Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things I've made in the last week or so.

I've been running over with creative energy and making project after project. Here are a few I wanted to share. :)

I'm attending a get-together in which we are making Pagan prayer beads. So, I made three different sets as demos, make with three different techniques.

Knotted cord:

Flexible beading wire (can be worn as a necklace):

And beaded wire stations (can be worn as a bracelet):

I also made a tree of life pendant with unakite chips:

The kids and I also made handmade paper this weekend!

It's been fun!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My first hand-carved stamp!

I think all stampers and papercraft enthusiasts dream of crafting their own tools or supplies to meet their exact needs. To this end, I've been looking into stamp carving lately. There are so many beautiful stamps to carve and so much inspiration! From fine art stamps to homey folk art stamps, from kitschy stamps to modern pop art stamps, really you can create whatever your heart desires and your hands stay steady for!

Well, tonight after my workout, I got inspired to make an owl stamp. I saw this example over at Darby Smart. So, I went looking for some clip art and found this little guy. He's a die, and he's now on my wishlist... because he's gorgeous.

Anywho, this is what I made:

I'm really happy with how he turned out!! And, it's a big stamp, about four inches tall, so high impact, baby! Not bad for my first time!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simple Sympathy card

This  is a simple sympathy card I made for a co-worker who's mother recently passed away. Clear embossing ink with clear embossing powder for the wood-grain background; gold washi tape for the border; gold embossing powder on the sentiment; all on kraft paper. My co-worker is a man, and I knew a simpler card would be more effective for him. I'm happy with how it turned out.

I will be submitting this to the CAS*ology Week 101: Wood challenge. Thank you for looking!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Recent Cards and a Happy Mother's Day!

Hey there! I wanted to share a few cards I've made recently and perhaps enter them into some contests. I'll list the contests for each card at the end. :) First cards made for Mom and Grandmas (or Mema's in our house!) for Mother's Day! I've been sitting on a the two butterfly cards for a while. I got inspired to make them, but didn't want to let it slip too early in case someone took a peek at my blog. Usually, I make a card and post it the same day, but these needed to be kept under wraps! LOL Without further ado...

These cards were made for my Mom and my Mother-in-law. I love making more than one card on a theme, but using different papers and placement to make it unique. In case you can't tell, I'm also big on decorating the envelopes. These are probably the most decorated envelopes I've made so far. They are colorful and make me happy. I hope they make the recipients happy, too!! :)

  Here's a closer look at the one I sent to my Mom. I hope she loves it almost as much as I love her. It would be weird for her to love a card as much as I love her, because, you know, she's my Mom and I love her an awful lot... ;)
The envelopes going to my Mom, with the addresses obscured for privacy purposes. I really should have thought of that before I addressed them! Oh, well, MS Paint to the rescue! 

You've already seen the butterfly card, so let's see the card that went in the envelope on the right...

Well, you can't see that exact card. I sealed that baby up before I thought to take a picture. However, here is a sister card I made for my husband's Granny. Again, similar materials and theme, but slightly different in how they are used and where. You'll get the idea though:

This was my first time making every single bit of the card, including the base and envelope, myself. I'm so happy with how it turned out and I love the surprise of the patterned paper on the inside of the envelope. I hope the colors aren't too bright for Granny. My youngest picked the polka-dotted flower for it. :)

Can I just take a moment here and reflect on my all-consuming love of brads and flowers? I only just discovered them (I'm not a scrapper) and when I did, it was like a lightning bolt out of the blue! So many avenues for colors, form, texture, and dimension! Be still my crafter's heart!

Ok, back to the card...
Here, you can just barely see the shimmery embossing powder I used on the sentiment. It's a clear powder, showing the ink through, but adding an almost opalescent, glittery finish to the stamp. I'm really happy with it and can see using that powder A LOT in the future! Especially on wintery cards.

On the inside of these cards, I placed a rectangle of coordinating orange paper to write our greetings on, but I didn't get a picture of that. I really like how these turned out, and personally, I love the intense, juicy colors! They make me think of fruity tropical drinks!

