Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Step Seven: Stillness, journalling, and a hot stone massage...

Dear Fi,

My goal for today is to keep this post short ha, ha. The last one was so long and boring that I had a problem reading it while editing it. As you can see even my titles are long ;) Actually... there is nothing else to add, everything that was important is included in this title.

For the whole week I thought about painting these nine hearts I mentioned in last post. The image was still very alive and I already have a recipient for this painting in my mind. However, yesterday I posted my photo in our Unravelling 365 flickr group and I wasn’t able to stop thinking about it. I noticed a shift. There was no more space for cute hearts in my head, only stillness.

I kind of regretted that I hadn’t painted my hearts before the energy changed because now I have no idea when I will paint them. It happen sometimes, it happened with my idea for the first post for our blog and for a few other small projects.

The first inner image I saw was my photo covered in writing, and before falling asleep there was more images coming. It was a very strong feeling of certainty that something important will emerge. Honestly, I fell asleep with ambivalent feelings, I was probably as much excited as I was scared. However, I’m very happy that I followed my inner voice.

There were three important factors which allowed me to create today’s piece. First, I made a tremendous discovery last Sunday. For the first time in my life I scheduled a hot stone massage. During and after the massage I experienced a deep state of relaxation which lead me to a glimpse of stillness. Second, I’m currently in the process of working with Christina Baldwin’s book, and this is a place where I found lots of quotations that resonated with me. I used some of them in my work today. Third, I decided to try a new format a "journal page" to work on this project.

I’m sure that you agree Dear Fi, that there are some experiences in life that deserve recording. There are significant moments we don’t want to forget. The marks we would like to be reminded of. The {extra}ordinary passages, annotations of the changes we want to learn from. There are the moments which allow us to somehow measure our growth. Today’s artwork is one of them.

When I looked at this journal page after creating it I was surprised by how many messages I was able include. How many more I hid and I still need to discover? Because working on this piece was an intuitive process for me, when I look at it, I’m not concerned about it’s artistic value, but about the value of the messages I was able incorporate into this one page. If I wanted to describe in my journal what I was able to “describe” here it would take me many pages, not one. So today’s experiment was a meaningful endeavor for me. 

There are a few details I would like to share with you Dear Fi. So, it is official now that this post won’t be shorter than the previous one ha, ha ;)

One of my favourite fragments of this journal page is the shape in the upper left corner. It reminds me of a human heart, and it was created by a totally spontaneous action. My daughter who was painting beside me had a small piece of paper loaded with these colours I noticed while working on my project. It was an impulse, I just picked up this paper from a table, I blotted it a few times on different piece of paper and then pressed it to my page. I was very surprised by the effect and also by my behaviour. When I started to work on my piece I had a sense of what kind of tones I would like to incorporate. I wanted to keep it “black and white” with some elements of gray, ivory and maybe some traces of sepia. The colours red and purple weren’t even on my table. So the “heart” happened and it has a deep meaning in my interpretation of this page, as well as the fact that it came through my daughter...

The word “Live”, which I glued before I added the heart, came from a Japanese newspaper (there were only two English words in two different spots on the page I inherited: “Live” and “always”). The newspaper’s page was tucked inside a box with Danbo, as you already know a lovely Valentine's Day present I received from my husband this year... I have no idea why I kept this page until today.

The stones below my photo are the ones I photographed during The Wilderness Retreat and later used for my 365 project. They are also a representation of the hot stone massage and my deep connection with stones. This is why I added fingerprints on the first two stones, to symbolically show the connection. I learned an interesting fact about the origin of the hot stone massage in this article. Native Americans used hot stones for healing. Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona, developed a technique called LaStone Therapy where both hot and frozen stones are used. A hot stone massage is a “spa" version of this original massage. So, as you might guess LaStone Therapy ended up on my 2010 “to-do” list immediately.

The last thing before you fall asleep my Dear ha, ha, is about the quotations I included in my journal page. There were more “words of wisdom” ;) which resonated with me. However, I didn’t want to make this piece look busier and there was not enough space to add more words.

