Monthly Archives: May 2014

DIY Father’s Day Tie Gift Bags

Last year I shared some of my Father’s Day Tie Gift Bags. They were very popular, so I made some more for this year. In addition, I have included my templates to make it super easy for you to make some of your own.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag What father wouldn't love a peacock feather tie?

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – What father wouldn’t love a peacock feather tie?

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - My sun suggested this paper for a traditional looking tie.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – My son suggested this paper for a traditional looking tie.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - For those non-traditional fathers, I like this tie made from paste paper I made.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – For those non-traditional fathers, I like this tie made from one of my paste papers.

Start with a white 9″ x 12″ envelope with the flap at the top, the kind you get at office supply stores. Cut off the flap and make slits in the sides about 2″ below the envelope opening and then fold down these new flaps to make the “collar.” I have included a diagram with the downloadable tie and knot template.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - This butterfly paper is a scrapbook paper.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – This butterfly paper is a scrapbook paper.

Next comes the fun part—finding  a paper that would look good as a tie. With all the closets full of papers I have, deciding on just a few papers is really hard. Is there such a thing as having too much paper?

To make things simpler for myself, I’ve made cardboard templates for the tie and the knot. I even added a half inch on the sides so that I have extra paper that I can fold in. I think it looks a little more “tie-like” with the sides folded. The tie template includes the half inch sides. If you want to make yours super simple, you can just cut your template so there are no sides to fold in (just cut on the fold lines instead of the cut lines).

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - This paper is actually embroidered with flowers.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – This paper is actually embroidered with flowers.

I suggest printing the template out on thick card stock. Or, if you’re handy with a hobby knife, gluing the printout to some posterboard and cutting it out for a sturdy template to use again and again.

Next lay your template on your chosen paper, and move it around till you find just the right spot for that particular paper. You can see that I positioned the embroidered flowers at the center of the bottom of the tie (see photo above). This was actually planned (at least this time it was).

After cutting and folding, the knot needs to be glued to the tie. I know that my knot isn’t technically the correct shape, but I decided I liked the way it looked graphically. So I went with visually appealing graphic rather than trying for realism. If you wish realism, you can paste the knot upside down from the way I have done here. I use PVA glue as my adhesive, but if you are making your own you can use pretty much any craft glue.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - For father's going to a black tie event, try this tie (or the one below).

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – For father’s going to a black tie event, try this tie (or the one below).

Father's Day Gift Bag - Another tie perfect for a black tie affair.

Father’s Day Gift Bag – Another tie perfect for a black tie affair.

I decided the ties should be removable, so I attach them to the envelopes with small pieces of adhesive Velcro under the knot.

The paper collars tuck nicely behind the knot of the tie, which also holds the bag closed. They are not glued. And, yes, I know that in real life the collar goes in front of the tie, but I like how this folds closed so easily. No tape needed, just a small piece of adhesive Velcro to hold the tie in place.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - Another somewhat traditional paper for a tie.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – Another somewhat traditional paper for a tie.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - This is a blue paste paper I made. Blue is traditionally a favorite color for ties. This one has a bit of gold too.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – This is a blue paste paper I made. Blue is traditionally a favorite color for ties. This one has a bit of gold too.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - This is a hand marbled paper. I could so see this as an actual tie.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – This is a hand marbled paper. I could so see this as an actual tie.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - This paper reminds me of art deco. I even made a paper lotus flower from this paper.

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – This paper reminds me of art deco. I even made a paper lotus flower from this paper.

Father's Day Tie Gift Bag - Another of my hand made paste papers for those fathers who prefer a darker blue (also with gold).

Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag – Another of my hand made paste papers for those fathers who prefer a darker blue (also with gold).

I hope you enjoy this project. Even though I originally thought of this because of Father’s Day, this gift bag could be used for birthdays and many other gift-giving occasions.

For more photos of my Father’s Day Tie Gift Bags from last year, click here.

Download: Father’s Day Tie Gift Bag template

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Paper Flowers From Book Pages

I love finding new ways to reuse or upcycle, especially when it turns things that would otherwise have been thrown away into works of art. When I found a tutorial on making flowers out of old book pages, I simply had to try it.

For this Paper Flower I used pages from a paperback with missing pages from James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer. In the center is a button that looked a little like it could have been carved from an antler.

For this Paper Flower I used pages from a paperback with missing pages from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer. In the center is a button that looked a little like it could have been carved from an antler.

A few years ago at an estate sale, I filled bag after bag with paperback books that were about to go to the dump. My poor car’s trunk was never so literary in its life. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them all, and I’m loving the anticipation. I’ve upcycled Eco-Holders, played with papier maché, and am now frolicking with these lovely flowers.

Here are folded pieces of a wine and winery book and some colorful scraps of paper waiting to become a flower.

Here are folded pieces of a wine and winery book and some colorful scraps of paper waiting to become a flower.

