Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Can't Skip & Be Unhappy. . .

Dyan Reaveley is so hot right now (and it is HOT in Aurora, we have been hitting high 90’s and I have NO AC) & I just got my first set of her stamps, the “Say What You Mean” set (perfect for my sense of humor!) - I had to break into them right away. I love this saying – it’s SO true and while me trying to skip is a sight to see (it’s hard to skip with a few steel rods next to your spine) I sort of take it not so literally and make the saying mine, like it’s hard to be in a bad mood if you are smiling – OK, I can smile & be mad, but I digress. .  . I made this card out of cream card stock, the stripes are a bunch of strips (you KNOW we always have a ton of strips!) that I put on a piece of paper that I ran through my Xyron, then I stamped the sentiment on a scrap of cream cardstock, mounted on some left over kraft card stock and mounted that on the card – bingo!  Making the striped panel is SO easy & it gets rid of all those scrap strips and you can do it while trying to catch up on all your shows that you DVR’d ‘cause it’s summer!! 

 Hope you enjoy the strip stripes (I hadda say it once) card - I am on a creating bender! Take good care & stay cool (or if you are in the other hemisphere, stay warm!) Thanks Christi :)

Oh of COURSE I forgot to mention I am entering this Strip of Stripes card
in the Simon Says Stamp & Show: Stripes Challenge - must be the heat - LOL

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I want to celebrate!

Tiramisu Cake - YUMMY!
Today is my birthday, well it still is here in Colorado.  Yes, many moons ago my poor mom went into labor 2 months too early (I have always been in a hurry!) and after a long labor (because I am indecisive and after I decided I wanted out, I decided I wanted to stay in) the world was graced with my presence.  I was only an itty bitty thing weighing in at a mere 3 pounds.  My mom has told me that they had to cut the newborn diapers in half to fit me.  This was back in the day when a preemie baby wasn’t to be touched and I spent 2 months in an incubator (yeah, that’s some therapy fodder right there) but I was perfectly formed, had all my eyelashes, fingers & toes and wasn’t all wrinkled like a chicken which is how Mom described her first born, my brother.  In fact, she cried and said he wasn’t her kid when she saw him.  Hehehehehehe!  Anyway. . .

So I want to celebrate with you all by sharing some of my fav internet links; now I literally have hundreds of links so I imagine this will be just one list of many, I figure for this batch I want to focus on freebies and stuff that might be a little hard to find.  I have received no compensation (although I am always up for goodies – hehehhe) for inclusion on my list and if you have any awesome places you’d like me to share on my next list please send me a note using the Contact Me form over there ------ >
Ready? Let’s go!

 American Science& Surplus - don’t pay those crazy prices for little glass bottles! They have them here, tons of them, some with corks, some with screw tops, and some with no tops! Bottles are just one of the hundreds of things you didn’t know you needed until you shopped here.  There is a small order minimum of $10 but if you have any trouble meeting that you aren’t looking hard enough.  People lucky enough to live in Chicago or near Geneva, Ill can go and actually shop there.  I am seriously wishing I could take a weekend trip to Chicago! Be prepared to spend many an hour just browsing through this store.  I have been a customer for a very long time and I absolutely LOVE this place.

Red Lead Paperworks - these Art Sisters have the coolest stamps and stuff to play with – and they always have sales, some really cool swaps & freebies when you sign up for their newsletter.  I look forward to their emails because they are just so inspiring! Also, they have a brick & mortar store in St. Louis, MO where you can go play.

Font Squirrel  Free Fonts – please don’t ask me how to download and get these to work as I really don’t know how I do it. . .sometimes it works for me, sometimes not.  But they are free :)

Bill’s Antique Photos - Free Pictures! I have spent many an hour browsing through this site and while it appears to not be updated any longer, there are hundreds of photos you can save & use. 

Artfully Musing - Artist Laura Carson’s work is amazing and while she does sell collage sheets (that are remarkable) and such she also offers some great free images and tutorials like I have NEVER seen before! I love Halloween and she made this astounding Apothecary last year as well as ran an event for other’s to make one as well.  Laura thoughtfully has video and PDF files explaining her process from how she made the actual items, including books, bottles, bits of this and that and where to get them (!) to how she put it all together.  She is a designer for Retro Art Café which is next on my list.

