Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Crafting

Thought you might enjoy seeing a couple of projects I completed for Halloween.  Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays.  It is just for fun and brings out the kid in everyone - even if it's just enjoying the candy!  I always decorate the house and we usually have a family pumpkin carving party.  This year the weather was perfect and we were able to go outside for a fire and hot-dog and marshmallow roasting.  Here are the invitations I made for the party:
I used my Silhouette and a design I found in the Silhouette Online Store.  I used the print and cut feature for the wording on orange cardstock.  Then I cut the black silhouetted frame from adhesive card stock so that it would be easy to adhere in place.

These little treat bags were inspired by Richele Christensen.  As soon as I saw her cute design I knew I had to make some.  They are small - just 4" tall - but I was able to fit 3 little snack size bars in each one.  Adorable!  Click on her name above to see all the details of how they are made.

Hope you had some fun and frights for Halloween!

As always, thanks for stopping!

Autumn's Glory

It has been forever since I posted anything!  My apologies if you have stopped by.  I have actually completed a couple of Tim's monthly tags but haven't gotten around to sharing them.  So this month I decided to get a jump on things and not procrastinate.

Summer was a mixed bag of blessings and challenges.  Our vegetable garden was very productive and I was still picking cucumbers, squash and tomatoes into October.  Made for some very healthy eating.  Of course, the weeds were plentiful, as well.  That, along with the flower gardens, kept me pretty busy the past few months.

But, I am taking some time to get back in the studio now and do some creating.  There are so many projects I see on the internet that inspire me to get my fingers inky.  I'm also drawn in by the beautiful colors of fall - they're my favorites!

Tim's tag features a fall leaf center-stage.  You can check it out here.  I am going to make one exactly like his to try out his techniques.  But I also wanted to do something a little original for my entry.

I started with a large kraft tag that I had previously colored with some brown and metallic inks.  It was pretty dull and unexciting and had been in the reject pile from a previous project.  I used the Tim Holtz Burlap layering stencil and some texture paste (Golden brand molding paste) and added some random areas of texture here and there.  I then used some distress ink minis to rub some Broken China, Barn Door and Wild Honey on the tag.  The textured areas took the inks nicely but remained a little lighter than the background, which gives it a nice contrast.

I wanted to make a little 'shaker' window at the bottom of my tag with some little leaves encased inside.  I cut a window in the lower third of the tag, using the Movers and Shapers Mini Ticket die.  Then I printed out the little quote on some watercolor paper and toned it with some Broken China ink.  Next I cut a piece of plastic (from some product packaging) slightly larger than the window.  I punched out various colored mini leaves with a hand punch and sandwiched these between the plastic and the printed quote.  I taped the 'sandwich' to the back of my tag with some washi tape to hold it in place.  Using my sewing machine, I stitched around the window to hold it all together and then removed the washi tape.

I spritzed various colors on some watercolor paper using the Ranger mini spritzers and diluted Distress Re-Inkers and various Glimmer Mists.  After drying the paper thoroughly, I used the Tattered Leaves Bigz Die to cut out some leaves.  Next I embossed the details on the leaves using the textured leaves embossing folder.

A little Vintage Photo ink rubbed over the raised embossing and edges gave the leaves even more definition.  I finished them off with a coat of Chandelier Glimmer Glam brushed over the entire leaf.

I used a tool to poke a hole at the base of each leaf stem.  After curling some fine gauge copper wire around the tools handle, I wrapped the wire around the leaf stems, leaving long curly ends to peek from behind the ribbon.  I grabbed some hand dyed ribbon in coordinating colors and bundled it together, tying it in the center with more of the copper wire.  I left the ends of the wire long enough to run through a hole I punched in the tag and then secured the wire ends on the back with some scotch tape.

While I was out putting away my garden art, I found a pine cone that was just the right size for my tag.  The edges of the pine cone were already white with dried sap which gave it a frosted look.  I added some Glimmer Glam over these areas to highlight them.  I curled some more copper wire for the cone and tucked it behind the ribbon.

