Thursday, December 20, 2012

Papermaking Services

Do you save favorite old shirts, jeans, sheets and the like because you love the color? Do you have a collection of vintage tablecloths but don't use them because they have stains or don't match your decor? Let me turn your cherished cotton and/or linen fabrics into one of kind paper that you can use in a variety of ways. Use this paper to back special photos in a frame or scrapbook, as stationery, to cover boxes to store memorabilia, in artwork. The uses are limited only to your imagination.

Paper can be made into 4x6, 5x7, 8.5x11, 9x12 and 11x17 size sheets. A half pound of fabric yields approximately 25 8.5x11 size sheets.

Requirements: a) fabric must be cotton or linen or a blend of the two
                        b) a minimum of a half pound of fabric is required
If you are interested or have questions, please email me at

This paper is made from a yellow cotton tablecloth which belonged to my grandmother. It was lovingly used and contained several gravy stains. I have used many of these papers in my artwork.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Day 30

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is the last entry, Day 30:

 Today's technique challenge is shadow stamping. I used a wooden batik block for the first time since buying it in October. Brushing acrylic paint on it, I stamped onto the page, then stamped again without applying more paint which gives the shadow effect. The stamp did not impress well onto the paper, probably  because of the layered papers of the previous pages underneath. This type of block is made for stamping onto fabric which has more "give' than a stacked journal page. I do like the subtle background texture it gives the page. I chose a light color palette for the words so that the design would show through.

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this visual journal challenge. It was very good to have parameters to work within. I often have so many ideas, I don't know where to begin and often don't. I learned a few techniques and learned how some of my materials work together. The journal is half filled. I plan to continue to fill it with words of thanks!

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Appreciation

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 29:

Today's technique challenge is to incorporate a decorative paper napkin. Here the top and middle layers were adhered to the journal page with acrylic matte medium. Simple and elegant. 

What do you appreciate most in life?
My response: The simple things - a smile, a hug, the sunshine, birds.The ability to use words and actions to convey my thoughts, feelings and appreciation for the people and experiences I have had in and throughout me life. (May I take every opportunity to do so.)

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Dreams, Wishes and Travel

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 26 and 27:

Day 26 is about Dreams and Wishes for the future. Day 27 is about Travel. One of the things I wish to be able to do in the future is travel out west to see the grandeur that exists there. The photograph above is from an issue of The Nature Conservancy Magazine. The landscape is somewhere in Utah. Gorgeous!

The technique challenge for Day 26 is to make your own "washi tape". Another product I do not have so am skipping this one. Day 27's technique challenge is to use an art medium you rarely do. I chose my Derwent tinted charcoal and pastel pencils for this exercise, but wasn't sure how to incorporate them. I wrote out the quotes, scriptures and responses to the prompts. Looking at the whiteness on the page, I decided to do a quick sketch of the scene in the photo.The left page will receive the pigment of the charcoal and pastels as the pages are pressed and rubbed together with use.

Just two more days to complete!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Creation

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day25:

Today's technique challenge is to use a glue stick as a resist. I tried it and it didn't work. Maybe because I didn't have the brands used in the demo video. I decided to try acrylic matte medium instead of the glue (top of page). I applied it through a stencil and let dry. Using Derwent Inktense color blocks and Niji brushes, I applied color over the matte medium and wiped off with a damp paper towel when dry. Applied the second color on top.
I also tried the Vaseline resist technique (bottom right), since I was unable to use it on Day 11. I really like this technique!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal, Photography

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day24:

 I saw this wonderful little vignette on my kitchen windowsill today as the sun was shining in for a short time. The colors are so fresh and cheerful!

Wouldn't you know that the topic for today's journal page is Photography? Of course I had to use this photo!

The technique challenge is to do a photo transfer using gesso. This technique involves placing a photocopy face down in gesso, allowing it to dry, spraying it with water and then rubbing off the paper to reveal the black image adhered to the gesso. I've done this technique before and don't like it because it makes my fingers sore from rubbing off the paper! I decided to do an inkjet transparency and gel medium transfer instead. I haven't done this in many years.

In my experience, any of the transfer techniques are tricky and don't always work the way you expect them to. Here the transfer looks more like a fading, scratched up watercolor than a photo, which is a cool effect but I really like the image and wanted it incorporated onto the journal page so did the following. I sprayed the printed side of the transparency with permanent spray fixative (took it outside to do this). When it was dry I applied gel medium to the back of it and glued it over some of the writing. I REALLY like how that looks!

The quote for today is by Robert Frank, the great American photographer. I saw an exhibit of The Americans a few years ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I loved the exhibit and spent a very long time examining the photos and contact sheets. It surprised me to read that this collection of photos was not well received when first exhibited. The audience did not like seeing "the Americans" in these photos. They were too ordinary, too ugly. I suppose they were looking for something more idealistic or nostalgic. Very interesting. Borrow the book, The Americans, from your library if you are unfamiliar with this work. It is an important part of our history for more reasons than what I am writing here.

