12.30.2012

A tribute

Today one of my mixed media collages is featured on Seth Apter's blog, The Altered Page.  This collage was one of two that I submitted in response to his 5x5 project as summarized here...
"The Pulse of Mixed Media (Seth's most current book) presented the results of a survey in which contributing artists were asked questions that they had to answer with words or provided with prompts that they had to respond to by creating art. These ideas were combined in the 5x5 Pulse Project. I put out an open call for artists to submit artwork created in response to one or more questions that were part of the original book."



This collage was in response to who has had the most impact on your creative life...
I never hesitated for a moment...it was my mom...


I used a 5x5 block of wood...with this collage on the front panel...a photo of my mom from an early age...a snippet of a sewing pattern...since my mom was a tremendous seamstress...along with the german phrase since that was her heritage...





































along the sides of the block, I added this wording...

















With the holidays underway, the thoughts and memories of years gone by flow easily...

Thanks to Seth for including my work in his post today...I urge you to stop over at his blog...and see the influential impacts on the creative spirit of an astonding group of artists...I'm pleased to be involved in such a vibrant artistic community...it feeds my creative spirit...

12.27.2012

In the lull

The week between Christmas and New Year's always feels like limbo...still kinda celebrating...but the frenzy is over...school is closed...but the daily routine is off...and it seems like everything is waiting until the calendar turns the page before anything substantial can begin...

Its the perfect time to take vacation...which explains why I am working non-stop since everyone else I work with did take vacation!  But there have been plenty of slower moments at home...I've cleaned up my office...but the real task of cleaning up the studio will happen after the first of the year...when all the world seems to be re/organizing (I swear January is the unofficial get yourself organized month)

I've had a chance to enjoy a couple of my christmas presents...a bottle of good french wine and the newest Where Women Create magazine....Where Women Create-Business...






































I'm also taking it easy with dinner prep...nothing too involved...this salad has been making a couple of appearances since its so simple...arugula, red grapes, thin sliced red onion, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette...sliced pears with gorgonzola cheese works well too...



















With 2013 looming, I've been thinking about my word for the year...my word for 2012 was begin...and it was interesting how that word guided me throughout the year...do you pick a word for the year...
have you chosen one yet?

and if you're interested...the bonus giveaway is on until Dec 31...all the details here...

12.25.2012

Joy







































wishing you all the joy of the season...


12.24.2012

Bonus Holiday Giveaway

Its down to the wire...and in my view, if its not done yet, best to just sit back and enjoy...because the holidays are not about the hustle & bustle...but about community and connection...

Not to leave you in anticipation...here's the winners of Holiday Cheer Giveaway #3...yes, you read that right...I decided to choose two winners...so I instructed the Southern Man, being the official picker of the winner, to pick two names...

Beth@thedailyparagraph    and    lbprich


Congrats to both of you!  I will email each of you to get your snail mail address to send off these packages pronto!

Now onto the Bonus round...my sister and I have started a tradition of sorts...where in addition to your christmas gift, there is the bonus gift...usually something that just screamed the person's name that there was no denying wrapping it up to put under the tree.

Well, the same goes here...I'm in the midst of cleaning up my office and studio...and found a slew of cards that are just calling out to be given away...

 
So here's the deal...I will send three of my vintage art cards (random assortment - no choices here) to EVERYONE (yes, everyone!) who emails me (amy_duncan@yahoo.com) their snail mail address
by December 31...

In return, I ask a favor...if you would either follow my blog, via the Google Friend Connect (on the right hand column where it says "Join this site") and/or "like" my Four Corners Design Facebook page (click here)...I'm winding up my third year of blogging and hitting the 300 mark on my blog and/or FB page seems like a nice synchronicity...

I want to thank all of you who follow along...I appreciate your support...because as I said earlier, its all about community and connections...

Merry Christmas to all!

