Tag Archives: gift boxes

Home again with more boxes and way too many cucumbers

I arrived  home again and was immediately faced with a deadline.  Before I left for North Carolina, I had started five new Treasure Towers and assumed I would have plenty of time to finish them after getting home.  Of course, I hadn’t counted on delays caused by illness, weather and general negativity. Drop-off day for the new show at the Arts Center was Monday and it took a real push to finish the towers in time. I was pleased with the results: All the papers on the correct boxes with no last minute switches or upside downs.  Mistakes caused by pressure & rushing seem to be plaguing me recently.  I hope the jinx has run its course.  Here are the finished towers at the Arts Center. I didn’t have time to make “artsy” photos, but it gives me a record of what I’ve done.

The third tower has a print of a painting of Keuka Lake by Jane Terry on the outside instead of my marbled paper.  As I was photographing these, I realized there were none with maps on the covers.  I often put marbled local or area maps on the outside of the tower and these have been very popular.  I wasn’t planning on it, but I should probably do another set with maps before the summer people and tourists leave in September.  I hope I can find enough maps already marbled!

On the garden front, I came home to a jungle of tomato, squash and cucumber vines and even a couple of heads of broccoli.  First task was the cucumbers as they spoil fastest. The cukes are huge, but still sweet and fine for making bread and butter pickles. I did two more batches, 22 pints, if I’ve counted correctly (not counting the ones before my trip) and more to come.

The cherry tomatoes are just coming on, both orange and red.  They are oversized this year, but still sweet and flavorful.  For the first time I’ve been able to outwit the rabbits and actually harvest some broccoli and cauliflower.  I harvested one small watermelon just a bit early (still delicious) and a second will be dessert today.  Again, for the first time, the acorn squash has really gone to town and I’ll have quite a few that are good-size in the fall.  The potatoes are almost ready to be dug.

In spite of the late start and my intial pessimism, this looks to be my most succesful garden ever.

I am really pleased!


Filed under Boxes and Towers, Life, Marbled Paper

Comedy, Tragedy, or Just a Mess?

I had, what I thought, was a brilliant idea as I was marbling last week.  I have been marbling pages from an old coverless copy of Shakespeare’s plays and I thought I would use the title page of “King Lear” to make a Treasure Tower. It had an interesting line drawing and the beginning of the play.  I then would marble one of the text pages in a similar palette to make the inside.  I was so enthralled with the idea that I did “Much Ado About Nothing” also.  The pages came out quite nicely.








Since these pages are smaller than the paper I usually use, I had to figure out new measurements for all the parts involved – boards,  outside, inside, boxes and lid – plus a bit of trial and error and I was ready to roll.

After cutting the board, I started to paste out the outside paper.  As soon as I started working with it I knew I was in trouble.  When any paper becomes damp it begins to stretch and it also becomes weaker and tears more easily.  The pages I was using were old, cheap paper and they became very fragile as soon as the paste dampened them.  They had gone through the marbling process with some care, but now I was just asking too much. I went ahead, laying the pieces of board in position, but as I folded over the edges, the paper began to fall apart!  Whoops.

By the way, you should always apply the adhesive to the paper and not to the board.  The paper stretches, the board doesn’t.  Let the paper rest for a few seconds so it has time to fully stretch before putting it on board.

I soldiered on and put the inside piece on, but the old paper just wasn’t strong enough to take the folding and unfolding the design of the Towers need.  It would have been fine as the cover of a book.  So now I have a tower that can sit on my desk and only I can see where the folds, cracks and tears are!  From three feet away, it looks great.

Second mistake.  I decided to try to reinforce the remaining paper by adhering another piece to it, just like using interfacing in sewing.  Only problem is that instead of using Japanese tissue paper, which probably would have worked, I grabbed a piece of light weight modern paper.  Another disaster!  As I’ve said a couple of times already, paper stretches when is becomes damp. If you put a pasted piece on top of a dry piece, the dry piece will try to stretch as it absorbs moisture from the pasted piece.  The result – wrinkles, lots of them!  Sometimes you can get lucky and the wrinkles will smooth out as both pieces dry and sometimes they are just a mess.

In spite of everything, I tried out one of the laminated pieces and the old paper just cracked along every place I tried to fold it.