So, now the final word {seriously!}:
Week by week I feel more grateful for this place, for this commitment, for the fact that you agreed to be my fellow journeyer, that you are here to play with me and to witness the process of my discoveries. Thank you!



The CD on one of the pictures is the one I’m listening to lately. Beautiful Sade: “Soldier of Love”.

Step Seven: Recycled Gift Bag

Hi Sylwi!

I'm not a big fan of wrapping paper or gift bags as it seems like such a waste. Sometimes it's nice to receive a gift that's been beautifully packaged in freshly bought paper. However, a couple of years ago, we had a big family Christmas where there was soooo much gift wrap, I felt awful when I was clearing it up. So now, we have a challenge at home to creatively gift wrap presents sustainably instead.

So, this week, taking recycling as my theme again, I'm making a really simple newspaper gift bag and decorating it with some origami newspaper lilies. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to take very good photos of the end result... but at least you'll get the gist! :-)

I got the idea to use newspaper for a gift bag from The India Shop, a fantastic online fair trade shop. They can provide these bags to retail shops to use instead of plastic bags and the money raised goes towards providing shelter and education for street children in India. Such a brilliant idea!

You start with 2 double pages of newspaper - as colourful as you can find - and glue them together to make one stronger piece.

I couldn't find very colourful pages in my local paper this week, but usually around Valentine's day or Easter, there are lots of adverts and special offers which would make very good paper for gift bags.

Turn down the top edge and glue. This gives the part where the handles will go extra strength.

Using a book or a box, wrap the paper around it and glue. I try and make the join run down the side, as this will not be noticeable when it is finished.

Wrap one end of the book, just as you would if it was a present. Make sure that the overlap is quite large, as this will be the bottom of your bag and needs to be quite strong.

Pinch the four corners of the bag to give a sharp crease down each side and then pull the book out of the bag.

Next, you make the side folds, by pressing the top side down onto the bottom side - this leaves a neat fold down the middle of each side. Do this on both sides.

When you reach the bottom, fold the bottom rectangle up, so that it lies flat against the bag.

That's your basic bag shape. Now punch 2 holes on either side at the top and using a length of old ribbon or thick string, thread your a handle through on each side. Tie a knot at each end of the handles on the inside of the bag to secure...

... and that's the bag part finished!

I wanted to add some kind of pretty gift tag or decoration to the handles, so added a couple of newspaper origami lilies (brilliant 'how to' instructions here). I modified them slightly, by creating stamens made from raffia that actually run right through the lilies (tied in a knot on the inside of each lily to secure). The raffia that comes out of the top of the lilies can be used to tie them onto the bag.

There! No more excuses for me to waste paper, or money on gift bags anymore! :-) After your stamping escapades last week and Gennine's awesome tutorial, I'm dreaming of recycled brown paper bags with white stamps... :-) See what you've started?! :-))

Hope you're having a great creative Tuesday, my darling.
Lots and lots of love

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Step Six: Stamp madness...

Dear Fi,

There are so many things I would like to share today that I don’t know where to start. Yesterday evening when I couldn’t think anymore about my papers, resumes, and deadlines I got this crazy urge to make a stamp. I was tired. However, I wasn’t ready to go to bed and my brain was swollen from all this reading, writing and thinking. I thought about other things I could do, instead of making a stamp, before going to bed but even reading a book felt too painful to me. The “stamp idea” was stubbornly flashing in my head until finally I decided to give it a try. If I want to be honest I need to admit that I have wanted to make a stamp for... years. And I never did. As I never did maaaany other things.

Anyway, yesterday I took out some tools and an artist carving block (which I brought from San Francisco only to find, one week later, that I can get them in my university bookstore he, he). I started... actually... I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I wasn’t sure which cutting tool to use first, I even didn’t draw anything. I thought that it would be OK to be spontaneous since I was sure that the first one will go to waste anyway. Besides, I wanted to learn something and to discover “stuff” on my own. 

