door plate and mirror

I’ve wanted a floor-length mirror in my room for years and I had an idea of how I wanted it to look. A long time ago I saw a photo in a magazine of a mirror that was decorated with hardware to make it look like a door; that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

mongstad mirror in white

I love vintage hardware. For months I went to antique malls and hunted on ebay looking for just the right pieces for my project. I wasn’t able to find the door plate and hinges in the finish that would match the fireplace frame near by so settled for getting reproduction pieces. Still, I’m very happy with the result.

I found my pieces at House of Antique Hardware for reasonable prices. Here’s a closeup of the door plate and crystal knob. It would have been neat to install a lock in that keyhole but that would have made the project a lot more complicated.

door plate and crystal knob

The hinge can swing away from the door if I want to hang something off it, such as a hangar. I’m not sure if I’d ever do that, but I like that one portion is not fastened to the frame.

decorative door hinge

The mirror is an Ikea Mongstad mirror, though wouldn’t you know it, they don’t sell it in white anymore, only in brown. Luckily we had this mirror hanging in the entry way and moved it. I’ll replace the now empty spot with another mirror.

The Mongstad is just perfect for altering. I wonder if I can find a letter slot plate in brushed nickel. I might keep an eye out for that.

Mongstad full length mirror

While my husband and I were putting this up, I had flashbacks to when I refinished my Ikea cabinet for the kitchen. I love how if you choose, you can make Ikea furniture into something that uniquely fits your living space.

leksvik-grey2

 

Cognac cover
“Do you want to do something with this box?”

A few months ago in October, my husband received a bottle of Martell cognac in beautiful packaging. Interestingly enough it was he who put the box in my hands and asked if I wanted to do something with it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind, but yes, I did indeed want to.

martell cognac

I loved the blue hues and started thinking about the colors that would go along with it — black, gold, gray, and cream. I decided make a junk journal and fill it with an eclectic mix of images and papers. I wanted to make it for the people who gave us the cognac, my husband’s uncle and aunt.

I wanted the book to be interesting; something that inspired curiosity, spurred thought, or at the very least was entertaining in some way, so I used papers of multiple languages and various alphabets, black and white images, rubber stamps, and several stencils.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After I was finished, I wrapped it up and mailed it off to Slovakia for Christmas. Hopefully I’ll hear back in a few days if it was a hit or a miss. You never know with junk journals. Some people “get it”; others don’t and just think it’s weird. I’ll see.

Here’s the flip through:

kids junk journals

This Christmas I’m gifting a few of my nieces and nephews little junk journals. Inspiration from several talented craft artists gave me the idea to make the covers from candy boxes.

I have so much interesting paper of all different types that it took me just a few minutes to gather enough for several small books.

Each book has only two signatures. There are approximately 8 papers, including an envelope, folded in half that make up the signature, so there isn’t too many pages; I didn’t want to make the book overwhelming.

I used papers from comic books, old book pages, maps, graph paper, ledger paper, music lessons, coloring books — pretty much anything that was colorful or had an interesting design on it.

comic book page

I used lots of clothing tags I had been setting aside.

batman jj page

And I used plenty of food labels. I had been saving stickers I peeled off of fruits and vegetables. Those went in here too.

food labels

My kids wanted one immediately so we went to work on separately making junk journals for them. We used chocolate packaging.

junk journals from chocolate packaging

The simplest and fastest way to get the signatures in is to use the long-arm stapler. I love that thing! It has saved me so much time. Yes, it’s a little ugly, but honestly, who cares?!

staple spine

Inside I let the kids pick whatever they wanted. My 7-year-old daughter was quite specific on what she wanted. She already has experience with making these books so knew what to do.

kids junk journal inside

My 4-year-old son did his own thing too.

Ts journal

Of course he went to town with the stickers. That was great too!

Ts journal with stickers

The kids seem to think that they are done. Now I need to get them used to the idea that there is lots of opportunity to keep on adding and embellishing. We’ll see if I can get them to add anything else.

 

mail art junk journal 2

I’ve been receiving so many postcards and beautiful envelopes filled with such lovely mail art that I decided I needed a “book” to contain it all. That the was the inspiration for putting together this junk journal.

In addition to that, I’ve been steadily going through my postage stamps and when I found blocks or groupings of stamps on paper I found ways to include them in my journal.

mail art junk journal 1

mail art junk journal 3

There is so much color in this book, and so much to look at. I never get bored thumbing through the pages.

