The Premise

Imagine, if you will, a group of friends exchanging 12 handmade gifts through the mail. Each person carefully saves the gifts they've received. Beginning December 13 they will open one gift a day for each of the 12 days of Xmas. Can you imagine how delighful and exciting that would be?!? We could-that's why we're doing it!

Welcome to the 12 Days of Xmas blog! Be sure to visit us often as gifts are wrapped and sent out to two groups of 12 artist friends. We will be sharing our goodies online right through to Xmas Eve, so come and share in the fun, even if only vicariously! We're not only creating gifts, we're creating magic!

*Be sure to click on the Archives to view presents posted earlier.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 4:07 p.m., | 4 comments

Laura's Friendship Tag Book

1. Using White Matte Coated Paper from the The Paper Cut and Ranger Alcohol Inks, prepare background papers by using the plaid technique. Use 3 colors of ink that you think will go well together. Squirt them in various patterns on the applicator. Move applicator down paper in a horizontal fashion, and then turn paper around and do the same in vertical fashion to achieve plaid look.

2. Gather together vintage pictures (made smaller than normal size) and old book pages and sheet music. Cut out pictures of girls/women. Glue tags onto paper and cut to make front of tag and then old books pages/sheet music to make back of tag. Apply vintage pictures and use really cute stamps from Red Lead in St. Louis for word phrases.

3. Serendipity leads to ribbons by May Arts that just go perfectly!!!

4. Put together and feel happy!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 9:42 a.m., | 1 comments

Penelope's Beautiful Booklace

The construction of the book part of the booklace is similar to what I've
since seen described as a 'flower fold' book in Alisa Golden's "Creating
Handmade Books". Although (as usual) in my case, I saw a similar book a
friend had made and couple of minutes with it showed me roughly what needed
to be done, and I tinkered with it till I got it right ...

1. Decide what the folded size of your booklace will be (1.25" for the one I
made). On paper, draw 5 squares 2.5 x 2.5", each one divided into 4
'panels', each one 1.25" square. Cut out the 5 large squares.

2. Layout the 5 large squares in a diagonal line, overlapping the corner
panels as you go. Stretch out my booklace, and you'll see that (reading left
to right) panel#4 of square#1 overlaps panel#1 of square #2, panel #4 of
square #2 overlaps panel#1 of square #3, and so on. You can make a booklace
using any ODD number of large squares.

3. Mark with an 'X' in pencil which panels are the UNDERNEATH ones of the
overlaps. You don't need to collage on these squares since they will be
hidden in the construction process.

4. Make appropriate artwork/collages on all the other panels using whatever
means you like. You don't have to stick to the 'square panels' when
designing your collages, but I'd suggest you do for the first one you make
till you get the hang of the folding process. Avoid making your collage too
'lumpy' - it might interfere with the quality of the colour copying. Under
the 'X' on the overlap panels, make a note of the image/word that will be

5. Colour photocopy the sets of collaged squares & cut them out. I had mine
photocopied on regular 20 lb. ivory bond, rather than the usual higher
quality (& thicker) bright white paper that most copy shops use for colour
copies, so the pages would be slightly rougher to the touch, and a little
more old-fashioned in colour.

6. Folding squares 1, 3 & 5 ("Innies"): Place the square with the artwork
FACING UP, and fold it in half, bottom edge to top edge, then unfold. Fold
in half again, this time right side to left side, then unfold. Now turn the
artwork over, till it is FACING DOWN and do a diagonal fold so that the
bottom-right corner of panel#4 is touching the top-left corner of panel#1.
Unfold. Turn the artwork over and with the artwork facing you, gently pull
panels 1 & 4 together. The diagonal fold across panels 2&3 should make them
'collapse' toward each other in the center, pointing towards you. This is an
'Innie' square - it's artwork is concealed when folded.