There was a sign on the carving block which stated “cuts like butter”. I quickly learned that this was true, which works as both an advantage and disadvantage (especially if you are a carving novice). It was very easy to carve but unfortunately it was even easier to destroy whatever I did if I didn’t pay enough attention to my hand. After I finished carving my first stamp ever I realized that I don’t have an ink pad. After searching for a while I found an old one which was gold (sic!) and dry (sic!). When I tried to use it anyway I rubbed away a piece of my stamp, yes it was that delicate, and yes it was a lesson I won’t forget ;) Since my old dry ink pad didn’t work I tried to use paint. Oh! my luck - it didn’t work either. The paint dried so quickly that I had a problem detaching my stamp from the piece of paper. In the end yesterday’s experiment was a disaster. I couldn’t even see how the stamp turned out since I was unable to print it on paper. I went to bed very disappointed, I wasn’t sure what I would do today.

In the morning after dropping off my son at the bus stop and my daughter to preschool I came back home and sat in my not so comfy red armchair. For about 20 minutes of my precious time alone all I could do was sit in this chair, breath, and drink coffee. I was contemplating my choices... stay in red armchair and do nothing, go back to bed, start to do something, anything?

I think that sitting still helped me because I got an idea. I imagined a nice square paper with nine divine coloured hearts beautifully printed and framed. I wanted to make these stamp hearts, at least six of them, each with a different patterns. However, I had no idea how to do this, I had only one piece of carving block and the worst thing was that I didn’t have any ink pads.

I started to carve, and I need to say that it was a very meditative process for me. Surprisingly, I was able to finish my project before picking up my son from the bus stop. It was very good timing. I could go to the store to buy some ink pads before lunch. The only problem was... I really didn’t like how my stamp looked, I couldn’t imagine if it will work, and I was honestly afraid that it would be another disaster. However, after applying ink on my carved block I couldn’t stop staring at it. It wasn’t a disaster at all!!!

When I stopped staring and then printing it on paper (which wasn’t that easy at all, there is lot about printing I need to learn) I took pictures. Dozens of pictures, and I couldn’t stop doing this either. However, it was time to cook dinner, time to take Bruno to his piano lesson, time to eat dinner and clean up, time to put the kids to bed... and... here I am nine o’clock (again!) writing this post.

As you see my Dear Fi, there was no “final” outcome, no nine divine hearts nicely framed in a square frame. However, there are a lot of ideas, and the satisfaction of trying something new and liking it. I think I’ve become enchanted by the art of stamp making. Also, I’m afraid that it might become my new addiction which wouldn’t be bad if the supplies weren’t that expensive!

BTW, somebody asked me very nicely to post this picture as a message for a :*SSS*: Special Sweet Somebody you know...

Below are the pictures of the process and some advice:

1. If you have never carved a stamp, please go visit Geninne's blog and watch her tutorial before even touching anything he, he.
2. Or, at least think before, with naive enthusiasm, starting your project. I mean, be sure that before you fit six or eight hearts on one carving block you will be able to divide them later to use them separately.
3. No matter what: don’t draw on your carving block! It really is soft like butter and I almost got a heart attack after touching the block with my pencil. Geninne has a better way of doing this. However, I was “above” transferring any drawing from paper to the carving block because I thought it would take me a lot more time than just drawing right on the block. Next time I won’t be. Besides, next time I will have this cute bone folder I couldn’t afford today after spending money on these beautiful and unfortunately rather expensive ink pads.



Step Six: Sweet Notebook

Hi sweet Sylwi

How are you? How are things this week?! Still in panic mode? ;-) I was suffering from panic mode too, today. I don't know why (it's not like I'm even close to having as much on my plate as you), but I just could not sit down to write this post! Instead, I did everything to avoid it and spent the whole day worrying about it! :-) 

I couldn't think of a single thing to make... and when I finally decided on what to do, everything went wrong; things ripped, needles and threads broke, I measured things incorrectly... When I finally got it finished and started to take pictures, my camera battery died! ha ha! :-) I feel exhausted now. Who knew playing was such hard work?! ;-)) 

This week, I explored more uses for recycled paper and decided to make another book. Not a hardback journal this time, but a small notebook, using coptic stitch to bind it. 

