Sunday, July 26, 2015

RetireMints and a card

Yesterday was a surprise retirement party for our daughter-in-law's father. The dear man did not want a party but when you are loved by your wife, kids and extended get a party. He was truly surprised and everyone had a good time.

I should not have rushed when cutting out the greeting for the top of the Altoid mint tin. The words are going a tad uphill but hey, don't we all want our retirement to be looking up? C'mon, work with me here....make lemonade out of that lemon!

In addition to the hang tag in his card, I wanted a pocket for placement of a gift certificate. I'd had the idea for over a week but didn't get around to making it until hours before the party. I'd like to say that this is the first time I was doing things at the last minute, but it isn't.

I scored an 8.5" x 11" piece of black cardstock as if I were cutting it to be a top fold A2 size, then cut away the upper right rectangle. I could have made the pocket fold in from the left instead of the right but flying by the seat of my pants, this is what I did. I cut the flap from the bottom corner upward at a random angle, wanting part of the word "Retired" to be visible while in the pocket. 

Not shown here, I used a white pen to write our greeting along the diagonal line of the pocket. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Watermelon, anyone?

This was a lesson in Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils from an online class through Vanilla Arts. I wrote about my instructor in my previous post (here) to explain anyone can now take classes with Amy. Live classes are great because of camaraderie and unexpected information from others, be it about art or anything else, but online classes have their perks too. You can work in your pajamas, you can stop the video and replay a section, and you can work whenever it is convenient for you.

This month's class was this stack of watermelon wedges minus the word Summer. I added that, for better or worse, for my own reasons.

This second photo was taken in direct sunlight with the camera on an angle. It shows some of the penciled work and the touch of star glaze (a gelly roll pen) added to the lettering. 

There are already areas I know that can be improved next time and I haven't received my critique yet. If you're considering online classes, don't be scared of critiques. Amy goes over what you did well and what could be improved. A hatchet job is never done.

The more I color, the more I like this and wonder why I let it drop out of my life for a while. I've said before that I may have too many craft interests (I can picture my husband nodding but smiling if he reads this), but coloring and playing with paper (mainly card making) have joined knitting as my constants. Too bad cleaning house and cooking aren't part of that. 

Copic classes for everyone!

I've mentioned here before that I take classes in the use of Copic markers that go way beyond what Copic classes usually teach. I'm not knocking any of those classes but will say that a few that I attended before finding Amy were not instructive at all. The classes that I took with Amy were held in Port Huron, MI at a Mary Maxim store. The store has downsized drastically and we can no longer meet there. Did you hear that door close? Don't worry, two windows opened.

First of all, Amy now has online classes through her company Vanilla Arts. Anyone, no matter where you live, can take classes with her now! 

The second window to open will happen in September when she begins teaching classes at Remember When? Scrapbooking, a shop located at 21952  23 Mile Road in Macomb Township, MI. 586-598-1810.  I can't seem to link to their newsletter, but here is the information as written by Amy on classes that will be taught at Shannon's  (owner of Remember When? Scrapbooking) store:

First, a general overview of Copic Club

Casual coloring in a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

This is a beginner level class... but you know me, I'm always willing to throw a challenge at those who have mastered the basics.

If you're just starting out with markers, want to improve your blending techniques, or simply want to chat as you color in a stress-free environment, this is the class for you!

Club classes are non-sequential! If you miss one class (or seventeen) you needn't worry that you've missed too much. Join in when you can.

All Club classes will work off a limited supply list that never changes:
  • 36 Copics
  • 12 Prismacolor Pencils
  • 2 White Pens
  • 3 Multiliners
  • Assorted novelty gel pens
  • 2 Memento Ink Pads
Stamp images will concentrate on lighthearted and versatile subjects with wide open coloring spaces.

Class Packs are changing from the Mary Maxim format.

Class + Pack = $15 per session

And now the overview of Art of Coloring

Challenges for Intermediate to Advanced Students
Art of Coloring classes are art based classes for experienced colorers looking to take their skills to the next level.

NOTE: because I want to make sure that you are not overwhelmed by the class pace, I'm requiring Copic Club as a prerequsite to taking Art of Coloring. You must have instructor permission to enroll in Art of Coloring.

Art of Coloring classes WILL NOT cover basic techniques.

Classes will use a very wide variety of supplies:
  • Copic Markers
  • Prismacolor Premier Pencils
  • assorted technical and novelty pens
  • waterbased media including ink pads and pencils
  • specialty inks, paints, or dyes
You must bring all supplies to class or have instructor approved substitutions. This includes Copic marker colors.

Images will be chosen for their technical challenge or their ability to be used in non-traditional manners.

Class Packs are changing from the Mary Maxim format.

Class + Pack = $23 per session

And now the classes:

Copic Club at Remember When

Thursday, Sept 17th
6pm - 8:30pm

Join us for a fun evening of Copic coloring and an introduction to our new home!

Learn or perfect:
  • blending technique
  • Amy's underpainting technique
  • basic floral theory
  • selecting color palettes
All Copic Club lessons work off the same basic supply kit.
Supply list will be emailed as soon as the kit contents have been finalized. Downloadable list will be available at or pick up a printed copy at Remember When.

