Friday, October 28, 2011

More Halloween mini photo albums

Here's the second installment of my Halloween mini album frenzy.  What a great time I had inspired by all the artisans and scrappy crafters on Etsy and You Tube.  I learned some new techniques and enjoyed reviving some old ones from my cut and paste layout days on  The Howling, a Gothic magazine I published in the late 1990's and early 2000's!
Of course once again, I used techniques learned form Tim Holtz and altered artists and used materials from Holtz, 7 Gypsies, K and Company, Martha Stewart as well as vintage items from my Halloween stash (you can't take the goth out of this woman, even if she does enjoy steampunk now).  Since these mini photo albums are meant for young- to pre-teen Halloween Trick or Treaters I didn't pull out all the heavy gothic, but tried to make them more fun and whimsical.  We all have to break out of our regular zones from time to time and I guess having a new granddaughter on the way and a nine year old granddaughter, that helps.  (although she will be a gothic fairy for Halloween - I can't wait to make her album!) 
I start out cutting my pages from cereal boxes.  To cover the pages I sometimes emboss colored heavy card stock with Sizzix or Tim Holtz embossing folders and texture fades using my handy dandy Sizzix die cut machine. I love that thing.  I use it all the time. And glue them onto the cereal box pages. o
Next step involves gleing on adding scrapbook papers in Halloween colors to each page and I always use Golden matte gel as the glue because it sticks and stays - a little messy because I use my fingers but it is the best adhesive for paper and embellishments in my eyes.  Once both sides of the cereal pages are covered I cut the whole sandwich with Tim Holtz edge die to create beautiful interesting edges.
For my photo mats, I sometimes I use the background cards from the packing of scrapbook embellishments s because they are just the right size. Or I use heavy card stock for photo mats or more cereal box pieces.
I often make my own tags now using heavy cardstock in parchment or tan colors, just tracing one tag and cutting them out and then adding the hole with a hole punch or gromet punch.
  I love distressing the edges with Ranger inks in Distress colors to make the pages look more finished and vintage. And then the fun starts with embellishments!
I make an insert lots of photo mats and tags for journaling so parents can go back to previous Halloweens or add photos of more than one family member.  I love adding lots of photos and writing in my journals for posterity - wondering how my  grandchildren will view these when they're grown up and hopefully share their stories and memories with their own children.

For the last album I tried a different approach and made a vertical album which will stand up as it's own display with the pages and photos being changed from time to time.
This was fun but I had to remember to flip the back pages upside down - took me a few tries to pull that off, I'll tell you!  Good for the brain though and it's always fun to try a new technique.  I did make a steampunk vertical album for my friend Cindy last year around the topic of The Orient Express but had already forgotten how to pull off a vertical album.  Now I have it down, I need to make a few more.
I was also lucky to find older goodies at Big Lots and other odd places.  As much as I love to use the new lines of my favorite altered arts designers - I also like to include items that aren't currently popular. And after Halloween I will stock up on as many half price items as I can to combine with next year's new designs.
I have already sold the Boo album from the last post so perhaps I'll make a few more on Sat., not sure.  I'm eager to make some baby girl and baby boy albums after making the baby girl one for my soon to be granddaughter!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween mini albums frenzy

When one of my friends asked if I was going to post Halloween mini albums for sale on Etsy, I hadn't thought about it since I'm caught up in the baby girl mode waiting for my second granddaughter to arrive.  But Halloween is my favorite time of year so thanks to Elizabeth I went into my usual obsessive mode of creating and made four books in less than a week.  I love to see a variety of styles and colors, was always that way with weaving scarves and shawls, making beeswax collage etc.
But this had to beat them all in productivity.  And I only spent $3.59 cents.  I already had enough supplies form collecting Halloween items for years in my stash. 
I was very fortunate and kind of went into the zone watching British TV shows, favorite movies (Firefly, "9", The Englishmen Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain) and cluttered up my living room with scrappy goodies until one could not sit or walk, except for my narrow place on the couch. 
Since I've been making these for a few years now, I have a system of  steps.  First I apply all the background pages to chipboard or cereal box cardboard, often cut with Tim Holtz edge dies. Then I add photo mats, next come the embellishments, then the words and scripts. Ribbons and bling with jewel spots are next followed by rubber stamping, flowers, metal pieces, Tim Holtz additions.  I love using  embossing cards (Bingo and Spirals), die cuts, Perfect Pearls  and other accent techniques. The last thing I do is make the tags.  It's like dessert after a large dinner of baked potato, veggies and yummy steak!
Of course I love using all my favorite designers, including 7 Gypsies, K and Company, Graphic 45, Reflections.  But even more fun was looking through my vintage pieces.  I've been collecting these for years and I love adding them to my distressed look.  I'm not a cutesy kind of gal.  As a goth from way back, a VOG (very old goth) I  like an edge to my work and even though these are meant as children's albums, I hope they have enough dark touches to appeal to all those moms out there who really get into Halloween.  I also like to add the New England flavor.  We're known for our dark sides what with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and authors like Nathanial Hawthorne and the nearby town of Salem, Mass., the witch capital of the U.S.  We were brought up on the macabre even in school and ghost stories and witches tales were common folklore. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza 2011

