Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Say "Be Mine" with a Valentine... and pass the chocolates!!

Remember when you were a kid (it's definitely a farther stretch for some of us!), when February rolled around, our teachers used Valentine's Day as an excuse to have an art project!? I can't begin to count the number of hearts that I must have made, in retrospect it felt like a gazillion or more!! I fondly remember my most favorite project of all... My Valentine Mailbox! (aka: Shoebox) I loved covering & decorating it, making it my very own original and unique vessel with high hopes of it becoming filled to the brim on Valentine's Day. Long after the big day had passed, I would go through my saved treasures and admire everyone's creations... even back then, I was an Art Hoarder, a habit that I would continue throughout my life!! Yes, my name is Jan and I'm an Art Addict!! (and proud of it!!) 

Well, enough of my walking down memory lane, it's time for Show & Tell!!

Poking around the internet, I came across a couple of pics that inspired this project. I tend to take a little bit here and a little bit there and add it to a little bit more until I've been inspired to make a prototype of my grand plan... Voila, a project is born!! With Valentine's Day approaching, I thought this would be a great project to share! Hopefully, you will be inspired to give it a try & see how you can put your own creative stamp on it!!

So, let's get started with our Accordion Flag Card... 2 1/2" X 3 1/2"   (ATC size)

Below: It may seem like I'm working backwards & you are right, I am... photos of the finished work.

View showing the accordion spine of the card
View of standing card ( closed )
View of untied card from the top - stands on it's own - *notice the flag positions
View of opened card -  the top flags on the accordion point to the right & the bottom flags to the left
So, here's how I got started...

Below: Begin with a strip of any color card stock  3 1/2" X 8" - to create the accordion spine, mark the 8" sides every 1/2"  - using a ruler and a scoring tool, draw a score line connecting from top to bottom - there should be 15 scored lines when finished - fold in alternating directions at the score lines to create an accordion .

Needed supplies - card stock, ruler & scoring tool
Finished accordion should have 7 peaks with a single flap at each end

The next step is to create the Flags... I used watercolor paper, but you can use any paper of your choice. You will need to cut 14 flags - 1 1/2" X 2 1/4" - I used my old faithful, Jacquard Dyes, to create my background designs and finished with details using pen & ink. This is where you can make them your own by using any medium & technique that you enjoy working with! When making your designs, take note that 7 flags will be pointing to the right & 7 flags will be pointing to the left. You may want to lay out your designs accordingly. I trimmed the edges that are not attached to the spine, as well as using a hole punch in some places. In doing this, I think it adds another design element to the overall work.

Jacquard Dye backgrounds before ink detailing
Finished flags - ready to attach to the accordion spine
The only thing left to do, is to assemble your cards... my first step was to attach my front and back covers - on the inside, I used one of my ATC sized Janoodles on each side attached to the end flap strips. On the outside, I used a plain red card stock. All assembling was done with two-sided tape. For placement, refer to the photo below.

Inside covers are attached to spine at both ends with the 7 peaks in the center
You are now ready to attach the flags to the peaks. I am using the photo below to easily show you their placement. Start on the right side of your card - on the 1st peak you will attach 1 flag to the top half of the right side of that peak - on the left side of the same peak, attach another flag to the bottom half of the strip. Important, do not let the flags touch, leave a small gap between so that they will point in opposite directions and freely move when opening & closing your card. Repeat these steps with each peak using all 14 flags. Refer to the previous photos at the beginning of this post to once again see the finished work!!

Example of flag placement to the accordion peaks
Hopefully I didn't confuse you too badly! Sometimes, doing is a lot easier than explaining... when in doubt, just jump in and I believe that you'll figure it out in the end!! As always, the most important thing is... Have FUN!!  

Thanks for stopping by... Until next time, 
Blessings to one and all!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Part Two... Going Across the Finish Line!!

Just to recap... our previous post ended with 4 Mail Art Postcards that we cut from a colorful background sheet that was created using acrylic paint.  Today I will continue to embellish with my finish designs. Upon completion,  the postcards will be ready to pop into the nearest mailbox to start their journey to their planned destinations!

So, let's get started... But first, take a moment to scroll down to the end of the previous post... to refresh your memory, this photo shows our postcards with their finished backgrounds. 

Welcome back... Below: Pictured is an assortment of hand carved stamps that I have made. I chose to use them on the postcards as another layer of design.  The background was created to be totally free form, by adding the specific designs of the stamps a wonderful contrast is achieved.

Hand carved stamps

Postcards after the stamping is completed
As you can see above, that second layer of color and design that the stamps provide is a great option for continuing your finish work!

Below are the individual postcards that I completed. Of course, they are done in my own familiar Janoodle style. Using these basic techniques, you can personalize your postcards in your own unique way, there are no rights or wrongs. 

