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Flower Envelopes – The Process

In April, which was National Letter Writing Month, I wrote a letter a day and sent it in an envelope that I either made or decorated. About halfway through the month I made an envelope with a flower on the front which ended up being the first of a series of flower envelopes. I’m still making them, trying something a little different with each one.

One of several flower envelopes that will be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

This flower envelope will be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

These envelopes have gotten rave reviews from my friends and fans. So, I decided to share the process I go through.

These 15 photos show the evolution of a single flower envelope. For this envelope I decided to see what I could do with I had a black background. I like the result.

These 15 photos show the evolution of a single flower envelope. For this envelope I decided to see what I could do with I had a black background. I like the result.

I try and vary something with each envelope I make. For the above envelope, I wanted to see how a flower would look with a black background.

I love how this flower envelope seems to glow.

I love how this flower envelope seems to glow.

Each time I get a new Copic marker, I try it out to see how it will look as a background for one of my flower envelopes.

I spilled gold acrylic ink on this envelope after I had colored the background, but not the flower. I wiped the gold paint evenly over the entire envelope and it developed a wonderful patina. It even showed through after I painted the flower petals. Happy accident!

I spilled gold acrylic ink on this envelope after I had colored the background, but not the flower. I wiped the gold paint evenly over the entire envelope and it developed a wonderful patina. Happy Accident!

The gold sparkle on the above “Happy Accident” flower envelope doesn’t show on the photo above, but it looks marvelous. I hate to part with this one. I am going to create a similar one before I put this in the mail.

I love experimenting with colors I would not normally use together as in this flower envelope.

I love experimenting with colors I would not normally use together as in this flower envelope.

One of the great things about playing with these envelopes is that I can experiment with unusual (for me) color combinations. The above envelope has a violet that looks a bit gray. I would never put that color with a peachy color, but somehow it works. I never would have known without experimenting.

Another flower envelope that will go in the mail tomorrow.

Another flower envelope that will go in the mail tomorrow.

Believe it or not, the two flower envelopes above have same background. It’s amazing how colors look different depending on the colors around them.

Purple, orange, pink and blue? I just had to try this unusual combination and I like it for this flower envelope.

Purple, orange, pink and blue? I just had to try this unusual combination and I like it for this flower envelope.

Because envelopes aren’t works of art that I put a frame on, I feel the freedom to experiment and play more than when I am trying to make a finished piece of art.

Here I tried having the background petals darker and the foreground petals lighter. I did the opposite on Kate's and Karen's flower envelopes.

Here I tried having the background petals darker and the foreground petals lighter. I did the opposite on Kate’s and Karen’s flower envelopes.

I have eleven envelopes going out by this weekend as part of an envelope exchange. It’s been fun to play with so many different ideas.

This flower envelope will need more stamps as it is going to France.

This flower envelope will need more stamps as it is going to France.

I still have a log list of people I want to write to, so I am sure I will be making more flower envelopes for quite a while. It’s so much fun (even though they usually take 2 to 3 hours each to make).

This is my demonstration envelope ready to go out in the mail. The address will be written in white.

This is my demonstration envelope ready to go out in the mail. The address will be written in white.

To see more of my envelopes, check out these blog post:
Studio Snapshot – Flower Envelope Series

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Congratulations Accordion Card Books

This week I realized that a year ago, I was attending my niece’s graduation from USC where she received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations. That reminded me that it’s graduation time again. So, I decided I needed to make some more of my “congratulations” card books.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book. Is it a card or a book? It's both.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book. Is it a card or a book? It’s both.

I call it a card book because it’s really both a card as well as an accordion book. It’s a really unique graduation card for a graduate. And, it can be used for lots more occasions than just graduations.

Three Congratulations Accordion Card Books shown open, one closed and one watercolor paper with the congratulations written on it before being painted and decorated.

Three Congratulations Accordion Card Books shown open, one closed and one watercolor paper with the congratulations written on it before being painted and decorated.

I made a number of these this week in various colors. The accordion part of the book is made from watercolor paper. I outline the letters with a permanent marker, then use watercolor and blend the colors as I paint the letters.

