So one of the things I've wanted to do for a long, long time is create my own personalized set of prayer flags. For some reason, I've never been able to manage to do it until now. After crafting two flags for the prayer flag swap, I was inspired to finally create the collection I've been wanting. And boy - did they ever turn out nice!
Here's what the flags started as. I would call this one of the most ultimate de-stash projects I've ever done! That whole mess was almost completely used up, save for some little odds and ends. Miscellaneous scrapbooking paper and do-dads, some feathers and ephemera collected from little moments in my life, and some very special paper hand-printed my grandfather brought back from Tibet (I've been saving that paper just for these flags) - I wanted to use up as much of me in the flags as I could.
Here's the flags in my room - they're too big and my room is too small to fit them all in to one picture!
The two flags on either end of the string are the two flags I recieved for the ones I sent away in the prayer swap. They're what led to the string being created, so I wanted them to start and end it.
And here are the individual flags (there's 15 of them - one of them didn't make it through. My sewing machine tried to eat it up - and succeeded to some degree) . Each of the words is a quality I want to invite more of in to my life. The theory is that when you display them, the wind and the light mingle with the flags, and you allow more of these prayers in to the world (and in turn, the prayers come back to you - karma is beautiful sometimes).
I've always wanted to drabble in to the world of ATC-making, and I finally took the leap this week! I can now understand why so many of you warn that it's flippin' addictive - I almost couldn't stop!! I'm sure more of these will be popping up throughout the year - tiny works of art - I love it! I am officially an ATC addict....
So, my first set of ATCs are based off of my favourite animal - the crow. My best work always seems to revolve around them, and I always return to the poem my boyfriend wrote for me when we were first dating. There's just something magical about them, especially around this time of year, when their sleek, black feathers stand out starkly against the snow. And they seem to be getting in to a ton of trouble lately - so they've been keeping me entertained.
They've been returning in droves now that the south wind has been greeting our incredibly cold neck of the woods. I've been seeing more and more of them by the week. Walking the other day, I saw a bunch hopping and cawing around a pile of garbage and thought 'Man, I wonder if these guys would be a hit at a party...' and then I realized that that garbage pile was probably their kind of party, but...we overlook that rational thought for the sake of inspiration.
I have to say, they look so fine that I want to make TONS more. I've been thinking all week of different crows I could make. There's TONS. I mean - the creepy crow? The wallflower crow. The party animal crow (do you think they'd have party animals? Hmm...)
Next time you go to a party, be on the lookout for the party crows, writing poetry and stealing kisses. Peeking at themselves in mirrors and cawing out the kind of laughs that make your tummy hurt.
So in November I proposed an idea for an OWL with the Harry Potter Craftalong's Winter Semester. It was to be a 'zine. I got the paper cut, had the designs all planned, and then I started to draw and this is what happened...
It turned in to something completely different. With New Years rolling around, it really got me looking at my own life, my goals, and where I wanted to go. I worked through Chris Guillebeau's Annual Review and really enjoyed it. Looking back on the year past, I worked out areas of my life I wanted to improve, with big, general goals that are always so hard to achieve. Things like "accept my inner nerd" and "Make my blog awesome"...it needed a bit more defining. So! That zine turned in to a book of goals. Lovely, easy, do-able goals that I could look at and check off easily, or at least aspire towards.
I left some pages blank so I could add goals as the year goes on. Flexible is what I was aiming for, so the whole book isn't really...neat. I wanted to embrace imperfection and really just get a book made that could come along for the ride with me, without me worrying about it getting damaged and scrumpled.
The pages are sewn in signatures, with a sewing machine stitch down the middle of each set. I also added tabs to the sides of each book - there are 3 different colours, each one representing a daily, weekly, or monthly thing to do. I can flip to them fairly easily and keep on track.
But of course, I couldn't stop there. Each category had between 8 -15 goals (or a few more if I was feeling ambitious). I didn't want to simply tear out each page as I finished it, nor did I want to just leave a big check mark. I wanted to SEE my progress. So here's what I did: I leafed through magazines and cut out circles of interesting patterns and pictures. Each circle represents a 'medal' of sorts. An achievement I can display and proudly show (so far, the few that I've managed to complete have been going inside a mason jar I look at every morning. It feels great). I made super big medals at the end of each 'section' so that if I complete all the goals, I get bragging rights and a righteous medal. Channelling my inner third-grader this year. It seems to be working quite well.
So the zine took on a new form - a wonderful book that I can carry with me and keep track of my goals. It's not quite what I had planned (okay - it really, really wasn't what I had planned) but I'm quite proud of it! IF you want a bit more of a backstory, there's some more about it on my blog. I'm hopefully going to document working through them (tonight - I'm making yogurt. One of the goals in my "Health and Movement" section.) so stay tuned, and thanks for looking!
