some book making happened on saturday nite. it was a small crowd, just me, jean, and anna, and we whipped up some books.
some book making happened on saturday nite. it was a small crowd, just me, jean, and anna, and we whipped up some books.
after last summer’s adventures in concrete, part 1, i really wasn’t interested in trying for a part 2. the majority of the pieces didn’t work, and it was so hot that day… i had miserable memories of it. but lisa wanted to give it another go, and when papernstitch posted a great cement/concrete diy round-up with 9 projects, i agreed to host another concrete pour.
so. all of the diy posts are very inspiring, and well written, but when it comes to concrete, there’s a huge variability in types and the diy posts never get specific about exactly what type/brand you should use. we added too much vermiculite to our batch last year, even though i thought we were following the how-to correctly. the night before our pour this time around, i found myself standing in front of 10+ types of concrete at home depot, with no clue which one i should buy. then our hero came to the rescue: anna‘s husband steve, who knows a thing or two about concrete (he made the concrete counter tops for both my kitchen and theirs).
here’s the secret to concrete success: non-shrink precision grout.
it doesn’t have large chunks of aggregate like regular concrete. it doesn’t shrink. and it dries/cures quickly. and yeah, steve was awesome and came up with the perfect concrete-to-water ratio that we used: for each pound of concrete, add 3 oz. of water. i mixed up our batches in a gallon bucket, with 6 pounds of concrete each time.
we mixed a few batches up, and the concrete had the consistency of mashed potatoes. once in the forms (dixie cups, yogurt containers, etc.), we tapped them against the driveway to encourage the air bubbles to rise to the top (and pop). by doing that, the surface of the concrete smoothed itself out. i really didn’t like the roughness of the top of the candle bases in concrete candle project post, but i really like the ones i made.
me scooping concrete into a cup.
freshly poured! we cut off the top half of spongebob square pants dixie cups and used them as the “inner” mold for the bigger items (sour cream containers, small deli containers, yogurt tubs, etc.). we put rocks inside, to keep it from popping up.
i love the lines that were inside the wallaby yogurt container i used for the candle above.
anna’s sparkly toes! (polish chosen by her daughter)
kristin brought some containers that once held trader joe’s seaweed. they were fun to put votives into.
anna put tealights into the bottom of dixie cups, and then held them down with her finger as she added the concrete (to keep the candles from floating up). i did not put my finger on my tealights, and i ended up with 2 cups of concrete.
now that we’ve figured it out, i plan to do it again! happy weekend!
last sunday morning, maddie and maddy came over with their moms lisa and ingrid, and they each made a book. the original idea was to make a flip book, but with so many paper punches and colored pencils and markers to play with, we ended up making a journal/album. it was a delight watching them create, and i’d be happy to have them come over to do it again!
the stuff i painted at last saturday’s pARTy:
bowl! (bottom view)
bowl! (side view)
tags! (black is chalkboard spray paint)
acrylic paint + masking tape + wood goods (see the pARTy post for sources) = fun stuff
i had a painting pARTy on saturday! i had the girls pick out wood products (honey dippers, spoons, little pots, napkin rings, little bowls, rulers, etc.) from this site, and bracelets from this site, and i also ordered a few wood bowls from this site. then we painted with acrylics! it was so much fun, and a project we’ll probably repeat. i’ll show my work later this week.
the girls came over on saturday night for a valentine pARTy. i bought 2 new heart paper punches and helped myself to a big pile of paint chips at home depot, and i put out glitter and paper and washi tape, and we played:
when the topic of conversation turned to barbies, i dug out my princess leia doll. she was the closest i ever got to a barbie: my mom preferred that i play with an anatomically correct doll. so leia hung out with us while we made cards and garlands and art. as usual, i drank too much wine and my friends made some really great stuff.
last saturday night i had the girls over and we made garlands, using mollie green’s make & do as a guide:
the pARTy started with lots and lots of stars. and pnut m&m’s.
i made snowflakes made from an old art history text.
stars again! i love jackie’s take: bright, non xmas-y colors.
anna’s shapes, made from the desert pages of an old joy of cooking. and that’s my boyfriend, nathan fillion.
