Author Archives: marion

About marion

I first wrote and sketched as a child growing up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, New York. I received her first recognition for my creativity when I won the New York City Schools Art Award and participated in my first art exhibit in downtown Manhattan. I was fourteen and a half when I moved to Cyprus with my family. I experienced culture shock but I continued to write about and sketch the sights and sounds of another country and many other things. I am a creative person. I write children's and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction. I write historical and Coming of Age Young Adult novels. I also write picture books and art books for elementary school children. I am in the process of writing a fictionalized biography of a member of the Belgian Resistance who also fought for the US Army during World War II. I worked as a freelance editor for two local companies: College Prowler and SterlingHouse Publisher. I also worked as an assistant literary agent for Lee Shore Agency. I was attending Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program at the time and the experience was invaluable. My course work toward my Master of Arts degree in turn helped me at work. As an assistant literary agent, I reviewed all incoming manuscripts, cultivated a relationship with the writers we contracted and marketed our books to book publishers for sale. I “freelanced” my editing skills which included working with the manuscript acquisitions editor, selecting book covers with the art department, writing the book jacket blurb, reading film scripts and executing general office duties as assigned. Oh, by the way, I edited books, too. I even utilized Adobe InDesign for the editing that I did for College Prowler. I’ve also reviewed published books and conducted research. I have published nonfiction articles and books online and in print. As an artist, I have exhibited my mixed media drawings and collages nationally and regionally and have worked as a freelance designer and calligrapher. I have a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Indigenous Crafts: Mexican Bark Paintings

Indigenous Crafts: Mexican Bark Paintings
Mexican Bark Painting

Mexican Bark Painting

Latin American bark paintings depict birds, fish, sea horses, alpaca, armadillo, and flowers like marigolds, roses, hibiscus and sunflowers. Consider combinations of these objects when creating your design for the bark painting.

MATERIALS:

White drawing paper

Tracing paper

Pencil

Permanent black fine-line felt-tipped marker

Acrylic paints – bright colors of choice

Paint brushes

Shellac

Large paint brush

1/4 inch thick piece of plywood 8” x 10”

PROJECT:

  1. Draw your design on a piece of white paper. Then place the tracing paper on the drawing. Trace your design on to the tracing paper.
  2. Blacken the back side of the tracing paper and place it blackened side down on the plywood. Tape it down.
  3. Go over the design on the tracing paper with a pencil by pressing down hard. Remove the tracing paper and go over the lines on the plywood with the black marker. (They should show up on the plywood. Take a peek under one corner of the papers first to see if an impression was made.)
  4. Color the designs with the paints. Make it colorful like real Mexican bark paintings. Allow to dry.
  5. Layer a coat of shellac over the painting to make it shine and to protect it. Mexican bark paintings are colorful. Hang it up in a prominent place.
Mexican Banana Bark Painting

Mexican Banana Bark Painting

Share Button

Indigenous Crafts: Dream-catchers

Indigenous Crafts: Dream-catchers
Dream-catchers

Dream-catchers

The Lakota hang dream-catchers where they sleep or over the cradles of babies. Good dreams go through the hole in the center of the dream-catcher while bad dreams are caught in the webbing like flies in a spider web.

MATERIALS:

6 inch embroidery hoop or large metal ring

2 yards of string or yarn

Beads, wood, feathers

Scissors

Glue

PROJECT:

  1. With a pencil make 8 equidistant marks around the embroidery hoop. If using a metal ring, make the marks with the black marker.
  2. Knot one end of the string or yarn on one of the marks. Leave about 3 inches hanging.
  3. Tie the yarn to the next mark and so on until there is yarn looped to each mark.
  4. Tie and loop the string from the middle of one loop to the middle of the next. Do not pull the string or yarn tightly. Continue to loop in this way making three or four rows of loops while occasionally stringing a bead. This is optional.
  5. When only a small “hole” is left in the center, pull the string tightly and knot the end of the string to the previous row. Tie a second knot to prevent unraveling. Trim excess string. A bit of glue will reinforce the knot. This is optional.
  6. Take the original 3 inch piece of string and tie it to the inside of the web. Tie a second knot and trim any excess. A bit of glue will reinforce the second knot.
  7. Tie a piece of string about 5 inches or more to the bottom of the dream-catcher. Toward the bottom half of the string loop two or three (or more) beads and tie a knot. Leave enough string to tie around the tip of a feather. You can make as many as two or three of these but vary the lengths to make a more interesting design.
  8. Reinforce the knots if necessary with glue. Insert feathers into the web of the dream-catcher. This is optional.
  9. Tie a loop of the string or yarn at the top of the dream-catcher so you can hang it up.