So I've been wanting to make my own set of runes for about a year now. I hem'd and haw'd over what on earth I was going to make them out of. I didn't have any wood to use, nor did I want to use polymer clay (although there are some NICE looking ones on here. Wowzers!). While going for a winter hike the other day, I came across a stream that hadn't frozen over yet. I saw the most BEAUTIFUL slate rocks under the water, and just knew. They called me. So I spent about two hours scrunched down, staring eagerly in to the stream, dunking my hand in freezing cold water, and collecting around 30 small-ish rocks that just 'felt right'.
Then I took them all home, and cleaned them all (not that the stream didn't do a good job of it, but there were some clay pockets that got on some of the rocks) and then blessed them all in a nice little salt-water, leaf and orange oil bath. Once they dried, I applied my favourite colour of yellow to them, painted the runes on them, and voila!
With traditional runes, one is to feel the markings in the rocks to determine the 'right' rune for their question. In my case, I feel the actual shape of each rock, until I find the one that works for me. It feels a lot more organic, and as odd as it sounds, I think the rocks quite enjoy being tickled constantly.
I set them all out on a table, and as I read each symbol, I ruminated on the qualities associated with each one, and picked the rock that best fit each one. For example, my 'unknowable' rune (to be left blank - you can see it peeking out on a top left of this image) is a lot more...hefty and wide than most of the other rocks. And that's a chip off of one of the rocks, in the lower corner, not a bug. I checked.
They look quite humble upon first glance...
...But turn them the right way, and look at that shine!
So I've been slowly building up a world to write a novel around. Loosely based off of tarot cards (the cultures of the people are based off of the cups, disks, swords and rods of the minor arcana, with specific people representing the major arcana), I've formed each realm (and element) in to a fraction of a continent. The world of Arcana is vast, and incredibly diverse. It's the perfect jumping off point for me to write the novel.
I've been mulling over the map for quite a few months, and finally managed to put the work in to complete it this past week. To make it, I studied maps from my favourite fantasy books (bonus points if any of you can pick out some of my influences. There's a few common ones, and a few obscure ones too!) and extrapolated the best parts from each.
I wanted the map to have an 'old world' kind of look, by using art pastels and a pen and ink (holy crow, does THAT ever take some getting used to!). There's still a few details I plan to add (maybe) but I want to take some time to get to know it as it is, in case I go overboard and make it far too crowded and confusing. I think there's a nice balance right now, so I'd best let it simmer for a while. (don't mind the watermarks. I get antsy when posting my art online without them. Hopefully they're not too invasive. )
Here it is, folks! All nice and rolled up like a true map (I keep it safely tucked away when not in use. So far it's avoided the cataclysmic forces of destruction I tend to wreak on my own art projects. Hopefully it stays that way.)
A full-on view of the whole world. Man, was this picture ever hard to take. The map itself measures about 3 feet across, used from an old roll of industrial craft paper my grandpa gave me, so I had to work to get the shot right, and not end up with a blurry mess. You can see the pastel colour - I took the chalk and rubbed it with q-tips until it blended properly in to the paper. A word of warning, if you use craft paper for anything, beware, as this stuff makes your erasers really, really weird...
There's also the north of the map, which I don't have a picture of (the purple) . Not much to see, just two cities and some mountains. It's pretty sparse (with good reason - it's chilly up there).
I experimented a bit with the title - to the point where I'm quite happy with it. My boyfriend joked that by the time I'm done with this, I'll be like an old withered bard, speaking stories and songs and history of old to these mysterious people of the land I created. I thought that was quite magical, so I added some of that on the bottom.
You can also see the two large islands - where a lush jungle climate and odd, raw-meat eating natives live. They have managed to build a great bridge to connect their two islands - an engineering marvel unmatched by even the great cities of the Empire.
(beginning to feel like a tour guide) Here you can see the details of the upper coast of the land. Not many people settle on this part of the country, as the weather can get harsh, and the people who live here are even harsher.
A detail of the Great Forests. There's three of them in the world, all smack dab in the centre of the continent. People live happily inside of them, but very few people outside of the forest venture in to it and come back out (dun dun duuuuun). City folk fear the forests, threatening their misbehaving children with a fate they themselves would be terrified of.
The centre of the continent - this is where the three capitol cities lie, all a part of the Royal United Empire. Golith, where the monarchy sits, is the relocated ancient city of Seelith, which now lies in ruins to the east of it. Toralle is a trading port, and a city full of theives and scoundrels. Lochmorea (you can't quite see the full name) lies on the coast, and trades frequently with the two islands to the south of it.
Whoo. This is a bit of a funky shot, but it's the best one I could get of the northeast of the continent. The wildlands are...well, wild, and full of a barbaric people that the rest of Arcana knows very, very little about. Nobody goes here. And Deepdown lake...just stay away from there. It's huge, it's deep, and it's terrifying.
And finally a shot of the eastern half of the continent. You can see the large chain of mountains that seperates the continent from the Wildlands - a place few know anything about, as well as the Burninglands, a place of fire and deadly smoke. There's also the large desert that encompasses a large portion of the eastern continent, and look! A lovely compass rose!