Retro Art Café carries all kinds of mixed media goodies and is THE place to buy Coffee Break Designs which are so much fun to play with! The site is run by Kristin Hubick an artist in her own right and she has fantastic art swaps all the time & some great sales.  In fact, their regular prices aren’t that bad either!

That’s it for now and by no means is this a finished list, it is just a few places off the top of my head so please don’t be mad if you or your store isn’t on here – plus you can’t be mad at me, it’s my birthday!  OK now it’s time for some birthday food!  Have a great weekend and thank you for reading my blog ~

Friday, June 21, 2013

Through the Trees ATC

I love this ATC – out of all the ATC's I have made this one is one of my very favorites. A few years ago, I acquired some card stock that looks like clouds to me.  Not big huge puffy clouds but nice low key wispy clouds and that’s what I used as my background.  You can also make your own sky by using some chalks on plain white card stock.  Then all I did was gather a bunch of scraps that were different shades of brown.  I used a tree punch I got from EK Success and punched out some trees; ripped some of the brown scrap to use as mountains and then just fooled around with the placement of everything until I liked it.  Glued everything down and that was it!

For the amount of time it took to make I think this is a pretty snazzy ATC – I hope you like it, too! I’d love to hear your comments – thank you so much for reading my posts today.

I am entering this project in the Simon Says Stamp &Show Kraft Challenge.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Enjoy The Journey Card

I made this card because I am really lacking in the area of masculine cards; I don’t have any extras made, I'm not that confident at making them and you know practice makes perfect (at this rate I should be up to speed in, let’s say, 500 more years <grin>).  I wanted a card that could be used for any occasion and I chose Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous Playful Journey & The Journey stamp sets.  I love the backwards “e” in the Enjoy the Journey sentiment (Playful Journey set) and that really was the main reason I had bought the set – I completely forgot I had The Journey set and noticed that a few of the images appeared to be the same but I discovered while making this project that while the images may be the same design they are different sizes (yippee!), I am already thinking about how I can use the 2 car images together; maybe a shadow?  OK, anyway. . . This is what I used to make my “Journey Card”:

  • Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous Playful Journey (enjoy the journey sentiment)
  • Tim Holtz Stampers’ Anonymous The Journey (I used both of the cars)
  • Tim Holtz Idea-ology Kraft Glassine Paper, 1 piece
  • Matte white card stock cut to card size
  • Darice Gears Embossing Folder
  • My Minds Eye Celebration Tracker Paper Stack (cut out Trip Information – of course you can always stamp it)
  • Black circle scrap (from a MME punch out alphabet – told you I save everything!)
  • Kraft Card Stock (any shade will do)
  • Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black
  • Distress Ink in Brushed Corduroy
  • Distress Ink in Frayed Burlap
  • Sharpie Black Marker
  • Scrap piece of text book paper (I saved this from my Altered “Shell Book” Niche project & gessoed a bunch of the pages that I cut out)
  • Dimensional Adhesive, 2 "dots"
  • Stipple Brush

I started out with running the Kraft Glassine paper through my Big Shot using the gears embossing folder then I trimmed it up a bit – it still looked kind of distressed on the edges and maybe not quite even but it worked for me.

After deciding where I wanted to soften the white of the card stock so I stippled Frayed Burlap along the edges of the card & then edged the card with Brushed Corduroy.  I also edged the Trip Information paper and crumpled it up to add some texture.

I love stipple brushes - I have had my brushes for over 10 years!

I stamped the 2 cars in the jet black ink on Kraft card stock and then sort of fussy cut them out – I purposely left a little border around the cars.

I took my black circle scrap, cut the piece I needed and edged the whole thing, including inside the circles with my black Sharpie.  This also helped to get rid of the little bitty “tabs” that sometimes stay on a punch out – you know those annoying little bumps of paper where the punch out was held in place.

I then stamped the sentiment “Enjoy the Journey” onto the piece of scrap book text that had already been gessoed.  I crumpled that up as well and used a pair of decorative scissors in deckle to cut around the square.  I edged that with Brushed Corduroy but not precisely – just a little bit here and there.

