Saturday, April 29, 2006

Book of Dreams {Freestylin'}

How cool is this?! Hanna in Sweden made us a button for the Book of Dreams project. Thanks Hanna! If you'd like to use this one or the one on the right sidebar, just right click and save to your hard drive. Then feel free to put it on your blog.

We have over 50 participants now in the BOD project. wow!!! I've been looking at your pocket pages and they are just amazing! It's so fun to see people let their creativity take off. Speaking of which, I just found out that there is now a Freestyle blog. It's with the Autumn Leaves artists that are featured in the Freestyle book. I was so inspired by the book and the blog adds a whole new dimension. They have weekly challenges that anyone can participate in and they really challenge you to think outside the box. It has had such an impact on me, this week for the BOD challenge we're going to be freestylin' in our own way. We're going to really let loose and see what we can come up with. Fun!

So what is freestyle?
Freestyle is anything you want it to be. therein the beauty lies! it is YOU, with wings! being free and making happy art.

I love this quote from the amazingly talented Emily about what freestyling means to her. It made me think about my own Book of Dreams and how I've had a loosely defined theme of children and dreams. Then when I got to work, I found myself adding wings all over the place. Something I normally don't do. I've decided my BOD is going to be about me... with wings...being free, dreaming about life, my children, magical things. I'm lovin' it. I'm off to work on next weeks technique. Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Check out what I found at a garage sale this weekend. Ok, the neighbor brought it over during our garage sale. I had to buy it! what to do with it?!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BOD: Week One {Pockets}

Well, here we are…week {ONE} of the Book of Dreams. I hope you all have a book of some sort to work in and have prepped it however you’d like. The topic for this week is POCKETS.

I will be sharing a few different ways you can make pockets in your book and then you can run with it! If some of you are looking for specific instructions on how to make different backgrounds on your pages, Lisa Vollrath has some wonderful techniques here.

Most of all, I want to say, have fun with this!! It’s all about the process rather than the product. I love that ArtJunk is doing her dream book on free flow of ideas, just having fun! Try to challenge yourself to try new things on your pages.

The first example of a pocket is very simple. You just tear two different patterned paper going in different directions. I inked them on the torn edges and adhered to the page around the edges. Then you’ll have an open pocket inside. Easy as pie:)

Another easy way to make a pocket is use this library pocket template. Cut out the template and trace it onto any sort of patterned/homemade paper that you’d like. Fold it up and glue it onto your page anywhere you’d like. Inside the pocket you can add a quote, a picture, a tag, or whatever!
The next example involves some folding on two different pages of your book. First fold a page ¾ of the way in. Then fold the next page so that a little more page is showing and the final page is not folded at all. This will give you two pockets. You can put adhesive along the edges or just attach brads like I did here. Again, fill your pockets with whatever goodies you’d like. Finally, you can make the page itself into a pocket for a tag. Trace ½ inch around a tag placed how you would like it in the book. Then put glue all around the line you traced, all over the page, but not inside the lines. Squish the pages together and you’ll have a little opening the perfect size for your tag. You can have the tag(s) come out the top or the sides, or both! I think this photo of my daughter needs some hand tinting. I'm going to have a tutorial on manipulating/tinting/transfering images another week.
I also wanted to show a few very unique examples of pockets that our Book of Dreams inspiration artist Cassondra did. She used mica for a pocket and put a lovely feather inside. She also used a little fabric pouch as a pocket. I love making fabric pockets. These are just wonderful! See more of her Do you Dream in Color book here for tons of inspiration.

So, go to it, have fun and once you post your pocket pages for this week on your blog, please send us all the link in the comment section so we can “ooh and ahhh” at each others unique interpretations. Let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing about everyone's process. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Book of Dreams {Getting ready}

This weekend I've been busy working on the technique I will be kicking off the Book of Dreams with this coming Wednesday. I can hardly wait. You all are going to have so much fun:)

I thought I'd share the cover and endpapers of my book that I'm altering. As you can see, I haven't altered them at all yet, just added a quote. The illustrations in this book are phenomenal and I'm using them quite a bit as a springboard for my work. My theme is a combination of childhood dreams and dreams I have for my own children. If anyone has any great quotes or poems, I'd love to hear them!

