Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paper weights revisited: more to show

Here are several more paper weights that I made recently. The rubber stamp (hands folding the paper crane) is from a series I drew several years ago. This weight also has little velvet leaves in the collage.
Amazing Midori ribbon, an antique Chinese coin and a lovely sticker of a Mary Cassat painting ended up in this paper weight. I love this format - the collages are easy to create and can be made with bits and pieces of stuff I have saved over the years.
A slice of an old playing card, velvet leaves (I use them a lot and a snippet of a photo from a catalog along with dots of glitter glue (another favorite supply) make up this collage. I could make these forever . . . the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back on track - time to post!

Well I've certainly taken my sweet time to get back to writting! It's been a busy summer here at Good Taste. We've had corporate events and a bunch of beautiful weddings - three more coming up and then a short breather. Coupled with the incredible weather here in Seattle - great but very hot - we gals have "glowed" a lot (according to my Southern grandmother, "Men perspire, horses sweat, women glow!").

These paperweights are a continuing DIY project - given to our favorite vendors and wonderful clients. Each collage is created from bits of paper, found objects and other ephemera and is inserted under the glass. I use a velvet pad to keep them from scratching the table. They are fun to make and we've gotten an amazing response.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creating spiritual survival kits/Prayer flags

Two weekends ago I taught classes at LOJ (Letters of Joy). For six hours I assited artists in creating their own "spiritual survival kits". Above is a sample I created for the class, using calligraphy scraps from my friend LeeAnn's trash (she was writing the word 'anniversary'). All the artists produced wonderful sets of flags, and had a great time messing around with handmade papers, ribbons, grommets and more.

Set of flags in process.

Anne with her finished set of flags.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

DIY Favors - girls are so handy!

Lots of DIY fun happened at our Edmonds studio this past Tuesday evening. Jody and I ("the Good Taste Gals") are teaching a wedding planning class through Everett Community College and Tuesday night we had an invite and favor extravaganza. The students are now walking 'invite encyclopedias' - they learned everything from informal to formal wording and what should and should not (where the couple is registered for wedding gifts!!!!) go into a wedding invitation package.

The girls created lovely favors (full of chocolates, of course), in our DIYTM studio. Here they are with their pretty creations.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cherry blossoms take my breath away

Spring is erupting big time in Seattle. Last week I went walking around the neighborhood with my good friend Daphne Hougard, an amazing photographer visiting from California. Cherry trees line the sidewalk at a park near my house. We couldn't resist taking many photos. Today it's rainy and gray and the wind has wrecked havoc on the blossoms. Oh well . . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Delicious Foods call for Beautiful Menus

I recently had the opportunity to create menus for one of our favorite clients ~ for her wedding in Quebec. She wanted the menu be presented in both English and French, so I silk-screen printed the menus in dark blue ink on Fabriano cotton paper (my favorite) and sandwiched red card stock between them. 

Just typesetting her menu made my mouth water - such amazing foods. I'm going to make menus for my next dinner party. Even tho' the food won't be quite as jazzy, adding a pretty menu will make the occasion more festive and special. Just another way to show family and friends how special they are to me!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pencil Pocket Shrines, honoring loved ones

I recently took a wonderful class from Lisa Engelbrecht, an amazing artist and calligrapher. In the class we made personal pocket shrines out of plastic pencil cases. The shrines fold up and you can take them with you. Collaging bits of paper, photos, fabric and more was great fun. Lisa also taught us some simple pointed pen calligraphy. My little shrine celebrates my sweet daughter (Angel Hattie), my dear friend Anne (St. Anne of the Open Heart) and Frida Kahlo. It's not quite finished yet - I'll re-photograph it when the rest of the embellishments are added.  

Here's a detail of a shrine done by one of my classmates, Susan (from Louisville, Kentucky), who had an amazing collection of religious icons. The shrine below was done by her daughter. The Beatles would be pleased, I'm sure.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Letterpress Printing - fantastic impressions on paper

Our favorite type of printing at Good Taste is letterpress. If money and time allowed, we'd encourage all of our clients to use this time-honored method. The tactile quality achieved by this process adds so much to even the simplest piece. Designing this invitation for SAMS's (Seattle Art Museum Supporters) recent tea party, held at the museum, was a creative challenge - I had a limited budget and the turn-around time was quite short. Luckily I had a stash of Fabriano Mediovalis - a wonderful cotton rag stock with a deckle edge. Our good friends at Evolution Press in Ballard donated the printing, and as always, did an outstanding job. Matching envelopes were all we had to purchase.

