Mark your calendar

Re-purposing, as it is called these days, has always been something I've enjoyed.  It is fun to take something meant for one use and turn it into something else.

This little project started as a faded framed print picked up at a garage sale for $1.  It was just what I was looking for to turn into a dry erase calendar.

Choosing neutral tones and a subtle designs, I glued wallpaper samples over the old print.

Next I measured off the calendar grid, working on the back side of the glass.  All of the markings are done with permanent markers, but on the back side so as to be protected from all the erasing that will take place on the front side.

Using my old friend Photoshop, I printed the word "Month" and the days of the week in mirror image so that I could trace the lettering from the back.
A word of caution if you try this at home:  the edges of the glass were not smooth, so I had to be espcially careful when working with it.
Also note, 'permanent' marker may not be entirely permanent, so be careful when removing fingerprints from the back of the glass before putting it back in the frame.

Now it is ready to add the month and dates, as well as important events and reminders, with a dry erase marker.

This handy-dandy calendar now hangs proudly in a homeschool room right next to this other makeover project I did.


Steps to Sweet Dreams

Backgrounds are some of my favorite things to make.  I have several quite a few backgrounds prepared in books and ATC blanks waiting for the rest to come along.  

Here is a story of how one of those background came to be and what happened to it.

After the pages were gessoed  and dry, I added pieces of old sewing pattern. I coated the pages with mod-podge and smushed torn pieces of the tissue into it then applied more mod-podge on top.  I was not carefulabout wrinkles because I wanted the texture.

I helped the drying process with my heat gun. Sometimes when I get on a roll, I don't want to wait around for one layer to dry before moving on to the next. Be careful and not overheat the page or you will be more texture than you bargained for.

The last layer of mod-podge was so that I would apply acrylics and wipe them off, leaving some white showing through underneath.  See all the textured hills and valleys starting to show up?  It is very satisfying to smear & glob on paint and then rub it off lightly in places and in some places polish it down to the glossy mod-podge layer.

To complete the background, I added torn bits of music and text.  As it often happens on my work table, these pages lay open for several days while I contemplated what to put on them. Everything I placed on the spread didn't fit.  When I stopped trying to create a focal point and just started 'decorating' the background, the piece took shape.

There are happy little messages scattered through out this layout.  I wish you could feel all the interesting bumps and ridges in the surface.  Even the pictures and text I added last took on the terrain of the background beneath.

 Do you think this piece has a focal point?  Do you think a piece has to have a focal point?


Playing with paper

You never would have guessed, but I enjoy playing with paper.  I like the patterns, the colors, the textures.  Months ago I saw this interesting technique that I had to try.  I cannot tell you where I saw it, nor can I tell you what it is called.  I found my first--and so far, my favorite--attempt in a folder the other day.  It made me want to do some more.  I decided to share with you how I did it.

This is the first one I did way back when, so I don't have the original image:

Step #1:  Choose a magazine picture that has nice contrast in color and shapes.

Step #2:  With an X-acto, cut the picture into equal (or non-equal) strips.

Step #3: Move the first strip on the left all the way to the right.
 This strip will now become the last piece of the new picture.

Step #4:  Move the strip that is now the first one on the left
to become the next-to-last strip of the new picture.

Continue moving strips from the left edge of the
original picture to the left edge of the new picture.

When all are moved, it will create a very interesting fractured picture.
To complete: attach the strips to paper or cardstock with a gluestick.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I thought the next ones I did were a little too predictable, so I deviated from the formula and really mixed them up, alternating the sequence and the tops and bottoms of the strips.

I like how these turned out too.

Give this little exercise a try.  If the first rearrangement isn't as pleasing as you'd like, turn them every-which-way until you get something that floats your boat--or churns your butter.

Now, do you have any awesome ideas as to what to do with these little pretties?



“It is an illusion that youth is happy, 
an illusion of those who have lost it.”
 ~William Somerset Maugham

“I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”
~James Matthew Barrie 

Youth comes but once in a lifetime.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We have some salt of our youth in us.

~William Shakespeare


Dressed up

One of the last things my altered books get is the cover art. I have another book almost finished, so it is time to start thinking about the cover. Only I really didn't have an altered book cover in mind when I did this little piece.  And I really didn't have a cover in mind when I ran across this little piece the other day while searching for something else.  But there it was.   And there was the book I was working on.  Side by side.   Hmmmmm.    A perfect fit.  So these little dressed up girls will grace the cover of a finished book real soon.  Now, for the book's title..........maybe I'll stumble upon that too!


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