Saturday, November 2, 2013

Meet Miss Molly

I would like to introduce you to a new friend of mine - meet Miss Molly!  Not sure why, but I have been wanting a dress form.  I've seen new wrought iron ones and nearly took the plunge a couple of times, but they weren't exactly what my vintage-self had envisioned. Then, on a recent fall outing, I spotted this fine lady parked in the corner of an antique shop.  It was love at first sight.  I was afraid to look for fear I would find a 'Sold' or 'For Display Only' tag hanging from her well-formed derrière. But, much to my surprise, she was available. My granddaughter, Rylee, assured me I would be sorry if I didn't get her.  Who can argue with a 13 year old who is wise beyond her years?  So we rolled her down the sidewalk and into the back of my van (aka, Yuppy Shopping Cart) and she now calls my studio 'home'. Isn't she a beauty!

That day with my granddaughter was a delight.  It was also one of my last excursions before taking the plunge and having my hip replaced.  I had my surgery on October 21st and have been pretty limited to short walks around the house and laying flat on my back with my foot up in the air.  Not my usual 'modus operandi', as they say.  It is getting old, but this too shall pass.  I spent lots of time preparing in advance and even put a bed in my studio.  So once I am able to spend some time sitting in a chair, I will be able to go to my studio for the day and still have a place to rest.  Meanwhile, I am so grateful for the help of my Hubby, my wonderful family and friends - and my iPad.  :)  The healing is going good.  Medical professionals who have checked the incision all say it looks great.  (My husband and I (not formally trained in this area) think it's kind of gross, but what do we know.)

It will be awhile before I get back to serious crafting. I do have photos of some past projects I haven't posted yet, so I will try to share those as I am able.  Meanwhile, the meds are kicking in and I feel a nap calling.  :)

As always, thanks for stopping.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Tim Time

Another month has come and gone - too quickly, I might add!  But the weather here has been great, so I guess it really doesn't matter what the calendar says.  I was out giving the flower beds a final once over before they sleep for the winter.  I like to make sure there aren't any weeds that will go to seed and cause me extra work in the spring.  Needed a little rest, though, and the gnats were starting to bite like crazy so decided to come in and post my 'Tim Tag'.

I started my tag promptly on the 1st.  That doesn't usually happen but I had just a few colors of the Distress Glitter and that made my decision as to what I could create.  No black or orange for Halloween creations so I went with an autumn theme.  I love Halloween and love to decorate the house for the holiday but decided to limit myself to what I have on hand for materials.  Not really a hardship, looking at all of the materials I have surrounding my work space.  :)

I had some puddles of stain left on my craft mat from my birch tree painting.  Rather than just wipe them up (such a waste), I decided to ink up a few tags and some seam binding.  I chose one of these as the base for this month's tag.  All I had to do to get it ready, was distress the edge and rub some Vintage Photo around the outside edges.

The Tattered Leaves die is one of my favorites so I cut out some leaves and inked them with various Distress Stains.  Then I 'frosted' them with glue and glitter. You can see the materials and tools I used in this photo.  Since I chose to use the oak leaves, I decided to cut out a couple of acorns using the Mini Acorn and Pumpkin die.

My granddaughter and I picked up the most beautiful acorns a couple of weeks ago.  I set them outside to dry and today I noticed the squirrel has been hauling them away and burying them.  He is a very busy squirrel.

This is how my leaves looked before I applied the glue and glitter.  They were so pretty I hated to cover them up.  Once I had the glitter on and it was dry, I went back over the leaves with some Barn Door Distress Stain to give them more autumn color.

I decided to add falling leaves on the background with a simple oak leaf stamp and some Pumice Stone Distress Stain.  
The little tag I created using some manilla card stock and Tim Holtz and Papertree Ink stamps.  I inked the edges and attached it and some ribbon to the bottom of the tag with tiny attachers.  The leaves and acorns were attached using some dimensional Zots.  I took the ribbon I had stained earlier and spritzed it with some Glimmer Mists to bring in the teal and red from the background.  I tied it on and called it done.

