Marie Antoinette board book

With all the Marie Antoinette craze, I decided to practice in a board book. I have a long way to go to learn to make those books attractive. Still, it was fun to go over the top.

Marie Antoinette madness

That's it! It's official: I'm a girl.

There's been doubt all through my life, since I have a man's name and with the skydiving, the living alone, the intrepid skydiver's lifestyle, I've heard the question rise often.

But the Marie-Antoinette craze is doing me in. I've just spent the day making a small Marie Antoinette book for a surprise for a friend, and two little matchboxes to leave around town as little smiles for people to find. I make them out of scrapbook papers, add a pearl button with a bit of lace, and a little saying or a trinket in the drawer. They are so much fun!!

An idea for a RR

When I was last in a scrapbook store, I discovered these little blank folders. The immediately caught my attention, as they thought they had a lot of potential.

I took some pictures of what can be done with them.

The little folders are 8x8 with an overlapping front cover and top, bottom and side flaps. The side flap wraps around the front cover, to close with a snap, a button, etc.

Here is the book open, with the top and bottom flap. It's fun to add a pocket on the inside to hold some fun items related to the theme.

The "book" is then made up of cards, scrapbook fashion. Each card gets slightly bigger than the one above, and both sides are decorated.

For a RR or a journal, this is where artists would do their magic, and get to add 'stuff' in the pocket.

The cards are held together with brads and a reinforced piece of ribbon. It all gets hidden by the back paper eventually, on the back cover.

Here is another example, with a graduation theme:

This should give you a pretty good idea of the potential for these books. They could certainly be used in a Round Robin with as many members as cards can fit in the book, or add one for altering the back cover and the inside cover with the page. 

Here are two pictures of the blank folders so you get an idea of how the pages overlap.. 

Marie Antoinette Round Robin

Now I know how to spell Round Robin with only ONE b. I have so much fun making those books, I just signed up for another one. This one has for theme: Marie Antoinette. The last queen of France is getting a lot of press these days. I thought all the frou frou, bling and glitz would be fun, since it's so much out of my comfort zone.

I was let into the group at the last minute, thank you, fearless leader who took a gamble on me. I made my journal over the weekend so it could be on its way to Australia.
I grabbed some fabric that I thought looked rich and elegant for the cover, and this eventually suggested  my own theme.

Because the fabric is black and gold, with a red trim, it suggested to me a Confessions book. Where would Marie Antoinette write her deepest thoughts and dreams, and confess what she couldn't tell even her confessor?

This is the sign up page for the artists who will work in it, little tags that add up to the colors of the French flag.

I made a page to introduce her purpose for the book as a way to tell my fellow artists what to do in my book.

I made a digital montage with a picture of an elegant room, a cutout of Louis duc de Normandie and Marie Antoinette as drawn by one of my favorite artists, James Christensen. I colored it with colored pencils and added a bit of glitter.

And since I can never stop myself, I added two more pages, that really are not that interesting:

My journal is on its way to Australia and one will soon be on its way to me. To while away the time, I'm making one children's hardboard book into a Marie Antoinette present for my sister who's just had a bit of bad news. I don't know that she;ll feel better about the last queen of France who ended up beheaded, but my sister (step-sister) has a maiden name from an old royal family, so maybe it will cheer her up. All this outrageous bling and pearls and glitz has its own charm, I have to admit.

Free motion stitching

Here is something I created yesterday, after learning about free motion stitching.. I cut up some photos, glued them on top of muslin, and outlined the details in free motion. I added some fibers for depth.

It's my interpretation of our world, or a world for all people. Now I have to figure out how to finish it. How do you frame or hang something like that. I'll look for a small branch or a little twig to roll the top through. And voila.

Second Round Robbin

I'm also involved in another round robbin, but this one is an altered book. I love an altered book. It's my interest for altering a book which got me into all this art stuff that I'm so deep into now.

There are only 5 of us in this exchange, 2 people in England, 2 in Canada, and the hostess in the US. I found a small book with few pages so it's not too heavy to mail around, but sturdy enough. It is (was) a copy of Hans Christian Andersen in French. I like to play with the words on the page, but I guess in French, that's being a bit unfair.

My theme is Colors. I am mainly interested in the altered books techniques, since this is my FIRST AB exchange. I thought I'd keep the theme simple so the ladies can be creative on the technique.

I'm much into free motion sewing these days, learning the technique. I made the cover with some white satin, a layer of lace which completely disappeared under the stitching. I added a layer of very open lace trim, and free motion sewed on top with metallic thread. I put some Angelina fibers, but with the metallic thread, they've become invisible.

Here is my sign up page, and my own spread in the book: 
I used my Pan Pastels for the background. That's the ONE thing I learned in the class by Cre9It from Jessica. That's about all she had to share...

And the back cover. I left the bottom open, in case someone wanted to add something to it.

Round Robbins

I just finished my spread for the journal I am doing in the Round Robin for the Sketchbook yahoo group. I have Rita's book, and her theme is 'serenity'. I love that theme, of course.

I knew exactly what I'd do, but by the time I had done it, it was just a bit too stark after all. So I added. And added. I hope I have stopped in time before ruining it. 

I've also added 2 beads that seemed perfect:

The little round one is a Tibetan bead that I found at the Sewing and Crafts Show Saturday.

