A Crafting Friday Night (and Saturday morning)

The urge to craft and make things comes and cannot be denied, lol. I like making bookmarks. They’re smaller. This is good because the larger page is more intimidating. The blank page when I’m writing doesn’t bother me at all, ever. But the blank page when making arts or crafts is highly daunting! I’m not that creative with making things. There seems to be a disconnect between my mind’s eye imagination in seeing, and my hands in producing it. What I produce is amateurish, and only that, after a struggle.

Anyway, last night I made bookmarks from my photos, and overlaid scripture on them. Then I laminate. I’ve been dissatisfied, though, in the results. I can’t quite get the size right. Sometimes they come out too skinny and other times too fat. These two came out not-horrible.


I finally got a clue and searched online for a bookmark template. I found one on Teachers Pay Teachers, for free.

bookmark template

The next challenge was to figure out how to insert the clip art, photos, or pictures that I want, into the bookmark while keeping the shape. Hmmm. Just copying and pasting didn’t work. After clicking around some, I found that if you click the image, then click ‘Fill’ and then follow the pop-up menu to where or what you want to fill the shape with, it will work. In my case, I had prepared some clips of work I’d already done.

When I paint or collage or stencil, I then scan the finished product into the computer, thus digitizing it. So I had a number of items from which to clip sections from and insert into the shapes above.


From left to right: an acrylic painting, a color pencil stencil with digital clip art overlaid, a watercolor, a stenciled and painted collage, a paper collage with stencil on top. All art is by moi.

Then the job is to print out. I forgot that when printing pictures from Word I need to lighten it in the edit section, so, they came out a bit dark. I used regular paper and I think photo paper would make it a little sharper. Something went wrong with the last bookmark and there is no black line border all of a sudden, but those are the vagaries of printing. If I make the margins smaller the whole thing goes funky. So, I’ll figure that out next time. I just need to cut out this last batch. Overall, I’m pleased. I like the different shapes of the bookmarks, it makes them more interesting I think.


I plan on attending the Annual Winterville Marigold Festival later this morning with a friend. I’ll be visiting and also photo taking at this charming festival held in a small and pretty town.

I might be so jazzed up that I come home and have a blast processing my photos and maybe make more bookmarks. Or the predicted heat might make me decide to lay down with the kitties and take a nap, falling asleep listening to birds out my window. Anyway, it seems to be a good day ahead. I hope it is for you too!


Craft Day: Results

Anticipating Spring Break is so great. We have a full work week off, plus the two weekends on either side, for an amazing 9 days. It’s not like I’m paid for time off. I work 190 days per year and I am paid 190 days per year. The educator’s salary is just stretched out evenly through the year over the intermittent breaks and over the summer, but it’s based on time worked.

But ten years ago when I went back into educating, I decided I wanted the time and not the money. Of course, money is great, but if I pursued a high salary job I’d be busier than I wanted to be and the stress levels go up also. No, my needs and wants are few, and I’m content with being able to use the time as I wish.

In the time coming up to a Break, I plan all sorts of things. “I’ll take two online classes!” I’ll read a bunch of books!” I’ll make a thousand crafts!”

Sadly, my “eyes” are bigger than my stomach and there never seems to be enough time to do all the things I’d planned. A week off is great but it’s not long enough to do everything!

As I got to Friday I realized the week was almost over, and I hadn’t broken out the crafts yet! So I dedicated Friday to “Craft Day.”

I work so hard at making things. I soooo want to make beautiful things, but I just can’t. I never could. My High School Art teacher gave me a grade of C- – out of pity, even though that grade didn’t exist, because she just couldn’t bring herself to give me a D. But I deserved it. I tried so hard, coming in early and staying late, and starting over, and over, and over. Nothing I ever made with my hands ever worked out. She took pity on me and gave me the extra tenth of a point for effort and desire.

In the 1990s I took many art classes for bookbinding at the local Museum and libraries. In 1999 I went to the Paper and Book Intensive at Haystack Mountain. I read books on paper crafts and bookbinding. Even with all the education and tutoring, my projects were clumsy and amateur. More times than not I didn’t finish as the instructor had to move on and help other students.

In the 2000-teens I try the same at home, with just as much fervor and interest and desire, but not the skill. There is a disconnect between my brain and my hand that makes creating things with hand-eye coordination well-nigh impossible for me.

But that doesn’t stop me! All this to say that I know my projects are incomplete looking and with a third grader’s skill level. I keep hoping someday I’ll get better 🙂

Here’s what I did on Friday. First, the background papers. These are papers I’d prepared, or partially prepared, by practicing some techniques, and then plan to use them as background papers in other projects.

