Friday, May 30, 2008

Super Girly Wall Hook

I've had this very uncharacteristic obsession with pink this year. I've really never been a pink kind of girl, but for some reason I keep picking it up lately! I had this little heart-shaped wall hook from Hobby Lobby ($1, of course!) sitting in one of my boxes of "toys to be altered" and thought I'd whip up something quick. Well, I went a tiny bit overboard on this little project so it wasn't as quick, but not including drying time (which was a LOT, lol) it was still under an hour hands on, so not too bad.

First I base coated the hook with Strawberries and Cream (AKA Pepto Bismol pink) from Making Memories. I had picked up these two coordinating pieces of paper from Stemma and thought they would be really cute layered together on this. So I started with the white piece for the heart and covered several chipboard flowers from Creekbank Creations with the black. I had also covered the center pieces for the flowers as well, but ended up going a little overboard with Duncan products instead!

I outlined the flowers with a white Souffle pen from Sakura, then started adding dots everywhere with watermelon Scribbles. I ended up filling in the centers of the flowers with the Scribbles, then when those were dry still wasn't totally sold on it so added glittering crystal Scribbles over the top of that. Some more dots, a flower cut from the paper and Mod Podged onto the hook itself, and I now have a really girly, really busy little hook that I actually have no plan for, lol, except that it's cute! Luckily I have two little girls who live next door...who love all things girly and pink and flowery and glittery...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Love Frame

This was another project I did for the first issue of Scrapbook News + Review using the same window frame from Walnut Hollow as the clock I shared yesterday. This time I simply painted it black. I cut Prima papers to fit each window opening and actually just used masking tape to attach them to the back of the frame. My intention was to be able to pull these fully decorated inserts out of the frame and rotate them with other seasonal looks, but these papers happen to look nice in my living room so for the time being, I've just left it, lol! The chipboard letters are from Zsiage, covered in Prima paper and edged with a gold pen from Sakura. I used the same pen to edge these silk flowers from Michael's and layered them with tiny gold heart brads,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Window Frame Clock - working with sketches in altered items!

This is a clock I made from a scrapbook layout sketch for the first issue of Scrapbook News + Review. A lot of sketches really lend themselves well to altered items, whether you use pictures or not. For this one, I happened to use pictures, but I could have just as easily made each of the blocks just a coordinating piece of patterned paper, a quote, whatever works for the piece.

I started with an unfinished window frame from Walnut Hollow. It actually changed color a couple of times and got crackled before I ended up with what I was looking for. The window frames will fit a 12x12 piece of paper behind it exactly but I decided to use a piece of acrylic for the backing. Then I used a 6x6 piece of the same acrylic on the front of the frame to add my clockworks stuff to.

To add the clockworks itself (also from Walnut Hollow), I had to drill through both acrylic pieces and the window frame. With a large hole. This was NOT easy (if you've got someone handy with tools who knows of the proper drill bit to use, ASK THEM for help!!) and I definitely have to put the PSA out there to wear eye protection!! In retrospect, it would have probably been easier to use a blade and taken the time to carve out the holes that way (except in the wood frame - that took a drill just fine). Other tips - make sure you use a piece of scrap wood behind the acrylic when you drill. I also used a couple of pieces of masking tape in an "x" over the drill hole as a guide and also to help keep the acrylic from splintering as badly and flying everywhere. Kind of. Pretty sure a different drill bit would have helped, but I used what I had.

From there it was easy sailing. I used tiny screws to attach the back piece of acrylic. I made guide holes for the screws using my trusty Forster hand drill (see the bottom of this post for more info on this handy tool!). The hand drill and it's tiny hole went through the acrylic beautifully. I then matted each of the photos on coordinating pieces of patterned paper from My Mind's Eye and edged everything with a copper leafing pen (Krylon) and arranged them according to the sketch. I also edged the 6x6" piece of acrylic and used the leafing pen to color my clock hands and stamp the word Memories onto another piece of edged paper from MME.

I set up the center 6x6" acrylic piece and used the clockworks to secure it into place (with some more adhesive behind that piece of pattered paper as well, just to be sure it wouldn't turn since the clockworks is like a big screw). I used some old decorative brads from Making Memories with the prongs clipped off as my clock "numbers" and set them by turning the clock hands to find the right placement. I love the way it looks against my gold walls in my living room!!