Close up of one of the Congratulations Accordion Card Books.

Close up of one of the Congratulations Accordion Card Books.

After the watercolor is dry, I embellish the “congratulations.”  Finally, I cover the book board with one of my paste papers that matches the colors of the letters.

I love all the different paste paper covers for these Congratulations Accordion Card Books.

I love all the different paste paper covers for these Congratulations Accordion Card Books.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book.

Congratulations Accordion Card Book.

You can see more of my card books on my blog post: Studio Snapshot – Accordion Books.

Enjoy, Candy

Earth Spirit Vessels – The Process

I’m finally getting back to working on my Earth Spirit Vessels. Making a vessel is actually quite a long process. First I have to decide on my colors. Sometimes I paint my paper (usually paste papers of my chosen colors) and sometimes I use the archival papers without painting them.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude, is made from 504 pieces of hand folded paper, 196 of which are blue and silver hand painted paste paper.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude, is made from 504 pieces of hand folded paper, 196 of which are blue and silver hand painted paste papers.

After choosing my colors, I cut my paper from its original 19″ by 25″ into 2″ by 4″ pieces. I take 25 of those papers and choose the quotes and inspirations and prayers relating to Mother Earth and Nature that I want to include in that piece. Then I write those quotes in calligraphy on the 25 pieces of paper and take photographs of the calligraphy.

One of the pieces of calligraphy that is folded into Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.

One of the pieces of calligraphy that is folded into Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.

Once folded and made a part of the vessel, these quotes, inspirations and prayers are not meant to be seen or read, but to be embodied into the spirit of the vessel itself.

These are all the calligraphy quotes that are included within Earth Spirit, Vessel, Gratitude.

These are all the calligraphy quotes that are included within Earth Spirit, Vessel, Gratitude.

Then it’s time to fold the paper. Each piece of paper is folded 9 times. I have to space the folding out over many days to avoid injury to my hands from the repetitive motions of folding so many papers.

Folded and non folded painted paste paper waiting to be made into an Earth Spirit Vessel.

Folded and non-folded painted paste paper waiting to be made into Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude. Each piece of paper starts out as a 2″ by 4″ rectangle.

Finally it’s time to build the vessel. I build one row at a time. After placing and carefully adjusting a row, I then go around and glue each piece of folded paper in place. I can make vessels without glue, but then it’s easy to transform their shape as well as to take apart. So far, no one has wanted a vessel that hasn’t been glued.

This is the beginning of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude. This shows what the inside of the vessel looks like.

This is the beginning of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude. This shows what the inside of the vessel looks like.

This is a close up of the inside of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.

This is a close up of the inside of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.

After finishing placing and then gluing each piece in place, I make a bottom for each vessel out of a slab of burl wood. I get my burl wood from It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon. I then glue my burl wood bottom in place and sign the piece.

This photo is looking directly into Earth Spirit, Balance. You can see the burl wood that is the bottom of the vessel.

This photo is looking directly into Earth Spirit, Balance. You can see the burl wood that is the bottom of the vessel.

After the vessel is finished, I photograph it and make a 6″ by 6″ documentation to go with the finished vessel. I include photographs of the calligraphy that has been folded into the vessel, a photograph of the vessel, the name of the vessel, the number of pieces of folded papers used to make the vessel and other documentation for that piece.

This is the documentation that goes with the Earth Spirit Vessel, Forest Tapestry.

This is the documentation that was made for Earth Spirit Vessel, Forest Tapestry.

The process can take a couple of weeks up to a few months from start to finish.

This Earth Spirit Vessel contains 1419 pieces of hand folded paper.

This Earth Spirit Vessel, Broken Wing, contains 1419 pieces of hand folded paper. It was a custom order is the largest vessel I have made to date

Other blog posts on my Earth Spirit Vessels:
Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels From My Paste Paper Show
New Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – More Paper Wrapped Pencils

I’ve not been able to spend much time in my studio this past week due to my trip to Edmonds, Washington (see Thursday’s post: Four Glorious Days of Calligraphy) and showing at ArtFest, a benefit for the Children’s Miracle Network. Still, I did manage to start to make some more paper wrapped pencils. My pencils have been selling well in both my studio at the Ashland Art Center and the Rogue Gallery in Medford.

