Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A sweater for me

Two surprises here:
  1. No paper was used in this creation (it is not a card or a colored anything)
  2. It is something knitted for me!
The pattern is called Kiku from Rowan's Cotton Lustre book. 

Not the best of pictures, but the other choice was this one.

Along with a full time maid and chef, I need a photographer...at least part time.

Pull Out Fun Fold card

Using the instructions provided here by Dawn of Dawn's Stamping Studio, I made this card for a my Weight Watcher leader.  Often the discussion at WW meetings is about support, encouragement and humor.

Here is the card as it will come out of the envelope:

 Pulled open, you see the other images and messages:

A better view of the cellulite message:

Here is the source info for the stamps I used:

  • Orange slice and sentiment: Inky Antics "Sentimental Fruit"
  • Typewriter and sentiment below it: Hero Arts # CL483
  • You Make Life Sweet and cupcake: TSG (There She Goes) "A Little Treat"
  • It's not Cellulite: Creative Vision Stamps "Not Cellulite"
  • You make me Smile: Inkadinkado "Friendly Advice"

Lastly, unrelated to card making and stamping, see my red nail polish? Day 5 without chipping! That is Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel in Red Eye and Miracle Gel top coat. I'd rate it two thumbs (and eight fingers) up!

Flamingo Anniversary Card

I saw a few variations of making flamingos from Stampin' Up's Bird Builder Punch and came up with this for a friend who loves these long legged birds.
The legs and necks are from the branch with most of the leaves cut off. One leaf remains behind the heads (wings). The bodies are the bird bodies from the punch with their heads trimmed off. If I make this again, I will trim down the black beaks which were also done with the wings.

The row of hearts at the top were done with the Border Hearts punch. The word love within the heart is from You Brighten My Day.

I am amazed at how many things can be made from the various builder punches. While these are still birds, they look nothing like the bird made by the punch as is. If you are on Pinterest, search on any of the builder punch names and smile at all the possibilities.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cards made for a weekend challenge

Connie from Simply Simple Stamping posts a weekend challenge for card makers every Friday. I've been following her blog for a while, but only recently began participating. I didn't expect to be home this weekend and wasn't going to join in, but the weather is absolutely dismal. It is cold (for the end of June), has been raining all day, and we have strong wind gusts making it all feel worse. Bah and humbug!

This weather does make for a perfect afternoon to work on crafts, and so I did. I made two cards that fit this weekend's challenge. The link to this weekend's challenge info is here and here is the layout image:

In the cards I made today, I used Blackberry Bliss, Lost Lagoon and Watermelon Wonder cardstock and/or ink. The flowers came from two stamp sets, Crazy About You (it also supplied the 'Happy Birthday') and Petal Potpourri. The 'Thinking of You' message is from the Sheltering Tree stamp set. 

The flower nearest the top has a bit of white glimmer on alternate rows of petals. I used Wink of Stella to achieve this. It provides a light layer of shimmer. The white flower a bit of shine in the center and along some of the petal lines from a Sakura Gelly Roll pen, the Clear Star one. This flower is slightly elevated with pop dots. The lower petal was stamped with Blackberry Bliss to match the background, and has white highlights from a white Signo Uniball Impact pen.

The flower inside is also Blackberry Bliss on Lost Lagoon with a bit of white (Uniball pen) highlighting.

The second card issues the same sentiment on the front with a Happy Birthday greeting inside.

I stamped the flower in Watermelon Wonder on white paper. I used a 2.5" punch to create a spot for its placement within the Lost Lagoon paper that is 1/4" smaller than the card base on each side. The flower is on pop dots and the center has a pearl embellishment.  After rounding the corners on the Lost Lagoon cardstock, I used the white Uniball pen to add stitches to the edge and around the circle. 

I like the simplicity of both cards. Knowing when to stop can be difficult, but I'm becoming more comfortable with making that decision.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A box card made among new friends

There is an old song or saying that begins with:

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

My long time friends are definitely gold, and yesterday I was lucky to find myself in a silver group. One of my knitting friends also makes cards and she has told me about a card group that she enjoys and encouraged me to join them. I had previous commitments on the weekend they meet, but recently that changed for me and yesterday was my first chance to join the group. My knitting friend couldn't be there.

Uh-oh....I was going to be the new kid. While I was not seriously worried, partially because I'd met the instructor twice, I didn't know if I'd feel awkward for a while or not.

The answer was a resounding not!

