January 26, 2009

Bubble Wrap Altered Book

If you’ve already said, “It’s one of those days…”
and your mind is becoming a big, blank haze,
and you simply do not know what to do first—
grab some bubbles and BURST! BURST! BURST!

Don’t delay this quick remedy.
It’s environmentally friendly!
It costs some time and makes some noise.
Fun for both the girls and boys.

Your friends will really be impressed.
Your home will become a veritable nest.
The doctor will notice your BP’s down.
Sunshine will spread all over this town.

Refill this book whenever there’s a need.
My advice, well you’d be smart to heed.
Don’t wait to start, won’t want to stop.
May all your troubles go POP! POP! POP!

©2009 Janice P Williams

Here are photos of the altered book I worked up as a gift you could make for that stressed-out friend. The idea of such a book is not original to me, I saw it in a craft book in our library. But the design of the book, the design of the cover, and the poem are all original to me. You can feel free to reproduce the poem if you'd like, just not for commercial means/profit.

Here is how I constructed the book:

  1. I took a thin, hardcover book, and removed the pages.
  2. I then covered the outside of the "case" (the hardcover of a book) with thin foam (sold in drugstores and craft stores in the kids' craft section). I glued one piece each on the front and back. For the spine, I glued a length of purchased handmade paper.
  3. I used decorative paper to make a quilt-like design on the front.
  4. I had some trouble getting the edges of the case to look good (the old book kept showing through and painting the edges wasn't going to work). In the end, I took an Xacto knife and cut off 1/8 inch on each edge of the cover. the gray cardboard insides of the case now showed through as the filling in my altered book "sandwich" but I like the way it looks. (see photo below)

  5. After the case was decorated on the outside and the patchwork quilt-like paper was glued on, I covered the whole thing with gel medium.
  6. I then affixed paper to the inside of the case, and
  7. drilled holes for the stretchy gold thread that would keep the covers closed.
  8. I pasted the poem (see above) on the left side and
  9. put more stretchy gold thread on the right side to hold pieces of bubble wrap cut to fit the book.

    This makes a great gift for a friend who works in a stressful office or someone with "active" children.

January 25, 2009

Great Creativity and Craft Books

The following list was created for Altered Book Workshop's given in Athens, Ohio. These books are available at the Athens Library. You can also search for them in your local library or online at Amazon.com.

Altered Books / Rubber Stamping / Scrapbooking / Collage

www.janicephelps.com/ATCbooks.htm for links to books available new and used on Amazon.

Bookworks by Mary Maguire (686.3 Ma)
Altered Book Workshop by Bev Brazelton (702.81 Br)
Altered Book Collage by Barbara Matthiessen (702.81 Ma)
Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking by Holly Harrison (702.81 Ha)
Mixed Media Collage by Holly Harrison (702.81 Ha)
Kaleidoscope: ideas + projects to spark your creativity by Suzanne Simanaitis (702.8 Si)
Pockets, Pullouts & Hiding Places…interactive elements for altered books… by Jennifer Mason
Altered Art for the First Time by Madeline Arendt
Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More by Terry Taylor
Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth
Urgent 2nd Class: Creating curious collage, dubious documents, and other art from ephemera by Nick Bantock
The Art of Handmade Paper and Collage: transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary by Cheryl Stevenson
Collage Sourcebook: Exploring the art and techniques of collage by Jennifer L. Atkinson
Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming found objects into art by Michael DeMeng
The Art and Craft of Handmade Books by Shereen LaPlantz
The Handmade Book by Angela James
Papermaking Techniques Book: Over 50 Techniques for Making and Embellishing Handmade Paper by John Plowman
The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books by Gabrielle Fox
Creating Handmade Books by Alisa J. Golden
Designing with Texture: Over 150 ways to use textures for scrapbooking, card making, gifts and more by Erin Trimble
Rubber Stamping: Beyond the Basics by Michele Abel 761 Ab
The Complete Guide to Rubber Stamping: Design and decorate gifts and keepsakes simply and beautifully with rubber stamps by Grace Taormina 745.594 Ta
Artistry with Rubber Stamps: Embossing, colouring, masking, positioning and backgrounds for cards, stationary, clothes, furnishings, toys and decorations by Ellen Eadie 745.594 Ea
The Ultimate Rubber Stamping Technique Book by Gail Green 745.5 Gr
The Decorative Stamping Sourcebook: 200+ designs for making stamps to decorate your home by Juliet Bawden 681 Ba
Stamping Tricks for Scrapbooks: A Guide for enhancing your pages with stamps by Betty Auth 745.593 Au 745.593 Au
The Great Rubber Stamp Book: Designing, Making, Using by Dee Gruenig 745.594 Gr
All You Need to Know about Rubber Stamping by Maggie Wright 745.594 Wr
The Art of Rubber Stamping by Suze Weinberg 761 We
Creative Rubber Stamping Techniques by MaryJo McGraw 761 Mc
Scrapbook storytelling: Save family stories and memories with photos, journaling and your own creativity by Joanna Slan
Making Scrapbooks: Complete guide to preserving your treasured memories by Venessa-Ann 771 Va
The Art & Craft of Hand Lettering: Techniques, projects, inspiration by Annie Cicale 745.6 Ci
Stamping with Style: Sensational ways to decorate paper, fabric, polymer clay and more by Katharine Duncan-Aimone 761 Du
Creative Stamping in Polymer Clay by Barbara A. McGuire 731.42 Mc

