The Wedding Guest Book and A Self Portrait Assignment

With October halfway done, I think it won’t be long before I go into the usual Holiday frenzy mode. I like to imagine I’m one of those people who gets all the shopping for presents done before December swoops in, but it pretty much ends there. In my imagination, I mean. 

Early in the year, I often get ideas for presents (because as I’ve mentioned, I prefer personalized ones) only to be waylaid by what my hubby calls my loops. In my defense, I’ve countered that while I do tend to loop, my loops move on a forward track which should be a good indication of some sort of progress.

Hopefully, though, with the creative juices exploding in me (thanks to the Winter Hero’s Art Journey course with Mira Reisberg and Maya Gonzalez), I may be able to come up with better presents this year.

The guest book is coming along nicely although I think the whole album might end up really thick. Most wedding albums are but this one might be REALLy thick. I’ve incorporated hand made books into a couple of the spreads and there are more spreads to do. I think it would be nice for the album to be a bit interactive. Instead of the bride and groom just turning pages, they could open things up or peek under a flap. This is a giveaway but since I know bride and groom don’t read my blog, I’m going ahead. 

Each spread represents a place that both of them had visited together. On each one of those spreads, I’m adding an envelope with notepaper so that they can write their memories of the place, what they did together, or what made it special. Sometimes we go through rough spots in our relationships and while I don’t wish that for them, I feel that reading what they had written may be gentle reminders later on. Of course it could go the other way–the “what was I thinking?” kind of way–but we’re rooting for happy endings here!

This is the accordion spine for the flag book. I made a cover to make flipping it open easier. The bottom part of the accordion was glued to the page.

The “postcards” with guests’ messages were glued on opposite sides of the folds so that when the book is open, the sides with the messages show up.

And this is the tool that now makes my paper crafting easier! It’s a scoring tool by Martha Stewart Crafts which also makes crafting the envelopes a cinch.

This week has also been an exciting one. I actually made a self-portrait using paint and collage! It was this week’s assignment for the Hero’s Art Journey course. Maya and Mira reminded us that we have absolute freedom in the way we were to express ourselves (Maya says there is no wrong way to do art) and this allowed me to work on it without thinking of rules. It’s funny but I seemed to be restless even in sleep because I couldn’t wait to go back to my canvas to work on the portrait. I also feel the course is helping me find my voice. When you do lots of work for other people and you get used to creating for them (often in a style that clashes with your own), it’s easy to lose bits and pieces of who you are in terms of your art. 

I’m learning so much from the course and the other participants are wonderful and warm and open. One day, I’d like to be able to teach a course like that and help people who think they have no creative bone in them discover they just hadn’t bothered to look. Maya is right–it takes courage to make art and I think it’s time to be brave. 


Hello October!

     October is always a reminder that another year is fast approaching its end. Instead of going into panic mode (as I tend to do every year), I’ve decided to enjoy every bit of it. October, after all, is a great birthday month. Lots of friends and family have October birthdays. My dad and my mother-in-law, both partying to their hearts’ content in the Great Beyond, were October-born. It’s a month of color and costumes, apples, apple cider doughnuts, and oh yes, my wedding anniversary! It’s also the month when we moved here to the United States–lots of things to celebrate!

     Last year, I was preparing some items for another couple’s wedding. I helped create a menu that doubled as a postcard where guests could write their well-wishes for the couple. The postcards took the place of the guestbook. I also made a mailbox where the guests could put the postcards after writing on them. It was a fun project–who doesn’t love weddings?

     This year, as a first anniversary present, I’m putting together all those postcards into an album. I was going to scan the pictures and postcards for uploading to a site like Shutterfly where they can be turned into a hard cover book, but I thought there’s really nothing like the real thing, is there?

     So I scrapped the whole scanning idea and scrounged around my craft stash. For a while there, it looked like I would have to make a book from scratch but I remembered I had an unused scrapbook salvaged from my cousin. There must have been good intentions associated with owning such an item but the shade of pink it had told me those intentions were now past their prime.

     First step was to take the scrapbook apart. I’d been taking things apart from childhood so this was nothing new. Besides, I knew that if I couldn’t do it, my husband probably could–he took things apart as well. Perhaps more complicated ones, even.

     This was simple enough. I had the front and back covers, the spine cover, and the pages. I had to do something about all that pink. The wedding colors were fuschia and orange. I decided to paint the covers so next step was to cover them with gesso.

     It felt like putting icing on a cake, but I wasn’t after getting the gesso smooth. I like texture. (An aside: See the mug? If you got my September newsletter, you’d have that image to use on your own mug!)

     I did both front and back covers, including the edges. When the gesso was really dry, I painted over it with primer. I could have probably skipped that part but having primer on gives me more flexibility with whatever I decide to do later on. Unless I’m doing art for work, most of what I do is intuitive. This works only for art like this. When I work on the inner pages, I’ll be doing quite a bit of planning because the idea is to make them sort of interactive.

         More drying time during which I set about sorting out the postcards and planning the layout for each of the spread. I may end up using the same handmade paper that was used for the mailbox on the front cover of the album, but I won’t know until I’m sitting in front of it.

     Next blog post will have the rest of the album. I’ll share some of the pages and some techniques as well. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen my October newsletter for The Pink Net, here’s the link to it and be sure to sign up for more fun stuff!