Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

December 29, 2014

Folded Trees

My friend and co-crafting teacher, Cheryl, gave me a lovely card with the folded Christmas tree.

I really liked it!  And I thought it would be a great way to use up scraps of paper (which are always overtaking my craft room; I think they multiply like tribbles).  Or, even gently-used gift wrap left over from opening presents on Christmas could be used.

So I rescued some gold gift wrap and played with the folds, and was able to reproduce it.

Cheryl's original is the green checkered one of the left; my version is the one with the recycled gift wrap on the right.
And of course, I wanted to try it with more layers on a oblong version.
Thanks Cheryl, I loved your card and it was great inspiration!

December 20, 2014

Treat boxes

I couldn't resist making these fun treat boxes as little favors for the Christmas table.  They are made with the Stampin' Up! Curvy Keepsakes box die, then decorated, mostly with punches.

I made penguins, Santas, and snowmen.  I think my favorite are the penguins, especially his feet.  They are filled with M&Ms.

Of course, instead of making these, I should have been cleaning.  Whoops.

December 16, 2014

Rainbow Poinsettia

Today I did a watercolor wash in various colors.  Then, I very lightly pencil-sketched a poinsettia shape.  Lastly, I went around with deeper watercolor colors to outline it and add value.  Hope you like it!

December 14, 2014

Papercast ornaments on my Christmas tree

This year, I decorated my tree mostly in red, white and gold -- the better to show off my paper cast ornaments.

In the course of my stamping all the greeting cards that I make, I end up with lots of scraps of high quality white card stock.  I save those, and after about two years I have enough scraps to "pulverize" (in a blender, with lots of water), back to paper pulp.  The pulp is then used in molds to create lovely molded paper ornaments.  I get my molds from House on the Hill (Elmhurst, IL -- they sell reproduction woodcut molds, primarily for speciality cookie baking and marzipan), and Arnold Grummer (his are clay, made expressly for paper pulp).

Here's a few closeups of the ornaments.    I love the pure white and incredible texture.  If I have a chance I'll try to get clearer shots.

We also made the paper casts up at the People's Resource Center art class last Thursday.

December 13, 2014

My Art Final for Drawing 1 Class

Our art final for my Drawing 1 class at COD was to do a series of at least 5 drawings, related to a common theme, and then convert it to a GIF file.

I chose the theme of Nature.  I used Faber Castell Pitt markers on Fabriano cold press 90# drawing paper.  All of the plants that I chose to draw are special in some way, either as a remembrance for a special person or they are special to me.  For example, the daffodils are in remembrance of my brother Rob, whose birthday was in March.  And the forsythia branches are for Mom, she loved her forsythia in front of the living room bay windows in Clarion.  Here is the GIF:

Out of this series of 8, my favorites were the sunflower and the pine bough.  All that zentangling earlier this year sure paid off for these drawings.  I don't know what grade I got yet; they'll be critiqued next Wednesday.  I was quite happy with them!


November 7, 2014

Watercolored Bookmarks

To make these bookmarks, I first covered a large sheet of watercolor paper in a rainbow wash.  Rock salt was thrown on to the paper while it was still wet, for interesting texture.  Then I cut bookmark-size strips, approximately 7 x 2.5 inches, give or take depending on the stamp I chose.

I used a variety of stamps -- in black embossing powder and one in white embossing powder.  The butterflies were stamped on coordinating patterned papers and fussy cut and adhered.  All the other bookmarks use only one stamp.  This made these a very quick and easy project.

All were matted on either black or white card stock and coordinating ribbons added.

November 5, 2014

Yarn cap ornaments

Look at the video of these fun yarn cap ornaments that I found on You Tube!

So easy and a great way to use up those pesky yarn scraps.  Of course they are designed to be ornaments, but I can also see them as package decorations, or place cards at the Christmas table (you could hang a tag with the guest's name from the pompom).  Wouldn't they be fun made in everyone's high school or college colors?

November 1, 2014

Bon Voyage for Leona!

My BFF Leona is heading off to Asia for five weeks -- first to Taiwan, where she grew up, then to Myanmar (formerly Burma) along with some friends who have relatives living there.  Here's the Bon Voyage card that I made for a group of friends to sign.

I did a collage style with two retired Stampin Up! sets (Travel Post and Travels Abroad) and a Tim Holtz set.  I used various chalk and distress inks.  The "twine" is actually frayed strands from some old burlap that I couldn't bear to throw away a while back.  I threw on three leaves that I had left over from an encaustic wax session last month...because, well, I love leaves, they coordinated with the color scheme, and it is still autumn, although you wouldn't know it from the chilly weather we had on Halloween yesterday..

Inside is a Bon Voyage greeting.

