Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Something Different

Last night I finished working on a Steampunk Journal for an artist's swap starting in July. Each of us will add artwork to the other artist's journal and then send it on to the next artist.

For those of you who don't know what Steampunk is (I didn't know until recently), Wikipedia defines it as:
a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.

I haven't made my own journal before, so it was a bit of a challenge figuring out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I started with a vision that my journal would be about inventors and their inventions.

I started with an old book that I bought at the thrift store. It was nothing special, but it had a neutral color on the outside cover (typically steampunk artwork stays in the gray/black/cream/rust/neutral color range), and it had interesting maps on the inside cover. I cut out the pages inside and reinforced the binding area with heavy-duty canvas. I painted a piece of wood from the craft store with antique gold paint, and I added a wood disk from a checker board project I did a long time ago and watch parts from an old watch of mine. I added a handle (this didn't make the final cut - it was too hard to work in the book with the handle sticking out), papers, and the edge from the original book binding.
The canvas didn't want to stay put, so I ended up using some hardware to hold it down. I ended up not liking the look of the screws, so these are covered in the final product. I also glued black ribbon on the top and bottom edges.

And here it is! Here's the front cover:

A detail view of the front cover:I found some cool papers at Michaels that were organic in style, but neutral. Some of them had die cut edges that I thought would make the side of the book more interesting. I used the papers as a mini-cover for each artist's double-page spread of watercolor paper. A view from the side:(Now open the book and turn it sideways...) There's a little waxed paper (tinted with Timber Brown StazOn ink) pocket with an invitation, and the first page is the cover to a note to the participating artists.Detail view of the invitation "You're invited to invent":

I "sewed" all the pages together (twice) and then attached them to the cover with some ribbon. There are photos of all the inside pages and the back cover over at flickr. Here's a link to the flickr photo set with all of the photos.

Lessons learned:

I am not a book binder. Well, at the very least, I'd need a class to really know how to bind a book properly.

StazOn ink is just about the coolest stuff ever made. It inks on almost anything!

Gel medium isn't as strong of a glue as I thought it was. Or maybe canvas just doesn't like to be glued down.

I'm sure I could have made this easier on myself, but I enjoyed the challenge!

Monday, June 29, 2009


...we haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Well, not completely anyway.
I'm back from a nice but too short/too long trip to Washington. I would have loved to have spent more time, but I was missing Doug and my sweet baby big time.

Harper decided that she'd get serious about walking while I was gone (flickr video uploading right this minute). She's making full room circuits now. I told Doug not to teach her anything while I was gone, but it looks like she just couldn't be stopped. I hate that I missed out on anything at all, but life goes on around here without me, I guess.

Ohhhh... I do know one of Harper's secrets that NO ONE else knows yet. She's getting in two more of her top teeth next to her two front teeth. I just checked them out this morning.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Animals!, originally uploaded by shellypaints.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Walking!, originally uploaded by shellypaints.

Harper has been taking a couple of steps here and there, but today she just decided that she'd go for it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Teeny, Tiny Baby Bunny

Teeny, Tiny Baby Bunny, originally uploaded by shellypaints.

I was getting a drink in the kitchen and saw my little bunny eating outside. He froze in his "you can't see me" pose until I made enough noise that he had to run off. He wasn't too scared though because he was back out in just a minute or so.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Photos as promised

(Not a great photo, but it does show that I got my hair chopped off!)
And a bonus photo of the only time Harper sits still... while watching Jack's Big Music Show!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Before I forget

Things have been fairly busy around here. Mostly just trying to keep complete chaos from taking over. A few things to report before any more time goes by and I forget:

A few months ago, I tried to teach Harper how to do the "more" sign language signal. I repeated it for a few days, and then I kind of forgot about it. (Some teacher I am, huh?) In the mornings, I usually give Harper a few bites of my cheerios. Well, on Monday morning, I asked her if she wanted more, and she made the "more" sign! I thought maybe it was just a fluke or something, but when I asked her again on the next bite, she made it again! AND she repeated it Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Crazy.

We went to the zoo on Sunday. (There are pictures that I will post, I promise. As soon as I find out where Doug left the camera when he took it the other day, that is.) Harper was a perfect child, and we all had a lot of fun. She now knows what the tiger, elephant, snake, and of course, the cat say. The tiger is our favorite because Doug taught her a great roar. As soon as she saw the tiger, she roared!

Last "baby" update... we have a teeny, tiny baby rabbit roaming around in the back yard with his parents. He is SOOOO cute! I doubt that I'll get a photo because he's pretty darn skittish. But ridiculously adorable!