One Final Round of Valentine’s Cards (Including A Collage Workshop)

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My favorite craft shop in Marin, Once Around, offered a Vintage Valentine collage workshop with collage artist and author, Anna Corba.

We each got a sweet little packet in a stitched paper bag she’d made from old French newspaper that had several cards and envelopes, a piece of heavy watercolor paper and a postcard made of wood tucked inside to serve as the bases for our creations. She had several boxes of vintage-style images, mostly color copies of beautiful paper ephemera from her bountiful collection, and we could sift through to find just the right images, patterns and colors for each card we made.

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Anna showed us samples of her own work and talked about how she likes to work – letting each unique image speak to her, and working with a color palette based on the images she chooses.  We trimmed and tore the different pieces of paper and then starting moving the elements around like the pieces of a puzzle until we found a pleasing composition.  Anna walked around the table making suggestions and helping when someone was stuck.

She pointed out that a piece of darker paper along the bottom of the composition can be helpful to ground it, and it is nice to tuck a little surprise inside a card that coordinates with the design on the front. We also decorated envelopes, or in some cases, small paper bags, to make a matching set.

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During the last part of the workshop we were able to seal two of the collage designs (the thicker flat cards) with beeswax.  This was just lovely, though I wish we’d had more time to spend on it. First of all the scent of the warm wax is divine, and reminded me of a tiny chapel in Italy that had a huge arrangement of white lilies and was completely lit with beeswax candles . Brushed across the collage it added a dull sheen and faint golden color, saturating the paper and allowing some layers to show through others.

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In this card you can see the sheet music behind the other paper.  I wasn’t really able to capture the beauty of this technique in my pictures.

The downside is, you don’t always want a background paper to show through and by the time I learned that, I’d already created this card.  I wish I’d trimmed the wide striped paper so it wasn’t behind the puppy and kitten images.

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Anna had stitched this little sleeve using red thread and then cut a wide scalloped edge for the wooden postcard. After the class I was able to finish all the envelopes with paper brought home from the class and a few extra embellishments from my own stash. My style is busier and messier than Anna’s but I really appreciated and enjoyed the techniques she showed us in the workshop.

I don’t tend to use glue sticks but they are more forgiving then the tape rollers I favor.  Anna reminded me of a technique I’ve seen before but forget about: use a magazine you’re done with as your surface to glue on, keeping your work surface clean. As soon as a page is sticky, turn to a clean page. Once you’ve got your design pretty much set, maybe about 75% in place, she starts gluing the images down and uses a brayer to really stick things together.

My brayer has been sitting in a drawer, rarely used, but after the workshop, I got it out.  I also put an old magazine on my craft desk and started using these tools: a clean page for using when I put glue on a piece of paper, and the brayer to roll over the card and get it really fastened together.

After the workshop, I spent time on the little collage Valentine’s I was crafting. I’m sure I will use Anna’s style again on other cards, but these were the busy, multi-layered cards I’d been working on with bits taken from envelopes (the lining, stamps and postmarks), maps, old dictionary and textbooks, packaging, magazine pages, vellum, tissue paper, washi tape, vintage sheet music, calendars, newspapers, business cards, and other beautiful paper.

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Mini card fronts that I layered onto small place-cards and added embellishments and rubber stamped images.

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Little tags stamped on a paint chip.

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More tags stamped on vellum, an envelope liner, an old math textbook page and more.

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Little tags cut out, hole-punched and tied with pink string.

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Embellished cards.

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Two of the larger cards. It makes me happy to spend time crafting and I love when I put together a card and know exactly who it’s for.

I know Valentine’s day has passed but I just didn’t get it together to post these pictures sooner.  I wanted to share them with you and, as always, I appreciate you taking the time to stop and look at what I’ve put up.  Thank you.

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Art from the Heart 2015

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Rem and I exchanged handcrafted Valentine projects with each other.

Last year we did it a little differently and instead of each of us working on an item for the other, we created something together:

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I had an idea for a message for my project this year but hadn’t figured out a medium or design. Rem wanted to think about the whole thing and after doing a little research (at Michael’s) he agreed to another swap.  I am glad because I really love the items he’s made for me over the years and the little gallery of Art from the Heart we have on either side of our bed.

We worked on them independently and save the finished projects for Valentine’s Day. This might mean I hastily grab some paper to cover my project when Rem comes out of the bedroom or I might find glue out on the dresser after work.

My heart for him this year has a number on it.  I cut each tag out of aluminum flashing and used metal stamps to stamp the number on each tag.  I used ink to enhance the numbers.

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The rest I just wanted to look kind of mechanical and the antithesis of a lacy, flowery, sweet Valentine.

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It doesn’t actually turn or move (except the little tags with the numbers, which will swing on their pins if you tip the heart), but it looks kind of like it could do something.

I picked up different gears and wheels at Michael’s and also used a small roll with a gear on one end from a tape runner, covered in copper foil tape from the hardware store. A larger roll held ribbon before I covered it in aluminum foil tape. A few brads and buttons were from my craft supplies and I picked up a piece of aluminum flashing and a small brass knob at the hardware store.  That visit included a fun conversation with a salesman (I need to take the finished project back in to show him how it turned out).

