Thursday, April 17, 2014

Handmade Boxes and Books - Debra Glanz Paper Arts

I don't know about you, but handmade boxes and books fascinate me. I'm pretty sure it's because they so neatly combine variety with orderliness... think about it, the number of shapes and paper options with which to work is staggering, yet the end result is a tidy, useful object. Add arty to that description and you have boxes and books as made by Debra Glanz.

 A square jewelry or ring box featuring papers from Hungary and Italy

The moment I was introduced to the Portland, Oregon artist's work, I wanted to learn more about it, but first I couldn't help but click around her two Etsy shops to choose images to share here. (I do love window shopping!) Debra Glanz Paper Arts features her studio work and Reminiscence Papers is where Debra sells paper by the sheet, embellishments, charms, and a variety of ephemera.

 Handsome, concertina-style blank books covered with black on black botanical papers

What I find so interesting about Debra's books and boxes is not only her attention to detail (those perfectly folded corners!) but that the decorative papers she uses are so diverse. While many are imported from far away lands, others are Debra's designs. In fact, Debra used to wholesale her own line of artist papers, but now she sells them exclusively in Reminiscence  - all of the 11x17 or 18x24 sheets are Debra-originals.

A Bobble Box featuring papers from Germany, India, and the U.S.

Debra says in her About section (well worth a read) that she was drawn to paper even as a child. That love was rekindled years later when Debra took a bookbinding class and ever since, her paper collection has grown exponentially.

I asked how she chooses papers when making a book or box.

Choosing papers is generally not a problem for me as I have thousands of sheets collected from all over the world for the last 25 or so years. If the old saying is true - "whoever dies with the most paper (or fabric or yarn...) wins" - I think I'm a lock.'
 A set of three notebook/jotters featuring drawings by Edward Gorey

I was curious about her favorite part of the box making/book making process...

Favorite part, hmmmmmm. I like almost every part of the process with the exception of cutting book board. I LOVE cutting paper and my paper cutters are probably my favorite tools. Probably my greatest satisfaction comes from making books, but I learned a long time ago that while a lot of people don't want to or won't write in a blank book everyone can find a use for a lovely little box. 

 A tiny sunflower-inspired box for jewelry, coins, or keys

 A house-shaped box - perfect as a housewarming gift

You might recall a recent post about paper crafting kits... if only I'd known then to include Debra's. First up is a gift bag collection that contains a dozen patterned papers on which cutting and scoring lines are printed, as well as assembly instructions. Suggest a theme... colors, botanicals, bugs/animals, or geometrics, for example - odds are Debra will have what you need.


Her other kits contain decorative papers and instructions for making origami bowls and boxes like these geometric lovelies.


Use coupon code AMP15 for 15% off in either Etsy shop: Debra Glanz Paper Arts or Reminiscence. Code expires June 30, 2014. 

Debra is on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Monday, April 14, 2014

8 Elegant Paper Crafts for Easter and Spring

Spring has finally sprung here in the mid-Atlantic states... the grass is greening up and birds are chirping. To go hand in hand with these welcome sights and sounds, here's a pretty gathering of pastel tutorials for dressing a table in springy decor.


Casey Starks of Vitamini Handmade shows how to make beautiful marbled paper mache eggs that can be part of your Easter decorations for years to come. Use the same technique to marble sheets of paper.


Liz Fourez of Love Grows Wild shows how to make delicate watercolor flowers.


Mandy Pellegrin of Fabric Paper Glue shared a tutorial for making paper covered floral cocktail party coasters on Oh So Beautiful Paper - they'll come in handy all spring and summer long.


Lisa and Sarah of A Spoonful of Sugar made cute origami bunny baskets by following Leyla Torres's original tutorial and video on Origami Spirit.


Lucy of Crafterberry Bush used crepe paper and embroidery thread to make duo color peonies.


Kay and Bill of White Gunpowder share their idea for making brown paper bird's nest favors.


The nests could be packaged to go home in sweet origami bunny treat boxes by Kate Lilley at Mini-eco.

This egg project that isn't exactly a paper craft, but I made the executive decision to include it because 1. the satin stripes are just so pretty! and 2. cardboard is involved... so technically it counts. :) Head over to Suzonne Stirling's Urban Comfort to learn how to stripe an egg, as found in the April issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BiblioCraft: Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects

Jessica Pigza, a rare book librarian at the New York Public Library, is an inveterate crafter. Via her new book BiblioCraft, she combines her creative skills with a keen interest in teaching others to use library resources as project inspiration.


Jessica provides a wealth of information about making the most of what a library readily offers. In the first third of the book, you'll learn to find and utilize specific collections both in person and online for your own creative inspiration and information. She writes clearly and with authority... I especially appreciate the way Jessica takes the mystery out of copyright.

Arts and Crafts Ex Libris Set - Anna Bondoc

As for the projects section, Jessica called upon crafters and designers to provide original ideas and instructions for making modern items based on vintage library collections. Each highlights the rich potential that awaits inside a research library.

