Tuesday, March 24, 2015


 While traveling cross-country recently on the way to settle my mother's estate, I read The Watermark, a stunning debut novel by Vanitha Sankaran about paper making in pre-renaissance France.  I was totally entranced by the process of making paper from flax and other fibers.

Upon arriving at my brother's farm where we convened to celebrate my mother's life, I clued into the beautiful details of dried foliage around the landscape.  These are dried sunflowers, cut down and laying against the fence.

Wild grass on the left and grape leaf on the right...

oak leaves in beautiful bronze and golds.....

and many different grasses in various shades of light golds against the weathered wood of the shed.

After looking at all of these lovely bits, and wanting to do something creative yet without any of my wonderful supplies and stash at home, I got the idea of making paper from the incredible dried foliage I found around me.

I know nothing about making paper, but thanks to the internet, I was able to discern how to proceed.  And being on a farm, we had all the necessary things, including a small propane burner on which to boil down (outside!) the fiber to separate out the cellulose and other products, and two small frames to act as a mould and deckle.

I started by gathering a variety of leaves and grasses, and cut them into small bits  before putting them all to simmer in a mixture of water and washing soda (the latter helps break down the fibers even more).

Once the mixture had simmered for three hours, it was cooled and rinsed, and then put into an old Cuisinart for pulping.  The pulp was then added to a large plastic storage tub with water.

On the right below is the screened mould, wrong side up, on which the paper pulp will be laid by immersing in the pulpy water, as seen on the left.  The deckle is an empty frame which sits on top, to contain the pulp, and is what leads to lovely deckled edges.

I added some shredded paper (old bank statements) that I had soaked for an hour or so in warm water to give some adhesion, as I wasn't sure the natural fibers would "gel" enough on their own.  This is the look in daylight.

Below is the backside of the paper, in incandescent lighting.  I love all of the fibers.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Deconstruction/Reconstruction Mixed Media

After watching Leandra's video for the latest Paper Artsy "Deconstruction" challenge, I picked up the March/April 2015 issue of Somerset Studio, and just happened to open it to this article from Barbara Runde:

In addition to the title, the paper weaving in this piece immediately caught my eye, as I love baskets and woven things:

Aha, then!  Perhaps an idea for this challenge.  I took several pieces of 6" square from a 7 Gypsies paper pad in my stash.  On one piece, I made 1/4" slits across, stopping on top and bottom edges by about the same amount.

I took the other pieces and cut them into 1/4" wide strips.

and then wove them through the first striated piece, after grunging some of the strips with Weathered Wood Distress Paint:

I needed a substrateI , thinking I would use the woven look by incorporating texture paste through stenciling (Tim Holtz Burlap) and various distress stains to try the blue/brown palette Butterfly at Words and Pictures  uses  so successfully.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vacation Time!! A make for Frilly and Funkie Challenge

Well, I am skidding into this Frilly & Funkie challenge at the very last minute!  I wasn't sure I would have time or ideas for this one, but the wonderful DT has inspired me  - plus I am myself on a "stay-cation" this week, so decided late this morning to join in.

I started with a jumbo size 12 Ranger tag, and "Glue 'n Sealed" it with a map from an outdated Rand McNally Road Atlas - I'd say after 11 years, it was time to get a new atlas, lol!  I then applied a light swiping of Picket Fence Distress Paint to dull down the color, but still leave the map somewhat visible.

Then I stenciled some white Wendy Vechhi crackle paste through the Tim Holtz Chevron stencil....

and once dry, sprayed with Distress Stains in Spiced Marmalade and Festive Berries, spritzed with water to get everything nice and runny, and then patted off once the stains had sunk into the chevron. I was looking for that nice and sunny look, as this is what my backyard looks like at the moment - my poor little lace cap hydrangea making a bold stance against continuous snow storms!

At any rate, once sprayed, the tag looked like this:

With some lovely colored crackling going on.

I chose a picture of a couple on the beach from the Found Relatives set, and created a frame from the postage stamp die, using the largest Mover and Shaper Rectangle die to create the opening.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Victorian Nature Album

I have made a smallish thing - for me it is miniature, but compared to other entries, I think not, lol!! It is a "miniature" Victorian Nature Album, which holds pressed flowers and leafs, and a pair of jay feathers.  It is inspired by Diana Taylor's Winter Garden series.  

What follows is photo-heavy for my own records, so feel free to breeze by - but please do leave a comment - I appreciate every one and love hearing from you!