Sunday, December 30, 2012

bjp 1112 - time flies

They say that time flies, when you're having fun!  Well that's certainly been the case with the 2012 BJP.  I've loved every moment of it!  It's a way to relax after a busy day's work and escape from outside distractions.  On top of that, I get to play with sparklies, immerse myself in memories, solve the problem of which numbers to use, search out unusual objects and thank my friends for giving me stuff. What a fabulous leisure activity! 

Does the colour fit the month?  No, but I felt that I needed to work on something light and airy after the visual weight of my October piece.  A rest, perhaps before setting off on a search for my December finale!

Two vintage buttons from the collection, both glass, but one clear and the other silvered metallic. The numbered button from the family button jar, has been collaged with acrylic gloss medium, a torn calendar number and Japanese paper. A coat of Diamond Glaze was added at the end to add some shine.  This part also includes part of an old 'snap' fastener and some bead and chain from a tacky thrift store necklace.

The flat wooden discs are from another dismantled necklace and the metal bits from friends.  The star shaped piece is from Sonja in Serbia and the tube from Kaite in Australia. Thanks to both for their contributions!  I used a little bit of needle weaving to attach the other metallic piece to the base.  I think that it worked out very nicely!

I guess if you roll the dice enough, they'll eventually fall on the Number 11!  I cheated and glued them down, but I do like the effect.  In this section, you'll notice more needle weaving and the other part of the "snap" fastener.  I needed a matched set, so it was time to add the other!

A better look at the mystery metal object!  A thrift shop timepiece, with the hands stopped at eleven minutes after eleven.  I would have adjusted the second hand as well, but it just didn't want to co-operate.  Drats!

My visual treat for November!  The "calm before the storm" perhaps.  Who knows what was going on in my mind at the time!  This piece was actually finished in early December, I had taken all the photos, but for some reason, did not get around to posting.  Could it be that my mind was occupied with work, or the holidays, or was I just avoiding the computer.  Only "time will tell" because I certainly won't!

Stacked, bocce/boucle, flower stiches, a strange, almost netting, mixed in with a little needleweaving. Sprinkled about the piece are three little screws from phones I detroyed in earlier months.  Glued down, of course, with E6000!

I have to admit that my December piece is finished as well, but I haven't taken any photos yet.  Perhaps today, or perhaps New Year's Day or perhaps the following weekend.  No rush!  I want to give you time to absorb November, before I introduce you to the hustle and bustle of  December!  Does anyone want to guess my colour scheme?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

bjp 1012 - turning on a dime

October = cooler weather + Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations!

Sure, we had warmer days, but I still needed to prepare for the return of  wet and frosty precipitation and the fall of crisp, colourful leaves.  Not to be tricked by the lingering warmth, the 10th month closed with a chilly, but thankful wish for friends, family, health, the country we live in and national health care.

The "turning on a dime" phrase relates to the nickname for our 10 cent piece (and also for some other events going on in my life).  It's always been called a "dime", but I have absolutely no idea why.  Do you?  If you look closely, you'll notice that I included one from the year 2010 to further continue the theme!  The african paper bead is actually more green than blue, but apparently the camera didn't think so!  You'll also notice a lovely orange bead with spots.  Rain and Marilyn brought it back from Seattle a few years ago and it's been waiting for the right project.  Okay, I had misplaced it, but isn't it interesting that it turned up at just the right time?

For some reason, I had a difficult time trying to figure out what I was going to use for the number "10".  I didn't want to spend a lot of money and I certainly didn't want to use repeat numbers from cell phones.  With a little imagination, I came up with the idea to use metal punches on a little copper disk.  I'm not all that good with the punches, but you get the idea!!  I purchased the punches several years ago and this is the first time I've used them.  Sad, I know!  Do you notice the little striped ceramic piece at the bottom.  It's some type of electrical component that someone gave me (Rain, I think!).

Another one of those electrical components, a buckle from an old watch and a vintage "buckle" button from the stash.

