Bookmarking Made Easy

In a nutshell, I’m going to show you how you can do your own bookmarking. See the video and read on further.

Sitting around is not my thing. I’ve been forced to do so because I’ve had surgery recently. I am fortunate to have had a great friend named Suzie Q who helped nurse me back to health with her delicious meals, laughter and patience.

While I was on the mend, I wanted to do something that would not take the life out of me so I thought it would be fun for a girls day or two doing some simple crafty things like making bookmarks and such. So, we did! We had fun cutting mags up and sorting it all together before we pieced the art together.

There are many artisans that have honed this craft far better than I but it’s just a fun thing for me. It’s costly to buy all the items needed to create perfect cards and bookmarks, and photo journals. If you want to make something simple and cool for your friends and family, you don’t need all that stuff. They will appreciate the fact that your hand cut all the paper, painted the art, glued it all together and signed it.

Supplies Needed:

1 .Different types of cardstock or construction paper,
matte or gloss photo paper, wallpaper (optional)
2. Scissors – Straight Edge, Pinked or Craft Scissors
3. Glue Sticks – Heavy Duty Glue (for applying heavier stock and appliques)
4. Watercolor Paints and Brushes
5. Stamping Ink and Ink Pad and Stamps
6. Hole Punch
7. Ribbons
Misc: fun items that would be flat enough for a bookmark but cool enough to apply – like a button, bead, etc. Salt – optional

Next is to have a concept about your design:
1. Who is it for? What do they like? Or, what do you want to make that would
please other people as well. Can you draw? If not, you can cut magazine
images and collage something fun.

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2. Figure our the size of bookmark you want to make. You can paint an image
on matte photo stock. That is what I used. Or, you can make the bookmark
a little larger than your stamp. I put the same stamp on one piece of
paper three or four times so I made it easier for me. You can also scan
it and save it for any time in the future if you want to make them again.
See examples in video.
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3. Layer your image on another piece of stock that is contrasting in color
or texture. Glue them together.
4. Wait til pieces have dried before you hole punch and put the ribbon
through. You can make them without ribbon as well.

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Elvis Presley – The King is Alive!

And you thought Elvis Presley has moved on to a different world. Remember all the rumors about him being still alive? Those stories went on for years and I would bet there are some folks who want to believe it or they do believe it. How could you not love Elvis? Many young girls had a poster of Elvis on her bedroom wall, except for me. My catholic father wouldn’t have such a thing.


Sorry Dad, I was not trying to get back at you when I decided to do this life-size replica of animated Elvis. I was in the middle of creating a series of musicians on silk. Elvis just happened to be COOL of Cool so I thought, why not? It requires seven steps to produce a silk painting but it is worth every moment of labor. It is similar to water-color but there is no forgiveness of the craft. It takes guts to begin a large piece. You are either going to ruin your very expensive silk or you will be delighted at the development once it has been steamed and hung dry.
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The question is, where shall Elvis go now? I was thinking of finding a home at the Hard Rock Cafe or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Possibly, you might know of someone who is a major Elvis collector. There must be some places in Beverly Hills that would find a home for him.

The Perfect Wedding Love Story

 This story begins,” Once upon a time…. I met a prospective client through my online store, SilkEscape which showcases my wearable art.”  I quickly answered a request, “Could I paint some fabric for a wedding dress?”  This wasn’t your average every day wedding dress. Christina knew exactly what she wanted.

She told me about her sweet romance story. David and Christina met 10 years after dating in high school. Once again, they found their original true love. Just before their reunion, Christina was drawn to the mountains of Sedona, Arizona for some unknown reason. She fell in love with the beauty and healing powers of the natural surroundings. Hence, she wanted to share her experience with David. They both agreed this is where they were to be married. The fabric would represent all the values in color of the Sedona earth. This is how my part in the story comes in to play. I was chomping at the bit but had to control myself. I really wanted to make this happen for them.

Typically, it might be difficult to get inside someone’s head unless you engage in lots of conversation to gain trust.  This is hard to do when you are working online and you can’t see the person face to face. When I start a commissioned project with a client, I’m evaluating how easy they will be to work with as much as they are doing the same with me. You might say, we are sizing each other up until there is a comfort zone. Why waste each other’s time? Well, it can work for everyone if you take baby steps, charge only for a test or sketch and move on from there.

 Long before the start of the final painting, we established a nice working relationship. Christina supplied me with color chips, photos of her concept and a copy of a vintage sewing pattern.  I could now evaluate how much the dress would cost regarding the time and fabric it would take. I did my homework by creating initial sketches and color pallettes.

With the input of 50 or so convos and emails, we were off to a terrific start. Above is the sample piece I emailed to Christina to see if I was on the right tract. Some additional conversation was made regarding the flow of color and how it would vignette from a dark shade of bordeaux to a very nude shade of peach. We also discussed which silk would work best for the skirt. It couldn’t be too wimpy, heavy, or too shiney.  I ordered one yard each of three fabric weights and finishes. I painted those pieces and shipped them off to Christina. In the end, we both agreed it would be crepe de chine. It is one of the softest to the skin because it has a subtle nub. It’s my favorite.

After final approval of the color values and silk samples, I went to work building very large frames to stretch the silk on.  It had to be wide enough for a ample skirt bottom.  I think that was the toughest part of my job.

I produced 11 1/2 yards of fabric which just about broke my back because of my deadline.  I had to be meticulous in matching color on each sheet of silk so the seams would flow perfectly together. After this process, the silk must be steamed in a steaming unit for 4-6 hours to set the dye colors.  After it cools down, I unwrap all the paper and foil off the silk and just stare at my work. I had great success except for a couple spots of imperfection on a sheet or two but I beleived the seamstress could cut around them.  I was worried that I might have to paint over some of the sheets of fabric. No, No, please No!  My anxiety was pretty heavy at the time as I am a perfectionist and I would paint it over if means satisfying the client.  Now, the silk must be rinsed thoroughly to release all dye residue.

Done yet?  Nope, not yet!  I carefully took every piece out individually and layed them in the sun to air dry. A light pressing, then I boxed it all up with all original concept notes, color chips, sketches and fabric. Off it went to Christina where I hold my breath until she unveils the box.

This is what she said after opening it all up at her busy office! 

Just received.  GORGEOUS MICHELE!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!  

Can’t wait to meet with Rosie and strategize the pattern lay out.  I’m sure there will be plenty of fabric.  And you really did such a lovely job. The tones are perfect and any “imperfections” just make it what it is… a unique, gorgeous, piece of ART!      THANK YOU!!!”

Awwww! I jumped for joy!  Now, I can relax…..no……not yet…..not until I see the final dress completed! Only then will I relax.  And so, the happy ending to this story is…………..

THE END

My many thanks to all the collaboration on this beautiful representation of my work.

Thank you Christina and David for giving me the opportunity to do this for you. 

Thank you Rosie, for the tremendous sewing, insight on design, and perfect fit. 

Thank you Andrew Holman for your eye in the camera capturing the most perfect wedding moments.  www.andrewholman.com

Thank Giovanni, (my love) for helping me make the very heavy frames and for always supporting my talents.