Make an Urban Mailbox Flag

August 22, 2016 Leave a comment

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Folks in the country have it so easy. They put up the flag up on their mailbox and the postal carrier takes their mail. In the city, you have to drop your mail in a corner box (which sits out on the street in the snow and rain, and the occasional evil soul uses for a trash bin) or you need to transport your mail to the post office itself.

I came up with an easy life hack by making a little tag asking my letter carrier to take my mail. It can be flipped in and out of the apartment lock box. I used ribbons threaded through the tag holder opening and made sure the tag hangs higher than the bottom of the box.

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How to Wrap a Wedding Gift: Make a Tower

August 20, 2016 1 comment

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I had a mix of items for a friend’s wedding gift and put them together in a tall wedding gift tower. This took me about 90 minutes to create and had a big visual impact! It was not hard to do, so here are my tips:

  • Buy a mix of wrapping papers and variety of ribbons to make it more interesting. You can make it all match or monotone if you want. I enjoyed the look of the mixed papers and ribbons.
  • I put the ribbons around the boxes so it was secured on all four sides and tied them down very tight. This tower was so snug, I was able to tip it sideways to fit it in a car and it stayed together.
  • Put items in sturdy boxes with the larger boxes on the bottom and the smaller boxes on top.
  • Use plenty of tissue paper and bubble wrap for delicate items.
  • Secure the card well so it does not get separated from your gift.
  • Decorate the top of your tower with something lovely. I used artificial flowers and butterflies. Try to do something different than a bow on top at it add a lot of beauty.

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  • If something will not fit within the tower structure or is too fragile to add, just wrap it in matching papers and ribbons. Make sure it has its own card to make it easy for the the recipients to know whom sent the gift.

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Nothing says “I love you on your special, important day with these awesome gifts and I hope you own a box cutter or at least a sturdy pair of scissors” like a giant wedding tower. Opening the whole thing will keep them busy for a half an hour or possibly more on their honeymoon. I like to think of it as free entertainment for the happy couple, but less cruel than the time I gave my cousin a gold ring inside five individually wrapped boxes of decreasing size one year for Christmas. WP-White-Bar-550x10

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Categories: Fun Stuff, Uncategorized

Game of Pokémon

August 19, 2016 Leave a comment

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Winter is coming, and I am hoping my Pokémon can last more than five minutes in a gym when the outside temperature is well below freezing.

Artist Tip: Watercolor pencil drawing for a watercolor painting

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If you want the lines of your under drawing to disappear when you make a watercolor painting, draw with a watercolor pencil in a lighter hue that will blend in with the final painting. These orchids were bright orange, yellow and red, so I used a yellow ochre pencil for the drawing. Watercolor purists never erase their graphite pencil lines and leave the drawing as a part of the final work, or they work totally with paints and brushes with no pencil drawing at all. This watercolor pencil drawing trick gives you a solution somewhere between the two traditional methods where the under drawing vanishes and you will not have to rub an eraser over your painting.

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Vincent van Gogh Mail Art

July 28, 2016 1 comment

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This is a letter Vincent van Gogh sent to his brother Theo with a little drawing of a street scene with carriages. It was part of the Art Institute show last spring and it made me smile. It was great to see it up close. Vincent had such beautiful handwriting. I suppose he was writing in French, despite he and his brother being Dutch, because of they were living in France.

En plein alley

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Don’t think of it as graffiti as much as alley enhancement. Looks like this art was made with an Xacto knife, a roll of gift wrap and wheat based wallpaper paste. I should go back with a roll of hockey tape and give the easel some legs. It just seems weird floating in the air.

Printmaking Was the Original Photography

Jan Lievens by Lucas Emil Vorsterman 1530 to 1545

Jan Lievens etching by Lucas Emil Vorsterman (1530 to 1545). An almost 500 year old selfie.

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I had long thought of painting as “what we had before photography” but have revised the idea that photography replaced painting as it replaced printmaking much more. I now realize that printmaking fulfilled the functions of modern photography much more closely. A painting catches our attention for being in color but it is only a single object. Printmaking does the two things photography excels at: it creates multiples through mechanical reproduction.

There is a nice exhibit right now at the Museum of the Art Institute of Dutch, Flemish and Netherlandish portrait etchings from the 15th and early 16th Centuries. Selfies are not new at all; they are just now easy for a huge number of people to make and distribute. One placard in the exhibit stated that the portraits not only confirmed fame, they could also create it. Sound familiar to you?

Seeing so many etching portraits made for circulation made me feel that people of this time period would have loved social media just as much as we do now if they had it. In a way, they did have social media, it was a lot slower. Getting picture out took a great deal of skill, time and paper.

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