Ladybug Cards & Mobile

In just two weeks, I will be opening my home studio to the public during the Ashland Gallery Association Open Studio Tour. It’ll be the first time I’ve opened my home studio for viewing and it’s a little scary for me. I decided to include a number of demonstrations of my more popular blog projects. That includes my ladybug cards and ladybug mobile.

Ladybug cards.

Ladybug cards.

I designed my ladybug cards last summer. They can easily be glued to a card or glued back to back on a string to make a mobile. I’m sure there are many more ways these wonderful ladybugs can be used.

Ladybug card and ladybug mobile in progress.

Ladybug card with ladybug mobile in progress.

The ladybugs themselves are made from a square of red paper. When added to the card, they make a wonderful 3-D effect. And when glued to the string of the mobile, they move wonderfully when there is any breeze or other movement around them.

Ladybug card with ladybug mobile in progress.

Ladybug card with ladybug mobile in progress.

Instructions for making these ladybugs are on my blog post: DIY Ladybug Card. You can also see more photos of my ladybug garland on my blog post: Paper Ladybug Garlands.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Making Lots Of Colorful Long Stemmed Hearts

On my last blog post, I gave directions for making long stemmed hearts. Somehow, many of you who subscribe to my blog never received that post. I don’t understand the technology of why that happened, but here’s the link to the DIY instructions: DIY Long Stemmed Hearts.

While these are not the customary colors for hearts, I really like them together as a bouquet.

While these are not the customary colors for hearts, I really like them together as a bouquet.

For that blog post, I made a dozen red long stemmed hearts. And seeing that I had a whole lot of colorful fade resistant papers sitting around my studio, I couldn’t resist making lots more long stemmed hearts is ever so many different colors.

These paper long stemmed hearts won't wilt and you don't have to remember to water them either.

One dozen Long Stemmed Hearts as shown in last week’s blog post.

As I stated last week, I use Pop Tone colors from French Paper Company, located in Niles, Michigan. I had to order directly from the company to get all the colors I wanted.

Purple and pink Long Stemmed Hearts.

Purple and pink Long Stemmed Hearts.

One of the things I love about these hearts is that I don’t have to remember to water them. I can leave for a week or two without worrying about them. No wilting. No watering. As a matter of fact, it’s not advisable to water them at all.

I love the bright colors of these Long Stemmed Hearts.

I love the bright colors of these Long Stemmed Hearts.

All week, I just kept making all different colors of folded paper hearts. I kept trying out how different color combinations looked together. It was so much fun!

Green and yellow Long Stemmed Hearts.

Green and yellow Long Stemmed Hearts.

The vases I used for most of today’s photos used to hold balsamic vinegar. They make great vases. I bought the balsamic vinegar at Trader Joe’s years ago. I don’t know if they still sell it in these glass bottles. I added the band of red cord to coordinate the vase with the wrapping of embroidery thread on the hearts.

Pastel Long Stemmed Hearts.

Pastel Long Stemmed Hearts.

I have also found lovely vases at yard sales and estate sales. Look around and you’re likely to find the perfect vase for your Long Stemmed Hearts.

Lots of colorful Long Stemmed Hearts.

Lots of colorful Long Stemmed Hearts.

For instructions, see my blog post: DIY Long Stemmed Hearts.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Long Stemmed Hearts

I made some long stemmed hearts a number of years ago for Valentine’s Day. Recently, I noticed that a number of the colors had faded from being in the sun. So, I decided to make them again using fade resistant papers. I also decided to simplify the process I and share my instructions here.

These paper long stemmed hearts look great in these three vases I purchased years ago from Ikea.

These paper long stemmed hearts look great in these three vases I purchased years ago from Ikea.

I got a variety of colored papers from French Paper Company which is located in Niles, Michigan. I used their line of Pop Tone colors. These papers are some of the most lightfast, fade resistant papers available. They come in a wonderful variety of colors, too.

Instructions for making my Long Stemmed Hearts.

This is how I make my Long Stemmed Hearts.