I also wanted to mention that we're getting more and more participants from all over the world. I'm very excited about that. As far as international players we have two amazing artists from Norway, Chantal in Ireland and just tonight Paula from Brazil signed on!! If you want to participate and don't see your name on the list on the sidebar, let me know. Thanks!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Book of Dreams {Storage}

Check out this very cheery file folder I found at Target yesterday. Kinda reminds me of Rhonna. It's perfect for storing papers, pictures and other goodies to use in my altered book. It will be nice to have a place to store things that I plan to use, all together in one spot:)

Laura had a great question about how many pages we should have in our altered books and how long the project will last. Good question! Not sure I have an answer. What do you all think...6 weeks....8 weeks? We will do at least one layout a week. I say at least because once I post the technique you can do as many or as few pages as you'd like with different variations on the technique. Make sense? Hope so!

Let me know if you have any other questions. Hope you all are having fun finding a book to work in, prepping it and thinking about your theme. I'd love to hear what's on your mind:) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book of Dreams {Preparing your book}

I know many of you have found your book and are anxious to get started..and some already have! I just wanted to pass on some tips on preparing a book to be altered. Some of you are taking all of the insides out of your book and just using the cover and back of the original. I plan to use this book, that my daughter is checking out, and follow Lisa's technique (below) to reduce the number of pages so that it doesn't get too thick!

Preparing a book to be altered by Lisa Vollrath- check this out!
Now you may want to remove pages before starting your project, or you may choose to remove them as you go.

Another part of the preparation is gluing your pages together for sturdiness. Generally speaking, most books don't have pages that are thick enough to withstand a whole lot of abuse. There are a few ways to resolve this:
1. With a glue stick that is archival and easy to use. If you do it this way, work quickly and cover pages all the way to the edge. OR
2. With brush-on glue. Some use YES! paste (which has a very quick drying time), or gel medium, Golden is my personal favorite. If you put it on thinly (use a credit card), it doesn't warp the pages much at all.
Paint on your glue and close the book. When you open it back up (right away), you'll probably have to smooth it out a bit with the edge of a bone folder (bookbinding tool), or the side of a ruler -- that gets out most of your air bubbles and imperfections.
You can glue every few pages together, or leave big gaps of unglued pages between "spreads", or pages on which to put your artwork.

The next step is preparing the pages themselves. There are tons of things you can do to prepare your pages for your art work. Some people leave them entirely as is, and use the words as a background in itself, or highlight certain words, so that the artwork and the original book form are fused together in a way. The techniques I share will have many different methods of preparing your pages. If at this point you want to prepare a few in advance, just to have them set up, you could paint a page with gesso and let dry. This will cover up the words and make the page a bit more sturdy. This is completely optional. I normally don't do it, but know that some prefer to.

If you plan to alter a "board book", one of those books with very thick pages that baby's love to page through, here is a tutorial on preparing one.

Sorry I'm being lazy with giving tutorials for prepping your book, rather than doing my own pictures and instructions. I figured since there is such great information and pictures already out there, why reinvent the wheel? For our project techniques that I will post each Wednesday I will be showing (and telling) you about each technique using my own book as the example.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Book of Dreams {Supplies}

Lots of exciting stuff going on with the Book of Dreams project. It looks like Cassondra is going to join us (see interview below) and will be posting pictures of her progress as we go. Very exciting! There's been lots of new people joining in. It's never to late to start! I will keep adding names to the blogroll on the sidebar with participants. I will also keep adding inspiration links.

