Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Cover

Front cover

I'm nearly complete the 2012 sketchbook project. This is good news as it needs to be in the mail before the end of January. I have one spread left, the inside and outside back cover and then minor touch ups.

I put down a layer of blue and brown watercolour on the cover and then added self portraits. One of present me and the other when I was little. (Yes, that is an 80s mushroom cut.) The text reads "If I spoke to my younger self and said ask me how I can help this is the advice I'd pass along".

Inside front cover and first page

On the inside front cover I began by printing out a pattern of photos onto T-shirt image transfer paper. I sprayed it with alcohol and rubbed it onto the kraft paper. Once removed it has a old and weathered look. I glued down the transfer paper to the first page and hand wrote "ask me how I can help". I added a bit of the same brown and blue from the cover to the inside.

On my last stage of touch ups I may change a bit on the cover. I'll let it sit for a while and see how I feel in a few weeks.

If you're also participating in the Sketchbook Project, do you create your cover first or last?

... J

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Nautical and Watercolour

Like early Christmas presents a couple of mail art packages arrived in my postbox this past week. They have me excited to resume my correspondence in the new year.

Sumi Senthi sent me another brown paper package, tied up with string. Any mail art that causes me to sing is a sign of something great inside. Sumi gifted me with many nautical themed items such as a print of a ship illustration on canvas, nautical stamps, a charm and button, an octopus sketch from her journal, a 'ship' dictionary page, a 'nautical' dictionary button, and bows. There was also a beautiful swallow illustration, a map mini envelope, music and book pages as well as a skull picture. The details in mail art packages are often the most delightful and I was thoroughly impressed by the 'S' wax seal and the gorgeous flower and bug stamps.

I wasn't expecting a package from Jessica Mack but was delightfully surprised when it arrived. Inside was a number sticker set, a red bookmark an original watercolour, two interesting pieces of ephemera and a Christmas penguin tag. Jessica mentioned a future move from Australia to the USA! If Australia is losing an Aussie, I wonder if they'd accept four Canucks? Tradesies?

If you're interested in exchanging mail art in the new year, send me an email at saylormade at gmail or send me a message on twitter.

... J

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Thank you

Between being a stay-at-home mother to two small children I have to admit that I don't leave the house as often as I'd like. Because of this I truly cherish the friends I've made through this blog and twitter.

Here are the Christmas cards I received from some very talented ladies. Merry Christmas & all the best in 2012!!

Carol Whitley @imsilverfeather. Such a talented lady! I'm looking forward to more mail art exchanges with you and participating in your '3' project in 2012.

Chantal Vincent @chantal_vincent I am in awe of your printmaking skills and bookmark each tutorial you post. I can't wait to see your 2012 sketchbook project and I look forward to more helpful printmaking and art tips.

Dana Davis @dzynmkr I am really excited by the mail art exchange we have going. I will paint an original watercolour of one of your beautiful photographs you send me. While your card looked as though it got into a brawl with the postal sorter, I love it and my kids thought it was the best of the lot. I am looking forward to reading more about your gardening adventures as I'll be undertaking my own this year.

Emily Jorpin @ejorpin Your blog is one of my favourites with beautiful photography, adorable doxies and a taste of places I'd love to visit.

Jessica Gowling @jessicagowling Too many highlights of the year to mention in one post. My most memorable are centered around hunks. The 70s hunk mail art and the twitter conversation where many of us admitted our crush on Tom Selleck. Thank you for the many, many mail art exchanges, the funny banter and the blog I look forward to reading every day. p.s. Brussels Sprouts = Gross

Jessica Mack @illustrateur You were one of the first people I connected with while working on the 2011 Sketchbook project. I am amazed at all of the artwork and craft you do while working a full-time job. I wouldn't mind borrowing some of the energy you must have.

Rhya Tamasauskas @rhyat Each time I receive a diorama or zine from you I audibly squee and then spend a good chunk of time gazing, reading and playing.

Sumi Senthi @SumiArt Our mail art exchanges have been among my favourites. It feels as though all your work is a favourite of mine. The nautical themes, vintage paper, typewritten notes. I can't wait to see what 2012 holds for you.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Permission

The text reads "you have permission to play with your art without a plan or deadline" A reminder that I can simply put colour and material on paper and let the medium shape itself rather than over-thinking each stroke and colour choice. Watercolour and ink.

... J

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Carved Christmas Cards

I've been making personal Christmas cards for around 10 years and I've never grown weary of it. Shortly after Halloween I relish the time I have to start playing with ideas and gathering material. It's interesting to see how my style and family has evolved over the years. Take a look at past years over here.