The last element is a little burlap tag (Maya Road) that I stamped the word 'FALL' on then aged the edges with a little Vintage Photo ink. More curly wire to hold it in place and my tag is complete!

As always, thanks for stopping!  I would love to hear from you if you have time to leave a comment. Happy Fall!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where have you gone, Mr. Robin...

I don't know about you, but I am extremely ready for spring.  We have had snow on the ground since October 22 - that is five months of winter.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad it is melting slowly.  No one needs flooding.  But ohhh how I long to dig in the dirt and stick my naked toes in the green grass.  Or even just smell the green grass and hear the birds sing their spring songs.  I guess we got a little spoiled with some easy winters and early springs a couple of years ago.  Hopefully we will reap the payoff with fewer bugs this summer. 

I saw a few robins back in February along the side of the road.  But, so far, I haven't seen a single one in our yard. (Just as well, I am sure, since it would be pretty hard to dig for worms in the frozen ground.)  So I decided to paint my own 'sign of spring'.

I used a photo I found on the internet on a Wikipedia page about state birds.  I first drew the bird freehand, but then I wasn't satisfied with the proportions so I went ahead and printed out the photo sized for my watercolor paper and traced the outline.  Lazy, I know, but using a computer to size things is just too darn easy - and quick.  And I wanted to get on with the painting.

Before layering the light washes on the background
Once I had the image outlined on the paper, I wet the background and added color.  My initial attempt looked very splotchy so I went over the entire background with a couple of light washes of Ultramarine Blue to blend and smooth things a bit.  I made sure the painting was completely dry (using a small hair dryer) before adding the washes and dried the paper again between each layer.

Here are some photos of how the background looked before and after I added the washes.  Big improvement and now the background doesn't distract from the main attraction - Mr. Robin.

After adding two light washes of Ultramarine Blue.

Before painting the robin, I applied masking fluid around the eye and on the white areas of his breast to retain the whites.  The white areas on his wings (feathers) I was able to create by picking up the paint with a slightly damp brush.  Here again, you want to make sure the painting is dry and that you are using a brush that is very clean and just slightly moist.  I use the chisel edge of a small flat brush for this.

I always use good watercolor paper even if it is just a small or experimental project.  You can't learn technique on cheap paper - it only frustrates you.  My favorite is Aquarelle Artist grade paper or Kilimanjaro, which is a brand sold by Cheap Joe's.  Both are excellent.

Here's hoping everyone has a beautiful Spring - and soon!  As always, thanks for stopping and I would love to hear from you if you have time to leave a comment.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March Tim Tag

This month Tim demonstrated a stamp and smudge method, as well as, getting more than one impression from your inked stamp.  The second impression turns out more subtle and muted.  You can take a look at his demo and sample tags here.

I finished my tag shortly after Tim posted the instructions, but as my second project I decided to complete a shadow box that I had been wanting to make for my sewing room.  This took me a little longer to find the time to complete.  Then I just sort of got side-tracked and didn't get them posted -   sorry about that.  But no worries, I'm here now and ready to share.

The stamps in the upper right and along the bottom are TH stamps.  The others are from various designers.  Unfortunately, I took them out of the packaging and put them in empty CD cases some time back, so I no longer know the brand or designer.  The phrase is a combination of a couple of different phrases.  I read somewhere that you can get a lot more use out of your stamps if you are willing to cut them apart and change them up a bit.  I do that quite often now - especially with phrases.

The background stencil is one I cut using a design from the Silhouette online store and my Silhouette Cameo.  The inks I used are TH Distress inks.

I tied on a miniature wooden spool with some gold cording and used the same cording to wind around the ribbon for a tassel effect.  The safety pin was silver-colored metal so I dressed it up with a little TH Distress paint and then pinned it to the card and strung one of the ribbon ends through it.

Here is the shadow box I made and some closeups of the details:

I had a lot of fun choosing items to fill the compartments of the shadow box.  The background papers are from a 6x6 paper pad from MME called 'Blush'.  The little pattern pieces are cut from 'The Mod Retro Stack' papers by DCWV. 