I think I will be posting quite a bit, as I have the last few days, as we all gather our books, supplies and other goodies that we'll be working with. So you may want to check in daily if you can, or you can always scroll down for previous posts. I'm certaining not advocating spending a lot of money on this project, but I thought I'd share some links of web sites that sell vintage images, paper, metal items, envelopes and many other materials that may be useful for your altered book project. If you know of others, please let me know. I plan to go to some estate sales this weekend to try to hunt down some unusal treasures to use in my book. It's always fun to find vintage items that seem to have a story to tell, like this wonderful collection of zippers I found at an estate sale once. What in the world am I going to do with them?

Altered book supplies:
Pamela Huntington
Papier Valise
Queen of Tarts
Sweetwater Sisters
Sparrow's Cottage

Also- here is a link from Deborah for a comprehensive tutorial on bookbinding and from Fiona, an altered book forum. We're off to a great start! I will be posting in the next fews days on ways you can prep your book and as promised, I will post our first technique next Wednesday.

Book of Dreams {Q&A}

I've been having fun chatting via email with Cassondra, our muse for the Book of Dreams project. Here is a little Q &A with her to find out more about her process:

AM: Please tell us a little bit about your book of dreams.
CF: It was actually the first one I made. I moved to our new home in January of 2005, and became a full time stay at home mom. It was a hard move for me since I had to close my store and leave my best friends. I loved altered books, and had gotten several books (the Colors round robin book is my favorite) and magazines and poured over them time and time again. I was just to afraid to get started, didn't know where to begin, afraid it wouldn't turn out, and had sooooo many ideas floating around in my head I just
overwhelmed myself into not doing anything. Finally late in the summer I just couldn't stand it anymore :>) and took a book that I loved called the Persistence of Yellow, quotes that I loved, and images that I had been saving forever and just started.

AM: How long did it take you to complete?
CF: Well I think it only took me about 4 or 5 days to complete the book... I have to admit that the children and housework were a bit neglected those couple of days. I had so many ideas that by the time I had completed one page, there were 2 or 3 more ideas that were sitting in waiting.

AM: How did you decide on your theme?
CF: I think what really helped was having the quotes to keep me focused on what my "theme" was, but I never started the book with any real idea of a theme. Some of the pages were just inspired by the picture. I am a huge collector of "stuff" so I pulled out my favorite things and just made myself use them. I am always afraid that later on I will think of something better to do with it and then it just sits in my boxes. I had seen the saying Book of Dreams somewhere before, I think on one of Tracy Moores books and always wanted to use it on something. It seemed like a good title when I was all done with the inside, since it was all things that had been floating around in my head for months and months.

AM: Please tell us a little bit about how you bound the book.
CF: I used an old book, took out the pages and put eyelets
alongthe spine of the book. The pages are 9X12 (I think) watercolor paper folded in half, some making pockets, others folded at angles, so actually there are only 8 or so pages, but folded down the middle and using front and back of each you get a lot more to work on. When all the pages were done I stacked them together and then sewed them into the book doing the stichingthru the eyelets and tying them off on the outside and hanging things off the ribbon. I wish actually that I had done them individually and put eyelets in each page and thru the spine. I did this on some of my other books and liked it better. Having the pages folded I think makes the book not lay quite as flat as it could.

AM: Do you have any advice for us?
CF: If I had any real "advice" it would be to just say don't be afraid to start, that was literally the hardest thing about it. Since you have seen my Flickr account you can see that once I got started I literally can't and don't want to stop. Also starting out with things that had a lot of meaning to me helped for my first try since they inspired me and brought their own ideas.

AM: What artists work are you most influenced by?
CF: Most of the artists that I have been inspired by are in the Colors book, I have also come across some great artists just by searching altered books out on the web. Celine Navarro does beautiful work, Lauren Mumford also has some beautiful 3D work that she does. Also ARTchix is where I get alot of my goods from and they have a great gallery with tons and tons of ideas.

