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Handmade books and various art explorations

Archive for January, 2012

Contest Finalists – Swirls & Twirls

January 15th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

Sweet!  It’s nice to check my inbox and see an uplifting message amidst all of my junk mail.  This morning I learned that two of my images tied for third place in a competition at Fine Art America.  How cool!  Without further ado, here they are:

Fine Art Competition Finalist
Fine Art Competition Finalist

The theme of the competition was “Swirls and Twirls.” My favorite piece by a different artist in the competition is this one:

Art Prints

Here is what the contest administrator had to say: “Congrats to you all! Beautiful images! We had 16 pages of entries…AMAZING! Everythig, and I am so serious, everything…was so neat and beautiful and different. What a talanted group of artists! Thank you all so much of taking part in it!”

This is a good way to start the day… 🙂

Fabric Postcards! (Plus, a child’s 1st recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies)

January 13th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

These formerly unfinished-objects are UFO’s no more!  I finally finished two of my three-plus fabric postcards for the Cloth Paper Scissors fabric postcard challenge and got them in the mail today.  On time.  Early, even!

Fabric Postcards by Nikki Smith

The top one has one of my “wee planets” printed on white muslin and stitched to this fun, fuzzy fabric from my stash.  It reminds me of a blizzard!  The perfect backdrop for my Wee Winter Hotel planet — wish you were here!

Now this one is one of my favorite methods for binding books – the caterpillar stitch!  I thought it would be fun to do on a fabric postcard, too.  It looks amazing wrapped around the covers and spine of a book.  The fabric is from a pair of pants I bought years ago with absolutely zero intention to ever wear — I knew they’d be part of an art project some day.  I finally found the one!

I love adding dimension to a piece!  This was such a fuzzy green yarn – perfect for this little critter.  The accent beads were added last for extra texture and life.  It was fun to finally up-cycle this fabric into something artsy!  (And honestly, I never fit into those pants anyway…  Now they have a purpose!)

Back of caterpillar stitch fabric postcard by Nikki Smith

I know that only the front of the postcards will be photographed for the magazine, but I had fun creating the backs, too.  Mom taught me an easy blanket stitch (do I have that right?) to hold this one together.  It was decorative, and much better than what I was going to attempt on my sewing machine.  While she finished hand embroidering a few inches quickly on the demo fabric when she was teaching me, it took me all day to do the real thing.  Not that it was that hard for me, but that I could only do it for a minute here and a minute there around chasing kiddos and trying to squeeze some real work in the day, too.   I didn’t want the postcard backs to be blah, so I added a graphic element in the corner from my Wee Downtown Bryan planet and then an unusual or creative use for peanut butter on each postcard.

Why peanut butter?  My mom (a.k.a. Grandma) also taught my little toddler how to make her first cookies this week.  They have three ingredients -one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar and an egg.  A simple recipe that can hold a toddler’s attention without getting too complicated or long.  She loved making cookies with Grandma!  (And they were delicious, too!)

Peanut butter cookie recipe - Child's first cookies

P.S.  If you would like to make these cookies with your little one, here is the recipe:

Child’s First Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 egg

Mix 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg together.
Roll dough into one inch balls between your palms.
Pour some more sugar on a plate and then roll each ball in the sugar so it is coated.
Place on cookie sheet two inches apart.
Use the flat side of a fork to press down on each ball in two directions to form a criss-cross pattern and flatten the cookie a bit.
PARENT STEP:  Bake for 7 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool and enjoy!

P.P.S.  Oh, and if you hurry, there’s still time to send in a fabric postcard for the Cloth Paper Scissors reader challenge!  Entries are due in their office by Jan. 20th.  The details of the challenge are here.  Or just make and send one to a friend for fun!  Also, the post office has priority mail envelopes with clear windows in front if you go overboard like I did and aren’t sure if it will survive the postal machinery.  Go on, you know it will be fun to do and your recipient will love it, too!

My first piece of 2012! Lindau Lighthouse in Germany

January 12th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

Lindau Lighthouse in Germany by Nikki Smith

And I’m also finishing a few “UFOs” (unfinished objects) from last year…I’ll post them soon.  Here’s to a good start in 2012!

Craftgawker Feature – Wee Planet Tutorial

January 7th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

Just a little something fun – my Wee Planet tutorial was featured in CraftGawker!
CraftGawker.com features Wee Planet Tutorial by Nikki Smith

If you subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors magazine (and I recommend it highly!), then please check out the upcoming March/April 2012 issue.  I’ll be giving a step-by-step Wee Planet tutorial for PhotoShop Elements.  And if you create your own Wee Planet, drop me a link – I’d love to see it!  🙂