Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The crafty post!

Ok, so technically it's not Tuesday anymore. But it *is* just barely Wednesday - does that count? :)
I thought this book deserved it's own post (and I didn't know if I could fit this pic in with the last post!). It's something I've done a few of - actually they're pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it.
Isn't it lovely? :)
This started out as a plain notebook from Target (clearance, even!). I started by prying apart the binding and slipping both covers off. Once I chose my yarn (yes, yarn - it's actually called ribbon yarn and is getting *much* harder to find these days) I was ready to wrap.
If you choose to wrap a notebook like this there are a few tips that I can give you. Before anything else, decide if the area where the binding goes looks ok - paint, sharpie, ink or otherwise color it to look good. Measure enough yarn to wrap the right edge of the cover - I used red liner tape on the edge & folded my yarn in half. This will completely cover the edge and make for a nicer finish. Apply whatever adhesive you choose to use (this was a combo of red liner tape, xyron & Fabri-Tac) to both sides of the cover and start wrapping from the bound edge. The first wrap will have to completely overlap your leading edge, but after that you can wrap overlapping 1/2 to 1/3 of the preceding edge. I chose to cover the corners of this book with metal findings from Tim Holtz, but with a little forethought you can make that last edge look professional enough to escape notice. :) If you (or the intended recipient) will be dropping this in a purse from time to time you may want to use some Fabric Tac and nail down some of the edges. Otherwise the yarn may get pulled out of whack and look bad. If you're just using it at home, don't bother!
As I said, I used some Tim Holtz book corners in a sort of antique-y gold color. To match the feel of them I matted the main panel with a piece of gold card stock that was embossed with a cuttlebug embossing folder and punched with a Martha Stewart corner punch.
The main panel is a stamp from Lost Coast Designs. I stamped it with black VersaFine on a piece of letterpress card. Yes, I bought some letterpress card - even though I don't have anything else related! :) Thick, luscious paper! I had to use a *very* light touch with the water brush - it is NOT built like watercolor paper. I used a couple of different Distress Inks to color the columns, her wings and the 'sky', but the woman is done with colored pencil. After it dried I gave it a quick coat of Matte Mod Podge for protection.
Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Settle in, it's going to be a long post!

If you're like me you're always searching for a better way to organize your stuff. If you have perfect organization skills, then this post is *not* for you! :)
Most recently I've been needing a better storage solution for my Cuttlebug stuff. Back when I didn't have very many dies/embossing plates/nesties I decorated a box and used that. While pretty, it wasn't easy to find what I was looking for - and we all know that means - you don't *use* it! My nesties outgrew the box and, for a while, I kept them in a small photo holder (cheap at Target, just one of those 4x6 plastic jobs). It worked as long as I didn't buy any of the larger sizes dies - yeah, the tall nesties and the embossing plates didn't fit at all.
Enter Office Max.
Or maybe I should say *I* entered Office Max! :)
While we were there a couple of weeks ago I picked up a package of these three pocket page protectors. While I'm sure that plenty of people have tried page protectors - these are different. They're thick, really thick. You can't really tell from their picture, but these are constructed a little differently than you might think. The front pocket is about 4 1/2" deep, the second (middle) pocket is about 8 1/2" deep. The third pocket is 11" - imagine a page protector with two pockets, then add another sheet of the plastic to the back to create another full page size protector on the back side. Am I explaining this well enough? :) Anyway, that back sheet is important - trust me!
So I brought the package home and brainstormed how I could 'fix' them to be perfect.
You'll need a hot knife (Don't have one? Go *get* one! You rarely need it, but it's irreplaceable when the occasion arises) with a melting edge instead of a knife edge, a metal ruler, an x-acto knife, a cutting mat and a piece of cereal box (I used the backing from one of the Cuttlebug embossing folders). I used a magnetic cutting mat, which made working with that slick material much easier, but you can use whatever you have.
It isn't easy to see, but if you look closely you can see that my hand is in the front pocket and the cuttlebug piece is in the last pocket. That faint line across where the top of the cuttlebug piece is - that is the top of the middle pocket. You can also see that this stuff is translucent, but *not* transparent. That should give you an idea of how thick and sturdy this stuff really is.
I measured my embossing folders and decided that my middle pocket should start at the same height as the top of the first pocket. Once the measurements were done I lined everything up on the cutting mat. I inserted the board piece in the third pocket. That's very important. You want to use the hot knife to melt the two middle pieces together, but you *don't* want to melt into the final sheet of plastic.
So, insert the board into the third pocket, line up the ruler and start melting! :) No need to go all the way from one side to the other. Embossing folders are wide enough that they won't fall through if you leave a half inch on either end. We did have a couple of missteps, nothing major (yes, DH helped a lot). Make sure to leave plenty of space above the bottom pocket edge before sealing (I sealed more than one pocket shut before figuring that out) about a quarter of an inch seemed to be perfect. If you do seal one shut just insert the x-acto knife into the open edge of the bottom pocket (with the blade facing up toward the top of the page) and gently slice open.
Here you can see my hand in the newly created middle pocket. The board piece is still in the back pocket. I wish I had thought to add something to the front pocket - but you'll just have to trust that I didn't seal it shut! :) I think the most important thing to note here is that the third pocket is still undamaged. It's not only helping the structural integrity, I could make more pockets on the back if I needed to.