October 1, 2014

Drawing class at COD

In late August, I started a "Drawing I" class at College of DuPage.  While I've always been artsy-craftsy, and as you know I adore rubber stamping, I really wanted some formal training to develop my drawing skills.

The instructor has led us through several weeks of skill build-up.  She started with line/contour, then we moved on the proportion, then to value/form.  Lately we focused on positive and negative shapes and we just started a landscape unit.

I'd like to share a few pencil sketches out of my homework sketchbook that I was quite happy with.  

The first two are of leaves that I picked up on walks around the neighborhood. I like these so much that I'm seriously considering doing a set of notecards with them.

The third one is a fall frosted glass candleholder.  I picked it up at a garage sale for a $1.  Actually I bought a pair.  I worked hard to make the frosted glass look.

The last one is my favorite.  It's a close-up of my scarecrow in my front courtyard.  I was really happy with how he turned out.


September 13, 2014

More NatGeo Magazine Art

In our People's Resource Center class, we've spent the last 4 weeks creating, and then further altering, pages from National Geographic magazines using the CitraSolv technique.  Read more about that, here.

Now, in upcoming classes, we'll be taking the magazine art in a different direction.  By cutting strips, and either rolling them on a diagonal or folding and weaving them, you can get some pretty cool creations.  Cover boxes, cover picture frames, or use a form to make a 'vase', there are a lot of possibilities.  It takes a little patience and some tacky glue, but I've finished some samples that I'd like to share.

As you can see, I've done both rolled strips and folded strips for weaving.  I was especially happy with how the one that was just black and white text pages turned out.  It uses 1 inch strips, folded.  Really like it!

In the next example, I used some of the altered CitraSolv pages.  I purposely chose some of the 'uglier' pages that were just brownish that were kind of leftovers from the class, nobody was giving them any love.  I love how it looks woven, very stone-like or marble-y.  Totally redeemed the 'ugly' pages.  I topped it with a trio of buttons.  These were also 1 inch strips, folded.
I was lucky enough to find an article about sharks that had a lot of blue-toned photos.  This box uses wider strips, about 2.5 inches or so, folded.  I love the monochromatic feel to this.

The hardest piece to do was the rolled circle vase.  It took quite a long time.  I recommend that you be watching a good movie on TV while doing this!  First you have to roll the strips.  Then you flatten then, and wind them around a straw or pencil to the diameter that you want.  I used tacky glue to hold all the circles together, over a yogurt container 'mold' which was covered with plastic wrap.  It's small; not sure I have the stamina to do one much larger.
Finally, here's a larger shot of a box covered in the rolls.  I selected earth tone pages for this box lid and glued the rolls on a diagonal.
Hope you enjoyed these!

August 31, 2014

End of Summer Sunflowers

This card is for my friend Hiroe's birthday.  Sunflowers always seem to be a transitional flower, between late summer and early fall.  It uses a variety of techniques:

  • The mottled green and beige background is one of my altered NatGeo pages.
  • The sunflower is a napkin design, decoupaged directly to the background.
  • The sentiment is from SU's 'Art of Life' set, stamped on to tissue paper and then adhered with ModPodge.  I chose this sentiment for Hiroe because her sweet, sunny disposition always brightens our day!
  • The swirls are by Sheena Douglass (from Crafter's Companion) and are heat embossed with SU olive green embossing powder.
  • I added some brown micro beads (by Martha Stewart) in to the center of the flower.
  • This is then matted on a mustard cardstock, then on to a moss green 5x7" card base.

I love bringing together many different techniques on to one card.

August 24, 2014

Altered NatGeo's

Have you heard of the technique where you use CitraSolv to alter the ink on National Geographic pages?  I took a course on it last year at Create -- and the instructor, Cathy Taylor, has YouTube videos posted.  There's a series of four videos, and really worth watching.

We decided to do this technique last week in the PRC art class that I co-teach.  Basically, the CitraSolv dissolves the ink on the clay-coated premium NatGeo papers, resulting in one of a kind designs that can be further processed, or used as is, for collage papers.  We had to do it in the parking lot because of the fumes...but the ladies had fun and we made some beautiful papers.  Here is just a small sampling from one magazine only; aren't they cool!
Next week we'll take the papers we made and further process them with stencils or paint.  I was doing up some samples for the class and here's a look.  These were hard to photograph because the glossy magazine pages kept reflecting the flash.

This first one is 8x10" uses a fish stencil from The Stencil Girl.  I used it on heavy Bristol paper and collaged several other papers to make a sea scene.
The second one is 8x10 also and uses leaf stencils (I think from Crafters Workshop).  I cut oak leaves from several different papers with cool patterns.  To some, I added a touch of metallic copper paint.  The quotation is heat embossed in black.  It was serendipity that the globe in the upper right was not dissolved by the CitraSolv; it echoes the quotation beautifully!
These next two are smaller scale, and use new fish and tiger stencils that I bought from iStencils.  In person, the backgrounds on these are amazing.  
And finally, two more.  The cityscape and reflection stencil is from the Stencil Girl; the aspen/birch trees are from The Crafters Workshop.  I added a bit of glitter to the cityscape reflection.

