Sunday, February 22, 2015

Handmade Papermaking A Beautiful Expression of History

Gathering Supplies 
(Screen, Deckle, Sponge, Glitter, Natural Decorations, Blender, Torn Paper, Tub, Old Towel etc.)

 Filling blender with warm water and torn paper.
Allowing to soak for a few minutes.
Blend for one to two minutes at high speed until the mixture is smooth and pulpy.

 Pouring pulp from blender into vat of warm water.

 Adding glitter's and dried flowers to vat of pulp.
Mixed by hand until evenly blended.

 Scooping pulp into screen and deckle from vat.

 Lifting the deckle from the screen.

 Gently pressing out the water with a sponge.

Homemade paper drying in the sun.

The paper that we use today as a writing material was originated in China by Tsai Lun in about 50 A.D.  Then, in the late 1700s, cotton rag fiber was widely used.

Paper as we know it today is much smoother, more uniform, and easier to use than the parchments and papers of our past.  In 1843, a machine that converted logs to wood pulp was invented and the "rag content" of paper could be reduced and eventually eliminated.

My Secret Letterboxing Santa (we are doing 6 months of giving which started in January) just sent me some beautiful thin and delicate handmade paper by Gayle Fitzpatrick (  I have not made handmade paper in years and years and felt inspired to get out my supplies this afternoon.  Gayle's paper is very fine and refined in comparison to mine which is chunkier and thicker in texture due to thicker pulp and less pressing (water removal).

When making handmade paper the sky is the limit with items you can use for inspiration and embellishments in your paper.  Colored paper, flower petals, herbs, grasses, glitter, food coloring, comics, newspapers, confetti, ribbon, potpourri sheet music, magazines etc.  I did not blend mine into oblivion so if you look closely you can even see some alphabet letters visible in the paper. 

Currently my paper is drying flat and I will allow it to dry a minimum of 10 hours (overnight).  If your paper curls or warps, it can be ironed using the lowest heat setting.  I will probably give my paper a light touch with the iron tomorrow just to smooth it out a wee bit.  Handmade paper is a wonderful addition to handmade cards, crafts and Letterbox Trading Cards (LTC's).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gray Shading - Copic Class - Day 3

Day 3 of my Copic Markers Class featured getting more mileage out of your Copic markers utilizing Gray Shading.  I only have a few light colored grey Copic markers but I can definitely see the advantage of purchasing a couple more.  In their demonstration videos they were using a lot of cool grey markers in the "C" family and I do not have any.  I ended up using my N4 and BV25 grey markers instead.  The grey gives you a more realistic look than simply shading with a darker tone in the same color family.  Not all colors worked well with this technique so using a sample sheet before coloring your projects is advised.  That way you can be sure the colors you have selected blend with the grey nicely for your shadow as you are hoping.  They had three different demonstrators sharing this technique which was nice since everyone has their own technique.

One great but very simple tip I learned that you can uncap the markers you are coloring with so you can switch between them quickly.  I don't know why I am always uncapping and recapping (I have refills) but this simple advice I will take to heart as it slows things down quite a bit.  I guess it is fear of them drying out.  Yet the demonstrator said she has not seen it as a problem herself having 3 or 4 markers uncapped at the same time.  Although you would not want to leave them uncapped indefinitely.   

Online Card Classes:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hello Elsa Kitty Letterbox Trading Cards

 Dripping Alcohol Ink onto glossing cardstock.

 While wet blasting with air can to move the ink around.

 Added a variety of colors using the same technique.
Also added Blending Solution and Metallic Mixatives and blasting again with air.

 All backgrounds look completely different.

 The backgrounds dry very quickly.

Tim Holtz - Adirondack Alcohol Ink, Blending Solution and Metallic Mixative

The Hello Elsa Kitty Letterbox Trading Cards (LTC's) feature a handmade background of Alcohol Ink Splatters using a combination of Alcohol Ink, Blending Solution and Metallic Mixative layered and blown in a random pattern onto glossy cardstock.  This type of background creates LTC's that each have a unique and bold background.

In addition to the Alcohol Splatter the cards also feature Elsa Kitty stamped and embossed with Antique Lead and Silver embossing powder that I mixed together.  She is colored (and blended) with Copic Markers and her hair also features the use of a Uniball Signo White Gel Pen (fast drying).  The glittery snowflake embellishment is by Recollections (Michael Stores).