Gypsey Teague, organizer extraordinaire
David Merrit: The Art of Absinthe
As one of the best steampunk only cons in the southeast, I must applaud Gypsey Teague and Marla for another well orchestrated event.  Steampunks from all over the southeast were greeted by the new sign made by Gypsey as we descended upon the Garden Hilton in Anderson, SC on Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 2 for an event filled with 16 quality panels, 2 Victorian tea ceremonies, an absinthe pouring, 3 indie films, musical acts IFB and Valentine Wolfe , 6 authors (Gypsey Teague, Winfield Strock, Tonia Brown, K.G. McAbee, J. M. Lee and myself,) numerous artists, a silent auction, gaming, a plethora of steampunk contraptions, A Victorian bathing excursion and that adventurous spirit of steampunk.
There are so many high points, it will be hard to list them all but I was especially impressed by the variety and high standards of the panels from academic to hands on construction or experimentation.

Shane McElveen, Gail Gray, Curtis Hart
Morlowe Miles and Tina Zukaitis of Rogue Fire
I can only speak to the panels I attended which were a sort of cross section of this growing subculture. I can't decided which was the best.  The Alterity of the Gypsies in and its Contribution to Steampunk Identity by Lynn Childress proved to be a fascinating was unfolding of insights by this Oxford scholar and professor. As she delved into the poem The Scholar Gypsey by Matthew Arnold and  and The Golden Compass by Philip Pulman in a brilliant discussion of how once we leave the safe path to explore other cultures we cross over into a liminal zone where we no longer find ourselves in a transitional doorway.  Her lecture offered revelations like a magical box or the golden compass itself, paced yet powerful manner explaining how such a path influences those who explore the various avenues of steampunk. A deep and profound lecture offering a call to personal  authenticity.
Christine and J.T. Thorpe, Cyndra Woods
And now for something completely different: The Art of Absinthe lecture, pour and tasting by David Merritt where fun was had by all.  David is an extremely charming speaker who can explain as well as pour, while at the same time offering a history. He gave us all the opportunity to learn and sample the various methods of imbibing the Green Fairy such as the bohemian method as well as the traditional techniques for attaining a louche offering first hand tastings and interesting stories gathered in his travels and experiences.
One not to miss was J.T. Thorpe fascinating Steampunk Influences form France  which took us into steam technology and machinery of the late 1800's and early 1900's. It was a shame only ladies were in attendance and highly interested.  The men really missed out.
I was very fortunate to have a standing room turnout for my presentation, The Psychology of Steampunk, which was great fun to address, thanks to the participation of the attendees. It was my first time ever using Power Point and I found it to be a valuable and fairly user friendly tool (blowing up all my previous assumptions). I was thrilled to see the crew of the airship Serpah in attendance and enjoyed the participation of Dr. Gus Dayafter in the discussions which could have gone on for much longer if we'd had the time.Thanks to all who attended. And if anyone did not receive a survey to fill out, please email me or leave a comment and I'll get one to you.

Karen White, artist
Gypsey also had the great insight to start a new feature of the panel this year - Independent Films.  She showcased Aurora, an Australian production, Nickel Children, a film directed by Kevin Eslinger and Browncoats Redemption. Gypsey  announced that next year we will have a full indie film festival with a $100.00 to the best film of the con.

Steampunk tech by Dave Lee of Hatton cross

Jet pack wings by Dave Lee
As with events such as this, part of the overall pleasure is seeing old friends and making new but it's so much more fun with steampunk because your friends always look different.  It was great to spend quality time with my dear friend, Cyndra Woods, watch Ben's performance, have more time than normal with Tina and Morlowe of Rogue Fire and Savage of Savage Emporium and enjoy the company of new friends. Everywhere I looked, the level of creativity was so high, I spent a great deal of my free time taking pictures of the amazing steampunk gear, technology and costumes. Including this awesome jet pack with wings made by Dave  Lee of Hatton Cross.
The vendors were a creative and varied bunch and it was fun to see new artisans breaking out their wares.
I also had a good time during my stint at the author's table while promoting my upcoming steampunk novel, Orchidelerium, since I was joined by Tonia Brown, author of Railroad and Wilhemina Thomas, who presented a panel on gentleman's steampunk gear and clothing earlier during the day. 

The silent auction brought in $196.00 and the Mr. and Mrs. Steampunk contest gathered 330 plus cans for the Clemson Community Care food pantry!   
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