Tried to photograph it from underneath to show the way it's layered with the 6x6" center piece on top of the frame and the larger piece beneath it.

So has anyone else tried altering using sketches? Try it! There are tons of gorgeous sketches out there. Round sketches (see Becky Fleck's Page Maps) are great for regular round clocks. 8.5"x11" ones are great for clipboards. Remember the elements shown in the sketch aren't necessarily what you have to use for your project. Replace pictures with patterned papers or embellishments. Replace journaling with a quote, or some other element that will make up the right size.

The very first thing I ever had requested for publication was actually an altered wooden gift bag done from a sketch for the newly released Scrapbook Blueprints 2! You can actually see my project in the preview PDF there on the website. As you can see there, I replaced the top three photos with flowers and the journaling at the bottom with a quote tile!

I'd love to see what you've all done with altering based on sketches! Link me up if you've done one or do one in the future!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Southwest Birdhouse

This was the third custom birdhouse I created for a friend to give as a Mother's Day gift. She had asked for a Southwest theme, which I immediately pictured in my head, but could not for the life of me find ANYTHING that would bring my picture to life. Seriously - cowboy is everywhere, but nothing in those gorgeous Aztec-type designs I was thinking of. So instead, I googled southwest houses and after looking through tons of beautiful stucco houses, revised my vision and took a new path for this birdhouse.

I started with some old My Mind's Eye paper that had a stucco-like look. I pulled the brick red color for the roof from another common theme I'd seen in my "house hunting" (man, did I ever want to move, lol!). I did attempt the wavy roof, but didn't like the way it came out so stuck with a flat roof and went another direction.

I found this leather trim in my stash and started trimming out the rooflines and bottom of the birdhouse. Gotta admit - I really loved this look! Then on to decorating.

I knew I wanted cactus. However, like the southwest designs, cactus just isn't "big" right least not in Central Illinois! I found a couple of EK's Jolee's that had some cactus included, but they looked completely cheesy. Not what I wanted at all! It suddenly hit me that I could repeat something I'd done years ago. A little unorthodox, but those cactus are REAL! Years ago, I helped decorate a dollhouse for a guy I was dating's little sister. We used real cactus and they survived forever - even in the hands of a 5 year old! If you look at some of the small cactus plants you find in grocery stores, Walmart, etc. (I got these at Lowe's), they grow by "budding". I took these tiny wooden flower pots (painted and sealed for waterproofing) and added just a tiny bit of dirt, then a tiny bud off of one of my cacti (which I bought to discourage my cat to avoid chewing on my plants...seems to be a lesson he's learning!). One of the full size plants had these lovely yellow blooms (look carefully - most of those "blooming" cacti actually have their blooms glued on!!!). So I recreated the look with tiny yellow Prima's folded and scrunched and then glued on. I sent along instructions that they'd need just a drop or two of water every 10 days or so. I used a Bazzill coaster as a base for this one as I didn't trust having the pots just glued from the sides so they're glued to the base instead.

It's a totally different look than my original vision, but I was still pleased with how it came out - my interpretation of southwest architecture!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quick Baby Bunny Update

Just wanted to share with you that my baby bunnies seem to be doing just fine on their own! I was worried about whether they were old enough to eat on their own (since I know zero about bunny habits, lol) and I am happy to report that they most definitely ARE! I sat and watched one of them yesterday and he was a little eating MACHINE! I have two little areas behind my enormous front bushes that Michael was supposed to clear all the weeds out of so we could plant some flowers. He got one side done the other day but got bored with it so didn't do the other side. Well, my little bunny friend took care of a good chunk of it just in the twenty minutes I sat and watched! I think he ate his weight in dandelions and other weeds so I have no fear those babies are eating just fine. They have moved in under that bush and seem to have gained an older (seems about two or three times their size but definitely still just born this spring) friend who is living there too. Still no sign of mama, but I feel confident I don't need to interfere and can just watch them grow up from a distance. With camera in hand, of course!