Lastly, I am pleased at how well this page coordinates with the page of the previous day. I did not plan it, but it worked out. Another very enjoyable prompt!

Facebook Page

I've created a Facebook Page to share information regarding new artwork. If you are on Facebook and would like to follow the page, here is the link:

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Friends and Family

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 23:

" A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." - Unknown

What a wonderful quote! To have a friend like that is a gift and blessing.

Today's technique challenge is to use stitching on the page. I collaged scraps of old book pages, sticky notes from Kate's Paperie and trimmings from my prints onto a strip of paper. Next I stitched around it. I wrote the quote, scripture and thoughts then adhered the strip to the journal page.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ivy Drawing for Bob's Tattoo

My husband, Bob, has been thinking about getting a tattoo for a few years now, but couldn't decide just what it should be. Last summer while attending a church workshop on marriage, he heard about the Greek word for forgiveness, which is a continuous act. He decided then that it would be a good word to incorporate into a tattoo design. It would be a reminder to him to continually forgive as he is continually forgiven. Not wanting just letters, we brainstormed on what plants would be appropriate. He wanted something that would vine or weave around or through the letters. We could not find a plant that symbolizes forgiveness.  Ivy is a symbol for friendship, fidelity and marriage. The plant grows here and we need to continually forgive in our friendships and in marriage, so he decided it was a good choice.

Bob asked me to do a drawing for the tattoo. Here is what I created for him:

 Post Script:

Anthony, the tattoo artist at Ink Side Out, thought it was not a good idea to have the word floating on Bob's arm. He created his own version of this design with the word carved into a stone. This is the final tattoo:

Bob's Tattoo

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Celebration and Thanksgiving

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 21 and 22:

Back to the color palette that I love! The technique challenge for Day 21 (Celebration) is to use wrapping paper and Day 22 (Thanksgiving) is to add texture with gesso.

While at Jerry's Artarama last week, I stumbled upon this wonderful iridescent ink by Liquitex in Rich Copper. It reminded me of the nail polish I used to wear, so had to buy it! Looking through the gift wrap I have, I found this Christmas one that would match the ink as well as the theme of Thanksgiving, so chose it. Not wanting to use the ink on the entire page I created the grid, wrote the words and filled in some squares to balance the page.

Wanting a new font to use, I typed the words in Microsoft Word, tried out different fonts and chose this one. I printed them out, traced them with carbon paper onto the page, then filled in the letters with markers.

To add texture with gesso and  stay with a grid
format, I used a spackling tape. Once the gesso was set, I removed the tape, painted the page then dry-brushed the Rich Copper Liquitex over it to bring out the texture. I added another piece of the gift wrap, more squares, the quote, scripture and comments.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal, Health and Seasons

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 20 and 28:

Looking through the pages I had done I saw that I have pretty much been using the same color palette. This is not surprising, I know that I stick with the earth hues, so decided to change it up a bit and challenge myself by using primary colors plus white.

The technique challenges for  these days are to 1) carve your own stamp and use it and 2) look for objects to stamp with.

On the left is a flower design that I had carved into an eraser several year back. I used this with red, added a little white and stamped again, then added more white and stamped a third time.

Here I stamped with two different sized bottle caps and the bottom of one of those add to a pencil erasers. I used these stamps on the left hand page as well to tie them together.

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Kindness and Laughter

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 16 (Kindness) and 17 (Laughter).
The technique challenge for Day 16 is to "stamp" with a mask. I have done this many times before, though haven't thought of it as such. When creating monotypes, masks are often used to create both a negative and positive of the image on the plate. Day 17 called for using a mask on the page. I don't usually like to buy commercial products made for a specific purpose, but when I saw this mask designed by Tim Holtz, I decided it was versatile enough to use in my artwork.

The first thing I did was to sponge on acrylic paint around the mask. Then I put paint onto the mask itself, pulled it up, turned it over and placed it paint side down on the left-hand page.

 The paint dried so quickly that it did not transfer well. I outlined the design to make it more prominent, but felt it still needed more definition so painted it in with Luminere paint. I used the rest of this paint to fill in the white areas on the right hand page.


Next I added the quotes, scriptures and thoughts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top Three Posts

Blogger counts each time a post has been viewed and of my 80 posts, the Eco Bundling - OMG post has received the most by far - 102 views and climbing. This post has been viewed almost every day since I posted it! My post Papermaking Adventures: Water Retting is second with 87 views and Experimental Printmaking I (carving into Masonite) is third with 81 views. In general, most other posts get anywhere from 6 to 35 views. I suppose these three topics have very little written about them although India Flint and her eco-bundling technique is getting more popular every day. She has spent much time traveling and conducting workshops and posts on her blog regularly. The popularity of the technique has folks searching for more, I suppose.