 I adhered the black circle scrap, the Trip Information scrap, the vintage truck and the sentiment with my Crafters’ Pick glue.  I got out 2 dimensional adhesive dots and edged those with the black Sharpie (that was REALLY messy – It didn’t even dawn on me that the dimensional dots were made of this spongy material and the marker ink just kind of sat on the edge.  I let them dry while I went and scrubbed my hands to try to get the Sharpie off) because I really didn’t want any white to show and I wasn’t positive where I was going to position that last car.  Once the edging on the dimensional adhesive was dry, I popped them on the back of the car and then adhered the car to the card.  Done! 

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this card and all of my posted projects – I am going through a dry spell with comments so please leave me some love, tips, suggestions, money, whatever – I’m not that picky <grin>.

I really like this card; it was fun and easy to make.  I also like to make projects that allow substitutions or omissions and they will still look good & I think this card allows that.  Remember, save everything, use everything & substitute with what you have on hand (especially if you are like me and find that the creative juices really get flowing after all the stores are closed & you really should be in bed).

I am entering this project in the Simon Says Stamp &Show Kraft Challenge.

I tried to show some of the texture & dimension of the card - you can see a little bit in this picture

My wonderful assistant, Monster, showing off one of her many talents  

Finally the finished card

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More Pink & Brown Goodies

I kind of got on a roll with this Pink & Brown color scheme – which is amazing considering pink is one of my least favorite colors. . . But, the muse was singing and I was listening so off we went.

To make the card I used a pale pink paper for the actual base (the same color that I used for the quote on the “Stars” board) and edged it with Distress Ink Brushed Corduroy.  I then die cut the outer frame from a Basic Grey paper from the Nook & Pantry set, called Chocolate Mousse. Inked the edges with my Brushed Corduroy and used one of the inner die cuts for the inside of the frame.  Added a few birds punched with a Martha Stewart punch and the little “flowers” on the corners are the most inner cut from the same die cut set (from Nellie’s Multi Frames).

   Here is one picture of the Shabby Chic pink & brown card.

 And another (because you know how hard it is for me to choose just ONE picture)

Finally, I couldn’t seem to stop myself so I finished off with an ATC.  I had this old ribbon I had bought and I thought that it would be awesome for the pink & brown challenge.  I cut the ribbon and glued it on a cut ATC card.  I die cut the little brackets, inked them with Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink and then topped them off with Inkssentials Glossy Accents.  I stamped out the word flower with an alphabet stamp set made to look like the old Dymo hand thingies (lol) using Frayed Burlap Distress Ink & then shaded around the letters with Brushed Corduroy.  Last but not least, I cut another butterfly out of the same ribbon, glued it to a piece of cardstock and popped it out with a tiny bit of a foam dot.  I think I am done with the pink & brown obsession.  I hope you had as much fun as I did and I’d LOVE to see some of your pink & brown goodies!  Leave your blog, flikr link or where ever you stash your crafty pics in your comment below (but please link to the actual project you want to share and not just to your blog, etc). 

I figured I enter these 2 items in the Shabby Chic Pink & Brown Challenge at Unruly Paper Arts, too.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Stars" Project

I had an idea of what I wanted to do – that’s rare – usually I have no idea what I am going to do and stuff just flows.  This time I knew I wanted to make another wall hanging and I had found an old scrap of foam core board and I decided to use that as my base. I had tea dyed some coffee filters for a doll project I am making and while the filters were dyeing, I threw in some of this really cool “fabric” my honey brought home for me.  I say “fabric” because it isn’t cloth, it isn’t lace and you can tear it – so I don’t know what it is made of, but it took the tea dye beautifully.  This is a picture of the “fabric” in its natural white color with the tea dyed “fabric” next to it.

Since this “fabric” came out SO cool, I decided to make a project and enter in the Unruly Paper Arts RAQ2 challenge of Shabby Chic using the colors pink & brown in 3D.  Now this is a true stretch for me because I really don’t like the color pink but I marched onward in my quest!   I trimmed the foam core a bit to try to make it as even as I could, then I glued the “fabric” on it.


