Friday, 20 December 2013

International Mixed Media Postcard Swap Version 5.0!

The International Mixed Media Postcard Swap Version 5.0 is ON!

(Need a crash course on Mixed Media or some inspiration to get started? Examples and ideas below!)

Past participants, please note that you will have to fill out this form to be in this Swap, even if I already have your address!

The basic idea:

- You will make 10 postcards in a mixed media format (don't be afraid - mixed media is a cinch! Keep reading...)
- You will receive 10 mailing address from me for other creative people just like you from around the world!
- You will send each of those ten people one of your handmade postcards.
- Then you will receive a handmade postcard from 10 other people from around the world!

Sound like fun? Then join us!

The rules: 

The rules are easy, but make sure that you read through them and follow them! Remember, you have to follow through if you sign up; a real live person will be waiting for each of your 10 postcards!!

Note: Last day to sign up is January 12th, 2014!

1. Join the swap by filling out this form.

2. Click on the go to to submit your $5.00 to participate (click on Send Money). Send your $5 to shannonganshorn at ($5 = a cup of coffee, a vending machine sandwich, a deck of cards, a couple of chocolate bars, or TEN original art postcards!!!! Easy choice! ) 

3. Make 10 handmade postcards in a mixed-media style. Remember, "Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed." That means that you can combine ANY types of art into your postcards! (Oh what fun!!!!!)

4. Tell your friends about the Swap or grab this badge to put onto your blog, linking to this post. The more people we have participating, the more fun it will be. Spread the word; share a link to this page on Facebook or Twitter, write about the swap in your next blog post. Thanks for helping make this swap AWESOME!

5. During the following week (January 19-25), I will email you 10 mailing addresses to send your cards to. They might be from across the city, across the country, or on the other side of the world because this swap is open for everyone!

6. Make sure that you fix the appropriate amount of postage, write a nice message, and then send your postcards "plain" or "hidden" in an envelope for protection depending on what you've made. (It’s up to you!) The deadline for sending your postcards is January 31st, 2014. 

7. Wait patiently for the snail mail to do its thing. You will be getting postcards from 10 different people around the world! How exciting!

Again, the steps are:
     1  - register using this form before January 12th
     2  - $5 via Paypal to shannonganshorn at
     3  - make 10 postcards
     4  - share the Swap info with other artsy friends
     5  - get 10 addresses from me by January 25th
     6  - send out your postcards by January 31st
     7  - wait on your doorstep for cards to roll in!

What is Mixed Media?
Mixed Media is an art form that encompasses every other art medium – truly every single one! Mixed Media combines two or more different art mediums (media) into each art piece. Here are some examples of some of the combinations that I love:

- Photography and Ink
- Fabric and Watercolours
- Paint and Crayons (I *love* crayons!)
- Pencil Crayons and Ink
- Fabric and Photography
- Collage and Paint
- Scrapbook Style and Paint
- Embroidery and Ink
- Sewing and Origami
- Zentangle and Painting
- Collage and Stencils

Use any or ALL of these combinations, and then add your own! The possibilities truly are endless!!! Do a Google image search for mixed media, or better yet, have a look on Pinterest for Mixed Media!

Don’t forget! Fill out this form and pay your $5 entry fee to participate! Last day to sign up is January 12th!

Join us Swappers in our Facebook Group, and share your cards as you make them and/or receive them: 

"Like" Musings on Realities on Facebook:

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A Long-Awaited Wreath

Last Christmas, the mother of a friend of mine asked if I could make her a wreath for her door using some old sweaters.

The sweaters had belonged to her parents, and had been knit by a family member. Pretty special.

There were three sweaters, and I felted them all with a hot water/hot dryer process. 

I was initially worried  because the wool didn't felt like I had seen in other sweaters. The sweaters were definitely much smaller, but I could still see the knit stitches very easily. 

I called my "client" and asked her what she wanted me to do.

"Just use them up. Do your best, and don't worry if they unravel a bit." Perfect!

I cut one sweater up first, snipping out squares about 3"x 3".

The sweater was really thick, and although I have good, sharp scissors, my hands were aching!

Once I had all of my squares (I didn't measure, by the way, I just eyeballed the size), I grabbed a metal coat hanger. 

I bent it so that it formed a circle, 

...and then snipped it at the base on one side. 

Then I started poking the middles of my squares. You can see just under my left hand the number of squares that I had already "threaded" onto the wire when I took this photo. 

Once I had all of my squares on (you'll know this when there is barely room to see the wire between squares, even with a little effort), I snipped off the hook part of the coat hanger and made my own hook. 

I made a hook on the original end as well, and looped them together. 

I then pushed the squares around the join together, over the hooks so that the join was essentially hidden. (You can slide the square back on itself AND thread it over the looped end....)

The finish product is (in my opinion) a very striking wreath that could really be used any time of year. 

I love the oat-y colour of the sweater squares, and I love the messy-yet-organized look of the wreath itself. 

