Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anything Book Tip: Adding A Photo Group

I'm currently working on a special Anything Book of my own. My book is Mermaid, and it is recording my personal and business transformation. What I'm sharing today comes from my personal book.

This week, I visited my local IKEA and ended up taking a series of pictures that I wanted to add to my Anything Book as a group. I could have added them as a gallery and take up a whole page. But I decided I wanted to try something different.

So I got the idea to use an IKEA showroom map brochure (tri-fold) to hold these pictures together. They are free and available in the store.

I used a showroom floor mpa from IKEA to create a mini book inside my Mermaid Anything Book (art journal).
First, I trimmed the brochure down to just under 6 inches, the height of my Anything Book pages. Then I glued it into the book at the outer edge of a page.

Next, I started adding the photos. I created both wallet size and 2x2 inch sizes of the photos. I laid them out and started looking for items to fill in between them. Mostly, I used postage stamps and matchbook covers because they are about the same size and my photos. I also added in some washi tape and I made a tab from some scrap paper. It's an art journal, so anything goes!

Here's what the finished mini book looks like:
The IKEA brochure installed as a mini book at the outer edge of a page.
Here's the front of the brochure covered with photos, stamps, washi tape and a matchbook cover. If you pull on the tab, the accordian fold opens up to show you all three panels.

The IKEA brochure opened up to show all of the images inside.
I chose items with the lime green color of my top for extra fun. As you can see, I took some silly pictures of my shoes on the escalator and at one of the ubiquitous blue arrows located throughout the store.

I called this my Cheeky Monkey day because I felt silly taking pictures of myself in the mirror front of various cabinets (and in one showroom mirror). But once I started taking them, I was on a roll.

On the back side, I wrote the story of this day and why I was taking the pictures.

The back side of my mini book has my journaling about this day and these pictures.
You might want to use this idea for a visit to a park, attending an event, or anything else that provides a brochure. By using the brochure as the basis for the mini book, it ties together the photos with the place. I covered the brochure with image, but you could strategically place them so that your brochure is still readable. There are no rules! Do what seems good to you.

Anything Books tend to get bulky at the rings. So by adding some bulk to the outer edge of the page, it helps to balance out the thickness of the book. It also keeps from adding even more bulk to the ring area.

I loved this idea so much that I immediately added more brochures to the edges of several unfinished pages. These are still empty. But when I fill them, I'll share them here.

You can do this! You can create a beautiful record of your normal, everyday life with an Anything book. Check out my Etsy store for more information about my Anything Books. An Anything Book is an art journal where you add your own art or use it as a scrapbook of your daily living.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Secret Keepers: Adding Envelopes To Your Anything Book

I don't know about you, but I love envelopes. I love them in all sizes and shapes. I love commercial business envelopes and personal mail envelopes.

I love the idea that an envelope contains something that isn't known and visible. An envelope is a secret keeper. And that idea, being a secret keeper, is why I add them into so many of my Anything Books.

An envelope is meant to be opened. Every time you see an envelope, you instinctively want to open it.

Adding envelopes to your Anything Book or art journal is a great way to preserve your memories. The envelope makes a perfect storage space for small and precious items. And the envelope you choose can hold it's own memories.

Let's get started!

A string clasp envelope inserted into an Anything Book is a perfect place to keep valuable items.
When you flip through the pages of your completed Anything Book, the items you attached to the pages are all visible. But the items you stick inside an envelope are not immediately visible. You have to open the envelope to view them. And, of course, you have to know that there is something hidden inside the envelope.

The postage stamp on the front of this tiny envelope hints at secret keeper item it holds.
That's what life is like. Some things are obvious, and other things require a little more time to discover. Secret keepers are like that. It takes a little longer to learn what they hold. That's why they make a perfect addition to your Anything Book or art journal.

I collect envelopes that arrive at my home and I reuse many of them in my Anything Books. You can do the same thing. Do your bills come with a reply envelope for sending the payment? Why not keep one of them for your art journal, especially one for an important payment. Or a mundane payment. That's the beauty of recording your life. You don't have to just record the big, huge moments of life. Adding in details from the mundane, the every day, makes your art journal richer.