I invited her to join us for this project. She said she'd keep an eye on our progress and be posting on her flickr web site. Speaking of which, I added all the links to the Book of Dreams participants so far. It's to the right, on the sidebar. If you're not listed, just let me know and I'll add you:) I'm also going to be posting links to inspiring altered book artists with web sites. Let me know if you have any you'd like me to add. It's always fun to have places to go for inspiration. If you need anything, just let me know!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Book of Dreams...getting started {The Book}

Ok, let's get started here. First to answer a few questions that have come up. No, you absolutely do NOT have to have a blog to participate. If you really want to show off your pages, you could email them to me and I can post them here. Otherwise we'd love to hear through the comments section how everyone is doing and if you choose to post pictures on a blog, please send the link. If anyone has any questions that they want to ask me personally along the way you can reach me at I will try to answer questions in the comments section as well.

Now lets talk about choosing a book to work in. You have several options here. If you absolutely cannot stand the thought of altering an actual book, you could use a blank journal or photo scrapbook like the one shown below. I purchased this at Borders bookstore and I love that it bound with the ribbon. That way you can add or subtract pages, it can get very chunky and there's plenty of room to grow. It also has nice heavyweight cardstock pages that are nice to work on for mixed media work.

In looking more closely at Citrus Faire's book (our inspiration for this challenge) it looks as if she just used the cover and back of a very old book and "gutted" it. She added the pages in after they were finished. Does anyone know a good way to do this? One technique I noticed that she used in another book, is she punched two or three holes in each of her pages, attached eyelets and bound them to the skeleton of the old book with ribbon. You can see it fairly easily on her work here.

Finally, you can alter an actual book that you find at a garage sale, estate sale, library sale, wherever. In using this technique you may want to glue two or more pages together (a glue stick works fine for this) to make them more sturdy and able to handle paint and/or heavy embellishments that you add. The book will definitely get very chunky and will not close after awhile, but that's part of the tactile fun of it all. One thing that's neat about using an actual book is that you can use paints and glazes (which we'll talk about later) that you can see the words through and that adds neat interest to your pages.

Check out this really, really cool book that Pam made using pieces of old books and putting them together accordian style. Wow!!

So the first task is to find what kind of book you want to work in. Then you may want to decide on what kind of interpretation of Book of Dreams you'd like to work with. As mentioned before, you could have the book a mixed media representation of your actual dreams you have, you could make it dreams that you aspire to achieve, or just inspiration in general. The sky is the limit! I love how Michelle said today that she's going to feature bits and pieces of her favorite poems. Great idea! I think it also would be reallly fun if people shared their interpretation of this theme in the comments section.

I plan to post each new technique on Wednesdays. Lastly, I wanted to mention that I am by no means an expert here. I look forward to all of sharing our thoughts and tips along the way. So if you have anything you'd like to mention, like what kind of book you've found works best, or doesn't work well, please email me or leave your thoughts in the comments section. I think we all really have a lot to offer one another and look forward to sharing this journey as a community of dreamers. Have fun hunting for a book and we'll see you back here!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Invitation to a Book of Dreams

Altered book (above) by Citrus Faire
So it looks like Rhonna is going to do round THREE of her 21 day challenge. Woohoo! She has quite a following. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two rounds I participated in, the habits I created and the kick in the behind that I needed to create art each day.

Following the momentum of the 21 day challenge, I'm going to start something a little different and invite you all to participate along with me. I was completely taken aback by Citrus Faire's Book of Dreams I just love it and can't stop thinking about it. I decided that I must make one of my own. So I'm going to do just that. I think this title can be interpreted any number of ways. It could be a book of actual dreams that you have while sleeping, dreams that you hope to accomplish or just a fun altered inspirational book. Whatever you'd like! Take a gander at Cassondra's altered book here, be inspired, and come along on this journey to record our dreams and make them a reality.

I have decided to try a different technique each week and post instructions on how to do that particular technique on my blog once a week. That way if anyone wants to follow along and make one of thier own, we can try new things together. Everyone will have a different interpretation, so they will all be wonderfully unique! For week one, we will work with how to begin altering a book, then maybe move on to working with metal, found objects, pockets, tags, name it, we'll probably use it! I'm really looking forward to it. It will be a bit slower pace than Rhonna's challenge. I'm thinking of going an entire week on one technique. If anyone would like to work with me and post on their blog, just add a comment to my posts with your link. This is going to be so much fun!!!! Hope you'll join me:)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Art journals

Thankful for the nice weather to take walks to the park!