NATIVE AMERICAN ART – A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Native Americans imbued art into everyday objects: baskets, textiles/weaving and pottery. They placed all their hopes and fears into their art. Colors, patterns and symbols reflected their views of the creator and the inner spirit of people and animals.  These colors, shapes and symbols held different meanings for different tribes but some general meanings apply.

Colors:

Blue: female, moon, sky, water, thunder, sadness

Black: male, cold, night, disease, death, underworld

Green: earth, summer, rain, plants

Red: war, day, bold, wounds, sunset

White: winter, death, snow

Yellow: day, dawn, sunshine

Shapes:

Curves and spirals

Parallel lines

Flowing lines, i.e. plants and flowers

Birds, fish and human faces

Triangles, rectangles, squares and other geometric shapes

Bibliography

Haslam, Andrew. Make It Work! Native Americans. Minnetonka, MN: Two Can Publishing, 1995.

Gooch, Randall and Temko, Florence. Traditional Crafts from Native North America. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1996.

Share Button

Quilling Project: Caterpillar and Caterpillar Note Card

Quilling Project: Caterpillar and Caterpillar Note Card

FIRST MAKE THE QUILLED CATERPILLAR

MATERIALS:

(4) 24” quilling papers of different colors

(2) 12” quilling papers of two of the colors used for the body of the caterpillar or choose contrasting colors

Glue

Scissors

Ruler

Glue the tips of the four quilling papers at one end. Curl slightly.  Leaving 1 ½” begin to fold the rest of the papers like an accordion. Fold tightly as you go along.

Leaving another 1 12” use your finger to make the antennae of the caterpillar.  Curl the tips.

Take the two 12” strips different colors and glue the tips. Curl into a tight coil. Use the one color first and then add the other or wind them together. When finished winding, glue the tips and glue below the antennae. Glue the caterpillar to cardboard or cardstock.

THEN MAKE THE QUILLED CATERPILLAR NOTE CARD

MATERIALS:

Cardstock of various colors

Scissors

Pencil/ruler

Glue stick

  1. Trim mounted caterpillar to an even length and width. The sample shown is 8” x 2 ½”.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of cardstock to 8” x 4 ½” doubling the height of the cardstock but keeping the width to 8”. (Cardstock used for scrapbooking is ideal.) Choose a color that picks up one of the colors of the caterpillar. Fold in half.
  3. Cut and measure a piece of cardstock of another color to 8” x 2 ¼”. Glue the three pieces together, trimming where necessary.
  4. Select a fourth sheet of cardstock. This piece of cardstock and compliment or contrast the other colors. Measure an area 6 ½” x 8 ½”. Then subdivide an area 8 ½” x 2 ½” and mark it lightly with a pencil.
  5. Above that measure an area 2 ½” x 8 ½” and mark it with a pencil.
  6. Above that measure an area 1” x 8 ½” with pencil, too. Fold the marked areas forming an envelope. Glue the three sides at the edges.
  7. Insert the quilled card in the envelope. You have a blank card to write a thank you or a thinking of you note.
Share Button

Quilling Project: Quilled Heart and Heart Note Card

Quilling Project: Quilled Heart and Heart Note Card

FIRST MAKE THE QUILLED HEART

MATERIALS:

(2) 24” pink strips of quilling paper

(2) 24” white strips of quilling paper

(2) 24” strips of red, orange, cream, dark pink quilling paper each

Additional strips of paper in different colors

Scissors

Ruler

Glue

Cut two strips of 24” pink quilling paper in half. Cut two strips of white quilling paper in half. Alternate the colors.

