Friday, March 17, 2017

An unexpected break in crafting

Sometimes life throws curve balls and since I'm not good at catching them, I spend a lot of time running after them to pick them up. In an attempt to keep my private life actually private, that is all I'm saying for now. For those who know me personally and read here, I'll be back eventually, both here and wherever you expect to see me locally.

One thing I will share is that we recently had all of our rooms in our house painted. This had been planned for quite a while and the process began before the balls began bouncing haphazardly. We have a long time friend who is a house painter. Bless his heart, he worked with us and around a crazy schedule.

My husband can paint, but that doesn't mean he excels at it and it certainly doesn't mean he enjoys it. We don't often do BIG things such as expensive vacations or frequently remodel. The Travel Channel and HGTV would never be interested in filming us. Our 20th anniversary was the first time I convinced hubby that we should celebrate by having our friend paint the house for us. He was still hesitant at first, thinking that this should be one of "his duties" as husband and dad. After it was done, this was the best idea "HE" ever had. I really don't mind as the job was done well and was a stress-free event for both of us. Our friend has painted for us twice since then.

Our home faces north and we have a covered porch across the full front of the house. The living room has long been yellow which is a cheery color for me, and always looked good, even on gloomy winter days. I could have been happy repeating the yellow but hubby wanted a change. I looked at shades of blue. Our sons who have their own homes and don't really have a vote still had opinions to share. (Who raised them?) They thought I had too much blue going on. Back to paint samples. Not just because of the boys' opinions, I was secretly harboring the same thought.

The living room is now a light shade of aqua. Depending on the light in the room, the hue flips from being more blue than green to the opposite. This was totally unintentional but it pleases me. I was out of the house the entire time the living room was being painted and came home that evening, wondering if I was going to be disappointed to have the cheery yellow gone. This color spoke one word to me: Serene. I'm not always like this, attributing emotions to wall colors even though I do know that color affect us. The walls being serene are wonderful. I don't have a photo of this color that does it justice and I doubt this is important to anyone but me. I'm just happy to be happy with my color choices.

The biggest changes are having a green room (I'm not a "green" person) in the formerly beige family room; a red office that was previously peach and a craft room that is a wonderful shade of turquoise.
The green looks gray in this light, very misleading, but is a good
backdrop for the doll house that hubby built.
Hubby's side of the office
My side. Notice you can't see the mess on my desk surface?
If only the counter could stay this clear! I hope to make a valance
with shades of deep pink, white and turquoise.
I had to keep yellow somewhere. The windowless bathroom
is a color called Rubber Ducky.
I hope to have a colorful post soon about something I've made. I'm still in the process of deciding what goes back on walls and shelves and what should be donated or just plain trashed. There is nothing like moving almost everything you own as you prep for painting to make you realize you've been hanging on to many things too long. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Valentine for hubby

This is the last of Valentine cards for this year, or at least the last designed for family members. This simple but striking one is for my husband. The heart is cut from a die called Heart of Flowers by Simon Says Stamp. I was originally planning to use a multi-colored background under the heart but my choice all seemed feminine until I tried this red glimmer paper.
The stamp is from Simon Says Stamp, the set's name is Hey Love. The exterior and interior message are part of one whole stamp but I couldn't fit the entire message on the front of this card so I masked off the second half of the sentiment to use inside.

This is looking through my MISTI. After determining where the sentiment would hit, I added a Post-It note the card stock and inked the upper half of the stamp. The yellow that you see is Washi tape wrapped around the magnets used with the MISTI.
With the lid of MISTI raised,  you see the stamped image on cardstock and partially on the Post-It.
 I did lose the bottom loops of the Y and F but I filled them in with a Copic multiliner.
For the inside greeting, I figured out where I wanted the stamp and added the Post-It to the upper half of the stamp, then inked the lower portion and stamped.
The small "Happy Valentine's Day" is from a miscellaneous set of stamps.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Valentine characters

Today's Valentine card features characters from Darcie's Hear and Home. The stamp set includes both figures and both sentiments. It is called Super Day. The hearts are from a miscellaneous set. The inside greeting is a hand lettered sentiment for my son and daughter-in-law.
I used Xpress-it paper and Copic markers to color these figures.
Skin tones were done with E21, E50 and her lips and cheeks have a bit of R02
His hair is D15, E39, and E 29.
Her hair is E43, Y32, and Y02.
Both figures have Copic colored multiliner details added, such as the emblem on his suit, her stars and a few streaks in her hair.
The reds and blues use in their clothing are R27 and R89, B24 and B29.
His belt and her rope are Y15.
His shorts and boots are C2, C4, and C7.