I'll be back later with another project!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quick Shadowbox Decor

This was a spinoff of the adorable butterfly collages showing up everywhere using the Martha Stewart punch. I didn't have the punch (but I do now - woohoo!) so I just grabbed a circle punch and a pad of Daisy D's papers. This was soooo quick! It gave me a place to store some coasters on a table in my living room that was looking bare, and the colors were perfect. The shadowbox with drawer is from EK, as was the circle punch (1 3/8"). They are mounted on 1/4" pop dots.

On a side note, I have five baby bunnies living in my yard who seem to have been abandoned. They are soooo sweet and allow themselves to be petted, picked up, and photographed, lol! They are still awfully tiny and can't be very old. Anyone know if they're going to be Ok without their mother? She hasn't been around in over a week (which makes me think she may have met with an accident) and the bunnies usually separate during the day then you can find them at night all huddled the middle of my yard, lol! There were originally six but their first nest was right next to the can guess what happened. Is there anything I can do for them or will they be ok on their own?
Isn't he sweet!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Country Birdhouse

This was another one of the birdhouses I was commissioned to make for a friend to give as a Mother's Day gift. I have to admit, this is my new alltime favorite one I've made! I love how the colors came together and the little basket and hat were so fun to play with!

The paper is from Daisy D's. Flowers from Prima. Mini buttons are mixed from Making Memories and Dress It Up. The paint is also Making Memories. The basket and hat are from Darice. I also used Glossy Accents to seal the wire "stems" into the basket.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Girly Birdhouse

This birdhouse was one that I was commissioned to make for a friend to give as a Mother's Day
gift (there were three of them altogether - I'll share the other two this week). The paper is from Bo Bunny and is Stickled and Scribbled everywhere! Lots of Prima's and even THOSE have centers of Scribbles covered with Stickles, lol! The closeups (click on each picture to get a larger view) show the bling a bit better, but still not the full sparkly effect of this little birdhouse. I think the most fun was adding the little pot of flowers! It's a tiny regular clay pot that I filled with some of my son's glittery Moon Sand then stuck in picks covered with more Prima flowers and then I "set" the whole thing by adding Glossy Accents over the Moon Sand, sealing everything in. Then I used E6000 to glue the whole assembly to the house itself.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Scrap-O-Dex

I want to wish all the Mothers out there a VERY Happy Mother's Day!!!

Teehee, now a moment of rudeness to my own Mom (sorry, Mom!) but you can't see this until you get it! So go away! Love you though! :)

Obviously, this Scrap-O-Dex is something I made for my Mother in honor of the holiday. While this did take a lot of time, it was all using simple techniques. I've already mentioned the flower texturizing technique in my earlier post with the matching house box for this SOD. The rest is simply lots and lots of Stickles! Of course, the Scrap-O-Dex is from Zsiage. The patterned papers, again, are Zsiage's Starr Brites II collection (designed by Jen Starr). All the chipboard shapes interspersed throughout are from one sheet of Zsiage Chippies (also by Jen). Several of the shapes I actually cut in half to make the fit the space better (which used a lot less too!) There are a lot of leftover shapes as well to use on other projects. The flowers are from Prima and, again, punched from Zsiage papers (the punches are from EK and Carl). The Stickles from Ranger (I used orange and pink). The quote stickers (all from one sheet!) are from Cloud 9, and the pen I used to outline on each page is from Sakura. The Magic Mesh, of course, is from Magic Mesh.

I actually worked on this in layers. First I completed the Scrap-O-Dex itself. I covered the front and back with Magic Mesh and then added the Stickled letters and then the flowers. Then I covered all the chipboard pages with patterned papers and trimmed them. I picked out the chipboard shapes to use and covered half with orange and half with pink and set them to dry while I created all the flowers. I did a lot of those flowers over the space of a few days - usually while watching TV, lol! Then I picked out all my pictures and trimmed them down to an appropriate size. Then I began assembling! For each page, I simply cut a piece of paper big enough to fit the quote I was using and slip behind part of my picture. No measuring. Just left them random! After attaching the paper, quote and picture, I then edged the paper with a black pen just to be sure it stuck out nicely against the background. I would have inked them all had I thought of it before attaching the first one but since I did, I had to go ahead and make do and follow through the rest the same way. Once all the pages were done to that point, I determined placement in the Scrap-O-Dex and put them in. Then, working from the back to the front, I began layering and adding flowers and the Stickled chipboard pieces. It's much easier to visualize and make everything tie together (for me at least) working this way. I do the same with acrylic albums just so I can see where I should be working and what will show through from page to page. It helps to see where there are gaps and where things might be bunched up too much as a whole and in sections.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

