Hand Bound Sketchbook

overdue5252015 103I had so much fun creating this sketchbook! I’ve had it in my head that all of these years of using paper and paper towels (as well as aprons, jeans and hand towels…) as a blotter for paintings would need to be reused somehow. Why not in a sketchbook? I was using these papers to test drawings on before heading to my sketchbook so this was a very natural progression. It combines my love of re-purposing as well as multi-media artwork. I love to sew but not avidly; I use it more to supplement my art or to make little crafts (such as my lavender sachets.) So I pulled out my watercolors, acrylics and some extra paper and got to work laying down a background, with the idea in mind that these colorful pages would be a background for drawings.

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overdue5252015 062I’ve written before about my love for textures and about how all of my paintings are based around that, which is where the idea for this sketchbook came from. Next up was to pull out my sewing machine where I decided to sew some designs onto a few pages as well as a photograph, before sewing it all together- my preferred means of binding it all together.

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overdue5252015 084The sewing worked out really well, better than I had anticipated. The sketchbook has 15 pages (30 front and back) in which I sewed all together after sewing them together 3 at a time for extra strength. My only worry was that I would need a denim needle, which this sewing machine does not come with (I’m sure I could buy one for it but sewing machines and their accoutrements are NOT my specialty…) The photograph was also much easier to sew than I had expected and I loved finding a new way to add my prints to my work.

All in all, I am beyond happy with this sketchbook (as well as the process of making it) and look forward to making many more in the future, both bigger and travel sized. My next venture will be to make spiral bound sketchbooks with many more pages! xo, Ev.

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DIY Canvas Corkboard

This one was an obvious choice for me. I like the concept of corkboards but instead of buying one and having yet another another item in my house, I decided to re-purpose one of the pre-stretched canvases I have laying around (I have a whole stack in my closet, thanks to a friend who is no longer allowed to paint due to chemical and olfactory sensitivities. Sad for her, great for me!) This isn’t a tutorial, just a project that I wanted to show off and hopefully inspire you to make some yourself (and share it with me, of course!)

03042015 001I used this piece of driftwood (at the bottom of the photo) to make the orange and white marks and got exactly the textured result I was looking for. The base coat I put on with a roller. As to what kind of roller it is… I’ve not been able to figure out what it’s specific purpose is. It’s not for house painting and it’s not for screen printing. Not that it matters, I have a habit of using objects to paint that weren’t designed with painting in mind, that’s my thing. It makes the process much more enjoyable for me and I rarely use paintbrushes as a result.

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03042015 007I use regular push pins but I have half a mind to make some fun ones out of old jewelry and awesome stones I have laying around. But that is a post for another day. As always, I’d love to see what you come up with. Post it on instagram using the hashtag #knowloveknowcolor and get featured on my instagram site! xo, Ev.

Eye Catching Sketchbook Covers

One of the first things I like to work on in my sketchbooks is the cover. I’ve always felt that  the hardest pages to work on are the inside cover and the first page (as well as the last) and so with that in mind, I tackle the cover to clear my mind for the next 2 pages. The cover has always seemed to me as important as the first sentence in a book. It serves two functions: to grab your attention and to set the tone. Materials used over the years have been handmade stencils, acrylic paint, spray paint, paint markers, photographs, pens, sharpies, tape and cut out shapes, stickers, paper bags, duct tape, package tape ink transfers, bubble wrap (really, that stuff is fantastic and so versatile!)

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My last two pictorial inserts are from the inside of the second to last sketchbook- all wrapped up in duct tape, inside covers and out.

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Sketchbooks are vitally important to my art and not because they inspire paintings (they rarely have anything to do with each other) or anything else creative that I do but because they serve the purpose of giving me a place to dream, a place to think and explore. I share them with very select people and enjoy swapping them with other artists and working in their books and seeing what has been created in mine. They have a language of their own and as such have always been my greatest strength. My biggest artistic dream is to put together a collection of my favorite pages from the sketchbooks I have finished over the years. A lot of my sketchbooks get ripped up and taken apart, taking favorite pages to be saved in future ones and/or to be reworked. Once I put together this ultimate sketchbook, I will put it out into the world to be sold. Do you like to decorate your sketchbooks? I’d love to see what you do with yours. Use the hashtag #knowloveknowcolor on Instagram to share yours! xo, Ev.

