Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Every year the UMBC library has at least one book sale where they sell some of their really old books for dirt cheap. My roomate and I always look forward to this sale because some of the books they sell are really beautiful and are great for altered book and collage projects. Heres my book sale booty. . .

this year i only bought 3 books, my roomie went a little crazy and bought 6

i thought this one had really cool illustrations. its written in a different language too

this book has my sister's initials, I love the gold

I think 2 of the books I bought will be really good for collages and chine colle, but I have a special project in mind for the one with my sister's initials. I want to take out the pages and insert new blank pages too make it into a sketch/notebook for my sister. I plan on using some of the existing pages and text to make some interesting dividers and collages within the new pages. I found this really great website that shows you how to convert old books into sketchbooks so I'm pretty excited to get started.

A lot of places sell old books and there are tons of projects you can do with them! Some of my favorite places to snoop around for old books are antique stores and yard sales. Old books are really just too beautiful to go to waste, so don't let them get thrown away! Give them new life through your creativity:)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Circular Painting

I thought this piece was really cool. It's a time lapse, stop motion video filmed on a circular wall in South Africa. The various artists who put this together expressed their interpretations, concerns, and hopes about today's environmental situation on this unusual canvas.

Circular Painting from Fly on the Wall on Vimeo.

Here are the artists who were involved

Bryan Devlin
Luis Tolosana
Warren Lewis
Ree Treweek
Daniel Ting Chong
Mike Morocco
Toyah Moon Humphreys
Paul Ressel
Josh Ginsburg

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dia de los muertos

Last weekend my family had our annual Dia de los Muertos fiesta. "Day of the Dead" is one of our favorite traditions because its a very meaningful and happy way to honor and celebrate the lives of passed loved ones. My family also has a lot of artistic energy and this tradition really is about celebrating life as well as creativity. We don't come from a Mexican heritage, but we have kind of adopted the tradition and we celebrate it every year with friends and family in our own way.

We celebrated this year at my aunt and uncles new house. Everything was really colorful and warm and the alter that they arranged was incredibly beautiful. We all added photos and mementos to the alter as well some sugar skulls we decorated that night.

our beautiful alter

everyones makin sugar skulls!

I made these to bring back home with me

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the great halloween lantern parade!

Each year around Halloween, Patterson Park is host to a colorful procession of homemade lanterns. Tons of dressed up Baltimorians show up for the event to witness the parade, or to proudly carry their own lantern. This event is truly a homage to creativity, and imagination during such a corporate holiday. I had never even heard of this event until this year when a friend mentioned it to me. My roomie and I decided to go, and although we missed the beginning of the parade, the festivities afterward were well worth the trip.

beware the jabberwock!

everyone dancing and havin a good ol fashion time

I really want to be in the parade next year. Apparently there is no sign ups or obligations, you just show up and your in!

Here is some info about Patterson Park, where the parade took place and where there are many more fun bmore events.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

cuz rives bfk is the best!

Rives bfk is good for me!
(one of my most recent prints on my favorite eco-friendly paper:)

So I'm a print media major and I do a lot of screen printing. I've been screen printing for a few years now and I've found that I really like using a nice sturdy, smooth paper. Rives BFK is my favorite, but I got to wondering, is it eco-friendly? I had never really thought about it before and since I use so much of it, I decided to do a little research. If my search yielded bad results I felt I would have to find a new favorite :( . . .

Luckily for me and the environment Rives BFK as well as the slightly cheaper alternative Arches, are fairly eco-friendly! yeah!

Rives BFK and Arches paper companies proudly bear these three symbols

This symbol means that the paper mill does not use chlorine bleaching when producing their papers.
This symbol means the mill is ISO 14001 certified. I had to look it up to what that means, but basically it means that they comply to high qulaity environmental standards . This certification is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
This symbol means that no trees are used to create the paper, the pulp is made from 100% cotton.

Here are my research sources if you wanna check em out.
Legion Papers
Master Control

Saturday, October 4, 2008

i want this!

Crafty Chica has a new awesome book coming out!

So Crafty Chica is kind of a hero of mine. I have one of her books, "Art de la Soul" and it's amazing!! All her crafts are so creative and colorful:) She has a few good recycling crafts (my favorite shows how to make an old book into a purse) and she really shows you how to utilize the materials around you and include some fun found objects. Also, her antecdotes are completely hilarious!