I used one of my photo stamps from The Stampsmith (Estelle has the most beautiful photo stamps I have ever seen & they work like a dream).  I used the stamp called “Heavenly Gaze” & stamped her on glossy card stock (I stamped her on regular card stock, too, so you could see the difference. It is recommended that photo stamps be stamped on glossy card stock) using Archival Ink in Jet Black.  Then I found my saying that I got from Quietfire (another AWESOME company) on light pink paper.  Edged the pink card stock that I stamped with my quote with Distress Ink in Brushed Corduroy and then inked the edge of the frame that I cut out with my Cricut machine (this is a miracle in itself!!) with the same.  The frame was made out of paper from Dovecraft that was a gift many years ago.  I put together the frame and the picture and mounted them in the middle of the foam core.  Because the quote says “It is said that when it is the darkest that you see the stars the clearest” I wanted to put some bling on – stars of course!  So I dug through my gems and such, pulled out some stars and blinged her up!  I felt that she might have been done at this stage so I put her on my wall until I could decide if she needed more or not.

After looking at her all day, on & off, I decided, she needed something on the side.  So I took another piece of Dovecraft paper and used it to die cut the flower you now see on the left hand side.  Since I had to snip a bit off the flower, I took a piece that I snipped and put it down by the quote.  I then decided we need a little something on the right side, so I took that same light pink paper, die cut a little butterfly and made the body out of brown card stock (I don’t remember who the flower die cut is from but the butterfly is from QuicKutz).

I like her MUCH better now, don’t you?  Do you think she was fine as she was?  Please let me know because I am working on embellishing my pieces & all the comments are SO helpful.

Also, since I titled this project "Stars" and she is so shabby & chic I am entering her in the Simon Says Stamp & Show blog Challenge for the letter "S".

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our Bunny

I just had to show you all the adorable bunny that we have living on our property.  It's so strange to see them everywhere!  They remind me of the way squirrels are on the East Coast.  When I came out to Colorado for vacation, before we moved out here, there was a bunny at the rental car place just hanging out by the side of the road, I was mesmerized!  We do have rabbits on the East Coast, but they are much more timid than the rabbits out here.  This cutie has been around since we moved to this house, even my wonderful mail lady commented on him. So say hello to our bunny!  I have to think of a cool name for him. . .

And they blend in SO well - Monster couldn't even see him from her perch & she is the most curious (read troublemaker) cat we have.  From one side he looks like a rock & blends in with the dirt, from another he is like a fawn brown. . . I just love him!  And I think his name is gonna be Bun E Rabbit works for me & you - i hope to be able get more good pictures of him to share :)

Faux Riveted Patchwork

I had every intention of posting this a few days ago but we were hit with a one day heat wave & I was just too hot to do anything.  Then I forgot all about it,  got all tangled up with some other stuff I am working on and my space is way messier than usual since we have finally begun to put shelves up in my room.  Yippee for the shelves, bummer for the mess, but anyway. . . 

I finally got my hands on A Compendium of Curiosities, Volume 2 by Tim Holtz – I love the first book, so I was ready to love this book, too, and I did.  I find lots of inspiration from Tim Holtz’s creations and I love finding new ways to use the stuff I already have as well as adding more stuff I absolutely need to my huge list of needs (notice I didn’t say want).  One of my favorite techniques in Volume 2 is what is called “Riveted Patchwork” using Inkssentials™ Metal Foil Tape and Adirondack Alcohol Inks.  The only problem was I didn’t have any Metal Foil Tape, and I really wanted to make something that looked as cool as what Tim did, so I did what every good crafter (artist?) does, I improvised.  This is what you’ll need to make the cute little box that I made:

  • Metal Foil Tape (I used 3M Metal Repair Tape that we got a Lowe’s for about $8)
  • Adirondack Alcohol Ink (I used Eggplant)
  • Alcohol Ink Blender tool (which I never thought I needed but am now SO glad I got it)
  • Alcohol Ink Blender Solution
  • Small Box (I used plastic, but I imagine this Metal Foil Tape will stick to almost anything)
  • Wooden Feet (buttons, whatever you’d like to use)
  • Krylon Silver Metal Pen to color your feet (if you want to)

Make sure your box is dry & clean.  The box I used is a plastic box with a partial lid on it, that held cosmetic applicators that look like pointy cotton swabs, and measured 3 ½” x 3 ½” .  I chose this box because I liked that the lid had a portion that stayed on the box completely rather than a paper mache box where you just lift off the whole top (this a bit clearer when you look at the picture of the box).