Coptic stitch was originally used in Egypt (in around about the third century) and it's a very simple way to bookbind. With this technique, you end up with very sweet, exposed stitching along the spine, which closely ressembles the chain stitch in embroidery.

To begin, you cut yourself two identical sized pieces of cardstock; one for the front cover, one for the back. You can use whatever type of card you like and cut it to whatever size you need. It all depends on how big you want the notebook to be and how you want it to feel.

I've used very heavy card before and covered it in pretty material, or paper, but this time, I wanted to use up an old box from Ladurée (that once had delicious macarons in it! Drool!) :-) 

I adore their logo and the powder blue colour, so have been keeping this box for a special project like this. It's not a very heavy card, but it still works well as a cover for this handbag-sized notebook.

For the pages, you cut (or tear, for a more handmade feel) sheets of paper. The sheets need to be the same height as your cover and twice the width of the cover. 

For my notebook, I stacked 4 sheets on top of each other and folded them in half. This gave me my first booklet (or signature, as they're called). Each signature in this example, therefore has 8 pages. 

In total, I made 8 signatures as I wanted my notebook to have 64 pages. This is for my Mum to use as a sketchbook on her upcoming trip to China - I'm pretty sure 8 is a lucky number there! :-)

With a needle, I poked holes in the covers and down the folds of each signature. The holes were spaced out at intervals of 1.5cm, 3cm and 4.5cm from the top and 1.5cm, 3cm and 4.5cm from the bottom. The holes were spaced exactly the same on the covers and were spaced quarter of an inch from the edge of the covers, all the way down the lefthand side.

Using a waxed thread, you then sew the pages and covers together. You can find instructions here with Jaescala on YouTube.

.. and here's the finished product!

The possibilities with this technique are endless. You can make all sizes, use scrap paper or posh paper :-) and make all sorts of useful things - notebooks, photo albums, wedding guestbooks, etc. 

For inspiration, check out this extra, extra, EXTRA-ordinary 'keepsake album' made by the gorgeous Alli Bozeman at Bird Dog Press. I really love her work! (I ordered a letterpress card from Bird Dog last year and the attention she pays to detail is HUGE! I still have the envelope my order was sent in because it is so pretty!) :-) It gives you an idea of how beautiful and creative you can really get with this technique... if you have a little time, patience and talent! :-)

Right, well, my dearest. I'm exhausted now! It's been a long day of things going wrong :-) and my eyes are closing! I hope your day is going well. Have you managed to find a hiding place and some time for your Step Six? 

Lots and lots of love

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Step Five: A birthday present, an engagement ring and panic mode...

Dear Fi,

It’s horribly late: 9:30 PM and I’m just starting to write this post. My children just fell asleep. My husband is packing, he is leaving at 4AM, he has an early flight to San Diego (once again, why cannot I go?). Me? I’m totally overwhelmed lately. I’m operating in “panic mode”. Yesterday in an act of desperation I called my Mom and asked her to come and help me (if everything will go smooth she will come at the end of this month). I cannot believe that there is no end to all these “things to do”. It never stops. It doesn’t matter how much I do it is never enough...

Anyway, who cares?

About today’s artwork. In this picture are my husband’s grandparents. I have never met his grandfather, but I knew his grandmother. She died last year. More than seven years ago I came to visit S. for the summer.  We had not known each other for a full year. Two weeks before going back to Poland we went for an evening walk and S. proposed to me. My engagement ring, the ring I received and accepted that evening, the ring I’m wearing almost everyday came from his grandmother. The next day S. called his family and friends and told them that we are engaged. Then he asked everybody if they can make it to the wedding next Saturday. Somehow I never thought what they will think about me, I was too happy to bother ha, ha.

Now, seriously about today’s project ;) I was planning to paint this piece as a Christmas present for my mother-in-law. I even bought a nice frame at that time. However, it turned out that there were other things to do before Christmas, and in the meantime we found another present. Tomorrow is her birthday, this is why I wanted so badly to work on this project today.