I'm catching up on my art journal entires. I've been taking lots of pictures of the kids lately, since we've been out and about in the glorious weather. The 21 day challenge is officially over today, but I will continue to post mine until I am caught up. I am one that must finish what I start to have as sense of closure:) This has been such a fun journey. My life was much more hectic during this round than the last, so I feel like my art suffered. However, my heart stayed in it and I counted my blessings each day, which was my new habit to create.
Thankful to have my washer working again!

Mama Says Om {Delight}

I was inspired for this theme by the lovely Michelle, who also had a birthday bash going on this weekend. More birthday pics can be seen on my picturetrail site. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 14, 2006

My sweet Chloe

My lovely and amazing little Chloe turns ONE today! Happy Birthday sweetheart:) What a ride this year has been. It's been much harder than I could have ever imagined and much, much more rewarding as well. My heart is filled with gratitude today for my little darling.

Here are a couple more recent journal entries. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Here it is folks...
As you can see we're still waiting on coats of poly to dry and replacing carpet in the adjacent room (off to the right), but the floor itself is done being laid. Woohoo! We just need to be away for a couple more days while it all dries and then we can enjoy it:)

I am missing blog surfing so much while I'm gone this week. I just snuck in about 3 minutes before I bring my son to class. I looked at Tenika's blog and found a link to a Book of Dreams by Citrus Faire....AMAZING..When I have more time later I'm going to have to check out her other work and see if she has a blog. Wow:) Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Here's a mid-way picture of our new hardwood floors. They're going to look amazing! It opens up the room so much and feels so good. We've had hardwood floors in other homes we've lived in and love them. I'm so excited! As I write this they are pounding away...creating something magnificent. There's something so mesmerizing about someone doing their craft, totally into it. It's fun to watch and the feel of having wonderful red oak beneath our feet feels so organic. I went outside this morning and found lots of wonderful things blooming. It's been absolultely gorgeous this week here in Minnesota, sunny and in the 70's. We deserve this after a long winter:) We've spent lots of time at the park since we're living out of my parents house while the floors get done. I love it when the plants are just starting to bloom. The new growth is so tender, so delicate. I love this time of year! Last year at this time I was about ready to "pop" with my daughter. I was overdue and she just wasn't interested in coming out yet. She turns one on Friday. year old....what an amazing time!!

So I haven't been around here much at all. In the evenings I've been at work. I'm absolutely loving my library job. Last night was the first night I felt at all decent and that helped a ton!! It's going to be a wonderful thing to have some "me" time to look forward to on Monday and Tuesday nights, doing something that I truly enjoy. Yay..things are looking up:) Enjoy the pics. Hope you're all having a good week.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Day 15: Home Improvement

Ah, the stuff of life! Yesterday I was thankful for my washing machine being fixed. I went a full week without laundry with a sick household. Ugh! We had piles and piles, but it was back and running yesterday and I was VERY thankful for that. Today I am thankful for home improvement projects. We are getting hardwood flooring put in this week in our main living and dining area. I have looked forward to this for years, so I'm very excited! Here is a before picture.
Because of this, we will be spending most of this week at my parents house and I will probably be unable to post many pages of my journals. We'll see what I can do. I have had several questions about what I am journaling in and if it is a "real" book. Yes, indeed it is. Here is my post about it before I began this challenge. It is a book that was bound for the garbage at the local library and I saved it:) Have a great week!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Day 12 and 13

I'm catching up on posting day 12 and 13 of the 21 day challenge. I was at a conference all day yesterday and went to bed at 6:30 pm...I was so sick! Feeling better today and so happy to see the crocus blooming just outside my front door. Spring has (finally) Sprung!!

