Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

                                             Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!!

We are having a beautiful day and it should be above zero for all the kids who will be out and about tonight.  For Alberta, that is fantastic!!  Sometimes we have snow and temperatures well below zero at this time of the year!!  Not sure how many we will get but it will be fun to see them all!!


Carving a pumpkin!

I carved my pumpkin for Halloween this morning!!! It was such fun to be creative with the process. I rediscovered my little "saw" tool when we moved earlier this year.  You can see here that I made my own - two scrap pieces of wood, a used jigsaw blade & a couple of screws.  It works so well!!!  I drew my design on my pumpkin, "X"ed the areas that needed to be cut out and started carving!  You have so much more control and it is fast!!  Once I had all the pieces cut out I used a Sharpie marker to fill in all the solid areas and added some doodling all the way around as well.  I am super happy with how it turned out and am looking forward to handing out hot chocolate to all the little trick or treaters who show up at my door this evening!


Jewelry display

I have been wanting to create this frame for my jewelry for a while to prevent having to untangle my chains every time I want to wear a piece but it has taken some time to clarify the vision and find the pieces I needed.    So, I found the frame and the plastic aida canvas to put in it at a thrift store a while back and I decided to put it all together the other day.  It worked out so well!!!!!!!!!!!  I created little "N" hooks using silver paper clips to hang each piece of jewelry on!!

I used hot glue to adhere the plastic 14 count aida canvas to the inside of the frame on the back.  I tacked it first and then added another good bead all the way around to make sure that it will support the weight of the jewelry.  I did have to vet my collection to get it all on the frame but that needed to be done anyway.  So, now all my pieces are at hand and I can see everything I own.  It will make it easier to decide what works with any outfit and I will likely wear it more often because there will be no more tangling issues!!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gifts of Imperfection - selfie & courage

Today, I worked on this journal page for my ecourse - Brene Brown and The Gifts of Imperfection.   Our mantra is "I'm imperfect and I am enough".  Today I wrote this quote on my hand with a sharpie, embellished it with hearts and then took a picture of myself - a selfie.  How fun is that!!  I had to give myself permission because as kids we were taught that writing on our hands (or anywhere else) was unacceptable.  I have had henna tatooes done before but I think that Sharpies make wonderful tatooes that are permanent enough and so much less expensive than a real ones and give you the opportunity to change it up whenever you feel the need!!
I printed my photo onto my half sheet (8.5``x 5.5``) of white cardstock, added some doodling around the photo with my fine tip Sharpie, colour washed the rest with burnt umber and then stamped my `LOVE`` definition (SU) all over in a darker ink.  I hand lettered the COURAGE quote and added a heart embellishment. To create my embellishment I drew the heart on red cardstock, cut it out, added definition with a bit of watercolur and then stamped the same `LOVE`` stamp on it!!  I stapled it to my page and added some cute little tags that hold the names of the people whose opinions I value and have earned the right to hear my story.  I did some personal journaling on the back of the page.
I don`t have many pictures of myself!!  It is interesting to see what I really look like!  I am loving my new haircut!!


Gifts of Imperfection - permission slips

Here is my next journal page - permission slips!! Brene emphasized that we sometimes need to give ourselves permission to do those things that we fear or have come to accept as being unacceptable!!  I have a long list on the front and the back of this page!!
I hand lettered the words "Permission Slips" and added a grid to write in.  I stamped "I may" in each rectangle and then just added with my fine tip Sharpie the things I wanted to give myself permission to think, say and do!!  I added a second page so I have all sorts of room to add more as I become aware of them!!  I added the watercolour wash afterwards with a wide brush - one that had never seen water or colour before this day!!


Fabric bead jewelry - bracelet and earrings!