I covered the box with the Metal Repair Tape.  I took the top completely off the box for this step and started at the edges of the box.  I figured this way I could get the tape right up to where the top went back on without too much hassle.  Once both pieces, the top & bottom, were covered with the tape I burnished the spots that needed it (like the bottom.  This box had little tiny plastic feet that I didn’t even know was there until I went to cover them.  So I fit the tape the best I could around the little feet & decided I was going to use something else for the feet that would fit right over the plastic bumps).  If I had wanted to make the tape look riveted this is where I would have used whatever tools I had to make little circles with the dot (rivet) in the center, but I decided that for this box, the rivets weren’t necessary (plus, I didn’t really feel like drawing all those little dotted circles).

After letting the box sit overnight (thought I doubt you’d have to) I used the Alcohol Ink Applicator and started to sponge the eggplant alcohol ink around the box & top, taking care to try to keep the pattern somewhat consistent.  When the ink color got soft, I put some Blending Solution on the pad & smooshed it around again.  This is where I also inked another small piece of the metal tape to use for the hinges of the top (I have many pieces of cardboard that I got in packages, you know the kind you get to keep sheets from getting crinkled when they are mailed or filler cardboard used in bigger boxes, not corrugated because that will bend.  I took some waxed paper and covered the cardboard & I use these to put my stuff on to dry.  It’s awesome because you can paint on them, glue like a mad woman, make a huge mess and it doesn’t go anywhere but on the cardboard.  When it’s too inky or messy, I just either rip the waxed paper off of it, or put another piece on top.  These work great if you are like me and make a few different things at once – the whole reason I am even telling you this is because I used one of my waxed paper boards to put the small piece of tape on and set it aside to dry).

Once everything was dry & I liked the pattern of the ink, I attached the top of the box with the tape hinges and used my Krylon Silver Leafing pen to cover some wooden pieces I had for the feet.  Then I attached the feet with some glue & sprayed it with some acrylic sealer. 

The sealer didn’t make it as shiny as I like, so I am debating if I am going to try some Inkssentials Glossy Accents or maybe some Modge Podge on it, (and I just got my order from Amazing Crafting Products (you HAVE to go see what people do with this stuff!)– the resin & the putty – so I might get crazy and mix up a batch of resin for the top, but here it is for now.  And, no, I have no idea what I am going to use it for. . .maybe a gift? 
Here it is all done! This view is from the front.

This is from the side - see what I mean about part of the cover staying on?

The cover is open and you can see the shine from the Metal Tape through the plastic.
A really good view of the hinges, kind of taken under the top.
And finally the bottom with the pretty silver feet.

I should have taken a before picture.  I'm still new at this!  Hope you like it and I would LOVE your comments!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Shell Book

This is the first altered book niche I have ever made.  I read so much about the technique for so long I sort of stunned myself into inactivity.  I have a horde of books saved up to be altered so I grabbed one and decided I was going to carve a niche in it (after re-reading one of my FAVORITE books on altering books, New Directions in Altering Books by Gabe Cyr, which is the same book as Mixed Media Books – Dozens of Experiments in Altering Book, but they have different covers & I only tell you that so you don’t buy both books like *I* did. And another fantastic favorite is Bev Brazelton’s Altered Book Workshop, it was actually her book that turned the light on in my head that trying to cut ALL those pages with an X-Acto knife probably wasn’t the best way to do this and I might have better luck using a box cutter – she calls it a craft knife – you know, one of those gray utility knives.  OK, enough blathering about books. . .at least about reading books).