The little wooden spools, buttons, and brass charms were ones that I had in my stash from years past.  Most likely purchased at Hobby Lobby.  The little sewing machine came from Hobby Lobby, as well.

The metal hanger was from some jewelry charms and the dress I cut from glitter cardstock with my Silhouette and one of their online designs.  The little roses on the dress were cut from some of the leftover background paper.

The main phrase I cut with my Silhouette out of more paper from the 'Blush' collection.  Everything was inked and aged with TH Distress inks.  The stitching I did with my sewing machine.

I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment if you have the time.  And as always, thanks for stopping!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Birthday Card

I have another card to share today.  I made this one for my daughter-in-law, Lisa, for her birthday.  I gave it to her last night when we were all together for supper.  Libby (her daughter) was quite excited when she saw the envelope and couldn't wait for her Mom to open it.  Not sure if it was because she knew Grandma had made it or if it was because she just loves celebrations.  She is most excited that her birthday is next.  :)

I used my Silhouette and a card design that I found in the online store, my go-to source for cute ideas.  Lisa had requested some cash for a pan that she wanted to purchase so I thought a kitchen theme was appropriate. 

My husband was in kind of a rush to leave for a sporting event when I was trying to finish up and get the card photographed and into the envelope.  Consequently, I forgot to remove the little piece of cardboard that I had tucked inside the apron pocket so that I could stamp 'happy birthday' on the front.  Lisa was nice enough to take a second photo (minus the cardboard) and send it to me.  But you can see the cardboard in the detail shot I took at home.  Kind of like going to church with a roller stuck in the back of your hair...

I used a second design for the bowl inside the card and made it so I could tuck the cash in the bowl.  The oven mitts came with the apron card design - so cute.  Some clever wording on the right side completes the ensemble.  :)

As always, thanks for stopping!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Labor of Love

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day and a wonderful weekend.  We are experiencing blizzard conditions this morning and as I look out my studio windows, I feel like I am trapped in a snow globe.  Snow is coming down fast and furious and swirling all around.  The power was off early this morning, but a timely call to the power company got us back on line.  Enough about the weather...time to share what crafty goodness I have been up to.

I make most of the greeting cards I give and I try to make an extra effort at Valentine's Day.  The grandkids have grown to expect my handmade cards and so has my husband.  In fact, he always looks expectantly to see if it is an original, so I hate to disappoint.  When I saw Shelly Hickox' Valentine Pop-Up Card I knew I had to make one.  I can't claim much originality on the first one because I followed her sample pretty closely.  I had many of the Tim Holtz Dies she used and a couple she didn't.  I saw this cute little phrase in the Silhouette store and knew it had to go on my Valentine to my husband.  We have been married over 40 years so sometimes we need a little reminder to keep the romance in our marriage.  :)

I used brown and blue cardstock to keep it from getting too girly.  I made a rubber stamp with the phrase and stamped it on some cardstock I cut with my Silhouette, using brown Ranger ink and clear embossing powder.  Instead of fussing with glitter and making a lot of mess, I made all of the cut-outs from glitter cardstock.  Love this stuff!  The embossed hearts are made with a Sizzix die, 'Lacy Heart', that embosses and cuts at the same time.  I used glitter card stock for those, too, and they turned out great. 

After the initial attempt at making one of these 'box' cards, I was hooked and went a little crazy.  I made seven Valentine's in all!  Fortunately, I had some die cuts that I had purchased and some die cuts that I had made and saved for 'some day'.  I have lots of great cardstock stacks on hand so I went through and chose two prints and a solid for each card.  The cardstock I chose for each one helped me define a theme for each card.  After that I went to the Silhouette online store and started looking for phrases that would fit my themes.  Most of them are combinations of phrases that I pieced together to say what I wanted.  After all - each has to be unique to the recipient.  I created the basic cards assembly line style using the wonderful tutorial that you can find here.  Once each was created, I started making and adding the die cuts and phrases.

