Monday, November 20, 2017

Making Rosettes

All paper craft artists have boxes, bins, drawers or piles of paper scraps left over from various projects. I wonder sometimes if I will EVER use all these bits and pieces of paper that I've been saving, in the off-chance that I can utilize them 'some day'. 

Faced with that same issue this past weekend, I came up with a plan for a few of those scraps. Several 12" X 12" pieces of patterned card stock had been cut down into 2.5" X 3.5" size cards for pocket letter inserts. What I was left with were several scraps that were approximately 1.25" X 12".

I remembered a tutorial that I'd watched on YouTube some time ago and decided to try to use up those odd shaped pieces to make rosettes. I scored each piece every 1/4", then folded along the creases accordion style.

After gluing one end to the other, I manipulated them into the round rosettes and glued them in place with a punched out piece of card stock on the back side. On the front, I glued another circle piece of card stock, then added the chipboard sticker on top of that to finish them off.

They are going to make fabulous gift toppers. I may even adhere a magnet to the back of them so they can be used a fridge magnets. And the best part of all, they cost very little and were fun, easy & quick to make.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Clutter Collectors

Have you ever noticed how practically every horizontal surface in your house or apartment ends up being a clutter collector? This includes kitchen tables, dressers, nightstands, coffee tables, end tables, chairs, desks, countertops and even the bed in the guest room if you have one. There are many other surfaces left unmentioned too.

These platforms seem to attract all kinds of stuff; from paper to books, dishes to clothing, and piles of other bits & pieces too numerous to mention. And piling MORE stuff on top of the other stuff is so much easier than actually putting it away in its proper place.

But wait, shouldn't that the first part of this equation? START BY ASSIGNING AN APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR EVERTHING, making sure that these spots are as easy and obvious as the surfaces we are currently leaving them on. Isn't that an interesting concept? (sarcasm intended)

However, once you are overwhelmed by the surface clutter, how do you escape from it? The problem looks so huge! The situation seems so bad that we often give up on it. That is where I have been for a long time now, stuck with those terrible feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. I don't like feeling that way. Have you been there too? I imagine everyone has been at some time in their life.

I've reached the point where I am resolved to 'fix' it. I'm ready. One way or another, I want to eliminate the stress associated with an untidy home. I'm tired of feeling guilty about living in a messy space. I'd like to be able to invite friends over without being embarrassed about my surroundings.

The key to success, I believe, is to take baby steps. It’s easier to have one goal than many, so I will stick to clearing one surface at a time until it's done, then moving onto another one until the whole job is completed. It doesn't matter how long it takes as long as there is continuous progress made and no regression back to the way it was. 

It did not get to this state in a day, it will take more than a day to clear it all up. I will set aside one or more 15 minute blocks of time each day to tackle the clutter. No more excuses! Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop this woman from the completion of my appointed tasks. I'm determined! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mixed Media Weekend Project

I am continually watching YouTube videos for artistic inspiration. I got the spark last week from this video by Shira Manor on a technique for creating mixed media ATCs. I did not have all the same products and materials that she used but, as always, I worked with what I have, including drywall tape, modeling paste, embossing powders, old book text, acrylic paint and washi tape. The base is 100 lb. watercolour paper.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3
Two of the ATC size cards had to be sacrificed in the name of art. I needed to cut them down for some of the bits and pieces used for the layered clusters on the seven completed cards. I added Tim Holtz metal gears and simple two word phrases to finish them off.

A couple have already been traded or gifted to others. And I had so much fun making this set, that I made another similar set on the weekend too! It was a great way to spend a long weekend.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Heart Art Challenge - Week 13 & 14

My heart art tag for week 13 was an experiment, using a background technique that I have never used before. I'm not overly thrilled with it but as experiments go, pretty successful. I first tried this emboss resist technique with clear embossing powder but did not like the results at all. So, I tried it with white embossing powder. I used two colours of Distress Ink pads for the resist, Fire Brick and Walnut Stain. I edged it with black archival ink and called it done.