The cover was made with a large manila envelope. It came in the mail with some kind of advertisement that I didn’t keep, but I thought the envelope might be good for something, so I kept it. At first I painted it with red, blue, lilac, and beige acrylic paint.

cover mail art jj

After that I collaged it with random bits of rubber stamped papers. I rubber stamped on top of that, and then added blocks of cancelled US postage stamps.

close up of the cover

I used a varnish as a top coat and added a little brown paint into the varnish just to mute and blend the colors a little. After everything was dry, I sprayed a little gold mist just to add another element of interest.

A friend of mine from the mail art group I hang out with sent me a bunch of old postal forms she received from someone who works at the post office and knew she was interested in those kinds of things. She sent very neat pieces to me and I dispersed as many as I could within the pages.

mail art junk journal 4

This political campaign mailing tag is cool, as well as the dispatch unit postmark slip on the facing page.

mail art junk journal 5

Here are a few more pages

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And here is the flip through in its entirety:

I can honestly say that it has been tremendous fun working on pages and adding content to this vintage US postal stamp junk journal that I made. I brought it along with me to the San Jose Stamp Show a few weeks ago and sat down with a local stamp dealer who helped me locate some of the sets of stamps I was looking for. There is a whole culture of stamp collecting that I know very little about. With my little journal, I am learning a lot; more that I ever expected to.

I wrote about the journal a few posts ago. It looks like this.

cover us stamps jj

I took apart an old 1947 catalog from the H C Harris & Co and interspersed pages along with blank tea-dyed pages to make a new journal. Since I have blank pages that face catalog pages, I thought it would be fun to make collages with the stamps shown on the catalog page on to the facing page. Here’s an example:

Railroad time book collage

I was looking for these parcel post stamps issued in 1912-1913. I showed the stamp dealer my page, and he was able to locate them pretty easily. I purchased these 5 for about 35 cents a piece. I could have gotten all of them, but I didn’t want them all. I just wanted enough to make a nice collage.

Fo the background, I wanted something that conveyed “transportation”, so I went with an old California map and tore a page out of a railroad time book I have.

I found a couple a couple of these pamphlets at a local antique dealer a few months ago. They contain so much information about a single month of work.

Railroad time book 1910

Time book page 1903

record of work done

The pamphlets are fragile and falling apart so I decided to use some of the pages in some of my art pieces. I tore out a page for my parcel post stamps.

Parcel post collage

Parcel post collage 2

In addition to completing this page, I completed a page with stamps of national parks. I got all of these stamps for free. The folks at the San Jose Stamp Club are so generous!

National parks stamp collage

I used a survey map as a background on the left side.

survey map

survey map 2

On the facing page I had an old envelope with three national park stamps (by the way, an envelope is referred to as a “cover” in the world of philately), and an old, damaged postcard that I tore to use. I love how it’s so bug-eaten.

bug-eaten postcard

Since the catalog includes US and North America, I have pages with Canadian stamps too. Here’s one I did using a whole lot of repeats.

Canada goose

I have more to do, but I am happy to wait — to put it off for a time when I will happily sit down to it and make something interesting to look at.

additional stamps

 

vintage junk journal cover

Sometimes I make journals and completely forget to blog about them! That’s such a shame for me, because I spent a good deal of time making these journals and there are some worthwhile things to share. Well, better late than never.

I made this back in the spring for a neighbor graduating from 8th grade. I wanted to make something simple and leave plenty of space for her to write in it, if she chose to.

I used a 6 inches x 9 inches manila folder as a cover. For the paper inside I used tea dyed paper and the digital kit from Ephemera’s Vintage Garden called “Sew Pretty”.

For the spine I creased a half inch for enough room to sew in the two signatures. I also sewed on a button with a long shank so that I could tie a ribbon around the book.

spine of half inch

In the inside I glued (actually double sided tape) a page from the kit on the inside of the covers.

img_8066

Here are some pictures of the inside. I used a 3-hole pamphlet stitch to sew in the signatures. I put a few eyelets in tags.

img_8069

And I did some sewing with my sewing machine on the sides of the pages.

img_8068

This is just a decorative element with a paper punch and sewing.

img_8067

I left plenty of space in the pages for writing or adding things.

junk journal with space for writing

Here’s the flip through:

envelope journal - cover

I’ve broken a personal record for the amount of time it took me to make a little journal: almost no time at all.

No sewing, no stitching, nothing complicated. It’s just envelopes, washi tape, and decorative embellishments.

envelope journal pages 1

img_8732

envelope journal pages 3

envelope journal pages 4

envelope journal pages 5

envelope journal pages 6
I’ve been admiring these little journals made from junk-mail envelopes for some time. Of course I’m not the first; not even the second. Shannon Green made a really elaborate one with lots of doodling and drawing. Hopefully I’ll fill this one up similarly!

