Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jingle Belles Washi Merry Monday Stars - Phew!

I knew that I wanted to use the leftover star die cuts from my star cards I made two weeks ago with some of my stash of blue washi tape for my second Jingle Belle challenge card.  It was just serendipity that the Merry Monday challenge this week was to feature stars in a Christmas card so why not pair them up.  And, the Technique Challenge on Splitcoast this week was to make a Pop-Up Diorama card which I almost did..... my star is in front of the opening so I don't think this would qualify as a diorama, but I liked the pop-up idea so I used the tutorial for that.  

On the front of the card, pictured above, I used four strips of washi tape for the background and added the stars to that popping them up.  The right side of the panel was punched with my star border punch.  

Inside I glued my silver embossed star over the 2" circle opening and embossed the sentiment with white EP.  

It's always so hard to photograph metallics - I don't know if you can see the effect below.

And I threw in an overhead view so you could see how this actually works.  The card collapses when you fold down the front and it is totally mailable.  

I think I'm going to have to use this tutorial again and this time do a real diorama scene inside.  

Okay, now I have to run and finish a couple of other projects that snuck up on me, but I'll be sure to visit both galleries for both challenges.  Won't you join me at the Jingle Belles and Merry Monday to see what other lovely creations have been shared there this week?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Craft Fails and A Save

Who out there saves toilet paper tubes?  I'm not ashamed to admit that I do.  I told my daughter that someday they were going to be obsolete and soon after that they came out with the commercial telling us how many tp tubes could fill the Empire State Building and some other statistics to further announce the new "tubeless" rolls that were coming out.  Now, we've yet to buy any of those tubeless rolls and since there's only HWNSNBP and I here at home (not counting Kirby who does not use tp but contributes to the collection of paper towel rolls as we use them to line his cage) so it's not like we're being overtaken by the cardboard tubes.  I do have a decent stash however, and when HWNSNBP recently asked me to make something to hang on the door to my mother-in-laws apartment I had a lightbulb moment trying to think of what I already had on hand that I could use. Why not try one of those tp roll projects I'd been seeing on Pinterest?

So, after inspecting the tubes that I had on hand, I sorted them out according to size and color (yes, they all seem to be slightly different in craftsmanship) and finding a wreath on Pinterest that seemed simple enough to start with I got to work.  (I was going to decorate it for winter.)

I started by collapsing the tubes flat and then cutting them into 1" pieces.  Then, not wanting a plain gray wreath, I thought I would paint them.  Shouldn't take that long I thought.  Well, I thought wrong.  It took me several hours to put 2 coats of white gesso on these babies and they still looked pretty yucky but after investing all that time I was determined to push on.  

Then I got out my trusty glue gun and started gluing them together and surprisingly this did not take a long time but it was pretty messy with all those glue strings.  (I planned on taking the hairdryer to it afterwards to get rid of those strings anyway.)  And as you see ABOVE it turned out okay..........but after hanging there for several hours, what you see BELOW is what happened.  

All right, maybe I was not generous enough with the glue I thought.  So I went back and reinforced all the connections yet again and rehung it.  Sadly, this did not do the trick either and actually came apart in two sections after hanging overnight.  Knowing that I had planned to have HWNSNBP hang this on the door in a common hallway I did not feel that it would ever be sturdy enough so for the last couple of weeks it had been sitting, in pieces, on the dining room table and I decided that despite all the time invested, it was time to toss it.  

Maybe it was the paint, maybe it was the glue, I don't know.  Needless to say, I only put a dent in my stash of tubes so I may try another design in the future but for now I certainly am classifying it as a fail.

Another failed recycling project I will share has to do with the plastic strapping that mail is bundled in.  Specifically, I had saved all the plastic bundling straps from the mail that we received in the school office for one year and what you see below is a portion of them.  What would I do with them?  How about a basket?  I looked and looked online and was not able to find anything so I set out to try on my own.

Don't let the picture below fool you.  I started by flat weaving what I was going to call the bottom thinking that I would just turn up the sides and continue to weave them vertically.  I had woven a berry basket before but the difference is that the caning I used for the berry basket and the plastic straps are not as equally strong.  The plastic, though sturdy on it's own, is still very pliable and I found it very difficult to work with.  So I thought I should have a mold to weave around like I saw in the Peterborough basket factory which they use to control the size and shape of their baskets.  

Problem was finding something to fit what I had already woven because I guess I was being lazy at the time and did not want to start over. So I took some cardboard and tried to put together a box.

But I should have taken it completely apart and started from scratch because the jury-rigged form that I made to try to fit what I had already done, did not prove sturdy enough to aid with the weaving.  So I put this aside for a very long time and finally, not wanting to look at it anymore, tossed it.

Needless to say, I am not saving any of those straps anymore unless I find some good instructions on something I can use them for.  If anyone has any suggestions I am open to give them a try.