This is one of my favorites.  I love this fun cardstock by DCWV called 'The Green Stack'.  All of the papers are wonderful and I used them for several of the cards.  The tree is a Tim Holtz die cut that I cut from woodgrain paper.  I then enhanced the woodgrain with colored pencil to create a little carved heart in the trunk.  The little animals and tree leaves are all cut from a sheet of the cardstock.  The phrase was created using the Silhouette and then I stamped over it with a woodgrain rubber stamp I had made some time back.  This card probably took me the longest with fussy-cutting all of those cute critters and leaves.

For the next one I didn't hold out much hope of finding animals at the Silhouette online store to go well with the paper but then I came across this animal banner that had plenty of cute critters to choose from.  It was easy to separate out the parts I wanted and then do a print and cut.  I added little glitter hearts to each one and I think they look so cute.  The little snail was cut from 'The Green Stack' paper and the basic box was made from this paper stack, as well.  Is that snail cute, or what!

I made a sewing themed one for my granddaughter who is learning to sew.  These cut-outs came from a digital scrapbooking kit by Emeto Designs called 'Handmade'.  I imported some of the images into the Silhouette software and did a trace to create a cut line around each.  Then I did a print and cut.  The hearts were made with a Tim Holtz die from glitter cardstock.

For our little princess I, of course, needed a castle which I found at the Silhouette store and cut from glitter cardstock.  The phrase was a Silhouette design that I added some bling to and the rosette and heart in the background were some I had made before with Tim Holtz dies and had in my stash.

Last but not least, I made a sewing themed Valentine for my Mom and Aunt.  I haven't had a chance to deliver this one yet, but they probably won't mind if I show you in advance.  These are mostly die cuts that I made with Tim Holtz dies from recycled cardboard boxes and decorated.  The sewing machine I made with a custom rubber stamp and then embossed and cut out.
On the back of each I added a heart that I cut with my Silhouette (of course).  The pop-up cutouts are either suspended using strips of recycled packaging plastic or stuck directly to the supporting strips attached to the box.  I used a Scotch Advanced Tape Glider to stick everything together.  I found this to be invaluable since I didn't have to hold things in place while glue dried.  If I had used glue I would still be working on these!  :)

When the cards are folded they look like this and can be slipped in an envelope and mailed if you so desire.  With the extreme weather we have been having, I decided to hand deliver mine so that the tape wouldn't come lose and spoil the effect.  Plus, I had to include some fresh home-baked chocolate-chip cookies, which is also part of my tradition.  Doesn't that just make your mouth water...better go have lunch so I can have a cookie for desert.

As always, thanks for stopping!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Tim Tag

Last month I had almost everything Tim used in his January tag tutorial.  This month the only thing I had was the distress inks.  Not a problem - it just added to the challenge.  :)  You can check out Tim's tutorial here.

I have many of Tim's layering stencils - not the heart one, though, so I cut one using my Silhouette and a background I found in their online store.  While looking for a background, I found this cute lightbulb-with-heart illustration in the store, as well.  I printed it to a PDF file, pulled it into Photoshop, inverted the image and printed a negative to make a rubber stamp.  I used my Teresa Collins stamp maker to make the custom stamp.  (This is a fun little UV light box that turns special polymer packets into stamps.)  I'll be able to use the stamp again to make Valentine cards.

I substituted Ranger Antiquities Embossing Cement for the embossing powder Tim used on the large stamp.  I looked around my studio for white chalk but didn't have any.  But what I did find was Plaster-of-Paris powder, so I smeared some of that on my embossed image with my finger.

The sentiment I printed on vellum paper, cut out and stapled to the tag.  The arrow is from the TH Love Struck die and is cut from some foil-tape-covered card stock I had left over from last month's tag.  The paper lace at the bottom was leftover from another project and cut with the TH Vintage Lace Strip Die.  Cording used for the bow was from Michael's.

Lots of substitutions and it took extra time with making the stencil and the rubber stamp, but it is always fun to try new things and to see what you can accomplish with what you have on hand.  I call it 'Macgyver' art.