Wicked Selfie with Your BFF Letterbox Trading Card

Tonight I finished my "Wicked Selfie with Your BFF" Letterbox Trading Cards (LTC's).  Although the carving is far from perfect I love the image.  This LTC is a pretty straight forward design with embossing and coloring with Copic Markers.  However, I did paint the background with a mixture of Sparkle Glaze and Purple Acrylic Paint to add a bit of depth to the flat black cardstock background.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Garden of the Gods Quick Visit

On Saturday afternoon the weather was turning pretty brisk and windy but we had just enough time to stop by the visitors center at the Garden of the Gods to pick up a trail map and then we headed into the park.  We did pull up clues to a Letterbox inside the park, found the parking area but then could not make sense of the trails and where we needed to go.  We walked in circles a bit, snapped a few pictures and admired the scenery but with the increasing wind and darkness we had to give up the hunt.  I would really like to come back tot his park to spend more time on the trails and hopefully locate the Letterbox that is hidden.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nicole Finds Her First Letterbox in Manitou Springs

While in Manitou Springs we stopped for lunch at the Stagecoach Inn.  This must be a pretty popular eatery as it was bustling.  With us being in town during the off season we noticed a lot of the smaller restaurants were closed for the season.  We also spotted lots of deer in peoples yards while driving around.  

Stagecoach Inn:

We had promised Nicole my eight year old niece that we would take her Letterboxing so she could work the clues and find her first Letterbox.  Nicole is a very academic young lady and a cracker jack reader so this was a good opportunity for her to read the clues out-loud to us and then work them a bit. The Gilbert Reunion 2014 - Drive By box seemed like the perfect first find with easy to understand and follow clues without lots of difficult terrain.  Nicole made quick work of the clues and was so excited when she found the Letterbox.  I showed her the stamping-in protocol (inky fingers and all) and taught her how to re-hide the box properly (better than you found it).  As soon as we were headed back to the car Nicole said "Okay, let's go find the next box!"  She is a born Letterboxer!

Manitou Cliff Dwellings Girls Day Out

Yesterday my Sister, Michelle, and her daughter Nicole headed to Manitou Springs, Colorado for a girl's day out.  Dylan (Nicole's little brother) decided to stay home with dad so it was just the three of us.  The cliff dwellings are open 7 days a week and it appears that January is definitely off-season as there were only a few cars there when we arrived and left.  I love when attractions are like ghost towns because you can take your time to meander, learn and absorb the culture without fighting the crowds.  As we got out of the car I did sneak a glance at Box Radar but I did not see any Letterboxes listed at this location.  I did not have time to research and print clues before traveling and since we were not sure where we were going it would have been too much work to try to anticipate our agenda.

The Anasazi did not live in the Manitou Springs area, but lived and built their cliff dwellings in the Four Corners area, several hundred miles southwest of Manitou Springs. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were relocated to their present location in the early 1900s, as a museum, preserve, and tourist attraction. The stones were taken from a collapsed Anasazi site near Cortez in southwest Colorado, shipped by railroad to Manitou Springs, and assembled in their present form as Anasazi-style buildings closely resembling those found in the Four Corners. The project was done with the approval and participation of well-known anthropologist Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett, and Virginia McClurg, founder of the Colorado Cliff Dwelling Association.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings:

I think this is a great place for kids to visit.  They can run around the ruins and touch and feel everything without having areas roped off like so many museums and preserves.  Although the massive and beautiful gift shop is another story.  If you visit you will be overwhelmed by the selection at the multi-level gift shop and this would be a spot where you would want to keep an eye on little kids as there are lots of breakables within reach of tiny fingers and hands.  I did note that they have some amazing jewelry including White Buffalo Turquoise from the Dry Creek Mine.  Anthony bought me an amazing bracelet in Virginia City last summer and I would love to get a pendent and earrings one day to compliment my bracelet.    
White Buffalo Turquoise is found in only one mine worldwide, the Dry Creek Mine in Nevada.  The mine is located on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain.  It was discovered in 1993.  It is said that its name comes from Native Americans in the area, who believe that the stone "is as rare as a white buffalo."  It is believed to form like "normal turquoise," with the exception of the absence of copper (which makes turquoise blue), iron (which makes it green), or zinc (which leads to yellow-green turquoise).

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