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Paper & scrapbooking

Digital darkroom florals

pink-collageThought I would take a break from the glue gun and the sewing machine, and put to rights a few images I had waiting for some digital darkrooming. I think it was last year (or maybe earlier) that I built up quite a collection of my photographs of flowers which got used for various things, including calendars – but I still had a collage collection to complete. Here you can see one of the set of five from the collection. I like the vibrant colours and the slightly different treatment – this sort of puzzle effect without the wonky edges.

You can support my creative inspiration by purchasing these cards through my Red Bubble account >>>

Jazz Note Books

So I have moved one step further with my note book production and have done some larger ones (21.50 x 15.00 cms), still using the gorgeous designer papers. These are all one-of-a-kind, with both back and front covers in super paper, with a block of 40 coloured sheets (80 sides) inside, bound with spirals. I have experimented with one of the covers as a photo mount too – a fun way to recycle the covers when the paper inside is all used up. Anyway, take a look for yourselves…

Note Block Holders

Been doing these little note block holders. I have a feeling that with the current economic crisis people are going to be looking more for useful gifts rather than ornamental ones, so this is my answer to that need: a little covered cardboard note block holder with closeable flap and linen covered ‘hinges’. When the notes run out they can easily be replaced with a standard sticky note block (76 x 76 mm) which are available in most stationers. I have found some beautiful designer papers which I’m using for these holders, choosing the smaller prints which show up to best effect on small areas – and I am using some of my pretty glass and ceramic beads for the closure, along with the pretty scrapbooking rivets on some of them. On others I have been trying out the clever little velcro dot closures which are very effective.

Lots of other lovely patterns available on my Etsy page>>>

Recycling efforts

I know that I am not alone in my desire to recycle/upcycle etc. as much as possible. In and around the home we have become pretty nifty at finding acceptable alternatives to substitute a lot of our less eco-friendly cleaning agents and so on – one of my favourites is my spray bottle filled with vinegar to clean down my kitchen working surfaces and tiled walls. Doesn’t smell that sweet, but it certainly does the job!

So a natural progression is to try to carry this through to my crafting. I see that Swirly Thoughts has managed brilliantly to make most of her Etsy selling products very eco-friendly – a great example to follow… so here is my own most recent contribution to making the world a little greener!

A set of notebooks in varying sizes using upcycled printed carton packaging cut to use as covers. There are about 20 or more internal pages in each block and all is bound together using staples and reinforced paper (cotton backing) which has been glued on and serves to cover the staples for safety, and neaten up the edges.

The finished product looks fun and a very obvious recycled feel about it of course…

Tyrolean cotton prints

Just in the process of doing some more Christmas cards and have used some of my lovely pure cotton prints for die-cut baubles. These cottons are all gorgeous Tyrolean type micro-patterns which I manage to pick up locally. Just love them. They bring to mind mountain chalets and big log fires – maybe even a mug of steaming hot Gluhwein too!

Wallet card

So here is my wallet card. Now I have to find some stuff suitable for card making to tuck inside the two pockets on the front before swapping this with some good soul in the challenge group!! This handmade paper is very attractive, but not very easy to work with when you need precision cuts. In my opinion it would be better to rip this and get that ragged distressed look.

The card was made with a slightly larger than A4 sheet of cotton, tree-free moonrock paper in the dark blue,and a very thin piece of banana fibre paper for the inner writing sheet. The folding of the outer paper (with the added thickness of the pockets) leaves fairly thick folds, so I needed to cut back a couple of protruding edges when the card was complete as they no longer matched edge-to-edge.

Make them for charity

Funds were raised for the Japan disaster relief selling my little geisha bookmarks through Made4aid on Etsy. All proceeds from the sales went to Médecins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders / Medici senza Frontiere who were working in Japan as part of the relief organization. It now seems appropriate to offer this little tutorial for other kinds of relief.

Make your own geisha bookmarks by picking up the pdf instruction file below, or you can purchase them from me ready-made on my Etsy page.


Yield: One

Geisha bookmark

Geisha bookmark

A bookmark with a difference -- embellished with a small Japanese geisha 'doll'

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: €3 each

Materials

  • A selection of printed paper – origami paper is best (for doll’s clothing). Don’t use paper that is too thick as you will be building up several layers for the doll…after all, this is a bookmark
  • White/off white card stock (for neck and face)
  • Black tissue or crepe paper (for hair)
  • Kraft or neutral shade cardstock – I used upcycled file dividers (for bookmark base)
  • Narrow satin ribbon (bookmark tie)
  • Tiny artificial flowers, beads or stamens (hair decoration)

Tools

  • Glue gun or glue stick
  • Scissors and cutting knife. Guillotine also useful if available
  • Pencil
  • Hole punch
  • Cutting board
  • Ruler
  • Rubber stamps and inks OR watercolours & brushes or kitchen sponge OR coloured felt tips (to decorate bookmark base)
  • Red & black felt tips or similar (facial features)

Instructions

Doll pattern pieces (see IMAGE 3):

  1. Neck in white card approx.5 cms x 0,50 cms.
  2. Collar/neckband in pattern/colour approx.2 cms x 4 cms
  3. Kimono in pattern/colour 9 cms x 6 cms
  4. Belt (aka obi) in pattern/colour 6 cms x 3 cms
  5. Coat in pattern/colour 8 cms x 4 cms
  6. Hair in black approx. 5 cms x 5 cms
  7. Face oval in white card approx.1,50 cms x 2 cms.

