Monday, September 11, 2017

Heard it's been ruff

A friend's husband is recuperating from a hip replacement and fractured pelvis after a work related accident. I'm wincing just typing that. Sometimes a card for a man can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, this man is an animal lover and the dogs in Art Impressions Doggy Kisses Set were perfect for this card. Sentiments are from the same set.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ahoy, Matey!

Another family birthday party for a young boy was held yesterday. I give my great nephews and great niece money on their birthdays, not because I am lazy but because cash can be used for whatever their hearts desire. No duplicate games that require an exchange or refund, no incorrect clothing sizes, and no what-was-she-thinking-when-she-bought-this looks!

I've had Lawn Fawn's Ahoy, Matey stamp and die set for a while but hadn't used it yet. My design idea is not original, I've seen many variations of this all over Pinterest.

I used black ink on Kraft cardstock, aged a bit with Distress Inks in a few shades of brown. The flaps were made with a Lawn Fawn's Lift The Flap die set. The dotted lines were done with a Copic multiliner.

The die cut images under the flaps and on the inside were colored with Copic markers. 

I don't have a better view of the cash slot but I will explain what I did to create it. The image that you see above is one piece of cardstock with the largest flap from the die set used. I used another piece of paper under this flap to make the cash pocket. I used an oval die (Oval Word Frame from Die-Namics) to cut the opening. I glued this under the Happy Birthday flap piece, then used a tape runner to glue this assembly inside the card. I was careful to make the line of adhesive narrow on the bottom edge to allow the cash to be tucked inside, a line of tape along both short sides, and a double row of tape over the top opening so that it wouldn't pull off the card base when the cash was removed. 

The card was well received by the 8-year-old recipient who felt the envelope before opening the card and announced that it felt like money. He knows me well!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Halloween card using Karen Burnistn dies

Nothing like a new die set arriving in the mail to get me to make a card two months before it is needed. I had so much fun with the earlier Karen Burniston that I wrote about 10 days ago (here) , I ordered her House & Fence Pop-Up set #1015, Halloween Scene #1014, and Halloween Elements #1013. I also bought Winter Charms #1018 which is going to be used soon.

Whoa....thinking about a making a holiday card this far before Christmas?  This isn't like me!

I'm not paid to sing the praises of these dies, I'm just here to say they really do work well. Both the printed instructions and videos on her website, Karen Burniston, will guide you through the assembly. I'm not going explain what she explains so well, I will just comment on what I've done.

First off, the front of the card was done after the inside was finished. The card stock was cut at 4.25" x 11", scored at 5.5 inches. The gray hillside seen below was cut on a 3.75" wide of gray paper. I smudged it with a dauber and black ink. The black fence is two pieces, slightly overlapped. I used Tombow glue to adhere the fence and tape runner for the hillside. The spiderweb is a much lighter gray, almost white. The spider was cut from black paper. His eyes are Nuvo Drops in yellow. I attached a thick but small diameter dimensional under the spider and colored the white sides that might show with a black Sharpie marker. Before attaching him, I used Glossy Accents over the entire spider and let him dry completely before placing him. After figuring out where I wanted him, I used a ruler and pencil to draw a line from the spiderweb, then went over the line with a fine nib silver pen before attaching the spider. I used clear Wink of Stella on the web.

As you open the card, this is what you see:

The sky color began with lavender paper and 5 different shades of Distress Oxide ink over it, Black Soot being the last color blended over the paper. A light spritz of water made the mottled effect. I had paper towel handy and heat set the inks when I liked what I had. Card stock won't handle a lot of water well so the key words here are "light spritz". Because I worried about the paper buckling, I used Skor-Tape but regular tape runner or glue would probably have been fine.

The moon was a 1.5" circle punched from an orangish-yellow scrap and has some orange smudges on it. The eyes of the bat, bird, and the doorknob are all dimensional due to the use of Nuvo Drops. the house also has black smudges and some cracks in it, cracks done with a Copic Multiliner.

The platform assembly is 4" wide. I cut a piece of light brown paper 4" wide and tore off the bottom half. The stamped greeting is from Simon Says Stamp (SSS101444 Trick or Treat).  The gray hands are cut from the same paper as the spiderweb. I just liked them so they are where they are, just to draw attention to the greeting.

