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!!