Going back to the door project - I still needed to make something for her door and I had a coupon for AC Moore so I trekked out there and bought some "ingredients" to make a nice floral wreath. Something pink and purple for February and into spring I thought would be nice.  I purposely chose that oval-shaped grapevine wreath and had to laugh when the woman at the checkout took the time to point out to me that it wasn't round.  

So after snipping some stems and leaves and playing with placement - here's the finished wreath. (I decided it did not need the ribbon.)  And it does hang straighter on the wall, I just rushed taking pictures.

More often than not I am usually pretty satisfied with the outcome of my creative endeavors.  The hardest part of failing, I think, is not not having something nice to show for it, but rather all the time invested in doing it in the first place.  Yet, I would not stop trying things for just that reason. I just have to be a little more selective and maybe abort things earlier if they're not turning out.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jingle Belles and Snow Day Hijinks

HWNSNBP left for a basketball game the other day (he's a basketball ref in addition to his regular day job) and he left the TV tuned to The Rifleman.  He had been watching it while I was making a pot of vegetable soup.  So what has this to do with my card?  Well, the episode was about a Chinese father and son who came to town and were being tormented by some of the locals.  Of course The Rifleman and his son befriended them and helped them to get their Chinese laundry business going. As I was listening to the TV from the other room, I was wondering how the Chinese got to be so good at laundering and of course the phrase "no ticky, no washi" came to mind which made me think of washi tape, which reminded me that this week's prompt for the Jingle Belle Challenge was to use washi tape (or any other form of decorative tape) on our cards.  Some would call that synchronous thinking - how we tie things together.  In my case it spurred me in the direction of the stamp cave and got my wheels spinning in the direction of my collection of washi tape and some new dies that I have not yet used.  

I went with a gold and silver pallet on some Whisper White cs.  The card base is a very yellow gold paper that is quite sturdy.  The Laurel Wreath was cut from metallic silver paper and the deer was cut from textured gold.  I'm kind of happy with the way this turned out and I have another idea brewing for next week.  

So as I was finishing up with the washi tape, I kept glancing over the the card that I had started for my son's birthday but then abandoned.  When I was working on it the other day it just wasn't coming together so I went with the simpler (and I already said "lame") card if only to make sure that he received it for his birthday.  But this one was calling to me to finish.  I already had the splats and the stenciled part done and I had the strip of navy also.  I decided to put some feathers on it in the colors of the ink that I used - Bermuda Bay and Marina Mist - and then I thought it should have a bird. But not just any bird.  It would have to be a peacock with those colors and lo and behold (who says that?), I just happened to have a peacock stamp.  So I stamped it in Marina Mist and then colored it with just about every other blue, blue/green marker that I could put my hands on and then fussy cut it out.  I took a navy marker and added the accent lines to the stenciled motifs.  Now I'm thinking this isn't as lame as the other one and I think that this will make a nice get well card for a co-worker.  

And now here's where the hijinks come in.  (Doesn't that look strange with those three tittles in a row?  Go ahead and giggle, I did!)  

We had a snow day yesterday (I might have mentioned that before) and instead of baking chocolate chip cookies like I would usually do (sorry Peach!) I had prepared myself to do a little Pinterest- inspired project.  I wanted to make a Post-It Origami Icosahedron.  Why?  Why not?  I had purchased some colorful post-it notepads at the dollar store and had saved the instructions to my Pinterest page so I got to folding.

I folded 10 units of each color and then started puzzling them together to make..........................

It's about the size of a large orange.  The colors are really off in that last picture, but I think you can definitely see that it all fit together.  And now it joins the rubber band ball on my desk at work!

Think of all the calories I saved by not making those cookies!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Covering the Bases This Week

I was inspired to do the Valentangle above using all heart-related tangles....Heartstrings, Lolo, Heart Divided, Heart Box, Heartfully, and some Mooka hearts.  Then I used my Prismacolor pencils to add color.  It's been extremely cold here and today we have a snow day, though I think they called it too soon.  It started out with a delayed opening and then changed it to closed, but it stopped snowing much earlier than I think they expected - there's only about 3 inches out there.  So now we'll be giving back a day from Spring Break.

Sadly, our daughter-in-law lost her grandfather earlier this weekend.  It's hard losing someone you've been so close with and who has loved you so unconditionally all your life.  So I sat down yesterday to make a couple of cards for her and her family.  Though I never feel I have the right words at times like this.  

Also this week is my son's birthday.  Yes, he's making me feel very old.  And this card below is very lame I fear.  Dare I say that I was running out of mojo at this point.  Still, I know he'll like it because it was made specially for him. 

Now, let me get my biking done because I'll have to get these in the mailbox today and I don't want to waste this gift of a day off!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day..... and the Winner IS...............