Some pictorial proof to come, if I can bear to take the pictures.  I just hope my next great idea works out more smoothly.

As promised here’s a gallery of the disasters.  Can you spot the problems?

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Filed under Boxes and Towers

Decision Time Again: Which Box to Make?

I’ve been thinking for a while about making some other types of boxes, but I haven’t settled on any one style.  Here are some of the ones I’ve been considering.


These are some of the styles of boxes and portfolios I’ve made in the past.  I’ve probably made at least a hundred calmshell boxes in various styles over the years.  Most were made to fit specific books, papers or other objects and I’ve created many different variations.  I enjoy making them, but they are nothing new for me. Another negative is that they use a lot of purchased materials.  The brown and blue boxes on the top row are clamshells.

The first photo on the second row shows a few of the origami boxes I have made.  They are cute and easy to make. On the pro side, the only material they use is my marbled paper.  They are also great for using the perfect parts of an imperfect sheet.  When I marble, I still catch air pockets or stray hairs which ruin parts of the paper.  On the con side, they don’t require any creativity, just good dexterity.  To counter-balance this, I rarely make the top and bottom from the same paper.  Drives the folks where I sell the boxes crazy!

The next two photos show lidded boxes.  These can be made in any size and shape as well as being able to be lined or partitioned.  I’m leaning toward these for my next project, but I’m still pondering.

The matchboxes with the book inside are cute but rather useless.  I tend to put sayings, quotes or lines from poems or songs in the books, but once you’ve read them, what do you do with it?  I much prefer structures that have some useful function.

The miniature books are neat, but again, not really functional.  I have seen them made into jewelry as pins or hung from necklaces and earrings, very nice but not me.  I rarely wear any jewelry anymore.

The last photos are the portfolios.  They can be made any size or shape and are very useful.  Carrying a hand crafted custom portfolio is neat.  The major drawback is that they use large quantities of bookcloth, especially the 9×12 one.  The outside needs to be cloth rather than paper if  the portfolio is expected to be used.  Paper would be prettier, but it wouldn’t wear well.  Unless I could do the hinges and edges in cloth and the center in paper, like a half-cloth book.

So there’s my dilemma.  What to do?  What to do?

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Filed under Boxes and Towers, Craft design, Marbled Paper

Finished Towers

Finally put the towers together and I’m happy with the results.

Four of them are 7″ and one is 6″.  The yellow one in the front was a particularly hard match.  The orange boxes are a heavy textured brunt orange colored base paper that I marbled in browns, reds and yellows. That paper was too heavy to use for the covering of the tower, but nice and sturdy for the boxes. I thought I would never find anything to go with it since the base color radically changed the marbling colors.  I finally was able to get some complementary colors from burnt sienna, yellows and some greens.

The other box I’m really happy about is the one in the back with the bright outside and dark interior.  I had done a bit of figurative marbling and I had no idea how to use it.  Here’s a closeup.

You can learn more about the construction of the towers on my page, Making Towers and more examples on Boxes & Other Creations.


Three of these are headed to the Yates County Arts Center and two to Etsy for sale in my shop, Losing her Marbles.

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Filed under Boxes and Towers, Marbled Paper

Towers are Fun

Last week I decided to make some more of my Treasure Towers for sale in my shop on Etsy.  I think the part I enjoy the most is picking out the papers to use.  Usually, I start with the outside, but not always.  I find that I prefer to make four boxes at a time even if they are different size.  Doing the same actions “assembly line” fashion just works best.  Not more than four, or I get bored!

But back to choosing.  My first was very uncharacteristic, I didn’t use my own marbled paper.  I had a piece of Italian paper with large butterflies that I wanted to use.  The pattern is really too big for my books.  I had trouble finding papers for the inside since the colors weren’t a good match.  I finally found two papers that had patterns that reminded me of the scales on the wings  of butterflies.  I made the top of the same butterfly pattern as the outside.

The other papers were a bit easier, I knew I wanted to use some maps I’d marbled.  The last tower was a recently marbled sheet that I was excited about.

I have more towers here.  I have a page about making my boxes and towers here or you can click the link at the top of the page that says, ” Boxes & Other Creations”.


Filed under Boxes and Towers, Marbled Paper