Today's Special: homemade Christmas decorations

Every year when I lived at home with my parents, I loved putting up Christmas decorations with my mom.  There were two things in particular that I loved putting up, the mistletoe and all of her nativity sets.  I love the tree and the other things like wreathes and garlands, but for some reason those two were my favorite.  I guess it is no surprise to me that for some of our decorations, this is what I found myself making this year:    

Anyone on a tight budget for the holidays could have fun making decorations like this for their house/apartment.  As you can see below, all of the supplies are things that you could almost just find around your house, or pick up for just cents... :)

Supplies needed:
Nativity: (I made this my freshman year at BYU...and I still have it)

Holly berries/Mistletoe :
green and red construction paper
green paint
hershy's kiss rappers (provided with love by our neighbors' Christmas present)
ribbon (also from the present)

yellow construction paper

Anyway, the point of all of this for me wasn't really to give a tutorial, I just wanted to share a little of what I have been up to lately.  I am so happy with the way the mistletoe turned out especially, it reminds me a little of one of my favorite children's book illustrators, Eric Carle.  He uses the same technique of painting paper different colors and then cuts it up to make images.  

The History of Creativity

Many of you may be familiar with the class "History of Creativity" at BYU, and may know that at the end of the semester, each student is required to complete a project that demonstrates creativity.  I am not exact on all of the details, but this is what Dane came up with for his project:  (His class was studying the history of time through 1500 A.D....which includes the Greeks.)

I helped him mix the colors and a little with the sketching, but he did most of the painting himself, and it was all his idea.  I am so proud of my little painter, husband!


Springville Museum of Art: Educators of Utah Show

Hey, just wanted to let you know about some of my work that is up in a show right now at the Springville Museum of Art.  The show is a juried collection of works done by Utah educators.  This is what I have in:


Featuring Some of My MOST Favorite Artists:

For those of you wondering how student teaching is going, I thought i would give you a little fill-in.  I am having a great time, and have just started working at my second school this week - and it's JR HIGH...!  I will miss the elementary students, but I think that jr. high is going to be a lot of fun.  Here are some of the masterpieces that my first graders created:  self-portraits :)


Afternoon Activity

Some of you may have seen the shoes I painted a few weeks ago for Dane.  I have been trying to figure out a design for me.  This idea was inspired by Joanne and her boys.  (Although she doesn't know that.)  I am just going to try and build up a portfolio for now and think I will paint myself another, less batman-y pair.  Oh yeah, and I am no where near charging the price Dane listed before.  Anyway, these were kinda fun.  

p.s. these shoes were a much cheaper alternative to Vans:  $5.99 at Rite-Aid.


Figure Sculpture

Hey, so these are a few of the pieces that I made this last term in my figure sculpture class.  They both came from molds that I made after sculpting a model in clay.  I then filled the molds with french fries, a tape measure (as you can see above) and resin, a kind of plastic.  They are both dealing with issues of self image, (they are two separate pieces) and all that fun stuff, and I am entering them into a show here in provo.


Stained Glass

Here are some of the finished products from my stained-glass class. To be honest it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The piece below was my final window project. I just finished the frame yesterday, and it is going up in a show on campus tomorrow. So if anyone is in town, or wants to be in town, there will be a show of my class's work in the HFAC (5th floor, I think) for the next month or so. (Everything in the show will be glass work, so that should make it pretty easy to find, if anyone is looking:) . )


Paper-case Binding and Clamb-shell Box

Spring term is over, summer is well underway and I have a little catching up to do as far as posting my books... Above is my "paper-case" bound book. On this project, I learned to make a rounded spine, and a few other pretty old school techniques. Each of the signatures were folded from single pieces of paper (some of the edges have yet to be torn, and are still folded.) I don't know if that makes any of sense...hmmm. Have any of you ever been to the press building in Palmyra where the first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed? There you learn that 16 pages were printed at a time on one sheet, then that sheet was folded, the folded sections were sewn together, and then the edged were cut or trimmed. That is the same process here, just pre-trimming.
This book also has a hand sewn endband, but is a different style than my last book. It is secured by a leather strap that has been fed through the cover, and is covered with handmade paper (instead of a covered board) giving it a soft feeling.

