Thursday, March 21, 2013

Colorful Bangle Bracelets! (using Upcycled Materials)

These colorful Bangle Bracelets are light in weight, thin and flexible. They are very comfortable to wear, even when your arm is resting on a surface while writing and there is no noise from them clanging together when moving your arm.
Made from the rings that are on mayonnaise type jars to seal the tops, with yarn wrapped around them with a slip knot macrame technique. Smaller size rings can also be used as closer fitting wrist bracelet since they are flexible the smaller ring can be squeezed down to make a wider oval that will fit over your hand and then spring back to the closer fitting circlet once it's around your wrist.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lovely Vintage Rose Bookmarks Hand Crafted with Upcycled Materials

These lovely Inspirational Vintage Rose Bookmarks were fashioned from all Upcycled Materials.
First I cut cereal box cardboard to bookmark size.
Then I covered the printed side of cardboard with white paper and glued it in place.
After letting it dry I adhered an inspirational word cut from a magazine to the white paper and then allowed that to dry completely.
Next I covered both sides of cardboard with brown parchment-like brown paper that some shopping bags are made of and glued it in place so that writing shows through.
Lastly I created a paper rose from the same brown paper and made a leaf from green paper scraps, gluing them in place near the top of the bookmark

Monday, March 18, 2013

Free Writers Software!

Check out this yWriter5 free writing software...I recently downloaded it and have just played around with it a little so far, but it seems great. It was designed by an author so has many options to help you develop your storyline, scenes and characters. Unlike other popular software it is specifically set up for novel writing. What a novel idea! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Easy Mini Pocket Journal from Toilet Paper Rolls!

This mini pocket journal is created from toilet paper rolls, an old gift box, magazine clippings, some glue, a little cord and a few beads for decoration.

Collect a few toilet paper rolls. Flatten each roll by hand and then use the edge of your scissors handle to flatten folded edges more crisply. 
Punch 3 holes evenly across one end of each flattened tube about 1/2 inch from end. Use the first tube done as a pattern for the rest by placing one on top of the other while punching holes out.
Use a small paint brush to apply a thin line of glue on the inside of each tube, only along the inner fold of the flattened edge of tube and also just inside and across the end with the punched holes. Flatten the roll again and allow the glue to dry so that it remains flat. Be sure to leave an unglued area in the center to serve as a pocket.  

Paint each glued roll with acrylic paint and then when dry fasten them all together by threading cord through the corresponding holes and tie them moderately tightly around the ends of the pile of tubes as shown in photo below.
Next you can decorate the front of the journal and then create inserts for each pocket page.

With scissors cut old thin cardboard in a strip that is as wide as your pocket page and about one half again as long as your page is. Measure the length of your pocket page and then trim back the cardboard evenly on each side so that it's width will tuck deeply inside pocket, leaving a larger square of card board on the end that will extend from the pocket. You may need to trim the width or length a little more for it to fit each pocket well. Glue a picture cut from a magazine on the larger square and then trim neatly around it's outline shape. Make an insert for each pocket page.

The journal will be thicker with inserts in each pocket so you will need a way to hold it a little more tightly closed. Use your hole punch to cut a hole on each side of the back of the journal directly across from each other and knot cord through them so that you can tie them together in a bow to hold the journal shut. Decorate the cords on the journal with beads if you like.

This journal has a nature theme. The front and one side of each insert tab is decorated. The rest of the pages and inserts are blank so that further decorations can be applied and quotes or words can be displayed on the pull-out sections. The journal shown has 10 pocket pages of various lengths, but you can use any number or size that you wish.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Hide Myself within my Flower...

