Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Birthday Card and Surprise Cake

Yikes!  What do you do when you forget a good friend's birthday!  Seriously, I really botched up.   This friend was soooooooooooo helpful to me this summer at work doing things for me when I wasn't there and I went and forgot it was her birthday last weekend.  Oh my!  Well I made her a card and a chocolate cake.  Not your everyday chocolate cake, but a chocolate candy cake out of Hershey's nuggets.  I found the directions here for a cake made with Hershey's miniature chocolates and adjusted the size of the TP tube to the size of the double layers of nuggets.  Since the nuggets are thicker, the cake went further to the edge of the base, but it still looked okay to me.

The center of this cake is a cardboard tube (TP or paper towel cut down) and you can certainly fill the empty space with some little treat also.  I chose to add a battery-operated tea light to the cap on the cake top.  When I sent it to her I slid in a little handwritten note to pull the top off and light the candle.  The candle fit perfectly inside the cardboard tube and the scalloped "icing" top kept it in place.  

She loved it.  But what made my day was that HWNSNBP was impressed.  He's always positive about what I make but this time he practically gushed.  This is a project that I will definitely do again... and definitely before the birthday and not after!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two Inches of Art a Day

My blogging friend Michelle started a personal challenge at the beginning of this month.  She has challenged herself to make a 2" collage every day for 30 days.  I hope you click over to her blog and see what she is creating because they are wonderful.

I've done two art challenges this summer going from a 3x5 index card to a 4x6 index card and not only had fun doing them both, but I got a sense of accomplishment that I was being creative everyday even if it wasn't in an area that I was particularly comfortable.  It challenged me to stretch myself and try new techniques and use new materials.  But more than that, it challenged me to not be so self-critical.

So I decided to take Michelle's challenge and change it up just a little bit.  I cut 2" squares from watercolor paper and it is my goal to fill those squares, one a day, with little bits of art using whatever medium I have readily at hand.  My prompts will come from my activities of the day or from my surroundings.  I hope you don't get bored with the art show and I hope that I can meet my goal of "Two Inches of Art a Day"!

Nov. 1 - Inspiration:  Dinner with Table 7
(Watercolors and Micron Pen)

Nov. 2 - Inspiration:  The colors of the leaves driving home.
(Watercolors and Micron Pen)

Nov. 3 - Inspiration:  What's on Hand?  Metallic Sharpies.
(Metallic Sharpies, Black Sharpie, Micron Pen)

Nov. 4 - Inspiration:  Inside Envelope Pattern
(Strip of Envelope, Micron Pen, Markers)

Nov. 5 - Inspiration:  A donated set of brightly colored markers and some doodling.
(Micron Pen, Marker)

Nov. 6 - Inspiration:  Logo on the outside of the MRI machine staring back at me.

Nov. 7 - Inspiration:  Diagnosis - Left Foot Stress Fracture.
(Micron Pen, Prismacolor Pencils)

Nov. 8 - Inspiration:  Botanical placemat in Zentangle form.
(Micron Pen, Prismacolor Pencils)

Nov. 9 - Inspiration:  Target $ Spot Stocking Stuffer Gel Pens.
(Gel Pens)

Sometimes it takes a short amount of time to fill the 2" and sometimes I can sit there for quite a while adding more details or layers.  But all in all, like any good exercise, it gets me to stretch!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jingle Belles - The Great Outdoors and a Little Critter

The Jingle Belles challenged us to make an outdoor scene this time.  As it happened to be, I had been working on this little scene that started with an empty paper cheese box.  I wanted to make a box card ornament.

Here is the outside of the box decorated very simply using neutral colors and a touch of gold.  

The back also has a circle of plain Crumb Cake cs so we can write a message and sign it.

Then you open it up and find the serene little Christmas scene inside.  

I used my chopped paper technique for the snow and added some glitter gel pen to the torn white edges to give it some sparkle.

I have a little stash of these boxes and plan to do some more experimenting with them as ornament cards.  Maybe I see a little village of them in the future.

I missed the deadline for the last Jingle Belles Challenge to make a card with a critter on it.  I certainly have enough Christmas critters to choose from, but I decided to go with this little owl from Purple Onion Designs.  I colored him with my Blendabilities and used my Snowflake Card Die in Coastal Cabana and Real Red.  