12.22.2012

Coming down to the end, part 2

I know that there's a lot of pinning that goes on over at Pinterest...and I'm here to say that I am actually following up on some of the ideas that have captured my interest.  Months ago I pinned an idea for block printing...and with my holiday theme of simple and natural, I decided to give it a try...




First I found a scrap block of wood...wrapped it with string...dipped it in paint...and pressed it onto a sheet of kraft paper...not so good...the string absorbed too much paint and created one big blob. 











Found another scrap block of wood...this time used a rubber band to wrap around...since the rubber did not absorb the paint but just stayed on the surface, I got a cleaner print...I also brushed the paint onto the block instead of dipping the block into the paint...much easier to control an even coverage of paint...





after a little practice, I was on a roll!  I also played around with drywall tape, laying a strip down on the paper, painting over it and then pulling up the tape before it was dry...
































Since I was in the groove, I got out the chalkboard paint and a big roll of pre-pasted mailing tape...like how I use coffee cups to hold the strips of tape flat while I paint?!  Also got out my rubber stamps and tore up some strips of muslin...

After everything was dry, it was time to put it all together...




























The chalkboard tape wrapped around the present with ease...and makes it easy to add any salutation...
the "r" monogram tag gets a background of chalkboard tape to make it stand out...another long strip of muslin wraps up the gift with a bow...
 
With my large piece of printed paper, I decided to make a gift bag...learned this technique years ago and it is easy to do...and any sturdy paper will work...
 
1. Lay out your paper and find a book the size you want your completed gift bag to be...essentially, you are going to wrap up the book like a present - but leave one end open...
2.  Fold over the edge where the paper meets - this will give you a more finished look.
3.  Using double-side tape will secure the paper with no tape to see...
4.  Fold the bottom of the bag just like wrapping a present...
5.  Finish folding the bottom, securing with a length of double-side tape along the inside edge.
6.  Fold over the top of the bag and tuck to the inside...my fold was about 1-1/2" deep.
7.  Punch 4 holes in the top of bag - 2 on each side; each set of holes the same distance apart.  The twine will thread through these holes for the handle.  I glued a fiber reinforcement around each hole for additional strength.  Two equal lengths of jute twine were used for the handle, simply tied in a knot after threaded through each hole.
8.  A piece of cardboard, cut a tad smaller than the bottom length and width of your bag will add additional strength once you place it in the bottom of the bag...I didn't see a need to tape it in place since it fit fairly snug.
 
And voilĂ !
 
 
I filled the interior of the gift bag with paper shred made from old books...the paper shredders that cut up paper in long strips (not the cross-cut shredders) are great for this...and can easily be found at the thrift stores...
 
Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special...I know its down to the wire for Christmas, but there is plenty of inspiration to be found...and maybe a few ideas to be "pinned" as a reminder for next year's holiday projects... 
 
And you have until midnight, Sunday, December 23 to enter my Holiday Cheer Giveaway #3...find all the details here...

12.21.2012

Coming down to the end, part 1

Considering that its December 21, 2012, you might think its end of the world if you were Mayan...but I'm talking about coming down to Christmas...which after everything is decorated and prepared and planned, usually means...wrapping!







As you might guess, I'm one of those who like to wrap...but not in a very traditional way...and in keeping with my simple & natural theme for the holidays this year, I used what I had to give a special touch to my presents...

here plain recycled white tissue tied up with a thread of burlap (using the loose, long threads that unravel from a length of jute burlap fabric is my current favorite twine) with a sprig of fresh cut cedar is the epitome of simple & natural.





























I had another lone wool sock remaining from my stocking project...using just the ribbed section of the sock (after cutting off the foot section), it neatly hugged a box, while I tied up each end with a bit of red twine...the tag is tied on with a bit of burlap twine that I sewed onto the sock...after adding a vintage bell for embellishment.  An antique linen napkin is tied around another treasure, knotting up opposite corners to hold the gift tight...a bough of fresh fir gives the gift a shot of color...































