Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rose petals to dye with…….


Last fall I discover an Australian artisan and botanical alchemist, whose name is India Flint.  India is a master at dyeing fabrics with natural materials.  I wrote Here about experimenting with, and trying to figure out how to replicate a little of, what she does.

This week she blogged about using rose petals to dye paper.  She gives a brief description of taking rose petals and placing them between the pages of a beautiful book she made.  You can read about it on her blog "Prophet of Bloom" to learn more.

I was moved to experiment again!

Always, one to think I can figure out how to do anything (I must admit, it doesn't always work out as I hoped) I cut a large piece of watercolor paper into six pieces, then I went outside and cut dark red rose blossoms off my bush and some orange and yellow roses, as well,  just to make sure I had enough petals.  I pulled off the petal from the flower heads and placed them between the pieces of paper.

Next, I bundled the pages between two pieces of wood, smooshed it together and tied it up tight with string and put it into a simmering water bath for several hours. 

Here are the results right out of the water…..




The white textured background is the towel I laid them on to dry.  I hope you can see the different colors the roses petals transferred to the paper.






















I don’t know about you….but I had no idea that this little experiment with rose petals would result in such beautiful paper.

When I started, I was concerned that I did not have enough of the dark red rose petals so I added some pink and some orange petals to the mix.  I believe that is what gave the orange and yellow cast but I think the green may have come from the dark red petals.


  I just use a little point and shoot camera, so, the color reproduction, here,  isn’t as good as it could be.  That being said, you can see that the color is still very dynamic even after the paper dried (photos below)… less intense than the colors above, when the paper was still wet but still lovely.  Oh, and did I mention the paper smells good, too!












I think I’ll just admire this for a while……then I’ll make a book and fill it with favorite quotes!

India, also, has published two wonderful books.  I’m going back to the library to check out her book “Eco color”.  I have found I can learn on my own, but, it is always better to follow the lead of an expert in the field when you can.  If, you are interested in natural dyes, or any form of needle art, you should read this woman’s books and blog…she is a master of her craft.

I love gardening and plants and this is a fascinating extension of that!

I am linking this post to Julie’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday HERE since this was what was on my workdesk AND stove today!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How does your garden grow…….


Mine is doing alright, thanks to about three nice, sunny weeks the early part of this month and, now, some rain.

I only have two tomato plants, some radishes, lettuce, beets, onions and a cucumber in my vegetable garden….really, I like to grow flowers best of all!!!


I wasn’t riding it, anyway….so now it is a planter!

PicMonkey Collage

Mostly, I grow sedum in pots!  Sedum are more forgiving, if I forget to water them for a day or so…..unlike petunias!  Ahhhh, spring….I love it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I can’t help myself….


PicMonkey Collage I keep playing with my food!  Look what we have here!  Fresh, yes fresh from the field strawberries!  Heavenly.  Our first for the season, so, of course I had to take pictures…

then I had to play with my latest favorite computer tool.

I use to use Piknik  to clean up and crop my photos but Piknik has gone away.  Not to fear, PicMonkey has replaced them.  PicMonkey it is a cool, free photo editing download with a bunch of fun and crazy stuff you can do to your photos.  So, I made the collage, above, with my strawberry photos.

Then, I made jokes with my strawberries.


I am so easy to entertain…..and now you believe it.  Want some cheap thrills, give PicMonkey a go!

For the first time this season, I’m joining Bloom' Tuesday HERE!

Saturday, May 26, 2012



Hey, I love shopping the big box art stores and the, better yet, small mom and pop operations but nothing beats the serendipity of estate sale and flea market shopping for your art supplies……!

Today, I spent less than five dollars on a super stash that included……



This photo album filled to the brim with vintage photos, the embroidery hoop I’ve needed and a very cool large vintage map….in the background!


Can’t wait to use the alphabetized dividers in an altered book, the hoop and map (again) and some drawing and charcoal pencils.

Then what does my little eye spy?  A large white envelope full of paper scraps that only a hoarder (like me) who does collage could love! 


The woman having the sale thought she was going high, on the price, when she said “fifty-cents”!  I snapped ‘em up!

The previous owner had a great appreciation for all things Japanese.  The envelope was filled a plethora of origami paper, rice paper, Oriental art, Japanese advertising, maps, stamps….all manner of cool stuff.  I’m not into Oriental themed art but I appreciate the quality, color and design of these scraps.


Best fifty cents I’ve ever spent. 

I do believe the secret is out,however, because I see lots of other folks grabbing up art supplies at garage and estate sales.  Why not?  It’s a way to keep the hoarding going and the price down!