Victoria Sewing and Craft Show

This amazing show was taking place in Victoria, Vancouver Island on March 12 and 13th.

I was all booked to go on the 12th, classes paid and everything. The little organizer that I am. The weather refused to cooperate and after the most mild winter on record for 65 years, it snowed SNOWED Friday morning when I drove down to Victoria. Not a little white fluffy stuff: 3 inches in the space of an hour. They closed the Malahat for a while, which is a nasty pass right before arriving to Victoria. So with much sadness, I had to turn around.

Thankfully, the wonderful people at Green Tree shows was willing to reschedule me and I was also able to attend all the classes I had signed for, which ran for 2 days!!!! How happy is that?

In the morning, I took a free motion sewing class. We were taught how to draw on a quilt or fabric freehand. We learned how to make circles, squares, and wonderful designs. I had been making free motion designs, but this class really clarified a lot of what I was doing wrong, and put me on the right track for what I'd sense intuitively, like you have to get your foot pressure up to maximum, but that doesn't mean that you feed the fabric a million miles an hour. Very  helpful.

I had an hour (only) before my next class to wander the aisles, or as Lisa would say, to wOnder the aisles. What a feast for the senses. Not so good for the pocket book, and lots of supplies and 5 books found their way to my bag...

Then I spent the rest of my time gawking at Kayla Kennington's booth, who makes works of art out of silks and beads. She was here both days teaching an early morning class on fabric collage.

Here is some of her work:

How is that for utterly gorgeous?

In the afternoon I took a class called "Some like it hot". The instructor Denise Taylor, shared with us so many bits of cloth and fabrics that can be heated, burnt or steamed to create funky textures. It was fun. The smoke alarms never came off.

We learned about Texture Magic. You use it under a top fabric, do the free motion designs, and when it's steamed, it puffed up and fills the spaces....3D with an iron!!!! ? It shrinks a maximum of 30% in all directions. You can imagine all the great designs  you can easily do with that. Gotta love it.

We then painted some Tyvek with metallic paints and submitted that to the heat gun. FYI, I was told that the Tyvek enveloped given away freely by the US Post Office contains Formaldehyde and PBCs. Same for the Tyvek on construction sites. It seems the one designed for crafts does not. Or maybe it`s all propaganda, but why take a chance?  Here`s what it looks like...

Lots of possibilities with that. Flowers, relief in paintings.... yum.
We next moved on to Solvron. It`s a water soluble fabric that shrinks and puckers when it`s soaked in hot water. Denise applied it to a bunch of colorful threads:

Can have its uses, I guess, I`m just not sure what yet.
We also played with melting foils on top of Pellon and Misty Fuse, submitted some felt (not cotton) to the heat gun. It sorta puckers, but particularly melts away and ends up looking like lace.

She also showed us how to use Lutradur. You can paint it, tear it, it doesn`t fray, and when heated, it disappears in places, again just like laces.

We melted some Angelina fibers, which are so gorgeous, and she showed us also how to melt until part of the fibers so that whips remain that can be incorporated in a picture, being the hair of an angel, the fins of a fish, etc. Many gorgeous applications.

Finally, to my eyes`pleasure, there was fantastic artwork on the walls of the Conference Centre.

This sure was so much fun.

The muse is back

It seemed I'd do anything but paint for a few days, but I am now back on track and painting.

As a writer, I know how to deal with writer's block, but with painting, I don't really know how to get over it. With writing, I have a million ideas that seem to disappear in front of the white page, so I just start writing. Anything. Jibberish. Then the thoughts come in .

But with painting? What does one do? Paint anyway? I guess that's what happened...

I started a painting with transfers. They all failed, probably because the hardboard was just melamine, not coated with anything. So after the whole mess dried, I sanded roughly what was left. Since that board was a mess anyway, I thought I'd challenge myself with a color that scares me because it's so strong: Chromacryl cool blue. It was still a bit intense for me, so I pulled some of the colors with a crumbled piece of paper. I added a few napkins with gel medium to get some texture, then more experiments with the alcohol inks. Man, that stuff smells strong. I could get drunk just on the fumes....

Some of the colors came out really lovely. But when all was told, I still thought it looked a bit strong, so I used a light coat of white spray paint. And voila!

While I was at it, I found an older painting that never got anywhere and finished that too.

Now I have a Goddess in the works. Stay tuned.

Post Vegas paintings

I had a little 'event' during the Art and Soul retreat in Las Vegas, during a painting class, yeah, a painting class, where I found myself unable to produce anything I liked.

Blame it on the weird vibes of the town, the loud lights, the expectations that we could produce an 'intuitive' collage, I just couldn't paint. Finally, after for disastrous paintings, I produced this one:

Considering the theme was "the feminine icon', this came out weird.

Back in Vancouver island, I just couldn't paint. I did everything but... I  made the little frames on yesterday's post, but these are just for fun, not real paintings.

Finally, yesterday, I got near a canvas and pulled the paints. Here is the larger one, a 20x16 hardboard panel:

I started playing with alcohol inks on top of acrylic paints, and it makes the colors really shine. You can click on the picture to see the texture and the details.

I made a smaller one, just with the alcohol paints as an experiment. This little panel is 8x10.