Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are you there?

The SDC this week is Eggplant Hues. 

I broke out my new art journal (fun!) and created a page that morphed a few times in the process eventually evolving into one about my dad.  There are so many times that I wish he was around so I could ask him something or glean some words of wisdom from him.  He is there.  I just need to listen to that inner voice.

This is my first attempt at what I think of as an "art journaly" page. To me that means an interesting background - at least that's what I'm drawn to when looking at other's art journal pages.

I used Distress Inks - Walnut Ink, Broken China, Dusty Concord, Fired Brick and Pumice Stone.  I brushed it on, rubbed it on, stamped with it and dribbled water over it. Some dots of Picket Fence Stain are on there too.

Jasmine has been my go-to girl lately.  She is colored with Copics.  A couple of strips of washi tape and some little stars using my white Signo Uniball pen (accented with bits of Diamond Stickles) finished it up.

I've decided I like getting nice white pages kinda dirty...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coptic Stitch Art Journal

I am so excited.  Many years ago I saw a coptic bound book and fell in love with that type of binding.  I have made several attempts to make a coptic bound book over time but along the line my stitches went awry somewhere and I would give up disgusted.  Many of my daily blog wanderings are to places where amazing artists show their art journals.  I've wanted to try it, but didn't have a real journal (my excuse as quite frankly it's intimidating for me to delve into "art" when I really do "crafty stuff") so I put it off.  But the other day when  I ran across France's video showing her process (see previous post) I was completely inspired.  I pulled up my Big Girl Panties and went to work creating my own art journal.

I had a pad of watercolor paper that has been sitting on my shelf for years.  I ripped those pages out, folded them in half and used them for the signatures for my book.  Initially the plan for the covers was to use the cardboard base of the watercolor pad - very sturdy bookboard-like pressed board - but I cut it wrong (argh!) so instead used some less-sturdy but still workable cardboard.  The cover is embellished with inks and stamps, old sheet music and pieces of a page protector (the stems).  I brushed Mod Podge over the whole thing to protect the surface and can say that I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

For the binding I used bakers twine that I ran across a candle a few times so that it would move smoothly through the holes.  Look ma!  Coptic stich binding...finally!

This type of binding is ideal for something like an art journal because when you open it the pages lay completely flat.  So now I have no more excuses for not exercising my creative muscles.  Here we go...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Layer Challenge - SDC262

It has been so long since I've played along with the SDC challenges.  This week for SDC 262 the challenge is to create a one layer card (or tag, in my case).  Several bits inspired me when making my tag.  Wendy Vecchi's tag here.  I borrowed her embossing paste idea (though my dragonfly isn't nearly as fantastic as her flower) and the stencil background idea  - she misted, I inked.  I also was inspired by France's amazing art journal page here (the inked lines on the edges of my tag.).

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall Leaves

Few things say fall to me like the changing colors on the trees.  I spotted these beautiful leaf-shaped doilies and so many ideas for using them came to mind.

I've added sets of each of these lovely lacy leaves here in my Etsy shop.

I'm imagining them scattered down the center of a table as a pseudo (and very easy) table runner. I may either sew them together or thread them on some bakers twine for a simple fall garland on my mantle. Picture a package simply wrapped in kraft paper with these as the gift tag or in a smash book documenting an autumn road trip.  These would be put to good use as masks on paper projects as well - lay them on some paper and spray with a colored mist.  Remove the doilie to reveal a pretty, lacy leaf image.

These are just the tip of the iceberg - so many possibilities!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Here you go, My Pretty...

I have fallen in love with this latest project.  I just listed it here in my Etsy shop, but I must admit being tempted to keep it for myself (perhaps this is a good excuse to make another?).

I picture this Spell book as being discovered in some deep, dark cave near Salem.  Missing for over a hundred years a magic spell has locked its pages which are wrapped in a bat skin (maybe goblin flesh?) cover.  Too creepy?


The reality is that it's a hardcover book that I rescued, added some goodies to and covered with ultra-thin paper.  The pages are glued shut with a mixture of Mod Podge and paint. I am having a hard time trying to decide what the texture of the covering reminds me of.  I wanted something mythical or that a proper witch would appreciate hence, bat skin, goblin flesh or perhaps hell hound hide.  I don't know.  What do you think?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Giddyup, Mermaid

Yeah...those two don't necessarily go together do they?  I whipped up a couple of goodies for some challenges this morning.  The first card is for the CASual Fridays Splish Splash challenge - something oceany - and the MFT Sketch Challenge.

