Harry Potter Inspired Lapbook

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Stumbling across Nik the Booksmith on YouTube has led me down the rabbit hole of making books with hidden compartments and secret pockets. Her 12-part video series “From Discarded to Regarded – Let’s Make a Lapbook” was a binge-worthy class from beginning to end.

I made a “Harry Potter” inspired book that includes pop-ups saved from a discarded and mostly broken version of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone… a Deluxe Pop-Up Book” (by J.K. Rowling, Illustrations by Jill Daniels, Paper Engineering by Roger Smith). My book also features 2 signatures, many pockets and loads of ephemera.

If you are looking for a really cool project to use up that paper and cardboard you’ve been hoarding, give Nik the Booksmith and her fabulous lapbooks a try.

Many of the vintage inspired pages are by Tim Holtz
Special thanks to Vintaj for the fabulous owl charm on the cover
Owl image from “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell, Illustrated by Patrick Benson

Artist in Residence

Things are a little weird out in the world right now. Like a lot of folks during the Covid shutdowns, I have found myself with an abundance of time on my hands. To get my art fix I have turned to online classes and YouTube videos. I’ve been working on a variety of projects, and I have revisited some mediums that I have ignored for quite some time. I thought it was time to share what’s been inspiring my studio time.

My first projects were handmade books. I have been binge watching The Paper Outpost, Johanna Clough, Moonside Parlour and Amity Bloom as well as others. Give them a look see if you have time. Plus if you are having any worries about the future of our world, Nazi at Amity Bloom is pure sweetness and light.

I’ve made recycled paper bag journals, a huge Field Guide with removable watercolor notebooks to record flora and fauna and some altered book junk journals.

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I got on the mask bandwagon for a few days too, making sure that my peeps all had the protection they needed. I’m not the best seamstress, but they are cute and they work. It was a good excuse to dust off my sewing machine and sort through my fabric stash. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while.



I’ve also dipped my toe back into the mixed media world with some collage and Gelli plate printing. There are some really fun new techniques out there for your Gelli printing plate, including magazine photo transfers and alcohol ink printing.  I especially enjoyed combining all three techniques. There are a ton of videos, so search around. I used the collages and prints to make cards and book covers.

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I have taken a few really nice online workshops including Wandering Muse from Jeanne Oliver and Sketchbook Revival from Karen Abend. Wandering Muse had several lessons on drawing faces in different mediums, plus finding your artistic voice, block printing, creating an inspiration board and sculpture…. very cool stuff. She also has many free classes to get you started. Sketchbook Revival was a free course with lots short lessons on working in your sketchbook, taught by teachers from all over the world. Something for everyone!

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I’ve also been working on a few new paintings. Its been a few years since I really painted, so I’m a bit rusty, but it feels good to slow down and paint again. Here are three I’ve completed.

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And, don’t worry. I have also been spending some time outside when the weather allows. We have been kayaking as often as possible.

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Some of my other favorite instructional sites are:
Carla Sonheim
Ivy Newport
Flora Bowley
Susan Lenart Kazmer

Some of my other favorite YouTubers are:
Illustrator James Luke Burke
Illustrator Leigh Ellexson
Resin Artist Artsy Madwoman
Watercolorist Watercolor MIsfit
Journaler Ali Brown
Crazy Creative Struthless
Jack of All Trades and a Voice Like Butta TheCrafsman SteadyCraftin

I hope you enjoy some of these fabulous teachers. Sandy

Studio Assistant, Sparky

Upcoming classes


Breakdown Screen Printing

Drawing Blast
Saturday, March 7, 1-3pm
at Rawls Museum Arts, 22376 Linden Street, Courtland, Va 23937
Tuition: RMA Members $25, Non-Members $30
Ages: Teen and Adult
Students will be introduced to a fun, non-threatening way to learn how to draw, using a variety of games and techniques.  Emphasis will be placed on practice, not perfection, to take the stress out of drawing and make students more likely to develop a daily drawing practice. No prior drawing skills necessary. All supplies included. To register please contact: Rawls Museum Arts,  Leigh Anne Chambers  (Director, RMA Gallery), (757) 653-0754.

Wire FUNdamentals

an artful adventure

My last few years of employment with the local newspaper brought me to the main office – smack dab in the middle of the Neon Arts District of downtown Norfolk, Virginia. On our lunch breaks, when the weather allowed, I would gather some adventurous friends and go see something I had not seen before.

We were very close to the Chrysler Museum, so it was an easy walk with plenty to see there, including temporary exhibits featuring Western Art to Toulouse-Lautrec to Vermeer and Van Gogh, and many more, along with the Chrysler’s own nationally renowned collection and daily glass blowing demos.

We tried lots of new restaurants and walked the streets full of lunchtime crowds and cruise ship travelers. We met a local super hero, visited an Oriental garden, walked to the waterfront and toured the many freshly painted murals. I loved being in Norfolk and seeing what it had to offer. These are just a few of the photos I took along the way.

Moral of the story… adventure is everywhere. Go outside and see what you can find.

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
                                                                             Helen Keller