If you were  cleaning out an old jewelry box, do you think that you would find a worn down, old pencil?  Well I did!!  I have no idea why I saved the pencil, or who sharpened and used it all those years ago.  Did it belong to my father, sibling, an old boyfriend, or perhaps it was one used in my high school art class.  It doesn't matter because I obviously saved it for a reason.  Was this bead journal the reason?  Only a psychic would know!!!  Do you know anyone I could ask?  LOL!

Also check out the lovely golden maple leaf.  Another stash item that's been taking up space for many years.  I do love it though and thought one would be appropriate on this piece.  I actually tried to use three of them, but they just didn't work.  Too large, I guess! 

The full piece!  I think that it looks like fall.  Do you?

Did you notice the purchased flower charm (peachy/orange colour, above the copper disk) and the family button box find (tucked behind the eraser)?  Everything goes together if you just hold your tongue in the right position. 

Straight, stacked and boucle/bocce stitches were used. BTW the pencil is a 2H, but I didn't show the number because it didn't fit the theme.  I guess I should have looked for a 10B!  Too bad I didn't think about that until now!  LOL!

My November BJP is also finished.  Yeah!  No photos yet and it's pouring out (I like to take my photos outside) so I'll post about it next weekend.  Keep tuned!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

bjp 0912 - day and night

September shows signs that the seasons are changing!  The children go back to school, the days get shorter as the nights get longer, and the cooler nights hint that autumn and then winter are fast approaching.  It's time to pull on the socks and root around for cooler weather gear.

The nine in this photo was taken from an old telephone I found at Value Village.  It seems to me that VV is not quite the bargain it used to be.  Either that or I need to start shopping in other neighbourhoods, because my local one seems to be getting fairly saavy about prices. The glass tube was also taken from the telephone (I was very excited to find it!) and this section also includes a found washer, attached and embellished with a little needle weaving (that's impossible for you to see). The crystal button is from the family button box and the distressed silver disk was from Kaite (I think).  The letters directly below the crystal button spell "life"!  They're attached to a stick pin I received in a swap and has been included, to remind all of us of the precious nature of life.  

The metal button is from an old pair of Liz Clairborne jeans (circa 1980's I believe), the carved white button, an especially fine one from the family button box and the black/silver one is from my vintage collection.  The small black nine is from one of the cell phones I dismantled earlier in the summer.  I poked the number through a distressed washer, glued it down with E6000 glue and then found, to my dismay, that the rubbery nine started coming adrift.  So, I did what any self respecting artist with a background in the needlearts would do, I stitched it down!!!  Not the most tidy solution, but certainly effective!

A spring from a dried up pen and a little scissor charm show up in this section. The spring was stitched down with perle cotton, that had been strung with black beads. My intent was to have the beads move freely, however they're now crammed into that spring fairly tightly, so I'll try the interactive movement idea on a future bjp!

I love this piece! 

When I feel that my brain is overstimulated and has been saturated with bright shots of colour, I sometimes find the need to let it rest with a calm, sophisticated pallette.  Black white, grey and silver................ahhhhh!!!   Call it a visual re-set button!!!!  Do any of you experience this type of overload situation?  If so, what do you do to rest your brain?

I used stacked, boucle/bocce and peyote stitch.

Don't worry!  My retreat from colour will be short lived, as I have big plans for October.  The only thing that's stopping me from getting started, is my search for the perfect "10".......................any ideas?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

bjp 0812 - a measure of citrus

The summer of 2012 has been fabulous!  I mean weatherwise of course, as my work life has been busy and limited my leisure activities.  But that's beside the point!!  My August bead journal is a celebration of the sun.......the warmth, the colour, the sweet tartness of lemonade and orange juice, the flowers that peak in August and the sunny dispositions of those enjoying the last full month of summer!