So, here is my fabric bead bracelet!!and earrings!!  I found some turquoise and black beads in my stash which worked well with my fabric beads so I strung them onto stretchy cord to make my bracelet.  In the end, it was too long so I took it apart and removed two of the fabric beads which worked much better. The two beads just sitting there seemed to be pleading to be used so I decided to create a pair of earrings to match!!  Worked out so well!!  I love the contrast of the matte fabric beads and the shine of the other beads.
I did find that the beads became a little fuzzy at the ends as they were unstrung and restrung so sewing the beginning of the beads would be a good idea in that it would keep the channel more integral. I will consider if there is a way of adding a sturdier material at the core of the bead to reduce the wear and tear of stringing and restringing the beads.
I have managed to clean up the supplies that I had laid ALL OVER in my quest to find everything I needed to make up this project - beads, stretchy cord, findings, etc.


Fabric beads!!

I have been investigating making fabric beads in order to create bracelets for a swap that I have signed up for.  These were really fun to make!! There are a lot of different ideas out there for making fabric beads so I ended up sort of combining several to get what I was looking for.  I used a strip of fabric about 5" long x 1" wide.  I folded in the edges and added a short piece of double sided tape at my starting end so that the bead would hold together when I started rolling it on the skewer.  I rolled up the fabric strip as neatly as I could and at the end folded over the short end and stitched it up to create the bead.  To keep them from falling apart you really need to add some sort of stitching so, while I was at it I decided to use my floss as decoration as well. I wrapped two different colours of floss around the bead all the while adding stitches as I went.  I added stitching to both ends as well to keep those nice and neat.  Once done, they looked a little plain so I decided to stitch on a row of white seed beads as well.  I really like how they worked out.
On hind sight, I chose floss that coordinated with my fabric but I see that the fabric does not show very much now that they are all done.  Using double sided tape on the inside of the bead made stitching it difficult by gumming up the needle.  I may have to stitch the beginning end similarly to how I stitched the finishing end to create a base for the bead and maybe some other kind of glue that would be better for stitching.   I will have to experiment.
So in the end, though I love the look of the beads and I am sure they will make a beautiful bracelet the time commitment to making enough beads to make a bracelet for each of my swap partners is more time than I have!!  Darn!!  So I will be looking for a different project for that swap.  In the mean time, I have decided to make a bracelet for my self with my beads!!


Waxed fabric!

On one of my groups we have been challenged to use wax so I have been perusing the internet for ideas to try out!!  I discovered a site that showed how to use fabric instead of cardstock as the base for a wax painting!!  Too easy!!  I looked through my stash for a piece of white fabric and got busy!  I laid foil over my griddle and turned it on. I played with the temperature a bit and found that 200F or so worked just fine to melt the wax into the fabric.  So I just played for while and doodled some flowers onto my fabric. It takes no time for the wax to harden once you remove it from the heat and it stiffens the fabric nicely.  After a few calculations, I decided to cut my piece into 3.5" squares to make a few stitched cards using my pieces as the main element!!  I try to remember to take a photo of my art (for use digitally later) before I cut it all up and you can see from the photo that I was already into the process when I remembered to take a photo.  I will be able to "heal" that cut with the aid of Photoshop Elements and a bit of time.
My piece yielded nine squares so I will post my cards once I have a few made.  The site I mentioned above described a way to create batik fabric which was really cool.  I did not have dye but overnight I got thinking that I probably can use something else - acrylic paint or ink - instead. I may try to batik a couple of my squares.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Masculine card

Catching up on cards for family and friends!!  Today I made a masculine card using a fabulous leather leaf die cut, a bit of collage and a piece of dyed fiber.
I started the collage on a kraft card front by layering a piece of sponged text and adding colorful little scraps all the way around.  I sponged the collur printed greeting and glued it in place.  I laid the torn fiber (dryer sheet) over the collage and stitched all the way around in dark brown thread staying just on the edge of the collage.  To finish it off I added a length of knotted ribbon across the lower portion of the card front and adhered the leather leaf using 3D foam tape.  I added a bit of definition to leaf die cut using watercolour.  I am really happy with the way it turned out!!
The leather leaf is a gift from my daughter when she visited for Thanksgiving.  She is working on a variety of products for her Etsy shop, ThatMomShop.  She has copper leaves - real copper!!  Check it out!!!


