Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Envelopes Part 2

Front View
Today we are continuing the week with handmade envelopes. Here is a second attempt to try and find the balance between materials and aesthetics. The above is the front of an envelope utilizing some dried leaves. The evergreen sprig to the left looks much better than the washed out leaves on the right. Unfortunately, the placement of the leaves provides limited space for addressing the envelope.

Back View
For the back, I decided to not line the top flap with card stock. The card that is being sent will provide enough heft for the envelope to be sent through the mail. Without the additional card stock on the flap, the dried leaves (or flowers) will show through the glassine flap. This will allow a larger variety of dried flowers to be used. Also, this will provide easier access to open the envelope. The bigger difficulty here is how to secure the envelope without glue or tape being visible.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Envelopes Part 1

Front of envelope

This week will be dedicated to envelopes. I have been making handmade envelopes for quite awhile but I haven't really shared my latest version. Right now, I am experimenting with glassine paper and dried flowers. This is my first attempt and while I am happy with some aspects of it, other issues have me scratching my head.

The first question is "how much is too much"? As you can see, it is easy to go overboard with the flowers and leaves.

Back of envelope (open)
The second question is "How do you secure the envelope"? Normally, I would be but a piece of double stick tape across the back flap horizontally. The problem with doing this is how to open the envelope without tearing the envelope and without destroying the flowers.

Back flap (top)
The third question is "how much overlap do I allow for the flowers"? Should the entire flower show on the back side of the envelope? If so, then this limits how many and what type of flower is used. If part of the flower is covered, do you get the same effect? Is anyone else going to care about it as much as I do?

Back of envelope (closed)
The fourth question  is "how to I tell the recipient to open the envelope carefully" and finally, "how do I prevent flower dust, parts, and other detritus from getting glued to the card." As you can see, the envelope is made in layers. There is the glassine paper and it is strengthened by white card stock. The flowers are glued directly to the card stock. The card stock is then placed in the Xyron machine and glued to the glassine paper.

This was a mock up for a bridal announcement. Of course, the bride changed her mind after the presentation.

Friday, October 13, 2017

More Mail Art

Another bird in the mail (front)
For today's mail, I had to do some research to determine the largest sized postcard that can be sent in the mail. The answer is 6 1/4 inches (short side) by 11 1/2 inches but you have to use first class postage. To use postcard postage, the postcard can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches (short side) by 6 inches. I was OK in that my postcard was 6 by 9 inches.

I had a leftover piece of this decorative paper that I wanted to use and it fit perfectly on the postcard. The image is too large for most applications but this worked out perfectly. I then used a hummingbird stencil to alter the paper. The recipient also likes used postage stamps so I looked through my stash to find bird postage stamps including a US hummingbird stamp to match the stencil.

Another bird in the mail (back)
Because I was afraid that the postcard wasn't sturdy enough to make it through the mail, I glued a piece of card stock to give it some heft. I then used some clear stamps to stamp the images. I colored the stamped images with Copic markers. I added two more used postage stamps to complete the postcard. I wanted to add more stamps but I realized that I needed room for the address and the greeting. Sometimes deciding when enough is enough can be very trying.

Since I had never dealt with this card stock, I didn't know how the Copic markers would react with the paper. Whenever I am unsure, I do a color study on a scrap piece of the same material. This way I can finalize the colors and see how they react with the paper and the paper's color.

Color Study 1

Color Study 2
The color designations refer to Copic markers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mail Art

Birds in the mail (front)

I realize that I have been away from blogging for an extended period. With the holiday this past Monday, I just couldn't get things together to post. The biggest problem is that I forgot what I had already posted so I had to review the blog to see what I had already done. I have been sharing posts on Instagram so I get a little confused as to what has already been posted and where.

Today's and tomorrow's post will be mail art that I am sending out. This week it seems that everyone on my swap-bot feed is into birds. This person likes birds and bird houses.

Birds in the mail (back)

For the front of the envelope, I lettered the address and then used a stencil and alcohol inks to decorate. The recipient likes blues and pinks.