 The stamps I used are from My Favorite Things Who's That Mermaid and Studio G (the little bubbly border).  I added little bits of glitter to the bubbles to make them...bubblier.

 The mermaid's tail is covered with Diamond Glaze to make her shiny, too.

The next little gem is for Waltzingmouse's Birthday challenge.  I love their stamps - great quality.  I'm going to tuck this away for emergency gift packaging.  ;)

 Can you see in the pictures that the horseshoes were stamped with silver ink?  The barbed wire is made using a mini embossing folder and going over it with some distress ink. I also tried to make the Yee Haw look like a piece of wood by cutting it kind of jaggedy and distressing it a bit.

That's it for today.  Happy trails.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Have I mentioned (532 times?) that I love Halloween?  I am definitely in my happy place to be surrounded by crows, spiders (the plastic kind, thank you very much), pumpkins, skeletons and papers in green, brown, black, orange, and purple.  Good times.

I don't recall what inspired me to delve into this latest project.  Something on Pinterest, no doubt. I have never tried stamping on tiles before so dove in with a little trepidation.  I tried several different images with no success until I stumbled upon this skull island stamp.  Wah-lah!  Love this stamp and I'm really pleased with the result

 I added this Skull Island Coaster Set to my Etsy shop yesterday.  Love them!

What do you think of the red, drippy rim on that wine glass?  Pretty creeeepy, yes?  Super easy to do.  Mix light corn syrup with some red and blue food coloring - just a smidge of the blue.  Dip the rim in the mixture and set aside for about a minute.  It will seem like it's not going to work but don't be tempted (as I was...several times) to dunk again.  It will start oozing in its own good time.

Thanks for stopping by again today.  I hope you're getting to enjoy a warm, sunny summer day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

CAS-ual Fridays

The peeps over at the CAS-ual Fridays blog always come up with a great challenge to work with.  This week it's square cards.  I am trying really hard to get the whole CAS (Clean And Simple) thing down - not typically my forte.  I think I accomplished it this week with this card.  Woo hoo!

Stamped the pencil image with distress inks and popped the sentiment up with foam dots.  A smidge of book text on the inside finished it off (and keeps with the whole writing theme methinks).

Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Let's go fly a kite...

I woke up way too early this morning and, thinking it would make sleepy (ha!) started wandering around the internet.  I ran across the CASual Friday challenge (things you'd see in the sky) and the Inspiration Journal challenge (kites).  Match made in heaven, that's what I'm thinkin'!

In the corner of my desk is sitting several little 4"x 4" art canvases so I made this:

I inked up the background with Distress Stain and die-cut some clouds from white paper scraps. 

I freehand cut the kite pieces from some paint chips and matted them on black so they'd stand out. The tail is bakers twine that I attempted to stiffen with Diamond Glaze. It worked okay but I bet there's something out there that's better.  The kite is popped up off the canvas.

The sun's face is popped up too.  The rays are cut out of a book page with Japanese text and then I schmoojed yellow Stickles all over it.

I really like this quote: "True courage is like a kite, a contrary wind raises it higher." by Jean Petit-Senn.

Not sure if this counts as CAS but it was fun to do.  :)  The canvas is adhesive-backed so I think I may frame it and put it in my daughter's room.  She just came in and exclaimed, "Oh, Mom!  That's my favorite!".  :D

Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy Trails!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Can we do it? Yes, we can!

This is a completely atypical post for me as it has nothing whatsoever to do with paper, stamping, cards, scrapbooks or Etsy.  I just saw this pinned on Pinterest and I could swear I heard angels singing as if the hand of God came down and pointed at me. 

I am a (how shall I say this?) "laid-back" housekeeper.  I don't require completely pristine surroundings but I would prefer to sit in my family room without having to scootch piles of laundry over or go into the kitchen to make dinner without recoiling at puddles of God-only-knows-what solidifying on my counter.  With three very capable children and an equally capable husband it seems to me that my house should remain in a reasonable respectable state on a regular basis as we all happily whistle while we work.  But it doesn't.  Not by a long shot.  I go on housecleaning strike occasionally just to see if anybody notices that clothes or dished don't get washed.  Sweeping?  Ha!  I don't want to tell you how long dishes sat in the kitchen before I threw my hands up in despair and collapsed in a heap on the (crumb-littered) floor as the reality of my situation struck me.  It wasn't pretty, people.

Check out this post at The Fun, Cheap or Free Queen.  While I haven't tried her method yet I'm up for giving it a whirl.  Who's with me?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back To School Already??