January 22, 2009

USPS has some beautifully designed stamps for 2009

You already know what a fan I am of ATCs (artist trading cards). Well, this upcoming US postal stamp is not a trading card, but based on the design of a playing card--yet it is so beautifully designed, I wanted to share the news with you.

I've loved stamps for many years, and even more so since discovering The World of Donald Evans a few decades ago. The book was in the library and I loved it so much I photocopied, in black and white, all my favorite pages. I also found out about rare/used book dealers (the book was out of print) and eventually located and purchased a copy for, what was for me at that time, a big amount: $30. (This was before you could easily find most book on a thing called the Internet for $.99 plus $3.99 shipping.) Now, Alibris lists several copies for arond $5. It is well worth the price. I'd pay $50 for it today. There were paperback and hardcover versions and the artwork, beautiful individually painted stamps, are in color. (From the flap: ""The world of Donald Evans is the size of a postage stamp. His tiny paintings are stamps for imaginary countries. For each country he created a history, a culture, a people, even national products. The stamps are memories and celebrations of private events and imaginary places." )

Well, I just discovered this portion of the USPS site, this webpage where you can see all the new stamps being issued in 2009--isn't it great to find small, inexpensive things coming in well-designed form? That's a commemorative stamp for you. There are a lot of treasures on their webpage, and information about the history behind the stamps as well. And tenative issue dates.

It's the following stamp I am drawn to, but I can't seem to get the image to show up on Blogger. So, if you're interested, go to the webpage and scroll down, and you'll see it there.

Love: King and Queen of Hearts
The Postal Service pays clever tribute to what is said by many to be world’s favorite “game” with the issuance of the King and Queen of Hearts, the latest stamps in the Love series. The two stamp designs, one of the King and one of the Queen, are based on images from 18th-century French playing cards. Stamp artist Jeanne Greco of New York City created the art on her computer.
Greco and art director Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, settled on a design flowing through the stamp perforations to make a continuous pattern. The Postal Service began issuing its popular Love stamps in 1973. Over the years these stamps have featured a wide variety of designs, including heart motifs, colorful flowers, and the word “LOVE” itself.

January 11, 2009

Bubble Wrap

I am not surprised to find that Monday, January 28th, is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (http://www.fast-pack.com/bubblewrapappreciation.html).

Stay tuned for a post this week showing an altered book featuring bubble wrap. It's a great little gift idea for the stressed-out person in your life.

Postscript: see here for photos of this book and directions.

January 7, 2009

Altered Book - part 2

More musings on Altered Books.

(If you missed the first posting, here is the link to part one.)

*** I had wanted to try creating an altered book for a long time and last year finally got to it. Moving to Athens and setting up my new studio room (small but lots of wonderful built-in bookshelves... "thank you previous owner") has given me a place to organize all the tiny pieces of things that ATC and altered art crafters treasure... That I have always treasured and felt a bit ashamed of, such a "pack-rat" am I. In fact, let's just ban that term right now. The Pack-Rats of the past are today creators of "Art Reborn." Or "Reincarnated Miscellany." Or something other term...I'm sure there is one out there already.

