Sunday, April 29, 2012

Altered Book Design Principles - Lesson 5

Sorry I have tried to get the picture to rotate back to the left but it refused to do so.

This lesson focused on five Design Principles: harmony, unity, balance, proportion, and emphasis. These pages consist of 4 red cardstock handmade poinsettias of two sizes. Each flower is made by cutting individual petals of increasing size and sticking them together in layers, five leaves to a layer. Yellow and green beads represent the stamens in the middle. Each of the petals is distressed by running over a bone folder to break up the fibers and allow it to curl, then inked along the edges with eggplant ink. When finished each flower is rubbed lightly with red and gold stickles. Each flower is mounted on layers of black paper with stars and the same red cardstock of the flowers.

In my layout I have tried to show the focus of the lesson as follows:

Harmony: I have chosen one variety of flower to be displayed to create a theme on both pages. The 5 petals of each layer are reflected in the 5 points of the stars. I have used the same colours, red, gold and black in the mounted flowers and the backgrounds.

Unity: Again the use of the same colors elements helps to give this layout a feeling of belonging together, as with the same type of presentation of each individual flower by layering on exactly the same mounts.

Balance: This is an asymmetrical layout and I have balanced the heavy weight of the left-hand page with the 3 smaller units on the right-hand page so that they are similar in visual importance but not mirrored.

Emphasis: Each page is dominant in itself, the left-hand page for the size of the flower and background mount. The right-hand page is given its own dominance by stringing a line of the smaller elements together in a vertical line that is longer on the page but narrower than the large flower. I have tried to lead the eye around the two pages by placing the dominant flower away from the line of three. I still feel that the focal point of the layout is the large flower purely because of its size.

Proportion: The three mounted flowers on the right-hand page, though slightly different from each other because they are handmade, have the same size and weight as each other. But they are much smaller than the major flower on the other page.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Altered Book - Lesson 4 Glues and Gesso

Lesson 4 was to experiment with different glues and gesso to see the results when sticking two pages of a book together.
Our choices of glue were Glue Stick, School Glue, Gel Medium, ModgePodge (I don't have any so substituted Tacky Glue, and Gesso. My results were as follows:
Front badly wrinkled towards the side edge of the page but the back was fine.
Again wrinkled on the front page but smooth on the back.
Front wrinkled on all edges and back wrinkled in two area in the middle.
Pretty good on the front but back page very wrinkled.
Perfect both front and back, guess this would be my choice so far but I will leave them under some books tonight to see how they do when fully dry.

Altered Book Lesson 4, Glues and Gesso part 2

When I reviewed the glue sample pages after drying over night I found that they were all smoother but the gesso pages had the most bumps. The second part of this lesson was to create a double page spread using gesso on the background and as a glue to attach elements to the pages. On the left hand page I gave the page a light coat of gesso and pressed a sheet of Christmas music, a gold violin and leaves into it as a background. On top of that I used gesso to stick a magazine page of a wreath of Christmas greenery. For the righthand page I mixed gesso with green luminieres to colour it and coated the whole page. The page wrinkled a LOT but I emphasised the wrinkles with more lumiere paint in metallic green and gold. I heat embossed the tree shaped words of "Oh Christmas tree" in the center and surrounded it with enchanted gold embossed holly leaves and red berries coated with glossy accents. This wreath of leaves draws you into the center of the page. I tried the watercolour pencil and school glue stencil on the left hand page but the words did not come out clearly at all due to the coloured background. I did try four times to get a good impression. So instead I used hot glue to write free hand the word "foliage" which I stuck onto green tissue paper stuck onto the page with gesso. I coloured the letters with rub-ons in gold and sealed this with glossy accents. I used the same lumiere colours of gold and green to edge the left page and to tie it into the right hand page. This lesson was certainly an long exercise due to the drying times but it has reinforced in my mind the way glues behave and also taught me to used gesso as a glue, never done that before. On to the next lessons..............

