Posted in Mail Art

Crayons and my iron

I signed up for this “crayons only” ATC swap and then a “crayons only” PC swap on Swap-bot which I decided to give a go last night.  I had originally thought of trying my hand at crayon coloring when I signed up, but I had this idea that came to mind last night after dinner.  I wanted to experiment with crayon shavings and melting them by using my clothes iron.

I’m sure you’d be as surprised as I am about how the whole thing came out.  Ta-da!
ATC and Postcard: Abstract melted crayon print

These are my first pieces which I’ve decided to keep for my personal album. I need two of each for the swap and will be doing them later. I did three pieces last night but I had to discard the second because the colors didn’t quite “meld” well and it came out a dark grey in some areas.

All you need are crayons, paper labels/wrap removed, a blade or paring knife to shave the crayon, parchment paper, paper towel, and an old magazine. What I love about this is that it gives me something new to use those discarded crayongs from Angelo’s old sets. I also almost always keep the crayon sets given with the kiddie meals in restaurants.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do a video using my cam of choice (my blackberry bold) but I will do a tutorial once I get that figured out. Unfortunately it’s hard to do the tutorial in pictures but if I can’t do the video, I’ll it the old fashioned way.

I was so amazed at the texture that pulling the protective parchment paper on top produced as you can see in the postcard upclose below.
Mail art: Postcard with Melted Crayons

More on this later!

Posted in Crafts, Handmade Embellishments, Mail Art

Craft Experiment: Pressing flowers for use as embellishments

This is probably nothing new to a lot of serious crafters out there but I have experimented with this quite a bit and have found a good formula or method (in terms of timing) to press rose petal leaves.  It appears that this is crucial if you want to maintain a semblance of the petals’ original color, or keep the integrity of the petal when it dries.

Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquetI’ve used rose petals extensively for card making and as embellishment for Artist Trading Cards or ATCs, etc.  When dried and flattened correctly, they adhere easily to paper surfaces with the use of mod podge.  They lend a rustic feel to a background when used in a collage.

Let me warn you, though, that it might mean “cutting” the “vase-life” of your blooms to achieve the desired effect.  You’d have to start the process between after the bud begins to open and before it actually blooms.

I was fortunate enough to have received two elegant bouquets for my 10th anniversary at work, and one of them, the one from the big boss, had two of my favorite blooms: hydrangeas and pink roses.  The roses were of interest to me because they were not solid-colored, but graduated from pink to white towards the center.  (Craft happiness!)

I am also trying to dry the peonies which started to crumble yesterday (Day 4 from their delivery), and it shows promise, but we’ll see.

It’s approximately 6 days since the flowers have been cut and put on a vase.  The petals are still relatively fresh — no signs of wilting (as of yet).  I know from long ago that roses need to be cut at the base an inch from the tip for it to eventually bloom.  I purposely didn’t do that to preserve the rose stem “mid-bit”.

Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 1

I wiggled the bud lose and started to make it easier to take each petal off.  I discarded the outer layer which has browned in some portions. Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 2

I then arranged the petals with enough space between each petal between pages of an old dictionary.
Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 3

I also experimented with some hydrangeas and I”m keeping my fingers crossed that comes out nicely.  I left the book under two reams of paper to weigh it down and help press the flowers flat.  Let’s see how that comes out on Monday.

Posted in Mail Art, Paper Crafts, Philippine Map Postcard

Philippine Map – Mail Art Postcard

I’ve started slowing down with the swaps at Swap-bot but have decided to start drawing postcards with the Philippine map.  I’ve done some handmade postcards the last couple of months, but none which included a particular collecting interst of mine among postcards, particularly maps or lighthouses.

With the lack of map choices for the Philippines, I thought it was worth giving it a try. 
Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChickI started by printing an outline of the map on plain white 5 x 8 index cards in a dark grey, then coloring them with alcohol-based ink and water.  I tried to work with the blue and red and fuschia pink shades of Dylusions and a spray bottle of water and came up with my initial 11 sheets above. 

I kept one print out plain to have a reference guide because although the ink was transparent, the color was very vivid and strong.  It also makes it difficult to just trace an outline because of the archipelagic nature of the 7,100 islands of the Philippines which are not all visible in the drawn map, of course. 

Work in Progress: Handmade Map Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChick

Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChick

I traced the outline of the map and hand-lettered PILIPINAS which is how it is denominated in Pilipino or FIlipino, the local language. 
Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1
You can see the gaps by the edge, and I filled that out with Dylusions stain and then dabbed on some walnut ink with a foam blending tool to cover the edges and provide a visual border beyond the drawn frame.

Here’s the first of the series:
Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

So I have 10 more to go for this series and hope to keep this going.  If you’re into making your own postcards, this is a good way to reproduce your actual art on a postcard.  If you’re interested to get one of these, please e-mail me at