Go ahead and make one of these for your own door this year! It took me all of about 30 minutes (after the initial washing and drying), and didn't require any special tools. 

Make one for your neighbour, too! ;)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

I'm Still Making Art!

Phew! Now that the postcard swap is in the sending and receiving stage, I've had a chance to relax a little.

I'm still making art. Below is a collage that I did with images and machine stitching for the cover of next (school) year's day plans. 

You might not hear from me for a while. I'm busy growing a person in my belly. It certainly takes up a lot of my mind, thinking about those little toes, little eyelashes and tiny lips - not to mention the growing list of things to buy for the October arrival. Thank goodness for Craigslist! 

I'm always available for chats and questions. You can find me checking in fairly regularly on Facebook:

Lets talk soon. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

In Case You're Wondering...

...what has become of our Postcard Swap, you need to come and join us on Facebook!

Swappers are posting photos of their cards before they are sent, and recipients are posting photos of cards once they are received!! It's a VERY exciting group!

Come and have a look!


Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Swap Registration Deadline

Just a reminder that the deadline to sign up for V.4.0 of the Swap is fast approaching (May 10). Click on the Swap button to the right for details on how to be a part of this fun, worldwide swap!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Grammatical Errors that Make Me Twitch

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I am a COMPLETE stickler for proper grammar.

I simply despise the misuse of the English language, and often (subconsciously?) lose respect for those who use the language poorly.

Facebook is a great example of a venue where our traditional grammar rules are used less and less efficiently.

Today alone, I've seen the following: (text altered to protect the guilty parties)

1. Commas used as ellipsis - "My husband came home,,,finally!"

2. The word "awe" instead of "aw" as a reaction to something - "Awe! So cute!"

3. Unnecessary extensions of words that end up weakening their meaning - "Awwweeeeee! So cute!"
(who says "ah - wee"?)

4. The famous misuses of "your" and "you're" - "Your right! I DO love this game!" (Is that my right or your right?)

4b - "Hey Kevin! I have you're French textbook! Call me!" (Poor Kevin never knew that he was a French textbook.)

5. The improper use of apostrophes (remember, apostrophes ONLY show ownership or a contraction) - "I saw Shannons Facebook status" (how many Shannons are there in this sentence?)

5b - "I scored three goal's last night!" (Apparently the last night belongs to those lucky goals!)

I truly LOVE the English language. In fact, I earned an English degree in University.

I'm an avid reader and constant corrector of grammar. I DO judge people on their incorrect use of grammar - I just can't help it! Is that really so bad?

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves? Any opinions on this post? Please comment below!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Handmade Journal from Supplies On-Hand

This Mother's Day (it's coming soon, you know...), how about saving yourself some money and using up some of your craft supplies?

Sound good? 

I think so too! 

Today I'm going to show you, step-by-step, how to make this cute handmade journal. 

1. Two or three different colours of felt, one colour must be 8.5" x 11"; the other colours can be scraps
 (dollar store, 2 for a dollar, if you don't have any on hand!)
2. An 8" x 10" piece of thin cardboard (I used the back page of a writing pad. Another option would be a cereal box.)
3. Embroidery threads in colours to accent your felt (I used two different colours). Again  you can get this from the dollar store, usually 10-12 colours for a dollar. 
4. A variety of papers (Scrapbook, recycled, plain colours, etc.) You will need 20 sheets for this project. We will start with an 8.5" x 11" size and trim them.
5. Decorative trim or ribbon - an 8.5" piece that will be trimmed down.
6. Sharp scissors
7. A needle for sewing your cover and for the embroidery floss
8. White glue
9. Two binder clips
10. A hammer and small nail
11. Sewing machine (optional)

I think the supplies list seems like a lot, but I do believe that you'll be able to collect most (if not all!) of these items from around the house!

Let's get started!

To begin, figure out what you'd like on the cover of your journal. Here I cut out two hearts and stitched them together roughly using embroidery thread. 

If you're not so good at cutting shapes, try tracing a cookie cutter with a felt pen. Then you can flip the fabric over and use the "good" side!

The two panels of felt (mint and brown) will be the inside and outside covers of my journal. 

I machine-stitched the hearts to a felt circle. 

You can see the white thread over the mint felt. 

I planned out where I wanted my heart to go on the cover, then stitched it down onto my front cover sheet of felt. For the outside cover, I chose the mint green. The brown that I had chosen will be the inside cover.  

You can see that my stitching isn't perfect, but it really doesn't stand out in the finished product. Don't be too hard on yourself if your own stitches aren't just right. 

I then chose a contrasting thread colour and decided to make some starburst lines going from the center out. 

I literally did this using the reverse stitch button on my machine. I tried to make each "burst" a different length. 

The I grabbed my other full sheet of felt (the brown, inside cover) and placed it on top of the outer cover (right sides together). 