Instructions:

  1. Cut paper 8.5″ by 2.5″ with the paper grain going the 2.5″ direction. Fold the paper in half like in #1 above (note: the fold is on the right). If you don’t know about paper grain, check out my blog post that explains it at: Understanding Paper Grain Direction.
  2. Draw an arc in pencil like in #2 above. It should be just a bit higher on the fold line (that’s where the center of the heart will be).
  3. Cut the arc and start folding. Fold towards the center fold as in #3 above.
  4. Continue folding as in #4 above, folding each fold in half.
  5. Continue folding as in #5 above, folding each fold in half again.
  6. Continue folding as in #6 above, folding each fold in half again.
  7. Put the accordion folded heart into a bulldog clip as in #7 above (or secure it with rubber bands). Tie embroidery thread around the bottom of the heart using a square knot. Put a dab of glue on the knot.
  8. Wrap the long end of the thread around the knot about a dozen times with the short end of the thread still visible above the wrapping. Tie the ends together with a square knot. Glue around the thread, including the knot as in #8 above. You can see the wet glue in the photo, but it dries clear. I used PVA glue, but a white glue like Elmers would work well too. Cut the thread after the glue is dry. For those wanting a super clean looking wrap, put the thread on a needle and thread it under the now glued wrapped thread.
  9. Push a bamboo skewer through the center of the heart, between the center fold and the thread. Push the skewer all the way down to where the thread goes around the heart. Gently open the heart. It should look like # 9 above.
One dozen red paper long stem.med hearts. Make your own and look for unique ways to display them

One dozen red paper long stemmed hearts. Make your own and look for unique ways to display them

These are fun to make. And now that I have simplified how I make them, they go fairly quickly. Before I actually sewed the folds at the bottom of each heart. This way is much quicker.

These paper long stemmed hearts won't wilt and you don't have to remember to water them either.

These paper long stemmed hearts won’t wilt and you don’t have to remember to water them either.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Playing With My New Chiyogami Papers

This past week I’ve been making paper lotus flowers, origami mandalas and paper wrapped pencils out of the new Chiyogami papers I received from Washi Arts. I shared the photo of the papers I received on my last post and here is what I’ve been doing with them.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

I love these papers! The colors are spectacular and they fold beautifully. Yes, they are expensive, but so worth it.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

Paper Lotus Flower, Origami Mandala and paper wrapped pencils made from Chiyogami paper.

If you haven’t tried Chiyogami paper, treat yourself to a sheet. It’s a wonderful experience.

Enjoy, Candy

Chiyogami Papers From Washi Arts

Just what I needed to raise my spirits, my paper order from Washi Arts arrived! After spending most of the past week in the hospital at the bedside of a family member, receiving these papers was just what the doctor ordered. It put a smile on my face.

These Japanese Chiyogami papers arrived at the right time to raise my spirits.

These Japanese Chiyogami papers arrived at the right time to raise my spirits.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Paper Lotus Flowers

My studio this past week has been a chair beside a hospital bed. A dear family member had a massive stroke. It’s been an emotional week, but making paper lotus flowers has proved to be calming and meditative.

Paper Lotus Flower made from Chiyogami and metallic silver papers.

Paper Lotus Flower made from Chiyogami and metallic silver papers.

Luckily I had already cut the papers for a number of paper lotus flowers. I simply put the papers, waxed linen thread, scissors, a pencil and a clipboard in a box and took it with me to the hospital.

Paper Lotus Flowers

Paper Lotus Flowers

I sat and was present while we listened to soothing music. I folded while my family member slept.

This Paper Lotus Flower was made from wrapping paper and gold metallic paper.

This Paper Lotus Flower was made from wrapping paper and gold metallic paper.

Paper Lotus Flowers

Paper Lotus Flowers

Paper Lotus Flower

Paper Lotus Flower

Paper Lotus Flowers

Paper Lotus Flowers

With love, Candy

Spending Time With Loved Ones

A dear family member just had a stroke. I am spending time with them rather than writing the instructions for my Long Stemmed Hearts. You can look forward to the instructions coming for these soon.

Soon I will be posting instructions for making these Long Stemmed Hearts.

Soon I will be posting instructions for making these Long Stemmed Hearts.

With Love, Candy

Studio Snapshot – 2017 Lotus Flower Calendar

My 2017 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar is finally finished. I got busy and didn’t make one for 2016, but I really missed having it sitting my my desk. So, I made sure I got one made for next year.

My 2017 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar and the lotus flower that is on the cover.

My 2017 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar and the lotus flower that is on the cover.

I think it’s finished. I’ve been working on my calendar for the past 3 weeks. I will proof it one more time before having it printed.

My 2017 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar features a photo of a different lotus flower for each month.

My 2017 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar features a photo of a different lotus flower for each month.

