Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Off with their heads!

I made this card to thank the couple who hosted a recent Euchre tournament in my neighborhood. I used this image before in a class, coloring the Queen of Hearts with Copic markers. Here is the link to that version. I prefer that look but this was fun to do also. I used colored pencils but am not crazy about the paper I used. I honestly don't know what make or type of paper this is. It was in a folder with other "pencil paper" but that doesn't mean it wasn't misfiled.

For those who don't work with colored pencils, the ideal paper needs a little bit of texture, referred to as "tooth".  This isn't fine art, this is a cute card, so I'm okay with the result and it will go out in today's mail.
The colors are more accurate in this photo below. I glazed the queen's crown, heart on her staff, and her monocle with a clear gel pen.
This closeup shows how the texture in the paper (too much!) affected coloring. Colored pencils sit on top of the paper, they aren't absorbed the way paints and markers are. When a paper has stark hills and valleys, color is caught on the hills but doesn't always reach the valleys. From a distance, this card looks fine. Up close you can see some of the white paper showing in her skin tones and dress. She's a crazy lady though and no one would dare point this out to her! She'll order "Off with their head!" if they say anything disparaging!
Her monocle isn't white, it was done with a clear pen. The beads in the chain of that monocle are silver but they did not photograph that way.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Mask explanation and (unrelated) my new shelf

I confused a friend in my last post when I mentioned that I stamped something using a mask. Sometimes when focused on what you are thinking and talking about, you forget that a word or phrase may have multiple meanings. In this case, "using a mask" was a technique, not something I was wearing like a painter would do when spray painting. I chose this video from Stamp With Brenda to provide a short explanation:

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One of my Christmas gifts this year was a picture ledge shelf.  My son recently hung that for me and I am very happy with it. Over many years of crafting and painting, I have a lot of art that I occasionally like to have out but don't want to dedicate a space for it long term. The ledge on the front of this shelf means framed items can lean there and small things can perch there without falling off.

This red wall is in my office. The opposite wall is all bookcase, corner desk, lower cabinets and all the paraphernalia that goes with a computer and printers, etc. Since the room was painted two years ago, this wall has been blank.
After hanging the shelf, I placed this series of 4 watercolors that were done three years ago as class assignments.  The four frames fit and since I don't plan to typically have four aligned this way, other arrangements will surely sit well. Having a mix of sizes and some frames being in portrait orientation rather than landscape will be more interesting.
This first painting, Amaryllis, should be portrait anyway, in my opinion, because of the bulb on the right. Why I titled and signed it where I did is beyond me.  The other subjects are Dogwood, Trillium, and Tulips.



I am pleased with what I learned from doing these paintings but I've discovered that I prefer making cards and smaller bits of art. If you make a lot of art, what do you do with it? Where do you put it? If I give someone a painting, they probably feel obligated to display it. I don't want that. If I give a card, my only hope is that they enjoy it while reading it. Whether they keep it for a day or a year is up to them. A card doesn't present that possible obligation so we both win.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Dog's Woof

Maybe the nicest cards of all are the ones that are a complete surprise, arriving for no other reason than to tell someone that another person thought of them and wanted to say hello. They don't have to be handmade cards but when you have a whole roomful of supplies, of course, that is what a crafter does. Can I tell the non-crafters a secret? We crafters like making you smile and maybe even say "aw..." but we have fun making cards. The joy for us is making the cards. When they are happily received, that is icing on the cake, sprinkles on top of the ice cream, and maybe a shot of Kahlua in the coffee. 

I think this card is going to be sprinkle worthy.  The stamp set used on the front of the card is The Dog's Woof by Mama Elephant. 
I repeated the block of dogs while stamping (using a mask) and added a few of the single dogs and later added the "woof" sign. Coloring was done with Copic markers. 

The inside image and sentiments on both the card and envelope are from Playful Pups, also by Mama Elephant

 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Valentine touches around the house

It is a gray sky kind of morning. The snow is patchy and any snow near the street is dirty. Not the best look outside, but my home brings me comfort and changing small seasonal decor brings me pleasure. Not all of these are seasonal but all are about love.

This piece of furniture belonged to my parents and while I'm not sentimental about all furniture, this piece is one of my exceptions.  It usually holds some of my collections.
Like many of my collections, the first item purchased wasn't intended as item #1, the collections just sort of happened. When my husband retired, he built a few birdhouses. Watching birds was (and still is) fun. The first set of decorative birds are not in these photos. They and another pair are elsewhere in the house. I keep saying I am NOT going to buy more birds but then another set speaks to me and finds it way here. I'm hopeless.  Is it corny that I think of us as lovebirds or that I think of my sweetie whenever I see a cardinal now? Not all, not to me anyway, and that is what matters.
 
I also have a fondness for Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, and Disney too, especially characters from my childhood. These next three items and the first pair of birds above are all Jim Shore creations. Lady and the Tramp stay in place all year.
 
  
Boyd's Bears are another collection I have throughout the house. I don't keep as much out at one time these days, I rotate what I display. Some Boyd's Bears are actual plush bears. That company was acquired by a larger one and the whole line was retired in 2014.
 