The ghost just did not photograph well. I guess craft ghosts are just like the real ones in not being photogenic. The ghost was cut on Vertigo Pebbles by Imagine Crafts. The card did take a while to complete, but a lot of my time was experimenting with inks and trying out placement. I plan to make another card very similar to this and the background is already done.

One last picture, shot from overhead to show the spacing between elements inside the card.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seawall Scarf

I recently finished this scarf and I am very happy with how it turned out. The name of the pattern is Seawall. If you have a Ravelry account (a free website if you are not already registered), the pattern can be found here. The pattern designer is Louise Zass-Bangham.

More photos are available at the Ravelry site. These are mine:

This was an easy scarf to knit. It calls for one main color and 5 additional accent colors. The scarf begins with that long column of colored rectangles. When it reached 5 feet, I bound off and picked up stitches along one long side. Yes, it was a lot of stitches but the pattern tells you how many to pick up in each color block and how many at beginning and end. You knit a few rows in the main color, charcoal in my scarf, the place those stitches on a cable holder.

You pick up the same number of stitches on the opposite side and knit to your desired width. Directions explain how to create a turning row and why you will knit a few more rows in your main color before beginning the stripe sequence for what I think of as the back side of the scarf. I love those skinny stripes and will probably make a scarf completely out of those stripes. The "back side" is no less lovely than the front of the scarf and what a stash buster this would be! 

Once the back side is the same width as the front, you are ready for a 3-needle bind off. You pick up stitches on the short ends of the scarf, knit a few rows and do a 3-needle bind off on both ends. The scarf is a long tube that is closed on three sides by this bind off method, requiring no hand sewing to finish. 

The yarns I used were a combination of Swans Island washable merino wool and Rowan Super Fine Merino. 

Money gifts

I never give our great nephews or great niece a simple check or cash in a card on their birthdays. Search for "Money as gifts" in the side bar under Search This Blog to find other examples of what I've done in the past.

This presentation took some time, but I had fun with it. Josh, the birthday boy, was 12 this past February. I gave him a box of straws. Unfortunately, the photos of the wrapped and initially opened box of straws have disappeared. The box contained over 60 drinking straws, all painted red, but only some had money in them. 

First I tried rolling up dollar bills and fitting them into a regular plastic drinking straw. This was really difficult. At my husband's suggestion, I rolled them up tightly around a wooden skewer and inserted them into straws from McDonald's and Wendy's because they are wider in diameter. Don't ask why I had this many straws on hand. You'll think I'm a Coke addict. 

Once I had the bills inside of straws, I wasn't happy that they were visible. I wanted Josh to inspect every straw, not easily see which ones had the cash. 

There was only one thing to do, right?  Paint them!  Since the straws have a red stripe, red was the logical color. I put skewers back into the straws and placed the painted ones over shoe box lids to dry. Once dry, I removed the skewers and placed all of the straws and lots of shredded paper in a large box to wrap as a gift. We have a paper shredder at the house and I used wrapping paper that I did not like to create the filler.

Josh enjoyed the challenge of finding the cash straws and working them out of their confinement. 

And for the record, I'm not a Coke addict. I'm a Diet Coke aficionado.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Karen Burniston pop up dies

I have attempted this type of pop up card in the past, all done by measuring, scoring and cutting manually. I only had fair results until I saw these dies while looking for something else online. Oh boy, do I love using Karen Burniston's pop up dies! Visit her website (here) to see samples, watch the how-to videos and shop.

The first card is for my brother-in-law. The die set is Twisted Panel Pop Up Die set, #1009. The stamp set used is Birthday Laughs #1 by Catherine Scanlon Designs.
As you begin to open it, you see part of the mechanism that makes this work. A simple cut of the green layer is done with a die, and the folded green arms are another die cut that are folded and glued into place.
The card, fully open, is so cute and magical to those make cards themselves. I love that they think I worked so hard. In reality, I shopped and followed instructions!
The next two photos are my attempt at showing you the mechanism from different angles.  The four black panels holding the stamped images on white paper are part of the die set. It really is easy to assemble following the video tutorial.