Macro Photography by RLHall ArtfulExpress
Can you see the Gestalt girl dancing within the flower?
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too -
And angels know the rest.
I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.
~ Emily Dickinson

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cheerful Reminder to be Grateful :-)))

I thought this might cheer you all up, just as it does me...  :-)
Just wanted to share my birthday fairy created especially for me by Jayde. I'm grateful for the fairy artwork that my lil' buddy made for me on my birthday last month. I've kept it on display, near my favorite chair since I got it and it brings me a moment of cheer every time I glance at it. Because I know that it was made with a heart full of love and good wishes.  :-)
My boyfriend thinks it's an angel, but since there is no halo and knowing Jayde like I do I'm pretty sure it must be a fairy. But, who knows? Maybe fairies are really just misunderstood angels. And besides not all angels have halos ~ Jayde's a special little angel to me even though her halo isn't always apparent.  0;-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Use what you have!


This is a page in my greeting card journal that I just couldn't figure out what to do with. I had botched up the background by applying two colors of acrylic paint that I had left in my pallet from another project. Not wanting it to go to waste I had applied it all to the left greeting card page to cover the original Christmas design. It wasn't pretty.

Since there was an excess amount of paint I let it dry a little to get tacky and then brought the two pages together hoping to create a symmetrical design and some texture in the otherwise drab brown and blue colors I had swirled on the one page. But I hadn't let it dry enough and it just made a mess!

So, not happy with the results, I blotted it up by laying a paper towel over it and pressing lightly to soak up some of the pools of paint. But the pages still just looked like an ugly mess.

The paper towel print turned out great - resembling an owl, as seen above, and I used that as art to cover other larger greeting card page designs somewhere else in the journal.

I really needed to brighten up those other backgrounds though. I doodled a little, drawing some pen lines here and there. I used a permanant marker to make some concentric circles, and then out-lined a few shapes and edges - all without much improvement at all.

So I brought out my colors that pop! Nail polish! I always have tons of colors of nail polish and of course some get thick and gunky before I get them used up. But I've never let them go to waste. I save them in with my art supplies. I can always add a bit of nail polish remover to the bottle to thin them back up and they make a fast easy way to apply lots of color. Various colors and lots of dots and small bristle shapes applied with the tiny polish brush results in a confetti look.  Better.
Now I needed something light to contrast that still quite dark background so I decided to use some of the garbage stampings I had done on off-white example sheets for a prior post. Instead of throwing them away I cut out the flowery shapes, and circles to use for the center of the blooms. I used three other textures from the sheets to cut leaf shapes out of, and one of the long curved prints served as the stem. For the opposite page I snipped out more print shapes forming the "i" and a "<3 creating="" flowers="" heart="" love="" message="" p="" the="">
It may not be the most beautiful page in my journal, but it has a certain quilt-like charm. And I just used what I had around to doctor up my mistake! 


Sunday, March 3, 2013


This actually began many years ago, this man walked the streets constantly though he could barely walk. No matter what the weather, he was out walking. And in New York State, that can be brutal in winter or the heat of summer. I wondered where he slept at night. I was afraid he was homeless. I used to walk through town a lot back then and when ever I happened to pass him on the sidewalk I would smile and try to make eye contact with him. Sometimes I said hello. He would glance my way but quickly shift his eyes away. I knew he recognized me, but that was as far as it went.
Ten years went by and he never gave up, wearing his old raggity clothes he walked. If I missed seeing him around for a few days I would wonder if he was okay... by then I didn't walk as much, and I most often saw him as I passed by in my car. If he looked like he was having an especially hard day I would say a little prayer for him.
Then one day I was sitting at the park writing. I happened to glance around and saw him rummaging in a trash bin for cans to turn in for the deposit. I just happened to have put two large garbage bags full of cans in the back of my car that day to take to the recycle center. While he was busy sifting through refuse I quickly got the bags out of my car and put them by a nearby trash can for him to find. I went back to my writing near the pond as quickly as possible so that he wouldn't feel embarrased by what I'd done. I never turned to check on his progress for fear he would catch on if he saw me. I got the feeling that he was a proud man, who didn't want sympathy.
A few minutes later he came walking around the picnic table I was sitting at. He never slowed to talk, but finally after all those years he looked me right in the eyes, nodded his head and said thank you! It still makes me feel good to think about it.
After that I began carrying a bag of cans in my car. If I saw him walking in the vicinity of the park I would stop at the park on my way and leave the bag of cans next to the same trash can. I don't know if he ever actually found them, but if he did I hoped that he would wonder if it was me still thinking of him.
I never knew his name, but a couple of years later there was an article in the local newspaper. He had passed away. He had been a successful business man, but had gotten hit by a car those many years ago. He wasn't expected to live. But he did. They told him he would never walk again. But he did. He walked almost constantly, because he knew if he stopped for too long he would lose the ability to keep moving. He had sold his beautiful house and moved into a small room so that he had money to live on and added to his meager income by collecting cans in his daily travels. People had at times given him new warm clothes in the winter but he wouldn't wear them, he donated them to the salvation army and wore old clothes because they would have only gotten ruined by the weather he walked in so much. Other people needed new clothes worse than he did.
I had a great respect for him right from the beginning. It was obvious how determined he was, it took everything he had to walk walk like that. He had a great impact on me even before I knew his story. I would have liked to know him. Perhaps walk with him and talk a little. I could have learned even more about life and what is important from him. I think now, that I could have left him some clothes, a special treat or maybe just a note telling him what an inspiration he was to me along with the cans. I still think of him sometimes and miss seeing him around town. But then I suppose now his soul is at peace, I imagine that he is now pain free and able to relax in comfort...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Garbage Stamping!

