Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Birthday and graduation cards

Cards, again.  First, a simple graduation card for a young lady. I should have mitered the red strips that formed the stripes in the V neckline. I'll plan better next time. The cap is elevated with pop dots. The tassel is made of embroidery floss. 

There were requests on Facebook to send birthday cards to a young boy with a very serious illness. I don't always pay attention to this type of thing because some people are attention seekers and the supposed illness or catastrophe doesn't exist. This story made the news and something about that little boy's face got to me. I used birthday embellishments on this box card for him. The hang tag has a personal wish with our city and state. I've heard the young man has received many cards from all of the world, just as he had hoped. 

I'm having fun with Sizzix Flip-it dies. This card used Circle Flip-its Die #657586.  The stamped image and part of the inside greeting is from an Art Impressions stamp called Giant Cake (# 4832). I stamped the image, scanned and reduced it in size to get it to fit the circle. Prismacolor pencils were used to color it. 

The card measures 5" square. I made an envelope to fit this, using Memory Keepers' Envelope Punch board. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

How often do you declutter?

Hubby and I aren't hoarders, but he finds it hard to get rid of useful items and when it comes to craft supplies, I find myself thinking of the original intention of some of those purchases and thinking the item will still be made.

You know what? Most of that ain't happening. All that stuff was taking up precious room and was making me feel guilty. I have found someone who is going to take the excess fabric and yarn and most likely create wonderful items! Yay for her and a big yay for me!

I still have more than I probably need but it feels reasonable right now. I am making some changes in my life and this feels better than good, it feels GREAT! 

When I was in my 20s, I knew older women who had plastic slipcovers because they wanted to "save" their furniture. Remember the episode of Everyone Loves Raymond where Marie finally took off the slipcovers and no one was comfortable?

That episode still makes me laugh but should I pride myself in not being a Marie now that I am about her character's age? I don't have slipcovers but what about the blouse I save "for good" or the squeaky shoes that I haven't thrown out just in case my favorite sandals break? With my craft supplies, I hope to never again debate about using a particular paper, yarn, or fabric because that item is no longer available. I want to use it all and fun doing it! Something else always comes along, so why have I been holding on to what no longer works for me, figuratively if not literally?

I'm off to tackle another room. Contact me if you have some Tupperware without a lid or Gladware that is too good to throw out yet but have more lids than bottoms. I might have what you need in my "out" pile. 

I like this last graphic. If I add this to avoiding the news on TV, my mind should feel both rested and happy to the Nth degree again!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Art classes

Once a month I take classes with an instructor at Mary Maxim's  in Port Huron, Michigan. One class always features Copic Markers techniques but the second might be a combination of marker and colored pencils or something entirely different but equally wonderful.

Yesterday was class day. I eagerly anticipated going but woke up at 2:30 quite ill from who knows what. By 9 a.m. when I should have been leaving the house, I knew I wasn't going to be able to attend. I didn't truly feel normal again until this morning, 30 hours after that rude awakening. Sulking doesn't do any good and certainly isn't attractive, but unpacking my supplies this morning was not unlike unpacking for a vacation that didn't happen.

Enough with the negative, how about I show you why I enjoy these classes?

Most of the Copic classes begin with stamped images. This first one uses Mo Manning's "Ragged Angel". It isn't clear in the photo but we used two different papers so that we could see how paper influences our results.

These stamps are Penny Black's "Love at X-mas". I enjoyed working with silver and gold gel pens and love how shading the furry areas before adding the fuzzy fibers with white pen make the fur look three dimensional.

The next two are Penny Black and Mo Manning's "Little Elf Finn" and "Little Elf Mim". The lessons on matte metal finishes is something I've used many times since that class.

I am a huge fan of Art Impressions stamps. This one is called "Stayin' Afloat". Objectives included variations in skin color and how to make the water look like pool water.

Sorry about the poor photography in the next two. The first is under glass and the second is washed out a bit due to flash. The tree trunks were cut from Memory Box's "Grand Willow Tree" die. The tree on the left has various Copic marker color applied after Birch like stripes were applied with Frisket, a product known as resist which blocks color. The 3-D blossoms in that tree were paper punched and shaped a bit before attached with adhesive dots. The tree on the right is the same free form foliage shape, but this time the Frisket was painted on to resemble leaves before bands of Copic colors were added and blended. The tree trunk has minor shading added. 


Here is a close up of the shaded foliage that I used in another tree.

Again, I apologize for the photo. I framed it before I thought to take a picture. The trees were cut from Memory Box's "Tall Birch" die and this time we used Tombow Markers instead of Copics. Tombows are water based. We applied some marker color, then added water to paint our squiggles or shade or geometric designs. 

Last month we did more doodling and coloring with Tombows on this three dimensional star. Such fun!