Here’s my flip through:

How do you know when you’ve done enough to your art project, and it’s time to call it quits? How do you know when you’ve added enough color, embellishments, texture, when enough is enough?

I started putting together a collage in an altered book. I put down some vintage paper scraps, washi tape and slickers, and covered it over with gel paste. After that I used some distress inks to put some color on it and used brown paint around the outside for some contrast. I was ready to stop there.

phase 1

The rubber stamping was on the scraps that I tore up and glued on to the page. The letters were just random alphabet stickers I wanted to use up.

phase 1 close

The more I looked at it, the more I thought that it was missing something. I was thinking that it all looked a little too monochrome and needed something to stand out. I decided on using a stencil in bold black ink.

phase 2 - black stencil

I liked it but then thought I went a little too bold on the left. The black was too dark. And the one on the right, though lighter, just seemed to be floating on the page; it wasn’t grounded. Not good.

black stencil closer

So then I thought, what else could I add? How about lace? It definitely adds something.

phase 3 - lace

The stencil on the right doesn’t look like it’s floating anymore. And the lace balances the starkness of the stencil on the left.

lace corner

lace above

Okay, now I think it’s done.

 

cover us stamps jj

In addition to all the wonderful postage stamps I got from the SJ Stamp Club, I also got a few old stamp catalogs that I’ve been thinking about what to do with. As I started going through the US stamps in my collection, I had the idea that I could make some collage art using the stamps. When I was looking at the individual pages of the stamp catalog I realized I had several of the stamps on hand and that’s where the idea of the journal came from.

img_8452

The catalog is from 1947. It’s a bit fragile so when I took out the staples that held the pages together, I realized I’d have to reinforce the creases on the pages with washi tape.

washi tape crease

I made the cover of the journal using the original pamphlet covers that I glued on to cardboard and then covered with tissue paper. I used tea dye distress ink over the top and then covered it with a coat of varnish.

The journal pages are a mix of catalog pages and blank tea-dyed paper. I’ve started making collages on blank pages where there is a facing catalog page.

stamp collage 1

stamp collage 2

stamp collage 3

I also added some pockets for unused vintage envelopes.

pocket page

I’ve got a lot of stamps that I still plan to collage. It’s a nice task to look forward to.

additional stamps

And here’s the youtube video:

Before I get to the stamps I have to back up a little. Back in the middle of August, there was an antique fair in Sunnyvale, hosted by the Sunnyvale Historical Society. Since I’m now a member of that group, I had gotten the heads up that the antique fair was going to be something that I didn’t want to miss. The event was held at the Sunnyvale museum and had an area set up outside with many tables for groups to display things of interest, such as the Lace Museum having someone working on making traditional lace.

Sunnyvale lace 1

Sunnyvale lace 2

They also had a few tables set up with antiques for sale. I picked up a few things.

antiques in Sunnyvale

I got a Kodak camera from 1917 with its case for $25, a coat and hat wall hook for $4 (I just figured out where I’m going to mount it!), a hand-stitched handkerchief for 25 cents, and some neat *huge* geological survey maps for a couple of dollars total.

geological survey maps

At another set of tables was the San Jose Postcard Club and the San Jose Stamp Club. I got a neat vintage stamp for stopping by.

mint stamp

I began chatting with some of the gentlemen at the SJ Stamp Club booth and was telling them how I use old postage stamps in some of my collage art pieces. They were very interested to hear what kinds of projects I was working on and eventually invited me to one of their club meeting where I was invited to share some of my different projects. I really enjoyed that.

One of the members made available to me a huge quantity of stamps at a very low price. Many of the stamps had little to no value so letting them go in bulk was not an issue. So on another day, we arranged I would come to collect what turned out to be 4 big boxes of stamps. Some were stamps that were still backed on old bits of envelopes, but most of the stamps were loose.

boxes of stamps

box of stamps on paper

One box was entirely international. Another box was US only.

international stamps

Some stamps had been sorted and bound into small bricks.

brick stamps

Those were the cutest ones. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of just those arranged in a bowl.

bowl of stamps

In the end, there were so many stamps that it was necessary to share. Thank goodness I knew the right people to contact. My friend Pamela who does correspondence art got half the stash (and she was kind enough to reimburse me for half of the modest donation price I originally paid). She’s going to do amazing things with these stamps I’m sure! With my portion, I gave two-thirds of that to the art department at my children’s school. The last third I kept for myself to play with. For me less is better. I easily become overwhelmed if I have too much of anything. Still, my stash is easily 500 stamps of really neat international and US stamps. I think I’m set for life with stamps!