This year I thought I'd try something completely different and carve our portraits. I picked up some Speedy Easy carve lino and used my slightly neglected carving tools. For the text I used a couple of erasers and tried out a variety of colours.

I had never carved a portrait before this attempt. While I was really excited to give it a try, I was also slightly terrified that I would muck it up. Considering this is my first go at it, I'm happy with what I accomplished. I think the carving of my daughters turned out the best but I wish I'd given myself a bit more time on mine and my husband's portrait. In the new year I'd like to continue with carving to work on my technique and try different materials and paper.

While I was in a carving mood, I also carved a pine cone into an eraser and created a set of cards for my mail art friends. Two small pine cones printed in white on brown card stock with a cream insert and a stamped holiday message.

Two pine cones on the front.

A cream card and stamped greeting on the inside.

 Do you make personalized cards each year? If so, share a link, I'd love to see them.

... J

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Pine Cone Stamps and Custom Stickers

I haven't had a Mail Art Monday post in several weeks. I took a brief break to catch up on the Sketchbook Project and prepare for the holidays. I found myself in a creative slump with my sketchbook so I decided to catch up on my mail art. Three out of the four packages I send arrived this past week.

Katie Whittington (As Petals Fall) received my pine cone Christmas card as well as a flower and lure watercolour print, a Vermeer postcard (she looks like she's reading her mail) a bookmark, handmade stickers and a button swap all tucked inside an envelope with cute little mice.

Anna Jane Searle (Annarack) received a wealth of items in her spider legs handmade envelope. Two constellation bookmarks made from scraps of astronomy magazines with silver star stickers, a dinosaur and boat watercolour print, a frog stamp and a whale clipping the latter I really wanted to keep for myself, various stickers including a set of handmade, a letter, part of the stained glass stamp pack and my pine cone Christmas card. I love the map background she used as a backdrop for her photos of my mail art. Take a peek.

Kye Sangha (Whimsical Beast) opened her handmade owl envelope to find a thank you card from my daughter. It might look a little peculiar, but it is "two eyes and a nose" according to my wee little. I'm on a bookmark kick as off late. Kye also received a couple of bookmarks decorated with triangles from origami paper. There was also a flower watercolour print, a printout of a digital piece of a building in Montreal that I turned into a painting years ago, my Christmas card, a piece of the stained glass stamp pack and a few stamps tucked into a mini envelope. Kye's been incredibly busy lately, building her Etsy shop. I've been admiring all the hard work she's been putting in but also missing our inane twitter chats. Maybe after the holidays we'll pick that up again.

This last batch of mail art sparked a few ideas. I enoyed making the bookmarks and especially the ones from triangles of origami paper. As well, the handmade stickers were a lot of fun. Both of which I will continue pursuing and improving upon. 

My pine cone stamped Christmas card also arrived at a number of postboxes this week but many are still on the way. I will write a separate post about them next week as well as my family's stamp portrait Christmas cards.

... J

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Be Nice

Various colours of pen and the background is a yellow, pink and blue stipple.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Kids Say...

The words you mutter under your breath are heard, recorded and replayed when you're in line at the Home Hardware. For this spread I used & adjusted two lino stamps of my girls that I'll be using on our family Christmas cards. I also used pen and a magazine cut out.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Canada

"Get to know each part of Canada." I've lived in the Prairies, Central Canada and now the West Coast. I also visited the East Coast before we moved back West. I've really enjoyed getting to know each part of this beautiful country. This spread was done with eraser stamps, marker, pen and origami paper.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Crazy

Sometimes I need to adjust my crazy from Batshit to just a little strange. This spread is pen and markers with a moving dial.

... J

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Teeth

Dear Teeth,

It's taken a long time, but I've finally grown to like you. Now that I have spent so much money to tolerate you, I better floss and brush to keep us together.

The Rest of the Body (and the chequing account)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Fitted Sheets

They are impossible, so why fight them? Stuff them in the closet and stop fussing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Arrivals

The other day I stumbled on two nearly finished envelopes for Jessica and Carol when I was trying to clean my studio and decided to finish them up and send them off. I was happy to hear that they arrived this week and happier that I can revive the Mail Art Monday posts.

Jessica received my mail art package the very same day I placed an order with her Etsy shop for some Christmas gifts. Jessica's last few mail art packages for me have been so amazingly generous and beautiful that I decided to dig deep into my personal stash of tidbits that I had marked as keepers. The three vintage wildlife stamps had nature's my friend written all over it as did the barn owl card. The Lone Ranger card was part of a really awesome paper promo I snagged while I was a full time designer. I also included a frog card, a mini envelope to house the stamps, initial letraset stickers, a grasshopper illustration, a bookmark and an India stamp doodle.