Old linen tablecloths, often stained and tattered, are easy to find at the thrift stores...and though they may be past their prime as their original use....I have found that tearing the cloths into narrow strips makes lovely vintage ribbon...the frayed edges giving a softness to the gift...








and another vintage bell
is the perfect centerpiece to its bow. 






A vintage handkerchief is ideal to wrap  a round present, tied up with another length of burlap twine and a bow made from the selvage of the linen tablecloth...the intricate details of the applique design highlighted at the top...



Next up...printing your own gift wrap...

12.19.2012

Holiday Cheer #3 Giveaway

With just a week away from Christmas, today I unveil my third Holiday Cheer Giveaway...but not before I announce the winner of the collage ornament from Giveaway #2...again, chosen at random by the Southern Man, a retired judge (just to make it official)...

And the winner is...

Emilou

Congrats Emilou - I'll email you to get your snail mail address so I can send this ornament to you pronto!

But wait...for all the others...you have another chance...





As the days wind down, I find myself making notes/lists/ideas for the new year ahead...and jotting down a few reminders of the year past...
















I like to have a way to keep track of such thoughts...and so my giveaway today includes one of my "memories" folders to stash random pieces of paper...and two mini art journals to record quick notes...


The "memories" folder includes a vintage key and an altered card, all wrapped around an old letter folio...

 






























while the two mini journals have covers of my original artwork with 16 pages of vintage ephemera to record your slightest whims...





























I always carry a little journal in my bag...I can never remember anything - I need to write it down!

Once again, all you need to do is leave a comment...with your email address if it isn't enabled with your blogger profile...and if you're not a blogger - just leave your email as part of your comment...the deadline this time is a little shorter since christmas approaches...comment by midnight Sunday December 23...
winner announced on Monday December 24...


12.17.2012

The simple & the natural





A little more than a week until Christmas...the decorations are done...the cards have been mailed...the menu is planned...time to enjoy the season...

I wanted to keep things simple and natural this year...using what I had at hand...I focused on my collections and how I could infuse them with a holiday spirit.












My tree this year...a twisted tangle of grapevines wrapped around an inverted tomato cage...decorated with a few lights, a smattering of vintage silver shiny brite balls and my collection of skeleton keys, hung with handmade copper wire hooks.  The wire star on top is from last year's stair banister decoration...






































A combination of metal, ironstone and books comprise the table vignette...






































Birds are a constant favorite...other animals as well...this vintage mini-deer resides inside a metal trouble light cage...a junk version of a glass cloche...






































This book with its missing cover and folded pages displays holiday cards...all of the greenery I used throughout the house I got for free...either clipped from my yard, the neighbor's yard...or picked from the pile of trimmings at Lowe's fresh christmas tree lot.






































My amber bottles each display a vintage shiny brite ornament...and though the celestial design is missing its top, it is still my favorite...vintage metal stencils stuck in an old wire brush express the sentiment of the season...

























And of course I need to highlight a few of my vintage clocks...letting you know...its time to celebrate!





























Hop over to Funky Junk Interiors Salvaged Junk Christmas Trees...
its time to be inspired...                                                                        
 

12.15.2012

Book love for the holidays






I love books...especially old books...especially old books that are yellowed, tattered and beyond well loved...and so I have quite a supply of books...really more than I would ever need for my collage projects.

And I thought that I had seen it all in regard to what you could do with a book...besides read it...until I saw book hooks...created by the fabulous artist Leslie West...and then I was inspired...

I thought that these book hooks would be perfect to hang christmas stockings because we have no fireplace (and thus no mantle!)  Since my holiday decorating focuses on materials I already have to design a simple and natural palette, I went to work to create my own interpretation of Leslie's brilliant idea...





First I collected a stack of books and paired them up...smaller volume on top, looking for covers that had interesting designs...and then I glued each pair together for a stronger bond...and finally bound each duo together with jute twine...






































