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DIY – From Blobs To Birds

I was testing out some watercolor combinations and ended up with a number of splotches and blobs on my paper. A little playing with these and I ended up with some cute little birds.

Two little birds made from watercolor blobs.

Two little birds made from watercolor blobs. Mother and son?

It’s really simple. Make some somewhat circular watercolor blobs on a paper. Outline the blobs with a waterproof marker. Then add details like dots for eyes, squiggles for the tail, a triangle for a beak, lines for the legs and feet, and possibly a wing.

These little birds are so easy to make. Just a watercolor blob and a few lines.

These little birds are so easy to make. Just a watercolor blob and a few lines.

These are so cute. They can be added to envelopes, place cards, journal pages and so much more. I think these would make a great children’s activity.

A page from my sketchbook showing a few birds made from blobs of watercolors.

A page from my sketchbook showing a few birds made from blobs of watercolors.

I am pretty sure I saw something like this somewhere, but I can’t remember where, probably on the internet. It might have been done with fingerprints. Anyway, play around with this and come up with your own playful little birds.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel: Embrace

A couple of weeks ago, I showed the latest Earth Spirit Vessel I was working on. Well, last night I finished it. I have named it Embrace.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace, contains 688 individual pieces of hand folded papers.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace, contains 688 individual pieces of hand folded papers.

Looking in from the top of Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace. All the green papers are hand painted paste papers.

Looking in from the top of Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace. All the green papers are hand painted paste papers.

To see photos of it in its early stage see: Studio Snapshot – Starting Another Earth Spirit Vessel

Enjoy, Candy

Helen Hiebert’s New Calendar for 2017

Paper artist Helen Hiebert has a Kickstarter campaign going on to fund her new 2017 Calendars. These are not your ordinary calendars, each month includes a paper project along with instructions.

This is the cover of Helen Hiebert's new 2017 Calendar.

This is the cover of Helen Hiebert’s new 2017 Calendar.

The calendar is filled with fun paper projects to enjoy each month. Every page features photo of the completed project, an interesting paper quote, a list of materials and tools you’ll need to complete the project, plus step by step photos and easy-to-follow instructions.

This is December's calendar page.

December 2016 is a bonus calendar page, so there are actually 13 paper projects included in this calendar!

To purchase your own calendar, check out: Helen’s Kickstarter Campaign. I purchased the calendar along with the custom paper pack. Delivery is expected sometime in October. I can hardly wait!

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – More Playing With Paper Cutting

I haven’t spent much time in my studio this past week as I was camping in the high desert of Oregon. It was a wonderful time for me to relax and commune with nature. It was very restorative and I now have a lot more art energy pent up. I’m ready to start working on my art with a new vigor.

After cutting these flowers, I put paste papers behind the cut out portions to give them each unique colors and patterns.

After cutting these flowers, I put paste papers behind the cut out portions to give them each unique colors and patterns.

What time I did spend in my studio was playing around with the paper cutting I started last month. I made a few more flower designs and played with putting some of my paste papers behind them the cut out areas.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

I like the look of these and will continue to explore paper cutting. I am sure this is just the beginning of a new addition to my paper addiction.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

For details about how I cut my cards, check out my blog post: DIY – Playing With Paper Cutting.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

I photographed my cards on one of my paste papers. To learn more about my paste papers, check out my blog post: Making Paste Papers: Part One.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Washi Tape Wrapped Pencils

The last time I was up in Portland, I picked up a couple of rolls of paper washi tape at Collage, an art supply store. I didn’t know what I would do with them when I bought them, but I knew I’d figure out something. Yesterday I used the washi tape to wrap pencils.

These two pencils were wrapped with paper washi tape.

These two pencils were wrapped with paper washi tape.

Washi tape is a paper tape that comes in lots of colors and designs. It comes in lots of different widths too. There are so many ways to use this tape. I’ve been afraid to buy too much of it because I’m afraid it could become quite addictive. Other than adding it to decorate envelopes, this is my first attempt at using it.

I cut my washi tape almost the length of my pencil, then started wrapping it around the pencil.

I cut my washi tape almost the length of my pencil, then started wrapping it around the pencil.

Usually I wrap my pencils with scraps of decorated paper (for instructions on that see: Paper Wrapped Pencils). When wrapping pencils, I use acrylic matte medium and it can get a little messy. Using washi tape to wrap pencils is both faster and less messy.

I taped the washi tape on itself to make for a wider tape that would wrap around the pencil.

I taped the washi tape on itself to make for a wider tape that would wrap around the pencil.