7. Folding squares 2 & 4 ("Outies"): Place the square with the artwork
FACING DOWN, and fold it in half, bottom edge to top edge, then unfold. Fold
in half again, this time right side to left side, then unfold. Now turn the
artwork over, till the artwork is FACING UP and do a diagonal fold so that
the bottom-right corner of panel#4 is touching the top-left corner of
panel#1. Unfold. Turn the artwork over and with the artwork facing away from
you, gently push panels 1 & 4 together. The diagonal fold across panels 2&3
should make them 'collapse' toward the center, pointing away from you. This
is an 'Outie' square - it's artwork can be seen when folded.

8. The 'Tricky Bit': Glue the series of squares together, hiding the blank
overlaps as you go, starting with #1 (an Innie), #2 (Outie), #3 (Innie), #4
(Outie) and finishing with #5 (Innie). This is tricky because your overlaps
must be accurate, or the book will be clumsy to fold.

9. Cut two covers out of bookboard, measuring 1/4" larger than the FOLDED
book. For mine, the covers were 1.5" square. Stamp or otherwise decorate the
covers. For strength, put an eyelet or rivet in the top corner of both the
front and back covers.

10. Cut a fairly long string. It should be strong enough for wear, but
skinny enough to go DOUBLE through the eyelet. String on a single bead and
push it to the middle of the string. Pull both ends (or in my case, all the
ends) through both eyelets, in through the front cover and out through the
backcover. I found one of those dental floss loops A BIG HELP in getting the
strings through the eyelets. The bead holds the covers of the 'book'
together when its folded.

11. Assembly: slide the back cover out of your way along the string, and
stretch out the 'book'. Put very strong double-sided tape on the back of
panel #1 of square #1, and line up the top-left corner of panel#1 with the
BOTTOM point of the front cover. Now put double-sided tape on panel#4 of
square#5, lining up the bottom right corner of panel#4 with the BOTTOM point
of the back cover.

12. Draw the string, sliding the two covers towards each other and the
'book' should fold as it closes. It may need its 'folds' reinforced to fold
smoothly. You can do this by compressing it tightly between your fingers
once it is folded correctly. Tie a knot at the end of the string - leave
lots of string, let people choose how short they want it to be.

13. About the beaded cover: I chose the celtic stamp for its geometric
quality, so I could make a 'snowflake' by glueing beads on using 'Goop'
(the purple 'household' tube). Goop is incredibly strong once set, but has a
fairly long working time - so important when you're placing beads with tweezers!

Last minute item: Creating a book using all 'Innies' will open in a circle
that can be tied open for display or hanging, although the stringing
arrangement would have to be modified. Have fun!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 9:28 a.m., | 0 comments

Kelly's Artsy Journal

For my gift I knew I wanted to make a small altered book. I wanted to include favorite poems and images to start a piece that each artist could continue working in at her whim. I chose small books made from recycled paper. The pages are very soft and pliable with a hand-sewn binding. The only drawback to these is that they do not stay open flat on their own-that created some difficulty in painting the pages. I tend to like things rough and organic so in the end I had to just go with it and not worry. For the covers, I used a photo I had taken this summer with slide film and made a Polaroid with it in my Day-Lab. Using the Polaroid negative, I made a dry transfer onto a piece of wrinkled white craft paper. Once the transfer was dry, I scanned it into my computer and added the word Possess to the image. I printed out 12 copies onto a heavy weight glossy paper. For each, I tore the edges then burned them. I adhered them to the book covers with gel medium and added a circle of mica.

Inside each book I included two or three poems. I wanted to write them in by hand but I suffer from handwriting that is fairly difficult to read (even for me at times) so it was a laborious process to try to form the letters of the words for each girl to read. It really was an act of patience for me because I had to sit still for long periods and I'm not good at that but I wanted to write them by hand. (That was important to me.) I included poems by three of my favorite poets. They are: The Aliens by Charles Bukowski, Mirror by Sylvia Plath, and What I Remember by Anne Sexton .

In addition to the poems, each book received a brightly colored pastel drawing of Jesus. I did all 12 very quickly and in one sitting. In some he has indigo hair or deep yellow skin. in some he looks sad, some serene, some like my pizza delivery guy. I used very soft Portfolio crayons for these. After I finished them I worried that they would smear so I sprayed them with Krylon which was super stinky. I made sure to keep the books out and open in hopes that the chemical smell would dissipate. I do believe it did. (I hope so!)