For the first hour I really struggled. I started to paint in a bigger format - to fit this picture into a previously bought frame. However, I forgot that since the last week I’m operating in panic mode. As I was painting the background at some point I just realized that I have no idea what I’m doing. I stopped and found out that I totally don’t like the background I was working on for the last hour. Then it hit me that it is not only that I don’t like what I already did but also that the size is too big for me. I knew that I don’t have that much time to work on it.

I started from scratch working on a smaller size and after five minutes I could feel the difference. I knew I could manage this ;) I decided to take more pictures today. I really appreciate your teaching approach Fi. I do not plan to teach here but I wanted at least to show the process I use in creating my artwork. After deciding on a project I usually paint the background first, then I glue on a  previously printed picture, and finally I add the design and work on details. That’s all!




Dear Fi, in case you are wondering what the author wanted to accomplish by taking this picture ;)
It was Valentine’s Day at preschool today. I bought 20 packages of Hershey"s Hugs for the children. It turned out that there is a new policy and they don’t do “food” anymore, only cards. Amelie came back home with a bunch of cards and she brought all the chocolates back. Hence the picture.

The good news is that Bruno has Valentine’s Day tomorrow and his kindergarten is OK with “treats” ;)

Step Five: Love Letters

Morning Sweet Sylwi... or should I say, Afternoon?! I'm posting so late, it probably already is afternoon with you!

I've been sort of dreading today because I'm only just getting over being sick, so I was wondering how on earth I would find any inspiration or energy to create anything... apart from maybe a cup of tea! ;-)

So, I decided to keep it simple this week with a super sweet, useful and quick way to fold paper.

I think this style of folding originated back in Victorian times, as a sort of love letter called a 'puzzle purse' (although, I've also come across it called a 'thread container' in Japan) so who knows where it originated! :-) 

It was called a puzzle purse because the recipient would have to open the folded paper in a certain order. Written inside all of the folds and on the very inside would be a love letter or poem. Some were also beautifully decorated with drawings. The puzzle was then to close the purse in the correct order. 

You can see some photos of beautiful, original examples on Nancy Rosin's Victorian Treasury site. You can also find instructions on how to fold the purses there. Or, there are also some good instructions here.

Rather than write a poem in one (or paint one), I decided to use this method of folding as an envelope for a Valentine's ATC. I chose a piece of gorgeous, double-sided paper from Whimsy Press and cut a square large enough to fit my card in, once it was all folded up (about 11.25" x 11.25"). 

You'll see from the instructions that you have to fold the paper into thirds. Which was actually quite hard. I ended up measuring it with a ruler. You have to do that twice [sigh!] :-) but once that part's done, the rest takes about 10 minutes (you do a bit more folding and then close it up). 

Okay, it took about 20 minutes the first time I tried! I couldn't work out how on earth to close the darn thing - clearly, that's why it's called a 'puzzle' purse! ha! :-) 

Basically, you pinch the paper together on opposite sides like this...

... and then twist your wrists in opposite directions at the same time as you move one hand slightly away from you and one hand slightly towards you.

Sound kinda complicated? Well, it was! This was the bit that took me a while to figure out! ;-) 

After you've done it once though, it becomes so easy and fun. Then, you simply tuck the ends in under each other...

... and you end up with a sweet, little puzzle purse that can be used for all sorts of different things.

I've used this technique for envelopes and CD covers, just by varying the size of the square you begin with. There must be loads of other ways to use it!

Hope you're having a lovely Tuesday! What are you up to this week? I can't wait to see what you make! :-)

Lots and lots of love

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Step Four: Dreams and memories...

Dear Fi,

Right now I’m listening to Eddie Vedder’s Into The Wild. I have about 20 minutes before I have to  pick up my daughter from preschool, then I will have about an hour before I have to pick up my son from kindergarten. After lunch I will try to figure out how to manage my, lately neglected, studies. I also need to figure out what to cook for dinner. My husband will be back home earlier today because Amelie has dance class and Bruno has piano lessons on Tuesdays and I cannot be in two places at the same time (not yet ha, ha). After the dance class I won’t come back home, as I usually do, but I will spend about 2 hours in line with other parents from my community, trying to sign up my daughter for the next year of preschool. The registration ends at 8 PM, it takes “only” two hours because it is for the children who are already attending the program. Ah! isn’t this exciting?

