no longer an unwilling victim, but  now a mature and resolved woman, aware that to be fully authentic, she must also reside in the liminal world of Hades for half of her each year to become a fully authentic individual in her own right. She is adept at delving into the past and her subconscious through dreams, stillness, silence or meditation, and she'll continue to partake of the pomegranate because such journeys to the depths are imperative to soulmaking.
I tucked a tag I found at the side of the road once while walking - a scientific specimen card of the lunar, a perfect addendum to tuck into the Proserpina pocket as a symbol of a being whose greatest insights are discovered in the depths of the dark.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Loner's Appalachian Trail Mini Album Book 1

As some may know from my Carolina Appalachian Trail Mom blog, my son hiked the Appalachian Trail this year, from Georgia to Maine, starting April 7th.
All the time he's been gone I have been making a mini photo album for him keep photos, mementos and epherema important to his almost six month journey.  As he walked 5 million steps, 2,180 miles through 14 states, I made page after page, and ended up with 10 different ring bound albums, based on the states, some I combined.
  I'll  start with the first album. I used chipboard for the covers and cereal boxes for the pages on which I used a variety of  cardstock papers or open stock papers from Michael's, A.C. Moore and Hobby Lobby and commercial scrapbooking papers, including pieces from the  American Traditional Great Outdoors 12x12 Scrapbooking Bundle Kit, individual papers from Basic Grey, Karen Foster, K and Company, and Bo Bunny,  I haven't finished the cover yet, since he's still in Maine and I actually may ask him what he wants the cover to look like but here's the first page. I used embellishments from Jolee's,
I used  lots of embellishments from my stash, made pockets, pages and cutouts with diecuts, embossing folders (mostly Tim Holtz and Sizzix) and added 3D and metal trinkets from many different companies so I'll try and mention those as I go along. I created the album in sort of a grungy rugged and ragged outdoor to fit with a hike of six months.
Page 1 and 2 depict the day we took off from Amicalola Falls and shows his Trail name, Loner, the year, and the number 801, since he was the 801st person to register to do a thru-hike from Amicalola Falls or Springer Mtn. this is called the southern terminus of the trail. Along with maps showing the trail,  there are photos of him registering and weighing his backpack.  I used the parking ticket as a background with the day punched out.
The second page is a about my granddaughter, Kendall and I walking with him the first part of the trail.  in the pouch is a map of the Amicalola Falls State Park.  I try to use a lot of vintage and current postage stamps through out this journal and there is a copper penny he stamped of the map on this page in the Ranger's gift shop.  He made more as he went along the trail in other states.   As a kid Loner collected postage stamps and first day covers so I tried to include as many vintage postage stamps as possible. I grunged up every page at the edges with Ranger inks. 
In addition, I learned techniques from all sorts of talented and creative scrappin' gals, especially Steffogal1, Charlie Jones2686 and a lot of the folks on the Graphic 45 ring.  I found it hard to a book for a man because most of the materials are tuned towards women or children, but I'll clue you in in some of the companies who provide more masculine motifs.
 Page five and six I call the last wave as it was the last time we saw him and still wait for him to come home.
I think the paper is open stock from Michael's and I added a various number of stickers from various sticker packs.  I found most of my hiking stickers and embellishments at ScrappinStuff because they have entire sections devote to just hiking or camping or mountain climbing or even kayaking. They ship really fast too.
  Page 6 has a flip out page with two photo mats made with a cardstock, the Tim Holtz lined student paper embossing folders and I painted a sun with  with Ranger Inks and accented it with Perfect Pearls.
For an ultralight backpacker and gram weanie - a gear list was important.  His pack weight 13.5 lbs without water. so the 7th and 8th pages are about his equipment, his camp set up with his hammock, since he's a hammock hanger. so I put pockets which are also photo mats and plenty of tags and cards for him to journal or list everything he used along the trail and to perhaps rate it once he's re-adapted to everyday life. some of the tags are from 7 Gypsies (love their tags) and these pages and the next are  the Julianne paperpad from K and Company.
The 9th and 10th pages are about the nature of what he's doing, going off road for six months mostly and having to find his way and follow his dream.  I used the Tim Holtz banners edge cutter die both for a pocket and to edge the page and then I created the hiker logos on cardstock and used stickers form various companies.

To offer more room for photos,  I made  a fold out photo album and left a few empty for him to add photos he wants.
The 11th and 12th pages are more ethereal grand and symbolic evoking the history of explores over the ages and in challenging locations. I loved this compass paper from one of the Pirate stacks or open stock from Michaels.   And added some journaling spots, arrows, a quite and a handmade library envelope out of metallic copper cardstock to add additional photo mats and journaling spots.

 The back page has a copper pocket made with on of Tim Holtz On the Edge dies and a sticker that says, we are not Lost , we are hiking, as well as the logo of the Appalachian Trail community, who were his support and family while he was hiking.  The pocket contains a journaling card and print outs of the first emails we exchanged.  I still haven't decided what color I'm going to make all the back covers of each book so they're not finished yet either.  And of course I added the April, because as the miles and days go on, we'll need to keep track.

As Jeff traveled along on his journey he'd send me packages including flyers from places he'd visited, any kind of permits he had to purchase ads for menus and hostels, trail towns, historical info and all kinds of pertinent info that applied to his hike.  The trail, restaurants and hostels and outfitters change as the years go by, so hopefully this will be a sort of historical keepsake for the year 2012 and our family can enjoy it years on down the road in the years to come.
This is what the entire set of albums looks like in an old Coca cola crate.  I couldn't find anything else big enough to hold them all .  At first I used a chest but then there were too many and the tags standing out of the top would have been crushed.  I made the covers of each section alike - simple the name of the state or states, and a large chipboard animal relevent to the hike with I found all in one packet on Scrappin Stuff.  I'm still going to check the flea markets and thrift stores for a more appropriate wooden box from one of the states the hiked through. Maine would be ideal.  That's all for this blogpost and most of the first mini photo album for Loner.  I may add a few more touches and will finish the cover and add the last page later.