A little footnote:  Previously on my blog I mentioned labeling all of my Distress Stains with print and cut stickers made with my Silhouette.  The labels were white with printed names but I couldn't see the actual color.  While I was working on this project, I decided to blend a little of the color on the label so that I could see and choose my colors more easily.  I think this will work great and it makes the stacks look 'oh so pretty'.  These are the colors I used for this project.

Hope you are having a great fall and, as always, thanks for stopping! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Falling for Stencils

Tim's focus for September's tag was different ways of using his new layering stencils.  Try as I might, I could not seem to get my hands on any of these.  I do have some on order from Simon Says Stamp but don't know when they might ship.  Meanwhile, I found this really cool stencil at Hobby Lobby.  It got me to thinking what a great watercolor picture I could create using it and Distress Stains.  Hopefully, Tim will forgive me for taking such liberties and straying so far from the lesson.  :)  It was great fun and I did use his stains for the painting process.

I started with this simple stencil from The Crafters Workshop called Aspen Trees.  I taped it to a piece of watercolor paper with some washi tape and began coloring the background with various Distress Stains and a blending tool.  I used Stormy Skies toward the bottom, then gradually worked my way up with Broken China, Wild Honey, Scattered Straw and some Rusty Hinge.

I then removed the stencil and lightly spritzed the picture with water to add some texture.

Next, I needed to add some color and shading to the trees and branches. I wet a section at a time and tickled some Frayed Burlap Distress Ink on the shadow side, letting the water blend it across.  Each time I lifted my brush it would blend a little farther across in that spot, so I used this to my advantage to give the trees some dimension.
If, when dry, a tree required more shading - I just repeated the process.  (But you want to make sure the first layer is completely dry or you will get some unexpected water spots.)

Once I had all of my trees and branches shaded, I made some little diluted puddles of  Fired Brick, Wild Honey and Rusty Hinge on my craft mat.  I lightly spritzed the painting with water and then flicked the various colors on using my brush and tapping it against my finger.  With the painting wet, the dots of paint bleed out a little bit to look like falling leaves.  If you don't wet the painting first it looks more like colored snow.  :)

I found another stencil by the same company with the trees cut out of the background.  I am going to try it with some modeling paste or gesso to make the trees dimensional.

So, till next time, thanks for stopping and have a great week!

P.S.  I am also linking up to Inspiration Emporium's challenge 'Falling for Faux' as a faux watercolor.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 'Tim Time'

Having been raised on a farm in a big family, I tend to lean toward creating things that 'have a use'.  It took me a long time to give in to the quilting bug, because I had trouble justifying taking those expensive pieces of fabric and cutting them into little bits that just had to be sewed back together again.  :)  And I couldn't seem to wrap my head around the fact that it then took twice as much fabric because of the waste and seams.  I think the thing that finally romanced me into trying the process, was the rotary cutting and imaginary way the designers sewed the pieces together to save time and create the patterns through logical steps.   And of course, once I started working all of those colors and patterns together into gorgeous designs, I was hooked.

Years ago I took a personality test while participating in a 2 week-long training course.  I was told that the logical side of my brain was as strong as the creative side of my brain - in other words, the instructor said, I was a flake.  I think he just meant that I was different from the 'norm', or as I like to view it - special.  :)

At any rate, I like to create things with a purpose.  Things that satisfy both the logical and the creative tendencies of my personality.  So when I saw Tim's tag challenge this month and looked through my stamps I tried to envision a unique way to use the technique to create something I could use.  And this is what I came up with - it's a little book with fabric pages to store my Sewing Essentials (just like the title says).  :)

I incorporated Tim's stamping and masking techniques on the inside covers.  You can view his tutorial here.  I made the stitching on the fabric pages a little 'rough and ragged' to give it that grunge look and stained the edges of the fabric with some Antique Linen and Tea Dye Distress stains.  I also antiqued the binder ring with some Mushroom alcohol ink to give it an aged look.