Every book also received a page with a Frida Kahlo stamp and quote. and a page with a transparency made from a photo I took in Los Angeles, a copy of one of my paintings, and the words "can you see me?" These three pages are layered one after each other. There was one book in which I misplaced one of these images so I used a different one in place of the girl. Later I found it and added it in at a different place. After that, I tried to include at least two simple collages in each book. I think most got more than that. I would just grab them up and work in them without too much planning. whatever colors or images were in my head became a part of the books.

In cooking and in making art, I feel that the spirit with which I create the piece embodies it with that sort of power so I always tried to be happy and full of a cheerful heart when I was working in these books. I focused on the artists and the love that I wanted to send them. When it came time to mail them out, I randomly placed each book in an envelope and sent them away. I so hope they are enjoyed and that each artist makes them her own.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 9:10 a.m., | 0 comments

Linda's Embellished Journals

I use a small ready made journal for my base. (You can make your own with using book board and doing the same thing only you will have to sew or use rings for your binding.)

I use vintage papers, letters, found papers, scrapbook papers (or whatever you have on hand) as my base, (You can also use handmade papers or tissue paper etc!) Glue down you paper with glue of your choice, (I use Aleene's tacky glue "Easy Flow") applying with a credit card to spread a thin even layer then apply your papers on top. Burnish them well and then apply a layer of your glue over top. Allow to dry well!! you can add some more embellishment while the glue is still a bit tacky. I then apply more layers of papers, images, transparencies etc and then add paint, inks, stamps for back grounds, pastels etc. If you would like to have a coating over the top to protect some of the work (if elements are a bit brittle, for example) I use the same glue over the top and again apply thin coat and let dry completely.

When I adhere the images I normally use my Tombow glue stick to do
that and the transfers also work well on the coated paper. You may add any embellishments you like. If you are sewing, do that to the papers first, then adhere to the top of journal cover. I normally cover the front and backs of my journals but because of the time and such I didn't with these.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 8:54 a.m., | 0 comments

Jennifer's Wonder Wallet

The mini wallet that I made for everyone in group #2 is from a company called Lazy Girl Designs. It is pattern number LGD211 and is called the Wonder Wallet.

Here is a link to the site. Look under the heading of Bag, Tote and Purse Patterns.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 8:51 a.m., | 0 comments

Cece's Junk Bracelet

Start with a bracelet blank that has 11 3/8" squares joined by jump rings. I always replace the clasp with a nice toggle. I collect buttons, scrapbooking embellishments, brass charms, alphabets, watch parts, dice beads, etc. to use on these. Sometimes I spell out words and sometimes I put someone's name or initials on it. I lay out pieces across the bracelet until I am pleased with the design, sometimes stacking 2, 3 and even 4 pieces on one square. I glue everything on with E6000.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 8:46 a.m., | 0 comments

On a Final Note


WOW! Look at all the gifts each group received! (Group 1 on the left, group 2 on the right)

Thank you to all the participants for all your hard work in making this swap such a rousing success. The gifts were both beautiful and thoughtful and it really was a magical exchange amongst friends. It's really hard to say whether it's better to give than to receive-it was a pleasure making gifts for everyone and anticipating the reactions as they were opened and it was equally wonderful to have the joy of opening each gift and see how lovingly they were made. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

*Special thanks to Jennifer Rowland for all her help with images and descriptions for Group 2's gifts. I couldn't have done it without you!

There will be a final series of postings to this blog on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) of some "how-to's" that some of the ladies wanted to share with our faithful readers. After that, this blog will be dormant till next fall. You will still be able to see it, there just won't be any new posts.

Please visit the Tattered Edge Blog next week to find a link for the Be My Valentine blog that will be launched on January 1, 2007. We had so much fun with this exchange, we decided to do one more!

Thank you for sharing the magic of the 12 Days of Xmas with us and blessings to each of you for Christmas and the happiest of New Years!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 1:08 p.m., | 2 comments

On the TWELFTH Day of Xmas...

Group 1: Lelainia sent this handy little altered pocket calendar so all the ladies can keep track of art deadlines and other dates!