More little quilts!

I have finished off another bunch of little quilts!  I created these with quilting scraps that I received from my sister when I was up home a few weeks ago.  She and my Mom both quilt so I had emailed saying I would appreciate any small scraps they are willing to part with so I brought home a little bag of scraps from each of them.  My sister gave me a bunch of little pieces.  Some were pieced - off cuts of the quilting process. I decided to use some of these first so I backed them with fabric from my stash and stitched their edges!!  They look a little different than the ones that are one fabric on the front and a different one on the back like these, these and these but I am liking them!!  Mom gave me several larger pieces which I will incorporate as time goes on.  My ziploc baggie is getting quite full!!! Maybe I will make myself a cool cover for my Brene Brown art journal with them!!  It would work perfectly into the theme - The gifts of Imperfection!!  I will have to work out the placement but I bet I can leave a window so I can see my handlettered title through the cover!!  Teesha Moore has made all sorts of funky covers for her journals and is the inspiration for these little quilts.  I may even have to make a few more in a specific size to make it work or even in certain colours.  Will have to work that into the next batch of these little quilts.  That is the fun of being the creator!!  You just get to make what you need!!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gifts of Imperfection - Day 1 - Intention

Day One - I am excited to get started on this new adventure called - The gifts of Imperfection - an ecourse offered by Brene Brown on Oprah.  We are being encouraged to set an intention for ourselves.  It is always best to start any project (day, trip, etc) with an intention as it helps us to stay on track.  Brene mentions that it provides her with clarity, meaning and purpose.
I am easily distracted and over the course of the last few years I have realized that I have spent my life in little bits - an hour here, a few days there, without too much focus and framework around what I chose to participate it.  I have spent time emotionally distracted as well - upset because "this" happened and "why me"!!  So I am looking forward to being more focused and conscious!!
They provided a beautiful graphic to be used for our intention but I decided to make my own with a little heart of my own making.   This is a photo my own hands!!  I love that the lentils make a heart!!!  I discovered this while playing with my grandchildren at the park.  We would pick up a handful of little stones and take our turns putting them into a container, dump them out and start again. As I was waiting for my turn, I noticed that the stones made a heart in my hands.  Hearts are my thing!!  I had to stretch my comfort zone to get this shot.  Because DH is not available to set up the timer on the camera I found the manual and the tripod and experimented until I got a shot I was happy with. I colour printed it on my white cardstock, hand lettered my intention with a black fine tip Sharpie, added the frame and then watercoloured a bit of purple all the way round inside the frame.
I am excited to combine inspiration and learning with my art!!


Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown - cover

Last week I registered for Brene Brown's Ecourse,
The Gifts of Imperfection on Oprah and it started today!!  My book club friends are signed up too and we are going to share our experiences as we follow the course.  One of the reasons I joined was that Brene is encouraging participants to create an art journal as they go along, something I have been wanting to do for a while.  Her supply list includes a copy of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection,  a journal/sktech book, water colours & brushes, double sided tape and markers.  Supplies I have!!!!  Generally unwilling to follow the rules (OR maybe my desire for control), I have decided to do my art journaling on half sheets of white cardstock (8.5" x 5.5") which I will bind into a book when they are done.  Here is my title page.  As you can see I immediately had the opportunity to embrace imperfection when, after I am more than half way finished my page, I see that I have misspelled Imperfection!!  I loved what I had already created and had no desire to start again so I just added the missing letters and kept going.  I hand lettered the title with a black fine tip Sharpie, added the frame and then the surrounding spaces.  Watercoloured the whole thing!!  I am very happy with the way it turned out!!
If you are interested in participating you can follow the above link for get more information.  We all deserve to love ourselves and live authentically!!  It is NEVER too late!!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fabric collage Christmas cards