An envelope from inside my personal Anything Book.
I added this 1099 tax document envelope because I have people who work for me. I send out 1099 forms to several people each year. I love the placement of the windows on these envelopes. They give you just a peek at what's inside. I've decorated the front with small items and a photograph.

This envelope was attached as a tag to a piece of clothing I purchased.
It's the surprise of a small envelope that I love. When I was small, my parents would say that great things come in small packages. I feel that way about my art journal envelopes. What goes inside them is a precious photo or a bit of journaling where I've told a secret.

It's easy to add envelopes to your art journal or Anything Book.

  1. Find interesting envelopes as you move through your day. Check your mail including the business reply envelopes you normally throw away.
  2. Check through your mementos for the envelopes from old birthday and holiday cards from loved ones and family members. What a great way to keep their memory alive by adding the envelope to your journal.
  3. Ask friends and family to start keeping interesting envelopes for you.
  4. Pull together a collection of envelopes and your Anything Book or art journal.
  5. Sort through them by size. It's okay for an envelope to stick out a little more than the regular pages. But in general, it's best if the envelope is slightly smaller than the regular pages.
  6. Based on the layout of your pages, practice positioning your envelopes in different directions on the page. The best position might be up and down based on your book.
  7. Decide if you want the front of the envelope or the back to be on top in the book. This determines if you see the front or back first when flipping through the pages.
  8. Remove the page directly under where you want to place the envelope. You will use the holes in this page as a guide to punch holes in the envelope.
  9. For smaller envelopes, you might only need one hole. For larger envelopes, you might need to punch two or more holes (depending on the number of book rings that make up your book binding.
  10. When you are sure about how you want to position the envelope inside your Anything Book or art journal, use a standard hole punch to add holes using the page you removed as a guide.
  11. Replace the page you removed and add the envelope to your art journal.
  12. Begin decorating the outside and decide what you might want to put on the inside.

When I allow people to look through my personal Anything Book, I'm always surprised at how they skip over items without looking at them, and turn the page with envelopes without opening them. Perhaps they are in a hurry. Or perhaps they feel a little awkward going through something so personal.

A business reply envelope becomes a ready-made secret keeper in my art journal.
Now that I've inspired you, what sorts of envelopes will you add to your Anything Book or art journal? And what secrets will you have them keep for you?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meet The Cosmic Anything Book

It seems like I'm doing a lot of Anything Books for donations these day. I'm happy to contribute what I can to help worthwhile causes. I made Cosmic for another great cause.
The Cosmic Anything Book is made from a Dreyer's Fruit Bars box.
My friend, Kim, has a boat-load of medical bills from her son's appendectomy a few months back. She's negotiated down the bills to a nearly managable amount. And the clever gal that she is, she's having a fundraiser to help pay them off.
The view from the top shows the wide range of materials, colors and patterns inside.
I'm a firm believer in helping the people in your life when you can. This is my way to help my friend get from where she is to where she wants to be.
I love the way the previous page and the paint chip pulls out the blue of this patterned paper.
A couple months back, I selected a charity for Laughing Crow Studio. I'm not ready to announce this, but I mention it today to let you know that I'm always looking for a way to give back. The charity I selected would let me help strangers in my Phoenix community. While I'm all for anonymous giving, I love that I'm getting a chance to help someone I know.
The different page sizes allow some pages to overlay others as you turn the pages.
Last week, I found a new resource that I put to use in this Anything Book. I found a book that has hundreds of photos of The Beatles throughout their career. This is the first time I've used these photographs, and it gives me a small thrill to include something I love so much into a book for someone else.
An example of layered pages inside Cosmic.
I also just received a huge package of used international stamps that I've used for the first time in Cosmic. I love the look of stamps and think they are some of the most beautiful things in our lives that we fail to appreciate. I know that the artists who get these commissions are always thrilled to have a stamp in their portfolio.
Paint chips and business cards are some of my favorite materials for my Anything Books.
As I move throughout the Phoenix metro area, I'm always picking up business cards. Many of them make their way into my Anything Books. I love the way they layer over pages and add a pop of color where ever they appear.
This is my favorite page inside the Cosmic Anything Book.
Every time I make an Anything Book, I keep adding to it until it feels finished. As an artist, it's hard to decide that something is done. I can always see new things I can do, small adjustments I can make. But I've found a way to tell when I'm done. I flip through the pages, and at some point, the book feels full. That's how I know. I can't explain that feeling any more than that.
Here's another peek at The Beatles page with a layer over the photograph.
In my spare time, I've drafted a blueprint for how I'm going to construct a light box so I can take better pictures of my Anything Books. I'm really excited about it, and I'm going to start collecting the materials next week. I'm not sure when it will be finished. It seems like everything in my business is a journey of discovery. I'm sure the lightbox will be exactly the same.
Cosmic is dated and signed by me and ready to find a new home.
Thanks for checking out Cosmic with me today. I love this little book, and I am sending it off to meet its owner. I want it to land with someone who will be inspired by it and will use it as a canvas to think about and report his or her life in a new way. Here's to many happy tomorrows for Cosmic's new owner!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Finish Gelpacs Hybrid Anything Book Art Journal