Whew! Are you bored yet?We're almost done ! :D

Dh helped me figure out exactly what to do to make four pockets on the front (for smaller dies). If you decide to do this (and you need help) let me know and I'll try to explain the process. It's very similar - you just have to be careful where you put the board when cutting and melting. Here are some pictures of what it looks like now:
The embossing folders fit beautifully side by side. The best part is that their weight doesn't cause even a little sag. Excellent for putting in a three ring binder (this is a 3" binder - it barely fit all my stuff!).
Here you can see what the quad pocket looks like when finished. It's the perfect size.
I love how this came together. Everything about this project worked beautifully. I'm here to tell you that it's not only easy - it's ridiculously easy! I'm really glad I didn't let the 'unknown' stop me. Thanks for making it easy on me husband! :)
And thank *you* for dropping by!
See ya tomorrow for a crafty post! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

I've been MIA

Although I do have a fairly decent reason! :)
First is the new computer. If you've ever had to move all your stuff from one computer to another - you know it's never as easy as you think it will be! The networking with Win 7 is, ummm, not as clear cut as I'd like and makes it difficult when your pictures are over there and your software is over here....
Strangely enough (since it's September) we've also had a rash of wildfires in the area. Nothing too close to us but they've been very destructive. Just a little west of us was the major one, the
most destructive one in the history of the state! Ten square miles, tons of people left without homes, clothing, food. It's just awful. We actually had ash raining down on us from that one. There was another south of us, one north (and the high winds blew so much smoke toward us that it smelled like a bonfire outside our house - everyone got sore throats from that!)
and then yet another west of us. It's been unreal to see the devastation. Thankfully every single one has been contained now (if not totally out) even though the wind did *not* cooperate.
Today I am thankful for the hundred (plus) firefighters that came from all over the country to help.
I have a Halloween card to share, which is odd since I think this might be the first one I've ever made! :) I used a TJ technique called Splash 'n Stick from the Aug/Sept 2010 newsletter. Although I *did* change it up a little - there was no splashing. :D I like my clothes to be Alcohol Ink free!
The sticker is a laser cut sticker from Mrs. Grossman's line. All alcohol inks came from Tim (of course!). The background piece was also done on glossy with Tim's AI, then stamped with an image from Creations Unlimited. The truly deep black color is some velvet paper from Doodlebug, it's such a deep black color that it made the sticker look almost gray. Go figure! I did add some black Distress Stickles to the birds to help them stand out - they seemed to just fade into the background otherwise.
Unfortunately this is one of those cards that looks much more interesting in person. Even though I have the original - when I look on the screen I think it needs something more. I promise - IRL it's very 'done' looking! :)
Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

She's done... and she's gorgeous!