I rushed out to shop for beads at a couple of local haunts, but arrived home to discover that my citrus stash was already quite healthy. Sigh!  Don't you just hate when you do that?  This section contains a silver spiral from when I first learned the technique, vintage flower sequins, a couple of small washers painted with orange Vintag Patina (thanks Deb for being an excellent consumer) and then distressed with Baroque Arts, Guilder's Paste in copper.  The golden square is a small tile that was part of a mosaic kit I purchased 10 - 15 years ago (originally for a small tray, I think).  Don't you just love finding stuff you spent your hard earned money on, but never used??  Now I'd like to say that doesn't happen all that often, but I suspect I would be lying.  How about you?

I thought the washers, stacked one on top of the other, made a perfect "8"!  Did you spot my intent?  The oval, dark reddish bead (close to the black "8") is a stone of some sort.  Purchased and utilized for colour and definitely not for pedigree!!

The perfect match of old and older, mixed in with a dash of new (beads, beads and more beads) and a bit of distressed!  While making a small attempt at cleaning a sewing drawer, I discovered a well used measuring tape tucked way at the back.  It probably dates back to my sewing days in Vancouver, but has not been used for it's original garment making purpose in years.  It had yellowed with age and I distressed it even further with a dusting of gold Perfect Pearls.  I thought that I was actually tarting it up with a little sparkle, but it doesn't really show in the photos, so what do I know?  The vintage crystal button is one of my favourites (I know, I know, I keep on saying that) and I paired it up with a couple more of the family button box refugees.  The distressed red bit next to the yellow button is another of Kaite's finds from her wanderings in Bathurst, NSW, Australia.  I believe that it's a zipper pull! There's a little gold ring behind the crystal button.  I have no idea what it is or where I found it, but I suspect that one day, I'll be needing it for something!

Back to the measuring tape......I used to make many of my own clothes.......I wonder if I ever will again?  I did love the challenge of a Vogue pattern, but confess that I don't really know squat about tailoring, so wasted an awful lot of material.  I don't even know how many outfits ended up rolled in a ball and thrown against the wall!!!  At least with beading, mixed media and fibre art, I'm not tempted to do that.......Oh I know, now they're called U.F.O.'s!  Heh, heh, heh......

The finished piece, but it seems I cut off the peak of the roof!  I'll fix that later...when I figure out how!  The colours are not necessarily in my comfort zone, but I have to admit that they make a definite statement.  Now the question is, what are they trying to say?

Stitches used: - back, stacked and boucle/bocce. 

Other fasteners: - E6000 glue for the tile and washers and Aleene's tacky glue for the measuring tape and corrugated cardboard.

I wonder what September will bring?

Monday, September 3, 2012

bjp 0712 - raspberry and lime

July is late and was a bit of a challenge for me.  I sprained my wrist and although not my dominant hand, I found that I still couldn't bead.  Perhaps if I had a "third hand" know, one of those clip things....but I didn't, so decided to put my playthings away until the pain was gone.  Surprisingly, healing took longer than I thought it should, but it's good now, so life progresses!!

During my vacation from beads, I dreamed up the raspberry/lime colour scheme.  Not a new one to me, but one that I find particularly refreshing, even though I'm not really a "pink" person.  I even visited a couple of bead stores to beef up the stash.  Did I really need to do that?  Definitely not, but it seems to be a ritual I follow with these journals, so who am I to stifle the muse?  The distressed, metal "7" is actually a new charm that my sister found in Michaels (she sent me more than a few packages of charms, so you'll be seeing more of these lovely mixed media treasures in future projects).  The silver owl is from my stash and this section also showcases a paper clip, a little bit of sequin waste (thanks, Mary Anne!), a millifiori bead, from a string I picked up years ago, a new lantern bead and an abalone shell button (one that's apparently way too shiny for a good photograph).

The squished and naturally distressed metal button was gifted to me from my friend Kaite in Australia ( she picked it up at the side of some road).  The white one (enhanced with a bit of Guilder's Paste) is from the family button box.

Another wee giftie from Kaite -- the top of an old knitting needle.  If you check out her blog, you'll realize that knitting needles are something very precious to her!  Clever Kaite!  I would never have come up with this idea in a million years!!!  Of course, in my defense, I'm not a knitter.......