This is the paper flower made from the wine and winery book from above. In the center of the flower is an old button.

This is the paper flower made from the wine and winery book from above. In the center of the flower is an old button.

I decided to try making a flower out of Sunday comics. I found another vintage button to use for the center.

I decided to try making a flower out of Sunday comics. I found another vintage button to use for the center.

Here's my Rainbow Flower made from scraps of colored paper left over from another project. I simply had to play with more than just book pages.

Here’s my Rainbow Flower made from scraps of colored paper left over from another project. I simply had to play with more than just book pages.

Paper flowers with some of my vintage buttons. I decided to use buttons for the center of my flowers. Beads would work well too.

Paper flowers with some of my vintage buttons. I decided to use buttons for the center of my flowers. Beads would work well too.

I discovered the tutorial for these flowers on knityogo.blogspot.com. Here’s the link to what she calls her Book Page Blooms Tutorial.

Happy upcycling, Candy

Paper Sculpture by Ron Chespak

I have just returned from a quick trip to Southern California to attend a family member’s graduation ceremony. While there, I had a free day on Thursday and decided to visit the Ron Chespak Paper Sculpture Gallery in Palm Springs. Imagine my disappointment to find no gallery (although it was listed on the Palm Springs website), and that Ron Chespak had died in 2005 of liver cancer at the age of 45.

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

I love his paper sculpture, which is both exquisite and minimalist at the same time. I’m sharing some of his work here. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I do.

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

Paper sculpture by Ron Chespak

The Whimsical Verse of Olly-O written by Molly James and illustrated by Ron Chespak

The Whimsical Verse of Olly-O written by Molly James and illustrated by Ron Chespak

Ron Chespak’s website no longer exists, but you can see more of his work in Molly James’ book, The Whimsical Verse of Olly-O, which he illustrated.

Enjoy, Candy

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

I made this for my mother many years ago.

I made this for my mother many years ago.

Hugs to all, Candy

DIY Star Card

I gave a demo of this Star Card during the First Friday Art Walk last week. It was a big hit. And, as promised, I’m sharing the instructions with you so you can make your own. It looks more difficult to make than it really is, so get out your paper and straight edge, and get ready to fold!

Mother's Day Star Card, closed and open.

Mother’s Day Star Card, closed and open.

The Star Card is made from an equilateral triangle. All that means is that all three sides of the triangle are the same length. This card can be made any size. I made mine from an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper which I cut into an 8 1/2″ by 8 1/2″ square. I suggest that the first few times when making this card you use a text-weight paper. It’s so much easier to fold. After you have made a few and have gotten the hang of it, go ahead and try it with card stock and score along the fold lines before folding.

Find the middle of one of the sides and draw a pencil line down about 2" to 3."

Find the middle of one of the sides and draw a pencil line down about 2″ to 3.”

We know that we want all the lines of the triangle to be 8 1/2." We know that the bottom of the square is 8 1/2." So now draw a pencil line from the bottom corner up to intersect with the line that is drawn down from the middle that is also 8 1/2."

We know that we want all the lines of the triangle to be 8 1/2.” We know that the bottom of the square is 8 1/2.” So now draw a pencil line from the bottom corner up to intersect with the line that is drawn down from the middle that is also 8 1/2.”

Do the same from the other corner.

Do the same from the other corner. These will be your guides for cutting the triangle.

Cut out the triangle and mark the midpoint on each of its sides.

Cut out the triangle and mark the midpoint on each of its sides.

Fold each corner of the triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side.

Fold each corner of the triangle to the midpoint of the opposite side.

The next fold is 1/3 of the distance from the fold you just made to the corner of the triangle. Do this with each of the three corners.

The next fold is 1/3 of the distance from the fold you just made to the corner of the triangle. Do this with each of the three corners.

Do this to the other sides as well.

Do this to the other sides as well.

Now fold the star as you would fold the top of a cardboard box to keep it from flopping about, tucking each flap under the one next to it.

Now fold the star as you would fold the top of a cardboard box to keep it from flopping about, tucking each flap under the one next to it.

Erase the pencil lines and embellish your Star Card. You can paste decorative paper of equilateral triangles that are just a bit smaller than the triangles of the card. I used glue stick for mine.

Erase the pencil lines and embellish your Star Card. You can paste decorative paper of equilateral triangles that are just a bit smaller than the triangles of the card. I used glue stick for mine. I also cut paper for some other shapes and the center of the card.

These Star Cards can be made of any size. I made the smaller ones from the scraps left over from my making my larger triangle.

These Star Cards can be made of any size. I made the smaller ones from the scraps left over from my making my larger triangle.

These Star Cards can be made of any size. I made the smaller ones from the scraps left over from my making my larger triangle. Another way to make equilateral triangles A compass is a great tool that will make making equilateral triangles a snap. It’s really quite easy and it can make better use of your paper too.

