Thursday, January 31, 2008

Matchbox Treasuries

The remaining matchboxes (see "Prayer Boxes" post below) were taking up a lot of space, so I decided to use them up, which I'm in the process of doing now, for the Art In A Carton project.

Each of the matchbox treasuries is made up of three to five matchboxes. First I decorated the boxes. Then I painted leftover strips of book board in colors that match the boxes and, once the paint was dry, I stamped and embossed on the visible sides of the strips. (Not shown here.)

After cutting the strips to size, I glued on the matchboxes. Some of the strips are longer, so they can be hung up, if desired. I then used scraps of book board to make nameplates for the sets. After that, all I had to do was embellish. I'm actually quite pleased with myself, because I managed to use some of my hard to get "perfect" embellishments that I'd been saving for some project or other, for example, the rusted hardware. It's such a relief to be actually using the stuff instead of hoarding it.

Oh, and the boxes also have an inner life, but you don't need to see everything... (grin)

See the Art In A Carton blog for more pictures of these boxes.

Prayer Boxes

I'm working on pulling out unfinished projects and either bringing them to completion or using the materials for new works.

Late in 2006 I had an idea for a "Prayer Boxes" project in matchbox format. These are some of the boxes that actually got made. I didn't continue the project at that time, because I didn't (and don't yet) have the space to do the installation I imagine with the finished objects.

Each of the prayer boxes is decorated with paper and a large hardware element, usually an item of jewellery or an interesting bead. The boxes are backed on 2mm balsa sheets that I painted black then embossed with a handwriting stamp and gold embossing power. Balsa is easily split into the narrow strips you can see in the picture.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Three Amulet Pouches

These are the other three of the four amulet pouches I made this week. The pouches themselves are made of felted wool on fleece with gold mesh sewed on top. Each is embellished differently and has a handle of gold cord.

I took the pouches to the art and craft store this morning, to make sure I chose the right cord, and the women who work there were fascinated. I told them a little about the project, and they found it hard to believe (a) that I intend to give the pouches away and (b) that a seemingly "normal" person would think up a project like "Art In A Carton". I didn't tell them that I was anything but normal, of course.

Anyway, if you'd like one of these pouches, all you need to do is sign up for "Art In A Carton". Each of the cartons contains two or three items. It's essentially a three for three swap. Details can be found on the project blog.

Creativity Test

You see this empty cake carton. What do you think and do?

If your response is along the lines of that you'd toss it in the trash, I have no idea how you lost your way in blogland and got here, but at least it's your chance to pick up some alternative ideas.

I think the carton is begging to become a fairy theatre or something like that. What do you think? What would you do with it?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Felt Amulet Pouch

I slipped into a SoulFood journey a few days ago, and am writing hard to catch up with the rest of the travellers. (You can read my journey so far on the Art Rites blog. The URL is on the right.) One of the prompts is about receiving a a bag filled with useful objects, so I decided to make one.

Several weeks ago I tried felting, and while I decided it's not really my thing, my experiments left me with a few bits and pieces I knew I'd be able to use at some point. Yesterday, I cut a sheet of fleece-backed felt into strips and sewed four pouches. The other three are still at various stages of embellishment, but this is the one I finished yesterday in response to the prompt.

I stitched a strip of wire and fabric ribbon on the felt strip, then sewed the seams. The clasp is actually a scarf ring, which I attached by sewing the ring to the flap, then snapping the top down again.

The leaves have been in my bead stash for a while, too. They are Czechoslovakian glass beads that shimmer pink and blue.

Though I'd have liked some gold cord piping for the handle, I had none left, so I improvised by sewing on a strip of tinselly Xmas tree chain. If I find something better this week, I may replace the handle, but otherwise I'm quite happy with the outcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skeleton In The Cupboard

A lot of folks have an idiomatic "skeleton in the cupboard". Anyone who unsuspectingly opens my hall cupboard is due for a bit of a surprise, though, as I have a real (paper) skeleton in mine! This is Boney Brian, who you may remember from around a year ago. He nosed around and discovered his favorite place in my flat, and this was it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Final Shadow Card

This is one of the two final shadow cards I made this weekend. As before, I've posted one here and the other on Art In A Carton (link on the right). Earlier today, I finished the zines I've been working on for a Travelling Journals swap (you'll find a link to the group on the right, as well), and I think I'll be moving on to play with some tunnel books today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Shadow Card

I found some lovely images of tickets and the like recently, and have played around with them, resizing, printing, and mounting them on card to use as ephemera in projects like this.

