Which are the weeds?

Whether slightly flawed or torn or simply too common, the stamps which find their way into my collages are primarily from the philatelists’ reject pile – Continue reading Which are the weeds?

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Faux Postage Trials, Part 4

The lovely Britta (of JaguarSnail) has found yet another potential faux postage perforation solution for us to try and I, for one, am sold!

While rummaging in a junk/antique shop recently Britta came across a pair of rusty, slightly odd-looking scissors with teeth on one side, where the blade would normally be.  When she asked what they were for, she was told they were thinning shears, used in hairdressing.  Who knew?!  (Not us, but probably many other people in the world…)  Anyway, I tried out Britta’s shears and they did indeed make neat-if-square-ish perforations which tore off nicely, so I immediately ordered a cheap pair of (new!) thinning shears to try for myself.

New TangleStamp perforations
New TangleStamp perforations

Mine arrived this morning, and when I tested them out, not only did they make a lovely perforated edge to my new artistamps, but they separated them in the same swift movement, without any need for tearing!  (I’m assuming Britta’s shears only pierced holes because they had been dulled slightly with with age and use.)

I’ve just made a new series of artistamps, printed on self-adhesive label paper, using my most recent postage stamp collages as background images.  Here I’ve done a comparison test, first using a serrated pattern tracing wheel to tear off a stamp, and second using the thinning shears (not shown to scale!).

Faux postage perforation comparison
Faux postage perforation comparison

The auto-separation of the paper after using the shears means that rather than pre-perforating a whole sheet of stamps to tear off as needed, I will be cutting off one stamp at a time, but I like the clean edging so much, I’m pretty sure I can live with that compromise!

I designed the sheet of artistamps from notebook covers collaged in July.  This is my first notebook collage of August in a combination of some of my favourite colours: an imaginary landscape which only narrowly missed the window of joining the artistamps above!  Check out the TangleStore listing for more details.

The latest imaginary landscape
The latest imaginary landscape

For more info about faux postage/artistamps, please see my Faux Postage Q & A page, plus all of these previous posts!

Newsworthy

It’s a while since I created an Etsy Treasury, but I was thinking about newspapers and this one turned out to be very easy to compile!  There are all kinds of upcycled artwork and newsprint-inspired creations here – check it out and be drawn into the most creative headline news:

NEWSWORTHY

Image from Gift Wrap Set by IHavea LittleDream

newsworthy

Projects in progress…

Firstly, I’ve had quite a few updates on the Friends & Faux project over the last week or so, which I have thus far failed to update here on the blog.  Bear with me, I will be caught up soon! In the meantime, I just wanted to share a couple of projects I’ve recently been playing with…

A couple of weeks ago, I helped out a new friend (illustrator & comic artist Sally Jane Thompson) with a comic & bookmaking event.  The event was held as part of a local ‘celebration of drawing’ called the Big Draw, which sees events held across the city, with the aim to get as many people drawing as possible.
(If you have access to A4 paper, there’s a short booklet you can print to celebrate the celebration!)

Now, I am really not much of an artist, but in the spirit of the day, I decided to doodle some doodles, while I was helping out the kids – just to show that you really don’t need to be able to draw to actually draw something.  If you see what I mean!  I had pre-printed some mini-zine templates (which I have just added to the mini-zine freebie page – enjoy!) because I thought some people may find a completely blank page slightly daunting.  I personally definitely found it easier to start drawing when I had a manageable-sized space before me!  This is what I doodled on the day:

I started with the ‘flowers’ in the lower left corner, then worked my way around anti-clockwise.  I stumbled upon zentangling about a year ago, but despite being quite enthused about it at the time, I never really got into it.  I really enjoyed my afternoon of doodling, though, and am definitely going to finish off what I began.  This morning, I discovered a nice blog, the Open Seed, which has inspired me to try my hand at a couple of new patterns, and reminded me that I really need to get going with completing the above!

The other current work in progress I wanted to mention began in a supermarket.  No, really, it did!  I fell in love with a multipack of Dorset Cereals muesli boxes, and had to have them, despite not having a clue what to use them for, at the time.  I banned Corey from opening them, so that he didn’t ruin the boxes in the meantime, of course  (I’ve since emptied the mini packets out into a single ‘lucky dip’ muesli mix).  It was soon quite self-evident that what these boxes really wanted to be was notebooks, so after a quick glance through my craft library for ideas, I was ready to play:


I chose Japanese stab stitch for the binding, then proceeded to execute a very non-thorough job of researching!  As a result of my lack of planning: you can see that the stitching is very unevenly spaced, because I didn’t stop to think about measuring etc; I couldn’t have as many pages inside as I wanted, because I only had a pushpin to hand rather than a bookbinder’s awl; and I also didn’t leave a wide enough margin on the lined pages I printed off for the inside.  But overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I definitely plan to make some more – after a little spot of fine-tuning!  Lucky I like learning by trial and error (and lucky I like alliteration). 😉

Other things I like about this project: I like the ‘hemp leaf’ stitch pattern, which I thought complemented the leaf design of the cereal packet nicely; and I like the little pocket that I made on the inside front cover, by folding in some of the box flaps (I cut most of the flaps off).  I also love that there is a recipe for making lemonade on the back cover, although I can’t take any credit for that! 😉  Once I’ve played around with the idea a little more, I’ll probably write a tutorial; but if you want to experiment in the meantime, this is a good place to get started.