I used Seasonally Scattered for HWNSNBP's Valentine card.  I stamped the image in Strawberry slush and then went back with a VersaMark marker and highlighted the little hearts so I could emboss them with pewter EP.  Then I randomly highlighted some of the dots with the marker and embossed them with black EP.  I carefully used an Exacto knife to trim away the white letters, saving the center of the O.  That image was popped up on a strip of Real Red that I had dry embossed with the new heart folder.  I punched some leaves out of silver metallic paper for a finishing tough.  Funny thing is the card that he bought for me has a very similar motif (stripes and all).  

We've both been a bit under the weather with colds this last week but we still managed to get out yesterday.  He took me to my favorite tea room and he had lunch while I enjoyed a four course tea.  It was a very windy day and it was snowing but it was peaceful and enjoyable just the same.

Last night I printed out all the comments from my Grow Your Blog Post and cut them into strips, folded them, and added them to a little bucket and this morning HWNSNBP chose the winner of my card giveaway..........

Congratulations Ann C.! 

And thanks to all of my new followers and those that visited and commented during the Grow Your Blog Party.  I've "met" quite a few new blogging friends and have many more places to visit myself.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Grow Your Blog (Scroll Down for Newer Posts)

I decided to participate in the Grow Your Blog party sponsored by Vicki from 2 Bags Full and this post will (hopefully) remain at the top for the next two weeks to give visitors a chance to drop in.

2 Bags Full
Click HERE to check out the Party

It sounded like it would be fun to learn about how other bloggers got their start and to find some new internet friends and maybe followers.  So let me start by telling a little of my story and how I started blogging............

Funny how our lives can parallel the changing of the seasons. 

SPRING signifies birth.  Our formative years.  This is where I found my love of making things.  Put a crayon or paintbrush in my hand and I was happy.  As I grew, so did my interest in creating things. I learned things like crocheting, needlework, and sewing from my mother and grandmother.  I doodled in notebooks and branched out into macrame and jewelry making.  Woman's magazines were a source of great crafting ideas back then and if we had the supplies for something, or they were easily and cheaply obtainable, I was game to try.  

SUMMER - roots are firmly put down and opportunities arise.  This is when I learned that you can use your creative talents to make some money.  I took classes in calligraphy and stained glass and began to sell some of my designs to friends and family.  I also joined with some other crafty friends to expand our market.  We started doing "craft shows" and flea markets selling our handcrafts and crocheted items and managed to make a bit of a profit. I wish I had had a blog back then to document the crafts of the time.  Funny how I see some of these things becoming popular again on Pinterest boards and in blogs.  

FALL - Middle-age.  Still expanding my love of learning new crafts, I tried basketweaving, took decorative painting classes, and started dabbling in papercrafts.  I found another friend to partner up with and we sold our handcrafted and handpainted Christmas and decorative items at craft shows and consignment sales.  But as the family grew up, crafting slowed down, yet I never stopped.  The kids grew up and I found a new love - rubber stamping and whatever papercraft I could get my hands on. I was lucky enough to be able to create my son and daughter-in-law's wedding invitations and all my cards (Christmas, birthday, thank you, sympathy, shower, baby, etc.) are handmade.  I started carrying my camera with me wherever we went and about 6 years ago decided to start blogging and sharing my crafts and photos.  Blogging also helps me document what I'm doing or what I've done. And what a resource the internet has become.   Not only can you get ideas for new and exciting projects, you can also take courses and participate in swaps and exchanges with friends from all over the world.

WINTER - This is the stage I'm entering now (and I hope it turns out to be a long winter), but I'm not slowing down creatively.  I'm still learning new things.  A couple of years ago I took a class in Zentangles and have been greatly enjoying the relaxing and meditative state that it puts me in.  I've recently tried a few art challenges getting back to my "roots" in drawing and painting, collaging and experimenting with all kinds of art supplies.  This is in addition to my addiction to rubber stamps and pretty paper and the things that I can do with all that.  My goal is to do something creative each day, no matter how small to keep my creative juices flowing and as a therapy of sorts, to keep me centered and counteract the craziness and hectic pace of my workday in the school office.  

I like to post several times a week and one of those posts is usually a Christmas card for the Jingle Belle challenges because I've found that by doing a card a week for 11 months greatly cuts down on the holiday crunch.  

The cards that went along with my "story" were created with a new Stampin Up stamp set called Sheltering Tree.

I will be giving away this set of cards on February 15 and all you have to do is leave a comment with a way for me to contact you to be eligible.  I'll print out the comments and have HWNSNBP (He Whose Name Shall Not Be Published aka my husband) cut them up and randomly pick a winner.

So I hope you enjoyed my little story and that maybe you'll come back now and then to see what I'm up to or check out some of my older posts and see what I've done!  