So there you have it. The world of Arcana. Let me know what you think, I'm pretty happy to share it, and pretty darn proud of it, too!
I've been itching to make mittens for a long while now, but I find knitted mittens to be too thin for our winters out here, but fabric-lined ones to be too thick for early winter weather. So I chose the happy medium and made some crochet ones!!! And I couldn't be happier with how they turned out!
I was inspired by the old palmistry charts that people collect, and since my grandmother reads palms, I thought it would be an apt gift to work and make for her as well. I tried to keep it simple, since I'm no embroidery expert, but I'm quite happy with how the lines turned out - it's cryptic enough for a muggle to not understand, but covers enough to send some info. I made it to fit my hand, too, so all the mounts and lines fit my own hand.
I might write out the pattern, if anyone's interested. It's a basic mitten, but worked Back Loop Only, so the mitten fills out a bit more, and you get really neat little lines with it. If you make some, let me know how they turned out!!
So I made a bunch of terrariums today out of a set of unused mason jars (Clearly jam-making was not in the cards this year...or the last...), but was left with a bunch of the lids (the kind with the band that spins on) and nothing to do with them. Since I hate to throw things out, and since I'm crafty, I found a wonderful solution to reusing these little lids. And since I'm taking part in the Harry Potter Craftalong's Fall Semester, it has become my Arithmancy project (Make something pi-related. Circles? Yes please.)
TURN THEM IN TO LITTLE MINI-FRAMED PIECES OF ART!!
But no, seriously, they look absolutely gorgeous on a wall - just stick a thumb tack or nail in there, and slide the top of one on to it. No hassles, it's pretty much the easiest, cheapest framed art I've ever seen. And they look real nifty, too, don't they?
Want to make your own? Well aren't you lucky. Here's a (slightly poor-photographed) tutorial to how I made them.
A two-part mason jar lid (the kind with the flat piece and the band that fits around it) Scissors Pencil (optional) Scrapbooking paper, ephemera, photographs - whatever you want to frame!
Taking the inner ring of the band, draw the circle on to the WRONG side of your paper (or, if you're like me - spaz out, draw it on the right side, and then erase it before you frame it...). You can skip this step if you want, and just cut around the band itself, but I find this is a bit more of an accurate way to measure.
Now cut AROUND the circle you just drew. Be sure to give at least 1/4-inch clearance (or at least the size of banded-piece, if you're using a larger lid), or it will wobble around inside the lid and that won't be nice But make sure not to make it too big, or you'll have a heck of a time getting it in to the lid later...
Place your now-cut piece of soon-to-be-art paper on top of the flat part of your lid. Sometimes a drop of glue in between the two layers will help keep them together, but make sure you spread it out so you don't get a lump of glue in the middle of your piece. Also make sure there's a semi-equal amount of paper all around the edge (No need to be exact about it, it will all fit nicely in to the lid in the next few steps)
Now bring in the band! Make a sandwich of the three pieces - starting with the band, then your image/paper, and then the bottom of the flat piece of lid.
Kind of looks like a crafty macaron, don't you think?
Here's the fun part. SQUISH! Carefully, but with gusto (don't hesitate, or your paper will go all screwy), push the flat piece of the lid down in to the band. The edges of the paper will fold up nicely in between the two layers - neatening up the piece without any work! If you happen to have edges of paper sticking up over the edge of the band, just give it a trim with your scissors!
Hooray! Give the flat part an extra squish - you can glue around the edge of the band before you squish them if you want a bit of added security, but I find that they stay together very well. Now you can hang them up on your wall, use them as odd coasters, or what have you. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
And be warned...they have a habit of multiplying when you're not looking...
So I made this set of inchies the other night to display on my desk. I used an old typewriter to get the text, and some scrap paper to make the bases. The paper of the moons themselves are circles cut out of a blank page from an old spell book of my grandmother's.
They're my first set of inchies, and I reckon they turned out quite nice, all things considered. Space-themed inchies seem like something I could get in to. Once you make one, you can't really stop...
I have a predicament that maybe you all can help me with.
I am presently trying to make a set of Tarot cards for my own personal use. I work with collage, and plan on making them in a collage-type ATC kind of style.
But my problem is - how can I protect the cards (as cheaply as possible - there will be 78 of them!!) so that I can use them without worrying about pieces falling off? Lamination? Card protectors? I'm stumped...:S
Alright, so I'm planning on applying to a number of art schools in the near future here, and thus need some sort of...carrying case, presentation-ey case thing for my artwork (portfolio, or what have you) Plus, I live in the middle of nowhere, so it would have to be rather durable so my art gets there in one piece.
The thing is, they're hella expensive. And quite frankly I'm not willing to pay 25 dollars for a skinny, large box of cardboard, and I sure as heck am not dishing out more for leather ones or anything, so I though HEY! Why not make my own? I'd probably score bonus points with the people looking at it, too, possibly.
So does anyone have ANY ideas, tips, suggestions on how I would go about creating a portfolio on my own?