 I created these little Christmas trees using this piece of fabric collage I made up the other day.  The trees measure 3" across the bottom and 4" tall.  I managed to get 20 little trees out of my 9" x 16" collage.  Each tree is embellished by hand with red sequins with yellow/gold petite seed beads centers.  Once embellished, I machine stitched the trees to a layer of white embossed cardstock incorporating a little tree trunk made of brown wool felt.  The stars were hand stitched into place and this layer was glued to a red card front.  I added a little colour printed greeting which was punched out with the SU Window punch.
I am super happy with these cards!!!!  If you click on them you will be able to check out the details.  You will see that my free motion stitching is not the best but for my first attempt I am happy.  Twenty cards for my stash!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fabric collage in greens

My first attempt at fabric collage and free motion stitching!!  It is really somewhat of a disaster but I kept over stitching until everything was held into place!!!  I used a white light weight base fabric, pinned on my green fabric scraps and then stitched a few lines to keep them in place.  Once the whole thing was covered with scraps I started free motion stitching.  I have never done this before so it was trial and error.  I broke my first needle and was having tension problems all the while trying to figure how hard to press on the pedal and how fast I should be moving the fabric and in which direction.  Having read up on FMS I was aware that my first attempts were not going to be fabulous.  Even accomplished people need to warm up before they can do good work.  Reminds me of calligraphy - no matter how accomplished it still requires some warm up before you work on a good project.  So anyway, much thread later I have a piece fabric collage that is lumpy and frumpy and needed a serious pressing. It looked a bit better after that.  I trimmed the edges of my piece to be even and ended up with a piece 9" x 16" so I cut it up into 3" x 4" triangles which will become trees for Christmas cards!!  I will need to embellish them a bit and come up with a card design but I am on a roll!!
My inspiration for this experiment was a library book my daughter brought along when she visited a while ago, called SEW WILD which contained lots of funky and interesting fabric collages.  I was working from memory as to how I was supposed to proceed. On hind sight, I am thinking that most collages would be created using fabric scraps backed with fusible webbing.  That would keep them in place but you do not get any texture from the frayed edges, etc which I enjoyed on this piece.   So, I will try again.  I really enjoyed the process and am happy to have found a use for this piece.


Quick and easy Christmas cards

Made a few more Christmas cards last night!!!!  These use the same vellum that I used on these cards with quite a different look.
Without much of an idea what I was going to do with the vellum laser printed greetings I started digging through my stash of Christmas paper which was all over my desk because I was in there looking for scraps for the last set of cards I made and I found the last bit of this wonderful Christmas paper - exactly four small sheets!!  Perfect!!  I trimmed the paper to size, adhered them to white card fronts and overlaid the vellum and stitched them down all the way around with white thread.  I added three snowflake brads to each card.  Quick and easy!!  Really happy with the way they turned out.  Four more for my stash!!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pocket Christmas cards

I created these cards for a challenge on one of my groups - use a pocket!.  In this case, I laser printed my greeting on a quarter sheet of vellum, trimmed it and stitched it to my red card front using dark green thread.  I stitched between the words and added strips of decorative paper in the pockets I created.  They needed a bit of something so I punched little stars on the right hand edge of the card through all the layers.  I glued the little punchie stars to the vellum front.
These are quick and easy!!  I have made four of them to add to my Christmas card stash!!  I have four more pieces of printed vellum which I will use later this week using a different design.

 Here is my little sewing desk with my sewing machine.  I love how convenient it is to add stitching to my cards.


Two more cards!!

 With the other two leaves, I created a couple more cards.  I used the same elements as my previous cards - wax crayon background paper leaves, alcohol inks on gold cardstock, a purple layer with gold gel pen doodling and the stamped background paper.  No pop ups on these - just simple layered cards with colour printed greetings which I sponged lightly so they would coordinate with the cards.  These two took quite a bit less time than the pop ups but look as good with all of those great layers!!