Here are the paper wrapped pencils I made this past week.

Here are the paper wrapped pencils I made this past week.

Sometimes I work in my studio doing new and interesting things, like my flower envelope series, and sometimes I make more of things I’ve made many times before. This week I’ve been doing the latter. Yet, I still enjoy seeing the transformation of plain pencils into wonderful paper covered pencils.

Presentation matters. Here are 3 pencils wrapped in an Italian paper and tied with raffia. They look elegant.

Presentation matters. Here are 3 pencils wrapped in an Italian paper and tied with raffia. They look elegant, even though they’re “only” pencils.

Paper wrapped pencils. The set in the middle of a crossword puzzle is the most popular of all the pencils I have made.

Paper wrapped pencils. The set in the middle, made from a crossword puzzle, is the most popular of all the pencils I have made.

Paper wrapped pencils. All sorts of paper can be used to wrap pencils, though I suggest starting with a thin paper for your first set.

Paper wrapped pencils. All sorts of paper can be used to wrap pencils, though I suggest starting with a thin paper for your first set.

Paper wrapped pencils. Red and purple are popular colors, but they come in second after the crossword puzzle pencils.

Paper wrapped pencils. Red and purple are popular colors, but they come in second after the crossword puzzle pencils.

DIY instructions to make your own are on my blog post: Stocking Stuffers: Paper Wrapped Pencils.

Enjoy, Candy

Four Glorious Days of Calligraphy

I just got back from 4 glorious days of playing and studying calligraphy. It’s a 9 hour drive (each way) from Ashland, Oregon to Edmonds, Washington where I attended Letters of Joy, a mini calligraphy conference, and a 2-day workshop on the bone alphabet. It was so worth the long trip!

From my class Calligraphy Recycle: Party in an Envelope by Gretchen Ehrsam.

By Gretchen Ehrsam, from her class, Calligraphy Recycle: Party in an Envelope.

Letters of Joy started Friday night with a presentation, Calligraphy Tips and Tricks, by Carol DuboschWe didn’t even need to take notes because Carol gave all of us a sheet of paper which included her tips and tricks she demonstrated. This paper was designed in such a way that we were able to fold it and make it into a small book. Some of these tips and tricks may be showing up here in my blog after I try them out and play with them.

I had not done copperplate before, but after taking Lee Ann Clark's class on Classy Caps, I'll now be studying that alphabet too.

I had not done copperplate before, but after taking Lee Ann Clark’s class on Classy Caps, I’ll be studying copperplate now.

Saturday included many mini workshops. There were so many possibilities, it was really hard to choose which classes I wanted to take. I eventually signed up for Classy Caps by Lee Ann Clark, Calligraphy Recycle: Party in an Envelope by Gretchen Ehrsam and Jubilee Script Meets Parallel Pen by Carol DuBosch.

Example of Jubilee Script by Carol Dubosch.

Example of Jubilee Script by Carol Dubosch. I can see this script showing up on some of my envelopes in the near future.

These were some of the handmade pens sold by Tim's Pens. They made from recycled materials and create a variety of different widths of pen strokes.

These are handmade pens made and sold by Tim of Tim’s Pens. Made from recycled materials, each pen makes a variety of widths of pen strokes.

Throughout the two days there were many vendors from whom we could purchase supplies and other goodies. I scored some vintage pointed pen nibs from Black Thumb who also sells vintage ink pots.

Black Thumb sells vintage ink pots as well as vintage pen nibs.

Black Thumb sells vintage ink pots as well as vintage pen nibs.

Sunday and Monday I took a calligraphy workshop on the Bone Alphabet from Carol DuBosch. Bone is a contemporary alphabet known as BONE because of the bone-like shape of its basic stroke. It’s a wonderful exercise in pen-manipulation and designing the spaces within and around the letters.

Carol DuBosch demonstrating the bone alphabet.

Carol DuBosch demonstrating the bone alphabet.

A close up of Carol DuBosch's demonstrate sheet of the bone alphabet.

A close up of Carol DuBosch’s demonstration sheet of the bone alphabet.