DIY Packing Tape Ink Transfers

One of my favorite lessons in art school was about acrylic ink transfers. I used them for my sketchbooks, paintings and sculptures. I put them in glass panes and put them up in my windows in lieu of stained glass. Then one night, after too little sleep and too much wine I start playing around with packing tape and magazine pages. It’s the simplest, quickest ink transfer and easily the most rewarding. All you need is:

packing tape

magazine pages

soap

water

scissors

towel (for drying)

vessel for soaking- sink or otherwise

To begin with, pick the images that you want to transfer. I like to pick random sections and either leave them as single strips or take those single strips and recreate the magazine image. I did this for a sketchbook cover (but that’s a picture for my next post!) Then cut them out.

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I used Hi-Fructose for mine (sort of made me cringe a little cutting it up but I’m trying to hoard art magazines SLIGHTLY less and figured it’s all for a fantastic cause.) For any of you who haven’t yet seen this magazine, go find a copy. They’re beautiful, with thicker pages than you’d expect for a magazine, and stunning art work.

At this point, it’s time for a quick, 5 minute soak in warm, soapy water. I always use dish soap- nothing specific needed. I would, however, advise against bar soap as it takes a bit more to make a lather for your vessel of choosing. For your soaking vessel, you can use a bowl or the sink- I used a baking dish as it could accommodate all of my strips (and because I lost my sink stopper.)

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 My favorite part of the process is peeling the paper off: unlike acrylic transfers, peeling the paper off of the packing tape is much easier- it takes no time at all and is not a delicate process. You just peel and reveal the prettiness underneath. You can see if there is still paper on the ink transfer if you see a bit of whiteness; just keeping smudging your finger over it until it lifts. Here’s an image of it in process:

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Once you’ve peeled all of the paper off, just rinse any soap off and pat dry. That’s all there is to it!

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At this point I used a strainer to catch the paper shredded in the water- no need for that to go down the drain. For an added up-cycling bonus, you can use these paper shreds to make, well, paper with, if you so choose.

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This is from 2 strips of paper- as you can see, it’s not much but I believe the philosophy is “waste not, want not.” I’d love to see what beautiful transfers you create- be sure to post your projects on instagram and tag them with #knowloveknowcolor for a chance to be reposted on my site, @knowloveknowhope  xo, Ev.

Natural Wool Dying

Pokeberries grow in abundance out where I live and after finding out they work great as a natural dye using minimal ingredients, I decided to give it a whirl. This is my first time dying anything other than my hair and it was incredibly easy! I will definitely be experimenting with other ways to dye wool and fibers. As for what I chose to dye, I have a fantastic neighbor who has alpacas. I mean, these cuties are the best- super friendly and curious.

september17th2014 007Meet Clover (also shown below, nuzzling myself and my dog, Sprocket!)

september17th2014 011This guy didn’t have a name as of the time I met him. This was taken in mid September when he was newly born. Already he is sweet & friendly and comes up to say hello.

september17th2014 012I love her haircut! This is Bella. She’s a little standoff-ish but also sweet.

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september17th2014 015Pokeberries truly are gorgeous- the entire plant is a favorite of mine. I have a few in my backyard and there are a bunch in abundance in the woods by my house. One of my favorite parts about this project was everything was gathered locally.

lastofseptphotos 016Here is a list of what you’ll need to get this project done:

undyed alpaca fiber or wool

mesh strainer

dye pot that will fit the amount of fibers being dyed

masher or spoon

white or apple cider vinegar

3-4 lbs of pokeberries to every pound of wool

pokeberries (for amount, see above ratio)

gloves (optional as pokeberries are both safe to touch and will wash off)

towel or hangers for drying

First step is to put the wool into the dye pot (it will save you an extra step if you use just one pot) and fill with a 50/50 solution of cold water and vinegar. Vinegar is used as a mordant (although it is not technically a mordant) which helps the pokeberries become colorfast (stick to the wool without later fading.) I do want to point out that at any stage of the game, using water that is too hot will felt your wool. Additionally, in this step and while dying, do not agitate the wool as it will have the same effect. Make sure the wool is soaked through, put on the stove and cover. Heat to simmering, turn down to the lowest setting and let sit for an hour. Again, do not boil. Turn the heat off and let cool overnight.