jean’s stars & medallions. she went vertical with her first garland, but my photos sucked.
stars were very popular! heather made festive star strands, in red, green & white.
i love kristin’s orange & teal combo. yay, stars!
it was a fabulous night!
on saturday, i had a do-si-do pARTy. it was a comment from shona that generated the idea — she had asked if a book i posted in early april was a do-si-do. i hadn’t heard the term before! i had to google it and when i did, i found a great how-to on etsy.
for our do-si-do books, i cut 3 boards for each person, and we glued them down onto paper, leaving about a quarter inch “gutter”. then we glued a second sheet down, sandwiching the boards in the middle.
while the boards dried, we picked out interior paper. i also had some card stock prepped and we made a smaller version of the do-si-do.
jackie brought rocco, her greyhound. he made himself at home and made gus move over and share the dog bed. 8 adults + 3 dogs + 1 cat in my little house = serious negotiations for personal space.
before sewing our do-si-do’s, i trimmed the covered boards down to final size. we did a pamphlet stitch and voilà! do-si-do!
the girls came over saturday night, and we each made an envelope book.
i found the envelope book in one of my japanese bookbinding books. there were instructions and diagrams, but all in japanese, so i took a guess and i think we did pretty good.
jenn started the night out right with fish cupcakes. sugar + wine = me bouncing off the walls.
it was so wonderful to see everyone again! it felt like we hadn’t gathered in ages.
i’ve been saving brie boxes for a while for a new pARTy project: brie box clocks. i bought clock mechanisms online, and on saturday night we decorated and assembled.
i love jackie’s six clock. she used a patterned file folder and 2 green circle stickers to create the face, then she added the word six in metal letters.
jackie left the face of her second clock as-is. the label itself is a great clock face, perfect for the kitchen!
this is jean’s fabulous blue clock. she painted the side of the box white, and flipped the hands to the white side. i had a little box of watch parts, and i just love how jean placed them on the face!
heather played white quite a few color ideas before settling on this combination. she started with some printed tape that i bought from jesse breytenbach’s etsy shop, and the red face with brown highlights is perfect.
jean also made a brie clock, but added washers that she spray painted bright red.
i’m working on a few brie box clocks of my own, but they’re not quite ready to share — my job on saturday night was to make sure the wine was put to good use!
my weekend started friday afternoon around lunch time, when i raced out of work and headed over to the willow house holiday craft fair. the setting was cozy and intimate, and the turn out was great despite the many inches of snow and snarled traffic. true to form, i probably spent more than i made at my table:
i bought lavender sachets from jenn…
saturday night i had the 7th annual holiday pARTy. heather played with clay and made lots of stars and tags. anna worked on her advent calendar. i brought out the ceramic pens, and kathryn decorated plates while ellie drew on tiles to make coasters. jackie and i worked on our christmas cards, and kristin showed a couple of us how to make origami stars. i made trader joe’s gingerbread cake in a DRÖMMAR baking pan from ikea. if you have a trader joe’s near you, go out and buy at least 4 boxes of the gingerbread mix! it’s seasonal, and oh-so-yummy.
sunday i played a game of hockey (score: 0-0). then i painted my toes with gold nail polish. meghan posted her gold toes last week and i couldn’t wait to do mine! my toes are the most festive part about me.
and here we are, monday again. i hope you had a good weekend!
on saturday night, i had a mini pARTy: i put cardstock, washi tape, stamp pads, paper punches, and ephemera on the dining room table. and then i sat back and watched good stuff happen:
anna took to the washi tape.
heather ruled the paper punches and paper pile.
jackie cut from her great stash of old art history books.
i ate a lot of cheese. and worked on some books. it was a fab saturday night!
last saturday night i had a little wet felting pARTy: i supplied a bunch of wool roving in lots of colors, i filled a couple bowls with hot & soapy water, and we rolled the wool into little balls until our fingertips were prune-y and hands were tired.
i also provided drift wood and wood embroidery hoops from which to hang the felted balls, and anna‘s mom donated some really great antique wood hangers.