Thanks Vicki, for hostessing this blogging get together! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Early February Birthday Cards

My Godmother's birthday is in early February.  I had pinned a card by Katherine at Little Things that I wanted to give a try.  I didn't have the exact same die so I improvised with one I did have.  The reason I inlaid my flowers was because there were spaces in my die that prevented me from keeping the die cut outs open.  I stamped some butterflies in Crumb Cake on the base and added some detail to the die cuts with a little Melon Mambo ink and a blender pen.  The raised butterflies are stamped in Melon Mambo on Whisper White cs.  I used one of the Crumb Cake die cuts as a little accent on the lace, adding some florets from a Susan's garden sunflower die and my chopped paper centers.  

This second card is for my blogging friend Clare in California whose birthday was this past weekend. Clare has a blog dedicated to paper cranes and when I saw this stamp set by Mama Elephant I knew I had to have it if for no other reason than to make her birthday card.  (There really is always a good excuse for buying more stamps!)

I stamped the crane image four times and colored them with my Blendabilities.  Then I carefully used a square punch to punch them out and placed them on the Crushed Curry square.  I think this SU paper is so cool and it provided me with just the right choices in ink colors for those cranes.

Those colors really make me look forward to spring!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jingle Belles - Shaping Up for the New Year

I wonder that you could definitely guess what our challenge was this fortnight?  Aha, I knew you could do it.  A card by any other shape than a square or a rectangle to be exact.  

I got my nested star dies last fall with every intention of making one of these dimensional star cards but those good intentions got a little sidelined.  Thankfully, this was the perfect challenge to give it a try.  I found a good video tutorial here at DDStamps.  Believe me, it is not as involved as it might appear to be.  

My star base is Marina Mist and I used white glitter paper for my 3-D star portion.  The center is embossed with Pewter EP.  So what would be better than making one of these stars?

Making two!

These cards are a little bit smaller being around 4".  But they're so cute!

And speaking of shaping up and being a little smaller, I'm going to brag just a wee bit and let you in on a little milestone I've achieved.  Since mid-September I have lost 30 pounds!  I'm counting Weight Watcher points and my back rehab has me focused on moving more (recumbent bike daily and physical therapy home program).  I can't wait until the weather starts being more cooperative so I can get out and walk without worrying about snow or ice.  I still have a bigger goal in mind but I am very pleased with where I am right now.  And I have a wonderful friend who is doing the same and we're each others' cheerleaders which has helped tremendously to stay on track.

So, let's go check out the other "shapely" ladies' creations at the Jingle Belle blog.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thank a Postman(woman) Day

Wednesday (Feb. 4th) was Thank a Postman Day and since I was out of work during the holidays and didn't get to wish our mail lady a Merry Christmas, I knew that I didn't want to miss this day too. Actually, we also forgot to put our home mailman's card in the mailbox for Christmas so it became imperative to also remember him on Thank a Postman Day.  

So I rustled up these two cards in red, white, and blue with a mailbox image from Picnic Parade with a note of thanks and a Dunkin Donuts gift card for them both.   I still have the work card at my desk because our mail lady has been out this past week. Hopefully she'll be back this week.  There's something going around and it found me also this week.  I've been laying low since I got home from work on Friday.  I don't have any sick days left so I could really use a snow day tomorrow because I could probably use another recuperative day.

Our Spanish teacher loves to spend time in our school art room and our Art teacher is wonderful about her doing her little projects there.  These two tiles are her newest work and I'm so happy that she shared them with me.  

Don't you just love the colors!  

I wish I had time to spend in the art room.  I've been invited to come before school hours but I haven't been able to get in much earlier as I now have my back program to do at home including my recumbent bike in the morning.  There just has to be a way to find more hours in a day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A New Desk Calendar and a Study in Color Combinations

I finally found a calendar small enough for my desk yet large enough for me to continue my mail art project.   (Click here to find the month of November when I started it.  And if you want to see a really cool desk calendar, visit Clare and see hers.  It's fantastic!).  You'll notice that the squares before the 21st of January are not filled in and that is because January 21st was the day I returned to work after my short leave and also why there is no calendar page for December.  

Whilst HWNSNBP was watching the Super Bowl Sunday night, I played a little with coloring some of these birds from SU's A Happy Thing set.  (Scroll back to see the cards I made with the lemon stamp fom the same set.)

I first stamped them in Memento Black ink and then got out my Blendabilities to play with some color combinations.  I did look at Pinterest for some inspiration but a few are my own tries.

So of course I couldn't just let them be.  I die cut the circles and then some Crumb Cake cardstock and made these 3" note cards.

What I forgot to take a picture of was what I stamped on the inside - YOU MADE MY DAY!  I have taken these to work to use in a week coming up to thank those that do make my day.  

I think I shall have to try some more combinations very soon.  Do you have a favorite?