It was fun to use the same supplies for creating two really different cards.  A couple that pop and a couple that don't!!


Fall cards with wax crayon background paper

 On one of my groups we are being challenged to use wax in our creations so I dug out this crayon background paper from my stash and cut out some leaves using the Tattered Leaves die (TH).  This paper is created using wax crayons, white cardstock and a griddle - totally fun and you probably have everything you need to get started in your stash of supplies!!  I would highly recommend giving it a try.  Click - here to see how I used textured wall paper instead of cardstock.
With my leaves cut I decided to make a card with each leaf - four cards. I needed a fall pop up card for a swap on AFTCM so I set about finding an interesting pop up technique.  I found this surprise pop up card on Splitcoast Stampers.  I loosely followed the tutorial changing up whatever I needed to make it work with what I had.
 This is my first pop up card.  I wanted a bit of definition on my leaves so I used a stylus to emboss some veins on the top side. They did not show as much as I liked so I added a bit of colour using a brown Sharpie.  Any place that was too dark or defined I just used a bit of alcohol to remove what I did not want.  Cool!!  I wanted the leaves to pop so I cut black ones, layered them below my waxed ones, tied gold cord on the stem and used 3D foam tape between the leaves to create dimension.  Next, I cut a rectangle of gold cardstock and altered it with alcohol inks (plum and green) using some felt on a little block.  I cut a dark purple layer to put under the gold and glued these three elements together to create my main accents.  I created some background paper using a skeleton leaf (SeeD) on marigold cardstock using my Kaliedacolour stamp pad - Creole Spice and then added some solid leaves using a foam die cut of the same Tattered Leaves leaf using the same stamp pad.
 I trimmed the background paper to a quarter sheet, cut the pop up mechanism in it and stitched it to my card front using my sewing machine.  I stamped my greeting on the card front below the flap and embossed it in gold embossing powder.  Next, I created the pull up tab to activate the pop up.  I used  a strip of cardstock which I glued to the bottom section of the pop up layer then put it through the little slot (SU) I punched in the decorative paper.  I added a little circle punchie, punched a hole and added some coordinating fiber.  I glued my layered leaf accent to the mechanism and pulled on the little end.  Slowly the greeting on the card front is revealed and the beautiful accent rises and ends up being perpendicular to the card front.  As a final touch, I doodled a gold border on my main element using a gold gel pen.
It took a while to figure out what size everything needed to be but I am really happy with how it all worked out.

While I was at it I decided to create another one!!  Pretty close to the same card using different colours and changed up the doodling on the main element a bit.  I think I will be sending this one for the card exchange at my stamping group.   The second one took so much less time than the first one.
Really happy with how these worked out!! It is fun to challenge myself with trying new techniques and creating the pieces I need to make the cards really unique.

So I encourage you to challenge yourself to try something new - a new to you fold, a new background technique, to ink those stamps you bought last month, etc.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Nautical card for my stash!

Looking to add a few cards to my stash I decided to mine my images and find some inspiration!!  I found this nautical image and in a different bucket I discovered this oval frame from a different project which was the perfect size for the image.  I watercoloured the image and glued it to the back of the frame.  Wanting to add texture I decided to audition this gauze bandage I bought at a thrift store a while back - it was perfect!!  I simply applied a bit of glue with a glue stick and applied the gauze moving it around a bit to create some folds, etc.  Love it!!  I added the die cut button using 3D foam tape and to add yet more texture I stippled the bottom edge of the card - over everything!!  I used a black gel pen to add faux stitching to the outside of the card edge - had to work around the gauze and then I glued this layer to my kraft card front.  Finally, I added a window punch greeting!!
Nice to have some cards in my stash!!