Sometimes the subject of our classes isn't one I would choose, this being an example. The girl is Prima Doll's "Lorena" and the butterfly wings are Memory Box "Butterflies". The photo on the left is a suggested finished project from class. On the right is what I did and photographed against black paper. I later attached it to black canvas and added some of the small butterflies seen on the ribbon on the right, swirling (swarming?) from lower left to upper right. What I did enjoy from this class was learning to use glitter (using Modge Podge) as an accent without over powering a project, and that you can add dimension to a stamped object on a dark print paper with gray markers and white pencil. 

Another example of unexpected paper was this class done on brown Kraft paper. Copics were used before Primacolor pencils added highlights. Stamped images are from Penny Black's "Garden Friends" collection. 

Here is another example of a subject I wouldn't have chosen in this mixed media piece. The birds are Genine Zlatkis for Magenta's "Tweeter". The bird that we colored in class was the blue one. Blue dye was used to stamp the image and also to age the post card a bit. Once home, I decided to color a second bird in shades of red and yellow, not thinking of the image being in blue. Oops! That wing got a bit muddy and I used many more colors than planned to come up with something I could live with. Mistakes make for good lessons though. I like the shading on the pods which I think are Chinese lanterns.  I don't recall the maker of the stamps used on the post card, they were borrowed. 

Last in this description of some of the classes is this one featuring a retired stamp from Stampin Up called "Manhattan Rose".  We used a variety of Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils on this 8.5x11 inch page. I think I spent ten hours working on this. That probably sounds ridiculous if you don't enjoy coloring, but it was both relaxing and fun for me. 

I thought for a while about what I should title this post. Some wouldn't consider coloring stamped images with markers and pencils art, and sometimes I would agree with them. I have attended some classes that were very disappointing. There are teachers in all walks of the craft world who are talented in their chosen field but can't teach worth a darn. Occasionally you encounter one who doesn't seem to have much talent in either their craft or the art of instructing.

I would happily give the name of the instructor that has taught me so much, but I haven't asked her permission to do so. If you live near Mary Maxim's in Port Huron and are interested, call the retail store (not the online store number) and ask about their monthly Saturday Copic class.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beads, beads, beads

Sometimes I like bead patterns where I follow a chart and work in peyote stitch like this Santa bracelet:

Sometimes I like a pattern that requires a little thought, but not as much detail, such as this necklace:

And sometimes I sit down to make a simple repair and look at the beads I've collected and decide to just string them into simple necklaces and bracelets so I can enjoy wearing them. That is what I did a few days ago. 

This bracelet broke last December when I caught it on something and pulled the clasp loose. I retrieved all the parts and restrung it, needing only a new wire and new crimp beads to hold the two parts of the clasp in place.  I think of it as a Christmas bracelet because the striped bead between clear floral shapes remind me of wrapped Christmas candies.


I've been known to wear a necklace or bracelet for quite some time and decide I want to change the mix of beads. That was the case with this bracelet. The blue and white beads were in a bracelet I seldom wore while the blue and silver beads had been asking to be used for quite some time. I didn't have enough of them for a necklace and didn't like various bracelets until I mixed the striped ones with them. I like this. For now. 

I like yellow and wear yellow or colors that work well with it often. Both sets of yellow beads have been in a "to-do" basket for ages. These pieces might be taken apart at a later date if I find something I like better but I wore them yesterday and was happy. The bracelet is on a stretch cord. The clear crystals on it and both the clear and yellow crystals on the necklace are Swarovski crystals. You can't beat them for clarity and sparkle. 

Three more done on stretch cord. Actually, four more since I made two with the topaz-y beads seen here. The butterflies are copper in color, but not actual copper. 

Carnelian red with a few clear crystals to make it a comfortable size:

Summer fun colors, rather neon in tone, wouldn't you say? They remind me of candy necklaces kids wear but much brighter:

There are colors I am always attracted to but neither green or gray are my typical choices. On separate shopping expeditions, I couldn't leave the green turquoise in the store, nor the gray clay beads. The stones are a bit more green than what the photo shows, but you can still see the difference in coloring from what most of think of when we hear turquoise. That shade would be the first necklace above. 

The background of these beads are gray with green undertones and there is a dull purple in the flowers. Not my usual palette at all, but I had to have them!

The last bracelet of the day is one I will wear often. The barrel beads are black but have a lot of color and sparkle beneath the surface. There is a name for this, but it escapes me. The bicone beads are Swarovski, the color is fern I think. The faceted round beads between the crystals are inexpensive beads from a craft store in black with a iridescent finish. 

Can you tell I like jewelry?  Don't let anyone dull your sparkle!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fireworks, fish, family and friends

The Fourth of July weekend consisted of four big F's: Fireworks, fish, family and friends.