Here's the invite I designed for our Good Taste open house, held earlier this year. It's actually a tri-fold, but I cut it apart so that I could show all 3 panels. Fabriano Artistico is the stock - trimmed to size. The folder paper is Stardream Lapis, the green build is off-cut from a job done years ago (I always make the press give me left-over paper). 

I drew the little bird for a rubber stamp that I never got around to making - he fits perfectly at the top of our house. Again, our friends in Ballard worked their printing magic helping us to achieve just the look we wanted to celebrate the our new home and DIY Good Taste.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking Photos - To Flash or Not?

I have a fantastic camera - a Digital Pentax K100 SLR. It has lots of bells and whistles that I'm still discovering, especially the flash. This picture was taken yesterday in my studio. 

The light on the pencils, pin cushions and number stamps caught my eye - this is what I saw. Everything is soft and, to me, intimate. The photo below was taken with the flash on. While the color is brighter, all the tones are the same, the objects look flat, the number stamps grab too much attention and, to top it off, the neighbor's car across the street shows up. 

To me, taking good photographs is akin to creating good events - it's all about the personal: the mood, the intimacy, the connections made, emphasizing specific areas and subduing others. And lighting always matters. When you succeed in combining all the elements "just right" magic happens.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Journal: A Bird in the Hand

I've been out-of-town and sans computer (a nice retreat) - making art collages and meeting new people. Have tons of photos on my camera but haven't downloaded them yet. Also cleaned the studio and found lots of great stuff that I'd totally forgotten about - papers, images, old art and more.  Here's a collage I did awhile ago - the birds came from an Urban Outfitters catalog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tag you're it! Tie one on.

This past Christmas I decided to wrap all my holiday gifts in brown paper (one of my many attempts at becoming a 'greener' artist). Consequently, I needed to add a something to make the gifts a more visually exciting. Using left-over invitation papers and ribbons from my stash (I can't bear to throw even the smallest scraps away) I designed a bunch of collaged tags.
My  Slice cutter makes wonderful letters - so every tag was personalized with the recipient's initial. Rubber stamps, metallic inks and lovely awards stickers were used and ribbons functioned both as ties and decorative elements that hung from the bottom of the tag.

Jazzy tags have many uses: as place cards (wrap the ribbon around a napkin or tie the tag to the back of your guest's chair), thank yous (write a little note on the back), name tags (great as an ice-breaker when your guests don't know each other well) or book marks for all your book group buddies. Manilla-colored tags can be purchased in bulk at office supply stores and you can get a wide variety of colored tags at specialty paper stores. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Flags - Spread good energy around

I've been making prayer flags ever since 9/11/2001. First out of cloth, with silkscreen images and quotes, now I make them out of paper, using ribbons, rubber stamps, grommets, thread and more. Some have favorite quotations, others are more image-driven. I think of these flags as "flying" invitations - encouraging positive thoughts and energy to swirl into my life and the lives of the people who receive the flags as gifts.

I'll be teaching at class at Letters of Joy 2009 (LOJ) on May 2nd at Edmonds Community College. You can sign up for wonderful classes at this event - an entire day of letter and paper arts, taught by talented artists. What a great to spend a Saturday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Take notice - Beauty in small things

Everything is happening way too fast these days - the world is crazy financially, people are angry; it's a whirlwind. Whew! I'm doing my best to focus on the small stuff - or I'll go nuts. I'm creating a series of postcards from recent photos, taken during a hike near Mt. Rainier. I'm using close-ups of things I noticed during the walk. I did shoot pictures of the mountain (duh), but I really wanted to pay attention to little details that make up the bigger picture. 
The beauty of using my own photos is trifold: 1- I created the art myself, 2- I have the opportunity to re-live the time spent on the hike when I view the photos, 3- I get to share my take on the experience with friends and they get a little piece of mail art. Here are some photos I plan to use - I'll show the finished work in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A full portion of life's beauty

Several years ago I saw a book by Welleran Poltarnees on house blessings and was intrigued with the concept, wanting to make it my own. The book (which makes a lovely gift) "blesses the physical house and the protection it offers, wishing for its inhabitants a full portion of life's beauty." 

To bless, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is "to consecrate by a spoken form or charm," to pronounce words that confer divine favor," to confer well-being upon; to make happy; to prosper."

My sweet husband Bob took the time to jig-saw house forms for me which I decorated with collage, paint, charms and quotations about home and family. I called them House Blessings. I probably created around 100 little houses (each one different) which I gave away and sold as well.