Marbled Fabric Pouch
Marbled Fabric Pouch - Jodi Kahn

Sixteen makers, including the author (you might recognize quite a few names from the online craft and design world) created an appealing variety of doable projects that feature sewing and embroidery, fabric stenciling, paper cutting, stamping, working with felt, just to name several techniques. There's even a quilling project - more on that in a moment.

The styled photographs of completed projects are lovely and the detailed text instructions include some line drawings. Templates are provided where necessary. Note there are no step-by-step photos, if they are something you particularly look for in a craft book.


Ornamental Penmanship Embroidery with historical inspiration - Mary Corbet


I found it fascinating to read about each artist's carefully considered inspiration. The stylish, marbled fabric pouch by Jodi Kahn, for example, was launched by the sight of decorated papers. Calligraphy and penmanship inspired the gorgeous flourishes of Mary Corbet's bird embroidery on a vintage tea towel. Anna Bondoc created a useful cut paper bookmark and bookplate set, and animal illustrations and natural history sparked the idea for delightfully quirky votive holders by Grace Bonney.

 Antiquarian Animal Votive Holders - Grace Bonney

It was nearly two years ago when I noticed Jessica's call for contributors on her blog, Handmade Librarian, which led me to suggest a quilled project. (Books take a long time to reach publication!) I remember mentioning to her that Jane Austen had referenced quilling in Sense and Sensibility way back in 1811, and that the technique has essentially remained the same throughout history. Jessica replied that she had been studying gold tooled bindings at work and was taken with a few specific designs commonly used in English and European bookbindings of the 16th-18th centuries.


She thought they might offer filigree (quilled) design possibilities and sent over images from the British Library's online database of book bindings that showed branches and leaves. One glance at a bent willow pattern and I was off and running... the result was this spiral pendant made with modern day, gilded-edge quilling paper imported from England. And in case you are wondering, yes, it's very sturdy.

Quilled Willow Pendant - Ann Martin

Jessica is doing quite a bit of traveling around the U.S. in conjunction with the release of BiblioCraft... check her calendar to see if she will be making an appearance in your city and go if you can... some form of hands-on crafty goodness just might be involved!

Willow Branch Quilled Pendant 

Monday, April 7, 2014

7 Favorite Etsy Watercolor Artists

For as long as I can remember, I've admired watercolor paintings. I think they're lovely to look at no matter the time of year, but perhaps the pastel colors and washed effect pair especially well with spring and summer. I've been scouting around for prints to freshen up our porch and had the thought to share my finds with you.


An elegant peony and lavender-blue iris are just two examples of the beautiful work by Carol Sapp in New Jersey. She sells them as giclee prints via Carol Sapp Watercolors. For a 10% discount in her shop use coupon code: PAPER10.


Sarah Zero of Jackalope Heart is a designer and stationer right here in northern Delaware. I'm drawn to the modern patterns she paints. And how cool is this? Everything in Sarah's shop is available as an immediate download - instant gratification for your desk or walls!


Enter coupon code ALLTHINGSPAPER10" for 10% off your entire purchase through the month of April 2014 at Jackalope Heart.


Melanie of BlissBloomBlog and I must be on the same wavelength because while I was putting this post together on Friday, she blogged some of her favorite finds, one of which was an abstract watercolor... I clicked over to Yao Cheng Design where I found a variety of prints including these two lovelies by artist Yao Cheng in Ohio - Flower Bouquet and Colorful Dots Falling.


Yao also has a website and at the moment has quite a few Etsy prints on sale.


You might recognize Monica Lee's name as she is the host of Smart Creative Women, an inspiring web interview show that's based in her North Attleboro, Massachusetts home studio - I never miss an episode! Did you know Monica is also a professional artist and illustrator?


Her Etsy shop Monica Lee is newly stocked with a cohesive collection of stylish watercolor prints and cards.


Artist Julia Yap of Elf Shoppe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia offers archival prints of natural objects, animals, and sea life. I love the lively freshness of 6 Feathers and Blue Bird 3.



Watercolor artist and illustrator Sandra Ovono of Brittany, France enjoys searching the beach for shells, rounded pebbles, and sea glass. Each of her paintings is inspired by her passion for the beauty of nature and coastal life.


Sandra sells fine art prints of her original illustrations... these heart-shaped beach pebbles and assorted speckled bird eggs are just two examples from Sandra Ovono. For a 15% discount on all items in the shop, use coupon code "ALLTHINGSPAPER" until April 9, 2014 (midnight).


I can't imagine not being drawn to the gorgeous colors of these abstract watercolor prints by artist and Long Island, New York resident Diane of Etsy shop So Very Happy Art.


Diane says her paintings are inspired "by the pure happiness found in the beauty of color and the process of creativity." I believe it... they are just brimming with joy!