Open the compass to the size you want to make the sides of your triangle. Mark the length of the compass opening along the straight edge of the paper you are using. This will be the bottom of your triangle. Here I am using the scrap from the Star Card I just made.

Open the compass to the size you want to make the sides of your triangle. Mark the length of the compass opening along the straight edge of the paper you are using. This will be the bottom of your triangle. Here I am using the scrap from the Star Card I just made.

With the point of the compass at one of the bottom points, mark at about where you thing the top of the triangle will be. Make the mark an inch or two. Do the same from the other bottom point of the triangle. Where the two cross, that's the third point of your triangle.

With the point of the compass at one of the bottom points, mark at about where you think the top of the triangle will be. Make the mark an inch or two. Do the same from the other bottom point of the triangle. Where the two cross, that’s the third point of your triangle.

This shows the triangle cut out of the scrap paper.

This shows the triangle cut out of the scrap paper.

You can use this method to make your triangles to decorate your Star Card, like the ones in the photo below.

My Mother's Day Star Card and some others that I have decorated.

My Mother’s Day Star Card and some others that I have decorated.

I hope you enjoy playing with equilateral triangles and Star Cards. I know I have enjoyed making mine. Enjoy, Candy

Mighty Is The Pen—Calligraphy Show

June is fast approaching, and I will be participating in a group calligraphy show titled “Mighty Is The Pen—Calligraphers With A Social Conscience.” The show will be held at the Hilltop Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. Some of the best calligraphers from the Northwest will be showing their work, and I am honored to have been invited to show my work among them.

This is the beginning of one of my pieces for the show "Mighty if the Pen - Calligraphers with a Social Conscience"

This is the beginning of one of my pieces for the show “Mighty is the Pen—Calligraphers with a Social Conscience”

I’ve been working on combining my calligraphy with my paste papers. The “Somewhere” above is a detail of one of the pieces I’m currently working on. If successful, the final piece will be printed on metal and hung in the gallery. The file was sent to the printer last week, and I should receive it in a day or two. I don’t know how it will turn out, so I have my fingers crossed in anticipation.

Some of you have asked to see more of the process involved with the making of my art, so I am sharing a bit of it here. I don’t want to show the final pieces until after the show is hung, but I will share some of the process I am going through.

Paste paper that has been enhanced in Photoshop. This is what is behind the calligraphy of Somewhere above.

This is the original of what is behind the calligraphy of Somewhere above. It was enhanced in Photoshop (see below).

This is the original paste paper that my son and I are working with in Photoshop. It became the background behind the “Somewhere” above. Due to the nature of the piece, I felt it needed a universe/milky way kind of feel for the background, and this one reminded us of nebulae and star clusters. The paste I used for this paste paper was methyl cellulose. It is a bit more unpredictable and more watercolor-like as a paste than my cooked paste recipe.

This is part of the same paste paper (above) that has been worked on in Photoshop.

This is part of the same paste paper (above) that has been worked on quite a bit in Photoshop. It’s darker and hopefully more space-like.

This is a new process for me, combining my calligraphy and paste paper. It is a lot more complicated and is taking a lot more time than I ever imagined. I am so thankful for my son’s help with this project. I don’t think I would have started this project if it were not for his help and encouragement. And I’m still not sure of the final outcome or whether it will ever make it up on a wall.

This is my camera. It's actually an iPod Touch that I use as my camera. Most all of the photos in my blog have been taken with my iPod Touch.

This black and steel gray Earth Spirit Vessel is called Balance.

I’ve also been working on some new Earth Spirit Vessels, some of which will be in the show as well. You can see more information on them on my blog post: Earth Spirit Vessels.

Previously, when making my Earth Spirit Vessels, I just started with a vague notion of what I was going to try in my head. Nothing was ever written down or sketched out. Now, while I do occasionally play with colors and patterns and ideas as you can see in the photo above, I still do most of the vessel design during the course of making the actual vessel. Here I’ve been playing around with possible color combinations for my next vessel. I’ve made about half a dozen of these little “vignettes” and these are my current favorites.

With my latest order of paper, I got a new Hahnemühle Ingres color: green. Here I am trying it out with several other papers to see which colors might work best with it.

With my latest order of paper, I got a new Hahnemühle Ingres color: green. Here I am trying it out (on left) along with a couple other color combinations.

With all the folding, doing the calligraphy, building the vessel, and making the base out of burl wood, it takes me one to two weeks to make each vessel, and I enjoy the meditative aspect of the work involved in making my Earth Spirit Vessels. With the weather warming, I find myself starting my days by going out on my balcony in the mornings, and folding for an hour or so. It’s a wonderful way to start the day.

This photo shows the burl wood that is going into one of my Earth Spirit Vessels.

This photo shows the burl wood that is going into one of my Earth Spirit Vessels.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, June 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilltop Gallery in Ashland, Oregon.

Enjoy, Candy