Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Carved my Jack O' Lantern!!  Seeds are soaking for roasting later!!
Looking forward to all the Trick and Treaters who will be visiting tonight.   I am handing out
packages of hot chocolate!!  They love it and are always so excited!! 
We have had up to 250 but the last couple of years has been closer to 150.  
We have a wonderful bunch who visit our house - always polite - even the larger than average ones!!

Have a spooky Hallowe'en!!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little boy birthday!!

How does it happen that babies turn so quickly into little boys???    
Our second youngest grandson will be a year old very soon.  He is learning to walk and loves playing and eating!!
I made him this card with balloons and an embellished little tag house!!  I reverse embossed - debossed  - the white core card front and sanded it to give it a bit of texture and interest.  Added stitching to all the elements, added fiber to the tag house and strings to the balloons, then glued them into place!!  I love the colours and am sure he will be have a wonderful birthday!!

If you are close to your grandchildren - count your blessings!!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall card!!

I hosted the girls last night and it was a wonderful time as we all caught up with each other about our summers and our activities since the kids have headed back to school!!
This is the card I made as the make and take in our Shoe Box.  I made the background paper using brown paper, acrylic paints and ink!! The brown paper was given to me by my SU demonstrator - Catherine.  They receive all of their product packed with this paper so they have it around all the time.  It is strong and thin - love it!!  I started by adding large brown dots using brown acrylic paint brushed onto bubble wrap and stamped on the paper!!  COOL!!  Next, I added smaller orange dots using a smaller bubble wrap and orange acrylic paint.  Afterwards, I added leaves using a foam leaf die cut (TH Tattered Leaves die) which I painted with acrylic paint and stamped in an all over pattern.  I used a mixture of gold, copper and brown paint.  It still needed a bit of something so I added script using a stamp and Old Olive (SU) ink.  To help connect all the design elements I just used a foam brush with clear water and painted the whole surface which caused the green ink to run just a little and it did the trick - a nice cohesive collage!!  Cut it up into quarter sheets and paired it with brown or green cardstock.  The focal element is a digital stamp I downloaded from Meljens Designs and printed on white cardstock with my laser printer.  I watercoloured the images, layered them on coordinating cardstock and adhered them over the fiber I tied to the card front.  I provided a variety of different greetings but several of the girls decided not to a greeting.  They will add an appropriate one when they use the card!!
We have been enjoying the fall colours but with the rain and cooler weather last week they are duller and starting to fall!!  Still seems like a pile of treasure when I walk through them!!


Little packets of fun!

Here are the little packets I will be stuffing into the pockets in my Advent Calendar for the recipient to open each day of December until Christmas Day!!  I am keeping the contents a surprise until after Christmas!!  I will be updating my Advent Calendar posts to include that information when all the little surprises have been revealed!!
I have wrapped each one in hand decorated paper!!  Once opened the paper can be used for creating with - as background paper or in collages, etc.
I love making everything useful!!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mixed Media advent calendar

I have been working on a Mixed Media Advent Calendar for a swap on AFTCM for the better part of a week now - off and on between cleaning up and sorting my stuff!!
I am so happy with how it worked out!!!!!!!!!!
I used heavy weight cardstock - the backs I ripped off of commercial cards before I refurbished them for donating. Check out the cards here and here.

 Check out the process I used for decorating both sides of these papers before I created the little houses.  For the backs - the glossy ones have alcohol ink backgrounds and the matte ones have collage.  All the fronts were decorated with a multiple step paper decorating process that used a handmade stamp, acrylic paint and plastic wrap.  Fun!!
To keep all the houses looking like they belonged in the same neighborhood I decided they would all have black roofs, A's down their sides, a door and windows.  Each also has a number which doubles as a house number.  After all, we need to know how many sleeps before the big day!!
So there are little houses, big houses, skinny houses and everything  in between. Even a few duplexes!!
 Some with chimneys, some with dormers, some with hedges and a wide variety of roof styles.  The scored flaps are folded to the back and tied on the sides with fiber to create a little pocket which holds the surprise of the day as we count down.  The letters on the roofs and down the sides were created with decorative packing tape I bought at Michaels last year!!
 Worked so well - added texture and a funky style to the whole lot!!  It was fun to design doors and windows for each house and hand draw the details.  They were all layered and watercoloured to give them a bit of dimension.  None of the houses are exactly the same.
 So click on the photos and check out the fun little details I added.  A little bit of something below the roof line, something above or around the door, etc.  I used brads and eyelets for the door handles.
They have numbers on the backs as well.  These were die cut from foil lids!!  The little pockets are waiting to be filled!!
It has been a super fun project.  It can be used to count down to any occasion and left up year round should the recipient be so inclined!!
A wonderful little neighborhood!!

I have a few leftover card backs which I hope to use to make another little village.  Maybe I will use different architectural guidelines for the next one!!!  What fun!!  They can stand on a shelf or mantle or maybe could be tied together to stand independantly.
Consider making yourself a fun little advent calendar that you can reuse every year to count down to Christmas and, if you make it fun enough, it will decorate your house or studio all year long!!  A new tradition!!
Would love to see what you have created!  Leave a comment and include a link!!


Paper decorating!!