I remember three years ago, when I was signing up my son for the first time. The registration started at 5PM, however the rumor was that the year before people started to line up at 9 AM. My husband didn’t go to work that day. I decided to be there early because I had no other choice of preschool. I was at the community centre at 8AM and already number three. People who came at noon were told to sign up to a waiting list. I was sitting from 8 AM until 5 PM in a small room with the other determined parents who were lucky enough to be able to take time off from work, or to find somebody to stay with their kids while they spent their whole day waiting.

Fi, I have no idea why I’m writing about all of this to you... ha, ha! Probably because it is that time of the year when, if you have a child, you need to make plans and decisions for the coming September. And I just cannot imagine my September right now! I don’t know how other parents deal with their work and the schools. My husband works, I will start my practicum this September, and as of now I have no one to help me with dropping off and picking up my children to and from Grade 1 and preschool. And of course the school is in a different community, and starts at different hours, and I have no clue where my practicum will be... I know... sounds so boring, but this is the part of my life I’m dealing with right now...

Also, I do not have much to say about today’s artwork. I actually worked on it yesterday because there was no way to do it today. It is an illustration for one of the chapters of Patti Digh’s new book. Actually, I hope it will be, there are a lot of other people engaged in this project and I have no idea if they will choose my artwork or not. I don’t know how much I can say about this project either. The only thing I can tell you for sure is the fact that the title of this post has nothing to do with the title of the chapter I illustrated. However, the artwork is my interpretation of Patti’s title. I just tried to convince myself that if the opportunity for publishing my artwork presented itself right now it will be better to jump in instead of chickening out ;) So I hope that the last sentence of this paragraph covers at least the “dreams” ;)

My Dear, I don’t have much time to spend on explaining the “memories” part. However, I would like to share what is going on on my side of the world. I didn’t tell you this yet but memories of my grandmother started popping out since the beginning of our collaboration. At first I thought that it was because I started to use the needle again, and my grandma was a master of embroidery. I honestly don’t remember the very fact of being taught, but I have many memories of me and her in our old kitchen sitting together and working on our own projects. Doing creative things was so natural at that time. Actually... it was an every day task. While creating this piece for today's post I could see us so vividly in that old kitchen... Me, maybe six years old, doing my tiny Czech glass beads and her with an amazing patience and grace creating another breathtaking tablecloth...

You’ve asked me once about the colours. I said that I feel like I’ve always had a sense of colour. However, today I realized that ever since I can remember I was surrounded by the beauty of colours and patterns my deaf grandmother was creating every day. And in these silent moments of creating I feel like I connect with her, like we are both working to express ourselves again.



Step Four: Making Paper

Hi Sylwi

I know I said this last week, but seriously, where's the time going?! :-) My posts are getting later and later! By the end of the year, I'll be posting on Sundays! ;-) This week, I'm late for all the right reasons, I'm glad to say! I had so much fun creating, I couldn't stop. I just kept coming up with more and more ideas. 

[I have to laugh at the irony of what I just said. I'm even later than I would have been because Blogger lost everything just as I published this post... so I had to start all over again. Sob!]

Anyway, back to the fun bit of today! :-)

This week's theme is recycling, again! This time, using old, unwanted paper and cardboard to make new, useful paper and cardboard.

There were so many ways I could have gone with this, so I just chose one and the others will have to be explored another day. I chose egg boxes to work with. I love the texture of them and the colours. My local farm shop takes some back, but I'm always left with a few they don't want, so instead of throwing them into the recycling bin, I wanted to find a way to give them new life.