What I love most about my Lotus Flower Calendar is that it makes me feel so much peace and tranquility when I look at it.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – From Blobs To Birds

I was testing out some watercolor combinations and ended up with a number of splotches and blobs on my paper. A little playing with these and I ended up with some cute little birds.

Two little birds made from watercolor blobs.

Two little birds made from watercolor blobs. Mother and son?

It’s really simple. Make some somewhat circular watercolor blobs on a paper. Outline the blobs with a waterproof marker. Then add details like dots for eyes, squiggles for the tail, a triangle for a beak, lines for the legs and feet, and possibly a wing.

These little birds are so easy to make. Just a watercolor blob and a few lines.

These little birds are so easy to make. Just a watercolor blob and a few lines.

These are so cute. They can be added to envelopes, place cards, journal pages and so much more. I think these would make a great children’s activity.

A page from my sketchbook showing a few birds made from blobs of watercolors.

A page from my sketchbook showing a few birds made from blobs of watercolors.

I am pretty sure I saw something like this somewhere, but I can’t remember where, probably on the internet. It might have been done with fingerprints. Anyway, play around with this and come up with your own playful little birds.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel: Embrace

A couple of weeks ago, I showed the latest Earth Spirit Vessel I was working on. Well, last night I finished it. I have named it Embrace.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace, contains 688 individual pieces of hand folded papers.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace, contains 688 individual pieces of hand folded papers.

Looking in from the top of Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace. All the green papers are hand painted paste papers.

Looking in from the top of Earth Spirit Vessel, Embrace. All the green papers are hand painted paste papers.

To see photos of it in its early stage see: Studio Snapshot – Starting Another Earth Spirit Vessel

Enjoy, Candy

Helen Hiebert’s New Calendar for 2017

Paper artist Helen Hiebert has a Kickstarter campaign going on to fund her new 2017 Calendars. These are not your ordinary calendars, each month includes a paper project along with instructions.

This is the cover of Helen Hiebert's new 2017 Calendar.

This is the cover of Helen Hiebert’s new 2017 Calendar.

The calendar is filled with fun paper projects to enjoy each month. Every page features photo of the completed project, an interesting paper quote, a list of materials and tools you’ll need to complete the project, plus step by step photos and easy-to-follow instructions.

This is December's calendar page.

December 2016 is a bonus calendar page, so there are actually 13 paper projects included in this calendar!

To purchase your own calendar, check out: Helen’s Kickstarter Campaign. I purchased the calendar along with the custom paper pack. Delivery is expected sometime in October. I can hardly wait!

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – More Playing With Paper Cutting

I haven’t spent much time in my studio this past week as I was camping in the high desert of Oregon. It was a wonderful time for me to relax and commune with nature. It was very restorative and I now have a lot more art energy pent up. I’m ready to start working on my art with a new vigor.

After cutting these flowers, I put paste papers behind the cut out portions to give them each unique colors and patterns.

After cutting these flowers, I put paste papers behind the cut out portions to give them each unique colors and patterns.

What time I did spend in my studio was playing around with the paper cutting I started last month. I made a few more flower designs and played with putting some of my paste papers behind them the cut out areas.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

I like the look of these and will continue to explore paper cutting. I am sure this is just the beginning of a new addition to my paper addiction.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

For details about how I cut my cards, check out my blog post: DIY – Playing With Paper Cutting.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

A single hand cut flower backed with painted paste paper.

I photographed my cards on one of my paste papers. To learn more about my paste papers, check out my blog post: Making Paste Papers: Part One.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Hand cut flowers backed with painted paste paper.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Washi Tape Wrapped Pencils

The last time I was up in Portland, I picked up a couple of rolls of paper washi tape at Collage, an art supply store. I didn’t know what I would do with them when I bought them, but I knew I’d figure out something. Yesterday I used the washi tape to wrap pencils.

These two pencils were wrapped with paper washi tape.

These two pencils were wrapped with paper washi tape.

Washi tape is a paper tape that comes in lots of colors and designs. It comes in lots of different widths too. There are so many ways to use this tape. I’ve been afraid to buy too much of it because I’m afraid it could become quite addictive. Other than adding it to decorate envelopes, this is my first attempt at using it.

I cut my washi tape almost the length of my pencil, then started wrapping it around the pencil.

I cut my washi tape almost the length of my pencil, then started wrapping it around the pencil.

Usually I wrap my pencils with scraps of decorated paper (for instructions on that see: Paper Wrapped Pencils). When wrapping pencils, I use acrylic matte medium and it can get a little messy. Using washi tape to wrap pencils is both faster and less messy.