SOD Gift Box - Mother's Day

Zsiage's Scrap-O-Dex's come in these cute little gable boxes. So far I had been going the simple, straightforward route in decorating mine, but my fellow design team members at Zsiage have come up with some absolutely amazing things being more creative. Soooo, I decided to try something beyond just covering one in paper and adding a few embellishments to it.

I made a Scrap-O-Dex (which I'll share tomorrow!) for Mother's Day for my mom. Since I had used the Starr Brites Series II papers on it, I went with the same for the box to put it in. Then I decided I wanted to make it into a little house (kind of a spin-off of my birdhouse theme, lol!).

I did a quick covering of the whole bottom part, then cut off the top section and trimmed some of the excess flaps off. Then I glued the top handle flaps inside out to each other and covered them with paper to create a roof. To get the side sections (the triangles) on and solidify the structure of the roof, I ended up just using plain old tape. It got covered with the flowers in the front and since it's clear, doesn't show too much in the back either. I cut a slit and slipped a folded over piece of paper through it to make the chimney.

Then came the fun part - decorating my house! The Dutch Garden paper from this collection has all these wonderful swirly flowery pieces - I just went to town with my Xacto knife and made them into bushes. All the windows and door were simple shapes, with slivers of paper to make the separate window sections and a punch to mimic a door handle.

I punched tons and tons of these little flowers in two sizes and just kept adding them everywhere, like the bushes were flowering. I gave the flowers texture by first wrapping them face up over various things I had handy - pen caps, etc. - to crimp the petals themselves. Then I put them face up on a mousepad and used an embosser to swirl around in the middle, flattening that back down and creating the final shape.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dinosaur Birdhouse

I am so in love with Basic Grey's new Archaic line! To be honest, when I first saw the previews online, I just wasn't feeling it. It wasn't until I saw it in person that I found myself wanting every single piece, lol!

My first birdhouse without a resident birdie, but I decided the the little dinosaurs I cut from one of the papers (were just too cute not to use instead. All I used were a few pieces of paper (with lots of scraps left over) and a couple of pieces of the border stickers from the sticker sheet (the overhangs in front and back). This paper was so fun and it was quite enough all by itself. The palm trees are also cut from the piece of paper the dino's came from. My son begged and begged for this one, so it's happily sitting in his room....but I think I need to make another one for MY collection!

A blog award!