 I initially did my stamping directly on the inside of the book cover.  However, the uneven surface didn't lend itself well to the background stamping and the dark color of the cover didn't allow the stamps to show up as well.

So I cut a piece of manilla card stock to fit the book cover, stained it per Tim's instructions, stamped it, masked it, stamped the background and then rubbed the whole thing with some Vintage Photo stain while the masks were in place. 

With all of that wetting and staining and drying and rubbing, sometimes the cardstock can become quite rippled and hard to work with.  It's hard to stamp on a wavy surface.  So a while back, I took a piece of masonite and coated it with a diluted mixture of Aleene's Tack-It Over & Over glue.  I had read about this glue on the internet.  People were using it to make their Silhouette cutting mats sticky again.  I couldn't find a source locally but found it at my go-to place for hard-to-find items...Amazon.  Since I purchased it I have found all sorts of uses for it including adding it to the back of rubber stamps to make them cling to an acrylic mounting block.  For most things you will want to dilute it because it has a pretty sturdy bond if used full strength.  After I coated the masonite board and let it dry, I stuck my hand to it several times to lessen the tackiness.  Now I have a temporary mounting board that can be used again and again to hold items while I stamp and stain.  This should be used for the dry techniques only - I think if you wet the cardstock too much you probably wouldn't get it to release.  For storing the board, I just put a sheet of wax paper over it and set it alongside my desk.

For the front, I used a small crocheted doily, a Tim Holtz ornate plate and brads, a small piece of muslin that I hand lettered with the title and a little quilt batting to make it dimensional.  Before putting it all together, I 'aged' the ornate plate with some Distress Paints and the muslin with some Distress Stains.

Several pics of the inside:

It was fun to create and now I have a handy way to take my favorite sewing supplies to the ol' easy chair for a little stitchin'.  Like binding those quilts...

As always, thanks for stopping and I hope you enjoyed the visit!

Much To My Surprise!

The month is almost gone and my posts have been few and far between, I know.  The end of summer is such a busy time in the country with garden produce to harvest, outbuildings to clean, weeds to pull before they go to seed.  I love being out here and spend most of my days at home but there are always lots of things that need my attention.  Plus, I just want to be outside as much as I possibly can before winter comes and the nights grow as long as the days.  I guess you might say, I've just been busy living each day to its full potential.

So here it is the end of August and I haven't even taken the opportunity to write a post about how excited I was when the first of the month rolled around and I had my July submission to the Tim Holtz Tag challenge chosen as a winner.  Woo-hoo!!  It was a tribute to my dad which made having it chosen extra special.  You can check it out here if you haven't seen it.  Mario and Tim sent me an official Tim Holtz Apron and a set of Simple Sayings stamps as my prize.  Mario said to go right ahead and get glue and paint all over that apron, but so far I haven't had the nerve to wipe my hands on it.  :)  I will, though, and the stamps were actually on my wish list so it was great fun to receive them both.  Thanks, Tim and Mario, and to the whole team for great products and inspiration!!
As always, thanks for stopping!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Paint and Paper

I have always dabbled in all kinds of art and creativity.  But several years ago I took a watercolor class from a wonderful instructor in our local art store.  I had tried watercolor on my own but never quite got the results I was hoping for.  However, in Esther Chang's class we all became empowered to conquer the wash.  I really felt I had found my medium and loved every minute of the discovery of color and technique.

Esther moved to California last year and with that event and just general busyness and distractions, I kind of drifted away from my paints and brushes.

While shopping for groceries the other day, I came across the current issue of PaintWorks.  The cover feature was a sunflower painting by Debra Henkener done in watercolor.  Inside were step-by-step instructions for the painting process and colors used.  With my love for sunflowers, I decided this would be a great project to get me back on track and get my brushes wet again.

The instructions called for 'toning' the paper with a wash before painting the flower and leaves.  Then the background is painted in deeper tones after the flower is finished.  This process intimidates me a bit because I always feel like I am going to mess up that background and ruin the whole painting.  But one thing I have discovered with watercolor is that it is not quite as unforgiving as one might think.  You can coax and adjust even after the paint is dry.  It requires patience and a light touch, but you can add color and blend and lift till you get the results you want.  I love the look of watercolor paintings where the artist just lays the color down and  goes with whatever 'happy accident' occurs.  And I would love to be that free and uninhibited - but that is just not in my genes!  :)

It was a good project to renew my enthusiasm for the medium.  And I found if I come down to my studio first thing each morning and work at it a little bit each day, I can find the time for what I love.  That is one of the wonderful things about watercolor - you can find a stopping point and then come right back to it the next day.

Here is my finished painting:

As always, thanks for stopping!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This Makes Me Smile

While I was looking up information on my Dad for my last project, I ran across this photo.  It is a picture of my sister (Connie), my oldest brother (Wayne) and myself.  Every time I look at it, it puts a huge smile on my face.  How can you not smile at those chubby cheeks, rolled-up denims and seersucker rompers.  I can still feel the fabric.  :)  Maybe I am slipping into my second childhood, but I wish I had an outfit like that to wear on this hot, sultry day.  Look - they even have pockets for the cell phone.

When I showed this photo to my husband he said he had no idea who these people were.  Goodness!  I couldn't imagine that he didn't recognize these three.  After all, I still have pretty much the same hairdo!  :)

Anyway, I just wanted to share these happy little faces to brighten your day.  Have a good one and, as always, thanks for stopping!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Tribute

This month Tim Holtz created a tag with several new techniques and a July 4th/hero theme.

When I think of someone who sacrificed unselfishly for others, I think of my Dad.  He fought in World War II and marched under three generals.  He seldom talked about the war but he and other men from his division (and their families) got together for a reunion every summer.  Their bond and friendships remained strong throughout his life.  Those men are gone now but the freedom they guarded for us and for many across Europe lives on.

Instead of a tag, I decided to create this display piece.  It gave me the space to include some information about my Dad and his service in the U.S. Army.

I began with a sheet of buff-colored Seasonal Impressions Kraft-Core card stock from the Tim Holtz Nostalgic Collection. After lightly sanding some of the words that I wanted to have stand out the most, I applied Fired Brick Distress Stain with a brayer and then blended it with a paper towel.  The sanding caused the paper to absorb more stain in those areas.
 Next I cut out the flag and stars (from a Cheerios box) using the Old Glory Mini Die set.  I coated these with Distress Crackle Clear Rock Candy and let them dry.  (Avoid using a heat gun to dry the crackle finish since the 'cracking' happens during the drying process.)  I stained the flag with Faded Blue Jeans and Fired Brick Distress Stains applied directly to the dry crackled surface.  Applying a couple of coats deepens the color.  The stars I stained with Wild Honey Distress Stain and then antiqued the edges with some Vintage Photo.  I curved the star points under to give the stars a kind of domed dimensional effect.  The crackle finish makes the cardboard very flexible.

I wanted the frame to be thick and dimensional so I cut out 4 layers using the Postage Stamp Frame and Rectangle Movers and Shapers dies.  I cut one at a time using the Cheerios box cardboard.  The last one I used the Postage Stamp die only, leaving the center intact so that it would be a backing for the photo.

The top frame layer I coated with the Distress Crackle Rock Candy, let dry and then stained with Frayed Burlap and Brushed Corduroy stains.  I went around the edges of the top frame and all of the other frame pieces with Vintage Photo stain using a foam blending pad.  I love how this finish turned out - it looks like an old, crackled piece of leather.  I will definitely be using this technique on other things.  :)

I scanned my Dad's military photo and printed it out in a size to fit the frame.  After rubbing a little Vintage Photo on it to give it an aged appearance I glued it to the back frame piece and then glued all of the frame pieces together using a Scotch brand glue stick.

I glued the embossed and stained background to a sheet of chipboard cut to size.  I then sanded the edges to remove any glue squeeze out and to weld the edges of the paper to the chipboard.  Next I aged the edges with a blending pad and Vintage Photo Distress Stain.