I love mexican culture and my family has recently begun celebrating Dia de los Muertos. We love the idea of getting together with family and celebrating our loved ones lives, not only to honor them since they have passed, but also remembering the happy times and making new happy memories because of our celebration. Her crafts reflect this celebration of life as well as her colorful and sparkly mexican flare. I love it!

Anyways, she has a new book coming out called "Crafty Chica's Artful Guide to Sewing". I cannot wait to buy it!!! I love sewing (even though im not so good with technical aspects such as threading a machine . . .) and I love working with colorful threads and fabrics. I think I'm more of an embellishment sewer and I love stitching by hand. I think the book will be really inspiring and already has got me thinking bout some altered book projects I'd been working on a while ago where I did a lot of decorative stitching and such. Anyways, Feb 17th is it's release date. Thats not too far away right?!?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

all settled in

So I'm finally all settled in at good ol UMBC. It's wierd to be back here on campus after being away at another school. It really is like coming home:) And now that I'm back and fully equipted with my craft supplies maybe I can start creating again (u know . . . when i dont have homework . . . ;)

this is my room. can u spot ollie?

haha trick question, he was under the pillow. here he comes!

so i also started working at this bakery in ellicott city. heres some of my bakery booty

I'm also really happy to be home with my roomies. I missed them lots!
yep this is a normal activity

So hopefully, between classes, homework and my new weekend job, I'll be able to squeeze out some crafts. Of course I will be doing a lot of art in my studio classes, I'm looking forward to incorporating that into some of my upcoming projects.

Friday, September 26, 2008

recycled or recycleable?

As I was shopping around for cardstock at JoAnne's and inspecting the labels, I found myself asking does the little recycle symbol mean the cardstock is made from recycled materials or does it merely mean it's recyclable? And if it is recycled doesn't it have to tell you what percentage of it is recylced? The labels offered me no information and I took this ambiguity as a bad sign. I always feel wary of labels if they seem a bit open ended.

I wasn't sure if I was the only one missing out on this info, or if other eco concious crafters were confused as well. So I decided to do a little research. I found a website that completely cleared everything up.

This symbol means the object has been made from recycled materials. If it has no percentage inside then the object is made from 100% recycled materials. If there is a percentage, then that is the percentage of recycled materials that was used to make the product.

This symbol means the object is recycleable.

I was happy to learn that the cardstock I purchased was indeed 100% recycled as well as recycleable. Thank you internet and thank you JoAnne's for carrying recycled products!

Monday, September 22, 2008

peas&carrots at bel air festival for the arts

I go to Bel Air Festival for the Arts every year. My mom used to be really involved with the planning and she always had a booth to sell her jewelry and then later her beautiful art quilts. She usually let me sell some of my crafts in her booth, or sometimes my sister and I would sell jewelry in the youth section. This year was the first year I had a full booth all to myself and it was pretty exciting!

Here's my booth! I really enjoy organizing displays and personalizing a space:)

some beautious fused plastic bag flower clips

I made some cards from a cute hedgie stamp I carved

bottle cap necklaces galore!

I realy like using antique and every day item displays. My dad found me these old washboards and an old lunch box in our barn. The coffe cans were a last minute find in our basement haha

my grandma Joann modeling her new bottle cap earrings:)

At my booth I sold my new bottle cap jewelry, some recycled art nick nacks, handmade cards, and my new fused plastic flowers. People seemed very interested in my display and most would smile and remark how funny and clever it was to make bottle caps into jewelry. Most people really got a kick out of it and many husbands remarked that this was a craft that they would gladly support and participate in lol.

Overall I really had a great time hanging out in my booth and talking to people. Unfortunately I didn't really get a chance to look around at the other booths, but I did get a chance to peak into the youth section for a bit since my little cousin had a table there. She was selling her homemade dog treats and toys. She called her products Double Doggie Treats and she donated 10% of her sales to the humane society. I think its amazing that she not only found a way to have fun making crafts for the animals she loves so much, but she also found a way to help make a difference. And man was she a hit!! She sold out before 1 o clock, a record I believe.

Long live Bel Air festival!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bel Air Festival for the Arts

So this sunday (sept 21st) is the annual Bel Air Festival for the Arts and I'm pretty excited! There will be tons of vendors, food, music and fun so definitely come by!

