Wednesday, 26 October 2016

My First Post: A Story And A Project

Welcome to my new blog.  I've started it to go along with my new Etsy shop, which is also called Atelier Beth Anne. Since the name is quite a departure from my Aunt B themes, I thought I'd tell you how it came about and, in the process, give you some idea of what the shop and this blog will be about.

I've always loved making stuff.  I can't remember or imagine a time in my life without some drawing or painting or craft project in progress. The creative process is, for me, meditative.  I focus so intently on my project that I can exclude everything else from my thoughts.  For most of my adult life making things was both recreation and stress relief: what I did when I wasn't earning a wage.  

After cancer took my husband from me and I often felt I was drowning in grief, the calmness and focus of the creative process became my life raft: I could climb onto it when the real world as just too hard to cope with.  Then, as time passed and my heart began to heal, I started to discover and understand the person I would be in this new phase of life. Eventually a day came when I looked around me and realized that making things had now become my full time occupation.

The other side of this story is that I've always chosen to live frugally, mindful of my resources and taking care not to waste things.  Over time, that intention to use things up meshed with my love of making things and the materials around me became the inspiration for my projects.  Some of my best, and most creative work incorporated - or was even entirely made up of - found materials.

Living frugally has now become an absolute necessity for me. When I looked at the resources available to me, I saw that if I was going to make making things my full time job (and for my own well being I really needed to do that), then I was going to have to use what was available to me within my now-very-limited means.  

So that's what happened:  I took an inventory of my materials to see what I had that I could work with, and I began making things.  As I worked, my home changed just as my life had.  Gradually my apartment - which had previously been a pretty ordinary kind of place - turned into one big studio with a bed, kitchen, and bathroom in the midst of all my projects. That's the way it is now. Almost every square foot of my home is used in some way for my work.

"Atelier" is the French word for studio or workshop.  Since it so perfectly describes my home and what I do now, it seemed just the right name for my new shop.  I'll be selling the things I make here in my home studio and, on this blog, sharing tutorials for projects I've made using re-purposed materials I have on hand.  

Both the shop and the blog are very much works in progress at this time. They're the beginning of a new journey and I'm hoping you'll enjoy travelling along with me.

Which brings me to our first project:  Cards and postcards made from coloring book page scratch paper.  

Do you remember making scratch paper in elementary school, using wax-crayon-covered paper painted over with India ink?  Then scratching through the ink with a straightened-out paper clip to reveal the colours beneath?  Do you have finished colouring pages that you don't want to throw away but don't know what to do with? Well, those are the things that inspired this project.

My friend Sally gave me a purse-sized colouring book for Christmas last year and these are two of the pages from that book. I'd coloured them with a really thick layer of wax crayon and then, looking at them, remembered those elementary school scratch paper experiments. 

I cut both sheets in half and then glued two of those halves to some cardboard from a cereal box.  I glued the other two onto a sheet of card stock on which I'd printed a flawed card proof.

I'd read a post on line somewhere (I can't remember where, sorry) that suggested using black acrylic craft paint for scratch paper, instead of India ink. Since I had the paint but not the ink, that's what I used to paint over the crayoned pages, covering them completely.  

I let the paint dry, then scratched through it with a variety of tools before settling on a large darning needle as the one that worked best for me.

Here's what the first completed scratch paper piece looked like:

I didn't love it so I decided to paint it over and try again.

This was my second attempt.  I wasn't thrilled with it either but, as you can see, the repeated scratching away of paint had taken away a lot of the crayon too.  I didn't think the sheet would stand up to a third attempt.

Here are my two finished card fronts

and the second postcard front.

I trimmed the finished pieces and then glued the card fronts onto coloured card stock.  I glued the matted pieces onto the front of two blank cards. 

Since the postcards wouldn't be protected by an envelope as the cards were, I painted a layer of Mod Podge over the front of each one. To finish the postcards, I simply drew a vertical line down the center of the back of the card delineating one part for a note and the other for an address.

So that's it: Cards and postcards from colouring book scratch paper. 

Have fun with this!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Laurie. :) I appreciate you taking the time to stop and comment.

  2. Congratulations on your Etsy shop - it looks wonderful! Love this craft - I think I did something like this years ago at a craft workshop but mine never turned out as lovely as yours!

    1. Thank you April. :) It's a fun craft, for sure. I'm sure yours turned out wonderfully too.