*** I guess the difference between a pack-rat and an altered art artist is a good set of storage bins and a way to keep everything straight, and then use it to create artwork that 1) creates a sense of peace and bliss during the creation of it and 2) looks pretty darn good when all that unrelated "stuff" comes together (with the help of the right glue) and is forever transformed into something that can, yes, be called art. Maybe it's folk art, outsider art, reclaimed art, recycled art, collage art. But it does become art after our hands touch it, treasure it, and place it. That sounds pretty miraculous, doesn't it?

*** My first altered art book, shown on the article link mentioned above, was a reflection on my life last summer and all the blessings in the 2007-2008 year. My second altered book was a small board book (about 3 x 3 inches) that I painted, then antiqued over the white acrylic paint with a red wash, then decorated with collage for a friend. I loved how it turned out, and the small size of it.

*** My third altered book was a bit larger, about 4 x 4 and again built on a child's board book (Goodwill, State Street, Athens, 99 cents). I covered the pages with nice maroon and grey scrapbook paper, kept it simple and added in personal photographs (sized for the book) and other momentos. This was a gift for my son, Jesse, for Christmas. I found a small picture stand easel (I think it was from a Drugmart, in the photography section, made to hold small school photographs)...and the board book sits nicely on it. (It doesn't close like a book because there is too much stuff pasted on the pages.)

*** Now, I'm exploring other techniques with the altered books and have a box of all sorts of old books, board books, odd boxes... Fat books, thin stapled advertising books... oh, the closet is gettin' full!

*** Here you can see where I'm at with my latest altered book. It is magical how the various pieces come together.

*** This color of paper with this shell, with this certain rock or bead and this perfect quote. I love creating the windows and have overcome my long-standing fear issue with Xacto knives (after a bad mat-cutting experience in college).

*** The photos here are of a work-in-progress. More to come... Along with a really long list of links to Altered Book, Collage, and ATC websites.

*** Remember, too, you can find lists of my favorite craft books at this link: http://www.janicephelps.com/ATCbooks.htm

January 5, 2009

CraftyPod--worth listening to

Last Nov. I listened to a podcast put out by CraftyPod (http://www.craftypod.com/) "The podcast and blog all about making stuff." Have you heard of it? Have you listened to it?

If not, go there as soon as you finish this article. Click on the link above and bookmark it. Scroll down the page and click play to hear an interview. Or, go to iTunes and download CraftyPod's podcast to your computer or iPod.

First, there is the funky, happy music that welcomes you and provides little interludes between segments. The hostess, Sister Diane, interviews the most interesting people in crafting today. It's inspiring to hear their stories, especially the backgrounds of people who have "made craft their career" and those who have recently started new crafting businesses and are selling on Etsy.com and through other venues.

If you have thought about expanding your craft business. Or, if you just love crafting and want to hear what others are doing in the arts and craft community, tune into CraftyPod. It's one of my favorite programs going on today and, unlike some podcasts, it is well-produced, professionally done, and the guests are always worth listening to.

January 2, 2009


You know I've been having a lot of fun with yarn this past month, and I think I mentioned Ravelry.com. A friend shared it with me, and I'm enjoying searching for projects and posting my creations online too. Perhaps it will encourage other beginner-intermediate level crocheters to explore the world beyond the scarf.

Today I read the "About Our site" page on www.ravelry.com/about and this paragraph gives a better description than I might. Plus, if you go to the link, you can scroll down the page and see a photo of the founders' cute dog.

"Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. ... So what can you personally do on Ravelry? You can talk about your own projects, integrate that information into your personal website, and contribute to someone else's project a world away. If you are not a blogger, we give you a great way to share and show off your projects, participate ... and socialize with other crafters. If you are a blogger, then Ravelry is the perfect complement to your online journal; it provides structure and organization. All of your information is easy to enter and easy to find. "

My projects are nothing to boast about, but I've kept a head or two warm this week. The picture here is of a Beehive hat I made; it's from Vogue's Crocheted Hats on the go!