The Back To School sales are on and it's time to start thinking about school clothes, schedules, after school activities and...gulp...homework.  I have mixed emotions about school starting.  On the one hand, I look forward to seeing my preschool kids who I've really missed this summer.  I love watching my own kids play their various sports and, hectic as it is at times, I look forward to it.  On the other hand, I love the lazy, unscheduled days of summer and being able to be more relaxed about bedtimes and the ability to spontaneously take off on an adventure.  This is what crossed my mind when I saw this challenge over on the Blockhead Stamps blog to make a mini book.  If you are a stamper and haven't heard of Blockhead Stamps then hold onto your seat and zip over to their website to take a peek.  There are stamps there for every style.  I have been so impressed with their speedy delivery and excellent customer service.  Check them out.  Seriously.

About the book...my little project looks at what we love about summer and how the kids feel about returning to school.  I used all scraps from my stash for this little project..  I also tried to pull out stamps that I haven't used in a while (or ever!).  Here goes...

The background stencil is one I just got in the mail the other day from Blockhead Stamps.  Love it.  The title kind of got lost so I doodled around it to make it stand out more.

The book is bound using a pamplet stitch.  I added some beads and a little worksheet button to the ends of the bakers twine that I used for binding.

Ahhh...summer.  Bountiful gardens, the breeze whispering through my curly locks and days at the beach.

Camping and ice cream - two of my favorite things about summer.  It's criminal that we haven't gone camping once (yet) this summer.  I used the stencil again on the cone.

The background page is a math worksheet that I printed out for one of the kids thinking they would want to stay up to speed on their math skills during summer.  Ha-ha.  Fat chance, Mom.  On the left page I stamped the days of the week using distress inks.  Then I added some water to make them blurry.  The idea being that I frequently have to stop and really think about what day it is during summer.  The summer half of the book is done; time for back to school with the date circled on the mini calendar on the right hand side.

My oldest doesn't mind starting school too much.  Other than the early wake up time she's good with it as she gets to see her friends every day and flirt with random hotties.  It's all about the social life, right?  My middle child is less than enthused.  I often have to go in several times to wake him up on school days.  Strange.  He can have a 5 a.m. alarm for hockey and he hops right out of bed.  Hmmmm...

My youngest is somewhere in between the other two.  He isn't crazy about school starting but he'll suck it up and get with the program.  He's my laid back, go-with-the-flow kid.  On the right page I stamped the days of the week again, clearly this time.  Our fall schedule is insane between school stuff, soccer for some, hockey for some, etc. Never a dull moment.  The hokey pokey sentiment was kind of poking fun at ourselves and a reminder to keep all in perspective.

Finally the back cover.  I love my coffee and between my work schedule, my Etsy shop, the kids' activities and my husband and I both playing on adult teams (hockey and soccer respectively) a little jolt of caffeine now and again is just the jumpstart I need.

If you have indeed read this far thanks for taking in my babble.  :)  Until next time...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Messy Musings OR The Colors of October

The first of the month is always a new unveling of Tim Holtz's newest monthly tag where he challenges us to try our hand at a new technique.  I have yet to actually create a tag like his; mine always morph into their own little world and this month is no exception.  This is his lovely tag
as seen here on his website.

And here is my rather different one:

Scratching your head?  Let me walk you through my thought process. 

• I don't have many frame or silhouette stamps so I improvised with a simple stamp that would take to embossing well (the skull). 
• I don't have any embossing folders with blank middles so I investigated a double embossing technique that will provide the same effect.  Hard to tell in the finished tag, but the circle is embossed. 
• Instead of pulling out the acrylics I just rubbed some distress inks over the embossed grid background.
• His rose embellishment totally reminded me of the scroll die I have so I cut them out on black cardstock and blinged them up with some black stickles .  I also made some "ugly" flowers using distress stains, pigment ink and embossing powder.  (My fingers are getting really swampy-colored now with a mixture of brown, orange and green inks.)

• Deciding bling was the way to go I added some to the sentiment, plopped some rhinestone eyeballs on the skull, and punched a strip or glittery black tape with a drippy punch.

• After that I dinged up the outside of the tag by running the edge of my scissors along it.  Then I dragged that across my distress pads and dabbed the edges in water so the color would wick up the side a bit.

• And finally I dyed the ribbon with more distress stain and some olive Glimmer Mist.  (Now my fingers are really grungy..BUT with a hint of green sparkle!)  I ripped up the ribbon ends a bit too for a little added distressedness.

This doesn't resemble Tim's tag at all, but it did get me in my crafty zone and playing around with stuff for my favorite holiday. 

Here's what I used:

Off to give my fingers a good scrubbing ...