There are so many different ways of making paper at home. A few years ago, I found a fantastic 'how-to' video for making paper out of junk mail, but unfortunately, I've lost the link. However, I did find this one from the 'Earthsavers Gang' on Facebook, which is just as cool... and actually shows you what a great project this is for kids. The gals in the video used screens which I think would give you awesome results. I don't have anything to make screens with, but I decided I wasn't going to let that stop me. :-) This is how I made it, just using what I already had at home.

First, I took an egg box, ripped it into pieces and placed them into my food blender - they about half filled it. Then, I filled the blender with warm water (about 2 parts water to 1 part paper) and buzzed it! If you don't put enough water in, you run the risk of blowing the motor on your blender, so better to put too much in, than too little.

Nobody said it was gonna look pretty! Ewww! :-) 

Once blended into a fine pulp, I poured the mix into a sieve and strained out the water. I squeezed the paper mix further into the sieve to remove any excess water and to flatten it a bit, then transferred it onto an old dishcloth. Covering the paper with another dishcloth, I used a rolling pin to flatten it more and squeeze out as much water as possible, then I gently put it onto a shelf above the radiator to dry overnight.

I found you could vary the texture of the paper you're making. For a bumpy texture, I used my fingers to flatten and shape it and for smooth, I pressed it on a counter top and left it there to dry out for a bit, before transferring to a radiator. The counter surface gives it a smoother finish. 

As it was drying, I started to see how many variations you can create. Next time, I'm thinking of adding little bits of gold thread, or dried petals and leaves. Or even seeds. If you were to use the paper for gift cards, once the recipient has finished with the card, they can just rip it up, push it into soil in their garden and water... the paper will decompose and the seeds will grow! :-) (that idea came from roundrobinpress on Etsy).

Once dry, I found I wasn't happy with the colour. I wasn't really thinking ahead when I began and had chosen a slightly off-yellow colour of egg box. In future, I would choose a brighter, cleaner colour. So, I decided to paint it white. My first attempt, didn't go too well. The paper absorbed the paint and it turned an even nastier colour! Gulp! :-) So, I ripped pieces of white, tissue paper and glued those on, then painted over it with white. 

I cut this first bit of paper into the shape of a gift tag, glued on some lovely hearts from an old birthday card (I'm still trying to find out the card artist's name - will add it when I find it!) I could just as easily have cut heart shapes from magazines or old photographs. Lastly, I used some gorgeous string which I bought from the beautiful and ever-inspiring gals over at Nice Package.

[Don't look too closely at the photo! I didn't have time to paint the back and sides of the tag! I also didn't have anything to use for a hole-punch, but you get the idea! :-) ]

Just as an experiment, I also made a ball out some of the paper pulp. I was curious to see if I could make beads from it. It seemed to work, although needs a bit more experimenting to get it perfect! The one I made reminded me of felted beads... speaking of which, I have to link to these exquisite beauties over at Stemellina Supplies on Etsy. :-)

I pushed a needle through the middle (once it was dry) to make a hole and then glued tiny pieces of ripped, tissue paper over it. 

I built up the colours with more tissue paper, then added a bit of gold pen! I really ran out of time today, so this was a rush job, but I'd love to spend more time exploring this idea.

The possibilities with these are END. LESS! ;-) I don't know how they would work as beads on a necklace - I guess you wouldn't want to get them wet... [unless you could set or harden them with varnish perhaps?] but as decorations for gifts, they would work really well. I didn't have time to experiment properly, but the thought of the all of the potential for these is so exciting! :-)

Sylwi, I can't explain how fun today has been. There just seems so much to discover, so much to DO!! I can't believe I've spent the last few years sitting around reading and thinking about all of these things, instead of making a weekly commitment with myself to just sit down and do them! What a lot of wasted time?! :-))) 

Anyway, sweet girl. I have to go back to normal life now. Clear up all of the colour and fun and step back into the grey, wet day that I can see outside my window. ha ha! :-))) Just kidding... it's not really that bad! 

Hopefully, this post isn't too full of typos and rambling. When I lost everything I'd written, I kinda lost my sense of humour too. I'm just hoping I can post now. Gonna try and see. Hope you're not experiencing the same problems...

Till next week, sweet girl.

Lots of love