Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DIY Modeling Paste Art Play

I've been seeing all kinds of artwork using modeling paste.  Remember that I'm trying not to buy every new supply I see,  I've been resisting the urge to notify my friends at Amazon that I need some pronto.   Then I came across a recipe for making modeling paste at Creative Vintage Studio - YIPPEE.  No new supplies needed - I had the three ingredients I needed in my stash:

This is a simple recipe :

1 part Mod Podge
1 part talcum powder
1/2 part white acrylic paint

Combine the ingredients in an airtight container.  I didn't actually measure this - I just eyeballed it.  I added more talcum as the mixture seemed too runny ( maybe measuring would have been a good idea!).   The paste needs to be firm enough not to ooze under the stencil - think soft frosting or whipped cream .

Linda at Creative Vintage Studio left hers white and painted the design once it had dried.   Since the paste dries to the texture of heavy embossing, I thought painting all this would be too difficult so decided to color the paste instead.

Now the fun begins - coloring the paste.  I shave off small amounts of Gelato crayons.   Confession - I also used the much cheaper Crayola version:

I find that the Crayola ones are often smoother and blend better than Gelatos, plus they are less expensive - five crayons are $4.99 on  Amazon.  

Very thin slivers of the crayons are easier to blend into the paste - you really have to mash it around to incorporate the color.   I ended up adding a few drops of liquid acrylic  to the yellow as the crayon color was just too light.  You could obviously use colored  acrylic paint to color the paste, instead of using white paint.  Pretty sure you could color it with a few drops of ink, too.   

Spread the paste over your stencil onto your paper with a painting knife/ spatula.  I found this Bob Ross paint knife at Michael's   I was going to buy a cheapo plastic one, but this beauty on clearance was only $3.00.   Because of the moisture in the paste, a heavier paper is in order.   I used the flat side of watercolor paper.

Lift off the stencil carefully.

There are some dark spots where the Gelato didn't mix in all that well, but I like the effect.

Then I used my what was left of the paste and did more mixing of the colors over the stencil.

I like this variegated look even better.

Allow the paste to air-dry for several hours.  You could probably dry it with a heat gun, but I didn't want to risk any bubbling.

And of course I couldn't let all the paste on the stencil go to waste, so I flipped the stencil over and laid it on a new piece of paper.  Think this abstract print will make an interesting background.

Be sure to wash off your stencil and tools as soon as you are finished so the paste doesn't harden on them.

I think I'm going to cut the designs to use as journal covers.  I'm also going to see how the paste works with Perfect Pearls - or glitter (think Christmas stars) .   So many possibilities.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Early Spring Planting

Now that the snow has finally melted, the local nurseries are opening .  Somehow they send out plant-pheromones that force me to jump in the car and heed their call.

It's fun to dream about warmer weather and planting, but for now it's enough just to enjoy these:

I should have put a nickel next to these for size comparison - these little plugs aren't much bigger than that.

Almost every pot sported a warning about frost danger, so these succulents are indoors only for now.

Love this potting bench:

And these beautiful pots underneath it, although my latent OCD would force me to obey the planting description.   Herbs in the salad garden pot would be like wearing the underpants labelled Tuesday on a Friday - no can do.

Bumble bee pots - I may have to go back for one.

I did bring this blue beauty home with me.  Wouldn't one of those  green bumble -bee pots go nicely with it?

Since it is too early to put out anything but the most hardy of annuals (here in the frozen tundra of New Hampshire we most likely will have more frosty nights), this is the season of pansies.   Confession - I never was all that crazy about them, mainly because they don't do well once it gets hot.   It finally dawned on me that pansies are really just place fillers until we can plant something better.  I know there are some pansy-lovers out there who might disagree, but now I can plant some for instant color just when we need it and yank them out when something better  comes along.

Pots filled with yellow and purple pansies, alyssum, and creeping rosemary - instant spring.

OK, so pansies do have cute little faces.

Love the rosemary shadow!

While I love my blue planter, it pales in comparison to these fancy-schmancy Anduze planters from Provence.   Check out this blog post  from Have Some Decorum , but be prepared for some serious sticker-shock.  Ellie has two for sale for $2600 each.   They are lovely:

Check out serious planter eye- candy on her post:

Love  the provenance seal  and the green chippy paint on this one .

Hope you get to have some nursery love this weekend, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's (Finally) Spring!

This week I've been able to do things that I haven't done for months:
   1.  Open the front door
   2.  Walk outside without wearing a coat and boots
   3.  See green things pushing out of the ground
   4.  Hear peepers
   5.  Hear birds singing

Halle- frickin'- lujah !! It is spring in New England!

Just to recap, this is the view from our kitchen door a mere six weeks ago:

But, we have moved on.  Most of the snow has melted, although there is still this patch out back.