Earth day is the perfect time to announce my latest Anything Book, Hybrid, filled with Earth-friendly messages and materials.

My Hybrid Anything Book comes with a ring charm featuring glass beads and an angel.
Hybrid is green all the way through, and I don't mean the color. Although there are plenty of green pages inside, the important thing about Hybrid is that it is made from upcycled and recycled materials. Some of these materials even talk about the environmental policy of various companies!

Hybrid gives you have plenty of room to add your own thoughts and materials to its pages.
Have you been looking for the perfect space where you can think and reflect on your daily life? Hybrid is perfect for you! It measures almost 6.5 inches square, which gives you plenty of room inside to write your daily revelations, list your mundane activities, and glue in memorabilia that helps you record your personal life journey. All while saving the environment.

Inside Hybrid is a mix of materials that will inspire you.
I make my Anything Books using as much recycled materials as possible. That includes scraps from my mixed media studio, along with items I find in my daily living. Much of my junk mail appears as treasures inside my Anything Books. Hybrid contains pages from old books, product packaging, paint chips, and business reply envelopes.

You can see the wide range of materials that came together to make Hybrid.
Hybrid is bound with book rings, which means that it will easily expand as you add materials inside. You can also add your own pages simply by using a standard hole punch. If you find that you need even more room, you can replace the book rings with larger ones (1 1/4 or 1 1/2) that you can find in the office supply section of most discount stores.
Each two-page spread is designed to delight you and provide visual inspiration.
The Hybrid Anything book provides a wonderful backdrop to inspire your writing. It's waiting for your thoughts and ideas, but it's blank. On the days with where your muse is nowhere to be found, the mixture of materials, patterns, and colors will make you smile even before you add your own insights, bits of wisdom, and precious memories.
Hybrid is a one-of-a-kind art journal that is waiting for your thoughts, dreams, and bits of everyday living.
Hybrid contains full size pages made from upcycled and recycled materials like patterned paper, cardstock, book pages, greeting cards, and marketing materials. Many of these pages have overlays made from product packaging, business reply cards, file folders, luggage tags, and shipping tags. You can use both sides of these items for your life.
Many of Hybrid's pages are embellished with washi tape and postage stamps.
The edges of Hybrid are messy with things poking out. But life is messy. Go ahead and add that brochure that doesn't quite fit. Oversized items are okay. Your life doesn't fit nicely into a box, and so it doesn't need to fit nicely into Hybrid. Hybrid can adapt and adjust to whatever life throws at you.
Hybrid is large enough to hold photographs and small enough to tuck into your purse or backpack.
Some of Hybrid's pages are simply beautiful empty. As you turn the pages, you will discover sights designed to delight your eyes and heart. And yet, Hybrid is here to do your bidding. Let the bits of beauty poke out between the items that mean something in your life. Hybrid is a canvas where you can tell the story of your life in spoonsized bits.
Hybrid is designed to hold your treasures on it's pages.
You can use Hybrid as a standard journal by writing on the pages, or even gluing in pages you have typed on the computer or written by hand. Hybrid can also hold the small treasures of your daily life. What about adding the tea bag label from your afternoon cup? Or a movie ticket stub? Or the label from that awesome jacket you just purchased? Or the photo (or Instagram) you just took with your bestie?
Hybrid comes with a pen and glue stick so you can start recording your life out of the package.
When you open Hybrid, you'll see that it comes with an ultra-fine permanent marker which is perfect for writing on most of the interior pages. You also get an archive quality glue stick so you can attach the bits of your life with confidence. You can use Hybrid so many ways! You are only limited by your imagination.