Here is one that I kept for myself - it hangs by my kitchen window. We recently down-sized from our wonderful 1918 craftsman home on the hill to a brand new townhouse near the water. While this modern home is completely different (and problem-free), we have re-created a cozy art-filled haven for our family and friends. I believe that the best homes give you comfort - both physically and spiritually. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My resolution - journal art every day

My lovely stack of Moleskins keeps calling my name. I have a number of these wonderful little books in my studio, some full-to-bursting with found objects, favorite papers and art, others totally empty. I love filling them with whatever interests me at the moment. For a long time I was religious about collaging and drawing every day - even stamping the pages with the date. But then I became a slacker and the pages remained blank. 
So what's a girl to do - sleep less? (I already stay up WAY too late reading.) Get up earlier? (Again, the reading thing makes that difficult.) I don't want to be a 'whiner-pants,' but I want more hours in the day! Don't we all - to have the time to do the things we love. I guess the only way to solve this dilemma is to just do it - squeezing in a minute here and there. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Handwritten addresses-need I say more?

What mail gets opened first? The fancy envelope with the pre-printed address sticker or the plain envelope with the handwritten address? Handwriting always grabs my attention and I'm excited to see what's inside: an invite to a party, a friend's art opening, a gala where I get to wear jazzy shoes?

Here at DIY Good Taste, we encourage our clients to hand-address all their invitations. Whether it's stunning calligraphy inked by a professional or printing carefully done at your kitchen table, a handwritten address is personal. It shows a level of caring and forges a human connection. It's your opportunity to reach out to your guests even before they open the envelope. They anticipate the contents just because you took the time to put pen to paper. What better way to start the celebration?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DST - Springing forward with postcard art

Daylight Savings Time (DST) caught me by surprise this year. It didn't register on my radar until I saw the little clock reminder in Friday's paper. So in honor of "Springing Forward" I made postcards and mailed them out that afternoon (just assuming that my friends were as clueless as I was). 

Many wonderful "red letter days" fill our lives: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, showers, the list goes on . . . Lately I've been thinking about all the lesser-known "special days" (or weeks) that are highlighted on the calendar. Besides being Salvation Army Day, today is also Organize Your Home Office Day. Tomorrow's "holidays" include: Dream 2009 Day, Johnny Appleseed Day and Registered Dietitian Day. On Friday we'll be able to celebrate Earmuffs Day and National Open An Umbrella Indoors Day, plus it's the 13th, which brings to mind all sorts of possibilities. 

Whatever the reason for commemoration, we have the opportunity to creatively recognize the day with a little card or other ephemera. Next year I plan to send out cards in  honor of Napping Day (the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins). I know my friends will be up for taking part in that celebration, big time! 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whimsical reminders/save the date magnets

With summer weddings on the horizon, several of our Good Tastetm couples are using photo magnets for their Save-the-Date mailings. It's the perfect way to create a personalized invite, and at the same time, inform your guests of the upcoming celebration. 

I created a one-of-a-kind collage for our sweet couple (Wiggs and Dave). High resolution photos were laser printed in black & white onto card stock and then tinted with colored pencils. Wiggs provided us with some favorite fabrics (gray & yellow, her wedding colors) that were torn and sewn, together with the photos, ribbon, and typeset text to a base card. A little blue bird (rubber stamp) cavorts across the art and adds a touch of whimsy. The collage was scanned and sized and multiple copies were printed on matt photo paper and then adhered to adhesive-backed magnets. 

The finished magnets were sandwiched in a yellow text-weight card - embellished with the little bird and "save the date." A lovely silver envelope (return address printed on the flap) and yellow/gray 59¢ heart stamps completed the look. Hand-addressing (a must for any invitation) was done with black a gel pen. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sometimes you just need to holler

Here's one of may favorite collage postcards, made for my artist's group. I receive great mailings from Veer and it's always fun to rip them up for my artwork. I wonder what she's "hollering" about. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pretty water bottles quench your thirst

Custom touches add so much to a wedding and even when your budget's tight you can still have little elements that show your guests how much you care. Bottled water is a must for an outdoor wedding in late July. 

We started with cases of water from our local 'big box' store. Ripping off the old labels was easy and gave us a blank canvas. Calligraphy-inspired labels, with the bride and groom's initials, were created on my trusty Mac and laser printed on metallic papers matching the wedding's color palette. We had a DIY session with our bride and her party to attach the labels to the bottles.

At the wedding the water was placed in shallow galvanized metal buckets, adorned with a ribbon. The buckets were filled with a bed of crushed ice. It proved to be a refreshing treat for a thirsty crowd.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Same gift - two ways to wrap

We love recommending glassybabys to our clients to give as tokens of appreciation to their friends, families, and associates and we LOVE to wrap them. The compact packaging is a gift-wrapper's dream. It's great fun choosing the materials to compliment the occasion and our paper/ribbon design selections are specific to the client and are only used once.