I started by cutting my washi tape just a little shorter than my pencil, then wrapping it around the pencil. That worked fine for my first washi tape which was wide enough to wrap around the entire pencil. For the narrower washi tape, I simply taped the tape to itself to make a wider tape. It worked wonderfully.

The finished washi tape pencil.

The finished washi tape pencil.

Then I sharpened the pencils and I was done. I think I’ll visit Collage for more washi tape the next time I’m in Portland. They have the largest selection of washi tape that I’ve seen at any retail store.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Starting Another Earth Spirit Vessel

This past week I started another Earth Spirit Vessel. There’s actually a lot of work that needs to be done before I start building the vessel itself. For this vessel, I chose a pure white paper and combined it with painted paste papers of various shades of green with gold highlights.

This is the beginning of another Earth Spirit Vessel.

This is the beginning of another Earth Spirit Vessel.

I started out with  papers that were 19.5″ by 25″ and then cut them into 2″ by 4″ pieces of paper. On 25 of the pieces of paper I wrote inspirations and quotes related to Nature and Mother Earth.  I then hand folded each of the papers nine times. You can see the triangular folded pieces in the above photo.

This is one of the 25 quotes that I calligraphed for this Earth Spirit Vessel.

This is one of the 25 quotes that I calligraphed for this Earth Spirit Vessel.

After all the preparation, I got to start putting the Earth Spirit Vessel together. I built it one row at a time.

I don't yet have a name for this Earth Spirit Vessel. I think the name will come to me as I continue to build it and decide what I'm going to do with the green as far as a design.

I don’t yet have a name for this Earth Spirit Vessel. I think the name will come to me as I continue to build it and decide what I’m going to do with the green as far as a design.

After I got each row in position, I took off one folded piece at a time and glued it to the piece below. The gluing is not actually necessary, but it means that the shape of the vessel stays intact. Note: I only raised boys, so I know how easily they could dismantle something like this. And although I offer to make my Earth Spirit Vessels without glue, no one has ever taken me up on the offer. I think that’s very smart of them.

View from above of my latest Earth Spirit Vessel in progress.

View from above of my latest Earth Spirit Vessel in progress.

Yes, it does take a lot of work to make each vessel. It’s a wonderfully meditative process and I truly enjoy making each and every one.

Enjoy, Candy

Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen

I have been looking for a flexible fountain pen for a long, long time. I have tried many fountain pens, and purchased a number of them. I used them, but kept looking for one that fit me. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with being a leftie, but the perfect fountain pen seemed elusive, until now.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

Whenever I see someone selling fountain pens, I always ask if they have a flexible fountain pen with a pointed nib, not a broad nib. Greg Minuskin of Nib Retipping was the first vendor who said, “yes, try this.” No fountain pen I have tried has ever come close to this much flexibility. I fell in love with the pen as soon as I tried it out.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I bought the pen 23 days ago and have used it every day since. It’s been the perfect tool to practice my pointed pen calligraphy. With the fountain pen, I can sit anywhere and not have to worry about spilling ink. When I use a dip pen, I always sit at my drafting table in my studio. It’s easy for me to spill ink, so I am careful not to have open bottles of ink anywhere but in my studio. I learned this from experience and a few unintended spills.

My favorite way to practice with my new fountain pen is to sit in my chair in the living room with my Rhodia dot pad and just write whatever comes into my mind. It’s so relaxing, it doesn’t even feel like I’m practicing.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

A plug here for the Rhodia pads. They are my favorite practice pads. I use the dot pads most often and sometimes the unlined pads. Rhodia pads also come in lined and grid patterns, but my favorite is the dot pad. The dots help me keep my writing in a straight line, but they don’t feel like they’re confining my writing. I like my calligraphy to have a little spring, more like a dance than being confined between lines.

I was told that with my Pilot Flex fountain pen, I can only use fountain pen ink. I was told not to even use Higgens Eternal or Noodlers inks in my pen. So, that is one limitation you need to be aware of. I am currently using Pelikan 4001 fountain pen ink. My local art store only had it in blue. I’ll be purchasing some Pelikan Fount India ink from John Neal Bookseller with my next order.

Happy writing, Candy

Learning Experiences (a.k.a. mistakes)

My personal motto is: “If you can’t learn from your mistakes, there’s no sense making them.” Well this past week was apparently set aside for learning from my mistakes as I had a few problems with my custom order for 16 accordion card books.

Cracking when folding. From now on, I will be very careful of mixing acrylic inks in my watercolors when I know I'll be folding the paper.