You will notice that I suggest pattern or colour for some parts. This is all a question of taste according to the paper you have. It is quite nice to contrast the neckband with the kimono – the kimono with the belt – the kimono with the coat etc. After you have done the first one you will see what I mean.

If you are making more than one bookmark, don’t be a slave to the measurements. Cut out the first one correctly…and maybe do a template with some stiffer card – but you will see how things fit together and can snip away if there is any overlapping that you don’t like. My only suggestion would be not to alter the long side of the kimono to make it shorter. If anything, you might find it looks nicer a little longer. The same goes for the white neck…just make it shorter if you need to.

Let's start with the neck and body - use images 6 to 19 in the gallery as a guide. Don't forget to use a dab of glue at each stage to fix the parts firmly.
1.Fold neckband in half and stick at about 1cm down the neck piece, folded side towards top (Image 7)
2.Fold inwards the 2 extremes of the neckband to cross over one another (Image 8)
3.On the non-patterned side of the kimono, fold about 1 cm down across the short edge (Image 9)
4.Turn kimono over and with the patterned side facing you, fold down about half a centimetre along the short edge (Image 10)
5.Stick the neck with neckband at the centre top of the inside of the kimono piece (Image 11)
6.Fold inwards down the length of the kimono. Glue only the lower half (Image 12)
7.Fold back slightly the collar area of the kimono to partially reveal the neckband underneath (Image 12)
8.Repeat on the other side of the kimono (Image 13)
9.Fold inwards on the non-patterned side the 2 long edges of the belt so that they just meet in the centre (Image 14)
10.Stick the belt (folded edges inwards) on the front of the kimono so that the top part
just holds down the kimono collar (Image 15)
11.Glue the 2 ends of the belt to the back of the figure
12.Fold about 1 cm on the long edge of the non-patterned side of the coat (Image 16)
13.Take the coat and fold in about half a centimetre along the long edge of the patterned (right) side (Image 17)
14.Glue the coat, centre back to the wrong side of the doll figure (Image 18)
15.Here you can see more or less how your figure should be (as seen from the front) at this stage (Image 19)

Now for the head - use images 20 - 24 in the gallery as a guide. Don't forget to use a dab of glue at each stage to fix the parts firmly.
1.Fold both sides of hair inwards at a slight angle so that you form a squared off triangle, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom(Image 20)
2.Fold inwards about 1 cm on the narrower part of the triangle. Check to see that the head fits and the folded over section of hair covers approximately half of the face to act as a fringe. Use just a small spot of glue in the crease between the fringe and the back of the hair to fix the top of the head (Image 21)
3.Check to see that the neck is not too long to fit snugly under the face with just the clothing neckband on view. If it is too long, snip off a little and then glue the neck to the back of the face making sure that the hair does not get caught up with the glue(Image 21)
4.Your figure should now look similar to this image (Image 22)
5.Twist the stamen ends together leaving a flat open area at the bottom. If you are using a glue gun, you can add a blob of glue. If you are using a glue stick, it might be an idea to put a little piece of sellotape around the end to create a larger surface for the glue (Image 23)
6.Glue the stamens to the back of the hair checking that they are positiioned nicely. If you are using small flowers or beads, stick them to the front of the hair as a decoration (Image 24)
7.Please note that you have still NOT added facial features. We will do this at the very end

Last but not least, the background card - use images 25 -- 31 in the gallery below as a guide
1.Cut card to size, each approximately 20 cms x 5,50 cms(Image 25)
2.Mottle background using either rubber stamps or a kitchen sponge with almost dry paint cover in a colour similar to the background. You can of course use felt tips as a substitute. Just remember that you only want a very delicate, almost invisible effect. (Image 26)
3.Check the position of the figure and how much space remains above(Image 27)
4.Add a floral image with a rubber stamp (or hand painted/drawn) in a stronger colour in the space which remains above the figure (Image 28)
5."Distress" the edges of the card, either by rubbing lightly with a stamp pad or by flicking an almost dry sponge or by drawing the edge of a felt tip pen as described in point 2 (Image 29)
6.Punch a hole for the ribbon in the top of the card. I find it useful to remove the bottom cover of my double punch and use it the wrong way up which makes it easier to position the single hole centrally on the card (Image 30)
7.Glue the figure securely to the card base (Image 31)
8.Now you can add the ribbon and facial features to complete the bookmark (Image 32)
So there you go...hope you have fun making these!


Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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