when our hands were tired of manipulating wool, we strung the balls and beads onto fishing line to create mobiles and wall hangings. we used crimp beads under each ball/bead to keep them in place on the line, and i also provided plastic & ceramic beads and hardware that could be used to provide added texture and balance.
if you’ve ever tried to photograph a mobile in the middle of the day when the air is still and the natural light is perfect, you know that it is difficult! my attempts at photographing everyone’s finished pieces under the light of a 75 watt bulb — late in the evening — were failures. i photographed my piece the next day (it’s the one at the top of this post), and i’ve given up on trying to adjust color/lighting on the photos i did take. instead, as my friends put their work online, i’ll link to them so you can see the great pieces they’ve created. jess posted her mobile on her blog already, which you really need to see!
here’s what i made at last saturday’s pARTy! i thought about modeling everything for you, but i’m feeling bloated this week.
an old black tank, sprayed with a bleach/water solution.
a tissue t, tie-dyed with orange dye. i’m wearing this one today!
two-tone t: i first dipped the whole t in grey dye. the t was originally white, and you should dampen fabric before putting in the dye to allow the dye to distribute on the fabric evenly. i forgot that part, so the grey is a bit uneven. after the grey, i dipped the bottom half into a bucket of denim blue.
scarves! anna did some research into good fabrics to use for scarves. she found us a hemp/cotton organic jersey from hemp traders via christina. it came in tube-form, which was perfect for a simple scarf that you can wrap around your neck 2-3 times. the scarf above was rolled and the ends dipped in orange and blue dye.
this scarf is simple — i just tossed it into the denim blue. after it was rinsed, washed, and dried, the edges faded a little. which i love.
and lastly, a giant scarf. it’s about 20 inches wide. i put it in red dye, and then dipped it in orange. after rinsing, i briefly dipped it in the wine/fuchsia bucket. it’s really vibrant for me, but i don’t own anything in a bright red… it’s about time i do.
anna suggested that the dyeing pARTy become an annual event, and i think it’s a fabulous idea! i’ll get a few more buckets so we can have more colors available at a time. we’ll all use industrial rubber gloves, to reduce waste and allow us to handle the hot dyes. i’m already looking forward to it!
last saturday night i hosted a fabric manipulation pARTy. it was a ton of work, but completely worth it!
the main event of the night involved buckets and buckets of dye. i bought about 8 colors of rit dye, in both liquid and powder form. (fyi, liquid is definitely worth the extra dollar — the powdered dyes lost their punch really quickly.) i asked everyone to bring their own items to manipulate: there were t-shirts, dish towels, scarves, sheets, little girl’s dresses…
i had 2-3 buckets of dye going at a time. it was so fun watching the experiments… i had thought about printing out instructions on how to create effects when tie-dying, but everyone figured out really cool patterns on their own. and everyone shared their successes: what happens when you roll the fabric and just dip it? what happens when you don’t get the fabric wet before dying? what happens when you just fold the fabric and dip in the edges?
we also revisited the 80′s, and “acid washed” old t-shirts by spraying them with a bleach/water combo.
it was really neat to see how each fabric took the bleach: when used on denim, the bleach created white lines. but on black? we saw oranges, pinks, reds.
also happening inside: fabric painting using my stash of fabric paints from last summer’s fabric printing pARTy. a couple of my friends created stencils with contact paper and applied the paint with sponges. it helped to have a few projects going at a time, so if there weren’t dye buckets going with the colors one wanted, they could use the bleach pens or fabric paints.
i stopped taking photos once the sun went down. but we kept going. we dyed in the dark. we dyed while being eaten alive by mosquitoes. more photos of finished projects will come in the next few days!
on saturday evening i hosted a ceramic decoration pARTy, and it was so much fun! i supplied tiles and alcohol paints so we could make aimee’s drunken tiles, and i also had everyone bring ceramic goods that they could decorate with porcelain paint pens. a couple of people brought goods from ikea, and anna hit a 2nd hand shop down the street and picked up a bunch of good stuff to paint on for just $4.