To those who have searched for information on these topics, please leave a comment and let me know if you found what I wrote to be helpful and share something about your own experiments and experiences. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Music

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 15:

 Oh, I love music!! It is a great passion! It is a huge part of my life and something I am drawn to and soothed and encouraged by as much as I am by nature and the natural world. I was raised on music and listen to it very often still today. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a rock star, but the fact that I could not carry a tune, play an instrument or feel comfortable in the limelight stood in the way! I still play air guitar and sing into my fist microphone when alone and enjoy my imaginary audience!

Yes, Music is today's theme. The technique challenge is to use a sheet of music on the journal page. Here is what I did.

                                                     Music was my first love
                                                     and it will be my last.
                                                     Music of the future
                                                     and music of the past.
                                                     To live without my music
                                                     would be impossible to do.
                                                     Because in this world of troubles
                                                     My Music pulls me through.
                                                                      John Miles, 1976

This song captivated me when I was 15 years old. The words spoke to my heart and they still do today. I'm sure they will another 36 years from now. I believe it is the first time I heard a combination of rock and classical music together. I love this combination and is one big reason I am a huge fan of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

 Here is a wonderful live performance of the song:  Music by John Miles

And for fun:
God Gave Rock and Roll To You by Kiss

I Love Music by the O'Jays

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Childhood and Memories

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 13 and 18:

Days 13 and 18 are similar. Childhood and Memories. Both ask which memories are you most thankful for. Day 18, Memories asks what your earliest memory is. Mine is visiting the 1964/1965 New York Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadow Park. I was either 3 or 4 years old then.

 The technique challenge for Day 13 is to use a tag. A few months ago I came across this photo of me, my brother John and my Grandmother at Rockaway Beach. It was the first day of autumn in 1970 and the weather was forecasted to be in the 90s. My mother said it would be too beautiful a day to be in school and that the only place to be was at the beach. Rockaway was a short drive from our home in Howard Beach. My mom took the photo. My brother Pete is missing. I can't recall if he was in the water or if he decided he wanted to go to school anyway. I printed the photo onto cardstock, cut it into a tag shape, colored loose leaf reinforcements and put over a punched hole. Added some fabric yarn.


The technique challenge for Day 18 is to use packaging in a creative way. I cut strips of a used tyvek envelope which I had colored with various paints, adhered these to the page and wrote on them.

The background was created using some new art supplies: Derwent Inktense color blocks and Niji water brushes. I had fun with these and will be using them OFTEN in all my mixed media work!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Bazaar in Guilford, CT

I will have packages of handmade paper, journals, small and medium sized framed and unframed prints and collages for sale. Please come by!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Books, Education and Things I've Learned

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 11, 14 and 19:

As I read each day's prompts, I make notes of what comes to mind, then work them out in the journal. Working on a few pages a week, I have the advantage of seeing what themes and technique challenges are coming up. I have noticed that my thoughts for one day can also be applied to another day in a few instances. Because of this, I have decided to combine some days. Here are Days 11, 14 and 19 - Things I've Learned, Education and Books.

The technique challenges for each day are: use the Vaseline resist method; use the liquid pearls technique; and use a book page. I do not currently have Vaseline in the house, so was not able to try this technique. I did watch the video and it looks really cool. I will try it on a future page.

For the page on the left, I added book pages from a tree identification key guide, wrote the scripture and journaled my answers to the questions. I noticed that the blank areas formed triangles. I thought that the black & white checkered tissue paper I have would look good there. I looked for it but could only find a piece that has a thin coat of gesso applied to it. This wasn't bold enough so I drew in the triangles and checker squares and colored them.

On the right I added another book page, from an old Peterson Guide to Birds book I bought at a library book sale. I added the piece of checkered tissue paper to tie it in with the other page. I don't own Liquid Pearls but I do have pearlescent paints, so used this instead. I scraped it over a stencil as demonstrated in the video. I chose to add texture by blotting the paint while wet with a sheet of paper. On this page I wrote about my favorite books and made a list of places where I have taken classes.

I love books and I love learning! Thank you Lord for these treasures.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude - My Neighborhood

 Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 12:

Today's topic is My Neighborhood - what sort of neighborhood it is and what I am most thankful for. The technique challenge was to use or draw a map of my neighborhood. Since I had used a map for Day 2, I chose to use a photo and stencil my zip code. The photo was taken in the Fall of 2010 on a  particularly foggy morning. I tweaked the contrast of the colors a little, the yellows really were like that! I printed it onto store bought mulberry paper, sprayed it with fixative and glued it into the journal.