Group 2: Ruth gifted everyone with a beautifully hand colored magnet that has cool fibers hanging on the bottom of it. Simple, but elegant!

Group 1: Last but certainly not least, everyone in group 1 received this delightful altered tin, beautifully decorated by Maija. Group 1 was lucky enough to have 13 participants so on the day that when people were opening our own gifts, we opened Maija's. Thank you Maija for being so patient and waiting till the last day to receive our thanks!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:56 a.m., | 7 comments

On the ELEVENTH Day of Xmas...


Group 1: Kelly's gift was this amazing little book filled with her artwork and snippets of text. It's such a wonderful original creation. Very cool!

Group 2: Deryn's gift was a stunning silver spoon pendant necklace. It's just beautiful and the pictures just don't do it justice! There is a multi-faceted crystal inside the bowl of the spoon which dances light off of the face of an angel. WOW!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:28 a.m., | 7 comments

On the TENTH Day of Xmas....


Group 1: Laura's gift to group one was this really cool tag book filled with vintage photos and sentiments. It's so much fun to just keep flipping through it!

Group 2: Dawn's gift was fashioned out of recycled materials-a Starbuck's coffee sleeve, fabric from her scrap pile and images from an old calendar. What a lovely star ornie!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:39 a.m., | 7 comments

On the NINETH day of Xmas...


Group 1: Received a personalized pendant made from a 2 1/2" high antique brass letter stencil and vintage ephemera created by Crystal. We are going to be some artfyully swanky bunch with all the cool jewellery we've received!

Group 2: This beautifully quilted zippered pouch made from vintage and retro fabrics and free formed stitched was Debra's lovely gift. It's perfect for tucking in your purse!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:11 a.m., | 7 comments

On the EIGHTH Day of Xmas...


Group 1: This starry little package was opened to reveal this richly altered CD ornament from Liz. The bird theme is wonderful!

Group 2: It's always nice to get a little cash for the holidays and Group 2 got it in the form of art money from Hanne!

*In the January/February 2005 issue of Somerset Magazine, Hanne wrote an article describing a currency being used in the Art world called ART-MONEY. It provides artists with a means for creating their own currency to purchase goods and services among other participating artists. It's backed by a Bank called Bank of International Art Money, BIAM for short. To learn more, please visit
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:17 a.m., | 4 comments

On the SEVENTH Day of Xmas...


Group 1: Penelope's gift for the seventh day was this really cool art necklace. The small square folds out to reveal 16 artful images in blues and yellows. Very original!

Group 2: The seventh gift for group 2 was a collection of goodies from Erika that included a lovely soldered collage necklace, a set of 3 glass magnet collages, and an assortment of wonderful little ephemera pieces. There were wrapped presents within the present!
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:00 a.m., | 7 comments

On the SIXTH Day of Xmas...


Group 1: The sixth package from Katie revealed this vibrant beeswax collage she made for each of us! Isn't it pretty?!

Group 2: Today's gift for this group was created by Linda. It's a beautifully decorated pocket journal with handmade papers inside.

*We are now half way in our swap! Stay tuned for more pressies!

posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:00 a.m., | 8 comments

On the FIFTH Day of Xmas....


Group 1: Opening gift number 5 revealed this gorgeous pendant from Kristen. It's beautifully crafted with a teeny bird and the words "fly".
Group 2: The ladies in this group opened their fifth gift to discover this beautifully rich with red collage entitled "Moments". This beauty is the work of Fiona.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:36 a.m., | 6 comments

On the FOURTH Day of Xmas...


Group 1: This darling little notebook is Deb's gift for day four. Absolutely adorable and perfect for tucking in our purses so we can jot things down!

Group 2:
Received a beautiful little felt pocket with a silk image sewn on the front from Trudy. Trudy also included a few suggestions for uses for the pocket:
A pocket to put a notebook and pen into to remember things to do, needle and scissors to stitch up a deal, old love letters for your eyes only, name cards to give to your friends
a magnifying glass to make things clear and so on.
posted by Lelainia N. Lloyd at 6:40 a.m., | 6 comments