In this one I tried using the stencil UNDER the paper, and rubbing with oil pastel crayon over it. I like the technique, but the choice of oil pastel was bad because it clumps. I should use a regular crayon, on its side, like the lady in the tutorial did.

Same technique as above but I used a lighter touch. I did this one in my Fabriano Art Journal because it is larger & taller than the Strathmore.

Then I used a raindrop stencil over the tree rubbing and used a baby wipe to do some smearing. Again, practice. I had never heard of using baby wipes before and I like the idea of using them both for the creation of a piece and the clean up afterward, lol!

I had bought an old Spanish book of some kind at a jumble sale. Keep your eyes open for all manner of ephemera at any location. Even receipts, tickets, entry pamphlets, can all be used at some point in collage. The Spanish book pages are brittle and browned at the edges. The Spanish words, and penciled-in notes someone had made in the book make the pages exotic-looking and good ephemera. This one has a stencil of clocks and gears laid over the page, with distress ink sprayed over the stencil.

Large format tree stencil, pounced using acrylic paint. I’d used a cosmetic sponge for the pouncing. I have a few pages of 12X12 papers, and I selected black because I knew the lighter color paint would make a nice contrast. I liked the berries along the edge not just for their contrasting color but I liked the idea of bare branches on the tree but fruit along the edge.

Below, Strathmore Visual Journal, two pages of collage. I tried various techniques, including layering paint for the background, rub-ons, etc. Still looks unfinished, but I give this a D+ instead of my usual F.

I like things on a smaller scale. These are art tags. I can use them as cards, or attached to gifts for a personal touch.

This is Strathmore visual journal again. The painted background is something I’d done a while back. I used this page to stencil the sun, bird, and thinking woman on top of the block squares of paint underneath.

This is a file folder card. The birds on the front are very light. This is because the paper I’d stenciled it on is cloth-like and soaks up the paint massively. Good to know. It’s why I try different techniques.

Card inside. The doily thing will hold the message I decide to write.

So that’s it! Something else I did do is clean out one more drawer in my bureau that holds stuff. BTW, the pillow bungee corded to the air conditioner is because a Carolina wren makes a nest every year under the AC in the sill. (The AC unit stays in the window all year). The thin accordion slats weren’t enough to keep Murray from trying to get through and attack the five babies that enticingly cheep, perhaps to their doom. So I thumb-tacked a piece of cardboard over it and put the pillow there to prevent Wild Kingdom Birdie Apocalypse from happening in my living room.

The bureau’s 9 drawers come in very hand in this two-room apartment with one closet! On the far right the drawers contain-

1. Junk, tools, nails
2. Stationery, office supplies
3. Extension cords, this will be cleaned out also, for the ever growing craft supplies

The middle holds

1. paper, stencils
2. art journals, cardstock
3. ephemera, partially completed projects.

The far left bank of drawers holds:

1. empty. I plan to better organize the paper I’ve got. I have a lot of paper.
2. magazines, laminating pockets, some crafting tools, sponges
3. wet- inks, paints, ink pads, mattemedium glue, brushes

So that’s it. Thanks for reading!!

Craft day

I’ve had such a busy week that I realized this afternoon that I had not even done any arts and crafts! I did a bit this PM and I decided tomorrow will be all-day, all-out crafting. Maybe in my pajamas, lol.

Here is the bit I did this afternoon, while sipping pomegranate tea from my china cup and watching Bake Off: Creme de la Creme.

Origami bookmarks, file folder card, tags
You put these bookmarks over the corner of the pages.
It won’t fall down.
A couple of tags. I really love the bird stencil.

Till tomorrow!

Cucumber casserole?!

This was a fantastically perfect weekend from start to finish.

Friday evening was warm and bright, and I’d come home to a clean kitchen and tidy house. I love it when I keep things up during the week.

Saturday was rainy and drizzly but that is just fine for when you want to write and study and take a nap, which is what I did. I made cream of mushroom soup also, but I’ve never mastered that particular soup and it always comes out very strong. But I eat it anyway, despite the pungency of the mushrooms. I cut up a cantaloupe and enjoyed the zing, along with some lavender tea. I started watching the TV show The Flash. It was better than I expected. I like the innocent, real life but slightly off center cartoon feel to it, and I enjoyed the action sequences because they are without blood and are interesting. And the science, discussions going from real to almost real to could be real, all in an instant, lol.

I had a long nap, which I’d expected to have. On Friday at school was the quarterly reward party for all students who achieved a high benchmark of good behavior. We got inflatables and each grade had a solid hour to clamber up and scream down. But what that meant for us para-pros is that we stand at each entrance and exit of the inflatables cheering the kids and keeping an eye on safety. Standing in the sun for hours on uneven ground always does a number on my back and yesterday was no exception. It sapped my strength, but it was well worth it to see kids just having fun and being rewarded for their efforts.