As always, thanks for stopping! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Tim Holtz Tag for 2014

I participated in the Tim Holtz Tag Challenge last year and really enjoyed learning and trying the different techniques Tim demonstrated each month.  I had hoped to complete all 12 but didn't get the last two done.  At some point, I want to go back and try the techniques for those two months since they looked very interesting.  Meanwhile, though, it is time to jump into this year's tags.  You can see Tim's tag and tutorial here.

I didn't have the watch die but I do have the Clock die and the Steampunk embossing folder, so I used those.  I liked the idea this rubber stamp conveyed:  "Learn to pause...or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you."  Lately I have been taking the time to do the things I enjoy, spend time with friends and family and, generally, just finding the joy in my everyday life.  For this reason, I 'shattered' the clock, leaving some of the pieces laying below it.  I replaced the missing gears with a picture I took of the sunrise a few years back.  If I hadn't taken time to pause that day, I would have missed the beauty all around me.  I took many beautiful photos that morning from the road along our place and in our back yard, with the sun glowing through the lilac bushes.

I stamped the saying (Tim Holtz stamp) on a tag that I had created and rejected for a previous project; then cut it out by hand.

I used a #10 tag for the project since the clock is rather large.  The background is stained using Broken China and Pumice Stone Distress Stains.  I then added some stenciling with a TH layering stencil and a little more color around the edges with Vintage Photo DS.  After the inking was done, I spritzed the whole thing with a little water to age and distress.  The rub-ons are a 7 Gypsies product that I had on hand and felt worked nicely with the theme.  The little word banners along the side are TH Chit Chat stickers stained on the edges with Vintage Photo.  I basically followed Tim's instructions for covering the clock with foil tape, cutting and aging with Black Soot paint.

The frayed ribbon and charm are also TH products.  I was able to make the whole tag with things I had on hand.  This does not mean that I was particularly ingenious at putting together things that worked - it means I have collected a lot of Tim Holtz product.  But I have to admit, it was kind of fun to be able to just grab what I needed and run with it.  I didn't think I had the foil tape so took some aluminum foil down to my studio (I think this would work just fine for the technique) but discovered the tape in my box of tricks.

I'm happy with the way it all came together!
As always, thanks for stopping.  Leave me a comment and I will make sure I stop by and check out your January Tag.  I love seeing all of the different interpretations!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I 'Heart' You

In anticipation of my granddaughter coming for sewing lessons, I put together a little box of tools chosen specially for her.  I also wanted to make a pincushion for her toolbox that would remind her of our time together.  I am glad I took the time to do this because she loved every item in her little box and wanted me to show her how each thing was used.  She is such an avid learner that she was a delight to spend the day with, sewing and learning.  Even though she is only seven, she never lost interest or patience and recounted every word back to her parents and sister.  It was cute to
hear her repeatedly say "I love sewing!".  Kind of renewed my own enthusiasm.  How nice in this age of electronics and video games to have a young mind so interested in the simple art of creating with your hands.  I did chuckle when she told me to make her practice pieces hard because she wanted to "make it to the next level".

I had so much fun making the wool pincushions that I made a few more.  Thought they would be nice to have on hand when I need a little gift.  I also thought I would share the pattern so you can make some for yourself, if sew inclined.  :)

I used felted wool for the pincushions.  If you would like to put a signature label on the back, use the small heart pattern and just write your name on it with a disappearing marker.  Back-stitch the writing with some embroidery floss and blanket stitch it to the back heart.  I also used embroidery floss to add some running stitch veins to the leaves.  You could also do this with your sewing machine, but it really doesn't take too long to do it by hand.

Stitch the two hearts together, insides out, using a 1/8 seam allowance and leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing.  Trim the inside and outside corners close to the stitching.  (You may want to reinforce the stitching at the corners before trimming.  Do this by just stitching over your original stitching a second time.)

Turn the heart right-side out and stuff with some polyester filling.  Hand stitch the opening shut.  Position your leaves and hand-stitch or glue in place.  Stack the flower petals and button and sew together.  Attach to the heart with stitching or glue.  Some of the flowers I cut with the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die, others I hand cut and included with the pattern.
Click on image and make sure it is 8.5 x 11 before printing.
Hope you have as much fun making these as I did.

As always, thanks for stopping!