I am a contributor for the Autumn 2014 issue of…

I have some wonderful news to share with you guys!  I was contacted a few months ago by the editor from one of Stampington & Company’s magazines, one of my very favorite publishers, asking me if I would like to be a contributor for one of their Autumn 2014 publications.  After I made certain one of my best friends wasn’t punking me :) , I believe my response was something like, “Are you kidding me?  Absolutely!” It was all I could do to keep from saying, “HELL YEAH!”   But, I was trying to be professional.

It has been a dream of mine, that for some reason I have never pursued, to be published in a Stampinton & Company publication.  It is a very special honor to be a contributor in Artful Blogging Autumn 2014 magazine with my article titled “Art as a Transcending Experience” for many reasons.

My artwork has been published in other magazines, but this is my very first contributing article.  Usually I provide the photos or artwork, and the magazine does the rest (except for online publications).  This time I was given the opportunity to write.  At first I almost had a panic attack because I thought, “I’m not a writer!!”  Then, Bob, who always grounds me, reminded me that the editor read my blog and saw the photos of my artwork, and that is why she chose me.  So, once I pulled myself off the ceiling, I told my story.  I went back to the very painful beginning of my journey, and poured my heart and soul out onto those pages.  It could be boring, a little embarrassing, but hopefully also inspiring.

It also means so very much to me to be recognized for my entire blog, not just a single piece of artwork.  That is one of the biggest accomplishments of my career.  Blogging is one of my favorite aspects of what I do.  My blog is a place where I share my work, inspire others, create friendship in this amazing art community, and is a little bit of therapy for me (I should be paying you guys the copay I’m saving :) ).

Artful Blogging MagazineYou can imagine how giddy I was opening my artist’s copy!

Artful Blogging Magazine Autumn 2014Here is a little peek at the inside.  The article runs from pages 22 to 29.  How awesome is that, eight pages?!?  One of my mini album pages with the girls’ photos was featured on an entire page.  After they saw it they asked, “Mommy, does this mean we’re famous?”  I giggled and said, “Considering how much all of my Facebook friends like you guys, probably.”

Artful Blogging Autumn 2014 is coming out August 1st.  You can pick it up at any book seller that carries Stampington & Company magazines (such as Somerset Studio, Art Journaling, Somerset Memories just to name a few) such as Barnes & Noble.

I will be receiving a shipment of magazines that should be available to ship by August 1st.  If you are interested in reserving a copy from me with a personalized note, drop me an email at melissa@melissasamuels.com for payment info.


Kids’ Summer Craft Project – Coffee Filter Poppies

Hi Everyone!  Keeping with our kids’ summer crafts theme, today I am sharing coffee filter poppies.  I love projects for the the kids that involve simple, inexpensive supplies that can easily be found around the house.  For this project all you need is coffee filters, and watercolor paints.

Coffee Filter Poppies-1-3They could not be easier to make, and are fun for all skill levels.  Start by creating petals, leaving the center blank (not to worry if the little kids color the entire flower).  Add a little yellow in the center, then outline it with black.  For the older kids, let them dry, then go back in and add highlights with another layer of paint.

Coffee Filter Poppies-1-2Everyone will enjoy making these, and no 2 will look alike, which is the fun part!  Once done, you can hang them like a banner from your fireplace, clip them to the frig or cork board, or cut them out to use in a collage.  We will be adding ours to a summer journal.

Happy summer crafting with the little guys!


Kids’ Summer Craft Project – Popsicle Bird feeder

Hey Everyone!  Summer is in full swing, and if you have little ones running around, I have a fun project to keep their little hands busy.  Every so often I like to have “craft day” at our house.  I pull out tons of art supplies, and let the girls have at it.  It is a wonderful way to have some family time, and who doesn’t love a good craft project?

Kids Craft ProjectsI thought it would be great fun to make bird feeders out of popsicle sticks.  This is a neat project for the entire family, and makes the birds happy.  We gathered our supplies, and took our crafting fun out onto the deck.

Kids Craft Project Birdfeeder-1-5 It is a simple project, and only requires popsicle sticks, glue, and twine or ribbon.  You start by laying out a square of sticks.  Then, add glue (either hot glue, or a fast drying tacky glue) to 2 sticks and place one at each end of the square .  Then, put a dot of glue in each corner, and add sticks to the other 2 sides.  Keep gluing sticks into place, alternating sides, until you have the desired height.