Cracking when folding. From now on, I will be very careful of mixing acrylic inks in my watercolors when I know I’ll be folding the paper.

I thought I had everything under control. I wrote out a schedule to make sure I was going to get the order completed in a week. Everything was going fine until Saturday when I folded the 12 Thank You’s just prior to attaching their covers. That’s when the color cracked on most of the folds.

Another example of cracking on the fold.

Another example of cracking on the fold.

What happened? I was recreating a color combination that I had done about a year ago. The colors looked fine, so I didn’t run a check of one completed book. I just did them all together. Apparently I mixed too much FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic into my watercolors. Oops!

Another learning experience – don't rush! Here I rushed and got just a drop of glue on my paper. I didn't notice it and put it under weights. The paper tore when I opened the book. Another oops!

Another learning experience – don’t rush! Here I rushed and got just a drop of glue on my paper. I didn’t notice it and put it under weights. The paper tore when I opened the book.

And to add insult to injury, as I rushing to replace the card books that had cracked, I made another mistake. This time I wasn’t careful with my glue because I was trying to get as many accordion card books finished as possible so I could get them to the Post Office before closing time. Note to self: You will probably get more done if you don’t rush. Just breathe and do what you can.

One of the card books open, the rest closed. The two in front are finished and have their gold ties with beads.

One of the card books open, the rest closed. The two in front are finished and have their gold ties with beads.

The good news is that I have a wonderful client who didn’t mind that I only sent out part of her order today. I’ll send the rest out later this week.

These are the accordion card books that went out today. I have placed a protective paper in them so any moisture from the glue won't warp the opposite page.

These are the accordion card books that went out today. I have placed a paper as a barrier for any moisture left over from recent gluing.

Lessons learned. Run a check before making multiples of anything. Don’t rush. And maybe, add a little more time on projects for the unexpected. Hopefully this will help you from making these same mistakes.

Happy creating, Candy

DIY – Playing With Paper Cutting

While I was at my week long Calligraphy and Art Retreat a couple of weeks ago, I tried my hand at paper cutting. This was my first time drawing and then cutting my design in paper, sort of like cutting a stencil. Now that I’m home, I decided to try using the technique to make a greeting card.

My first attempt at paper cutting.

My first attempt at paper cutting.

I made a pretty easy and basic design. I have seen some amazing hand cut papers  and this is not one of them. This is me, a beginner at paper cutting, showing you what I did. I started with a piece of Strathmore Aquarius watercolor paper. I cut a strip 5″ by 11″ and folded it into thirds. On the center third I used a pencil to draw my design. This is the back of the paper and I cut from the back also.

I drew my design (rather loosely) on the middle third of my paper.

I drew my design (rather loosely) on the middle third of my paper.

Once the design was drawn, I cut it out, more freeform than following the lines exactly. I used a craft knife with an x-acto #11 blade. I think I’m going to get a 100 blade pack. This paper cutting is a lot of fun.

Completed card and one showing how I didn't always follow my pencil drawing lines. I made slight alterations as I cut.

Completed card and one showing how I didn’t always follow my pencil drawing lines. I made slight alterations as I cut.

After I cut out my design. I glued a colored paper behind the cut out. I used glue stick. Then I used double sided tape to cover the back side of the colored paper. I will try some different designs soon.

If you want to see some incredible paper cuts, check out these links. And don’t expect me to be making anything like these anytime soon. I’ll stay with simpler paper cutting. Still, this is wonderful eye candy.
Mr. Riu
Karen Bit Vejle
Emma Boyes

Enjoy, Candy

 

Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel: Autumn Blaze

This past week I have been finishing up my latest Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze. I actually started this last fall, but was so busy this past winter and spring, that I never got it finished. So after coming back from a wonderful calligraphy and art retreat, I decided to finish some past projects before I delved into starting new pieces of paper art.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Some of the papers in Autumn Blaze are hand painted paste papers. I included gold powder in the paste paper. It gives the vessel a subtle glow that isn’t quite apparent in the photo.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

Autumn Blaze contains 592 pieces of hand folded pieces of 2″ by 4″ paper. Each piece of paper is folded 9 times and glued in place. While it is not necessary to glue the pieces, I have never had anyone want a vessel that was not glued. I only raised boys, and I know how inquisitive minds like to take things apart to see how they were made. I think my customers must think like me.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is beginning to take shape.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is starting to take shape.

If you want to know more about my Earth Spirit Vessels, you can check out these blog posts of mine:
Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels – The Process
Earth Spirit Vessels From My Paste Paper Show

Enjoy, Candy