I also bought the Flower Pot Pop Up Die set, #1010, but don't have a finished card from that set yet. I did use the floral dies and flower pots from that set in conjunction with the Twisted Panel Pop Up Die set to create this card.
The Happy Birthday greeting is a new die from Stampin' Up. The papers are various ones from my stash. I used some Tim Holtz Distress Oxide ink on the flower pots to age them a bit.
The bee was cut once out of yellow paper and once out of black. The stripes and black head were done with a black marker. I sandwiched a length of wire from a twist tie between the two bee shaped pieces, the attached the opposite end to a piece of scrap paper and glued that to the backside of one of the pots.
I haven't added an inside message yet but I think I will make a plant stick (stake?) that will say "best wishes" and my name and add that to one of the pots on the right.
I think this die set is going to get a lot of use. I'm already looking at another one that is calling my name.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Experimenting with metallics on black

I used black cardstock from Core'dinations, Floral Bliss stamp from Simon Says Stamp, FineTec Pearl Colors and Pentel Slicci pens.

I heat embossed the image on black with white powder. I've had the powder forever and it wasn't expensive. Everything doesn't need to be expensive but I don't think the quality is present in this powder but it works for experimenting.
 The FineTec colors aren't easy to detect in that tray and it isn't the photograph that misleads. I made swatches on scraps of black so that I could tell the blue from silver, etc. I used water and a brush to color this image.
It isn't bad, but it isn't striking. The glow of these colors isn't noticeable until you look at the paper on an angle.
Hard to tell this is the same colored image but it is. The above photo is on an angle and closer to sunlight. 

Next, I used the Pentel pens. Despite not being able to blend them the way watercolors will blend, I like this look on the black paper more than the above examples. 
The Pentel pens were sold in a pack of 8 colors. I don't know if more colors are available that would have created better blends and shading, but these were fun to work with.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Triangle Turnabout Success!

Recently I wrote about stamp woes when an image wasn't coming out well. Part of the problem was a flaw in the stamp and part of it was me. First off, Concord & 9th, the maker of the Triangle Turnabout stamp, could not have been better to deal with unless they hand delivered the stamp and brought dinner with them!  Mistakes will happen from time to time. How a person or company remedies the mistake is what is important and Concord & 9th is an example of doing things the right way. Within days of my email to them, I had a replacement stamp in my hand.

By itself and without having seen the finished image this produces, this is one odd looking stamp, right?

The first step to using this stamp is to make a template so that things will line up properly. There isn't anything difficult about this, but I will come back to this statement in a minute. The cardboard behind the stamp is 6 inches square with lines drawn from corner to corner.

This close-up of the center shows how you line up the triangles. 

After placing this in a stamp positioning tool such as the MISTI shown above, you close the cover to adhere the stamp and add your paper to the cardboard template. 

Your paper doesn't have to be 6" square. Your cardboard template will get stained by the inked image that is beyond the paper, but that won't harm the template for future use.

This piece is 5.75 x 4.75 inches. 

In the above sample, I used Stampin' Up ink pads in Daffodil Delight, Delightful Dijon, Hello Honey and Peekaboo Peach.  The result is much better than what I had previously but was a bit off. I cut a new template out of thinner cardboard. It turns out my first template wasn't exactly 6" square. Did I say creating the template wasn't difficult? It still isn't if you pay attention to what you are doing.  

My next sample is 5" x 4" and uses Stampin' Up Denim Dandy, Lost Lagoon, Pacific Point and Tempting Turquoise ink pads. 

First I tried the new template with the black cushion in the MISTI. That didn't work. I didn't think it would but decided to check. Much better below with the black mat back in place. 

This turned out much better! 

My last sample is 5" x 4.5". I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Salty Ocean, Seedless Preserves, Twisted Citron and Worn Lipstick. 

Here they are, side by side, waiting to become the background of a card or perhaps die cut into some sort of embellishment. 

The things we don't think about....

