five wonderful years

Five years ago -- to the day of the week, even, thanks to two leap years in the interim -- JD and I were married for time and eternity.

We've had some ups and downs, some trials and challenges, of course, but overall, it has been wonderful. Whenever I think about it for more than a few moments, I cannot help but be grateful to have an eternal companion who is such a perfect counterpart for me.

paper lanterns for the new year

Just for fun, I decided to make some paper lanterns inspired by Chinese New Year lanterns. There are probably tutorials for how to make paper lanterns floating around on the web somewhere, but I had ideas in my head for how I wanted to make them, so I didn't bother looking up anything.

20 gauge florist's wire, waxed paper, purple and red tissue paper, clear Elmer's glue, DMC E211 Pearlescent Effects Lilac embroidery floss, electric tea lights

needle-nose pliers/wire clippers, transparent plastic ruler, pencils, red purple and lilac Sharpies, clothespins, cups or bowls, scissors, a small piece of cardboard, tape

First I made the wire frames. The rectangular lantern is approximately 3x3x6 inches. The smaller circles for the round lantern were formed around the rim of the little pink cup and the large, pseudo-equatorial circle was formed around the rim of the small glass bowl. My measurements were only approximate and I was making it up as I went along, so they ended up rather lopsided.

I decided to cover the frames with a base layer of waxed paper before putting on the outer casing of pleated tissue paper. The rectangular lantern has already been done, and the object covered in clothespins in the lower left corner is the round lantern, in progress. I am also working on making tassels by wrapping the floss around a piece of card. Each tassel is wrapped eight times. I'm not very skilled yet about binding off tassels.

Rather than wrapping the lanterns with a continuous sheet, I decided to make four panels to go around. The panels for the rectangular lantern are in three layers -- a base of waxed paper, a layer of purple tissue paper with just the central oval of the design cut out, and a second layer of purple tissue paper with the whole design cut out. I used the full width of the waxed paper as the height of the panels.
The short sides of the panels for the round lantern are approximately 1/4th of the circumference of the smaller wire circles in the frame, and the width at the middle of the hexagon is approximately 1/4th of the circumference of the larger wire circle in the frame. The height of the panels is 4x the average measurement from one of the smaller wire circles of the frame to the pseudo-equatorial larger circle. I did something a little different with the design for this lantern; it still has a base of waxed paper, but I put on only one layer of red tissue paper with all the holes cut out and filled in the outer parts of the design with lilac Sharpie.

When all the tissue paper layers were dry (I worked on this project over two days), I cut apart the panels and folded them accordion-style. The rectangular panels are being glued to the frame. In the front, I've put wire clips in the tassels to attach them to the bottom of the lantern frame. As you can see in the third picture, the tassels were initially quite frizzy. I smoothed them out with a little bit of glue. I used similar clips to attach strings at the top of each lantern for hanging.

gratuitous art post

picture of the month XII

Here we are at the end of the year. I used a photograph I took last year for the background watercolor-pencil painting, then piled on the fancy holiday stickers.

I'm glad that I gave myself this project this year. It was fun to think of something for every month and to have to work against those little deadlines. I won't be doing it again next year, though.
gratuitous art post

picture of the month X

I'd been waiting all year for October to come around so that I could use the black glitter in my sample pack! The features of the pumpkin face and the smoke tendrils are colored with glow-in-the-dark crayon, a very short-lived Crayola product from the late 1990s or early 2000s. They do glow in the dark rather well, but my camera is not sophisticated enough to capture it.

I would have put this up a couple of weeks ago, when I made the picture, but my 2008 Dell 1520 Inspiron crashed (the videocard burnt out) and I had to wait until I got my new Lenovo Ideapad Y560p yesterday to download the photo from my camera.
gratuitous art post

picture of the month IX

This one was inspired first by a desire to do something a little three-dimensional and second by wanting to play with the three boxes of multicolored/varigated crayons that I rediscovered while visiting our MSP apartment last weekend. Crayola has produced an assortment of multicolored crayons over the years, the oldest being the "Color Mix-Up" 16-box of standard crayons, then the "Rainbow" twistables, and most recently the "True to Life" twistables (the only ones still on the market). All of the flower petal pieces are double-sided, with coordinating tones on the two faces, but the pieces don't have quite enough curvature to show that very well.
gratuitous art post

picture of the month VIII

We've spent the last two weeks on vacation visiting our parents. I didn't get the calendar picture done before we left on the trip, so I decided to take it with me and draw something while we were there. We spent the first week at JD's grandmother's cabin in Montana, and one day when we went on a hike, I took the calendar and my box of Prismacolor Verithin pencils with me.

On another day, we went for a float down the nearby river. We saw fish under the water and jumping at the surface of the water. One day, we went down in to Yellowstone. We saw many, many bison, far away, close to the road, and even walking down the middle of the road. We saw a bear in a meadow, close enough to the road to be a distinguishable shape with the naked eye and to be clearly observed with binoculars. We saw a nest of ospreys. We saw a little herd of pronghorn antelope. We also saw a few deer and elk. We didn't see any moose in Yellowstone, but we did see a moose and her nearly full-grown calf at the salt lick by the cabin one morning!

We spent the second week with my parents at their new house, and welcomed home my brother from his mission to Ghana. He was always a fine boy, and he has grown into a very fine young man. I'm glad that we were able to be there for his homecoming.

While we were visiting my parents, JD and I finally got around to watching HP7part1 on Netflix so that we could then go watch HP7part2 in the cinema. I thought the movies were very well done and a fitting conclusion for the series.
gratuitous art post

picture of the month VII

This month's entry is quite simple and entirely unimaginative -- but it is the idea I've had in mind for this month more or less since the beginning of the project.

I bought a bottle of regular glue to get precision dots for the firework stars. I didn't know that Elmer's Glue now came in a clear version.

I soaked so much watercolor pigment into the cardstock trying to get a deep blue background that it kind of looks more like real fireworks from the reverse!