Kids Craft Projects Bird feeder-1

Kids Craft Projects Birdfeeder-1-6I bought a box of regular and jumbo craft sticks.  Bob used the regular size to create his feeder, and used a jumbo stick to make a stand for the birds while they feed.  He used a hot glue gun, and managed only a couple of blisters :)

Kids Craft Projects Birdfeeder-1-2Maddie used all jumbo sized sticks for her feeder, and Aleene’s extra fast drying tacky glue.

Kids Craft Projects Birdfeeder-1-3Maddie added washi tape as decoration.

Kids Craft Projects Birdfeeder-1-4Once the feeder has completely dried, use twine to make a hanger and add birdseed.  Voila!


Accordion Fold Mini Book Finished Project – PART 2

Hi Everyone!  Today I have the finished project from last week’s accordion fold mini book tutorial.  If you miss it, you can find the post here.  I have already seen some seriously awesome books you guys have made!  Thanks for sharing as I always enjoy seeing what you all create from ideas here.

Accordion Mini BookAccordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsThis is a very special little journal book for me as it showcases some of our adventures on our recent family vacation to Grayson Highlands, one of my favorite scenic destinations.  We hiked the Rhododendron Trail to see the wild ponies, one of the most exciting events of the trip for the girls.  It is quite an experience to have wild ponies walk right up to you.  We were fortunate enough to find a large group of Momma ponies that had just given birth.  It was a beautiful moment.

grayson-1-2Accordion Mini Book Melissa Samuels Here is the first set of pages in the book.  The page to the right is the small page we scored at 3/4″.  I added a wooden frame, and jouraling tag.  Oh, and I inked the entire book with Prima Shabby Tote chalk edger.

Accordion Mini Book-1Remember we had an overlap on the right side of the page?  I scored and added a flap underneath the overlap.  I adhered a border over the 1/2″ score.

Accordion Mini Book-1-5The flap gave me extra space to add a photo.  I love adding layers with the yellow washi tape.

Accordion Mini Book-1-6This page consists of a full size page, and scored page (see tutorial)  I added 1/2″ Prima lace trim over the scored page on the right (against the seam) to give the illusion that it is 2 full size pages.  I added lace to the left to match.

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsOn the right page, I added an eyelet at the top right corner for hanging a journaling tag and charm with an artist pin.  I tied a small piece of Prima ribbon to the pin.  I also added a punched border to part of the edge of the page.

Accordion Mini Book-1-14On the left page you can see the punched border overlapping from the previous side, love it!  On the right I adhered a ruler border I cut out from paper to the scored page to again give the illusion of a full size page.  More washi tape :) !

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsOn the left, I added a kraft pocket, and inserted a little dried flower we picked along our walk.  I adhered the flower to watercolor paper with gel medium.  On the right, I cut out images and overlapped them over my photo.  The butterfly is from a punch.

Accordion Mini Book-1-9I kept this page pretty simple.  I added canvas tape down the seam.  I placed tabs along each edge of the page.

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsI added some journaling to my tags we made into the book, but plan to go back and add more to each side.  I used more washi tape, my fav, and a flower with a leaf pin.

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsI may change this later, but for now I have paperclipped a few photos I liked to the page.  I added washi tape to the seam.

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsI added wide Webster’s Page lace to the spine to add interest.  On the front, the flower is Prima canvas and burlap and the key is Graphic 45 metal ornate keys.

Accordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsAccordion Mini Book Melissa SamuelsI love how this quick, easy little book turned out.  I am sure I will go back and add more journaling and perhaps more photos.  Sometimes is it difficult to “finish” a book you love.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the finished project, and use the Part 1 Tutorial to create your own keepsake, or gift for a friend.




Accordion Fold Mini Book Step-by-Step Tutorial – PART 1

To all of my paper folding, mini book addicts, have I got a project for you?!  If you like creating your own customized little mini books, this is a tutorial you do not want to miss!  Can you tell I am just a wee bit excited?!

Summer is the time of year when we are all traveling or having some type of wonderful adventure.  My favorite way to document my trips is little mini books.  I do not know about you guys, but I have been becoming increasingly frustrated lately with the selection of books (or possibly the fact that I have decorated every pre-made book under the sun).  I am taking matters into my own hands, throwing caution to the wind, and winging it!  The fabulous thing about making your own books, is you can dictate the size, type of paper, tag & pocket placement, etc. to meet your needs for a specific project.

