Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let’s Face It…


Let’s face it, there are times when we all need this message- keep calm and quilt on! Do you find that quilting and art projects help you to be more peace-filled? I’m a firm believer that creative endeavors are therapy of the finest kind. This mixed-media girlie is another new project I made under the instruction of artist Bonnie VanDenHandel at She Scrapbooks. I’ve been wanting to draw faces, and this was just the right opportunity. Since we are our own worst critics, I won’t point out the mistakes in this project- you can spot them I’m sure. But overall, I’m pleased with how this turned out, and I like the message. I’ve had many opportunities lately to “keep calm” as we just traveled to NY to help our daughter move here to Florida. Long story short, our smoke-spewing truck, our horse trailer intended to bring the contents of her apartment, and her two cats are still up north in NY and PA. We are in Florida with a UHaul, a tow dolly and her car, her, all the belongings, and her dog. The kitties hid themselves and showed themselves to the neighbor when we were already gone. She's caring for them and the rent is paid until the end of the month. So there is more to be resolved with another trip north to retrieve everything. And there have been many blessings amid the challenges. So that’s my current saga, and why I feel quilting and crafting are such a gift in my life. They truly do help keep me calm. But on with the show….


This is Bonnie’s class sample. She’s a trained artist, and I just love her work. We began with a burlap canvas and built layers up on it. Pretty, pretty.


Here’s teacher Bonnie herself. You can see a bit of this wonderful shop behind her. It’s hard to keep the credit card in my purse when I’m in here!


This is the canvas we began with. You can see that Bonnie’s sample was a little different with the text background.


We got to work with paint, stamps and more to build our projects.


There were two of us in the class, and this is my classmate Lori’s girl. She moved the flowers around on the project several times so that her girl was, at first, a heavenly angel and later gone Hawaii. The class name is Chicky Chicks. I think they’re actually Cheeky Chicks. Hope you enjoy seeing them. Will have to see how often I can post until we get things more settled. But I'll be back. Oh yes, and after the dust settles, I get to go on a quilting retreat! Won't that be just what's needed to put my head back on straight?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?


I think you can when it’s this lively! I had the pleasure of taking a bookmaking class with Bonnie VanDenHandel at She Scrapbooks in The Villages, Florida, a couple of weeks ago. Not only did we cover making an accordian-style book using one large sheet of watercolor paper, but we also did a marathon printmaking session using a Gelli Plate. And this book is the happy result. The front and back covers have strips cut from my Gelli-prints adhered and then embellished. We used gloss medium to add that bit of shine to the surface and to make sure everything is stuck down tight.


After I “warmed up” by making prints on plain copy paper, which were the ones I later cut up for the cover strips, it was time to print directly in the book, layering paint and texture on every page. As you can see, I’m quite fond of bubbles for surface texture. Once assembled, the book stands up on its own so you can see all the color goodness inside.


A view from the back of the book shows more color pages. The Gelli printing process is full of wonderful surprises as you combine stencils, stamps, and multiple paint colors. It’s pretty much mistake proof so it’s perfect for beginning art journalists like me. Once the pages were printed, we added the covers and a ribbon closure. Now I’m ready to fill the book with…. I don’t really know yet! For now, I just enjoy making the prints and books, and feel quite accomplished getting that far.


I made the flower accents using Bonnie’s paper punch and leftover Gelli printed papers. A little black cardstock and some jewelie accents helped them to stand out a bit. Even the charms on the ribbon closure are paper. The heart is a handmade bead made from layers of paper hearts and finished with Glossy Accents. The butterfly is also from a punch that Bonnie had for me to use in class.


Here’s my talented instructor Bonnie VanDenHandel of VDH Studios with her class sample book. Bonnie was born on the Caribbean Island of Saint Maarten and studied art and art education in the States. She now lives and works here in Florida. Below is a close-up of Bonnie's book, and one made by another of her students. I’ll be signing up for more of Bonnie’s classes at the shop in the future. Of course I realize that endeavors like this one require yet another set of supplies and materials. So my sewing and craft room is ready to split its proverbial seams. However, I'm sure that making this book is just the beginning of even more mixed media fun!