My vintage button pick for July!!  Also a little "Love" charm that was part of a swap package from someone a while ago.  I confess that I have no idea who sent this particular package, but it contains some lovely things that are certainly fated to appear in future bead journals.  If it was "you", my apologies, but if you let me know, I'll credit you on the blog.

The finished piece!!!  I started out not liking it very much, but it grew on me during the process and I find that I'm really quite fond of it now!  It seems that every time I'm away from beading (or anything else artsy) for a while, it's a huge chore to persuade myself to get back into it.  Does anyone else experience that same effect?  I think it's a sulky muse!!!! What do you think?

My normal rogue, range of stiches including back, stacked, flower and bocce/boucle stitch.

The background for August is already painted, so I expect to start on it soon....................stay tuned!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

leaf me alone....

I needed to make some leaves for an ATC swap over at the Cloth Paper Studios Yahoo Group. Did I want to make green, yellow, red, orange or brown leaves?  No, the muse told me to make them white!!!  They're not intended to duplicate nature but to make an impression of it!  That's my take and I'm sticking to it!
They started with one and grew to three..........

......then multiplied to ten......and finally finished up at twelve........yikes!!!! 

But I only needed three..........finished ATC's for the swap!

The leaves are a version of fabric paper that I read or heard about somewhere (I think my friend Deb mentioned it on our last play day) and then added my own ingredients.  Use cheesecloth for the base and matte medium, instead of watered down white glue.  In retrospect, the glue would have been cheaper to use and would probably give the same effect.  I laid down some freezer paper (shiny side up) and then a layer of cheesecloth......brushed on the matte medium......added bits and pieces of white/cream japanese paper......then another layer of matte medium. I cut all the leaf shapes freehand.....added some fine brass wire to the back and hand stitched the centre veins. 

The background is collaged text, then a layer of crumpled tissue (more matte medium), then a print using acrylic paint on my new Gelli Arts, Gelli Plate (a gelatin print without the fuss).  An empty Robison Anton thread spool was used to make some circular impressions, but you don't really see the effect in this shot.

I wanted a dimensional effect for the leaves and I'm happy to say that I accomplished it!  Of course, they'll probably be squished flat when they arrive in TX, but I'm sure that Diane will be happy to fluff them up for me!

Now what the heck will I do with the rest if the leaves?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

wee gifties from afar and a kitchen technique

More results from my July gift exchange with Kaite in Australia.  I wasn't allowed to open the first one until July 23rd and as I was late sending mine, I decided not to open anything else until Kaite  received her parcel from me (at the end of July).  Hee, hee......waiting is so much fun!!  If you check out Kaite's link, you'll see my gifts to her.

Lovely free form peyote earrings and a handmade box.  The earrings are light as a feather and very easy to wear.  The box is clever and I'll need to persuade Kaite to send me the instructions.

Part of our gift exchange is always a handmade postcard.  This is the one Kaite sent me this year.  Interestingly enough, many of the blue fabrics on the background are ones I sent to Kaite to include in a blue quilt that she wanted to make for herself.  I wonder what happened to that quilt?

There was a lot of serendipity happening in our gift exchange this year.  We both made earrings and used circular layered flowers.  She sent me a house, so of course, I had to send one back to her.  It was really quite funny!!

Another lovely postcard, but this time from my friend Beth in South Africa (soon to be moving back to the US).  I admired a series of postcards she made for a PC exchange and she sent me one!!!!!  Aren't I lucky?  The colours just glow as they're made out of some type of waste silk product.  Throwsters Waste, perhaps?

Thanks to both Kaite and Beth for my lovely presents!

What else have I been up to??  We'll I found that I just couldn't resist the kitchen anymore, so started playing with flour.  I mixed up flour and water (wisk together one cup of flour and one cup of cold water), spread a thin to medium layer on the fabric and then leave it to dry for 24 hours.  I used a credit card to slather on the goop as my pieces were fairly small.  You could also use a squeegee for larger pieces.  I pin one end of the fabric to a layer of plastic, over a layer of towelling, felt or cardboard.  When you've finished spreading the flour/water mixture, pin around the sides as the fabric will curl up as it dries.