I've definitely got some last minute stuff to finish up, but I will have a lot of new stuff at my booth this year. I've got tons of bottle cap necklaces, earrings, some magnets, and some new fused plastic creations. Stop by and see me:)

Need Directions? Here yah go!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Carnival of Green Crafts

So the Carnival of Green Crafts is basically a twice a month "traveling" event that takes place in various host blogs. Its a collection of links to other blog posts having to do with green crafts (eco friendly materials, tutorials . . .). Its pretty neato and it has tons of great ideas about crafty recycling and cool eco friendly materials. Its really a great resource for new and creative ideas.

I had two posts featured in the 3rd Carnival of Green Crafts hosted by Crafting a Green World:)
Just scroll down and look under "Bags, Bags, Bags!"

Carnival of Green Crafts #3: Trash Into Treasure

check it!

Also submit your own! The next one is September 4th

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baltimore by Hand

My poe bottle cap earrings were featured in the blog Baltimore by Hand as one of "a few favorite finds"! This blog is connected to the Baltimore Sun and features various artists, highlights upcoming art and craft events, and even has a few crafty tutorials. Pretty exciting:)

Baltimore by Hand

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

mom's garden:)

a few days ago I went with my family to visit my mom's garden. My step dad and other family members and friends planted the garden so that we could all visit it and remember her by the bright colors and flowers she loved so much and used so often in her art. It's really blooming quite beautifully and it's a nice spot to visit on a warm sunny day:)

beautiful black eyed susans

sunflowers were my mom's favorite flowers. I know shes laughing because the 4 ft sunflowers that were planted turned out to be 8 ft giants!

my aunt deibbie and the rest of my family admiring the garden

zinnias are my favorite flower

the garden forms a round shape like a sun and crescent moon

I'm going back again soon to do some weeding. I think one great thing about having a garden is that we can all be a part of it. By giving the garden our love, my mom's legacy of spreading and sharing beauty continues:)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

all work and no play makes jill a dull girl

ahhhh so many bottle caps!(not even half )eeek

this is my bottle cap jewelry bin

So I've been working pretty hard lately on my jewelry and I've been trying out some new fused plastic sewing projects. I've pretty much been working non stop since I haven't been getting any hours at my dad's shop (they're a bit slower in the summer). I have to get my stuff ready for bel air festival of the arts in September. I'm still not sure yet whether I'm going to be having a full booth or a half booth, but I still need to increase my stock.

I've also been doing a lot of organizing in my room and also in my workshop. I have soooooo many art supplies it's not even funny. Its been hard, but I've found that the best way to organize is to have bins for each kind of project. I have a whole organized bin for painting, one for print media, one for colored pencils, one for drawing . . . you get the idea. Anyways, I like to make my supplies portable. I also have been trying to clear off my workspace so I can actually sit down there and work instead of cramming into my room and trying to do everything on the floor. Genius huh? haha

While I was adding resin to my bottle caps, I realized I haven't done any craft projects just for me lately. I decided it was time to take a small break. I worked on a project I've ben wanting to do for a long time. I guess I kinda cheated and took pictures and made it into a craft tutorial (to be posted soon:), but it was still relaxing and nice. It's satisfying to sometimes be able to keep something I make. After I finished my project I made my favorite dinner (ling ling potstickers and stir fry mmmmm) and watched the Jane Austen Book Club. I really love that movie, and of course Hugh Dancy. Anyways, it turned out to be a pretty perfect night. Now I think I'll just lay back, watch Ollie run on his wheel and curl up in my bed to read a little harry potter:)

my comfy bed awaits:)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

funky wallets

So I've been experimenting with creating wallets from the fused plastic I've been making (learn how to fuse plastic bags). I discovered that if you have clear plastic bags, you can cut out shapes from other colored bags and place them between the layers. You can create fun patterns that way! I had thought about putting other things between the layers (like sequins or dried flowers . . .), but I read on another site that the layers just won't fuse together around the objects and it won't work. I wonder if embossing powder or bits of glitter would work? I'll have to try. Anyways, here's a picture of the first wallet I've made. I'm pretty excited about it.


