Recycled gift tags

Hi, Vesna here. I think by now you know that I enjoy crafting with recycled items. Creativity doesn’t need to be expensive. I guarantee you that you already have supplies around your house that you didn’t even think you can use in your crafty projects.
As the year is coming to an end and you are getting ready for gift giving this holiday season, I want to help you with making those gifts extra special by adding a handmade gift tag.
Here is a list of supplies you will need:

Recycled-gift-tags

*Cardstock (or blank gift tags that you bough ions ago on sale because they were cheap)
* Scissors
* Glue stick (double sided tape if you have one)
* Ink pad
*From/To stamp or alphabet stamps or Sharpie/marker to hand write from/to
* Twine or yarn or embroidery floss
* Plastic grocery bags
* Envelope with a security print on the inner side from all those bills and credit card offers

Technique:
Cut the plastic grocery bag in strips and make a little bow. Stamp From/To on your tag. Glue the plastic bow on the tag.

Bow

Bow

Recycled gift tag

Or a variation made with the envelope paper. Cut a triangle to resemble a Christmas tree. Cut a small strip of twine, fold it in half and glue it on the bottom of the Christmas tree on the inner side. Add more glue (I used double sided tape) to the tree shape and adhere on your tag. Stamp From/To.

Recycled gift tag

Recycled gift tag

Happy gift giving and a holiday season. And best wishes for more craftiness and creativity in the upcoming year.

Recycled gift tags

In crafty spirit always,
Yours,
Vesna

Mixed media on-the-go

vesna12

Hi, it’s Vesna!  I am being crafty in rainy Seattle where I have been for the last week on an assignment from my day job.  Like many artists I carry a small on-the-go journal.  But when you have to be away from home for 10 days, a journal doesn’t always cut it.  And I don’t want to pack to much stuff, it’s not fun going through airport security.

Here are some of the supplies I take when I have to be away from home for an extended period: a pad of Bristol paper, a watercolor set, some ephemera, coloring pencils/markers, washi tape, glue, small scissors, small embroidery kit.  Sounds like a lot, but aside form the Bristol pad, the rest I fit in a small lunch box (yes, one of those tin lunch boxes, this one with Spider-Man on it).

I want to share two projects with you: one with supplies I brought and the other with supplies I found during travel.

Collaged tags

This is a fun and easy project for anyone, and it doesn’t require too many supplies.

I stained some shipping tags with a bag of tea.  In my hotel room I’d have a cup of tea before bed time.  I sandwiched the tea bag in between the tags after I was done with the tea.  The next day when they dried up I used some of my ephemera (I brought a stack of postage stamps from real snail mail letters I’ve received in the past), a little bit of washi tape, strips of bias tape, I made a few marks with coloring pencils and voila!

Postage stamps

Collaged tags

And now for the other project: Paper Beads!

Whenever you travel look for touristy attraction fliers.  These can be found at the airport or a hotel lobby or sometimes at local restaurants.  You’ve seen them, those racks with pamphlets of local attractions, where to go, what to do.  Well next time grab a stack, the more colorful the better.

Cut them in 1″ strips and trim the strips into long wedges.  After that all you need is a round tooth pick and some glue.  Start rolling the paper on to your toothpick from the wider end of the wedge.  When you come to the last 1/2 inch put some glue and close your paper bead.

Paper beads

Paper beads

Paper beads

On this trip I didn’t bring additonal supplies to turn the paper beads into wearable art.  I have been a bit obsessed lately with making jewelry with paper beads.  You may see some of the jewelry I’ve made on my personal blog.

All for now!  Have fun!!!

Vesna

 

Embroidery hoops assemblage art

bugs

Scientific Illustration, 1954 textbook

Insects intrigue me, although I am grossed out by most of them, except for the pretty ones, like butterflies or bees.  I don’t dare to touch one, unless they are in a non-scary form of a stamp, then I can use them in my artwork.

I especially like to use stamps on Shrinky Dink plastic.  It’s always fun to watch the plastic shrivel and shrink, and the image become smaller and saturated.  And so the main focus in these embroidery hoops are the insects, stamped on Shrinky Dink, and assembled with silk, lace and embroidery stitches.

Materials and tools:

Shrinky Dink

Ink: StazOn permanent – black

Muslin

Silk and lace scraps

Embroidery thread

Sewing machine

Embroidery hoops

Saftey pins (7Gypsies)

Ribbon

Scissors

1/8″ hole punch

 

Instructions:

Stamp your images on to the Shrinky Dink plastic.  Punch holes around the edges and bake according to the package instructions.

Insects assemblage art

Cut a piece of muslin about 1″ larger than the baked shrinky dink.  Layer silk and lace scraps and stitch it either by hand or on your sewing machine.