Here is a look at the super duper cute book I made for a recent trip.  And, we are going to make it together!!  FUN, FUN!  Get out your bone folders girls (and guys) we are bookmaking!

accordionbook-1-4You will not believe how easy peasy this book is!  All you will need is a paper trimmer, bone folder, 12″x12″ paper, and Scor-tape!  Shall we begin?

I started with a 12″x12″ sheet of Prima Lyric paper (now discontinued, sorry :( ), and cut it to 6″x12″.  Of course, any 12″x12″ paper will work.  I like working with this size, and I will have enough paper for another book if I really like the pattern.  The nice thing about teaching classes is I am always thinking about coming up with measurements that avoid waste.  If you wanted a really small book you could do 4″x12″ and get 3 covers per sheet.

AccordionFoldBook-1Place your 6″x12″ paper into your trimmer, moving your cutting blade out of the way, and score with a bone folder at 4″, 4 1/2″, 5″, 5 1/2″, 6″, 6 1/2″, 7″, 7 1/2″, and 8″.  (This will give you a 4″x6″ book.)

AccordionFoldBook-1-2Fold down the first scoreline at 4″ to create the cover, and smooth with a bone folder.

AccordionFoldBook-1-3Turn the book over, fold the paper back at the next scoreline, and crease with a bone folder.

AccordionFoldBook-1-4Flip the book over again, and repeat the process of folding and creasing at every 1/2″ scoreline until you get to the last score line at 8″.

AccordionFoldBook-1-5Once you have creased all of the folds, or accordion folded your book, it will look like this.

AccordionFoldBook-1-6The inside of your book will look like this.  We are going to use the folds to adhere pages.

AccordionFoldBook-1-9In the first set of folds, shaped like a “V,” apply 1/4″ Scor-tape.

accordionbook-1-2For your pages, cut paper to 6″ x 8″.  Fold in half on the 8″ side.  Do not discard the 6″x4″ piece, you will need it later.

AccordionFoldBook-1-10Remove the backing from your Scor-tape, and insert your folded page into the “V” of your book.

AccordionFoldBook-1-11See easy, right?!

AccordionFoldBook-1-12Using the 6″ x 4″ piece that you saved back, score at 3/4″ (on the 4″ side).

AccordionFoldBook-1-14Crease the 3/4″ scoreline, and apply Scor-tape to the front of your “V”.  This is going to give you your first page.  It is a smaller size, which creates interest in the book, and allows you to add borders, trim, etc.  It would be boring if all the pages were the same!

AccordionFoldBook-1-15Adhere into place.  You will have 1/4″ overlap, but we are going to take advantage of that space later.

AccordionFoldBook-1-16Cut 2 more pages to 6″ x 8″, fold in half on the the 8″ side, and adhere to the rest of the “V’s.”

Accordion BookUsing a small shipping tag, score and crease at 1/4″.

AccordionFoldBook-1-18Add tags to the back of the last “V” and apply Scor-tape over it to adhere the last page.

AccordionFoldBook-1-19Score a 6″ x 4″ piece of paper at 1/2″ and crease.  Adhere over the tags.  Now, go back through your book, and fold and crease the 2 full size inner pages at the 1/2″ accordion fold “V” that are back to back sets.  In the 2 folded sets of pages that we made, they are the pages on the right.  You want to fold them inward, or to the left.  You will know which ones when you flip through the book because they are back to back with the other full size pages.  (Basically, you are doing the same thing inside of the book as you did with the first and last page only bending and folding instead of scoring.)

AccordionFoldBook-1-20Add another 6″ x 4″ scrap of paper to the inside of the back and front cover to make it sturdier (optional).

AccordionFoldBook-1-21Let’s turn our attention to the outside of the book.  Apply Scor-tape to the inside of each “V” on the spine of the book.

AccordionFoldBook-1-22Remove Scor-tape backing, and adhere folds together.

AccordionFoldBook-1-23Now we have the workings of a little mini book!

Wasn’t that fun?!  And, you thought it was going to be hard!

Come back later this week to see the finished product, and how I decorated mine.  In the meantime, get busy folding ;)