Abstract-Watercolor-Print - Bliss

Do watercolors make you happy too? If you have a favorite watercolor artist - or maybe you're one yourself - I hope you'll share your link in a comment.

As always, this is not a sponsored post. I just happen to admire the work of these artists.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Recycled Fashion Accessories and Home Decor - Carmen Björnald

I admire artisans who are able to recycle everyday materials into something new that looks professional and even sophisticated. Carmen Björnald, a designer in Milan, Italy and owner of Etsy shop CeeBee Recycle, is one such person. She makes an eclectic array of useful items from magazine pages, used books and sheet music, as well as fabric from hot air balloons.


Carmen uses vintage paper and upcycled magazines to create stylish totes, laptop cases, sunglasses holders, clutches, wristlets, and messenger bags - all are functional and quite durable, thanks to a laminating process.


She also creates one of a kind home decor items. This six bottle wine rack fashioned from Italian magazines and wooden dowels caught my eye, as did this folded book nativity with elegant, modern lines.


Carmen crafts a variety of clever birdhouses from rolled strips of recycled paper, such as this retro trailer/camper. Meant to be used for indoor display only, there's no doubt it would catch the attention of your guests.


She has a knack for creating flowers from a variety of recycled papers, and often makes bridal bouquets and table decor, such as these mulberry paper carnations and khadi paper (cotton rag) moth orchid place cards.




Hair accessories from recycled and watercolored sheet music are another specialty.


At the moment, Carmen is creating a new collection of flower designs that she plans to gather into a book. Here's a sneak peek...


Final image by photographer Gabriele Balestra; all others by Carmen Björnald of CeeBee Recycle.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Paper Craft Kit Round Up

While growing up, my sister and I would often find craft kits under the Christmas tree. We enjoyed them and there's no doubt they helped us to become pretty versatile crafters. A kit can be an introduction to something new and gives a person confidence to explore the craft further, not to mention it's just so convenient to have the right supplies at your fingertips. I remember one of my first quilling purchases was a gift tag kit that taught me lots of techniques.

For general crafting, subscription boxes such as For the Makers and Darby Smart can be very fun. I wanted to find paper crafting kits specifically, so searched for some good ones to recommend. Keep in mind I haven't used these kits myself, but I did screen them pretty carefully.


First up... Laura Trimmell of Curious Doodles (also Curious Doodles on Etsy) in Portland, Oregon is a graphic designer who creates modern embroidery kits that feature simple stitching on laser cut, perforated notebooks and cards.


These would be ideal for pre-teens on up, with a useful end result. Reviews state the instructions are clear and that the pocket notebooks make great gifts.


Architectural landmarks - skyscrapers, bridges, temples, etc. - from Imants of Paper Landmarks (also on Etsy as Paper Landmarks) in Latvia caught my eye. These would be perfect for a budding builder, engineer, or anyone who wants a conversation piece as part of their decor.


Precisely cut cardboard parts arrive unassembled in flat packages. Imants also sells fully constructed models. Reviews say the models are surprisingly sturdy and require just ordinary craft glue for assembly. Imants is offering All Things Paper readers a 10% discount on an order from his shop. Use code ATP10 at checkout.


jZool, a Japanese company, sells a variety of HANDSON PePaKuRa paper sculpture musical instrument model kits that have been designed by paper engineers and professional musicians who combine their talents to create the realistic models. Laser cut pieces go together smoothly with the aid of language-free illustrated instructions. Each model contains quite a few pieces, but the company has made a video that shows how to construct the violin as an example. You'll find written step-by-step instructions on the same page; well worth checking out to see if tackling a relatively complex project is what you have in mind.


With Easter on the way, this would be a good time to check out Christine McCredie's Etsy shop CMCCreations where she sells kits for covering eggs with patterned washi paper. Each kit contains paper, brushes, the all-important cutting template, and instructions.

Another idea from Christine's shop is this super-cute vial necklace kit. It contains everything you see here except for the folded crane... that part is up to you, but folding diagrams and video instructions are readily available online.


She also sells a completed vial necklace that contains an origami rabbit which would be a sweet addition to a little girl's Easter basket.


Last of all are Claudine Hellmuth's instant download, printable treat boxes and dimensional paper birds. While they're not actual kits, think how perfect this candy-filled camper would be as a party favor or tucked into an Easter basket.


Find lots of design choices in her Etsy shop, Claudine Hellmuth, from retro ovens to cupcakes to popsicles. The cute paper sculpture birds come with complete instructions, as well as a link to an excellent how-to video. Claudine is offering All Things Paper readers a 10% discount on your entire order from her shop. Use code PAPERLOVE at checkout.


Do you know of any good paper crafting kits? I hope you'll share the link in a comment below.

Edited to add: Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps was inspired by this post to do a round up of Softie Kits to Sew, so if you enjoy needle crafts, click on over. Abby's blog is a wealth of information - not only does she share tons of great sewing tips, but she also writes about the business side of the crafts industry and hosts very enjoyable podcasts.

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