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There is a small heart, which I punched from corrugated cardboard and covered with aluminum foil tape with wings that I also found at Micheal’s. A piece of foam core backed the aluminum flashing and I used gold embossing powder around the edge.

The number represents this:

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Rem told me he found two hearts, the larger one made of wood and the smaller one of foam.

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He wanted to cover them with something red.  He asked for help finding the red stones, which when he saw them, he said thought they were perfect. He got a bag with several shades of red, some translucent, some not.  I love the rich color.

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He looked for something smaller to put in the center to cover the smaller heart and found red beads.  He said he considered covering the base with aluminum foil before gluing on the glass stones, but decided he didn’t like how it looked.

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It is very sweet having someone craft something just for you and this shiny red-covered heart looks luscious, kind of like a cherry pie filling.

Thank you for you stopping by.

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Sometimes I Do

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Sometimes I get my  10,000 steps in a day. Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I eat Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies and read People magazine.  That’s just how it is.  Just wanted to be clear that I don’t always manage to get my steps in every day.

Last Thursday I had oral surgery.  The first 24 hours after the procedure I was using ice packs and sleeping quite bit. I took it easy for most of the weekend, napping and crafting.  I found my energy was fairly low.  Now I’m struggling to get back into my fitness routines.

I took a walk today.  Maybe I’ll manage one tomorrow.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

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Reward – First Bloom

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Just a day after the last post, the first little bud blossomed into this sweet mini-daffodil.  More green tips are pushing through the dirt and I expect another bud to bloom any day.

I tried to blur out some of the ugly background (chain link fence, etc.) because when I look at the flower, that’s all I see.  It is difficult to find an angle that doesn’t show the fence.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Anticipation

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We planted two planter boxes with a mix of spring bulbs.  I read an article about planting bulbs in containers in layers, based on when they bloom.  We planted pretty late (early January) but the bulbs have sprouted and now some have buds.

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It’s fun waiting and watching.  If all goes well, we’ll have flowers throughout spring.

We planted crocus, daffodils, tulips, and iris.

I’ll update again.

Thanks for coming by.

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Cobalt & Magenta Valentine’s

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Who knows when inspiration will strike, but recently it was a vase of flowers that inspired the color choices for my Valentine’s this year.

I picked out a brilliant bunch of magenta anemones at the Farmer’s Market and put them into a cobalt blue glass vase.

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I’m afraid my skill with a camera is not up to the challenge of capturing this combination and making it look as rich and wonderful as what I’m seeing.   Even as the flowers started to fade, they deepened to a darker shade that was lovely.  I bought the same kind and color of flowers two weeks in a row.

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Anyway, I started going through my paper and did a little shopping so I could put these two colors together.

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I added brown paper tags and hearts, vintage buttons and some sweet little heart embellishments.  Not shown are some off-white and cream-colored sheet music, textbook pages and other vintage ephemera from my stash that I used.

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Although these cards are more focused on paper, I still use rubber stamping and I pulled out my Valentine stamps.

I knew I couldn’t really capture the color of the cobalt blue glass, but I added richness to the card designs with sparkly blue glitter tape and shiny gold paper and ink.

My friend Carson recently showed a technique for a “Braided Paper” background on her wonderful Pine & Plum blog, and I used that for a batch of Valentine’s.

Cut strips of paper in equal widths.

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Put adhesive on a piece of paper (this will be covered by the paper strips – I used thinner copy paper rather than card stock).  I like the Tombow Mono Adhesive tape roller.

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Lay the first two strips to create a V on the paper.  The ends of the strips can go off the edge and when they’re all glued down, just turn the paper over and trim off the extra.

Cover the paper.  I did a long strip and cut it to size for several small cards.

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Once all the base paper is covered and you trim the strips, you’ll have a beautiful piece of paper that looks similar to a braid.

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Here are finished cards using this technique.

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These small cards will go into little glassine envelopes I found at Paper Source and I’ll be sharing them with friends at work and in my choir.  Heart stickers and washi tape decorate the outside.

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I am making more cards, some this same small size (I used place cards) and some more standard size  and all will be using similar collage designs and the same colors and embellishments.

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Thank you for your visit.

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Just a Reminder

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Here is a recent project from Craft Gym at Once Around in Mill Valley.

It was only last week that I realized the Craft of the Week page has directions for the crafts! So even if I miss one, I can still go to their site and get directions.  The directions are posted 1 week after they’re offered in Craft Gym.  This one took awhile to download, but others have been really fast.

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Rem is a little bemused with these two stitched decorations.  I think it reminds him of a “Home Sweet Home” needlepoint. I haven’t figured out where I’m going to hang them up, but I think it’s good to be reminded that we’re all loved.

I didn’t finish them in class.  I decided to go on YouTube to get some tips on stitches.  The satin stitch used on the heart and leaves has other stitches underneath to add some thickness to the shapes, and I used a chain stitch on the small hoop heart.  I don’t know that I want to start any large needlepoint or embroidery projects, but I found the act of pushing the threaded needle in and out of the fabric to be very soothing and relaxing.

The embroidery hoops are fairly inexpensive and I’m going to use them as the frames when I hang them up.

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Thank you for your visit.

Coming soon: cobalt and magenta Valentine’s.

 

 

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