Here is what I wrote:  Though my zip code would be identified as a suburban neighborhood, my particular area is a little treasure. Thirteen family-owned acres that contain woods, meadows and wetlands, it is such a blessing to live here. So much beauty every day.  I am captivated every morning, noon and night. I am also thankful that several of my husband's relatives are our neighbors.

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Emotions

 Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 10:

Today's theme is emotions. One of the questions: are you an emotional person? Oh, yeah!!!!

I really like the quote for today: "Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which ones to surf." - Jonatan Martensson

Isn't that so true?! I don't usually interpret quotes literally, but when I read this, I saw the words and emotions following the curves of the waves, so had to put this to paper.

The prompt says we should concentrate on our positive emotions: love, compassion, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, desire, wonder. I had not considered wonder to be an emotion. I always thought it was a quality or character trait. I am often filled with wonder and awe at the natural world and how things in life work out - the connections are so often uncanny and even mind-boggling! For instance, I read this just this past Sunday and it fits so well with today's theme and prompts:

"The loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty. The more we know, the less we believe.  No wonder there is no wonder. We think we've figured it all out. Strange, don't you think? Knowledge of the workings shouldn't negate wonder. Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars? Then the surgeon who has held a heart? Than the oceanographer who has pondered the depths?" - Max Lucado, In The Grip of Grace

Here's a peak at my work area. I like the paper that is developing underneath as I use up the excess paint each day. Can you tell I'm left-handed?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Strengths

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 9:

Today's theme is strengths. Questions to answer are:
What do other people think are your strengths?
Do you agree with them?
Which of your strengths are you most thankful for?

The technique challenge is to incorporate fabric on the journal page.

This page was created by writing on a sheet of my handmade marigold dyed cotton paper to which I had embedded, at the sheet-forming stage, three pieces of eco-bundled fabric. I attached it to the journal page with double sided tape.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Self

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 8:

Today's theme is Self. What a huge topic!! I could do a whole journal on what I think of my self - well that is what most of my written journals discuss, isn't it?

The technique challenge was to draw a self portrait or use a photo of yourself on the page and to cut out words from magazines that describe you in positive terms. This part was fun, as it was serendipitous! I went through a garden design and two home decorating magazines and these are the words I found that I thought described me positively. I like the variation of the size and style of fonts.  The self portrait is a painting I created for a Painting I class at Southern CT State University in Fall 2010.

I realize that I have not written about this painting, so am taking the opportunity to do so here. I chose to model my self portrait after the style of the Nabis, a group of French post-Impressionist painters from the turn of the nineteenth century, a topic I was studying at the time in an Art History course. I also chose to incorporate symbolism in the portrait. The print on the wall behind me is my creation, "The Tree of Life". I posted on my blog about creating this print. The first of  3 posts can be found here. The print itself is symbolic, representing a starting point in time and representing nature and the natural world which are very important to me. The pattern to the right of the print is from a silk scarf that belonged to my grandmother. I was struggling with family issues concerning her, and felt strongly that I wanted to represent her, and as an extension, my maternal family, in this painting. The Brugsmansia plant is a composite of one I had growing outdoors. My printmaking professor had given me a cutting of it the winter before. I planted it and it grew to six feet tall and finally bloomed in splendor that autumn. This was included in the painting because I was fascinated with the plant, but it also represented the natural world. I placed it in a pot which I am holding in my hands. This is a representation of receiving a gift, but also of offering a gift. I want to share my love of nature with others through my art, offering them a view from my perspective.

Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Encouragement

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here is Day 7:

Today's topic is Encouragement and who has and does encourage me. I chose to use a scripture different than the one in this prompt.

The technique challenge was to create and use your own stencil. In June, I had made a stencil from a design on a scrapbook page. (I don't "scrapbook" but I absolutely love many of the papers and packs available, so have a stash!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude Journal - Social Media and Technology

Continuing along with the month long Attitude of Gratitude Journal challenge, here are Days 5 and 6:

Social Media and Technology are related topics for me so I combined the two themes. Once I read the themes, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the ephemera related to technology that I have. The technology illustrated in these book pages and postage stamps are antiques to us today. At one time it was the latest technology. It makes me wonder what unknown technology will exist in another 50 to 100 years.

The techniques involved using specific products which I do not own. They are essentially water removable inks in a spray bottle and a water brush. I tried the technique using diluted watercolor paints. Once dry, the paint did not want to lift off the paper. I used the left over paint to dye tissue papers. When these are dry, I will use them on a future journal page.

The book pages, if glued directly to the journal pages, would not have left much room to write. I glued them on to double sided scrapbook paper and then adhered these into the journal as separate pages.

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