Make a big loop and glue the four tips together. Let dry. Fold the loop so that it comes to a point, forming two loops. You now have a heart shape. Glue this center so that the heart shape holds.

Take two 24” strips of coordinating or contrasting quilling paper and coil tightly, first one color and then the other. Glue the tips.

Make 3 – 5 closed coils of various sizes. Begin by alternating two strips of different colors and coiling them tightly. Glue the tips. Then coil three strips of different colors tightly. Glue the tips. Make big and small coils by adding more quilling strips if necessary to alternate the size of the coils.

Push through the center of the larger coils by to form a pyramid shape. Keep the other coils flat to add variety to the heart.

Glue the heart to card stock or cardboard of contrasting or coordinating color.

THEN MAKE THE QUILLED HEART NOTE CARD:

MATERIALS:

Card stock of various colors

Glue stick

Scissors

Pencil/eraser

  1. Trim the quilled heart to an even length and width. The sample shown measures 4” x 4 ¾”.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of cardstock to 8” x 4 ½” doubling the width of the cardstock but keeping the height of the original. (Cardstock used in scrapbooking is ideal.) Choose a color that compliments or contrasts with the colors of the quilled heart. Fold in half.
  3. Measure and cut a second piece of cardstock of another color and cut it to 8”x 4 ½”. Glue the pieces together and trim where necessary.
  4. Select a fourth sheet of cardstock in a contrasting complimentary color. Mark an area 10 ¾” x 4 ¾” with pencil. Cut. This will be the envelope.
  5. Measure an area 4 ¾” x 5” at the bottom of the first area with pencil.
  6. Measure a second area above that 4 ¾” x 5”.
  7. Measure and mark with pencil a third area above the second 1” x by 4 ¾ “. Fold at the creases and glue at the edges.
  8. Insert the quilled card in the envelope. You have a blank card to write a thank you or a thinking of you note.
Share Button

Quilling Project: Quilled Octopus and Octopus Note Card

Quilling Project: Quilled Octopus and Octopus Note Card

FIRST MAKE THE QUILLED OCTOPUS:

MATERIALS:

(3) 24” strips of light blue quilling paper

(3) 24” strips of medium blue quilling paper

(3) 24” strips of dark blue quilling paper

(4) 3” strips of purple quilling paper

(2) 3” strips of light blue quilling paper

(2) 3” strips of medium blue quilling paper

(2) 3” strips of dark blue quilling paper

Piece of cardstock or board

Glue

Ruler

Begin a tight coil using the light blue paper. When finished, glue the tip. Then wrap the medium blue paper tightly; glue the tip. Wrap the dark blue paper tightly and glue the tip.

For the eyes: tightly coil two of the purple strips separately and glue on to the face of the octopus.

For the tentacles: Bend one end of the strip of paper and make a wide curl with your finger. Curl the opposite end.  Glue the bent end to the octopus. Repeat for the other strips. Place four on either side of the head.

Push the coil out from the center to give the octopus a three-dimensional look.

Glue on card stock or colored cardboard.

THEN MAKE THE QUILLED OCTOPUS NOTE CARD

MATERIALS:

Card stock of various colors

Scissors

Glue stick

Pencil/eraser

  1. Trim the mounted octopus to an even length and width. The sample shown is 4” x 4 ½”.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of cardstock to 4” x 9” doubling the width but keeping the length to 4”. (Cardstock used for scrapbooking is ideal.)
  3. Measure and cut a piece of cardstock using a color that is compliments or contrasts with the color of the quilled octopus. Glue the pieces together and trim where necessary.
  4. Next measure and cut the envelope to 9” x 5”. Choose a color that compliments or contrasts with rest of your design. Mark with a pencil.
  5. Measure an area inside of that piece of cardstock to 5” x 4”. Above it measure an area 5” x 4”. Mark all areas with a pencil.
  6. Above that area measure an area 1” x 5” with a pencil.
  7. Fold at the creases and glue at the edges. Trim when necessary.
  8. Insert the quilled octopus into the envelope. You have a thank you or thinking of you note card.
Share Button

