Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bohemian Paper Vase

I've been taken with the beautiful paper vases that grace the origami scene for quite some time. While I admire that stark esthetic of rice paper and black or indigo ink, anyone who has been visiting this blog won't be surprised to know that I just couldn't follow the trend. Mine vase was going to be bright, bold and more than a little bit colorful. In fact, the vase would be used to hold some peacock feathers my friend gave me from her friend's peacocks. How could it be anything but bright?

Using Gwen's Decorative Medalion Stencil and a piece of patterned 12" X 12" scrapbook paper, stencil the image four times lining the stencil up with the edges.

Using another color, apply the stencil again in the middle. Add more pattern with an additional color by stenciling just the middle element in empty areas.

Once the paper is dry, fold it into the box shape of your choice. I used directions from a book I purchased in 1996 Kurashi ni Ikasu Kantan Origami 100 - Part 2. Yes, it is in Japanese. Directions for vases are plentiful in other books and on the internet. A quick google search just made my eyes go wide with the variety of options out there. 

Once folded, I chose four medallions from the Dresden Trim - small medallions  to adhere to each side. These medallions are beautiful and come in a variety of shapes. I chose four that had prominent points to keep it looking unified, though unique. The medallions were adhered with hot glue to each side making sure that the hangers were facing downwards. 

(Hint: Cutting the medallions apart and storing them in a small container, like the hard candy tin you can see in the background, makes it easy to use them.)

Some of Dresden borders were applied to the edge of two opposing sides. Liquid Pearls by Ranger were applied to the other two sides and around the medallions for accent. 

To each medallion beads of various colors were attached. The colors were selected from colors to match not only the vessel, but also the peacock feathers which would be arranged within. 

The paper vase is lightweight and easy to tip over, so filling it with some plastic beads gave it more stability. If you wish to add fresh flowers place a cup inside to hold the water. The peacock feathers were added, a bit of raffia tucked into the top and a bow was added. Let me just mention that this ribbon is one that Gwen wraps her packages in. Naturally, I save it to use and it perfectly suited my purpose here. 

Do you love that Dresden trim as much as I do? Gwen is having a sale, but hurry it's only until the end of the month. Here's a coupon code for you to use. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Jane Austen's Birthday Blogfest

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! 

I have been obsessive about Jane Austen's works for some time. If you know me well, you are likely to know this. Though I have neglected to invite people to attend, I have prepared a party, of sorts, in her honor. 

Upon hearing my plan, my daughter offered the loan of her stately, white Christmas tree. Soon it was decided that ornaments reflecting the world of Jane Austen would be the focus of this celebration. One would think to start by creating a list, or making some notes, but that is not how the ornaments were developed. 

Sorting through some materials I have gathered through the years (also read hoarded with the thoughts of clutching them in my hands until my last breath) I found some images that would give me the jump start for these ornaments. Other influences were reference books I have acquired over the years and a wonderful stash of Dresden Trim from Gwen Lafleur's shop. Just see how these elements come together to celebrate the genius of Jane Austen. 

Note: Much discussion has been had by those of use who love Jane Austen (also referred to as Janeites) regarding how to refer to the lady. Referring to that most talented lady by her given name seems crass and presumptuous and saying Miss Austen seems stilted. If it seems repetitive or silly to type her name out in full, consider the delicacy required of such introductions. I am sure you will forgive me. 

The Jane Austen Ornament
Jane Austen, the master of the folly of human nature painted portraits of a country village and it's foibles with a light and humorous touch. 
The ATC was covered with blue paper, musical scrap, and lace scraps. The portrait of Jane was drawn on and embellished with gel pen. A rose of English scrap was added. Dresden Trim was added with hot glue. 

The Naval Set
Two Austen Brothers and Their Ships

The Naval Set - Two of Jane Austen's brothers joined the Navy. Frank Austen who reached the rank Admiral of the Fleet is shown in the ornament on the left. The ornament on the right shows a picture of the Unicorn, a ship that brother Charles Austen spent time on at of the beginning of his naval career. He eventually advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral. If you wish to learn more about these brothers the book Jane Austen's Sailor Brothers (see information below)

Looking upon the Dresden trim I had received from Gwen's shop this month it was remarkable how much the pieces looked like the medals seen in the paintings of the two brothers. Each of them wore two medals, one cross-shaped and the other circular. 

Examining the paintings as much as possible I noticed the way they were hung from ribbons. A velvet ribbon just the shade of blue that had been chosen for this project appeared, seemingly from nowhere. I do not remember ever seeing this ribbon, but there it was on the floor. So it was chosen (though strictly not the correct color for the medal.) Another type of Dresden trim was secured along the bottom edge of the ribbon to echo the look of the metal that held it all together. 

With these elements in hand and a strong vision for what the ornament should reflect, the search for the background paper begun. A blotter paper covered with paint the perfect match of blue was found and cut to pieces the size of the ornaments (ATC size - 2.5 X 3.5 inches) and adhered to the ATC backing, in this case, the cardboard packaging from a flat of soda. 