Jess over at The Crafty Cafe gave me this lovely award! First, let me just say that Jess has a great blog - can't go wrong with a coffee theme, after all! She has some great inspiration and links there - I had her blog up for the past week trying to find time to go through all her links (until my Internet connection crashed last night and I lost all the pages I'd been saving to look at more in depth...)!
Jess had a great writeup explaining this award so I've just copied and pasted it:
The Arte Y Pico award (which according to my handy Google translater means “Art Peak”) is an award passed from blogger to blogger as a form of creative recognition. :) Here’s the lowdown:
1. The recipient picks 5 blogs that they consider deserving of the award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of the Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award. (Here’s the link to a page translated to Englishby Google)
5. To show these rules.
I get so much inspiration from other bloggers - I have about 300 blogs bookmarked and WISH I could get myself on track again checking them all regularly! It feels so great to know that I have inspired someone as well!!
Paper crafting has such a lovely community - it really, really does! Yes, I know there are some not-so-nice people out there (and some not-so-nice blogs), but honestly, in any community this size, it's going to happen. I still think paper crafting has a pretty darn good ratio of wonderful people to...less wonderful people (lol). It's a shame that it's the negative that has gotten so much attention lately, both inside and outside the community, because it overshadows how much GOOD really is here. I love that awards like this can celebrate the lovely people who share their creativity with others! And on THAT note, here are my picks for the day!
Retrospection by Christine Middlecamp - Talk about a wonderful person (and I don't even know her, lol)! Here is a woman who has continued to inspire, not only through her beautiful work, but her strength in the face of adversity. I've been watching her blog for about a year now, I think, and have never been disappointed in a visit to her blog. I've been saddened, of course, by the poignancy of her work when taken in the context of her own personal tragedy, but at the same time, marvel again and again at her creativity. I usually prefer a "less is more" approach to adding the personal into a creative blog, but Christine's blog just wouldn't be the same without that aspect. If you haven't been to her blog - GO. Keep clicking those "older posts" buttons and be inspired - by her work and by her strength.
Studio 490 by Wendy Vecchi - It's funny, I grew up in Rockford, Illinois, so when I went to college at Millikin University in Decatur, Oglesby was my "halfway home" indicator during that long drive. So for ME, every time I go to Wendy's blog I have to smile, just because it feels like I'm heading "home" (although my family has since moved to Michigan so I very rarely go to Rockford anymore). But more than just the little bit of nostalgia, Wendy's work gives this feeling of "home" as well! She designs for Maya Road and is Ranger certified so you'll see lots of gorgeous inked up chipboard and details. I love that she has lots of tips and techniques and also includes some guest designers full of even more inspiration! Swoon - and go hunt down her studio pics - worth the browse (keep something handy to wipe off the drool though!). There are a few in the newer posts, but you'll have to go back to 2007 for most. Sigh - just go through every page, lol!
SpiderGirl's Web by Angela Daniels - You never know what subject she'll be blogging about, from tank tops to her obsession with candy, but you will laugh and be inspired! She always finds amazing photos to illustrate her ramblings and I always find myself looking at whatever forgotten candy she's re-discovered and finding a color scheme that says "hey, create with me!". I miss her Scrapbook Lifestyle show terribly, but now that she's one of the new lead Fiskateers, maybe we can get some new video (hint, hint, Angela!)! She's terribly funny and sweet - can't wait to try to meet up at the summer CHA show! Check out her Scrap Secrets section of the blog too!
Crafty Storage by Paula Pascual - Ok, so this one is a new discovery for me, but wow! Tons and tons of storage for crafters! Everything from ingenious little tidbits to full-blown crafting workshops to drool over! Great photographs and the whole blog is really easy to navigate. Either just keep paging through, drooling and "aha!"ing, or if you have a specific storage need, there's a link list on the right to take you to that category. PSA - you might want to hide your credit cards from yourself first...
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Glenda Tkalac - The mini book GODDESS, let me tell you! Glenda's also my new altering buddy (check out the canvas from April 19 - LOVE this!) over at Scrapbook News + Review. I don't know HOW I never discovered her before we started working together over there, but I'm so glad I did! She uses tons of artsy little details and whimsical touches and you have to look at things again and again to catch them all! One of those blogs on my list that I want to take some time and go through every single page one of these days!!
Well, I hope you enjoy checking out some of my favorite inspirational sites! I'll be back later today with one of my newer birdhouses I made for my little boy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sailboat Wall Plaques

I know, I have been a horrible blogger this past month! I have been extremely busy, and to be honest, most of what I've created (and there's been a LOT!) I can't even share yet as they're all for various articles and calls and such. I have articles going in the May and June issues of Magazine - look for an article on birdhouses in May and storage solutions for crafters in June! I've also been busy creating things for the next couple of issues of Scrapbook News + Review and as I'm also a moderator over there on the message boards, I've been trying to spend some time helping out - we'd love to have you come join us!!! Of course, being the craft industry, I've also spent some time creating for all the (cough) HOLIDAY magazine calls, lol, and I've got an item coming in the Holiday 2008 edition of Scrapbook Trends.
I have stopped and taken a moment here and there to create just for the heck of it too though. I found these cute little sailboat plaques at Hobby Lobby (again, they're only $1!) and thought they would be adorable to go with the beach frame I had already made. I used the same Zsiage papers from the New England line to cover the boats (painted white first). Then, just because this particular paper line just makes me want to pull out the fun stuff, I used lots of Stickles, Glossy Accents, and Crackle Accents from Ranger to liven up the paper without covering any of the design (click on either picture for a closeup). I then took some tiny shells and lined the top edge of the boats. While there was a lot of drying time involved with all the little layers I did here and there, actual hands on time was pretty minimal. And now I have a nice little beachy decorative set!