Check out the rest of Jessica's mail art adventures this week on her blog.

Carol Whitley sent me such an epic package I had some anxiety putting together something she might like in return. I opted for a selection of items that told a little bit about me, my taste and humour as well as a few items I thought would appeal to her. My favourite piece is the original 'ahoy' illustration. It's a pencil drawing of a boat over water and text stamps. The water is from my cork stamps and the 'ahoy' is from my carved erasers. I also made a polka dot polka sheet, a stamp enlargement doodle and a bookmark. I included handmade letraset initial stickers, fuzzy initials, star stickers, vintage stamps in a mini envelope, a feather silhouette and a frog card. I packed it all up in a custom envelope made with a page from my design magazine and a letter in a card from Anika.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Knives

Well, maybe it wasn't half but this is my forum so I'm allowed to exaggerate. It was a fair chunk of change and I balked at the price. Now they are one of the best tools in my kitchen.

For this illustration I used the cut outs from the flaps on the previous page and drew some of our knives. I put a pink and grey pattern in the background and used the look of a receipt for the text.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Layers

As I've discovered over the years, the ones with the hard, crusty shell often need the most love.

I used the heart cut outs from the other spread to help with the theme of this spread. A light wash of watercolour then a few sheets of origami paper were layered. Held in place with glue and kept in position with a circular cut.

Peeling back the first layer to find another sheet of origami paper.

The last layer was delicate rice paper and you get a hint of the illustration.

An anatomical heart to go with the symbolic hearts.

Using my red and black pens to create a small anatomical heart.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sketchbook Project: Love Lessons

Seems like a no-brainer, but it takes some of us a while to finally get it. 

I used a red and black pen and made small heart cut outs. In this close up you can see the green origami paper on the next spread.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mail Art Monday: The Epic Version

I had no idea that skipping a week of my mail art posts would trigger the arrival of a large amount of packages thus creating such an epically long post. I've kept the writing brief and the photos interesting. Sit back with some tea and enjoy a peek at the lovely mail I received and my friends received from me.


Rhya sent me her most recent and adorable zine. The bunny zine with pages of sweet bunny antics including hopping, sleeping and partying.

Katie has been very busy lately, which can be a good thing, especially if it's with good work. She found a slice of time to pull together a sweet package which included macrame clippings, a crochet doilie, a neat magnet, some vintage fabric and another round of our button swap.

Kye sent me a special package after one for my daughter arrived. The envelope was adorned with the best ship stamps and the contents were equally impressive. There were many envelopes within envelopes which made me feel as though I was treasure hunting. Inside included postcards, vintage book pages, original art, and a pair of twig pencils.

Anna seems to be outdoing herself with each package she sends. My jaw hit the floor when I saw this gorgeous nautical themed specimen box. As well as this amazing treasure, Anna sent many vintage book pages, cards and clippings, stamps, handmade compass stickers and three typed notes.


I've been creating a bunch of mini envelopes for my mail art recipients and Anika received four beauties. Each one contained a few interesting bits including vintage stamps, snow punches doxie stickers and a watercolour and pen disc.

I also included a phlox silhouette, a couple of original sketches, paper ephemera and a copy of an old sketchbook drawing.

I was relieved to hear that Emily shares my quirky sense of humour and enjoyed the 'hugging' skunks on her envelope. Inside she found several mini envelopes with stamps, stickers and a watercolour disc, as well as a snowflake and 'ahoy' stamp sheet, and a copy of a drawing from an old sketchbook.

Dana received an original watercolour that was painted from a picture she had sent me from her beautiful garden. I also sent along a phlox silhouette, a scissor stamp sheet, an 'ahoy' sheet and a 'der tweeten' clipping tag. Inside two mini envelopes I included a few paper flowers and stickers.

I was so sad to hear that my last package to Michelle seems to have been lost along the way. I was a little apprehensive about sending this package as I found the perfect vintage Russian stamps and quirky bear clipping. Thankfully it arrived along with a raindrop stamp sheet, flower print and a sketchbook print.

After about three months and two returned envelopes, Ezerd's envelope finally busted through her invisibility shield (which was preventing her post-person from finding her house). Perhaps it took me finally remembering to take pictures of the contents that put luck in my favour on my third try. Whatever it was, she finally got to see the first fancy envelope, space stickers, the "Urinetown" and space rocker clipping and my blarg card.

... J
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