For those of you who live where it already looks like this ( taken in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago),

you may not understand why this is making me deliriously happy.

I've been raking away the winter debris and uncovering  green shoots.   I have a strategy for raking - I start with the places I can see from inside the house - outside the kitchen windows, the view from my chair and the bedroom windows.    That way when I look out I see cleared beds and green stuff - yippee!

Little sedum rosettes.

And baby stars of Lady's Mantle.

Perennial Bachelor Buttons.

There is more raking to be done, lots more, and it sure beats shoveling snow..

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Brookline Keeping Society

{NYT 4.5.15}

There was a great article in Sunday's  New York Times by Heidi Julavits titled , Turning Clutter into Joy"  about the value of hanging on to bits and scraps of the papers of everyday life.  This is the sort of activity that is the opposite of Ms Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  that we discussed here earlier.    Ms Julavits applies the "Does it spark joy?" litmus test prescribed by Ms Kondo and found that while her junk didn't spark joy, "Other people's joy sparks lots of joy in me."   She indulges this joy by volunteering at the  The Brookline Keeping Society in her small Maine hometown.

I was intrigued at the idea of a small town safe-guarding mementos that people bring to them .  If the Keeping Society had more money and space, it would be a museum.  Doesn't "Keeping Society" have a more accurate ring to it?    This is a small-town operation run by a staff of volunteers who open the door  to visitors one day a week.  The information on their website is old -time Maine at its best - they explain that an eNewsletter is an "electronic newsletter" just in case that wasn't clear.   But they are not Luddites - they have a Facebook page full of great old pictures with detailed information about the photos.   It's fun to read the comments from people who knew the people in the photos or who think they might be able to identify them.

Here are some images from their Facebook page:


Full-coverage bathing attire can't hide the mischief going on here.

What is she reading?    Why is she wearing both a hat AND an apron?

Confession - I love finding old papers, books, lists and photos. I've bought several photos of "instant relatives" at estate sales to add to my collection.  If there is a faded envelope with a post-marked stamp to be had,  I'm in heaven.   

I inherited an old sewing machine from my friend Barbara .   When I went through  the drawers, I was happy  to find a WW1 gas ration card and stamps, almost as happy as I was with the machine.

Then there's this treasure - The Captain's step-grandfather's WW1 diary, started in 1917.   He wrote in it nearly every day of his deployment, mostly from France.   He kept in contact with a man he met in France and saved those letters, too.    

And my grandmother's papers from Hungary:

There's something about old pictures, notes, and lists that makes them intriguing.   You can't help but wonder about the story they are telling - what was the occasion,  why are they looking so sad, why did they save the notes, who was the letter for?    Anyone doing ancestry research online (The Captain is obsessed!) can find all kinds of old handwritten documents - voter registry,  census forms and more.   But there is something about holding the original document in your hand that makes these bits of history become real.    

Thankfully folks saved these pieces of their lives and I wouldn't think of discarding them.    I'm happily purging other things, but not these priceless bits of ephemera.  I, too, find joy in other people's junk.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Envelope Bookmarks

  I don't have many real bookmarks,  except this priceless one DC son made for me years ago:

I have no problem tearing pages out of old books to use in art projects.  I think of it as giving new life to the pages, making something beautiful,  and it beats ending up in the dumpster.   But folding down the page as a bookmark ?  For all that is right and holy - NO!  This just makes me crazy - books  with creased corners are just not right.

When I start a new book the first thing I do is make sure I have something to use as a bookmark - the one above,  or something in one of my art magazines that catches my fancy, or a piece of ribbon .  It would N.E.V.E.R. occur to me to do this:

Bookmarks made from envelopes are all over Pinterest .   They are so easy to make.  You  just cut off the corners of the envelope ( the corners opposite the flap) and end up with  little diagonal pockets that fit over the corner of the book page to mark  your spot.  Pretty clever.  Of course, you could cut out a template and make these from scrapbook paper, but that's lots more work.  I'm all about the easy way.

Then the fun begins.  There are all kinds of ways to decorate these.    You could glue on some scrapbook paper,  color the corner,  add stickers - you get the idea, or go to Pinterest for a bazillion more.    I stamped and embossed these:

I love the look of white stamping on craft paper.   I stamped these with Versamark and then embossed with white embossing powder.  Isn't this Spice Market stamp from Hero Arts is just gorgeous?  Thank you for showcasing this stamp, Diana Trout.

I covered these with Washi tape.  I found that using a wider piece of tape in the very corner ensures that the back of the bookmark will also get full coverage.  The two ends of the tape fill it in nicely.

Montana Granddaughter is 7 and reading chapter books, so these are heading out to her.

So cute!

Now I have a stash of bookmarks near my books .  Warning : making these is addictive.  Envelopes are no longer safe!


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