Quilling Project: Quilled Flower and Flower Note Card

Quilling Project: Quilled Flower and Flower Note Card

FIRST MAKE THE QUILLED FLOWER

MATERIALS:

(3) 24” strips of orange quilling paper (for the center of the flower)

(1) 24” strips of brown quilling paper (for the center of the center of the flower)

(4) 12” strips of yellow quilling paper (for the petals)

(4) 12” strips of orange-yellow quilling paper (for the petals)

(4) 3 ½” strips of orange-yellow quilling paper

(3) 12” strip of brown quilling paper (for the petals)

Cardstock or cardboard

Glue

Ruler

scissors

Tightly coil three 24” strips of orange paper and glue the tip. This is the center of the flower.

Using the 12”strips of yellow paper, make a small loop and secure the tip with glue. Continue to make a loop slightly larger than the first, securing the tip again. Repeat this pattern until there is no more paper to make a loop. Be sure each loop is bigger than the last one and glue the tip each time you make a loop.

These will be the petals of the flower. Continue with the rest of the yellow strips until you have four completed yellow petals consisting of open loops.

Continue this pattern with the orange-yellow strips until you have four completed flower petals. In the end, there will be a total of eight petals.

Make petals with the 12” strips of brown paper making the loops smaller.

On cardstock or cardboard, trace the flower’s center lightly with pencil. Arrange the yellow and orange-yellow petals evenly around this circle and glue down. Glue the brown petals randomly around this circle.

Glue the center of the flower down. Take one end of the 3 ½” strips of orange-yellow quilling paper and curl the tip. Finish curling the tips of the 3 1/2 inch orange-yellow papers. Glue the other end randomly through-out the petals.

THEN MAKE THE QUILLED FLOWER NOTE CARDS

MATERIALS:

Cardstock of various colors

Scissors

Glue stick

Pencil/eraser

  1. Trim mounted quilled flower to an even height and width. The sample shown is 5 ¼” x 5 ½”.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of cardstock to 10 ½” x 5 ¼” doubling the width but keeping the height to 5 ¼”. (Cardstock for scrapbooking is ideal.) Choose a color that compliments or contrasts with the colors of the quilled flower.
  3. Measure and cut another piece of cardstock in another color to 10 ½’ x 5 ¼”. Glue the three pieces and trim where necessary. Glue the pieces together.
  4. Choose a third sheet of cardstock for the envelope. Choose a color that compliments or contrasts with the colors of the quilled flower. Measure an area 5 ¾” x 5 ½”. Mark with a pencil. Cut.
  5. At the bottom of the cardstock, measure an area 5 3/3” x 5 ½” in pencil.
  6. Above that measure an area 5 3/3” x 5 ½” in pencil, too.
  7. Above that measure an area 1” x 5 ¾” and fold the marked areas at the creases. Glue at the edges.
  8. Insert the quilled card in the envelope. You have a blank thank you or thinking of you card.

Quilled

Share Button

Lazy Day Crafts: Weaving With a Simple Frame

Lazy Day Crafts: Weaving With a Simple Frame

 

Materials:

Cardboard

String

Ruler

Pencil/eraser

Scissors

Yarn

Large-eyed tapestry needle (optional)

Ribbon

Feathers

Wool

Strips of fabric

Leaves

Twigs

String

  1. Weaving consists of a warp and a weft. The warp comprises the vertical strings of the loom while the weft consists of the yarn horizontally interlaced through the weft. Take a piece of strong cardboard. Measure and cut ¼” incisions at regular intervals of ¼” to 1/8” on both ends of the cardboard.
  2. To make the warp: Take heavy string (i.e., kite string) and make a knot at one end. Stretch a continuous length of string across the cardboard. In other words, loop the string from one end of the cardboard to the other and back up again. When finished, cut and make a knot in the back or tape it to the back of the cardboard. Always leave a little extra string for knotting at either end.
  3. To make the weft: Think of a theme or a design for the weaving. The design is up to you! Use a variety of materials to weave in and out as you did with the paper weaving. Start with about an inch and a half of warp at the bottom. Make sure strips of material alternate with each row.  Roll the material into a ball if possible and pass it through the warp back and forth for several rows depending on the design. Tuck the end in the back of the warp. Do not tie a knot.
  4. Tips: You can using the tapestry needle to weave. A ruler will help you if the warp so you can pass material through easily but you must lift every other string.
  5.  When weaving is finished, cut any loose thread in the back of the warp but don’t cut too close to the weft.
Share Button