With this image greeting me outside my front door on April 7th, I decided that the week 14 tag had to be springlike. This cold, wet, snowy weather is not my idea of a nice, spring day! Wouldn't you agree?

Since I had my Big Kick die cutting machine out anyway, I decided to create this tag completely with die cuts. The hearts form the flowers, and the other bits finish them off. I edged around the tag with black archival ink. Very quick and easy to put together. And I think that I am back on track with the current week!

To watch Bea Grob's Heart Art Week 13, click here. I am amazed how she manages to keep herself within a twenty-five minute time limit. I sure have not been able to do that.

Bea Grob - Week 13

Bea Grob - Week 14
To watch Bea's Heart Art Week  14, click here. She has been using a lot of techniques and materials that I've never used before and hope to try some of them out in future art projects.

I'm so happy that I've finally caught up. March was a challenging month for me and I lost a bit of my creative mojo. But it's back!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Making Mandalas

I've spent the small amount of spare time I had this week making mandalas out of used postage stamps. The worst part of the job is removing the stamps from the paper.

First, you have to soak them in very warm water until they separate from the paper. Then, they are placed on a paper towel to air dry. Next, they need to have a heavy book set on top of them overnight to flatten them. They tend to curl up as they dry.

I punch out 1.25" diameter scalloped circles that I fold to get eight equal sections, like a pie. This is my placement guide for the postage stamps. Here are the ones that I've finished this week pictured with one of the original stamps they were made from.

All four mandala made from the same stamp
As you can see, how you orient the postage stamp onto the guide can completely change the look of the mandala. Each stamp has four sides, so you can get four different looks.

Both made using the same stamp

Both made using the same stamp
Even the colour of the punched out circle in the middle can change how the finished mandala will look. I will share more as I make them. I have a whole lot of stamps to get used up!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Heart Art Challenge - Week 11 & 12

Week 11
For week 11, I used a tag that I already had a prepared background on. Using scraps from my box of bits and pieces, I constructed the house. The doorknob is a brass coloured brad. I used my Dymo label maker to print out the quote.
Week 12

For week 12, I pulled some gelli prints from the recycling bin. These ones were less than acceptable in my eyes, at least. I tore them into narrow strips and randomly glued them onto a piece of cardstock. Then I cut the hearts out of the resulting collage and glued them down onto the plain pink background.

Both tags were inked around the edges with black archival ink to frame them. The hearts on the week 12 tag were too so they would stand out more.

Bea Grob - Week 11
Bea Grob - Week 12
To see Bea Grob's process video for Week 11, click here. To see her video for Week 12, click here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bead Soup Blog Party: Bead Hoarders' Edition - Reveal Day

I will admit, when I first received the package of beads from Sally, I had virtually NO idea how or what I would create with them. I had expected to receive only one focal bead, but instead she sent two focal beads and a few extras.

I scoured pages and pages of images on Google and Pinterest searching for inspiration. I did not think I was going to be able to create something that would do justice to these lovely beads and was beginning to panic. Thank goodness, I finally found what I was looking for. 

Once I had the idea in mind, it was time to go to my bead stash to find the co-ordinating beads needed to complete the piece. The idea was to use only beads from your stash and not run out to buy new ones.

i did pretty good. The only thing I had to purchase for this project was the bead caps, as I had none of those. Here is the completed necklace.

I pulled the colour red from the two focal beads for the seed beads used for the bottom portion of the necklace. I used all the beads that Sally sent me for the focal points on either side, and clear cracked quartz and red seed beads for the upper portion.

There are some serious construction flaws in this piece, a few things that I did not clearly think through before plunging into making it. I love how it turned out but will have to go back and resolve those issues before I dare wear it for fear of it falling apart, seed beads scattering all over the floor!

Here is the original inspiration for my creation. It is considerably chunkier that my necklace but follows the same basic structure. 

This was a lot of fun to make, and it was great to reconnect with someone I had been out of touch with for several years. Check out what Sally made with the bead that I sent to her. Click here.

A big thank you goes out to Lori Anderson for hosting this event. Check out the creations of the other participants on her blog. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see all the links.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Heart Art Challenge - Week 10

I'm catching up, I promise. Life tends to get in the way of our crafty ventures sometimes, doesn't it? My intention is to work on Week 11 and 12 over the weekend. We'll see how it goes.