Borrowers & matchboxes

Borrowers coverIt’s felt like a very long time in the making, but my Borrowers zine is finally complete!  I actually wrote the main text for the zine back in June, when I made a miniature zine to fit in a matchbox, for a swap.  I really went to town, and included a set of pins for Homily’s ‘knitting needles’ and the lens from a pair of reading glasses to magnify the text.  I wanted to expand the idea before I released it, though, and around printer problems, internet connection issues & various other deadlines, have finally managed to get everything finished!

The new version of the zine is A5 (half-sized) – but don’t be disappointed if you were hoping for a matchbox zine: I have also included a printout of the miniature version, matchbox templates, a page from a rescued edition of the Borrowers, and a magnifying lens, so that you can make your own micro matchbox zine!

The larger format of the zine just means that you can read all of the text without straining your eyes!   If you ever wanted to find out more about Borrowers, this zine is your place to begin, tracing Borrower history back to Lilliputian times, looking at depictions of Borrowers in literature, as well as considering the likelihood of Borrower colonisation in your own home…  I have illustrated the text with lots of pictures that I have ‘borrowed’ from the many various editions of ‘The Borrowers’ that have been published, over the years.

Both the mini & full-size zines include 5 Borrower-inspired projects, taking elements from Mary Norton’s classic depictions of Borrower life, such as postage stamp art, re-purposed junkmail, a retro rug to put red blotting paper to shame, Homily’s knitting needles, and – of course! – the classic matchbox chest of drawers. The larger version of the zine also includes additional resources for re-purposed & miniature crafts, as well as spaces for you to fill in your own Borrower-themed ideas!

Click here to buy your copy from the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, or here for Folksy.

As a taster, or just if you want to play with any matchbox-themed craft, I have posted a matchbox template in the freebies section.  Enjoy!

Back online! (& Corey’s bookbinding project!)

Such a relief to have home internet back, finally!  I can’t believe it took 2 weeks to fix, but I’m not going to complain too loudly, in case they snatch it back again…!  It’s going  to take me a few days to catch up on all the stuff I just wasn’t able to do whilst borrowing free wi-fi in cafes etc, but then hopefully, everything will be back to relatively normal…

In the meantime, here’s a post I wanted to share with you last week, but couldn’t upload the info.

Corey is not generally the crafty type, but living with me he can’t help but hear about at least some of the ideas I come up with, and clearly I have managed to firmly plant the goodness-of-re-purposing concept in his head, with or without him realising it…!

corey bookHe was producing a booklet/promo pack, to send out to promoters with regard to a trio he has put together. He wrote it, printed it all out, then came to the problem of binding it. We don’t actually own a long-arm stapler, because although I seem to spend most of my life producing booklets of one type or another, I hand-stitch the bindings. However, Corey is not one to be deterred by such minor inconveniences. He thought to himself, “I need a stapler. I know: a paperclip is like a giant staple.” Really? Well, yes – if you make it so.

cover complete 1I’ve just written a zine called ‘Cover-button Moon’ (full details to follow shortly), which is – perhaps unsurprisingly – all about cover-buttons – how to make them, & things to do with them. I wanted to include some buttons with the zine, so I extended the zine covers, and pressed 3 buttons down the right hand side. I then threaded a piece of string through the button loops on the reverse, to seal the zine closed.   Then I thought, actually, if I space the buttons closer together, instead of securing the buttons with string, I could use – you guessed it! – a large paperclip. (I hadn’t mentioned this to Corey, by the way.)  Great minds, and all that…

I’ll post a tutorial for the above button closure once I’ve made up a sample with photos, but in the meantime, here is the ridiculously simple paperclip binding a la Corey:

Corey bookbinding
This tutorial will be added as a PDF to the Freebies section.

Zines update

In my hasty post the other day, I forgot to mention that I have listed some new zines in my Etsy stores.  The culmination of my French knitting experiments can be found in ‘Make Your Own…D.I.Y. French Knitting‘, in the usual TangleCrafts store.

For something a little bit different to my usual offerings, please check out The Tangled Press Etsy Store.  Yes, I have finally started adding some non-crafty zines to this store, and there are more to come.  The first two listings are

  • ‘The Beast: Requiem for a Vibraphone’ – the life story of Corey’s sadly deceased (well, definitively retired, at least!) vibraphone; a photo story featuring & with commentary by ‘The Beast’, and a collection of Corey’s haiku.  ‘The Beast’ comes as a 3 part set, bound into a wallet, with 2 integral pockets.
  • ‘On Flowers & Fairy Tales’ features the 3 lino cuts I mentioned doing recently, as illustrations to a collection of thoughts & poems on, well, flowers & fairy tales.  There are also a couple of extracts from literature, a list of flowers & their meanings, and a bibliography.  If you have a passing interest in fairy tales, I think you’ll find it interesting!

There are several more works in progress, but given my current lack of home internet access, these will have to tide you over for a little while…!