I used Wink of Stella pens in red on the large heart and on her boots, and a yellow Wink of Stella on her stars and the yellow border of the emblem on this shirt.
It is hard to show the subtle yet still noticeable bit of glimmer that Wink of Stella adds. It looks more like moisture here than glimmer, but it is there.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Light up Valentine greetings for my grandkids

I joined the Chibitronics bandwagon and oh, what fun! Click here for a 2-minute clip of what Chibitronics lights are and how they work.

This robot is from My Favorite Things. The stamp set is called Biotic Bits and includes the line "nuts over bolts about you". "A little message to say" and the script Valentine greeting are from Lawn Fawn's Love Letters stamp set.  The robot is colored with Prismacolor pencils.  I used a yellow light (part of the Chibi starter kit) behind the antenna on the robot's head and red light behind his heart. The second picture was taken in a dark room to show the strength of the lights.

The robot will be for my grandson, this pup will be for my granddaughter. Same schematics on this card with only one light used on the circuit. I used a white light this time. The dog and sentiment (the "I" was added by hand) are from Newton's Nook set called Fetching Friendship

I really enjoyed creating these cards. The Chibi starter kit has plenty of copper tape for more cards and came with a total of 12 lights (6 white, 2 red, 2 blue and 2 yellow) and two 3-volt button batteries. After pricing batteries locally, I ordered batteries from Amazon which came today. I will definitely make more cards this weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Art Impressions Elephant Slider Valentine Card

The Art Impressions Elephant Slider stamp and die set seems to be intended for a birthday because of the hat and the candle on the top cupcake.  I used this set to make this Valentine card. There will probably be a name added to the blank white which is the slider, but that is not important for now, this post is about creating the card.
I stamped the elephant and stack of cupcakes from the set (4802 is the product number from Art Impressions) on Xpress-it paper and colored the images with Copic markers, some Prismacolor pencil and a clear gelly roll pen. I masked off the candle that was on the top cupcake and turned the square base of the candle into another cake sprinkle.
You could make your own sleeve for the slider but I used the die intended for this, product #4764. Shown below is the stamped wording that will behind the elephant (part of the stamp and die set), the metal slider die and the paper I used for that to the right.
Here are the dies for the elephant and cupcakes. The elephant die is in place, the other die shows where the candle was intended to be.
 This is how they came out of the Sizzix. I trimmed away the remaining white border and the candle
The Copic colors I used on the elephant were C2 and C4 for the body, R20 on the inner ear and nails with a light coat of C2 over it. The tray is also C2 and C4. The cupcake papers are RV11, RV23 and YR000 with some Prismacolor pencil Sienna #945 to take the down pinkness and create a different color from the icing. The icing Copic colors ar R00 and R02. The cherry is R27 and R46 with the same Prismacolor pencil on the stem. The chocolate chips are E37 and E47. The sprinkles are R27, B05 and a green that I forget to make note of. The hat is B05 and R27. A clear gelly roll pen was used on the elephant's eye, hat, on the tray, the sprinkles and the cherry.

I cut two strips of white paper. The first is the width and length of the paper cut from the slider die. The die provides scoring lines, shown here folded over, and with double-sided tape applied. I neglected to take a photo of the slider's frame in place over the paper with the sentiment.
There is a reason why the sentiment above is not centered. I knew that when the elephant is slid all the way the right (he is running over to the stack of cupcakes), some part of the sentiment might be hidden by his body if the words were centered in within this space.

The second strip of white paper is the actual sliding piece. It is cut a little narrower than the width of the frame. I later trimmed the right end. At the point in this photo, I wasn't sure how I was going to finish that side.
I used a narrow piece of double-sided tape to hold the cupcakes to the far right side of the frame.
Here the cupcakes are in place. The double-sided tape holds very well.
The elephant is attached to the sliding strip of paper, NOT the frame. I used foam tape to add just a bit of dimension so that the elephant would move freely through the window of the frame and not catch on anything.
 
After trimming the excess from the right-hand side of the panel, I punched out a 3/4" circle from the dotted paper and a 1/2" circle from the solid red, glued the red on top of the dotted paper, and glued that onto the far red edge of the sliding paper. I used wider double-sided tape on the back of the whole mechanism to adhere it to the red card base.
 
I have used the slider die over upright figures (Stackables by Art Impressions) but this is the first horizontal slide I've made. Other possibilities are in my head, both with Art Impression images, those of other stamps I own and even of personal photos with humorous or scenic images behind the slider. 
 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The poncho that pooched

I've been knitting for a very long time. I can't always tell when a pattern is going to turn out well, either in function or fit. I had a poncho as a teen that I wish I had kept so that I could have created a pattern from it. It was very simple but no pattern that I've seen over the years comes close to what I'm remembering.