I think I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was working on something special that I couldn't show you yet. Well, the time has come! :D
First, let me say that I've been hunting this stamp for a long time. I saw it (on a post to the TJ group) and just fell in love. Unfortunately, the company in question wasn't producing them any more. What's worse is that I found out in May or June that they had sold the entire line to a company that isn't (even now!) on the internet. Oy! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago was the annual stamping show that I always attend (birthday money! woo hoo!). This year it was a little farther away - and I was hesitant to go that far. Thank heavens I did! The new company (Stamp On It) that owns the Nicole Croy line was there - and I finally got my stamp! :D
First let's take a look at the actual panel with the Nicole Croy stamp: (sorry about the acrylic blocks in the pictures, it just couldn't stand by itself)
There is an awful lot of stuff going on here! The first thing to note is that this was done on a piece of sticky back canvas. I'm really impressed with this stuff - it never lost it's sticky (and I abused it horribly!). The woman was stamped with Brilliance black on a piece of canvas about 8" by 4". Once dry, I went to town with just about every liquid medium I have - there are colorwash sprays from Zia, Glimmer mists, Starbursts and Memories mists. It literally took me a week (or more) to get the colors the way I wanted them. I sprayed and blotted, painted with color and just water, sprayed some more and let dry, blotted with bleach water... it was truly crazy. The canvas held up beautifully through the whole thing.
Once I was happy with the color I started adding the 'extras'. Out came some Tim stamps (the birds, the edges & some flourishes) and Distress Ink. I didn't use black because I was afraid of the whole thing getting too dark - so the birds are Chipped Sapphire and everything else was either Pumice Stone, Frayed Burlap or Vintage Photo. At the bottom I also used some other grungy/flourishy stamps from Stempelglede - but by then in was *very* hard to see them!
At that point I realized that it was almost impossible to read the sentiment. After painting the edges with glittery stuff, you couldn't really see the black ink. I liked the way it looked around the edges but had to do something for the words. Sharpie to the rescue! Yup, I used a black sharpie and went over all the letters. :) (and the outline of the woman)
I had been working with the wings (separate, but meant to work with this stamp) on another little piece of canvas at the same time - but I wasn't liking the results. Instead I used Tim's wings (just masked off one side & then the other) and white Lumiere paint. I did have to stamp them twice - they're very detailed - and I didn't get great coverage even then. In then end though, I really like the final look.
The last thing I did was put the canvas on a piece of backing from a paper stack to give it strength. Once that was cut to size I edged the whole thing with black satin ribbon (and double sided sticky tape).
Since the whole piece was much to big for a card, and I didn't want it to get damaged, I decided to frame it. I found a frame at Michael's (half off coupons rock!) and altered the backing board. You can see that I used a feather stamp (from Stamp A Mania) with versamark randomly on the black backing. Then I dusted a couple of colors of Perfect Pearls over them. I randomly stamped the feather some more and added the other two colors from the set on the 'top' images. If you could see it in person, you would be able to tell that there is a bronze color, a purplish color, a blue and a green all mixed together - very shimmery and pretty. (and if you look closely you can see my pencil marks for centering the angel piece. ;) whoops!)
For the final picture - here it is all in one piece! I *love* the way this came together! The woman, the sentiment, the birds, the wings... it just speaks to me. She has been framed, but I couldn't seem to get a good picture - just imagine another thin line of black around the outside (it's a very simple frame). I've just been sitting and admiring her since I finished - don't tell me I'm the only one who ever does that!
The only problem I have left is... where should I hang her? :D

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Have I mentioned that I'm a little ecclectic?

You just never know what will happen over here! :D
Last time was steampunk - this time, not so much!
The stamp is Tin Can Mail by Inkadinkado. I started by stamping the image in Brilliance Coffee Bean on a light piece of card stock. Not quite tan, but not white either. After rounding the corners I started using different Distress Ink colors to age the edges (which is actually a technique from TJ called Burnt Edges) and the center. The flowers were colored with two or three colors of DI using a water brush. Once it was dry I colored the butterfly with gold Smooch and set it aside.
I ran a piece of brown c/s through the cuttlebug with one of Tim's embossing folders and rubbed gold brilliance ink on the raised portion of the design. A darker brown base and two pieces of scrapbook paper (edges aged also) and I was ready to assemble. At least I *thought* so until some ribbon called my name! Then the dew drops started in...
Well, at least I stopped there!
I'm still thinking about that ribbon. It's really too high, but any lower and it obscures the butterfly. *sigh* Cut if off? Leave it alone? Dunno.
What do YOU think?
Thanks for dropping by!