october18th 006The next day I prepped the berries for dying: pick the berries off of the stem (you may want gloves for this part) and mash in the strainer. The goal here is to get all of the liquid out that you can, leaving behind only the flesh and seeds. To save yourself an extra step and another dirty dish to wash, just put the strainer over the pot with the wool in it (after draining a bit of the solution out- you want just enough liquid to soak the wool) and mash away over the wool.

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october18th 009It was pretty neat to watch the juice soak into the solution and the wool, I must admit. Stir gently to combine and voila! This is your dye bath.

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october18th 010You can do this one of two ways- I left mine outside, in the sun (my patio gets fantastic light all day) for 24 hours OR you can heat it over the stove. To do this, you will need to keep an eye on it. You want your solution to be barely simmering for an hour to get pinks and fuchsias. Specifically, you want your water to be hot to touch without burning. Once the water gets to that temperature, turn the heat off and let cool. There are advantages to each- I chose to leave mine out in the sun because of two reasons: curiosity and because I was heading up to Maine to go visit my little brother. This way, you don’t have as much control but I still achieved some beautiful pinks and fuchsias.

The next step is rinsing.

october18th 024 october18th 027 october18th 028I used a very small amount of wool (although the ratio stayed the same- 3:1) as this was my first time dying wool and it made the rinsing process ridiculously quick and easy. For rinsing you will want to leave the water running until it runs clear and make sure to use cold water. You may or may not want gloves with this part. I didn’t have any troubles and it left less juice on me than picking the berries did. Either way, the pokeberry juice washed away easily with hand soap. Then comes the drying. As I have a basement, I draped my wool over two hangers and let sit for 24 hours. You can also lay it over a towel or a drying rack. The most important thing to remember is you want to lay it as thinly as possible for a speedier drying time.

october18th 032 october18th 033And for my next step, hand spinning!

pokeberrydye 001 pokeberrydye 004I’m mixing it with undyed alpaca fibers and it is gorgeous.  I’m a drop spindle (although, a spinning wheel is on my wish list!) and I love it.  What are your latest adventures with wool? xo, Ev.

DIY Painted Planter

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Plants are a necessity for me and as a result I have a lot of plain terra cotta and plastic planters to look at. I do have some gorgeous ceramic pots in my home but instead of switching over to more I decided to have some fun and re-vamp the ones I already have.  I did a lot of planters where the main body was one color and the rim another (making sure to paint the inside as well) but for this particular one I decided to draw leaves on it for added pop. I used a sharpie marker for the outline and Crayola super tips for the fill.  Next up for my planters I will be making lacy knitted covers! Use the hashtag #knowloveknowcolor on Instagram so I can see how you decorate your planters! xo, Ev.

Sweatshirt by Little Owl Arts.  She has a great Etsy shop and you can find her blog here: www.littleowlarts.blogspot.com

DIY Painted Branches

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Painted branches are a great way to sweeten up a corner in your home and are a cheap and easy craft- great for a fun project by yourself, with friends and even with kids.  All you need is some paint and branches! I found all of my branches either on beaches (I’m always on the hunt for driftwood when I’m at the ocean) or in the woods on my morning hikes.

I used both acrylic and spray paint for mine, taping off the ends with one of my favorite items in my arsenal- blue artist tape.  I kept mine mostly simple for this round but the next batch I’m working on I am using triangles and other geometric designs to make them more playful.

There are a variety of different mediums you can use to achieve all kinds of creative results: nail polish, paint markers, white out pens, even photo transfers if you have a big enough branch! I want to see what you guys come up with so the next time you’re on Instagram, use the hashtag #knowloveknowcolor  and be sure to follow me, @knowloveofficial for more projects! xo, Ev.