I had to have this mouse because she not only plays with scissors (like me!), she has a ladybug, another one of my "things".
Both of the mice are Enesco products. I'm not sure this particular line is still in production. 
This is a shelf under my TV. The sign is out nearly all year, moved only for autumn and Christmas signs that fit there. The snowmen on either side are SnoWonders by Sarah's Attic, another company that no longer exists. 
This wall hanging is between my living room and kitchen, made a long time ago.
And last but not least, this hangs on my front door. It is beginning to show its age, but so am I.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Happy February

I've just changed a profile picture, the background and header here, and I've rearranged the living room. Why? Winter-itis, or as one friend suggested, I'm controlling what little I can. I think she hit the nail on the head.

My part of Michigan was having an easy winter until this past Monday. The polar vortex business was bad news but it was worse elsewhere so I'm trying not to complain about it. I did have a frozen pipe at the kitchen sink. It is an outside wall and to make matters worse, the exterior area is a corner that seems to like to collect north wind. I leave cabinet doors open under the sink in bitter weather but that was not enough this week. It has been at least 15 years since I had to use a hairdryer to thaw a pipe. This week was worse. When I didn't get a relatively quick result with that, I put a heater inside the cabinet. It took nearly an hour which was 20 minutes past my comfort zone. I don't think I'm an impatient person. My problem is uncertainty. How long is too long? When is it time to call in help?

Rearranging the living room worked off that tension and moved where I usually sit away from an outside wall.  I hate winter despite not wanting to leave Michigan. I'm so complex! 

What am I doing to get through the winter days?  In no particular order of priority or preference, I am knitting a long scarf. It will be loooooong.

I am doing color charts for three types of colored pencils (each has a different attribute, I'll spare you a lecture) and Copic markers. The charts below are just the pencils. I primarily work on white, but it is good to know how the colors will look on kraft paper (beige) and other mid-tones, and then on black. This is homework for online classes I will be taking. This was going to be simple. Ha! While not difficult, this represents over 7 hours of work. 
The current book I am reading is this one:
Most of my TV viewing lately is either YouTube videos from cardmakers and artists or Acorn TV, a subscription channel that has programming from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Click the Acorn link if you'd like to know more about it. There aren't many American network shows that I watch anymore.

My unintentional but frequent hobby is blocking phone numbers on both my landline and cell phone. If this was exercise, I'd be positively svelte by now!

One reason I won't be svelte anytime soon is this gift from neighbors. Chinese New Year is this Tuesday, February 5th.

 
Is there a meaning behind French Cookies with Chinese packaging arriving on Groundhog's Day? I think there is. I think I am supposed to make another pot of coffee, turn the TV on to Acorn, pick up my knitting and enjoy both the cookies and thoughtful neighbors!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Customized cell phone case

Today's creation is taken from a Connie Stewart post and video from January 10, 2019: Click here

Connie's idea of using pretty paper was very nice but what would be even nicer for this Gigi would be a photo of her grandchildren. 💗
I didn't photograph the steps, Connie's video does a better job than I would have. All you need is a clear case and a photo.

I took the cover off, traced the phone, made a template, printed an image of the kids together, and used the template to cut out the area for the camera lens. The photo is nestled between the phone and case. I have a feeling that space would be snug enough that you could cut a photo to fit that is smaller than the case in length and avoid cutting out the lens area if that seems too fiddly to you. My photo is approximately 6" x 3" with the corners rounded to fit my phone.

When I showed my hair stylist today, she loved it but said she had too many grandchildren to get them in one photo that would fit. I think she needs to showcase one grandchild per month. 😉


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Valentine treats

January was unusually mild for Michigan....until it wasn't. It was so cold last weekend, even my son who is rarely cold mentioned it. I've spent time reading or knitting, under an afghan, with the thermostat cranked up. I go upstairs early, not to go to bed, but because heat rises. Yesterday we had a break but the reprieve meant things began to melt and precipitation was rain that fell on top of ice. I am thankful that I didn't fall but I slid down the driveway sideways, stopped by the slight elevation of the expansion strip in the concrete driveway. The deep freeze returns this weekend and will hang around a while:
Those highs next Wednesday and Thursday of 1 and 4 really should have a 7 in front of them to make me happy. 

I've started making some Valentine treats, mainly because I have a new die and the plastic holders designed for this set. Hersey Nuggets fit in their perfectly. I'm trying to wrap Nuggets with the decorative papers and get them into these holders ASAP because my will power isn't strong and I love chocolate almost as much as I love coffee and Diet Coke. 

The dies used are from My Favorite Things, specifically Nugget Label Window and Frame MFT-1458, and Treat Tag MFT-1463. The Nugget Trio Pouches (10 to a pack) are Supply-4021

  
Here is the first one I assembled. L-R are the top tag with the window frame cut with tag topper and window frame (the floral paper) added. The second tag has the door to access the candy in it. The plastic is shaped to hold the Nuggets. 


These will be for my granddaughter and grandson, I just haven't figured out sentiments to add to the back of them yet. I moved the placement of the candy holder to the left side of the tag for the space-themed card so that I could use the Super Star on the bottom right corner.
Minnie was fussy cut from pattern paper and glued to dotted paper after I lightly marked where the door would be cut.
These are a lot of fun to make. I plan to make a few for my girlfriends because Valentines don't have to be just for romantic love.