The portrait of Sir Francis Austen and the painting of the Unicorn were both photocopied from the book Jane Austen's Sailor Brothers: Being the Adventures of Sir Francis Austen, Admiral of the Fleet and Rear-Admiral Charles Austen by John H. Hubback and Edith C. Hubback. 

trimmed and pasted to the ATCs. Hot glue was used for attaching the Dresden trim and the ribbon. 

Cassandra Austen
Beloved Sister and Confidant

Much of what we know about Jane Austen comes from the letters she wrote to her sister, Cassandra. There is much to be said about her, but that is for another time. This Casandra ornament is dressed for a ball, looking toward her sister for approval and to make sure that the younger sister does not make a misstep while out in society. 

For Casandra's ornament, I wanted to add this beautiful blue cording I had in my stash. To secure it to the tag one might have used hot glue. Well, one might have if one had thought of it. My mind turned towards needle and thread. First, a ruler was consulted to make .5 inch marks around the ornament. An awl was employed to pierce the cardboard. 

Then, using a needle and thread, the cording was sewn down. The first attempt was dismal. The stitches pulled at the cording making it unpleasant to see. So, the stitches were taken in the back of the cording in order to preserve the texture of the cord. 

Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself. First the background was attached to the ATC, English scrap and an image from the card set (see below) adhered with gel medium.

The cord was looped around the top into a rosette and secured by sewing it with the needle and thread. 

The ball

There is always a ball, isn't there? If not a ball, an assembly. This is the chief thrill of the young folk in Jane Austen's novels. Seriously. That and talking walks. Maybe carriage rides. 

To make this ornament the card was first prepared by adhering the background paper with gel medium. A white ribbon was added to upper and lower edge. A piece of lace was added but only glued down in the middle to let the edge ruffle a bit. The Dresden Trim was added hot glue. Finally, the dancers were cut from the card and attached with points of hot glue only at the heads. This allows for some movement and depth. Both qualities one wishes for from a dance partner, but are very seldom gratified to find. 

Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst

This image from the card set immediately brought Mr. Bingley's sisters to mind. It would be just like Caroline Bingley to turn her back to us.  

The blue background of this piece is made with Gwen's stencil (see below) attached to the ATC. Layer and English scrap flower bouquet and add the figures cut from the Jane Austen cards. Finish by affixing Dresden Trim with hot glue. Mrs. Hurst has the reputation of having 6 inches of lace at her hem, perhaps a double row of trim is called for. 

Marianne Dashwood

Marrianne Dashwood had reason to dress with care. She hopes to continue her association with that rascal Willoughby. 
Gwen's stencil again is the background for this ornament. Add the piece from the card, the Dresden Trim and a piece of light blue floss to hang it by. Done almost as quickly as Marianne's enjoyment of her stay in London. 

Emma Woodhouse and Harriet

Emma Woodhouse sharing confidences with her protege, Harriett.
Would that she would have held back a little in her encouragement of Harriet's ambitions. 
Add paper covered with Gwen's stencil to the ATC, a small flower of English scrap and the gossiping girls. The ornament is simple but reminds of the complexities of human folly. 

Anne Elliot 

Anne Elliot, mild-mannered and restrained, is not of the same mold as her extravagant father. She is of a deeper nature. 

Gwen's stencil is topped with a piece of geranium scrap from the English scrap, layered with an image from the card set and layered with Dresden Trim above and below. Anne is down to earth like the humble geranium but has the worth of gold with her depth of understanding. 

Materials used: 

Gwen's Essentials - German Dresden Trim - Borders Assorted Patterns

Gwen's Essentials - German Dresden Trim - Small Medalions 

Fabulous Florals English Scrap Sheets - Roses and Blossoms

You are in luck. Gwen is having a sale on Dresden and Scrap this month. You won't regret getting your hands on some of this for the new year. 

Gwen's StencilGirl Stencils - Decorative Collection Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen Stencil (6X6 inches)

All ATC ornaments were made from cardboard from cereal boxes

Under the Tree

I couldn't resist putting some things under the tree. Whether they are a gift for Jane Austen or a gift of Jane Austen is up to you. You will see the book I referenced and the set of cards I took the images from. 

Also, you will see a new product that I am developing for release in the Etsy shop I will open at the beginning of 2018. It is called A Novel Yarn - Art Yarn for the Well Read. This first edition is the Pride and Prejudice Yarn. Handspun wool with bits of silk (undoubtedly from the dresses of the Bingley sisters), pieces of lace (what fine young lady neglects lace on her ball gown) and text cut from a used copy of the book. Soft and fluffy, this two-ply yarn is perfect for art projects like weaving and mixed media, but cannot be used for clothing items as it cannot be washed safely. 

What do you think of A Novel Yarn? What novels/authors would you like to see represented in this line of art yarns? Your thoughts are much valued. 

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen. You continue to inspire. 


Hubback, John H., and Edith C. Hubback. Jane Austen's Sailor Brothers: Being the adventures of Sir 
     Francis Austen, Admiral of the Fleet and Rear-Admiral Charles Austen. New York, Cambridge 

     University Press, 2012. 