Here is one of two shadow cards I finished today. The other is on the Art In A Carton blog.

The woman in the photo was called Valeska. She lived in Thale, in Saxony Anhalt in Germany. I have an original photo-postcard dated 1919 that she sent to her mother, in Berlin.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shadow Card

Here is one of the shadow cards I made earlier today. I've got another couple almost finished and shall post them in the coming day or two. The images are from my collection of cabinet cards.

I've posted another card to the Art In A Carton blog, as these particular examples are destines for the cartons.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fairy Jars

Look what I caught yesterday! I'd been saving these little glass spice jars for something along these lines. I've also had a sheet of Victorian scrap fairies for ages, so I decided to make fairy jars. I'm not sure who will get them. I may give one each to two of my granddaughters. The others will probably go into Art In A Carton boxes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Three Ladies

I picked up several packs of miniature Lindt chocolate bars just before Christmas. The moment I saw the boxes, I knew they were destined for something arty. My grandchildren got the chocolate: most of it, in any case, and grandma kept the boxes. (I'm partial to Lindt chocolate.)

Someone, somewhen, sent me half-a-dozen Mucha images from a diary, and three of them seemed perfect for this project. You can see two of them here; the third is on my worktable. The image in the box with the stars is from one of those free advertising postcards you sometimes find in cinemas and bars.

First I painted the packaging with terracotta acrylic paint and then touched it up with a little copper acrylic. Then I cut the images to size and inserted them into what had become shadow boxes. The boxes are decorated with fibres, ribbons, punched flower petals, and shaped sequins.

The ladies are destined for the Art In A Carton project.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pay It Forward

I just signed up for this Pay It Forward project at Purplemajic's blog ( ).

The Altered Diva ( has invited everyone to take part in this Pay It Forward challenge. I too think it is a great idea and am willing to play! I will send a handmade gift/thingy/something to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this "Pay It Forward" exchange. I don't know what that gift will be, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise!

The only thing you have to do in return is "Pay It Forward" by making the same promise on your blog with a link back to me. So basically, if you comment I'll send you something crafty that I'll make! Once you sign up, copy and paste the above paragraph on your blog, and three other lucky people will be the recipients of your handmade work. You must post this on your blog to be eligible.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cartons, Cartons Everywhere

I hate being ill, but of course, you can't always pick and choose on that score. I spent most of my energy this past week on creating cartons for the "Art In A Carton" project. (See the link on the right.)

Here are some of the first cartons and one or two examples of the kinds of art I've been making to place in them. My plan for this weekend is to get to my sewing machine and make some art dolls and prayer pouches. This is all so much fun!

What I need to do next is broadcast news of the project, so all the places fill and I know who I'll be sending to in the coming weeks and months. Interested? Take a look at the project blog and tell your art friends.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Today I made some dolls on sticks, and I've decided to call them "Wispies". The sticks are bamboo meat skewers. I always keep a pack handy, and when I have leftover paint from a project, I roll the skewers in the paint, to color them. Once they've been rolled in two or three colors, they look marbled and make a magnificent impression.

Normally, I don't do felting, so when I received a small bag of various felting wools, I laid it aside in the hope that an idea would occur to me, and it did. I felted wool directly onto the painted skewers, to create a kind of long "bead", which I left on the stick. I then used a felting needle to add wisps of light wool, to give the dolls a slightly ethereal look.

That done, I sewed beads onto the felt bodies and then would wispy yarn around the body and between the beads. The hair is sisal that you can find in the floral decoration supply department of most stores. I picked up mine at a local euro (dollar) store.

The wispies will have to fit into a one litre milk carton, so I snipped the top of the skewers to make them a suitable length. I thin they look nice with the skewers protruding in both directions, though. I left the bottom of the skewers as they were, as the dolls are intended to be anchored in something -- perhaps a plant pot. I stuck the sticks into some oasis (that green foam block stuff you use to arrange flowers), and you might also use that to anchor them in a container of some description.