When it's dry, crumple it up in your hands until you are satisfied with the crackle effect.  Lay the fabric back down on fabric and paint on thinned down fabric paint/acrylics or ink.  Make sure you get well down into the cracks.  If using a dark paint on light fabric, you should be able to see some of the results on the back of the fabric.

I used mostly Setacolour transparent fabric paint in Ultramarine Blue.  One blob of paint at a time and 3-5 short sprays of water, mixed on a pallette of some type (I use well washed meat trays).  I used a lot of paint!

Plain white cotton fabric/dark blue paint!  It's nice, but perhaps a little boring.

 Reclaimed cotton fabric that had previously been dyed with black, Procion MX dye.  I thought the piece was a failure, because it turned out a rather blah grey.  It certainly looks a little more lively with a combination of white pearl acrylic and white acrylic ink (the lighter colour that almost looks like a light grey).  It's better, but certainly not perfect.

Now we're talking!!!!  Green/white wipe up cloth with the dark blue Setacolour.  This one didn't have enough blue for my liking, so after it dried, I cracked the fabric again and added more paint.  I think this one is raw silk, based entirely on the rough texture of the fabric.

I love this one as well!!  Procion MX, parfait dyed cotton with the dark blue Setacolour.  I used turquoise Setacolour first, but it really didn't show up all that well, so the Ultramarine was added after the first layer of paint dried.

It's quite a messy process and not for the faint of heart, but the results are quite satisfying.  I expect these small pieces will decorate my stash for a while as I have no immediate plans for using them.   Don't you think that stash is much better after it ages a while?   I still have a one yard piece of black/white silk that I purchased in the 70's and couldn't bear to use (or I hadn't bought enough to really make anything interesting).  Do you have anything similar?

BTW, to get the flour/paint mixture off the fabric I soaked it in a bowl and then scraped the mixture off the fabric with a credit card (messy, messy, messy...).  I then hand washed and hung to dry.  After that, I heat set the piece with an iron and then threw it in the wash to get rid of any residual flour.  I'm very happy with the overall results and will be playing more in the future.  Perhaps next time with thickened MX dyes!

My next kitchen experiments may require the use of either oatmeal or mashed potato flakes.  Not sure when I'll do it, but do it I will!!!  What do you do in your kitchen?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

images of nature

Very few words, but a little bit of paradise on a grey and cloudy day out in the country.  A garden, home and nursery carved out of nature.

Delphiniums, of course!!! I couldn't get close enough to some of the other colours, to get a good photo.  Rats!! 

A surprise pond!

Crazy Daisy!  Don't you love the name?

I don't know if these are Heliopsis or Helianthus.......they confuse me!  Very tall and prolific with yellow daisy type flowers.  I made the mistake of planting some of these in a city garden once and believe me, it didn't take long for them to outgrow their space.  Good cut flowers though and the bees love them!!

Daylily triplets!  The pink are my favourites!

Every once and a while, you need a trip to the country, just to re-charge the batteries.  I feel refreshed!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

bjp 2012 - 1st 6 months

Not much to say, but I thought you might like to see the first six months of my numbered row houses.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to make them larger.  I think that they look pretty nice together, don't you?

I've been sun printing and painting fabric with textile paints this weekend.  No photos yet, but I'll try to take some to post later in the week.  I even painted one of my eye glass cleaner papers (wipes).  You know, those ones in the tidy little package that contain a large amount of acohol.  I purchased mine from Walmart!  BTW I rarely shop at Walmart, but my sister introduced me to these wipes and they're just the perfect thing for greasy glasses.  BTW, the paper took the paint very well and the paper is really very strong.  I may need to do more of this.  What I'm going to use it for, I have no idea, but it's nice to know that they have a second, useful purpose.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

bjp 0612 - royal and rich

Purple is the colour of wealth and royalty!  It's also my older sister's favourite it does have a natural place in my work.  I've twinned the number six this time, with the copper 'ruler' bit from a set of charms gifted by said sister and a black one from an old work calculator that was well past it's prime!!  Silver, copper, light purples and violets were added for contrast.  The lovely art deco silver button is from my vintage collection.  The copper wire 'spring' was hand wrapped by me on a metal mandrel, that had been gifted to me in a beading class. No, I've never held glass to a flame to make beads, but I'm destined to do that one of these days.