Lazy Day Crafts: Papier Mache Dragon

Lazy Day Crafts: Papier Mache Dragon

Materials:

Newspaper, cut into strips

Scissors

Wall paper paste or white glue slightly thinned

Containers for water and paste

½ egg carton preferably made of paper or cardboard

4 – 6 oz paper cup

Masking tape

Bond or construction paper

Green acrylic or poster paint or any color you choose for your dragon

Glitter, buttons, tissue paper, wiggle eyes, foil, etc

Paint brushes

Paper towels

 

  1. Cover your work space with newspaper. Cut egg carton in half and tape it shut. Tape the paper cup to one end of the carton. (This will be the head of the dragon.) Make a long tube with the construction paper and tape it to the other end of the carton. (This will be the tail of the dragon.)
  2. Cut newspaper into strips.
  3. Read the directions on the label for using wallpaper paste. Mix wallpaper paste with water and stir. Pour into container.
  4. Dip strips into paste mixture. Allow excess paste to drip off into container. Apply to the dragon mock-up. Apply two or three layers. Allow to dry. Add more layers if needed and apply them when the first three layers are dry. Dry thoroughly.
  5. Paint the dragon with acrylic or poster paint. Allow the paint to dry.
  6. Decorated the papier-mache dragon with a variety of embellishments. Use your imagination!

 

Share Button

Lazy Day Crafts: Paper Weaving

Lazy Day Crafts: Paper Weaving

Materials:

Large sheet of paper for the frame of the mock loom

Two or three different colored and/or pattered papers

Scissors

Ruler

Pencil with eraser

Glue stick or scotch tape

  1. Fold paper in half. (Paper length can measure from 8 ½” x 11” and up.)  Draw lines ¼” to ¾” apart down the length of the fold.
  2. Make incisions with the scissors, starting from the fold up to ½” of the edges of the paper. (Draw a straight line at the ½” mark for an even cut.) Cut up to the ½” margin. This is the weaving “frame” or “loom.”
  3. Measure and cut strips of paper to weave in and out of the paper loom. Make sure the length is a little longer than the width of the loom.
  4. Choose two or three different colored papers to weave through the paper loom. Alternate the in-and-out pattern with each row. (Refer to photograph.)
  5. Trim loose ends and glue down using a glue stick or tape on the back of the paper loom.
  6. Paper weaving makes great place mats! What else can you do with your paper weaving?
Share Button

Lazy Day Crafts: Paper Bag Buddies

Lazy Day Crafts: Paper Bag Buddies
Paper Bag Buddies

Paper Bag Buddies

Materials:

Lunch size paper bags, brown or white

Newspaper

String

Tape

Scraps of construction paper

Paste or glue

Ribbon and/or yarn

Sequins, buttons, seeds (for eyes, nose mouth)

Crayon and/or markers and/or colored pencils

Clip art

Scissors

Pipe cleaners (for whiskers)

Wiggle eyes

 

Project:

  1. Choose the pet or animal you will make
  2. Stuff 1/3 of the bag tightly with crumbled or strips of newspaper to form the head (about two or three sheets).
  3. Gather the bag at the base of the head. Tie it securely with string or yarn.
  4. Stuff the rest of the bag with more newspaper and tape the bottom of the bag closed.
  5. Cut eyes, nose, mouth, and paws from construction paper or use sequins, buttons or seeds. Use pipe cleaners for the whiskers.
  6. Tie a ribbon or piece of yarn around the neck.
  7. Add buttons or other decorations to dress up you paper bag pet.

Alternative Project:

Make a paper bag person. Use yarn for hair and wiggle eyes. Follow the directions above.

 

Share Button