Here is the image that was the trigger for this weeks' design. I certainly have more than enough used postage stamps around here! I acquire them not only from my happy mail but also from work. The accounting department saves them all for me. I've worked there for seven years, so you can imagine how many I've accumulated. I have to find more ways to use them in my art.
Week 10

I kept it pretty simple this week. The hearts were cut out of cardstock and then I glued the postage stamps randomly on them until they were completely covered, trimming away the excess. The tag background was created using my Gelli plate. I inked around both the tag and the hearts to make them stand out. 

To see Bea Grob's Week 10 process video, click here

Bea Grob - Week 10

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Pocket Letters

What is a pocket letter, you ask? I think the original creator, Janette Lane, explains it best...

'I created Pocket Letters™ as a new way to send letters to your new or existing penpals. Basically, you fill all the pockets of a 9 Pocket Trading Card Protector and send the whole page to someone who wants to swap with you. This can be a one-time exchange or you can keep exchanging Pocket Letters indefinitely. You fill the pockets with anything you like (stickers, tea bags, a note, washi tape samples, pictures, etc.) A short note or letter is included and tucked into one of the pockets. Then the Pocket Letter is folded up and sent in a standard 10 size envelope. It's the perfect way to send and collect letters from other Pocket Letter Pals (ie people who are sending mail in this format) around the world and a convenient way to store them. They fit perfectly in a binder!'

You can find more information, some video tutorials and freebies on her blog.

I'll be honest, I was always a bit intimidated by the prospect of creating pocket letters. Some of the ones I'd seen on YouTube and Facebook looked so elaborate. It did not look like anything that I could possibly do.

Fast forward to online video turned my doubt into certainty this week. And here are my first two pocket letters. The empty pockets on the back are where the letters will go.

Pocket Letter #1 - Front

Pocket Letter #1 - Back

Pocket Letter #2 - Front

Pocket Letter #2 - Back

Here is the video that moved me to action. (click here) Rebecca, a fellow Canadian, made it look easy enough for even me to do.

One of these pocket letters is being exchanged with a friend but the other one is available to the first person who would like to exchange one with me. You can let me know by commenting on this post.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Heart Art Challenge - Week 9

The process that I used to make this weeks' Heart Art tag is almost identical to last week. I only did a couple of things differently.

Scrap piece of foam
The first layer was book text. Then, I used a scrap piece of foam that I got at work as a stamp and covered the whole tag. I thought it would create a really cool background.

I pulled out another background stamp to add the next layer. I used music sheet to cut out the heart, gave it a red paint wash and mounted it on cardstock for dimension. I went around the edges of the tag and the heart with the black archival ink.

My Dymo label maker was utilized again for the quote. As a last minute thought, I pulled out a small acrylic heart stamp and archival ink to add the two hearts at the top and bottom.

I'm not particularly fond of the final result. It looks too dark to me. In retrospect, I should have used a red ink pad for the stamping I did with the scrap piece of foam.

Bea Grob - Week 9
 I was originally planning to do more similar tags in the upcoming weeks but have decided that I want to try something different next week. I don't have a definitive plan yet, so stay tuned to see what's coming!

To see Bea's process video for her Heart Art - Week 9 click here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Heart Art Challenge - Week 8

Von Pappe 2 Art
Inspiration from this one came from a blog post that I found while looking for ideas for this weeks' heart art tag. It will also be the inspiration for the next few also. Check it out here

This was a quick and easy project. First step was to adhere book text to the tag. Next came some stamping, paint splatters and going around the edges with archival ink and a sponge applicator.

The heart was also cut from a book text page and given a red paint wash. After drying, it was glued to cardstock to give it a bit of dimension. I used my Dymo label maker to print the quote.

Here are my process photos...

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Finished Tag
Bea Grob - Week 8
Here is a photo of Bea's Week 8 heart art with a link to her process video here

I'm planning to do a few more similar tags with quotes over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned to see them all!