Jane Austen Notecards. New York, Random House, 2007. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Making Holiday Gift Wrapping - Part Two - Holiday Stencils Three Ways

If you have been following me for long you will already know that I am not prone to following the rules. At first, I thought traditionally about using Gwen's Christmas Collection stencils and you can see that I started off by printing out a copy for each of my party guests. (I'd like to mention that they all wanted to use the stencil themselves. It's important to mention we shared nicely, taking turns and saying please and thank you.) When starting to make my own project, however,  I veered off in another direction. 

I quickly realized that the stencil could be used to make the paper reflect any style. It really is that versatile. So I challenged myself to use those two stencils to create three distinct styles. Thinking about the hallmarks of each style and breaking down those elements will help you to use these stencils to get the effect you want. 

For the purposes of this experiment, I went with classic gold and cream, shabby chic and boho bright. I chose to make the papers into triangle origami boxes. You know this is my go-to wrapping style. For each of them, I used paper ripped out of my sketchbook. The paper is cream colored. Each box requires 6 pieces - I made them in 5" and 6" squares. If you have read my origami boxes posts, you will know that I used to work for Japan Publications Trading Company as a copy editor and translator in their craft department. I favor the directions of Tomoko Fuse. You can choose any style of origami box - the more you make them the more you fall in love with them.

Stencils used for all three variations were Gwen's StencilGirl Stencils - Christmas Collection - Christmas and Cardinal and Holly Stencil & Christmas Poinsettia Stencil .

Classic Cream and Gold

Sargent Art - Metalic Marker - Gold

Piece of gold star trim for accent

Apply pattern to the paper by tracing through the stencil with the marker. Fold box in the desired style. Add a gold accent. Viola! Classic gold and cream. 

Shabby Chic

Craft Smart acrylic paint in Sailing Sky, Vanilla and Rosy Posy
Ranger Liquid Pearls - White Opal
Piece of white lace 
paper flower

Honesty time here. I was so focused on making the box that I forgot to take photographs of the paper after I stenciled it. 

Paint the paper with a mixture of the blue and white paints and let dry. Pounce the pink through the stencil. Add liquid pearls to the area of the berries. Let the whole thing dry thoroughly before folding into boxes or the liquid pearls will smear. 

Put the boxes together and get ready to embellish. 

I had a scrap of by-the-yard lace fabric, but you could use lace trim. The lace was cut double wide and folded over to create more puff. Thread the needle and make a double knot. With edges together sew a running stitch along the raw edge. Gather and fan out to make a circular shape. Overlap so that the lace goes twice around. Pull the thread to size and knot. With the shape determined, sew through the layers to secure the spiral. Take the needle through the flower. Cut a piece of lace for the ribbons and cut the ends either at an angle or in an upside down v. Fold in half and bring the needle through the fold to secure to flower. Attach to box by carefully putting the needle through the hole between the pieces (if making a triangle box) or by making a stitch through the paper (if there is no hole.)

Isn't it sweet?

Boho Bright

materials Craft Smart acrylic paint in Plum, Wine, Bright Rose, Bright Magenta, Bright Yellow, and Red.
Dylusions Ink Spray - Tangerine Dream
Ranger Liquid Pearls - Gold Pearl

Irresistible India Mini Woodblock Border Stamps - Paisley 1

Piece of Sari Yarn from Darn Good Yarn - Twisted Sister

Gelli Plate

For the Boho version, I wanted a very layered paper. Out came the gelli plate and a bunch of woodblock stamps from Gwen's shop. The scarf you see in the pictures above was the inspiration for the colors. That's when I discovered that I don't have any strong orange paint. Gelli plates make it really easy to remedy that. 

Each paper was printed many times, layering and layering the stamps and the colors. Some layers are hardly visible, but when tseen together it has a very bohemian, well-traveled feel to it.

When content that there were enough layers the stencil was applied using spray ink. Sadly, it bled. Guess I was a bit enthusiastic. This is mixed media, though, so easy enough to fix. A gold gel pen traced through the stencil put all to rights. 

Add the liquid pearls in gold pearl to the berry areas. That really makes it pop. 

Fold the pieces and put the box together. 

Next, I took out the stitching that kept the embroidered star to the lovely velvet backing and liberated the star. 

To make the tie to hold the boxes together I used sari yarn. Take a stitch at the end of the yarn. Wrap the yarn around your thumb to make a loop. Take a stitch through the bottom of the loop and the end of the yarn. Continue to make thumb-sized loops and secure to the middle using a stitch. When the motif is large enough stitch the embroidered star to the yarn. I put a loop on the back to pull the end through. This is then adjustable. It can secure the packages. It can also be used as an accessory. Two gifts in one! 

So there you have it! Three distinct styles using just the two stencils. So many other possibilities await! 

While I didn't use any Dresden or Scrap in this project (I thought I was still in November! How time flies!) it would be so easy to use it here. Use a gold medallion with the classic gold and white, scrap and medallions with the shabby chic and my, oh, my, the Dresden would look great with the boho look! 

Stay tuned, because there will be no holding me back with the Dresden and scrap. Meanwhile, here is a discount code so you can get some supplies in time for holiday projects.