For the back of the envelope I did something a little different. I outlined the images with a Micron .01 pen. I then placed the stencil back on the envelope and sprayed alcohol inks to color the images. This was done in three stages. I used brown for the bird and bird house (while masking the bottom of the stencil). I then covered the top of the stencil and colored the pink flowers on the bottom of the stencil. I removed the stencil and sprayed a purple ink over the entire envelope.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Studio and Craft Hacks--Day 5

This is probably one of the hacks that I am most proud. I am forever shopping at Target and I will buy many items not knowing exactly what I am going to do with them. This was the case with these plastic trays that were available prior to this new school year. I was attracted to them because I thought they would provide a pop of happy color in my studio.  They were on sale for $3 each so I thought they were a bargain. They came in five colors (the four above and a nice blue). I bought the four colors shown and called it a day.

I didn't know exactly how I was going to use them. I got frustrated digging through my shoe box of washi tape every time that I wanted to use it. Unfortunately, if I don't see something, I won't use it. It was simply taking too much time to sort through my washi tape that I would just use something else.

I was searching online for a different product and I came across this image:

and I thought I can do that. I had the dowels and I was going to make my own box/case when I remembered that I these Target trays.

I decided to use my heavy duty bookbinder's awl to make the holes. I widened the holes to accept the size of the dowels that I already had. I then cut the dowels to size using my Exacto mini-saw and I was in business.

As you can see in the original photo above. The green tray was the first to design and I didn't realize how much space I needed between the dowels. Once I figured it out, the second and third trays were easy to assemble.

Tray one
Tray two
Tray three
Tray four
As you can see in the last tray, I left one without dowels so I could store my oversized rolls of tape. I really like how these worked out. I can see all of my tape at a simple glance. I don't worry about the size of the rolls or widths of the rolls as they are easy to access. There is also room for extra rolls that I have been too lazy to put back on the dowels. More importantly, this limits the amount of tape that I can get. I have started to follow my "new book" rule--before I can add a new roll of washi to my collection, I must get rid of one roll.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Studio and Craft Hacks--Day 4

Postage Envelope

OK. So this might not be an earth shattering hack like an IKEA hack or something. But it is an organizational tool that is really helpful if you do a lot of mailing like I do. This is my postage envelope. They are really called check accordion envelopes in that they are supposed to be used for storing and sorting cancelled checks--but really, do people still write checks?

Some people use them for coupon sorting which is where I got the idea. Not only do I collect used postage stamps, I also collect current US postage--mainly because I mail lots of stuff. I have always needed to find the correct postage quickly and I came up with this idea.

Each of the folds holds an envelope with different postage. I keep the forever stamps nearer the front. After that, the stamps/envelopes are put in ascending order according to price.

Forever stamps up front
Stamps in ascending order
Marked stamps
On the outside of the envelope, I also label the special needs for certain type of stamp so it is easier to calculate postage. Additional ounce (Forever stamp plus additional ounce stamp).

Square cards cost more (and even more if they are overweight)
The big denominations are in the back ($1 and $2) plus all of the oversize stamps.

Also in the back are extra envelopes should I need to mail something out in a hurry (like bills, etc.). I have regular envelopes, decorated envelopes and handmade envelopes depending on the need and situation.

Special Envelopes

So, I always travel with my postage envelope. I just throw it in my bag or backpack and away I go.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Studio and Craft Hacks--Day 3

My stencil album

This is another craft room hack that is a little too easy but it is a great and useful way to organize my massive collection of stencils. Originally, I was storing my stencils in a 12 by 12 inch paper bin. The problem is that I would have to untangle and go through all of the stencils to find the one that I wanted.

As I was wandering through Michaels, I came across a photo album that  held scrapbook pages. Also, I came across plastic top loading sleeves to hold individual scrapbook pages. I went home and researched the products and found some nice scrapbook albums and storage sheets at Amazon. Each sleeve has a piece of 12 by 12 card stock and there is a stencil on both sides of the card stock. This makes it easy to quickly view and choose the stencils that I want.

Plastic Sleeve with card stock and stencil

I have two books (although the 12 by 12 book is almost filled). One book is for full sized stencils and the second book is for stencils smaller than 12 by 12. In the second book, I put several stencils on a page and use washi tape to keep them in place.