Celebrate the New Year Elements in this project included: off-white Japanese silk/hemp paper, green hand-marbled paper, Midori gross-grain and double-faced satin ribbons. Our custom-made floral attachments (dried seed pods, paper and satin leaves) added the finishing touch. A small card accompanied each gift.

Spring in Seattle Wrapping fifty glassybabys gave us the opportunity to really improve our skills! Components in this project included: two layers of white tissue, Japanese silk-screen cherry blossom paper, and pale pink matte ribbon. Midori red herringbone twill, secured with a square knot, tied it all together.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wrapping it up/creating beautiful packages

Do you love giving gifts? Isn't it great when you find just the right thing? Here at DIY Good Tastetm we have the best time working with our gift-giving clients. We assist them in selecting meaningful items and then we wrap and mail the gifts as well. 

One of our recent corporate gift projects involved LOTS of little house banks. Our client wanted to send tokens of appreciation to associates, friends and vendors. A magazine article by lifestyle maven, Kelley Moore, featured these little houses and I knew they'd be perfect. 

Each house was wrapped in embroidered satin/silk cloth, a take-off on a furoshiki (a type of traditional Japanese cloth that is frequently used to wrap gifts). The gift card, tucked inside with the bank, thanked the recipient for their support and friendship and added that a donation had been made in their honor to a local charity. Information about furoshiki traditions was also included.

Custom hand-done calligraphy name cards added the finishing touch. The little houses were very well-received and our client was thrilled. We're looking forward to our next wrapping project and making someone else's day.   

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Creative inspiration - it's in the details

Everyone has little treasures - mementos of trips,  gifts given by friends, a favorite cup. Where do you keep yours? These little 'happys' are on my kitchen window sill. They greet me every morning, sharing space with ripening fruits. This simple still-life makes my view out the window richer, adding texture to my creative life. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making and mailing fun postcard art

I love getting mail - especially 'good' mail. Fortunately, I do get great mail every month since I belong to an artists' postcard group. All the members create original postcards, mail them out and receive postcards in return. We send all sorts of stuff - sewn cards, collage cards, metal cards . . . 

For this month's mailing I played with cards and papers that I had in the studio. The photos to the right show the process. It's easy to make postcards from materials you have on hand. Card stock works best, but you can glue several sheets of text weight paper together or use recycled cardboard from boxes. Just make sure that you add enough postage when you mail your cards. I generally over-post, since I don't want to get my mail returned.

Try surprising friends with art mail  - they'll love getting 'good' mail. And you'll have fun creating it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Layer upon layer - bulletin boards revisited

Bulletin boards give you a concentrated glimpse of into a person's life. glassybaby cards - I get one every time I visit their shop - they look like glass gumdrops. Postcards from family and friends, a recipe that looks interesting, the newspaper horoscope from my birthday . . . layer upon layer, I tack one on top of another - to create a rather chaotic collage of my interests on any given day.    

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fresh flowers make my day brighter

I love to give flowers - and I love having fresh flowers in my home. They contribute much to my well-being. The soft textures and spots of color allow me to escape to places of gentle beauty. 

Right now tulips are everywhere - they have bunches of five for $4 at my local market. It's fascinating to watch tulips grow in the vase - as they absorb the water, they get taller. I cut them shorter in order to keep them going longer. For less than the cost of latte and muffin I get an abundance of pleasure and a glimpse of the upcoming spring. And they're calorie free!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning rituals help start the day

Do you have morning rituals? Daily habits to help you enter the day? I have several - my favorite being to read newspapers - our local paper and the New York Times. I make a pot of tea and cozy down in a chair near the fireplace. On Tuesdays the NYTimes science section grabs me and on Thursdays it's Style and Home. Sometimes all I have is a moment for a cursory look, but I always make a point of reading at least one article from each paper. 

To me, newspapers are like libraries; full of information, ideas and beliefs. I might be interested in one item and another will catch me - often with a photograph or a compelling headline. And then I'm off - reading an article on a subject that I didn't know anything about   - adding to my creative storehouse. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Felted Tea Cozies Keep Tea Hot

Today I'm showing my friend Michele from Earthues how to start her own blog to talk about her wonderful work with natural dyes. In early March I will be teaching a class at her Earthues Studio in Ballard, called Keep the Pot Hot and we'll be creating felted tea cozies. We'd love to have you join us.