This was the first time I went to Letters of Joy. It won’t be the last. It was great fun!

Enjoy, Candy

 

Studio Snapshot – Folded Boxes

Those of you following my blog know that I just mailed out a bunch of little boxes in a clear plastic bottle (DIY – How To Make A Plastic Bottle Into An Envelope). For that project I made a bunch of small folded boxes out of some of my paste papers.

I couldn't stop at just a few boxes. I had to make all sorts of sizes and colors using my paste papers.

I couldn’t stop at just a few boxes. I had to make all sorts of sizes and colors using my paste papers.

After getting out all my supplies, I just couldn’t stop at just a few boxes. So, I kept going and made quite a number of boxes in a variety of sizes.

These were the size of the boxes that I put into the clear plastic bottle I used as an envelope. You can see how small they are with my hand holding one.

These were the size of the boxes that I put into the clear plastic bottle I used as an envelope. You can see how small they are with my hand holding one.

Three sizes of boxes I made from my paste papers.

Three sizes of boxes I made from my paste papers.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – How To Make A Plastic Bottle Into An Envelope

A big thank you to Jack who wrote in my comments about sending some folded boxes in a bottle to his daughter and family for Easter. It was such a great idea, I knew I had to try it for myself.

This plastic bottle is the envelope. Proper postage has been applied.

This plastic bottle is the envelope. Proper postage has been applied.

And what a perfect “envelope” to send for the last day of National Letter Writing Month. This went to Jean Wilson of the blog, Pushing The Envelopes. Check out her blog to see lots of wonderful mail art.

Folded boxes as seen from the back of the bottle that is also an envelope. Address label is on the other side of the envelope.

Folded boxes as seen from the back of the bottle that is also an envelope. Address label is on the other side of the envelope.

The black line on the bottle shows where I slit the bottle with a knife.

The black line on the bottle shows where I slit the bottle with a knife.

Instructions:
1. Remove the label from your plastic bottle.

2. Cut a slit in the bottle, just big enough to push through whatever you want to put into the bottle.

3. Carefully push folded boxes or whatever you have chosen into the bottle. Make a mailing label just large enough to cover the slit.

4. Glue the bottle cap on the bottle.

5. Take bottle to the Post Office for postage and mail. It cost me $2.32 to mail my “envelope.”

In this photo you can see the address label and the boxes in the bottle. This photo was taken just before I took the bottle to the Post Office and got the postage put on it.

In this photo you can see the address label and the boxes in the bottle. This photo was taken just before I took the bottle to the Post Office and got the postage put on it.

Happy mail art, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Flower Envelope Series

I’ve been sending out a letter-a-day for the month of April in honor of it being National Letter Writing Month. My letters have all gone out in a handmade or hand decorated envelope. Somewhere during the month I made an envelope with a flower on it. I liked it and made another and another and another. And lo and behold, I realized I created a series.

One of the envelopes in my flower series. In this one the flower petals are watercolors and the background of the envelope was made with a Copic marker.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Made with watercolors (petals) and Copic markers.

I kept changing something with each new envelope. I tried new colors or centers of the flowers or number of flower petals or the kind of markers or watercolors I used. I experimented with lots of different ideas, but kept close to the same flower design for all the envelopes.

One of the envelopes in my Flower Envelope Series. This was made with Copic markers for both the flower and the background. The name was written with a white Sharpie marker.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Flower petals and background made with Copic markers. Name written with a white Sharpie marker.

It’s been interesting to try to combine colors that I would not usually use together. Sometimes the combination works, sometimes not so well.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Made with watercolors and Copic marker.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Made with watercolors (petals) and Copic markers.

I don’t think I am through making flower envelopes. I still have some ideas I want to play around with.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers.

From my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers.

I won’t be making as many flower envelopes as I have been lately because many of them take hours to make and I have other things I want to make too. Still, you’re likely to see some more of them sometime in the future.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic marker, watercolors and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic marker, watercolors, gold pen, and white Sharpie.