The fore-edges of the cover come well over the end and bend around the text-block for protection. (I forget what it is called....grrr...that is driving me crazy!) I went pretty traditional with this book, and wanted to make it just like it would have been made hundreds of years ago. I am pretty happy with it.:)

Our next project was to make a clam-shell box. This is a box made for to hold books, portfolios, or anything that needs a special place to keep it safe. It is most often used as a conservation item in libraries and special collections for books with old bindings. Here is my box; I made it to fit my paper-case book:


Flat-back binding

Well, here is my second creation from my bookbinding class, a flat-back book. This is pretty much what I think everyone imagines when they picture a book in their mind, and maybe my favorite binding so far. It just looks so clean and crisp. The cover is made of book-clothe on the spine and an old map from the library on campus.
Here is a few details of the inside (or what I could show you and still come up with an interesting picture). For those of you who know me, you shouldn't be surprised to see the totally sweet orange end-sheets that I added as a contrasting color to the cover and block of paper. Love orange. Also, here is a detail of my hand-sewn end-band that is on both the top and bottom of the spine. These were originally only found on the tops of spines to protect the pages when the book was grabbed off of a shelf. (Imagine with me now how you pull a book off of a shelf: usually, you put your finger on the top of the spine to pull it off right? well, that's what these are for.) If you check any books you have at home you may have some that have end-bands, but they are probably not really sewn into the book, and just to look pretty. If you find one that is hand-sewn I would love to hear what the book is!


Paper Art

So, I found this on a friend's blog. I don't know how she found it, but I thought it was beautiful. It is amazing to me what people can do with just paper.

The artist's name is Peter Callesen. Check this out and you can see more of his work, and learn about how he does it all. He works in paper, snow, ice and all sorts of other cool media, and has a pretty good sense of humor as well.


Coptic Binding

I am currently taking a bookbinding class, and this is my first finished product. It is bound with a traditional "Coptic" binding, and 100% handcrafted by yours truely!
First, I cut the signatures to size each one by one, assembled the cover and made holes in both the cover and signatures/sections of paper for the stitching. Lastly, I sewed the binding together. It was a lot of work, but not too bad. My next one won't take me as long.
my book is about 8.5''x5''.
This binding was developed by early Christians in Egypt, the Copts, and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. It is used today by bookbinders to create beautifully hand crafted books.

Detail of stitching:

The Coptic Binding is a great binding for journals or sketchbooks as the nature of the binding allows it to lay open on a table, flat.

I have discovered a love for books that began, I think, with the "Ladybug-day". I have been excited for and waiting to take this class for a long time now and I am really excited for what we will be making in the future. There is just something magical to me about handcrafted, functional items. I love bookbinding!


The Lady-bug Day

When I was really young, I played goalie for my rec-soccer team. They were pretty good, and so the ball spent most of the time on the other side of the field, which means that I spent most of my time looking for four-leaf clovers, dandelions and ladybugs in the grass. Each of those had their own superstitions, but the ladybug one was the best, especially if the ladybug landed on you. If that happened, you were supposed to count the spots, and for each spot, you would get that many days of good luck.
I just finished this big project for my lithography printmaking class this semester and was really happy with the way it turned out, and I think it inspired me to get on the ball with my blog. So here is my latest art project. (If the pics are to small to read the text, just click on them to enlarge.)
"the ladybug-day" is all hand printed, assembled, written and illustrated by yours truly. enjoy

Watercolor FHE with Dane

One of the greatest wedding gifts that I got was from Dane. He gave me a pad of watercolor paper and a home-made coupon that was redeemable for 2 Family Home Evenings of watercoloring. Dane may be my biggest fan of my Japanese watercolors, and I thought it was so sweet. I don't know why, but I think those home-made coupon ideas always make some of the best gifts. So, about a month ago (I know, I am totally a slacker) we had an intro lesson to watercoloring. It was a lot of fun, and Dane proved to be a natural!Dane's landscape.
Bridget's sea-scape...This was the first time that I have ever really played around with "wet on wet", meaning putting color into wet pools of paint. It was fun; I love no-pressure activities:)


So, this isn't an art post but I thought that it was valid information worthy of posting...

Well, tonight Dane and I were hanging out at Abbie's house watching her baby and took advantage of the opportunity to get a little laundry done. So, I pulled the second load out of the washer and just before tossing my pants I was wearing earlier today into the dryer, low and behold I found my poor, helpless, drenched, cell phone. :( It only takes so many stories from close friends and relatives to know the inevitable ending to this story. Scott, Abbie's husband, says there may be hope and I can leave it in the sun for a few days to see if it will dry out. I am not getting my hopes up.
To say the least anyway, I unfortunately do not expect to be answering phone calls anytime in the next little while. So, if anyone needs to reach me please call Dane's phone: 509-788-5969.


Work in my show

Some of you have been asking which paintings I had hanging in my show this month, so I decided to put them up. I won the juror's choice for these two paintings that hang together:
These other 3 paintings also are in the show. I think that the show comes down this week...wednesday?
Also, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to see it. This event has inspired me to make more art and to really get my guts up to be an artist. It was so great to feel the support of my family and friends. I am excited about making lots more art in the future to come, and I will keep you all "posted" on what comes next.

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