Friday, February 26, 2016

Handmade Gift Box

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

I used to buy small gift boxes until I learned how to make them out of paper and card stock.  They are easy to make and the colors can be coordinated with your gift. The gift here is a heart-shaped glass paperweight.

Arnold Grummer paper making kit
For a 3 inch square box and 1 and 1/2 inches deep:
Paper used for top of box should be 1/4 inch bigger than card used for the bottom:
Top - Hand-made paper, size 8 inches square, follow the link to make paper here.
Bottom - Cover stock, 7 3/4 inches square

Directions are the same for both Top and Bottom paper and cover stock:
• Fold four corners into center.

• While corners are folded, fold into thirds, left and right edges to center, both ways.

• Cut 4 corners diagonally up to the point where the folds meets that you just made when you folded both ways into thirds.

• This is the most important step, so here is another view of the 4 corners diagonally cut.

• Pull out right and left sides and fold in the cut corners that you just made.

• Pull up middle sides, stand top and bottom walls up and over the cut triangle tabs.

The size of this gift box can be used for a small keychain book, beaded necklace, or even a small paperweight less than 3 inches.

Tie a pretty color-coordinated ribbon around the box, hand stamp a butterfly on a tag, finish with your sentiments.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fabric Book of Intentions

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

I took a workshop from Lisa Englebrecht during November 2012. The workshop was called: Book of Intentions: Hand Lettered Fabric Book. The supply list included these instructions: Also bring a sense of openness and a loosely composed list of what you’d like to have happen to you artistically in the future!

I brought photos from a trip Kevin (husband) and I took to the Grand Canyon which truly warrants the word: AWESOME. These are the pages from my Fabric Book of Intentions. My intention was to have adventures inspiring creativity.

In the workshop we painted smooth cotton canvas - 10 by 20 inches for the pages that we bought at Joann’s. A yard of fabric was also included in our materials fee. The fabric cover was 12 by 24 inches, so I needed several yards but at $6 a yard, it was OK.

I had bought Lisa’s paperback book in 2010, Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering which remains an exceptional resource for me; it includes lessons in various hands (fonts) of calligraphy, information about spacing, how to hold a pen; and shows examples of lettering on fabric including a few pieces from Teesha Moore.

In the workshop I also bought Lisa’s DVD, Hand Lettering on Fabric which has recently reminded me how much I learned in Lisa's two day workshop.

I brought a purple heart I crocheted. Supplies included: FW Acrylic Ink, brushes, pins, scissors, etc. What I did not have already, was a purple disappearing  ink pen for fabric from Walmart or Joann’s. Lisa demonstrated her calligraphy, photo and foil transfer techniques.

Lisa’s handouts had about 20 pages with techniques and lettering samples, plus a sheet called 12 Ways to Wabi-Sabi which included “cultivate imperfection” another way to say, embracing flaws; and “cultivate craft” meaning to provide a tactile meditation.

When I went to the Visual Art Journaling group a few weeks ago I mentioned Lisa’s workshop to Cori, who had also attended. I was sad that I had not finished sewing the book. So, over the last few weeks I worked on finishing touches and putting this book together.

The book is sewn with a 5 hole pamphlet stitch. I made the holes with a Japanese Screw Punch. I used 2 colors of embroidery thread from Michael's on a Size 18 needle.

I started sewing at the top of the book from outside, in and out going down the 5 holes and then going up again in and out to arrive back where I started and I tied a knot up at the first hole. I also added beads, making a double knot on each side of the bead to hold it in place - of course a dragon bead since 2012 was The Year of the Dragon!

Also sadly, the beautiful, encouraging, talented Lisa passed away on November 10, 2014. Lisa’s blog is still active at Visit her blog to have some sense of how magical and inspiring she was! 


Happy that I finally finished this book! Please - if you make one of these fabric books, please post a photo - Comments section. I would love to hear from you!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine Mini Zig Zag Book

I enjoy using accordions for greeting cards and was happy that Arnold Grummer sells Zig Zag books with six sides. When I fold my own accordions I fold eight sides, as I do below with the handmade paper accordion. Then I cut off two sides to use for another greeting card. 

Blender, strainer, sponges, towels
Books are 3 1/2 by 15 inches; Covers are 2 3/4 by 3 3/4 inches
Two pieces of scrapbook paper to decorate covers, 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches each
Two photos, 1 inch to 2 inches square
Draw 2 inch heart out of pink paper and cut out
18 inch ribbon 
PVA glue & 1/2 inch glue brush
Arnold Grummer Standard Paper Press

Closed Valentine Zig Zag Book - 2 3/4 by 3 3/4 inches
  • Follow instructions in the Arnold Grummer paper making kit.
  • Attach handmade paper to form an 18 inch by 3 1/2 inch piece
  • Fold the handmade paper into an accordion by first folding in half, then each half to the center, then the other sides folded up to make eight folds.
  • Cut off the 1st and 2nd sides so now you have 6 sides which will make the tunnel in front of the Zig Zag book. Now you have a 3 1/2 by 11 inch piece of handmade paper.

  • Fold the handmade paper in half, pencil an opening 3/4 inch by 2 inches long; cut along pencil lines, then unfold to check straightness
  • Cut other sides as pictured; I cut diagonally to have a diamond shaped opening for photos
  • Hold each opening of the handmade paper up to the Zig Zag book valley folds to determine where to place photos in the Arnold Grummer Mini Zig Zag Book.
  • Tape or glue the photos into the valley folds; glue the heart into the center valley fold.
  • Use double sided tape on the edge of the mountain folds - as shown - to hold handmade paper book in place. Use sparingly and tape one fold at a time.
  • Finally, use double sided tape on handmade paper ends to stick handmade paper book to mini Zig Zag book.

  •  Use double sided tape in the middle of the ribbon on inside of the back cover to hold in place.
  •  Glue scrapbook paper to covers using PVA glue as shown.
  •  Use PVA glue on back of mini Zig Zag book ends to glue the book to the covers.
OPTIONAL:  Place book in Standard Paper Press overnight

I have owned this Paper Press since 1998! It is a fixture in my studio. I use it to press all my books. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Coloring Checkerboard Calligraphy

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

When I was in Paris I bought a calligraphy book at The Louvre Museum Bookshop called The Bible of Ornate Letters, the 2012 edition.

The book describes 4 alphabets with different calligraphic styles for each letter. The 104 different styles of letters span the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Here is one of the alphabets.

Each letter is given a page or two for a total of 190 pages in the book. This week I chose to focus on a lettering style from the 17th century, called a Checkerboard Letter. 

I make my own coloring pages with lettering. First I draw the letter, then I use an outline, drawing either a box or circle around the letter. Coloring with my Prismacolor by Sanford pencils, there is no waxy glow.

En damier = Checkerboard; Variation de couleurs = Color change. This checkered R is extracted from an Ordinary Usage of Orleans (L’Ordinaire) in the17th century kept in the municipal library of Orleans, Loiret. Oddly enough this book was made of parchment paper that was imprinted beginning two centuries earlier. L'Ordinaire is a liturgical book that contains the prayers said every day at Mass.

To paint this initial, start with the colors of the pattern; involuntary overflows will be well covered with body paint of the letter. - I also used three colors for the checkers.

I had fun copying my colorful ABC / XYZ page into black and white, outlining the letters and adding Italic calligraphy, still practicing... Not sure if I will work on the other 103 styles of letters, but I have enjoyed playing with this Checkerboard style. 

It has been a fun book! Here is the back of this pretty book. Please let me know if you try these letters - they are a challenge too!