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.