After each set of two was bound into one unit, I used a hammer and a sharp screw to make a pilot hole in the front (to screw in a vintage wire hook) and two pilot holes on the back (to attach two screws with wire for hanging).
































Once the book hooks were completed, I needed to round up some stockings...I had a couple of stray well-loved wool socks missing their mates...I added a little embellishment to each sock, using the loose threads I had pulled off of a piece of burlap to sew on a bit of bullion fringe on one sock, a little ruffle on another and a few vintage jingle bells on the third sock...old clip curtain rings were a cinch to attach for hanging each stocking...

 
And the project was complete and ready to hang...each stocking waiting to be filled with holiday treasures...
The vintage vibe fits perfectly with our home...and the aspect of using something I already had adds to the appeal...

 

And the book hooks can be used long after the holidays are over...
 





so who knows where these hooks might turn up next...but for now...I'm waiting to see what goodies fill my stocking....mmm...maybe even a book...



Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors Christmas Junk Decor...and Inspired by Charm Christmas Decor... its holiday decor at its festive best...

And don't forget to enter my Holiday Cheer giveaway here to win a collage ornament made with vintage junk materials...

12.12.2012

Holiday Cheer #2 Giveaway

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am having three festive holiday giveaways this December...just to make everything official, the Southern Man has chosen the winner's name out of a hat...and he's a former judge so I figured that made everything fair...so without further adieu, give me a little drum roll as I announce that the winner of the Holiday Cheer #1 Giveaway is
cjsrq

Congrats cjsrq!  I'll be emailing you to get your snail mail address so I can ship out those collage coasters today.

My second giveaway is an original collage ornament, certain to bring you holiday cheer...






































Created with original vintage ephemera, it can hang on your tree, adorn a present or just brighten up a dreary wall.  The cover image is a vintage cocktail napkin with the addition of an old mailing label...the sides are encircled with a section of cloth surveyor's tape...and the back is finished with a piece of a 1960's British Columbia map...there's a red satin ribbon for hanging...and the entire 5" square piece is sealed with a coat of protective wax.




































Again, its pretty easy to enter this giveaway...just leave a comment by midnight Tuesday, December 18 with your email so I can get back to you...FYI...several people who left comments on the first giveaway have "noreply-comment" as their email address...so you might want to check your blogger settings to change that...or remember to include your email address as part of your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner...



I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, December 19 and then post details about Holiday Cheer #3 giveaway...

In the meantime, I hope that you are enjoying the festive season...Cheers!

12.10.2012

A day with friends, fibers and felt

Last Saturday I spent the day with a great group of friends...and a huge pile of felt!  Five of us piled into my friend Sue's van and headed over to Port Townsend for an afternoon with Frances Clements Fawcett, making felted slippers.





As a child, I remember getting a new pair of knitted slippers each Christmas...my mom was an incredible knitter...and though I love wool and fiber, there is something about knitting that just never clicked with me...

So when I heard that my artist friend Frances offered these great workshops to make wool slippers that you created from felted wool sweaters, I was eager to go...












Frances is a gifted textile artist and has developed her own technique for making custom felted slippers...here she is explaining the differences of yarn...

The class started with drawing a pattern of our foot...choosing a top and side pattern piece...and then selecting from the big pile of sweaters, deciding what combination of color and textures would comprise each slipper...





so there was cutting...













and hand-sewing...















and fitting...
as well as gabbing...
and drinking tea...
and eating gingerbread...








Some of the slippers in progress...

At the end of the class, we each received a booklet with patterns, outlining all the steps for making the slippers...which will come in handy since I did not finish my pair (too much tea drinking and gabbing I guess!) 
If you want to take a class or purchase a pattern for your own slippers, information is  available here - http://francesclementsfawcett.com/shop.html#!/~/category/id=2911780&offset=0&sort=normal
 
 
And don't forget to sign up for my Holiday Cheer Giveaway #1 which ends at midnight on Tuesday, December 11...
get all the details HERE


worth a look...

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