Within a very short time I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. That is such a nice feeling. Most women who love their craft are open to others who share this love but often the friendship connection isn't made as quickly as it was yesterday. I'm already looking forward to being with these ladies again.

I didn't ask for permission to share the directions to this project but if you like it, you can find the basics by googling for Box Card instructions. Without further ado, here is my card.

Slip the belly band off and peek inside.
The stamped image inside was done with markers applied to the stamp.
The back side of the card.
I plan to add a small charm on the upper right of the square on the belly band. 
That looks a bit like a belt buckle, doesn't it? 

A big thank you to my new Silver friends: Suzanne, Sue, Kathy, Kathie, Jan, Lisa and Diane. 

Tomorrow I'm going out with a Golden Oldie to a yarn store. My happiness continues!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Crepe Paper Flowers

Way back in the olden days, high school homecoming floats and bridal party cars were decorated with crepe paper or tissue paper flowers, also known as pom poms. Hundreds were made for these events and girls could probably make them in their sleep.

On a recent trip to a craft store with a coupon burning a hole in my pocket, I found this kit to make 10 crepe paper flowers. They aren't anything like the ones I made in high school or for weddings but they caught my attention and triggered a memory. I chose the white kit with absolutely no intention of leaving it white.
I used Tombow water based markers to color the petals, thinking the colors would bleed and blend when I spritzed them with water.

There were 4 sizes of petals plus the brown center for each flower. Three of the sizes are shown here with the marker experiment.
Once those were dry, the color was more subdued but not more blended. I decided to try something else. I used Dylusions ink sprays and one a "mist" product in a color called Pale Ale.
I placed the petals, usually one formation at a time, inside a box and spritzed away. In the arrangement below, the flower in the lower right looked terrible while in separate layers, but I liked it more when assembled. The flower on the lower left is the Tombow colored one, and the one behind it started out plain white until I sprayed the assembled flower with a color called Pure Sunshine.
Do you like my temporary vase? It is a roll of paper towels.
This was a happy experiment and they will in my bedroom until they either fade (not sure how the color or paper itself will endure) or until they get too dusty. I would do this again, but with a larger, deeper box so that the spray could be more of mist falling on the paper, or maybe done outside on a windless day. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hot Glass Class

I have been fascinated with glass art since my teenage years. There was a glass artist who made small glass animals and trinkets not far from my house when my husband and I were dating. On one of our early dates, he bought me a small, seated bull that reminded me of the children's story of Ferdinand. It is blue. It was the first of many animals and trinkets that aren't always on display but are still very special to me.

I love to watch glass artists but never thought I'd have the chance to try being one myself. That happened this past weekend because of a Mother's Day gift. It was a great experience with five other participants and the instructor, Logan.

Logan knows everyone wants to try blowing glass to see what that is like. It is hard! He assured us that no one ever keeps the item blown in this class, it is just for the experience. Imagine blowing up a balloon that doesn't want to get started. It was much like that. With no training, our blown pieces had a life of their own and after photos were taken, they were broken to be recycled.

Here is the last picture with the glass outlined. Odd shape, right?
Logan explained what we would be doing next. Molten green glass was gathered from a furnace onto a rod, rolled a bit and then we used a tweezer-like tool and also a scissor type of instrument to pull, twist and snip the glass. The very hot glass glowed orange and in no way gave any indication of being emerald green when cooled. Here is my practice piece. Logan suggested we give these works artsy names, such as Man's Struggle With Society so that friends and family will think these are more than green blobs.
I shall call this masterpiece:  Kermit, in fetal position with looming shadow
After we all took a turn with our practice pieces, Logan demonstrated making a pulled flower and a paperweight. Molten glass was gathered on the rod, then dipped in colored bits of our choosing. To make the flower, the end of the rounded glass mass was smacked on the bottom with a paddle-like tool, making it resemble a hockey puck. The tweezer tool was used to pinch and pull out bits that would eventually make a flower. The flower below is one that I bought. The light blue color comes from recycled glass. White was added to make the milky color in the base of the blossom and stem.

Three of the students made flowers and the others made paperweights. These began with gathered glass on a rod that was dipped in our choice of colors (mine were blue, white, yellow and green) and then shaped much the way the practice piece was done. Snipping into the glass creates places for air bubbles to form in the paperweight, a look that I was going for. After that step, it was dipped in clear glass again, rolled on a metal table, and the rounded paperweight shape was achieved by rolling the rod to turn the glass while it rested in a wooden cup-like tool. 