There was a massive fire last night at an automotive dealership. No lives were lost and it appears that the fire was accidentally started by a spark when a cleaning crew was buffing a floor. The new car showroom was not directly affected although there may be smoke damage and must have an unpleasant smell this morning. The entire repair facility burned though, requiring firefighters from 12 stations to extinguish the flames. No people were injured but between 20-30 customer owned vehicles were lost.

Why am I writing about this? The business that my husband had was near this dealership and we interacted with them routinely. This alone would make it feel like a family member has suffered. More than that, despite being a business owner for many years with a large desk in his office, my husband was always a mechanic at heart. I've been a mechanic's wife since I said "I do" all those years ago. 

I am sorry for the loss and inconvenience that the vehicle owners are experiencing but I believe insurance and good business practices (this dealership has a good reputation) will take care of them. As a mechanic's wife, my heart goes out to the mechanics who have lost the tools of their trade. Hopefully, insurance will take care of them too, but replacements won't appear overnight. 

The things we don't think about...

If you aren't a mechanic or related to one, do you have any idea how much they have invested to those huge tool chests?  Here is the Snap-On Tool site if you'd like to get an idea. Mechanics are paid hourly. No place to work means no income, and depending on how long it takes for insurance to investigate and issue checks to recover the cost of replacements, they have no tools to work anywhere at the moment.

The things we don't think about...

I've experienced snobbery by people who have never had grease under the fingernails. Some think that "grease monkeys" really are more monkey than human. Some of these people don't know which part of a paintbrush is held to apply paint to a wall so their limited opinion means nothing to me. Every single profession is necessary. Those who look down on trades annoy the hell out of me. If we are lucky and remain healthy, we may never need a surgeon. Many people never consult a lawyer in their lifetime. I'm not implying that doctors and lawyers are guilty of snobbery, but some people who make assumptions will think only the letters that they recognize after a surname (B.A., J.D., M.D.) are people of value. How shallow and wrong they are! Everyone is going to need a plumber sometime in their life and wants a mechanic that they can trust. Every person has value. Your education, your home address, and your religious beliefs can all be worthwhile to you, but they don't intrinsically make you better than another human being.

The things we don't think about...

Getting back to the loss of tools, I'm wondering how many of us have up to date inventories of the tools we use in our livelihoods. Or how about inventories of valuables that would be necessary if a fire occurred in our homes? We always think we can do the paperwork tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes with a blaze that isn't just bright sunshine. 

If I could make three wishes for the world at large, they would be:

Respect one another.
Be kind.
Take care of your own business, both work and personal business.

If we all spent more time tending to our own thoughts and actions, we'd have less time to judge others. Can you imagine how different things could be

Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday Card Spinner

A good friend will be receiving this birthday card today.  The print paper is from the Birthday Memories collection from Stampin' Up, as are the punches and sentiment used on the label on the front of the card. The inside greeting is from Technique Tuesday's Sassy Birthday stamp set. The oval dies are from Die-Namics (My Favorite Things die line).

This photo taken before the Happy Birthday label was added

I like the retro feel of this little girl. The above image was cut from designer paper, the reverse side of the red print. The back of the girl shown below is from the stamp set Birthday Delivery and cut with the coordinating die from the Birthday Friends set. The stamped image is not a true back side of the girl on the print paper. The stamp has her arms behind her back. Since I didn't want her to have four arms, I used markers to color the stamp rather than an ink pad, avoiding the arms. I colored this image with Prismacolor pencils because they were a better match to the print image, even though not as dark in color. I could have colored this darker but liked how this turned out and was afraid of messing up a good thing if I went over it again.

The inside of the front needed paper over it to conceal the string used to make the girl spin. I didn't get the cover piece on straight and hookey-booed (a term from my mechanic hubby) a fix by adding Washi tape as a frame.

The sentiments in the Sassy Birthday set amuse me. 

The front of the card still needed something and I hadn't said Happy Birthday yet, so I added the message below using the Classic Label and Word Window punches. The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes.

To set this card up to spin when my friend takes it out of the envelope, the suspended oval just needs to be wound up and held until the card goes into the mailer.

Home alone when taking photos, I couldn't hold the card in place and operate the camera well, but here is a clip of the girl spinning: