Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Silly Wabbit

With all of the snow cover this year, I have been seeing lots of rabbits!  My husband uses the snow blower to make paths for us to walk between buildings, but from the looks of all of the droppings we are not the only ones using them.  When I look out in the early morning just before the sun comes up, I see rabbits hopping everywhere.  We don't have a dog and I have been considering renting or borrowing one.  :)  With all of the gardening I do, rabbits are not my friend!   However, the other morning when everything was covered with a coat of frost, one of those rabbits was nice enough to pose and have his picture taken.  He didn't seem to be at all afraid of me and allowed me to get within 10 feet to take his photo.  He looks well fed, doesn't he.  Hmmmm...
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Tattered Floral Earrings

Tim Holtz has issued another challenge on his blog to use his Tattered Floral die to create a flower to use on a project.  I have been trying not to check out the other projects because I wanted mine to be as original as possible.  Most of our ideas have been influenced by something we have seen somewhere so it is a struggle to create something totally fresh and new.  But hopefully I have put those things that I have seen together in a way that is a little different and uniquely me.  Here is what I came up with:
These are made with shrink plastic cut with the Tattered Florals die and then colored, shrunk and shaped.  The idea was inspired by some earrings in the book Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! by Kathy Sheldon.  This is a great book with lots of info on working with shrink plastic and many project ideas.  She even explains that you can use plastic from containers and tells how to prepare it to accept different art mediums.  I have not tried this.  For this project, I used Klutz brand ShrinkyDinks plastic that I purchased through Amazon.  (Hobby Lobby also carries shrink plastic.  I have only tried the printable version and it distorted when shrinking.  My shapes always came out a little skewed.)

I first cut the plastic using Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die.  For this project I used the medium 6-petal flower.  Working on the rough side, I then colored the flower with Prismacolor color art pencils.  I used several shades of turquoise to color the petals, edging with the darkest color.  The center I colored with a dark yellow color and some rust colored dots.  As the plastic shrinks your colors intensify so you need to keep this in mind if you are trying for a certain shade.

Before baking the flowers I punched a 1/8" hole in the center of the flowers and another one toward the edge of one of the petals (for the earring hardware).  I like to use my toaster oven set at 300 degrees to shrink the plastic.  You need to be sure to preheat the oven so that the plastic shrinks evenly without scorching.  Mine takes about 2.5 minutes.  Bake each flower separately. 

To shape the flowers, I followed the instructions in Kathy Sheldon's book.  She suggests setting the hot plastic flower on top of the hole in a wooden spool and pressing the center into the hole with the rounded end of a paintbrush handle.  I used the end of my Sharpie cap.  You have to do this very quickly after you remove the flower from the oven because it cools and hardens very fast.  I had everything ready right beside the oven so that I could take it out and place it right on top of the spool.  I shaped mine with the colored side facing forward.

After the flowers cooled (only takes seconds), I painted them with some Tattered Angels Chandelier colored Glimmer Glam.  The Glimmer Glam gives it a little sparkle and also seals it so that the color won't come off if the item gets wet.  I really like the Glimmer Glam for adding sparkle to paper and all sorts of things.  If you put it on paper or ribbon it also acts as a stiffener, so it is a good product for coating paper flowers, etc. and Chandelier is a good color if you only buy one.

Next I made stamens for the centers using Vintaj brand bead pins in an antique brass finish.  I used three for each flower bending them a little toward the end (so they would spread out a little and not bunch together) before inserting each one through the center hole of the flower.

I glued them in place with a drop of super glue in the inside center.  You have to keep these still until the glue sets so I just held them for a few minutes.  Once they were set I laid them down to finish drying and then snipped off the ends in the back with a small wire cutter.  I glued a Vintaj Blossom bead cap on the back of each to cover the wire ends and secure them more fully.  I finished the earrings with Vintaj antique brass jump rings and French ear wires.  The loop at the end of the ear wire was turned the other direction, but I wanted my flowers to face forward without adding additional jump rings, so I turned the loop with my small round-nose pliers.  I have not made much jewelry and at first I was very frustrated with opening and closing the jump rings.  I just spread the ring open and then tried to pinch it back shut, always coming up with a half-closed deformed ring.  Then I read that you pull the wire to the side (this doesn't distort the circle) and then twist it back after placing your items on the ring.  Guess reading the directions really does help...