I taped the washi tape on itself to make for a wider tape that would wrap around the pencil.

I taped the washi tape on itself to make for a wider tape that would wrap around the pencil.

I started by cutting my washi tape just a little shorter than my pencil, then wrapping it around the pencil. That worked fine for my first washi tape which was wide enough to wrap around the entire pencil. For the narrower washi tape, I simply taped the tape to itself to make a wider tape. It worked wonderfully.

The finished washi tape pencil.

The finished washi tape pencil.

Then I sharpened the pencils and I was done. I think I’ll visit Collage for more washi tape the next time I’m in Portland. They have the largest selection of washi tape that I’ve seen at any retail store.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Starting Another Earth Spirit Vessel

This past week I started another Earth Spirit Vessel. There’s actually a lot of work that needs to be done before I start building the vessel itself. For this vessel, I chose a pure white paper and combined it with painted paste papers of various shades of green with gold highlights.

This is the beginning of another Earth Spirit Vessel.

This is the beginning of another Earth Spirit Vessel.

I started out with  papers that were 19.5″ by 25″ and then cut them into 2″ by 4″ pieces of paper. On 25 of the pieces of paper I wrote inspirations and quotes related to Nature and Mother Earth.  I then hand folded each of the papers nine times. You can see the triangular folded pieces in the above photo.

This is one of the 25 quotes that I calligraphed for this Earth Spirit Vessel.

This is one of the 25 quotes that I calligraphed for this Earth Spirit Vessel.

After all the preparation, I got to start putting the Earth Spirit Vessel together. I built it one row at a time.

I don't yet have a name for this Earth Spirit Vessel. I think the name will come to me as I continue to build it and decide what I'm going to do with the green as far as a design.

I don’t yet have a name for this Earth Spirit Vessel. I think the name will come to me as I continue to build it and decide what I’m going to do with the green as far as a design.

After I got each row in position, I took off one folded piece at a time and glued it to the piece below. The gluing is not actually necessary, but it means that the shape of the vessel stays intact. Note: I only raised boys, so I know how easily they could dismantle something like this. And although I offer to make my Earth Spirit Vessels without glue, no one has ever taken me up on the offer. I think that’s very smart of them.

View from above of my latest Earth Spirit Vessel in progress.

View from above of my latest Earth Spirit Vessel in progress.

Yes, it does take a lot of work to make each vessel. It’s a wonderfully meditative process and I truly enjoy making each and every one.

Enjoy, Candy

Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen

I have been looking for a flexible fountain pen for a long, long time. I have tried many fountain pens, and purchased a number of them. I used them, but kept looking for one that fit me. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with being a leftie, but the perfect fountain pen seemed elusive, until now.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

Whenever I see someone selling fountain pens, I always ask if they have a flexible fountain pen with a pointed nib, not a broad nib. Greg Minuskin of Nib Retipping was the first vendor who said, “yes, try this.” No fountain pen I have tried has ever come close to this much flexibility. I fell in love with the pen as soon as I tried it out.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I bought the pen 23 days ago and have used it every day since. It’s been the perfect tool to practice my pointed pen calligraphy. With the fountain pen, I can sit anywhere and not have to worry about spilling ink. When I use a dip pen, I always sit at my drafting table in my studio. It’s easy for me to spill ink, so I am careful not to have open bottles of ink anywhere but in my studio. I learned this from experience and a few unintended spills.

My favorite way to practice with my new fountain pen is to sit in my chair in the living room with my Rhodia dot pad and just write whatever comes into my mind. It’s so relaxing, it doesn’t even feel like I’m practicing.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

A plug here for the Rhodia pads. They are my favorite practice pads. I use the dot pads most often and sometimes the unlined pads. Rhodia pads also come in lined and grid patterns, but my favorite is the dot pad. The dots help me keep my writing in a straight line, but they don’t feel like they’re confining my writing. I like my calligraphy to have a little spring, more like a dance than being confined between lines.

I was told that with my Pilot Flex fountain pen, I can only use fountain pen ink. I was told not to even use Higgens Eternal or Noodlers inks in my pen. So, that is one limitation you need to be aware of. I am currently using Pelikan 4001 fountain pen ink. My local art store only had it in blue. I’ll be purchasing some Pelikan Fount India ink from John Neal Bookseller with my next order.

Happy writing, Candy