This last card is a "just because" card. I saw a sketch somewhere and got inspired, so I whipped up a card. I'm very happy with it's muted colors and light-hearted theme. I think I know who this is going to (a certain bike-loving friend), but we'll see! :D 

This was my first time using the adhesive lace I found on Amazon, and I couldn't be happier with the results! It's just a touch, but it adds a lot to the card in my opinion. To me, this is just a straight-up fun card. I went with a very simple envelope on this one: I simply glued the three heart shapes I punched from the card onto the lower left-hand corner on the front of the envelope. Nothing crazy, but I think it looks sweet. 

I'm getting a lot of cards sitting in my workspace, so I may have to take a page from Damask Love and start letting friends browse through and take some home when they come over. In that regard, Ive started working toward making card sets to give as gifts. I made a set of note-cards for my sister-in-law as a thank you for bringing me a rose from a recent plant sale, and I really like how they and the giftbox turned out... However, I didn't have time to photograph them before I gifted them. BUT, I've got two more sets in the works and I promise to take pics and post on those!

Ok, onto the challenges!

I'm going to enter all three (four?) cards into the  Lily The Pink Challenge for Ink on my Fingers as they all have pink in them. Maybe I'm a little girly? Who knew? LOL!

The Mother's Day butterfly card(s) will be entered into the Week #309 with Simon Says Stamp! for Sketch Saturday. Dang, it would be amazing to win that one... They will also be going into the Challenge #16 Mom challenge for The Stamping Boutique. I'd enter the tropical-colored card in that, too, but it doesn't actually say anything about Mother's Day on the front and I don't want to push it. :) I'll also submit them to the Anything Goes Challenge from Papertake Weekly Challenge. There are a TON of cards already entered, but it's really fun to see what everyone else comes up with and to participate.

The last card, the "Ticket to Happiness" card, will be entered in the Photo Inspiration Challenge for Stampin' for the Weekend. The colors just happen to be perfect! How lucky!

Wish me luck and we'll talk soon!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Card making and entering my first sketch challenge

So, my most recent obsession has been card making. I love it because it lets me use so many of my crafty/artsy interests in on place, plus I get to give my projects away, which is my favorite reason to make anything. I wish I'd been taking pictures of all the cards I've been making to send out, but usually I make a card for a specific purpose then immediately send or give it to the person it was made for. I'll try to be better about that so I can share my work here. I can definitely promise to share the cards I made for Mother's Day after those cards have been given. I'm pretty proud of them.

Well, as you can imagine Pinterest and the internet in general has become my best friend, giving me inspiration and instruction. I'll list a few of my favorite blogs at the end of this post so maybe you can get some inspiration, too. :) I'll also list my Pinterest board and my paper crafts board in case you'd like to follow my exploits.

All that being said, I've been watching some card making challenges recently and really loving seeing how all these designers interpret a given sketch. Then, I came across this challenge: Retrosketches Challenge #111. When I saw it, I immediately thought to myself, "I could totally do that! I could do that right now!" And, I did!

This is what I came up with.


 I'm really happy with it. As you can see, instead of a ribbon from the sketch, I used washi tape and instead of a button, I used a flower attached with a brad. I added embossing to the sentiment and a few rhinestones because most things are better with rhinestones. I didn't brush all the stray embossing powder off the card because I liked that it gave it a bit of a vintage/worn/imperfect look. I thought it was interesting, so I left it.

 I left the inside blank because I like writing my own personal messages. I also stamped the enveloped with a simple floral stamp to add a little something.

I'm going to enter this in the challenge. I hope to at least get a little constructive criticism. Wish me luck!!

Here are those links I promised:

Retro Sketches - I really like their sketches!
 Jennifer McGuire - so! much! to! love!!
Splitcoaststampers - check out their tutorials!
Damask Love - literally everything she makes is gorgeous, elegant, and fun!
Omiyage Blogs - fun with paper and washi tape!
Fiskers - great ideas using their products

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My first WhimseyBox

 Today, I received my first Whimseybox. And, oh, what a glorious day it is! I can't wait to tell you all about it!!