For the tag, I cut a piece of cardstock from Lost & Found's Portobello Road 6x6 Designer Pad with Tim Holtz' Styled Labels die.  (You could use one you cut with a scissors or Silhouette machine.)  I then stamped my logo at the bottom of the tag with Ranger Black Archival Ink and inked the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Stains in Vintage Photo and Peacock Feather.  I used a standard paper punch to punch a hole in the top and punched two 1/8" holes for the earring wires.  I then tied some hand dyed ribbon through the hole and added a flower.

The flower was made with a regular old pleated coffee filter and the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die.  I pressed the pleats out of the filter with a small iron and then ran it through the die cutter.  I then took the various flowers and spritzed them with Tattered Angels Sunflower Glimmer Mist and crumpled and dried them.  After punching a 1/8" hole in the center of each, I fastened them together with an old brass paper brad and spritzed them again with Coffee Shop Glimmer Mist.  Once dry, I attached them to the tag by inserting the brad ends through the hole in the top of the tag.

These earrings will be gifted to my dear friend, JoAnne, who has a birthday this week.  (I can tell you that because she doesn't know about my blog, yet.)  Hope she enjoys wearing them as much as I enjoyed making them and sharing them with you.

Thanks for stopping!

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Tag

I have become a fan of all things Tim Holtz.  I have watched all of the videos on his blog and have been collecting his products.  The Distress line of colors is sooo much fun to play with.  And you wouldn't believe the things I have cut with the Bigz Dies.  Shopping at Sam's is so much more interesting when you think about the things you can cut out of all of those cartons your food comes in.  I am especially partial to the cardboard boxes the Yoplait Greek Yogurt comes in.  The inside of these boxes is the most beautiful shade of brown.  It makes lovely dress forms and spools when stamped with a wood grain stamp.  It also embosses beautifully with embossing folders.  Just the right weight.

Given all of the supplies I have amassed I figured I better produce something - right?!  So I decided to participate in Tim's monthly tag challenge.  Here is my tag for March. 

 My tag reflects my longing for spring! I so loved Shelly Hickox tag last month that was cut from a folder. Wanting to include one of my original watercolor paintings on the inside, I began by printing the painting on a 5"x17" sheet of Strathmore 100 lb. smooth bristol. This printed beautifully with my Epson 1400. I then scored and folded the sheet with the printing to the inside. Before I cut the tag to size, I misted the front with Tumbled Glass and Chipped Sapphire distress ink mixed with water in the mini misters.  Once dry, I misted again with Thatched Roof Cottage Glimmer Mist (Tattered Angels).  After cutting a hole in the center, I cut various colors of brown Kraft-Core Nostalgic cardstock with the Autumn Gatherings Sizzix die for the twigs forming the nest around the opening. I cut some brown cardboard (from a yogurt case) with the Bird Branch Sizzix die, stamped it with a wood grain stamp (handmade) and Vintage Distress ink. Colored the bird with distress stains and added some Studio G glitter glue on the bird and branch.  The leaves and twigs on the front were misted with Thatched Roof Cottage before gluing on. The front banner was made with the Tattered Banners Sizzix die. The sentiments are hand written. The watercolor painting on the inside is my own original which I scanned and printed. The ribbon is seam tape that I tinted with various color Glimmer Mists. The flower on the front is by Prima Handmade. The leaves were cut from Kraft-Core Nostalgic with the Autumn Gatherings Sizzix Die


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Creatively Speaking

Well, I am finally taking the plunge and writing my first blog post.  I love all things creative, be it gardening, sewing, drawing, painting, mixed media, etc.  In fact, I often tell people I have AADD - Artistic Attention Deficit Disorder. The internet just feeds and fuels my dysfunction creativity.  Just when I think I have found my creative calling, I am distracted and lead astray by yet another amazing idea or technique that I am compelled to try.

A recent quote I came across said "How time flies when you are curious" (author unknown).  That describes my days perfectly!

My goal for this blog is to share with you some of my creations along with info on the products and methods I used.  Through doing so I hope to meet and share with others who are afflicted blessed in the same way.  So I invite you to come along and share my enthusiasm as I continue Creating in a Cottage.

Thanks for stopping!