I selected a pattern available through Ravelry called the Liliane Poncho. The pattern was not difficult and was adaptable to many weights of yarn. As a poncho, exact fit wasn't an issue. I chose Rowan pure wool yarn as it was a color I liked and the yarn store had enough of it in stock....or so I thought. That isn't a comment on the store, I'll explain in a moment.

There is some shoulder shaping to this poncho which is nice for a flattering fit. Knit on circular needles, the only purling done is within the 20 stitch panel of cables in the center front. I should have paid closer attention to the shoulder shaping. Much of this was knit in public areas where I wasn't about to try it on. The shaping would have looked much better if I had stopped at the green arrow rather than the yellow. My poncho pooches because of the too-long shoulder shaping. If you're a knitter, you'll know that trying things on is important, but trying on a poncho with over 300 stitches on a long cable needle isn't the easiest thing to do.
Last night I lightly steamed all of the poncho and then concentrated on the border, hoping to get it to lay flat. As you can tell in these photos, that didn't work well.
The pattern called for a slightly different border (mine is a seed stitch) which would have been deeper and ended in a V in the front. I would have done that but as I began my last skein of yarn, I could see that I would be cutting this close if I hoped to finish with a suitable length. Perhaps I should have ended the cable panel earlier but there is a rhythm to that cabling and cutting it off in the middle just didn't look right. 

Tomorrow when I see the ladies in my knitting group, I will get opinions and advice. Should I try soaking this entire thing and pinning it to block? Maybe heavier steaming is required? Maybe I should pick up stitches at the bottom in another yarn, knit an edging and turn all of that under like a dress hem? That seems like it would be bulky.
This really is warm and I am often cold. At the very least, this will be something I wear around the house but I really do need to improve the appearance of that border. The cable panel is very pretty.
There were 377 stitches on the needle at the time of casting off. I had trimmed all of the loose ends after weaving in my joins, and knotted them together to improve my chances of not running short. That didn't work. I was 25 stitches short of finishing with the Rowan yarn. I picked a yarn that is nothing like this wool but was closest in color. 

No matter how long you've worked at a craft, a project can still be humbling. By the way, humbling, in this case, is a substitute word for %$#^&* frustrating. 

Chain Maille Bracelets and some coloring

Wow, the last day of January already. Where did the month go in my craft room? To be honest, my mess creativity is never confined to just my craft room. Currently I have a knitting bag on the living room chair with a new project in it; an old project upstairs in my bedroom for insomnia knitting; a recently finished knitting project on the ironing board in the kitchen (it blocked there overnight); fabric and patterns in a bag on the floor of my craft room waiting for the mood to sew to strike; and for the rest of the room I'll be generously kind and say it looks like I've been busy. 

I'm keeping up with my journal entries in the planner (see my previous post) and have found a combination of Prismacolor pencils that pleases me for hair color of the two gingers in my life, my grandkids. 💕 I have a few stamps from Roberto's Rascals line at C.C. Designs Henry and Twila don't look like my grandchildren, but colored this way, they certainly remind me of them. The lines you see are part of the journal pages. What doesn't show in the photo are the sheer sparkly highlights of rain on the window and the gossamer wings and skirt of Twila's dress. Her wand is sparkly also. All of the coloring was done with Prismacolor pencils. Twila didn't stamp with the heavy handed eyelashes, that was done to fix an ink smudge that was an accident.
 

My longest friendship is with a woman named Connie who I have known since we were in kindergarten. We won't discuss how many decades ago that was!  Her birthday is today and this is the card she should be opening right about now:
We also won't discuss whether we resemble these images but she is blonde and I've seen her wear green and I'm often in blue and have previously dark hair with silver highlights. Sounds better than gray, right? This stamp is from Art Impressions and was colored with Copic markers.

I'm learning to do chain maille jewelry. I don't know how far I'll go with this but these are two versions of the same pattern. The company that wrote the instructions calls this Japanese Lace but I'm guessing there is a generic name for the pattern that I haven't discovered yet. The illustrations were clear but the directions left a bit to be desired. I figured out the printed mistake and made these bracelets from rings purchased elsewhere. They are slightly larger than the kit contents and were easier to handle while learning this technique. I will make the kit bracelet soon. The detail is most clearly seen in the red and silver version.

This one is shinier with both the copper and silver rings having a different finish than the above version. Both bracelets have magnetic closures which I may change as they might drive me crazy, especially on the bracelet below. The magnets want to hold onto ALL of those silver rings!

It is time to check on the project on the ironing board. I hope to post positive news on that soon.