Most of my family was together at the cottage for four days of fun. I guess fun should have made this five F's. Professionally staged fireworks could be seen on the horizon from various city and boat club celebrations and there were many private displays that hopefully were handled carefully.

Mr Wonderful (my grandson) was in attendance with those people he calls Momma and Daddy, aka my beautiful daughter-in-law and #1 son. *Note: If #2 son reads this, the numbers refer to birth order, nothing else, so unruffle your feathers.* Neighbors of theirs weren't far from us at their family's cottage so visiting back and forth was fun for the parent generation as well as the kiddie set. The friend's four year old and Mr Wonderful were growing tired one evening and as kids will often do, they both wanted the same toy, in this case Mr Wonderful's stuffed doggie. He cried because he thought his friend wasn't going to return his toy. She cried because she didn't want to return it. Mr Wonderful made an announcement. He told his momma that he wanted to go back to Mr Wonderful's cottage. Not the cottage or PapaGigi's cottage, Mr Wonderful's cottage. 

Just like that, the line of succession skipped both son #1 and son #2!  Papa took this in stride but perhaps #1 feels like Prince Charles and #2 feels like Prince Andrew or Prince Harry? I still feel like the Queen but am wondering why it falls on me to clean the thrones. 

By the way, PapaGigi run together is not a typo. If something isn't clearly Papa's or clearly mine, it is PapaGigi's. 

Mr Wonderful doesn't share the enthusiasm for dirt and slime that his daddy had at his age. He was willing to touch the fish (look closely, there is a small fish in his daddy's hand) after Gigi touched it. I didn't wince but I did wash my hands afterward.   (I can say/show that here!)

 See the lawn chair above? Do you remember when macrame cord on old lawn chair frames was the thing to do? Well, if you are/were craft crazy it was. There are still a few of these gems floating around but I finally ditched the last of the macrame cord one or two purges ago. Compared to the webbing that often frayed with use or pinched you if your fleshy parts protruded between the weave, the macrame chairs were comfortable. 

If you remember the macrame lawn chairs, you probably made macrame plant hangers long before the chairs, or at least remember them. Our house wasn't suited to those hangers but I had to make something out of that cord that I saw in every craft store back then. Never one to jump into a small project like a key fob first, I bought wire rings, brown cord and wooden beads to make something for our wall. I don't have a picture showcasing that but I do have a photo that was supposed to showcase my new outfit way back when. 

Back then you had to take your film to be developed and wait days, maybe a week, before seeing what the photos looked like. I still don't know if my husband didn't see the wall art behind me or if this was his idea of funny. I'd rather have a tiara than a headdress but this is what I got. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Manual typewriter as a musical instrument

If you remember typing on a manual typewriter, you might enjoy this clip. You could have become a musician!

I love the expressions of the orchestra members. Music is always good for the soul. A little levity with the music is a wonderful bonus.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's with the glasses in my photo?

Are you wondering what is with my glasses in my current photo over there on the right side -->
No, I don't always look like that, only on special occasions. We attended a very special occasion earlier this year, the birthday party of our grandson Mr Wonderful.

The theme for Mr Wonderful's party was Super Heroes and we were encouraged to dress up. "Yay!" said Gigi. "Oh no!" said Papa. I would have been willing to create a plus size, AARP card carrying Wonder Woman and similar male counterpart costumes but for some reason, Papa said no. Papa is a good sport though, especially when kids are involved so we became....drum roll please..... Super Gigi and Super Papa!

Explanation of Minion head follows at the end of this post.
With my ultra-serious outlook in life, I often refer to us as Super Papa and Super Gigi so our character names were not a problem. I knew Mr Knitty would not want to wear something cumbersome so an elongated bib that buttoned behind the neck seemed like the way to go. The material used was leftover felt from a playhouse project. The letters and objects were done freehand and appliqued by sewing machine. 

Super Papa has a TV remote and a couch as his Super Hero logos. This doesn't mean he is a couch potato, it has to do with Mr Wonderful's distinction as to which couch in this house is Papa's and also which remote is his. 

Super Gigi's logo is a ball of yarn and knitting needles. I have too many hobbies to fit them all in but since knitting is a constant and what Mr Wonderful sees me working on most often, it was a natural choice. The bling is because....well....just because!

Once you've blinged up an adult felt bib, your eyeglasses cannot go unadorned. Sparkly red scrapbook paper was cut to fit over my frames with cat's eye shaping added. Or are they 1959 Buick fins? (Not that I remember a car that old ) The tiara was in the dollar bin at a craft store.

* Now for that explanation: Not everyone wants their photo online for the world to see. Hubby is like that so when I don't crop him out of a photo for this blog, I will obscure his face with a Minion. Am I implying he is my minion? Not out loud, I'm not!  I really do love the Minions though, so I thought this was a good choice as I love Mr Knitty very much.