From my Flower Envelope Series made with Copic markers and white Sharpie marker.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Lisa wanted me to make her an envelope with lots of yellow. I think this qualifies.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Lisa wanted me to make her an envelope with lots of yellow. I think this qualifies.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and white Sharpie.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. Made with Copic markers and Sharpie markers. Note how the Sharpie background shows the marker strokes more than the Copic markers.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I'm not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I’m not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I'm not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I’m not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I'm not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I’m not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I'm not ready to let go of this one yet.

One of my Flower Envelope Series. I’m not ready to let go of this one yet.

I just finished the above envelope. It’s been a really fun month, making envelopes and writing letters for National Letter Writing Month.

Happy Letter Writing, Candy

DIY – Make Coasters From Old CD’s

I enjoy entertaining in my new-to-me home. With the constant flow of friends and family, I realized that I needed additional coasters to protect my wood tables. I had some old coasters, but I wanted something artistic that went with my decor, so decided to make my own coasters.

These coasters are made from old CD's and recycled paper. They even work well for putting under a vase of flowers.

These coasters are made from old CD’s and recycled paper. They even work well for putting under a vase of flowers.

I had a bunch of old CD’s that I had kept hoping to find an art project I could use them on. Perfect coaster size! A little experimentation and now I have a new set of coasters.

This coaster made from an old CD and recycled paper is a perfect to protect my wood end tables.

This coaster made from an old CD and recycled paper is a perfect to protect my wood end table.

I love finding ways to upcycle things that were destined to go into the landfill into something that is useful and artistic too.

My dining table is oak and my favorite placemats are a little small to hold a dinner plate and my mug of tea. My coaster made from an old CD is the perfect solution.

My dining table is oak and my favorite placemats are a little small to hold a dinner plate and my mug of tea. My coaster made from an old CD is the perfect solution.

I made my coasters by covering the CD’s with a recycled handmade paper. The paper I bought years ago. It is made from corn cobs, newspaper and  homework.

I used recycled handmade paper to cover old CD's and transform them into coasters.

I used recycled handmade paper to cover old CD’s and transform them into coasters. Be sure to seal the coasters before using.

1. Cut two pieces of paper, one 6″ in diameter and one 4.5″ in diameter for each coaster.

2. Apply acrylic matte medium to the back side of the 6″ paper and place an old CD in the center.

3. Cut slits in the paper about every half inch around the CD, then wrap them around the back side of the CD one by one.

4. Paint acrylic matte medium on the back side of the 4.5” circle and place it over the back side of the CD.

5. You now have a coaster. Coat the coaster (first one side, then the other) with 2 to 4 coats of acrylic matte medium to seal and protect the coaster from moisture.

Hint: Putting the coaster on the top of a glass or jar (smaller than the coaster), then painting one side and letting it dry before painting the other side makes the job less messy.

Mugs, each with their own handmade coaster from an old CD is perfect for entertaining on Earth Day.

Mugs, each with their own handmade coaster from an old CD is perfect for entertaining on Earth Day.

Note: I like the look and feel of a matte finish on my coasters. A matte finish will also be less slippery. However, you could use a gloss finish if you prefer.

Enjoy, Candy

 

Studio Snapshot – Spring Heart Garland

I made a wonderful green heart garland for St. Patrick’s Day. I kept it draped over my dining room chandelier, for over a month now because I thought the green reminded me emerging green leaves of spring. Now, however, the flowers have started blooming and I decided I want bolder flower colors decorating my home. So, this week I made myself a new Spring Heart Garland.

My Spring Heart Garland has bright colors that remind me Spring flowers that are now blooming.

My Spring Heart Garland has bright colors that remind me Spring flowers that are now blooming.

This is the beginning of my Spring Heart Garland. I start at the bottom and work up.

This is the beginning of my Spring Heart Garland. I start at the bottom.

For my Spring Heart Garland, I fold 2 hearts in half sew them together.

For my Spring Heart Garland, I fold 2 hearts in half sew them together as you can see above.

My Spring Heart Garland, now about 9 feet in length, is finished

My Spring Heart Garland, now about 9 feet in length, is finished

I find the colors uplifting.

Instructions for making a Heart Garland are on my blog post: DIY St. Patrick’s Day Paper Garland.

Enjoy, Candy