Monday, October 07, 2013

Series of Cards #2

 A few more cards from the series of cards I started a while back!  These all use the same supplies and I am trying to follow a set of sketches I made in my first session!!

For this one, I glued my decorative paper piece to the top of my stamped and distressed yellow card front and then distressed my paper as well.  I added my embossed flower accent on the bottom of the card front and added "laugh" above the flower.  I did find a vellum greeting in my stash and added it to the lower right hand side.  It is a bit grungy for the paper but works for me.
 For this card  I started with a pink card front.  I cut my decorative paper into twelve inchies and glued them down as evenly as I could.  I added wavy lines in between using a white gel pen.  Adhered my embossed flower accent with 3D foam tape and added a bit of a collage as well. I stamped an "A" on my little heart tag and added a small piece of seam binding and layered it behind the stamped "delight" word.  Just a bit of fun and I like the look!
For this card, I trimmed my decorative paper into five pieces and glued them evenly on the top of my yellow card front, added a green strip of cardstock which I stamped with a chunky homemade stamp in green ink, added my distressed and embossed flower accent with 3D foam tape over everything.  Then I decided I liked the grungy look of my strip and did the same to the card edges. Added my "smile" word and a sponged greeting.
 For this card, I created a weaving using two pieces of decorative paper both ripped into strips.  I wove one set into the other using the pink for one set and the printed side for the other.  I glued it to the card front and embossed it with a swirl embossing folder (TH) and then distressed the whole front using a sponge and green ink.  After adhering my embossed flower accent I created another embellishment by stapling my "giggle" word to a tag using a small gold staple.  The tag features some embossed ribbon I created when my sister was visiting a month or so ago.
For this card, I cut my decorative paper into 3/4" strips alternating the sides so they would fit into each other.  In the end, once I decided to include the "bliss" word I just glued them on as I saw fit to the pink layer.   I decided to emboss the right hand side of this layer using my small vine embossing folder (CB) and my little craft hammer so I could have the embossing just where I wanted it.  I first learn this technique from Yogi!  I adhered my embossed and distressed flower accent with 3D foam tape and then added my "bliss" word and greeting.

I will be sending a couple of these off for one of my card exchanges - not sure which ones yet and the others will end up in my stash.  Was really fun to play with these again and I still have some supplies so more cards will be put up when I get them made.

Anniversary card

An anniversary card for a special couple!!
I started with a piece of decorative paper in teals and whites and added a gold layer to the back and glued it to my teal card front.  I added some very textured gold ribbon and added my main accent over it using 3D foam tape.  The gold embossed image I found in my stash and layered it over teal adding a laser printed greeting on transparency in between.
This one is going to be late!!  Time simply got away from me and I only managed to get this one made this morning!!  Doesn't happen too often and I heard they were going to be away for their anniversary so maybe it will arrive before they head home!!


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Another masculine card!

I am loving this background technique!!  Simply glue coordinating patterned paper strips to a quarter sheet of white bond paper and trim to size!!
For this card I used a chevron embossing folder which worked so well!!  Made a beautiful subtle background for my card.  I added a blue border punched strip on the right hand side, tied on some green fibers and glued the whole thing to my dark green card front. I watercoloured the golf bag stamped image and then fussy cut it.  Love the way it turned out!!  I added it to my card front using 3D foam tape.  The greeting was also watercoloured before I glued it down.
Really happy with this card!!


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

More little quilts!

More little quilts!!  I managed to get all of these done in the car on our recent trip.  I am really loving the process and it is fun combining different fabrics and colours.
I can see the benefit of having a wide variety of small scraps for these little quilts because it provides a lot of interest and texture.  Really great when they will be combined for making the journal covers.
I have a mother and several sisters who quilt so I emailed them asking for their small scraps.  It will give me some one of a kinds to add to the mix.
You can see my other little quilts here, here and here.  All Teesha Moore inspired!!