I saw an article in the Cloth Paper Scissiors magazine a while back, that showed how to cover old buttons with paper to use in mixed media work.  Well, of course, I had to try it, but instead of using a solid piece of paper, I collaged several bits of Japanese paper I had in my stash.  I used matte acrylic medium for the collage, but modge podge would do as well.  BTW, if you're going to try this at home, remember that the buttons are not washable, so it's really not a good idea to use them on clothes!

The small white piece with the tangle of beads was sent to me all the way from Kaite in Australia!  She found it along the roadside, on one of her many, healthy walks around the neighbourhood!

The copper leaf has been in my stash for a while and the piece underneath it is another of the charms sent by my sister.  I decided to couch the piece on with floss, to add another level of texture.

Not the best photo, but I like the angle and feel that it gives the viewer a completely different perspective on the piece.  Call it my artsy photography attempt!!!

The finished piece!!!  Vintage & family button jar buttons (including the collaged one), hand wrapped copper spring, pearls, bugles, miscellaneous beads, vintage sequin, de-constructed jewelry parts, road 'kill' from Australia & gifted charms.  Stitches include stacked, back, flower, bocce/boucle, couching & a crazy kind of freeform netting.

Do you believe that I'm right on track with the project this year AND that I've completed six months of bead journals?  As usual, I have no idea what I'm going to do for next month, but I want you to know that I do have a couple of numbers up for consideration.  Ahh, you've guessed it!!!  It's the number seven......but I have three or four good ones, so I'll need to hold auditions in the next couple of weeks. Lights, camera, action!!!!!  Oh the suspense...........

Sunday, June 17, 2012

update + mail x 2

"Into the Deep" is coming along nicely! The binder clips are helping to control the unruly canvas, so I'm getting a lot less fraying on the edges.  I seem to have veered off somewhere and the bottom edge is definitely not square.  I'm not going to worry about that, but will just be happy with whatever serendipity brings!!!

BTW, my friend Kaite in Australia has taken up the needle challenge and is now knitting squares with yarn bits. Hers will be made into squares and then eventually into a blanket. Isn't that a cool idea? I love projects that use up leftovers of any type!!!! Do you have any ideas?

A couple of close-ups!!! I think that I'll collage some of these together when I get enough and then print them off on either paper or fabric (or both). Wouldn't that be cool?

Remember my "Four Fabric Flower" swap on the Cloth Paper Studio, Yahoo group?  I just received these lovelies in return from (clockwise) Meri, Janene, Rachel (x 2 as she was the hostess and went overboard once she got going) and Barbara.  Thanks ladies!!  I'm not sure what I'll be doing with them, but rest assured they will show up somewhere in my work.  I'm playing with the idea of a fabric book and I think that Meri's lovely raw canvas beauty is a strong possibility for gracing the front of the book.  It won't be soon, but we'll see.............

Unexpected mail from Kaite in Australia.  Well she actually told me that she was sending something, but I didn't know that the little wooden birdhouse would be included.  Roadside pickings (from her walks) for my bead journals, a knitted flower to yarn bomb my balcony railing and a surprise package that I'm not allowed to open until July 23rd (I wonder why??).  Oh yes, missing from the photo are cards & brochures, plus a couple of numbers for future bead journals.  Of course, I couldn't let you see those yet, could I??  BTW, the wooden spools were from a recent yard sale purchase.  I thought it was a nice way to show off the little house.  Now I wonder what type of birds would live in a collaged house of stamps?