The Snowflake swings out when you open the card.

And on the back I added the sentiment.

This die set comes with words too.  What would you think this was looking at hit backwards and upside-down?  In my mind it looked like "ho" with an exclamation mark...........but........

it really was "joy".  Still I thought I could make "ho" out of it.

So if you look closely at the picture below you will see the marks where I took an Exacto knife and made the adjustments both on the "joy" to "ho" and I also trimmed away what I didn't like from the word snow to make the "o's" in both words look more alike.

The curl of the "j" was where I got the commas.  

On another note, this run of bad luck hasn't yet passed me by.  I now have a stress fracture in my left foot from........... wait for it................ walking!  I was walking at lunch time the week of Halloween and felt a sharp pain in the side of my foot which caused me to head back to work.  I was seeing my surgeon later that afternoon for a recheck and mentioned it to him.  He told me to stay off it as much as I could and give it a few days to make sure it got better.  Well, it didn't get better and we had to do some further investigating with an mri and a couple more visits to his office.  

Last Friday I got the bad news and tomorrow I get to see yet another doctor to find out the course of treatment for this.  Will I have a lovely new foot covering?  Crutches?  A cane?  We shall see.  

Anyhoo, it's time to go and check out the rest of the Jingle Belle creations for this week.  You can too.  Just click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thank You With a Set of Cards

I used the card above as a Thank You to the woman who was subbing for me while I was out.  I included a gift card because I know how crazy the start of school is and she did not know what she was getting into when she agreed to cover for me.  

 Secret ingredient - the pumpkins were die cut from a box of pumpkin bread I had purchase at Trader Joe's.  I made muffins out of the mix and they were so delicious that HWNSNBP and I went back for a couple more boxes and they had changed the box.  (Or maybe, now that I'm thinking of it, the box I first bought was a leftover from last year.  But I do always check the sell-by date and it was not yet expired.)  I used some woodgrain dsp for the stems.  

Then I set about to make a set of notecards for her.  I chose to use the Wondrous Wreath stamps and dies and changed it up to encompass the seasons.  

This is a two step stamp.  For example let's look at the card above.  I used the first stamp in the lightest color - Daffodil Delight. Then the second stamp, which only consists of accent leaves is stamped over the first image in a darker color.  Try as I might I could not get these to cover exactly over the first image so I took a marker in the darker color and just added some highlights to the leaves covering up the yellow shadows that were peaking out.  I liked the way that those leaves looked with the highlights so much that I had to go back with the lighter marker on the lighter leaves.  I'm always making so much more work than necessary, but I do like the way they came out.

On the card below, not only did I stamp over the lighter green leaves with Crumb Cake, but then I took a Micron marker and attempted to make the darker leaves look like pine cones.  They might not exactly appear to be pine cones, but maybe another type of organic addition.  The berries on this were embossed with gold EP and that bow is cut from Brushed Gold cs with a gold glitter paper star.

The base of this card was first stamped with the flourish from Everything Eleanor and embossed in white.  The berries on the wreath are also embossed in white and it has a punched red glitter heart.

You can see that I added some sticky pearls to the centers of the punched flowers below.

I made three of each and packaged up two of each for her and kept one set for myself.  The insides are blank so they can be used for pretty much any occasion.  

And just for a bit of whimsy in this post - an "Oreo" cow that we spotted on our way back from Trader Joe's.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

I don't remember where I got this leaf stamp.  Maybe it was something I got from ebay.  In any case, it was sitting on my work table and sitting, and sitting, until I got tired of looking at it and decided to stamp it in Memento Black ink on Whisper White cs and then colored it two different ways with my SU markers. The tree in the center looked Halloweeny to me so I used it on these two cards for today.

On the inside it says - Have a Happy Halloween and I hope you do!

Oh, and thanks Sabrina for that grid embossing folder!  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Daily Paper Prompts 53 - 57.... okay, so I didn't finish them all.

The calendar page had turned to October by now and I was supposed to be done with all 60+ prompts but wasn't.  It was my decision to skip through some of them that were either too messy or that I did not have the right materials for.  I picked the last of the list that I thought I could get done relatively easily without extending too much into the month and so here is the finish line.