Around 8pm a friend brought over the Bountiful Basket I’d bought, she was sweet to pick it up for me. It contained butter lettuce, cantaloupe, honeydew, what seemed like 4lb of grapes (sweet and tangy!) tomatoes, onions, kale, cukes, apples, bananas, plums, and more. I washed it all and looked up some recipes. I don’t favor cukes but I found a recipe to use up three of them, cucumber casserole. I decided to make kale chips and cuke casserole on Sunday. In the recipe where they say add wheat germ, I substituted quinoa.

Sunday dawned bright and warm. October in GA is simply spectacular. No humidity, bright sun that still has strength to warm, and clear skies. Temps usually range from low to mid 70s and nights around mid 50s. Perfect. The birds were chirping all day long, and it was a delight to listen to them.

I did make the cuke casserole and kale chips, along with marinated grilled tofu and tuna salad with grapes. Netflix has added one season of the Great British Baking Show and I am enjoying working my way through it. I hate baking myself but I like seeing their artistically created presentations and learning about baking even though I never do it myself. I love the GBBS because the music is nice. Unlike Masterchef which is like the Flight of the Valkyries – on steroids – every week. Also the contestants are nice and genuinely like each other. No sabotage, no snark, no snideness. The judges are gentle and encouraging while still being firm. Not the least reason, the show actually teaches something, which used to be the point of cooking shows. Remember, I grew up on Julia Child and Galloping Gourmet. Plus, it’s pretty. The setting on that English estate is gorgeous. I like the hominess of the tent and the quaint rustic touches, not like the space age kitchens of American TV with 30 foot ceilings and imposing stainless steel everywhere.

I crafted as I watched the baking show. A few weeks ago at a second hand store/dented merchandise (like Mardens or Job Lot) I had found crafting stuff from Martha Steward and Artist Loft. I’d bought gilding papers and some paints. I decided to make a basic one-signature soft cover book and use some of the tissue paper and gilded leaf papers I’d bought. I never had used gilding sheets before but hey, I decided to just throw some on there and see what happens. Here is the result, not finished, but 80% done. I’ll wait for the book to dry and be pressed, then I will add end papers on the inside and a bead to the thread.

In this first photo of the cover, I laid down black and white tissue paper with a design that looks antique newspaper. Then I’d printed a picture of a fir tree from the internet onto antique book paper torn out of a Spanish dictionary. Last I used the gold leaf the make a frame around the smaller fir tree paper.

Single pamphlet stitch. Here is a tutorial for a five-hole single pamphlet stitch but mine is even easier, a three-hole stitch.

I started on the outside (“start sewing where you want to end up”) because I want to add a bead or feather to the outside of the book where the stitch’s tail is. Cover is card stock, inside is whiteish artist paper.

Tomorrow is a work day but a teacher work day, no kids will be coming to school. We get to arrive half an hour later (you wouldn’t believe how much of a different getting there at 7:45 is compared to 7:15, or maybe you would). The weather looks to be nice ahead, and after this relaxing weekend, which will continue with me reading my book to some instrumental piano music shortly, all seems well in Comerlandia.

Have a good week everyone!

Crafting: Vintage Graphics printed on old book paper

Here is a great idea for book arts and crafting I got from a friend on Facebook who had posted a HomeTalk article. Here is the article

DIY Book Page Art Magnet With Graphics

It’s actually not just magnets, but greeting cards, book covers, book marks, and kind of paper art really. Here is what you do.

Select an old book bought at a jumble sale or library discard sale. I have several neat ones. One is a Spanish dictionary and one that is an oversized 1950s world architecture book.

HomeTalk pic

Tear out a page from it and put it upside down in the printer.

HomeTalk pic

Then find an image you like, either on your computer or on the internet. I really enjoy The Graphics Fairy for free vintage clip art and other graphics. http://www.thegraphicsfairy.com

In essence, you’re just using the book page as your printer paper.

EPrata photo

then once the graphic is printed on your book paper, you can do what you like to it. As a first try, I made bookmarks. I am still working on how to center my graphic on the book page. It was easier to make bookmarks because I could cut them up and not worry about the centering until I gained more experience with the process-

EPrata photo

You can see here that I glued the papers onto cardstock. You can, at this point, glue them onto magnets, or fiberboard coaster material, or cardboard, or whatever.

EPrata photo

I pressed them, let the glue dry and then I laminated them with my new Swingline Laminator I bought for cheap through Amazon.  Voila!

So easy! I can see already I am going to have to buy more printer ink! 😉