I started on a new project last week and decided to use the backs torn off of old commercial cards as a base because they were good heavyweight cardstock.  I picked the largest ones because those  worked best for the final result.
Are you asking yourself what I did with the card fronts?? You can see the cards I have refurbished and donated here and here.
For my project all of these needed to be scored at 2.5" so I used my "new to me" Martha Stewart scoring tool - Thanks Carol.  That was easy!!
For my project both sides of the cardstock needed to be decorated so I decided to use alcohol inks on the glossy ones!  Worked really well!!
 For the matte ones, I decided to create small collages using decorative papers.  I just dug through my stash of papers and picked pieces that seemed to work well together and glued them down.

So that took care of all the backs of these pieces of cardstock.  Now,  on to the fronts!!
Here is my set up for doing the fronts.  I started with this cool looking piece of packaging that I found as I  was going through my "stuff".  I coated the edges of the open weave with gesso to seal it before I started using it as a stamp.  I sponged acrylic paint onto the edges with a foam brush and stamped it on the cardstock.  Repeated 3 or 4 more times until the whole surface was covered, not worrying too much about how well it stamped because it was just going to be texture in the final project.
   Once they were dry I started adding colour using watered down acrylic paints.  Just painted them on pretty willy nilly and covered them with wrinkled plastic wrap to help create interesting patterns. I waited only a few minutes before removing the plastic wrap and discovered that the stamping was resisting the washes better than I expected, so combined with the random pattern of the plastic wrap, some of the backgrounds turned out pretty cool.
I have taken digital photos of all of them so I can use them in my art later on!!

Decorating paper is so much fun!! I love the randomness of it all and it is fun passing the day just mucking with paint and paper.  In this case, it is even better because I started with cardstock that was headed to the recycling bin!!  Now, that is upcycling!!


Steampunk fat book page

I have been crafting in my new room!!!  It is wonderful.
Here is the project I was working on today - a Steam punk fat book page.  I created this for a swap on AFTCM.  I created a steam punk wind screen using items that I picked up on my walk the other day and a few add ons.  What did I pick up??  The base - a clear plastic with holes in it and the rusty washer.  I added the central piece (inside of a foam brush) from my desk, the little washers and the electronic bits were discovered during a raid of DH garage and the butterfly charm, the rhinestone and the copper piece are from my stash.  I wired all of them into place using wire which I had pulled out from ribbon a while back.  Thinking about it - most of these elements have been upcycled!!  I ended up painting the back of the clear piece after I had started wiring elements into place so I used a variety of mediums until I got the look I needed. On hindsight, it would have been better to sand and paint it beforehand but it sort of evolved so I had to make it up as I went along.  I really like the way it looks!!  Once the windscreen was finished I started looking for a fall scene, a flying machine and a pilot.  The pilot and the windmill I found at Graphics Fairy and the fall scene I downloaded off the internet.  I love how it all came together.  I had to add some details to the pilot and also created the outside of his flying machine.  The back of the page has the fall scene with some verse I wrote about the colours and flying!!  I added some coordinating fiber on the right hand side and my page was done!!

The colours of fall are so awesome here.  I grew up in the west where fall colours go from green to yellow and if we were lucky brown but more often than not, we would get a hard frost in September and all the leaves would fall regardless of what colour they were!!  Bare trees for Halloween and very often snow suits too!!

PS - If you have been waiting for more photos of my craft room - I have uploaded them into the original post - here!!


Monday, October 08, 2012

Wooden socks!!

For my desk no less!!
After crafting at my desk for a few days in a row I would end up with pain in my shoulders from bending over ever so slightly while I was creating.  So, my DH made a set of wooden socks for my desk!!!  It raised it about three inches.  Works so much better!!  He custom fit them to the legs and they simply slide on the bottom of the leg like a sock.  Pretty cool!!


More refurbished cards to donate!

 I have been busy cleaning up "stuff" from my craft room and in the process I have taken the time to make up some more refurbished cards to donate.
It has been fun to see how I can incorporate an image from a commercial card and add some handmade techniques and elements to create new cards.  I have added punched greetings, ribbon, embossing, punched borders, etc.
For some cards I used both the inside and outside to create a cards front - works perfectly because they already match and have the same look.
For some it was sufficient to trim the front and glue it to a new card front because they were beautiful as they were.  My previous batch can be seen here.
In Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.  I am grateful for the great weather and the time to do what needs doing.  Great walks and a bit of cleaning up in the garden that gives me some exercise and fresh air.  There was heavy frost this morning so the rest of the flower beds can be cleaned up - have a hard time pulling blooming flowers - for winter.
I have a couple of swaps to work on and will continue with the cleaning and sorting of my "stuff" into my craft room.
Check this updated post with pictures of the current state of my room!!


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Cards to donate!

I have been working in my craft room refurbishing commercial cards for donating to a local organization where I have been teaching cardmaking.  It has been fun to create cards with the images from these cards and make a layout that works.  I usually try to add a bit of texture - ribbon, etc to make the cards have more of a handmade look.  I will be dropping those off today.  It is a small step in getting "stuff" out of my room!!
I have a lot of handmade cards I have received in swaps and exchanges that I will be refurbishing as well and donating later on.
I would encourage everyone to consider reusing any cards they receive - either commercial or handmade - by refurbishing them and donating them to a local organization.  Nursing homes and charities are always grateful for something they can use to cheer up the many people that they come in contact with everyday!!