DPP 53 - Triangles.  My triangles were drawn with a Micron pen.

DPP 55 - Patterns on a Grid.  This required either very meticulous measuring to draw a grid or the happy realization that I actually did have some graph paper to work with.  Once again, done with Prismacolor pencils.

DPP 56 - Torn Paper Collage.  When I was in college, and the time I spent there is barely a memory now, I took a few art classes and in one of them I remember being assigned a collage.  To this day I don't remember what the actual assignment was but I know I spent a great deal of time on my interpretation of the assignment and was very pleased with the result only to be given a mediocre grade because it was not what the professor wanted.  I do believe that that was the last art class I took for a very long time.  If I were taking that class now and gotten the same result I think I would have fought back at the grade because I have learned over these years that I really don't have to please everyone.  It's more important to please myself even if the process of creating is the pleasing part and the result is less than perfect because that's how you get better at something.  We look at young children's art and see what beautiful results they get because they don't have that great fear of failing.  We acknowledge that they're learning.  They don't restrict themselves.  If they run out of yellow paint, they'll finish with green or blue or orange.  Adults are afraid of making mistakes, of running out of yellow paint and having to use green or blue or orange to finish.  I'm going to stop that thought now because I could go on about it but now is not the time. 

DPP 57 - One Word Journal Page.  I got out those Pink Peerless Watercolors again, and the nail art thin brush and scribbled away and then added my word. 

Believe that you can give yourself the opportunity to take on a challenge like this.  Believe that it doesn't have to be perfect....you're not getting graded.   You can make mistakes and go on or you can tear them up or tear out the page and try again.  You can do it and then go back and journal over it noting what you would change.  You can take an idea and make your own challenge out of it.  Or you might even find something that you like a lot and you want to do again and again but differently and make it your signature.  

Taking it out of it's intended context, in the words of Pink.....

"Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame (the desire to create, the flame - your ideas)
Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned (your ideas being shared and judged)
But just because it burns, doesn't mean your gonna die (someone's dislike of what you do shouldn't stop you)
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daily Paper Prompts 45 - 52

DPP 45 - The Sun.  My inspiration for this came from an e-mail that I received from one of the teachers at work while I was still on leave.  She was thanking me (and HWNSNBP) for planting the sunflowers in the raised bed outside her classroom window.  She said that the sunflowers were gorgeous.  I'm glad that they did well because we were unable to keep up with the upkeep of the things that we planted in the beds at school due to my back situation.  I used my Blendabilities on this and really IRL it's not so mustardy.

DPP 46 - Staple Collage.  My blogging friend Lauren is a master at this technique.  In fact, she was responsible for this prompt.  It's a lot of fun going through your stash and picking out things and layering them until you find just the right combination to be able to give it interest and use just one staple to hold it all together.

DPP 47 - Stamping Circles.  Well, I was feeling very lazy and didn't want to go in search of my acrylics (still restricted from bending and lifting).  So I drew my circles instead using Prismacolor pencils and added the highlighted the bubble with a Micron pen.

DPP 48 - Ransom Note.  A ransom note with a rant.  I admit I spend and inordinate amount of time on Pinterest and what annoys me is finding something I would like to pin only to find out that the person who originally pinned it did not pin the post of the blog they were visiting, but rather the home page of the blog.  This means that you have to search through the blog posts and if you're lucky it will be something that has recently been posted.  If not, you could spend even more time searching depending on how badly you want the directions for the item you wanted to post.  If I'm pinning a card idea repinning the picture will sometimes suffice, but if it's a recipe you can't go by the picture........know what I mean?.  

DPP 50 - Negative Space.  I traced two of my fingers three times to create my "negative space" and then added the background using a new 6-piece set of Peerless Transparent Watercolors (shades of pink) that I picked up at One Little Spark.

DPP 51 - Borders.  This would be the favorite result of all the prompts that I did.  This quick owl drawing contains borders in several places and I colored it with shades of blue and green Prismacolor pencils.

DPP 52 - White Page.  Did you ever notice how many white animals appear in newspaper ads?  This "white animal collage" has but a few that I found in just two magazine.  I added a neutral watercolor wash as the background.  (I had to add the bird in there but kept it away from the cat.)

Almost done.