I sewed around three edges, leaving the right-hand (main front cover side edge) un-stitched.

Then I measured my cereal box cardboard to the stitching. The cereal box cardboard will fit INSIDE the stitching, so I cut it to size before inserting it in. See the image below. 

Then I flipped my three-sides-sewn felts right side out. You can see the nice, clean seam on the edges. 

However, the corners needed a little attention. 

I poked a pencil into the corners to make them nice and pointy. 

Then I slid my cardboard into the "sleeve." 

I chose a decorative trim for a little more "fun" on the front cover. Since I was going to have to stitch that side closed anyway, I figured that it was a good opportunity to add something of interest. 

I decided to glue the trim down first (using a scant amount of white glue, as shown in the photo). This way I knew that it wouldn't shift during sewing. 

I placed a book over top of the glued part so that it could set and really sink into the felt. 

While I was waiting for my glue to set, I took some time to choose some nice papers for the inside of my journal. 

Notice that all of my papers are different sizes. This is common in all of my handmade journals. I like having little half pages and layered pages. 

I chose ten papers and folded them together into what is called a "signature." See what I mean about the different sizes of papers and the layering? Neat, right?

Then did it all again, choosing another 10 papers and folding them to make a second signature. 

Here are my two signatures (10 papers = 20 pages = 40 faces)

The papers that I chose are quite thick, so my 40 pages really is enough for this journal. You can vary your journal as you like, but I've found that the paper edges tend to get a little messy if you include more than ten sheets per signature. 

Note: if you are going to make a thicker book, then you will have to include room on your covers for a larger spine.

Here's another shot of my papers and signatures. 

I then grabbed a piece of scrap white paper and made myself a guideline for my stitching/binding holes. 
(That's right! We are going to hand-stitch our papers to our cover!)

My papers, from top to bottom, measured 8". I wanted three binding holes (this makes the stitching really easy, but strong, too). I marked the centre (4") and then 2" from the centre on each side (2" and 6"). I used a hammer and nail to punch these holes into my guide paper. 

(Real bookbinders use an awl to create these holes, but in case you don't have one of these specialty tools, a hammer and nail will do the trick just fine! On this day, I couldn't find my awl, so I used the hammer and nail technique.)

I clipped my pages together on one outer edge, then gathered my hammer and nail to begin punching holes. 

I set my guide inside the first signature, and hammered my nail through fold of my signature in those three places on my guide. I then removed my nail and went on to poke holes the same way in the other two places. 

I double-checked that my holes had gone all the way through all ten sheets of paper in my signature. 

Note: make sure that you have an alternate surface on your table, as the nail WILL go through your signature and into whatever surface you're working on!

Then I moved the guide to my second signature and punched three holes in that one. 

Back to the cover: my glue had set, and I was ready to sew my trim on permanently. 

I followed the lines in the trim to make it a nice, straight edge. I also made sure that the back cover was sewn in during that same stitched line. 

Then I chose an embroidery floss colour that went well with the journal. This thread is what I used for binding the book, and adding in my signatures. 

I measured twice the height of my book for the length of floss that I used. 

For binding the book, I tucked my first signature into my cover, lining it up so that I had an even amount of cover on either side - essentially centering my signature from top to bottom). 

I put my needle into the centre hole of the inside of the signature, and pushed it all the way through the signature and cover so that it came to the outside of the cover. 

I then went back through the outside cover and into the outside of my signature into the top hole, bringing the needle inwards towards the inside of the signature. 

My thread was on the inside after that last step, as shown in this photo. You can see that I left a tail after my initial stitch - this is important. 

Then I took my thread to the bottom hole and again went through the signature out to the outside of the cover. 

The outside cover should now look like this. Bring the needle back through the same holes that you used for the first stitch, through the centre of the cover and signature. 

You'll end up with two tails in the middle of the inside of your signature  Make sure that you pull the threads taut so that there is no slack in between the stitches. Tie a knot, and snip off the ends neatly, as shown in the photo. 

Repeat this for your second signature, but this time position your signature so that it is no more than 1/8" away from the first one. This will ensure that your pages line up and that your journal closes properly. 

Once the signatures are sewn in, you can remove your binder clips. 

Now you can fold your cardboard over and crease it with your signatures fastened inside. 

Look at all of the pretty papers!

I LOVE how the starburst goes over the spine. 

Here's a great side view. 

And here is my spine showing the starbursts going over to the back cover!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned some new techniques. 

This is really the basis of bookbinding. Once you've mastered these steps of creating signatures and stitching them into a cover or spine, you can take your bookbinding to amazing levels by using special stitches, different covers, and more!

Play around with materials using the same techniques that we used in this journal. 
For example, you could make a tiny journal using playing cards as the covers, or use a vintage hardcover book as the cover, pre-poking the holes into the spine for stitching in your signatures. 

If you have questions, please feel free to post a comment or email me! 

As always, I have loads of journals in my etsy shop

Thanks for reading!