Sunday, March 31, 2013

Creative envelopes

On the previous post I featured a book that I've borrowed from our library, and as I have renewed it twice, it is now due to be returned, so I made a last ditch effort this weekend, to make as many envelopes as I could, to keep and use as a reference if I want to do them again (and I'm sure I will, they are so much fun to do, and people love getting little surprises in the mail).
Sorry these are a bit hard to make out; the camera flash caught the top ones, but as you can see, I've labelled each one with the name they are given in the book.

Three ready to to be posted.  One each to my niece's little girls, and one to my good friend Val.
If there is anyone reading this who would like to receive a little surprise envelope from me, just leave a comment on this post, and I'll contact you for your postal address ;-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A variety of envelopes.

My friend Val is an expert in all kinds of paper crafts, and I often receive fascinating little creations in the mail from her, so when I found this book at our library, I borrowed it.

The first envelope I made went to Val, and she was delighted. She recognised it straight away as she had borrowed the same book from her library many times. I forgot to take a photo of my first envelope, but I've done two since then.

They both involve using decorative papers folded in various ways to make up an envelope that you can write on inside, and enclose photos or other small items. I've going to make a few more of these and send them to Ken's niece's little girls. They love all the craft things I make, and they will get a buzz out of these envelopes from Great-Auntie Gina! I'll write something inside, but I'll also stick kid stuff in there as well - cute!

More paper napkin creations.

Some more CDs covered with napkin motifs, with accompanying origami envelopes.
This box originally held 12 packets of single serve Whiskas cat food sachets.  It was mostly bright orange, so I thought my elephant napkins would look great on it.  I painted over the darker bits with acrylic white paint so they wouldn't show up through the napkins.

I have heaps of old cork backed coasters and placemats that I can't bear to throw out.   With these two coasters, I experimented with modelling paste that I bought recently.   For the one on the left, I applied the modelling paste (it is like a very thick white Gesso) around the border, and painted the whole coaster with acrylic paint when the paste was dry.  Then I brushed the border with gold acrylic paint to jazz it up a bit before I glued the chicken motif on it.
For the elephant one, I tinted the modelling paste with acrylic paint first, using a light brown, and applied that to the border.  Again I brushed it with gold to jazz it up a bit because it looked dull.    Both methods of using the modelling paste are acceptable, but you have to be careful tinting it with colours because it can look overpowering if you use too much.  I'm not going to do anything with these, they are purely experimental.

Once I'd played around a bit with modelling paste and paint, I decided to use one of the canvases I've been buying up cheap at opshops etc.  First of all, I coated this one with gesso.  I wanted to use this napkin from Japan as it is the only one I had left from the packet.  It had a scallopped edge, so I had to lay it on the canvas, draw a light outline around it, and put it aside. (It is not advisable to glue paper napkins over the modelling paste, although it can be done with a special technique)

Next I tinted the modelling paste with blue acrylic paint.  I thought it would be okay, but I used way too much blue, and it came out a lot darker than I intended.  I waited a day or two, then decided to glue my napkin to the canvas.  That was achieved without problems, but I thought the blue surround was too overpowering.  So I used silver acrylic paint and brushed a border around the edge of the napkin, then brushed it lightly across the blue, so the high bits of the modelling paste have a silver sheen.  I'm still not happy with it, and would love to receive suggestions from anyone reading this!

This is the book that I have been basing some of my ideas on. It doesn't use paper napkins in all it's projects, but a lot of them are, and there is heaps of helpful information about things like the modelling paste, which I'd never heard of before.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A different art media.

I like to dabble in all kinds of art, not just painting and sketching.  My sewing/craft room is chockers (overflowing) with fabric, paints, paper, books, magazines, etc. and I play with whatever media I'm in the mood for when I wake up in the morning.  So far on this blog I've just been posting about the sketching and painting, but I've decided to add my paper craft bits and pieces to it as well.

You can do some wonderful stuff with paper napkins and Modge Podge or other PVA glue.  I've been gluing napkins to old CDs and DVDs, pasting plain paper on theback, and making up an origami envelope, posting them to friends, and they have proved very popular!  I've posted some photos of my first ones on my other blog here, but will post any future pics to this blog.   I've just done two new ones today- the Iris decorated CD is for a lady who saw my previous CDs on another forum and said she would love to have one, so I asked her what her favourite colours are and she said purple and lavender.  This was the closest I could get to that, so I think she'll like it.  The paper circles are to make up the origami envelope for the CD. 

Some friends visited us yesterday and brought a beautiful plant in this lovely box, so I took off the labels and used the same Iris napkin to decorate the box for a future purpose!

The other CD is covered with a napkin given to me by a friend who bought a pack of them because she loves this artist's work (Klimt?).  So I did this CD for her.

 Below is an old cork placemat which I have covered with a Japanese napkin, then cut out individual motifs from another Asian-motif napkin, glued them to light card, and used double sided tape to attach them to the placemat.  I found this idea in a book about using canvas boards to make collages, and thought it would work equally as well on the placemat.

Almost a year later....

It feels like ten years since I last posted anything here.  Lot of water gone under the bridge with birthdays, Christmas, deaths, funerals, and health issues.  But that's life, isn't it. 
I didn't finish the water colour classes in the end; Ken got ill and was taken to hospital, and I was also involved in a linens display, and I just could not get my head around learning the water colour techniques.  Dorothy was such a great tutor, and I think she was disappointed that I dropped out, but I assured her it was nothing to do with her teaching - it was all to do with what was going on in my life at that time.

I'd like to have another go at learning how to paint with watercolour, but I'll make sure that nothing else will distract me during the course!  In the meantime this year I signed up for a six week course with the Eltham Living And Learning Centre  - 'Drawing For Fun'.  It sounded like it didn't need too much concentration, and I was right.  The tutor does make everything fun, but she also teaches us a new drawing technique each week.  The first week we just doodled in our own way while she discussed with each of us what we wanted to achieve.  The second week we tried drawing faces from photos that she handed around to everyone, and showed us the basics of drawing head and facial features. Last week she taught us how to understand and use the principles of perspective, and I found that very useful indeed.  Then she gave us a quarto sheet of paper folded in half and instructed us to draw a simple landscape on the left hand side.  After we'd done that, she told us to pass our drawing to the person next to us, and each person then had to unfold the paper, and continue the previous person's landscape in their own way.  A very interesting exercise!  We all had fun with that one, and afterwards we were able to photocopy our drawings so we each had our two versions.

My camera battery has gone flat, and although I have a lovely new scanner/printer, I feel too lazy to scan anything I've done so far, but I will eventually.  It is just so damn hot here and it is sapping the energy out of everyone at the moment.  All I feel up to doing is typing to bring the blog up to date!