My boyfriend was cleaning out his room the other day when he happened upon a ginormous bag bursting at the seems with plastic bags that he couldn't "bear to throw away". Apparently he's been saving them for years, it's destiny I suppose that brought us together (me and the plastic bags;) Anyways there are bags of every color you could imagine! There is even bright pink and teal. I can't wait to start using them. I think I could make some pretty funky stuff.

Hopefully if I get the technique down just right and make some more of these wallets, I'll be posting them on etsy soon, or maybe even selling them at my next show . . . we'll see:)

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Going to clifftop (or the Appalachian String Band Music Festival) has been a family tradition for about 4 years now. Unfortunately in the past I've always been away, but this year I got to take the long hike up to West Virginia and spend some quality family time listenin to fiddles, trying to flatfoot, and hangin out at the family booth. I have to say it was quite an experience. I loved the constant merry background of old time jams, and of course learning about a truly unique american culture.

they love them some old time

this is the old groove trailer where we made our base camp for the week

my mini set up complete with some old time washboards!

there were gorgeous luna moths everywhere!

my little cousin emma advertising my merchandise and playing the mandolin

My dad and uncle, who both love to play and listen to old time, started our family tradition of attending this festival. My dad owns a promotional products company and t shirt business, and my uncle is an illustrator, so it seems natural that they should combine their forces and create their own company Old Groove. They print t shirts and various other accessories that have to do with the old time music and culture they love so much. It was a huge hit at the festival the first year they brought some t shirts and they have bought a booth there ever since.

This year, my dad and uncle let me set up my own table within their booth. My little mini set up included an old window, and some old washboards I fashioned into displays for my necklaces, earrings and hair clips. Overall I'd say for having such a small set up I seemed to generate a lot of interest and definitely enough sales to make it worth my while. I think my reused and recycled jewelry theme really fit in with the old time "hippie" atmosphere.

It was definitley a great time and I really can't wait to continue the tradition and go again next year!

Monday, July 28, 2008

a way to use those old plastic bags!

I'm pretty excited, I finally found a new way to use plastic grocery bags! Admittedly I don't have that many now because I usually bring my own bag to the grocery store, but sometimes I forget, as do my parents. Well now I know what to do with them!

I learned how to fuse plastic bags together to create a stronger and thicker material. You can sew it, cut it into shapes . . . the possibilities are endless!
So far I've been making these cute little flower pins and hair clips. I think they are pretty cute. I pinned one to the dress I was wearing today and it really looked great! I think it would also look nice pinned to a purse or beach bag.

This is how you do it
1. lay plastic bags on top of one another and try to smooth them out as flat as possible
2. stack about 3-4 plastic bags, make sure the inked side isn't going to touch the iron, just turn it over or fold it inside out, I like to put the prettiest bags on the outside:)
3. cut of the handles and the bottom of the bags so you have one even slab
4. put a piece of wax paper (waxy side down) underneath the plastic bags (if it is up the wax paper will fuse to the bags), then I use a piece of printer paper on top
5. heat the iron to a synthetic setting, but if it is not hot enough, turn it up a bit, you kind of have to experiment, my synthetic setting was way to low, but the cotton setting was way too hot, so I settled somewhere in the middle
6. now its time to iron! keep the iron moving and don't let the iron touch the bare plastic bags (they will melt onto it), move the paper around to where you are ironing. I like to start in the middle and work my way to the edges. (also you should probably do this in a pretty well ventilated area)
7. after that side seems pretty fused and stuck together, turn it over and iron the other side
8. ta dah! now you have a plastic bag slab that you can cut up, sew or do to whatever you want!

just remember practice makes perfect, start out slow, this process is pretty easy, but there are always a few kinks to work out.
(I learned the basics through esty labs.)

I'm hoping to fuse some more tomorrow and maybe experiment with making some little change purses or makeup bags. We''ll see how it goes:)

Friday, July 18, 2008

new stuff

Bottle caps everywhere! I had a ball searching through some old National Geographic magazines to get these images. I love flipping through all the incredible pictures they have packed in there! I've ordered some more chain, so hopefully it will come soon and I'll be able to put these puppies together!

So I've posted a few new things on my etsy shop. I still haven't posted quite as many things as I want, but I'm getting ready to show some of my pieces to a shop in Havre de Grace, and I'm preparing to sell some of my jewelry at a music festival in West Virginia. After divvying up everything, it doesn't leave me too much to post.

check it out!

I should be making some more stuff soon so keep an eye out:)