August 21, 2014

We all scream for ice cream!

My BFF Leona just loves ice cream!  Anytime we go anyplace, if there is an ice cream store nearby, I know we'll be stopping.  It was her birthday recently, so what better image to put on her card than an ice cream cone?

I zentangled the cone after drawing the outline freehand.  I then assembled it on to a glittery red card base and added an embossed red cherry on top.

This card makes me smile; I hope you enjoy it too!

August 20, 2014

Rocks in my Head?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started volunteering at an art class at the People's Resource Center.  The co-teacher is Cheryl, who has been giving of her time and spirit here for four years.  Anyway, she came up with an idea to paint little rocks, and we wanted to try it out by making samples, to see if it would be good for the class.

Well...(hangs face in shame)...I couldn't be satisfied with the little rocks.  I went on a walk and got some bigger rocks :-)

I ended up decoupaging napkins with ModPodge to them, instead of painting them.  I LOVE how they turned out.

First up is a large and heavy rock.  In addition to using a Monet-inspired waterlily napkin, I added some butterflies on the front.  The butterfly napkin was in a goody bag of collage materials that I got in Liesel Lund's class last week.  Both Liesel and Helen Shafer Garcia used stamped or cut out words in their work.  Since I had decided the large rock would be a doorstop (I like to leave my front door open to catch the breezes, but often it blows shut), I built on the word idea and stamped words like "Welcome, Home, Family, Love, Hearth, Shelter, Haven" with black StazOn ink on to tissue paper.  All of my instructors last week at Create had emphasized the virtues of translucent materials for collage.  After the Monet and butterfly layer dried, I tore the stamped words from the tissue and decoupaged them on, both top and bottom.  I made sure that the words Welcome, Home and Family were visible on top.  I then added two coats of poly varnish.  For this project you need to be patient and allow drying time before you can do the top and bottom surfaces of the rock.  I really like this piece -- and it will be used as a doorstop in my front hall.


My second rock was medium sized.  It's actually pretty heavy, so it might work as a doorstop, or a giant paperweight.  But, I think I'll end up placing it by some flowerpots on my front porch, just as a decorative element.  For this, I used a sunflower-patterned napkin.  I used gold Smooch paint to add a bit of a glimmer to the petals.  Then I finished it with poly varnish also.  This one was hard to photograph due to the shine; it looks prettier in person.

My third rock was smaller.  I used a black floral print napkin and stamped my name on tissue.  The tan part of the design is the natural rock color showing through.  This will be a paperweight on my home office desk.

I love how the mixed media techniques help me transform these rocks into little art pieces.  The alphabet stamps used are retired Stampin' Up sets.  Whether or not we actually do this project with the class, I had fun playing and love the end result.

August 17, 2014

Create Retreat - Day 4 - Repeat After Me

On Saturday evening I took a 3 hour class taught by Mary Beth Shaw of Stencil Girl fame.  I was hoping to learn more ways to use my collection of stencils, and I did!

We started by using acrylic paints and stencils to create a variety of patterned papers.  These would then be used on a 6x6 wooden base to create a small piece of artwork.  A new trick, to me, was to use a stencil to help define the layout of the patterned papers on the art piece.

Here is my finished piece.  I snuck in a tiny bit of zentangling on it.  I think this might be the only piece I've ever actually finished in all my years at Create, which usually is so heavily focused on teaching technique that I go home with half-finished works.  Trena was also in this class and her beautiful piece is shown second.

In the first step where we created our own patterned paper, one of mine turned out so well that I couldn't bear to cut it up, so I kept it whole.  Love it.

Create Retreat - Day 3 - Color Pencil Journaling

On the third day of classes at Create, I took a class taught by Helen Shafer Garcia, "Color Pencil Journaling".  Helen is a very talented artist and a fantastic instructor.

Helen taught us how to capture the likeness of an object by following its lines and shapes, without lifting our pencils or erasing.  (Shhh...I cheated.)  We then used a water-based Tombow marker to outline it, purposely smearing the ink with water to add depth and shadows.  The next step was to add color with watercolors.  Finally, we went over it with colored pencils to add definition and more shading.   We also did a second piece, where we cut words out of a dictionary page and then drew an image inspired by those words.  Another good method to break the "getting started" block.  Here's Helen with the art from the whole class.

For my first piece, I worked from a children's toucan sticker and a tiger lily pilfered from the hotel's plantings in the parking lot to create my composition.  I love the images on the stickers; they were reduced to their essence.  I'll use that trick again when I need a shape.