my stuff is in the picture above: i drew orange, red, and blue circles on a large tile which i’ll use as a trivet; i drew canal houses (amsterdam) on one coffee cup, and dots on the other; and for the coasters, i punched the flower shape out of contact paper, adhered the contact paper to the tile, and then played with blending the alcohol inks.
kathryn brought a really great selection of ikea goods, and i love the simple flowers on these bowls. that square piece in the upper left corner of the photo? purchased as a toothbrush holder, kathryn turned a couple of them into flower vases, which you can see in the photo below:
a few weeks ago, jenn saw a tile set at a major retailer that had a design that carried through all 4 tiles — i knew there’d be a way we could do something similar, and thought we could try it with contact paper. jenn drew out the design, cut it out, painted over it, and when dry, peeled off the contact paper. it worked so well, kristin did a set, too:
the blue is so gorgeous!
anna drew ants on this planter — eeee!
here are more trivets made by jean, heather, and anna. it was really fun watching how the inks moved on the tiles, and how each drop of color dramatically changed the piece.
jenn used a paper punch with contact paper to decorate this canister, and then brushed on the inks. i wanted to steal this from her!
coasters! jean and anna made these great coasters out of the smaller tiles. jean’s poppies are superb, and the color combos of the other tiles are so fabulous!
it was a really great evening, and i’ve only shown you half of the work everyone created. it’s so wonderful when my friends leave with their arms full of great pieces that they get to keep for themselves or gift them to special people. thank you for coming, girls!
summer giveaway update: thank you, all, for entering! i really enjoyed reading about what you’re looking forward to this summer! and now the winner: comment number 6, danielle. yay!
last friday night, i held a clay pARTy. i bought a giant block of white sculpey clay, and a few small chunks that were pre-colored. the original plan was to create little terrarium houses with the oven-bake clay, but we ended up making much more:
we made necklace pendants, and stamped letters and words into our creations.
we made beads, and cut out shapes with cookie cutters to make magnets and gift tags.
we drank wine.
and made little houses. these are anna‘s. to get a ceramic/glaze look, we mixed water color pigment into a gloss medium. the color was a bit translucent, but really did help give our little sculpey creations the look of a porcelain piece. i completely forgot to make a mini version of my house, but i did make the pendant at the top of the post. it’s a bit egg-like, but it was the night before easter!
last saturday night, i hosted a small pARTy. we each made a stash of greeting cards: i provided the basic cardstock/envelope combinations, and a little inspiration, and then encouraged everyone to cut and paste using recycled materials. i think anna‘s cards (above) had some of us thinking “why didn’t we think of that?!”. update: close-ups are posted on anna’s blog.
we decorated cards with pages from old art history books, with paper samples, with photos, with tea bag packets, with packaging materials… the paper was flying! we made great cards! unfortunately, i did not do a very good job with the photography.
lisa’s fabulous stash of cards
i wish that these photos had sharper focus so you could see how great they are. all detail was lost when trying to document kathryn and jackie’s amazing work. but maybe the lack of focus gives the photos a certain mystique?
(nope. no mystique here — i need to learn how to shoot better with my new toy.)
some photos from last saturday night’s pARTy… the organizers took longer to make than i had thought they would, and we hit a snag when the envelopes sealed themselves when we pressed them while drying. but other than that, it was a successful evening! lots of wreaths found new homes, and a few journals will be under christmas trees this year.
lisa and steph came over saturday night for another round of glass work (here’s round one). we listened to xmas music, and i made a bunch of trees, but i just can’t find my xmas spirit yet. maybe it’s our 50-degree days: it’s just too warm in minnesota to be late november!
but lisa and steph did a great job of making xmas gifts. i can’t say enough how fun it is to have friends over and watch them make really cool stuff:
top row, left to right, by lisa: loving her truck nite lite, which we affectionately dubbed “the mystery machine”. the second photo is 3 triangle trees soldered together, which we made into a candle holder. and the last piece is a nite lite for a little one’s room — i love the curve…
bottom row, left to right: steph started with a lite, using a purple iridescent glass and beads. and look at her firetruck! eeee! i love it! and her trees, a gift for her mom…
it was a great night!