What will you create with Hybrid?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dreyer's Fruit Bars Paradise Anything Book

I'm really excited to share this new Anything Book with you. I made it to donate to a local trade organization's fundraising event.

This is Paradise, the first Anything Book created to celebrate a special location.
 One of my friends is on the board of the Phoenix chapter of NEWH, a trade organization for the hospitality industry. They are having a fundraiser for their scholarship programs called Off The Wall Art. She suggested that my Anything Books would be a great fit. So, I skurried around last night and made Paradise.
A peek inside Paradise shows you the wide variety of materials in use.
For some time, I've been considering making a series of Anything Books for the tourists who find their way to Scottsdale and the Phoenix area. I decided this was the perfect chance to see what kind of materials I already have for a book with this theme. 
Paradise gets its name from the coffee holder from Paradise Bakery, a local restaurant chain that is now part of Panera Bread Company.
I have a small collection of local travel guides and tourist maps that I pulled out to make this Anything Book. Everything from playing cards with Scottsdale on the back to local restaurant menus, to Sonoran desert holiday cards, to a door hanger from a local utility company--they all found their way into Paradise. In fact, the name comes from this coffee holder from Paradise Bakery (they have delicious cookies). 
A scrap of dimensional art paper appears inside the front cover with washi tape and a postage stamp.
 The colors of Paradise are rich and diverse. Deep saturated colors run through this Anything Book from the cover through the interior pages. There are two pages of paint chips and a piece of ikkat fabric just to keep things interesting. A bright red (used) Arizona Lottery card found its way inside, too. 
A map with descriptions of local day trips add local interest to Paradise pages.
 There are 5 different local maps inside Paradise, along with materials from the Arizona Biltmore resort, Phoenix Magazine, the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), two local restaurant chains, a familiar grocery store chain, an ad from the Heard Museum and Out of Africa Wildlife Park, and postcards from the Tempe Center for the Arts and the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market, Plus, there's a page from a baseball book as an homage to the Cactus League Spring Training presence in Phoenix. 
Paradise comes with two red book rings and a polka dot book belt.
The contrast of colors and materials encourages you to keep turning the pages, with each page a new discovery and delight. The pages of Paradise were designed as a beautiful backdrop to hold someone's thoughts and items from their day. They might add baseball tickets, or a shopping list, or a golf scorecard to one page, and a photograph of a desert sunset on the next. Your imagination is the limit with an Anything Book! 
Paper scraps, washi tape, and postage stamps embellish the corner of this Paradise page.
 Each two-page spread is designed to create a canvas for memories. The pages are empty, but they are not blank. I've added embellishments to inspire creativity and overcome that what-do-I-put-on-this-blank-page obstacle. These items will peek out from behind and between the items the owner adds to the pages.
The proceeds from this auction goes to support scholarships for the hospitality industry students.
I'm very excited to offer Paradise for the NEWH auction. I'm also excited about the entire event. I want to see the other art being offered, and maybe I'll even bring home something myself!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Trader Joe's Laurel Anything Book

Today I finished an Anything Book that has been sitting on my workbench for several weeks. It's a commision and I'm so pleased with how it turned out.
This is Laurel, an Anything Book made from a Trader Joe's shopping bag.
This is the first time I haven't used a recycled project package as the front cover. The front and back cover are made from a cereal box, but the box is only visible from the inside. The outside is cut from this lovely reusable grocery bag. This took a little bit of engineering to figure out, but I'm thrilled with the results.
The turquoise bow is made from the shopping bag handle.
Here's a close up of the cover showing the ring fringe and the crystal letter on the front. The book rings are almost a royal blue, and work perfectly with the peacock inspired color theme. Laurel contains more pages than most of my Anything Books, so I've used 1 1/2 inch rings. Laurel also has a turquoise book belt that isn't shown in the photos.

