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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Organization: collage ephemera

Hello all!

Today I am extraordinarily proud of myself because I finally tackled a lingering problem area in my (newly, and mostly organized) craft room! I'm talking about the daunting pile of collage papers that I've accumulated, both big, and small. I don't have an accurate "before" picture, unfortunately, but perhaps you can imagine? My collection was mostly photo boxes, and paper trays stuffed with hundreds of pages torn from magazines.

I wasted a lot of time looking at organizing boards on Pinterest before finally deciding that nothing I saw would work for me, because I had a budget of exactly $0 to work with, so again, I was forced to improvise. Luckily a few weeks ago, I spotted some little metal bins at Five Below, and snagged them, knowing that I would eventually find a use for them! Today was that day!

So here is some of what I was starting with.
It may not look so bad, but I had at least half a dozen of these paper boxes filled to overflowing with inspiration that I couldn't access!
I tried first to organize by color, but that didn't suit me, so I ended up organizing EVERYTHING by category! For the pages that were roughly 8 1/2 x 11, I punched holes in them, and put them in a binder, alphabetized by subject. Luckily, I already had a pack of alphabetical tabbed dividers!

I love dem! And not just because they're pretty and rainbow! But also because (sor far) they work great!

Next came the smaller bits and bobs! I decided to divide them one more time, into two categories, so that the smallest things wouldn't get lost in the files with the slightly larger items. I made my own dividers out of cardstock and washi tape, and set to deciding what categories I wanted to use! I knew I couldn't alphabetize every tiny piece of inspiration, so I came up with more general categories, like "inanimate objects" "places" "people" et cetera.

I cut down and organized almost every bit of my ephemera, and these bins aren't even half-filled! 



I am so excited to go to make a collage, and see if my organization system works! Also, now I have room to cut up eeeeeeven more of my magazines that are just sitting, waiting for me to rip them apart and collect the beautiful bits!


How do you organize your collage ephemera??



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Experimentation: DIY washi tape

I want to convince a couple of friends (okay, I sort of want to prove to myself) that it's possible to art journal without breaking the bank! But in my opinion, washi tape (Japanese, repositionable, decorative masking tape) is an absolute must-have. I am a liiitle bit obsessed. So this morning, even though I already have a TON, I attempted to make my own.

There are, of course, bazillions of tutorials on The Intarwubs for how to make decorative tape out of double-sided, peel-y tape, but I didn't have any of that, and the idea was to use what I have, so I had to improvise. First I tried several types of paper with regular old, scotch brand, double sided tape, with wax paper from the kitchen on the backside (in order to store it). It works okay, I guess, except that it's hard to see where your tape is in order to cut the paper to size. I ended up with some pretty wonky, not-very-straight, rather short lengths of narrow tape. The pattern on my tissue paper was too big to really see any fabulous detail with how narrow my tape was. Also, I discovered that the napkin I used had so many more plies than I thought it did, so I ended up with a white piece that I will probably stamp on later.


I was not a fan of this technique. On to the next!

I don't have a picture of this misstep, but the next thing I tried was to paint directly on some masking tape. I felt like a genius, until I realized that my paint was not sticking AT ALL to the tape. Duh.

So I got out my gesso. You know? That fabulous white stuff that you can paint on almost any surface to make it suitable for paint? Oh wait, I don't have any gesso. Cue Pinterest! Turns out, you can make your own gesso!!

I won't put the whole tutorial in this blog post because you can just go here, where I found it. But all you need is glue, white paint, and baby powder!

Okay, third time's the charm, right?

I tore seven strips of masking tape and stuck them to a piece of wax paper. I gave them a good coat of the gesso I made, and let them dry completely, which took about half an hour. THEN I really got started!

This was either going to be awesome, or a disaster!


I put the tape-on-wax-paper in a shallow box and gave them a light spritzing with my homemade glimmer-y spray paints. (will probably make a tutorial for that at some point, but not today)

Hint: do not try to speed up the drying process during any of these steps with heat! I almost fused my tape to my wax paper by melting either the wax, or the adhesive, or a little of both!


Here is what they look like all dried and on a fresh sheet of wax paper!
Next I decided I wanted a little more pattern/activity, so I got out my stamps!


I divided my stamps into two categories for this project. Backgrounds, done with colors similar to the ones already on the tape, and foreground, which I decided to do in black.

Here is a close-up of the background step. Starting to look kinda cool!
Annnnd, drum roll please?! No? Whatever.

The finished tape!!


The birds were hard to align, and next time I think I may try some white stamps, but I am pretty happy, overall, with how this project turned out! What do you think?! I think I may send some in some future happy mail!

Hello Blog World

Guess what!? I'm not dead! Hooray!

So much has happened, and I could TRY to catch you all up on what's gone down in my life for the past year? But for tonight, I think it seems much more manageable to tell you what's happening with me now.

1. Moved to a new home. Away from my history and past. New beginnings. Freshly painted walls.



2. Have my own craft room! It didn't have a table in it for quite some time, and so I was doing my art at the dining room table, which was less than ideal. When my roommate (very kindly) expressed that it might be better for me to get a table IN the craft room, so that we could put all of my things not in the dining room, I realized I have a huge job ahead of me.

I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I had a really low several weeks before she made this suggestion, and so the craft room, (and pretty much the dining room too) got to be in pretty bad shape. Here are a couple of before and after shots for your viewing pleasure.