Reserve your seat in class by stopping in at Remember When or call 586.598.1810

Art of Coloring at Remember When 

Thursday, Sept 24th
6pm - 8:30pm

By popular demand, I'm teaching what would have been the June lesson at our previous location.

This is a Prismacolor intensive image and will be sized for a 5x7 frame. It's not quite a full sheet digi stamp but there is a lot of acreage to color!

Instructor permission required to enroll. Classes capped at 15 seats.

Signup via the online shop at which will go live in August.

Downloadable supply list will be available at or pick up a printed copy at Remember When.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a TALL birthday greeting

Shhh....don't tell my niece I've made her a giraffe card.

She is a lovely young woman (even when she isn't feeling so young because of a teenager in the house! ) who is tall, blond and has always liked giraffes.

Using  Stampin' Up punches, this is the card I made.
The card began with a 4.25" x 11" base (blue), scored at 2.75" and 5.5". The white paper was cut at 4" x 5.25" and two pieces at 4" x 2.5".
The giraffe body is 2" circle with .5" and .75" brown circles. I lightly shades the edges of yellow cardstock with a beige Tombow marker. I meant to shade things before assembly, but forgot and added the Tombow maker before adhering the giraffe to the card.
The neck is a strip of paper cut at .75" with she same size brown dots randomly attached, some going off the edge of the neck and body and trimmed after the glue was dry. The legs and tail are just narrow strips, hand cut. Hooves were two black .5" circles cut in half. The tail is from Boho Blossoms punch.
The head was done with an extra-large oval. The muzzle (snout?) was cut with a large oval. The ears, inner and outer are two different size petals from the Flower Medallion punch. That punch was used for his tongue. Yes, giraffe tongues are purple. Both parts of the eyes, the knobs on his horns and his nostrils are all from the Owl Builder punch. The yellow part of his horns were cut free hand. Smaller pieces were all adhered with Tombow glue, larger pieces with a tape runner.
A white pen added a highlight to his eyes and a bow was tied and added under his chin. The hardest part of this card was deciding what to use as a greeting. A simple "Happy Birthday" didn't seem like enough but most online searches for ideas were definitely kiddie card greetings. I googled for giraffe jokes, found this one, and it was perfect for the sense of humor my niece and I share.
"A giraffe walks into a bar and orders six martinis."

inside: "Shame on you for wanting a punchline! This giraffe needs help!"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Watermelon Birthday Card

I love watermelon designs but I'm actually not crazy about watermelon as a food.  Crazy, right?  I think it might be the color and that watermelons are associated with summer that makes me like them.

I used a die from Stephanie Barnard's Stamps of Life collection (Happy Birthday Step Up) and her stamp set (Watermelon2stamp), both shown below, to make my cards.
I made two identical cards for friends who have birthdays later this month. They are both "one in a melon" friends, making me a very lucky gal.

We're having overcast, drizzly and chilly weather again in SE Michigan. Photos were taken near a window to get some natural light, but still I struggled. The first photo shows best the structure of the card.
The gingham paper on the Happy Birthday is a little busy, but I think it works well with the colors.
The card fits in a standard A2 envelope, seen here behind the card against a black surface.
I stamped the large watermelon slice with a very juicy Stampin' Up Watermelon Wonder stamp. The rind is SU's Cucumber Crush. The small slices (six in a row, two cut off to fit the area) were stamped in Memento's Tuxedo Black and colored with Tombow markers.

I have used the card die many times since buying it months ago and think this stamp set will get a lot of use too, especially if I ever get around to working on scrapbooks again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An easy knitted cowl

Nothing like knitting a cowl in July....and thinking you might actually need to wear it NOW....

Ok, it isn't that cold here in SE Michigan, but it sure doesn't feel like July.

On a recent road trip with my sister-in-law, we went to a yarn store and bought some fun yarn from Stonehedge Fiber Mills. I've used mill end yarns before, but they were tied together and sometimes the knots fell in awkward places. With this yarn, there were no knots, it was beautifully woven together. The problem was which skein to buy. The picture below is from their website.
I picked out a skein that had some pink in it, but it turned out to have far less than I thought. That's okay though, especially for this simple project.

I like scarves and cowls that are reversible as the wrong side inevitably shows at some point while worn. This pattern is multiple of 10 stitches, knit in the round. How is that slant (spiral) achieved? You cast on an even multiple of your stitch pattern MINUS one stitch. In this case, the alternating knit and purl stretches are 10 stitches wide and 139 stitches were cast on. (14 times minus one stitch). An uneven number of multiple pattern repeats (13 or 15) would put two knit or two purl sections together in the round. 
Above photo has the pink cast off edge up, below the cast on black and white edge is near my face, probably the way I will wear it most often.
I would buy this yarn again, and will definitely use this pattern to use up my own odd lots. A bit of weaving in of the ends wouldn't be bad and I think I would like a longer version of this, possibly not as tall (wide).