I am so grateful for all of the helping hands I have in my life. My parents live just a few miles away and help me so much with my kids. I love watching them play and cherish the relationship they're developing. They help me immensely in that I get some "down time" and can get things done. I couldn't do it without Nana and Bobo:)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Day Eleven: Get it down!

I am grateful for all the journals I have kept over the years. Some are all in writing, others are visual/art journals. I love them all. Looking through them brings me right back to that point in time of my life...the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are some of the reasons I keep a journal..

Day Ten: Friendship

I went out with a couple of girlfriends last night for a wonderful evening out. One of them is moving away this weekend. We met at a parent/child class when our boys were 6 months old. We've all moved to different parts of the city, but stay in touch frequently. It's so sad to see our three-some "breaking up". I know we'll see each other again, hopefully soon. It reminds me of the saying we used in junior high, FF or friends forever. Sometimes you meet a group of women and you hope that you will truly be friends forever and that your kids will grow up together. I still hope for this. Tori, we're going to miss you so much! I am so grateful for the friendship that we have. Please write...and send lots of pictures. xoxox

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Day Nine: Reading is sexy

During my first few days at my new job as a librarian I realized in full my reverence for books. I love them! In library school we talked about the chances of libraries becoming extinct because of all the information that can be found on the internet. I am part of the camp that says this will never happen. There is too much joy to be found in physically handling a book and turning its pages. I wrote on my page above, you can always tell my current mood or obsession by the books on my nightstand. On the tags in the pockets on the right I have my current reading list. One of which is the new book Freestyle by the artists of Autumn Leaves. Talk about inpsiring, free-form scrapbook it!

Do you think they'd let me wear this button at the library? :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Day Eight: Time to dream

Today I am thankful for my ME time. Time that I have for myself to dream, make change happen and grow. Usually that time is making art. Tonight I start my new job and look forward to spending the time doing something for myself and pursuing a personal dream.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Day Seven: Renewal

It's a rainy, cold day here in Minnesota. It's been a very mellow day for me. I came across Lisa Vollrath's Squidoo lens on Art Journals. It has *lots* of fun stuff and wonderful inspiration, including: art journal images, links, books, galleries (including Tera Leigh's amazing portfolio), and how-to's. Check out the layer by layer explanation on how Teesha Moore creates her amazing pages. Cool stuff! I also added all my pages from the last 21 day challenge to my picturetrail site.
Day Seven in my art journal I have gratitude for the rain that is falling, because I know with rain comes new growth. I am in much need of some renewal and rebirth. The cold dark days of winter have lasted long enough. This week I have been consumed with illness, fatigue and sadness. I'm looking forward to brighter days ahead:)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tales of a Librarian

Another project I'm just beginning is an art journal of my experiences going back to work (2 evenings a week) after being a stay-at-home-mom for the last 3 years. This is significant in my life not only because I haven't worked in awhile, but this is my first professional librarian position. I finished up my Master's degree in library science a month before having my first child. So this is really a dream come true for me. The actual beginning of my career as a librarian! Something that I thought would be fun to document. This first entry shows two journal pages that I did when I decided I wanted to be a librarian in May of 2001. The second page just cracks me up:) It was in Bitch magazine in an article about how librarians are portrayed in film. I then went on to library school. The bottom says "fast forward 5 years.."

These pages introduce my story. It says, "What began as a daydream, became a tale of unexpected twists." The picture is me standing proud with my suit and red lipstick before my interview. Not quite the sexy librarian in the previous page...but, I got the job!!! This is my story....

Day Six: Adversity

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. ~mulan
Some of you know that my two year old son is autistic. Today's quote from Rhonna filled my heart with gratitude for him, so I dedicate my pages to him today. He has had to overcome some adversity learning to live in this world with autism. We certainly don't define him by the label, but it does affect his everyday life. I think any parent would agree that our children teach us so many life lessons. We are better people because of them.
April is Autism Awareness month. Scrapbooking extraordinaire Ali Edwards also has a son with autism. On her Cafe Press site she has items with a slogan she designed for Autism Awareness month. All proceeds will go towards the Getting the Word Out campaign.