Friday, May 25, 2012

It’s here……………………..


How fun is it……to get jump up and down excited?  Very fun!

Not yet on the newsstand…….but, I now have my very own copy of the newest PAGES, a publication from ClothPaperScissors magazine…..!


But, here is what has me jumping up and down…..this page features my altered book pages!  I wrote about it a couple weeks ago HERE.


Actually, the whole magazine is great!  You will find feature stories that are interesting and informative, as well as, loads of awesome art!  You can order your copy at ClothPaperScissors web-site or, soon, they will be available at Michaels, Fred Meyers and specialty stores.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Have you tried stamp carving yet?



Spring means an abundance of fresh veggies, in my case our garden is providing a bounty of crisp radishes!  Not only tasty….but photogenic.  Intrigued I was inspired to play with my food… I took photos of bunches of radishes and small bouquets of radishes.


I shared some of these photos on Face book and my friend, Thea, suggested that these photos might translate well into a multi-plate stamp.  That inspired me to…….





…..draw a sketch with a #2 pencil.  Then, I transferred the drawing onto the “Speedycut” (a pink rubber material). 

To transfer, placed the drawing face down onto the rubber substrate and rub the back of the drawing to transfer the graphite from the pencil sketch onto the pink rubber.






Now, take out your handy, dandy carving tool and spend a relaxing hour, or less, removing the part of the stamp where you do not want the ink to print



IMG_2346 .


I always stamp one or two proof stamps, then, make any needed adjustments to the stamp.

For this step, I use a stamping pad that has water soluble ink, that is easily washed off the stamp. Then I stamp onto a piece of scrap paper.

I like the lines in the background, you may not….so you can carve them off, if you like.  You could, also, carve more detail on the leaves….so many decisions!






I stamped this using ink pads meant for rubber stamping, not printing ink.

I am going to carve another plate to print the radish (red part)….I tried to mask it and print from this one plate.  That doesn’t work very well, as you can tell from the red ink bleed.

But, that’s O.K., I’ve just made another proof!!  I’ll share the finished piece with you, later.



Next, I’m going to challenge myself with this project…..I’ll carve three, maybe, four plates.  That should be interesting, since I’ve not tried that before.


If, you haven’t tried stamp carving and have always wanted to…..just do it!  It is very easy and fun.  On top of which, you’ll have some very cool and original stamps to use in your artwork.

Let me know what you carve, I’d love to see it. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A book for baby………….


Soon, we will be adding a new member to our family!  Her name is Ava Rose and she is due the middle of next month, June.

Previously, I have made two baby books, one for each of my oldest great granddaughters….this week I completed the third one, this one is for Ava.  None too soon, since she could be here at any time!

I recycle old book covers to make my covers, this one is covered with wallpaper and cardboard.  I made the flowers out of an old dress pattern, fabric and buttons then added a torn piece of ticking for the finishing touch.  Ava’s mom prefers simple feminine, not a lot of frilly.


Inside the front cover……




A place for the basics….








Ava’s first picture…and hopefully, her birthday will fall on one of the numbers on the Bingo card, then Mom can circle it or put a heart on it!




Back side of Bingo card and a page, on the right, for the address and a photo of Ava’s first home.







Here, Mom can add photos of the darling room she has decorated for Ava and keep the color samples and receipts, if, she’d like.



IMG_2251 This is one of my favorite pages, just because I love the sentiment….a quote that I don’t remember where I found,  but I love it.  It seemed appropriate to have the ultrasound pictures next to it.  The envelope could hold a lock of hair or a love note from Mom.




This is a book within the book.  It is meant to be a place for Mom to write about the pregnancy.








This starts the record of Ava’s first year!







These pictures were taken at different stages in the project, so if you look closely, you will see the rings that bind the book are different, or there is only one….the finished product looks like the top picture.  I used two black metal rings to hold the book together.  The rings work well for books that are going to expand, as much as I hope this one will, when photos, cards and other memorabilia are added.

For the sake of your eyesight and time….these are about half of the pages in the book, but you get the idea.  To make a book like this, takes some time but you can personalize it in ways that make it a much better book to record Mom’s feelings and baby’s growth than one that is purchased at a store.

This book is made with love and is a way for me to be a meaningful part of Ava Rose’s life….for the rest of her life.  I believe that whenever you give another person something you have made, you are giving them a piece of yourself….something that is unique between the two of you.

Enjoy your weekend and make something you can share…..even if, it’s dinner!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Sketchbook Project…..


Some of you have likely heard of the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, NY and the Sketchbook Project that they sponsor.   Read their blog here to learn more!