 So, I blocked off a bunch of pages & decided where I wanted the niche to be and started cutting.  I went slowly, like everyone suggested, and sooner than I expected I was done.  In hindsight I would chose what I was going to put in the niche prior to cutting it since I had no idea what I was even going to do with this book I had no idea what I was going to put in the niche, but I cut on.  Unfortunately, while I was flinging the book around trying to get all the page crumbs out of it, I tore the front cover off.  Note to self, do not fling books.  I had a solution to that situation which I will reveal later. I saved all those “inner” pages for use later on (I am obsessed with cutting out words and sentences to use later) and put them aside.  Then I used my Golden Matte Gel and gelled the hell out of the book.  I didn’t go in between the pages because I felt if I gelled the niche block of pages correctly, I wouldn’t need to gel (glue) each page separately.  That took more time than the cutting did because I learned if you gel on gel that isn’t completely dry you can get bubble like uprisings and the only way to get rid of them is to cut the paper where the bubble is.  Did that a few times until I decided to coat the book in the morning and then at night before bed.  I did that for about 3 days – but it depends on how thick your book is, how deep your niche is and how thick your gel is (I watered mine down, right on the book the last application).  Then I gessoed the book, using the same one time in the morning, one at night routine for about 2 days (partly because I was afraid to actually do something with the book and ruin it & partly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it yet).  After leaving it alone for a few days, somehow the idea of beach & shells popped into my head.  I honestly don’t know why because I am not very fond of the beach, but that story is for another time.  I dragged out my acrylic paints and picked a few blue ones, Golden Cobalt Teal and Ultramarine Blue.  I added some Titanium White to the teal & some acrylic glazing liquid and painted the whole inside of the book, wiped the paint away while it was still wet to kind of give it a weathered appearance.  Then I did the same with the blue, added the white & glazing liquid, painted and wiped.  I also reattached the front cover.  My main squeeze had gotten me a roll of gaffer tape & I knew that would work just perfect to put the cover on.  I put about 8” of the tape on a piece of wax paper and painted it the same shade of blue as the outside cover.  I taped the front of the cover, but I didn’t think that was going to hold the book well enough, so I taped the inside, too.  I painted over the inside with the teal mix and while I should have measured the tape a bit better, I don’t think it looks too bad.  I gelled over all of that with more matte medium. Let that dry while I chose my embellishments. 

I had first found a picture of mermaids that I wanted to put on the inside cover, but, while I was wiping the inside of the cover down with a baby wipe I accidentally hit the corner of the mermaid photo (you can see the picture with my wonderful circle drawn around the boo boo) so after debating the issue, I ripped the mermaids off the inner cover and re-gessoed, repainted, rewiped, re dried.  And hunted in my stash for something cool to replace the mermaids with (I did find out about a product to spray on your printed pictures so that you can’t wipe the color off with a baby wipe, called “Preserve Your Memories II” by Precision-Blue.  I just ordered some to try, but I expect that it will work like a charm based on what people told me & what I read online about the product – here is the manufacturer’s website  I rummaged through my stash & came upon these really cool pieces of wall paper I had saved out of a book of discontinued samples I had gotten from a design store – I think they actually look even better than the mermaids, and I had a butterfly that matched so I used that as well. 

After I adhered everything, the shells, the bit of music in the niche and the wall paper I touched the book up again with the acrylic paint mixtures (and I determined I needed a palette that shut so I could keep my mixes wet for a while and wouldn’t have to remix a new batch each time I have to touch up something, or repaint the spots where I had to tear off a picture.  But, after looking online and seeing that the cheapest one was over $10, I then decided that an old piece of Tupperware would work just fine.  Now I have to dig something out of the dreaded Cabinet Full of The Unknown Plastic Containers.  But I saved $10) and once they were dry I coated the book a few more times with matte gel – taking care to let each coat dry thoroughly.  There you have it!  My first foray into nichedom. . . 

 This is the first edition of the Shell Book - I marked off where I messed up the photo I printed off the computer with the baby wipe. . .

 This is a picture of the niche - that was my goal making this, attempting to cut a niche, or window, out in the body of a book.

TA DA! I think this actually looks better than the mermaid picture and you can't tell I ripped the picture off at all :)  I also like that even though I coated the book in matte gel medium there is still a slight sheen to the book.

And here is the unaltered cover of the Shell Book.  Monster is my resident critic and she is giving her opinion on the cover. . . she can be SO tough!