Just remember to have FUN!!

"Love Art" Postcard

"Dreaming of Spring" Postcard

"Happy Birthday" Postcard

I hope that I have inspired you, even the tiniest bit... come on,  just jump in... no plans... experiment, try something new, what's the worst thing that can happen? 
Your ART is waiting to be created!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Part One ... "The Background Check!"

Up until about a year and a half ago, I had never heard about Mail Art... now, I can't even imagine not having it as a part of my creative life! I'm very grateful to the website ATC's for All for introducing me to this wonderful form of expression and communication! I spent several months on the site watching and lurking around various swap threads, all the while my interest grew to the point that I wanted to join in! Finally, I mustered up enough courage to ask if I could join a monthly mail art swap called Envie Addicts Unite! Lucky for me, they graciously welcomed me into the fold! Each month, I am partnered with another artist to exchange a piece of art in the form of an envelope or postcard. Right from the beginning I was hooked! There's nothing more exciting than opening up my mailbox to find a colorful and unique work of art that was created just for me. I have also increased my loathing of those plain white envelopes that scream out  "Junk Mail" in their boring & obnoxious way!!! I love going to the post office to mail my creations, customers in the line as well as the workers behind the counter, are very curious and full of questions... it has become my quest to brighten up my little corner of this world, one piece of mail at a time!!!

Today's Show & Tell is about creating backgrounds for Mail Art Postcards! In past posts, I have shown my use of Jacquard Dyes or watercolors in creating backgrounds for my work. The translucent quality that they provide is very compatible with using a metal tipped rapidiograph for the very fine detail work that I use to finish my pieces. Today we are going to use acrylic paints which have a more opaque quality, making it necessary to use a bit larger pen tip for your finish details to avoid clogging or wearing out your pen.

When creating a background sheet, I like to just jump in with no preconceived plan... I'm a play it by ear kinda gal!! ( Which has had mixed reviews throughout my life?!) So, here's how I start... I usually grab a piece of  9X12 in. , 140lb. watercolor paper. This is a great size for cutting out 4 separate 4X6 in. postcards when finished.  Next, choose assorted bottles of an inexpensive craft style acrylic paint in the colors of your choice and an old outdated plastic credit or gift card.  That's right, no brushes... the credit card is used to spread the paint across the paper to create free form patterns!! The colors become layered in places as they are swept along the paper, this creates added effects to your design.  

Below: This photo may seem out of sequence but I wanted to use it 
first to show you the supplies stated above! 
Also, shows those effects that color layering adds to your design!

Let's get started...  
Squeeze the paint directly on the page forming different sized color dots. Using the edge of the credit card, swipe & spread the dots along the paper. In doing this, patterns are formed. Experiment by moving your hand in different directions to come up with your desired results! (*Note that the green area in the photo shown above was created from the green dots in the photo below!)

Below is the finished sheet. As you can see, I used several colors 
and patterns to fill the entire page!

 Below is the finished sheet cut into 4 separate sections to create your Postcards!
These background cards are now ready for their "finishing" designs. 

Stop by for part 2 of this post for further steps toward completion!!
Until then... Ciao!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First post of the New Year!

Whoa... I can't believe it's already January 11th, I did have high hopes for starting off this year with at least 1 post every 3-4 days. Well, so much for plans, to avoid feeling like I've already failed, I'll use my woman's prerogative to change my mind. No more declarations, no more goals, no more pressure to perform... whew, I feel better already!!

Wintertime has become my least favorite time of year, as the years go by I find myself less and less enthusiastic about all that it has to offer! Don't get me wrong, I do still enjoy gazing upon the beauty of freshly fallen snow but that seems to be where it ends!! Inevitably, reality does set in when I must leave the confines of my dry, warm home to go out into the world. Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, ice cleats, heavy socks... has it always taken this long to get ready to go?! O.K., now I made it outside... where's the snow shovel, ice melter, ice scraper and snow brush?! Thank goodness, I actually still have enough energy left to drive downtown to run some errands (hopefully the city has plowed the streets I need to go on?!) Optimist that I am, I have found a light at the end of the tunnel... today has 1.35 minutes more daylight than yesterday!!

My "ART" is what I depend on the most to see me through until Spring comes shining through... I am truly blessed, so I'd better knock off all the whining and just get to work CREATING!! Here's my first "Show & Tell" of the New Year!

Below are a few "themed" Janoodles that I did this afternoon!
(They are a little bit abstract and a little bit realistic... my favorite way of seeing things!!)

"Flower Garden" Janoodle

"Under the Sea" Janoodle

"Wooly Worm" Janoodle

"Mountain Scenery" Janoodle

Thanks for stopping by... Until next time, Ciao!!