Friday evening, my art buddies, Shelia and Thea and I traveled to downtown Portland to view some of the sketchbooks.  The event was held at the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, just off Burnside, across from Powell’s Bookstore.  I’m pretty sure Shelia and Thea are looking at, and discussing, the cool interior of the building…..there were no small birds or acrobats flying overhead! (LOL)

IMG_2278 How this works is…..artists worldwide can purchase a sketchbook, they have a year to fill it out,  they mail the sketchbook full of their art back to the co-op and the book then  tours the country with the team from The Art Co-op.  Portland is one of thirteen U.S. cities the books are visiting plus London and Melbourne.

First thing through the door, you are given a “library card” with a bar code.  You go to the bank of computers, you see pictured in the back of the room and choose, by category or artist, which books you would like to view.  You look at your choices, return it, go back and select two more books to view, it is like a smorgasbord of books, you can go back as many times as you want.

The books I looked at were from the UK or the US, here are a few examples…..























You can see the artists were pretty much free to do whatever they wished and use whatever medium they we comfortable with.

After the book smorgasbord we moved on to dessert at…….the new (to Portland) Dick Blick store, just a few blocks away!  Holy Cow! these stores are the Home Depot of art supplies.  Many items are less expensive on line. However, here you save on shipping cost and don’t have to wait two or three days for your supplies to arrive in the mail.

IMG_2296  I bought some new Tombo pens and waxed thread for bookbinding.  Took some time to play with the new pens when I got home, I like! 

What a Fun Girls Night Out!  Thanks, Sheila for driving (even that was an adventure!).

I’ve made a rather last minute decision to link this blog to Julie's What's on your Workdesk Wednesday because I know how many readers Julie’s WOYWW blog has and I would like share with them information on the world tour of the Sketchbook Project.   The Sketchbook Project is traveling the U.S. and could be happening in your area……it is even going to be in London and Lisbon.  You can learn more about show locations and dates by going to the Art House Co-op blog here!  It is worth the trip just to see the variety of books and concepts.

Just so you know, this is what is on my workdesk this Wednesday!!!!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Pages, the magazine…….


My excitement for this week…..ClothPaperScissors has published a new edition of Pages magazine and I have my work featured in it!  Woo Hoo!  Both pages, below, are on page 108….but who’s counting. 

I believe I will receive a comp copy of Pages but, as soon as, I knew I could see which pages they had chosen for the magazine….I had to buy a download!  I had submitted photos from both books.  When they contacted me they asked me to send both books, so I had no idea what was going to be published, if anything.  Two months of suspense was enough for me!


The page above is from the first altered book round robin I had ever participated in, the theme was letters and numbers.  This book round robin was organized by ABC Altered Book Club, an on-line Yahoo group.  I blogged about it on Oct. 21, 2011, so you can see the rest of the book HERE!


  My theme for this book was nature.  I “tweaked” this page a bit after I took this photo, so it is a little different in the magazine!  Both round robins took place in 2011, this one was organized by Amy and traveled from Oregon and Washington to Texas and Louisiana. I shared the whole book HERE after it returned to me.

Round Robin means a group of people each select a book to alter.  You determine your theme and start the book off with your own artwork, the book is then mailed to the next participant who then adds their art to your book, then they mail it on….until each person has contributed their work to your book and you have added to their books.  In the end, the book comes back to you with the additions of five or six other artists.

So, with these two books, the pleasure has now been doubled by seeing them in print and the beautiful arty additions done by other artists.

You can pre-order the 2012 version of Pages from ClothPaperScissors or download it, if you’re like me and can’t wait, pre-order on line or wait until it reaches a news stand near you. 

Actually, if you are making books and/or journals you are really going to enjoy this publication…..there are so many great, usable articles and ideas.  You will get tons of inspiration.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Color, I love it!


What I enjoy most about gardening is…..

   IMG_2235  trying to find the “perfect” plant leaf and/or flower color combinations!  Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

I like this combo of brilliant blue Lithodora and gold creeping jenny accented with these garage sale finds….the glass balls in two shades of blue and one in orange.


You will find some form of yellow, lime-green, blue and orange through out my garden.  Here is another example.

IMG_2246 We mixed Peach Flambé Heuchera with an orange wallflower and some sedum “Angelica”.  They are planted in front of a “Spring Bouquet” Vibernum.  You notice I have some volunteer foxglove coming up in the Heuchera…I really like foxglove, this one will be PINK…..good with the Heuchera, not as much with the wallflower.  So, you see…I win some and lose some but as the saying goes “in nature all colors go together”.

Guess what…more yellow and blue!

IMG_2247 I love color AND this time of year!