Insects assemblage art

Insects assemblage art

Secure your shrinky dink on to the collaged muslin by using embroidery thread and stitching through the holes you punched earlier.

Insects assemblage art

Insects assemblage art

Stretch muslin on an embroidery hoop and use safety pins to attach your mini assemblage.  Secure further with using a couple of stitches on the bottom corner. Tie up ribbon on the top of your embroidery hoop.

And you are done!!

Insects assemblage art

Insects assemblage art

 

 

 

Plant pokes from palm tree bark

Hi, Vesna here!

How do you get from ‘words and art’ to ‘plant pokes from palm tree bark’?  Hahahhha.

Well, the challenge this month was really a challenge for me: words and art!  When I think of words in artwork I think that they should suggest some kind of idea, some kind of meaning, something deep, something to make you re-evaluate your thinking, your ideas.  And this works very well for some artists, but not for me.

I think of my work as playful.  If there is any deeper meaning in it, it is to relax, to play, to escape from the every day duties and roles we play in our lives.  These are the very reasons I create.  I want to step away from the real world, from the obligations, from following a schedule, meeting a deadline.  I want to let my inner child be free to do whatever she wishes.  No judgement, no critiques, no deadlines.  Play time!!

What’s important to me in my work is to use materials that are affordable or even better free.  I like free!!  I also like earth-friendly.  I like giving a second chance to items that were going to be trash.

So the other day I was driving around and I noticed palm tree bark all over the neighborhood, in the streets, in people’s yards.  Here in the Arizona desert this is very common.  In the summer we get dust storms with winds strong enough to knock down a tree.  So palm tree bark gets carried by the winds and you can find it all over the place.  And I decided that words, art and palm tree bark will need to work together to help me with this challenge.

I first walked to a neighbor’s yard and picked up some palm tree bark.

Pam tree bark

Then I gathered additonal supplies:

Paint brushes

Paint

Mixed media papers (courtesy of Gauche Alchemy)

Gel medium

Triple thick glaze

Ink

Alphabet stamps

Shish kabob skewers

Metal cutting shears

Plant pokes from palm tree bark

I tried cutting the bark with regular scissors.  This did not work.  I didn’t know that the bark is soooo hard.  It’s very light, but very hard.  So I used metal cutting shears to cut the palm tree bark in circle/oval shapes.  And I cut down the mixed media papers to the same shape but slightly smaller than the palm tree circles.

Plant pokes from Palm tree bark

Earth-friendly-crafts

I used gel medium to adhere the paper onto the bark.

Earth-friendly-crafts

I stamped words on blank paper (printing paper is fine).  I thought nature themed words were suitable.  They are usually positive and perhaps relaxing.

Earth friendly crafts

Use gel medium again to glue them in the center.

Earth-friendly-crafts

I used paint, including puffy paint to further decorate them.

Earth friendly crafts

When the paint is dry, you can use triple thick glaze to coat the bark.  It will make it shiny and more durable.

Plant pokes form palm tree bakr

Then use E6000 to glue the skewers on to the back.

Earth friendly crafts

Once the skewers are glued and the glue is dry you are ready to add a little whimsy to your household plants.  Stick your plant pokes in the different plants around your home.  I hope they add a little smile every time you see them.

Earth friendly crafts

Earth friendly crafts

Earth friendly crafts

Mixed Media Postcards

One of my favorite things to do is to send out and receive letters and postcards.  It’s a leftover habit from the 90’s when I was an exchange student and this was a way to communicate and keep in touch with friends across the ocean.

Nowadays emails, blogs and social media have replaced most of the snail mail.  Letters and postcards are few and far between.  So whenever I get a chance, I don’t waste it.

When I looked through the kits I got from Gauche Alchemy, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.  So much good stuff!  What to choose, what to use first?!  I had to calm my senses first.  I don’t overthink it, I just pick what I am drawn to.  Keep it simple. No more than a handful of items, and go!

So I picked a yearbook page (with all male class, wink!), the bubblegum pink delusions spray ink, a little bit of punchinella, and a few words.

I did use a couple of my own supplies (stamps, ink, Bristol smooth surface paper).

image

Start by cutting your paper into postcard size (4×6 is a good start).  Spray the center with water, then use a brush to dip in the ink and spread the color around.

image

image

Cut out a few individuals from the yearbook page.  This is the fun part. Audition your person, your words, your bits of paper/punchinella.

image

image

image

Once you decide on your design, use gel medium to adhere it to the paper.  Use a brush and cover the back with gel medium, position it on your postcard, then brush the front and around.  Do the same with the word, the punchinella, or whatever ephemera you use to embellish.image

As a final touch, I like to add a few stitches to my project.  So I stitched the the edges of the word.

image

Have fun playing!

image

Supplies used:

Punchinella

Undressed Mixed Media Kit (words and vintage yearbook pages)