Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Le Petit Rien

I adore my husband! He is as close to perfect as humanly possible. He's an intelligent, handsome, devoted and loving person. He is my muse! I hope that he doesn't read this and let it go to his head. He knows that art is important to me and encourages me to devote more time to it. I wanted to give him a gift to show him how much he means to me.

While browsing in Michaels I saw a little brown cardboard book with blank pages. This would make the perfect gift for my husband.

I removed the ribbon and covered the book in card stock.

Since this idea of this book is to express my love for my husband I wanted this book to come from my heart. I wanted to share all of the things that I love with him. I love poetry and have two shelves in my library devoted to it. So naturally this book includes several poems-Elizabeth Barret Browning's How Do I Love Thee, several of Shakespeare's Sonnets and various other poems. I collected flowers from my gardens and pressed them and then glued them in the book. I also included the pink Poodle Valentine's card along with some of our favorite pictures.

This is the finished book. I called it Le Petit Rien which translates to the little something. I chose a French title for the book because of my French heritage.

Directions for Le Petit Rien:

Darice small cardboard book-available with the paper mache boxes at Michaels
DCWV Old World Stack-8x8 inch card stock-pink and grey print
Silk roses-light aqua, medium pink, and dark pink
Mod Podge-matte finish
Gold edged ivory wired ribbon
Hot glue gun
White lace trim
Small white Calla Lilies
Adhesive backed pearl trim
Olive green and parchment card stock
Martha Stewart leaf paper punch
Microsoft word
Small piece of white tulle and craft wire
Tim Holtz Tea dye distress ink
Small oval craft punch
Bone folder
Small hole punch
Clear nail polish or Fray Check

1. Remove the ribbon from the book and set aside. Cut two pieces of pink and grey card stock to fit the covers of the book. Cut the back cover 1/2 inch wider than the book cover. Place the smaller cover on the front of the book. Open the book cover slightly and crease the paper at the line where the book opens. Crease this line with a bone folder. Lay the card stock on the back cover and fold the extra 1/2 inch over the spine of the book and crease with a bone folder. Mark the holes from the covers on the card stock with a pencil and punch with the small hole puncher.

2. Put a thin coat of Modge Podge on the back book cover and postion the card stock over it. Put Modge Podge on the piece that covers the spine and press in place, covering the spine of the book. Let the book dry and then cover the front of the book with Modge Podge and apply the card stock. Let it dry.

3. Cover the back of the book with a light coating of Modge Podge and let it dry. Repeat the process with the front cover.

4. Cut a strip of the adhesive pearls the length of the front cover. Position the pearl strip over the area where the book cover bends to open (see picture) and press in place. Cut a piece of lace edging the length of the front cover and glue with a hot glue gun along the front edge of the cover.

5. Print Le Petit Rien or the title of your choice with Microsoft Word (Hasty Hmk at 20) on parchment card stock. Punch the title out using the small oval paper punch. Use a small sponge and the tea dye distress ink to ink the edges of the oval. Lightly apply the distress ink to the center of the oval.

6. Cut a 2 1/2 inch long strip of white tulle. Fold the strip in half an wrap a piece of craft wire around the center of the tulle. Cut off the excess wire leaving a 1 1/2 inch tail.

7. Position the silk flowers in the center of the book cover. The dark and light pink flowers next to each other and the light aqua flower below them. Form three Calla Lillies into a bouquet and place on top of the tulle. Wrap the tail of the craft wire around the lillies to secure them on top of the tulle. Place the lillies between the pink roses with the green stems extended under the aqua rose.

8. Using the Martha Stewart leaf paper punch and the olive card stock punch four leaves. Positon the leaves under the edges of the roses to fill in open spaces. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the flowers, lift each flower one at a time and place a dab of hot glue on the back of the flower and press in place. Be careful not to disturb the arrangement.

9. Glue the leaves in place with craft glue. Position the title in the upper left just above the flowers and glue in place with craft glue.

10. Put the pages back in the book. Cut a piece of gold edged ivory ribbon approximately 4 inches. Insert the ribbon in the holes in the book cover. Thread the ribbon through the back holes first then the top. Tie the ribbon and make a tight knot. Tie a bow. Adjust the bow and trim the ends at an angle. Apply a small amount of clear nail polish or Fray Check to the ends of the ribbon to kept it from raveling.

Sketch Book

Writers have their journals and artists have sketch books. Although the weather in the DC area has been very hot and at times intolerable (even in the outer Maryland suburbs) I try to spend at least part of my day outdoors in my gardens. I find it inspiring. It's hard not to be inspired when I am surrounded by beautiful flowers. This is one of the Mandevilla plants in my garden.

I love the craft projects and will always continue to do them and post them here but I wanted to get back to sketching and painting. I haven't really done this since I was in high school. When I was a teenager the walls of my room were covered with my sketches. After high school there always seemed to be a reason not to sketch. College, work and family all came first leaving precious little free time. After thinking about it for a while, last week I was prompted by a 40 % off coupon on artist paper and sketch books from Michaels to get back to sketching.

I love Afghan Hounds and had a sketch of one hanging on my wall when I was in high school. After several moves over the years my sketch has been lost. I decided that my first sketch should be an Afghan Hound. I enjoyed sketching this dog and may use him in future projects.

If you have never sketched before I encourage you to try it. Don't worry if your sketches aren't perfect. The more you draw the better your drawings will be. There are several books available for beginners and most communities offer art classes.*

*Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards and Lessons in Classical Drawing by Juliette Aristides are two excellent books for anyone seriously interested in learning to draw.