I painted the flag pole with some Brushed Pewter and Tarnished Brass Distress Paint and then rubbed all of the edges with Vintage Photo.  I found some star glitter in my stash and added this with a little glue.  The stars were yellow and shiny so to tone them down I dabbed them with a little Antique Linen Distress Paint.  I also shaped the flag to give it dimension.

The 'Courage' button is from the Tim Holtz collection.  It was black so I dabbed some Antiqued Bronze, Tarnished Brass and Black Soot Distress Paint on it.  Once it was dry, I lightly sanded the surface to make the lettering stand out.

The sentiment label I created using buff cardstock and my Silhouette Cameo.  It is edged with Vintage Photo Stain.

I attached the dimensional elements with glue dots, the frame with glue stick and the button with a tiny fastener.  I added an easel back created with the Sizzix Easel Die and chipboard.

Hope you had a great weekend and a great 4th of July if you live in the U.S.  Leave me a note and tell me a little about the heroes in your life.

And as always, thanks for stopping!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

40th Anniversary Tag

My husband and I reached a milestone this year - 40 years of marriage.  It doesn't hardly seem possible that it could be that long or we could be that old!!  :)  Time passes much too quickly.

Inspiration Emporium was having a little challenge for June called 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue'.  So I didn't think that I should miss the chance to make a little something to commemorate our 40th.  

I had a new embossing folder (Anne Griffin by Cuttlebug) that I wanted to try and being a little pinched for time, I decided to make a tag.  I had seen various embossed projects where the raised embossing had been highlighted with paint.  It took many attempts and a trip to the internet to figure out the best way to apply the paint so that it would highlight the embossed areas without getting on the background.  The answer was to use an ink brayer.  I squirted some ivory acrylic paint on my craft mat, rolled the ink brayer through it and then rolled over the embossed tag.  I still had problems with a little paint on the background areas, but I discovered that the roller on my brayer is not entirely even (a little flared on the ends) so there was no way to get a perfect result.  It just adds to the character - right?

After I dried the paint, I went over the entire tag with some Vintage Photo Distress Stain and then went back with a soft rag and wiped it off of the white flowers to highlight them.  The white paint acted as a resist so the stain remained on the background but wiped off of the flowers easily.  I also painted the flowers with Glimmer Glam to give them some added sparkle.

I printed the sentiment and date on some paper and tore and stained the edges.  I had a couple of large jump rings in my jewelry findings that I added some antique brass Distress Paint to and attached for wedding rings.  The edging was die cut with the Tim Holtz Vintage Lace Sizzlits Die and stained with Vintage Photo Distress Stain.  I then painted them with Glimmer Glam and curled them slightly to give them dimension.

For the number tag, I used a blank TH Enameled Tag and antiqued it with Ranger alcohol inks.  Then I added some sticker numbers and attached it with a tiny fastener.  The ribbon is some seam tape stained with Distress Stains.

We look so fresh-faced in our wedding photo.  Ahhh, to be that young again....  But the years have blessed us with kids and grandkids and many happy memories.  So cheers to us!

As always, thanks for stopping!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June Tim Tag

Tim's technique for June is stamping on watercolor paper and then coloring the image with Distress Markers and blending them with a brush.  You can see his tag and tutorial here.

He also shared a couple of hints on using and storing the Distress Markers.  When I first purchased them, I took them out of their plastic container and stood them upright in a jar.  They have dual tips and sometimes they seemed a little dry when I used them.  Now I see they are meant to be stored on their sides so that each tip stays inked and ready.  So I put them back in their original container (lucky for me I still had it) and stored them in a section of my top desk drawer.

I followed Tim's directions pretty close in making my tag.  Just changed the images I used and attached the watercolor piece with tiny attachers instead of glue.  I also added a little distressed Tim Holtz paper string to the top to add some color and a pen nib for a little dimension.

Here are some photos of the process:

As always, thanks for stopping!