The above photo shows an art journal page from a handcrafted journal that I made from an old Avon book. Garbage stamping was used to apply the flowery shapes throughout the lower half of this page. I used one section of the bottom of a clear plastic cupcake container from the supermarket with Gesso to create a forefront framing the woman's face.
By using items that you would normally just throw in the garbage you can create interesting shapes and textures in your art work. Styrofoam or clear plastic food containers with embossed designs or unique forms. Cardboard egg cartons have great texture and shapes. Packing materials such as bubble wrap or wadded up paper, toilet paper rolls, different types of sponge, scraps of screen, and string can all be utilized... just use your imagination!
Soon you'll be noticing patterns or textures in things that you've never paid attention to before as you're starting to toss them in the trash. You've got lots of free art materials at your fingertips and there's nothing wrong with recycling waste for a new use! It's a great idea for kid's crafts as well and can lend a creative touch to your layered mixed-media pieces.
 Simply use a brayer or paint brush to apply paint or Gesso to the surface pattern that will be transferred to your canvas. Or you can apply paint to a small piece of wax paper and just dip your stamping object into it. Play with it... different amounts of paint will create different results, various amounts of pressure can change the look as well. Sometimes a found item can work as both a stamp or a stencil leaving opposite designs.
Save the sturdier ones that work well, cleaning them well after each use. When they wear out you can usually find a replacement in your weekly trash or recycle bin.

I find that acrylic paint works well for Garbage stamping - as I've used in the example sheets here. Though I often use Gesso, watercolors or ink for the more porous found materials. Again, experimenting will provide you with varying effects. With some items you can use a stomping technique with dry pastels or chalk.
This type of stamping isn't meant to be perfect like purchased ink stamps are. Variations in the prints only give them more character. Don't be afraid to sometimes load up the paint on a garbage stamp once and then use it over and over again in your work until the image is almost faded away. It just gives the completed image more depth.  
Using different colors, different staining materials, blotting with a paper towel, using a lighter or heavier touch can all make the same stamp look different even in the same art project. Either bringing the stamped design to the forefront or letting it recede to the background.
Applying a rainbow of colors on one stamp surface can be fun too. Or try loading up one stamp, for instance a smooth round dot, with the paint spread on a another textured stamp surface. It will give you a the dot shape with the same texture of the other stamp when applied to the paper.  
You can create stamped borders, incorporate them into a larger design by sketching or painting around or on the stamped pattern after it dries or blend the edges of it while it's still damp.  


The above example shows journal pages in my Greeting Card Journal, in which I used garbage stamping with Gesso over the already dry background. For these textures and dots I used two different types of styrofoam, once it dried I continued on with paper collage and a few ink stamp swirls as the last layer. These techniques lend well to card making, art journaling, scrap booking or any sort of mixed media projects. Try it out as a family project!