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tag Tuesday - Purple

So that I am not late for this week's challenge I have made my tag a day early in readiness. The subject is PURPLE. Cardstock tag covered with white gesso and a few spots of Dye-na-flow violet by Jacquard smushed together and stamped to give a patterned background. The edge and the stamped word "celebrate" were heat embossed with eggplant embossing powder to give it a distressed look. I attached a small copper plastic oblong tripple embossed with UTTEE and a dusting of purple mica powder added before stamping. I crocheted a square with wire threaded with purple and pearl coloured beads and attached it to the top of the tag. Ribbon to finish.

Altered Book - Lesson 3

I have decided to make my book a Book of Christmas, the course should be finished in time and it will make a nice coffee table decoration. I have plenty of Christmassy supplies to illustrate each of the techniques.

Lesson 3
Prepping the outside cover of your book
Prepping the inside end pages
Creating a niche

Elizabeth suggests that you stick the pages for the niche together before adding any embellishment the top picture shows the pegs inside the niche to hold it while glueing. I left it to dry overnight then I painted the out side of the book cover with gesso and reinforced the inside with tyvek that was also painted with gesso before applying. I also chose to use tyvek for bewtween the first page and the second as I had some pieces left over from the cover. For the niche at the back I covered the inside back page with some dark blue sparkle paper and mounted my silver reindeer, I stuck the niche down after first sticking some star paper over the edges of the hole. I put some crystals inside to make a shaker, covered the opening with a sheet of transparency paper then stuck the previous page from the book on top and covered that and the previous page with blue star paper. All ready to decorate.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Altered Book

A friends blog refered me to an Altered Book Lovers blog, where Elizabeth is giving a free online class to make an altered book. The syllabus can be found at and I am sure you will agree with me that this will be a very comprehensive journey. I am no newby to altered books but it is always encouraging to join others through a structured tutorial and varied techniques. I am very late in starting this, they are already up to lesson 6, but I hope to be able to catch up over the next 2 weeks. After following the instructions for selecting the right type of book and preparing it, I started to make the niche at the back. Elizabeth gives very easy to follow and detailed instructions so I am sure the niche will be very solid when finished.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I was looking on Le blog de Katzelkraft et de sa DT as I do from time to time and I saw a wonderful card by Fabien. It has great structure, simplicity and wonderful overall effect. Inspired by this card, and trying not to copy it exactly, I made a much needed thank you card for a member of my family. I stamped the background with a script stamp and edged the card with frayed burlap distress ink. I covered a tag with patterned paper in a contrasting colour and attached a torn piece of sheet music that I had also distressed with the same colour ink. I stamped the clematis on the background card and on to the tag in black stazon ink. I used LuminArte iridescent green and gold to paint the leaves and flowers of the clematis on the tag only. I embossed the word DANKE with a cuttlebug folder and highlighted the raised area with the iridescent green.

Thank you Fabien for the inspiration and here is a link to the Katzelkraft website
and Fabien's website

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tag Tuesday - Spring Flowers

It has been a while since I had time to participate in the Tag Tuesday challenge. This week's subject is spring flowers and I have threaded yellow and green beads onto wire to form small jonquils and leaves. I picked up these lovely yellow beads at a yard sale and have been waiting for something to use them on, they are perfect. The background is embossed yellow cardstock with yellow and green stitched ribbons at the top and bottom. I coloured some white beaded lace ribbon with a yellow ink pad and attached a length down each side. I have finished the tag off with a piece of cardstock covered with yellow tissue paper with the words "Get well soon" stamped on it in green ink and edged in crystal glitter.I am going to send this tag along with a present to my Mother in Law who had a fall and is in hospital with a broken hip. I hope she mends soon.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heart Journal April - A moment in Time

This month's challenge is to use a mix of bicarbonate of soda and gesso for the background which you heat to form bubbles and then stamp to give a pattern and relief. I coloured the bird, highlighted the clock numbers and the tiny dandelion clock seed stamp impression with oil pastels. A small banner of journaling and an edge of puffy paint, to reflect the puffy bicarb effect, finished the heart off.