This is a small sample of fabric inserted into Laurel which adds great color and texture to this page.
This is the first time I've incorporated fabric into an Anything Book. When I spotted this fabric, I knew it had to be part of this lovely book. It looks like tooled leather, but it's not real leather.

A recycled business reply envelope is embellished with a used postage stamp and paper scraps.
 The peacock theme inspired the colors, but it also shows up in small ways as images. Here you can see a used postage stam with a peacock on a recycled business reply envelope.

The horizontal layout of Laurel lets me layer materials between the full-size pages.
Laurel is set up for use as a smash book style Anything Book. There are no special journaling sections. Between the full-size pages, there are many different sized materials that create layers. Often, when you turn something over, you get a surprise because there is something unexpected waiting to be discovered underneath.

The ring fringe accents the color scheme of the book and sets the tone for the contents.
Laurel contains more types of materials than the other Anything Books. Partly, this is because it's larger (both in page size and page count) than the others. Partly, this is because I'm doing more experimenting with materials. And partly this is because I work with people to define commission pieces that closely fit their personality and journaling needs.

I hope you have enjoyed this peek inside Laurel. You can see my Anything Books for sale in my Etsy shop, and you can contact me there to make a commision piece for you or a loved one.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First+Aid Adore Anything Book Journal

Adore is the perfect size Anything Book for someone who is just starting their first art journal or scrapbook. Or, it would make a great second journal for someone to carry around to record daily living.

Adore is made from a First+Aid bandage box and easily fits into a purse or backpack.
At just 5 3/4 inches wide by 4 inches tall, Adore is small enough to carry with you throughout the day. Inside, you will find 42 items that give you 84 pages (sides) you can use to record your thoughts or add in treasures from your day.
Adore uses ring binding to adjust as you add items inside.
Adore uses book ring binding to hold your treasures. This means that you can insert your own pages to customize Adore. Simply remove a page as a template and use a standard hole punch to add your own items like letters, enveloped, product packaging, photographs, or restaurant menus. Your imagination is the limit!
Adore's pages provide a canvas for recording your life and your thoughts.
Inside Adore, you will find a wide mix of materials, colors, and patterns selected and assembled to inspire you. Most of the materials are recycled and upcycled, which means they have been saved from the landfill and reused to create this beautiful journal.
Use the pages of Adore as a scrapbook to glue in items, or write on them to keep your thoughts.
Each two-pages spread works together as a backdrop for your treasures and thoughts. Just turning the pages is a voyage of discovery. You can incorporate these elements into your finished page, or simply cover them up with your items. It's all up to you.
The edges of many pages contain tabs so you can label sections or special pages.
Adore contains a great mix of recycled and upcycled materials including patterned paper, cardstock, marketing materials, product packaging, paint chips, business reply cards, guest checks, a magazine cover, and file folder. These items are assembled into a beautiful collage of patterns and colors to create each page.
Behind Adore you can see the ring fringe, ribbon and yarns that decorate the top binding ring.
Adore contains a library card pocket where you can stash smaller items that you don't want to glue to the pages. The pocket comes with a shipping tag just waiting foryou to add your photos, ticket stubs or other memorabilia.
Small embellishments create spaces where you can record special events or items.
Many types of small items appear to embellish the Adore pages, including washi tape, tabs, clips, postant stamps, ribbons, and product tags. These small treasures inspire you to add your personal touches to Adore.
You can add small items that capture your interests and express your personality in Adore.
Like all Anything Books, Adore's name comes from an item you will find inside it. The name appears on the back cover along with a unique barcode identifier. No two Anything Books are alike, and each one has a unique name and identifier.
Adore is identified and signed by me before leaving my studio for your home.
Adore would make a lovely gift for anyone in your life who appreciates the small details of life. You can use Adore as a journal, as a scrapbook, a travel journal, a weight loss journal, a baby or pregnancy journal... the uses are limited only by your imagination!

Check out Adore in my Etsy shop.