First, let me explain a little bit about what Whimseybox is. It's a website that's a combination of fantastic DIY projects that are totally Pinnable, a shop to buy supplies to make the projects they feature, a blog and community to gab, gawk, and gush all things crafty, and (best of all!!) a subscription service which sends a lovely Whimseybox straight to your address. This is perfect for people who want to create, but can't find the time to gather inspiration, instructions, and supplies all in one place. Whimseybox takes care of all of it for you.

Now, what is a Whimseybox? It's awesome, that's what it is. Inside you will find everything you need to make a cool project. In my first box, I got everything I needed (except scissors, but hey, what crafter doesn't have scissors?!) to make two fantastic bracelets. It was packed so prettily, too. I wish I would have been a tad less excited, because I would like to show you a picture of what it looked like before I dug in. Suffice it to say, I felt like I was opening a gift. Everything inside was wrapped in mint tissue paper and crinkly kraft paper shred, all tied up with a mint satin ribbon. Love!

The re-usable box really is a great feature. It's sturdy and you can close it completely. I love that I could take this on a road trip and have everything I need to complete a fun project, with quality materials, right at my fingers tips. The box is good for storage, but also doubles as a clean work surface and would be prefect for re-using to mail gifts.

 Above you'll see the contents of the box (oh, and the bracelet I made draped over the clipboard): mini clipboard, two binder clips, a needle (stuck to the mini clip board with that cute swatch of washi tape), two colors of leather cord, two sweet buttons, 6/0 beads in clear with silver centers, thread, and cement. They also included three really great pencils printed with three crafty saying: DIY4LIFE, MAKERS GONNA MAKE, and STOP PINNING. START MAKING (this one also happens to be their motto, and I love it! Who hasn't gotten stuck on Pinterest, drolling over projects that you'd love to make if only you could tear yourself away from Pinterest?) I want to mention that all the supplies are high quality and full-sized. No trying to squeeze a tiny dab of glue out of a miniscule plastic pouch because they gave you the exact two drops of glue the instructions call for or trying to complete your project only to find out you lack one inch of thread. With a little more cord and a few buttons, I have enough supplies to make another bracelet or two besides the second they sent me.

Isn't this pretty? It's the art print for this month, and they include one in each Whimseybox. On it is printed this:

Full-color, pictorial instructions for making the project in the box. These directions were fantastic: clear and concise. I stepped through the directions and successfully completed a style of beading I'd never even thought to try before.

See what I made? It's a beaded wrap bracelet, and I'm so happy with it! I made it in about an hour, and I have enough materials to make another. After I finished making my first bracelet, I packed everything back into the box. Now, everything I need for a fun, satisfying project is ready when I have a bit of time to dedicate to it. I'm already looking forward to next month's box and I think I know a few people who will be getting a gift subscription for the holidays!

Think you're too busy to create? Think you can't figure out how to make it look like the picture? Think interpreting long lists of obscure supplies is too much trouble? Then, check out Whimseybox. They make creating easy and fun. I'm hooked!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Watercolor postcards

Watercolor Postcards

Heya! So, today I want to talk about watercolors. Watercolor painting is one of the trickiest art forms to master, yet it also incredibly delicate, beautiful, and satisfying. It requires restraint, patience, a high degree of skill, and the ability to see what your going to paint before you lay the color down.

Needless to say, I haven't come anywhere close to mastering it yet.
However, playing and practicing are good ways to dabble and learn! To that end, I started casually painting 4" x 6" postcards. The cards I found are great because the size isn't intimidating, they are quality paper, and all the postcardy goodness is printed on the back for you already. Plus, they size is great for framing, so whoever is lucky enough to receive one of these little beauties can frame it if they'd like.

As I was working on these, I thought others might like to play around, too. I find watercolors a little scary, but with this little tutorial, maybe it won't seem so scary for others anymore!
Strathmore Watercolor Postcards, 4" x 6"

Back, and front.
 So, let's get some materials together!

4" x 6" watercolor postcards
Watercolor paints - I show two travel palettes, this is the bigger one. You can also use tubes of paint.
A palette or plate to mix and thin your paint on
Various brushes
Masking tape
Paper towels and/or a towel
Masking fluid-optional, b sure you have an old brush to use with this. It can ruin a brush if you don't clean it out completely.
Sharpie, ultra fine-optional

Materials, baby!