Once that was done, the paperweight was removed from the rod by Logan. I held a torch to the bottom of the paperweight until the glass was glowing again. He smacked the bottom with something that resembled a wooden spool. This flattened the bottom. At this point in all of the glass creations, they went to an annealing oven where they cooled slowly for 72 hours. 

Here is the paperweight immediately after shaping. It still looks more orange and red, yet I didn't use either of those colors. 
Yesterday I returned to pick up the cooled items. I am very happy with my paperweight!

While I am not about to add glass work to my list of hobbies, I would happily do this again, especially with friends. I plan to take a lampwork class which is a different technique, and often used to make glass beads for one of my other favorite things in life...jewelry!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Birthday card & gift wrap for young teen girl

Ahhh....turning 13, thinking she is 18 and sometimes acting like she is 7.  The life of a young teen, right? She is a sweet young lady whose family birthday celebration is this weekend. I have been giving my great nieces and great nephews money but this time I knew of something she wanted and it is in the silver box. Wrapping a gift that size might cause her to guess the gift immediately so I've disguised it in ....I don't know what to call this! It is sort of a birdcage made of paper strips.

I began by choosing a circle for the base that was large enough to cover the gift box. 
I cut two bases and 16 strips of paper that were 1" wide and 5.5" long. I practiced with scrap paper first to be sure the strips would fit around the box the way I hoped they would. 
I glued eight strips to each circle as shown
Each end had a hole punched for the drawstring (chenille ribbon in this case) to go through. 
Oh look! Instant confetti!
To be sure that the two circles with these strips would hold together well, I used a stronger double sided tape on one of them, peeled off the paper to expose the sticky side and layered them, off-setting the strips. 
Ta-dah! Ok, not yet, but close. 
I ran the chenille ribbon through the holes, always coming from beneath.
After gently pulling and adjusting, I tied the ribbon into a bow. If this were red, I could picture adding a green leaf for a gift tag and calling it an apple, or maybe use orange for a pumpkin.
I added hearts for bling...just because. 
I think the birthday girl will be distracted by the unusual presentation and not guess the gift until she sees the box inside. 
Her card is a shaker card. The confetti didn't photograph well, it is multi-colored metallic paper. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Socks, art, manicures and accomplishments

First, another pair of socks. Will Michigan ever be warm enough for sandals? Today looks hopeful. Here is my latest pair off the needles, just a basic sock pattern done with some fun, hard working yarn. Why is the yarn hard working? It did all the patterning for me.
While on hiatus from the monthly art classes that I have loved (the previous shop is no longer hosting so the instructor is looking for a new location), I am taking an online class called Doodle Art and Lettering. I'm only a few lessons into this, too soon to say yay or nay, but this lesson was fun. It is about attitude and freeing yourself, thinking like a second grader who knows a few skills but isn't intimidated by criticism yet.
I might learn to love art journaling after all!

Manicures.....oy!  Back when I was dating and first married, my nails were nearly always done. Priorities changed and keeping them trimmed was the best I could hope for during the next segment of my life. Acrylic nails hit the scene and while I didn't jump on that early, I did ride that band wagon for three years. My nails were never bad (weak or broken), I just loved having polish actually stay on! When I gave that up, it took a year to get my nails back to normal.

Two weeks ago I had a gel manicure, my first. I didn't like that the polish began so far from my cuticles but was told that this had to be to prevent lifting. I didn't think my sister-in-law's manicure looked like this (different salon) but she wasn't there to compare and maybe the bold color made this more noticeable. The polish should have lasted 2-3 weeks.  On day 8 the chipping began. How did this happen? Getting dressed!

The technician did offer to repair the chipped nails (top photo) but I was not happy with how any of it looked and paid the soak off fee to have this removed. A few days ago I bought Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel and applied two coats of color and two of top coat as shown in the bottom photo.
What looks like smudges on my fingers in the bottom photo is from markers used in the art lesson, not polish. So far, so good, but it has only been a few days. I don't use my nails as pry bars or screwdrivers, but I don't exactly baby my hands and never wear protective gloves. The Sally Hansen product doesn't require a heat lamp to set and should come off as easily as other common polish. If I get 7-10 days without chipping on this, I will be happy. Polish is under $8 per bottle versus $30 for a manicure before tip and $6 for a soak off.

Last but certainly not least, what is the accomplishment mentioned in the title? I have been going to Weight Watchers for one year and am currently down 69.2 pounds. I don't think it would be wrong to say I'm proud of this, but more than pride, I am just so happy!! Click here to see my Then and Now photos.