Masking fluid and an old, cheap brush to apply it with. 

The next step was to open a file in Microsoft Publisher and find a page size for a 4" x 6" postcard. I decided on the portrait orientation so I could print out these little calaveras I drew and scanned a couple of years ago. Any free line art would work for this as well! There are some great line drawings online of just about any subject you want to paint. Google is your friend in this case! However, if you'd rather just draw free-hand directly onto the cards, that works, too. In fact, that's what I did with the Henna Sunrise card shown at the bottom of the page. I'll touch on that process in a bit. Don't worry, it's not hard.

Ok, so you're ready to print. Go for it! Once you've printed your image, it's time to get your workspace ready to go. Everything needs to be within easy reach. Use the masking tape to fix your postcard to your working surface. Be careful to make this neat as it will eventually make an unpainted frame around your work. Good lighting is important, too. If you can get natural light, awesome! If not, whatever you feel with comfortable works, too. Just make sure you can see where you're putting paint, and can accurately see the colors your using.

Yes, I work at my computer desk. It's the only place I can call my own with two kids in the house! LOL
 If you want to use masking fluid, this is a good time to save any spaces you want to keep white. In this example, I masked several places on the face and in the background area. Paint it on with an old brush and be patient! It's stinky. It can be a bit of a pain. But, it creates a really neat effect, so I hope you'll give it a try.

Taped down, ready to add masking fluid or paint.
You can just barely see the masking fluid on the surface.
 When you're happy with your masking, LET IT DRY completely. Don't rush this. Go get an iced tea and give it a few minutes. It will be worth it.

You're ready to paint! I'm not here to dictate how you color your card or try to teach you to use watercolors. There are some fantastic watercolor tutorials out there that will help you much more than I can. However, I encourage you to play! Try covering an area with water, then dabbing some paint into it. Try blending two colors together this way. Use highly-concentrated color, use very thin color, drawing thin lines or create big blobs of color. Be realistic or crazy. Whatever you do, try to have fun and enjoy it. Reminder: watercolor dries lighter than it looks when applied. Keep this in mind when adding very light colors. In my painting, the "whites" of the eyes are painted a light blue, but it dried so light that, next to the intense colors of the irises, it looks a bit washed-out.

Getting some color laid down!
Dabbing color into a wash of water.
Thrown down some salt!

If you want to create a cool effect, regular table salt is a great way to go. While an area is still wet, sprinkle some salt down. It will push and pull the paint and create a snowflake or crackle texture. Carefully brush off the salt before it's completely dry, being sure to not smear the damp paint. If you let the salt dry onto the paint, it may not brush off completely. However, I've found this leaves a subtle sparkle, which I don't mind at all. In this example, I used salt in the enter of the eye to add a little variation, while the two previous cards got salt on the background.
Salt textures, close-up.
Ok, done painting? Let that baby dry completely! If you're feeling a bit impatient, a blow dryer on low will help you along. Once it's completely dry, gently peel off the masking tape. Then, run your finger over the masking fluid and it will peel right off, revealing gleaming white paper beneath!

A matched set!

The final step is to sign the front and add some info to the back of the card with your Sharpie, so your recipient knows the name of their beautiful artwork! I also add the date and the medium, but feel free to add whatever information you want. You're ready to mail or frame your art work!
Back of the completed card with painting title, date, and medium. I think this adds a nice handmade touch.
 I promised to talk about hand-drawing your line art, and I keep my promises so here goes. The card shown below was created before I got my lovely postcards. I cut out the size I wanted from regular watercolor paper, taped it down like the card above, and got to drawing. I free handed a henna-inspired sunrise in pencil. Then, I painted it and let it dry completely. After it was dry, I removed the tape and outlined it with my Sharpie, adding a few more details here and there. I like how it turned out. :) Because it wasn't on postcard paper, I used a ruler to add the postcard lines on the back. Don't forget to sign your original artwork!
Henna Sunrise
I hope you enjoyed this little post. And, I really hope it inspires you to try something new! If you decide to try making your own, please leave me a comment and let me know! I'd love to know how it goes for you!