Sunday, November 23, 2008

Little Gift Boxes

The pre-school where I work is having a bake sale tomorrow and Tuesday. Teachers and parents have been asked to contribute raffle items. I decided to make an offering of these little ornamental/gift boxes made using the little wooden shaker boxes, ribbon, paper, rub-ons and little embellishments. I love making these little boxes and filling them with chocolates and other delectable items during the various holidays. The photos are lousy because its way too late for me to be up and the lighting is bad…but I have to take them to work/school tomorrow morning so this is my chance to take photos.

Thanks for looking...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some Holiday Cards

I have several posts today since our internet was down for nearly 48 hours and I accomplished quite a bit (for me at least) during that time.

This first card is a silly little fun something I whipped up this morning. I found the ‘forest’ image while rummaging through some unfinished pieces. I created this one last year. It’s based on an art project that one of the former pre-school teachers I worked with would do every year with her 4 year olds. The children would tear pieces of brown and grey construction paper (good for working fine motor skills) into long thin strips (tree trunks) and glue them onto a piece of black construction paper. They would then tear pieces of white paper and glue those pieces on top of and around the long tree trunks and sprinkle it all with a bit of glitter. I was always amazed how these little winter forest scenes…made by little 4 year old hands…looked like beautiful artwork lining the school hallways. So last year I decided I needed to try the concept and I have to say that I like the look of the children’s artwork better…probably because they weren’t trying so hard to achieve a certain look.

Anyway, I decided to take my piece and make it into a card. I added some reindeer and a sentiment, both from a Martha Stewart holiday clear stamp set. It needs a lot of tweaking, but for me it captures the essence of a snowy evening deep in the woods. (My husband is traveling with my camera and I had a hard time getting a good photo with this other camera.)


I like penguins. I know they were all the rage a while back, and may now be passé, but I really enjoy playing with these two stamps.

This first card is made using a stamp by Dawn Houser for Inkadinkado.

I first stamped this penguin image several times onto white card stock in black ink and then cut out the images. I re- stamped the penguin onto white cardstock with red and green ink. I paper pieced the hats and scarves and added tiny pom-poms. I took 3-D glitter paint to the hats, scarves, the pom-poms and the snowy hills. The sentiment is from the Peace and Cheer set by Amuse. I like the swirling night sky effect created by the Making Memories background paper. The sentiment inside: “From we three Penguins”.

This second card uses a stamp I bought from the Paper Source. The stamp has five penguins in a row. After stamping in black ink I cut out four of the images and attached them to some Disney Swirly Sparkle paper. I added little scarves, hats and ties that I cut from colored cardstock, some 3-D glitter glue and star embellishments.
I was going for a more masculine look on this third card, which was created using some of that postcard sized cardstock from one of those bound tablets, but I don’t remember which brand. The tablet was a birthday gift from a friend this past summer and I’m just now getting around to using it. The dove and sentiment are from the Amuse Peace and Cheers set. After looking at the photograph of the finished card, I realize that I really need to invest in some nestibilities. I’ve been looking and longing, but just can’t seem to decide which set I want to start out with. (Note: I later decided to mat the sentiment circle, thus the additional shot.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Desperately Seeking Mojo…

With the holiday season just around the corner and with my craft area finally organized...literally after months of not being able to approach my table...I’ve been taking time to sit and create.

The problem…I feel lost.

It seems the creative juices have done gone and left me! I’m spiraling into a “one card mode” with everything looking the same as of late...and I’m uncertain how to get the ‘creative’ part of ‘creating’ in gear again.

Perhaps my recent re-organization is to blame...I've moved my supplies around and have yet to label them and so...I spend precious time looking for supplies and materials.

Perhaps I’ve been out-of-the-game for so long that like a newbie, I’m just not sure what to do or where to start.

Perhaps I’ve seen so many new ideas and techniques and absolutely fantastic creations on other Blogs that I feel intimidated.

Perhaps it’s that I have too many supplies…and feel overwhelmed.

Whatever the problem, I’m bound and determined to find some mojo this holiday season. Wish me luck…Please!

(I wrote this last night after creating this card, which looks just like the other cards I’ve created recently. I think I need to join the sketch challenges to help get the creative juices flowing again.)

The snowman paper is shinny, so it's hard to get an accurate color photo.

Happy Tuesday! Hope it’s not as cold and windy where you are as it is here in Arlington, VA.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When tweaking just doesn’t cut it…

Have you ever spent time making a card only to not like the finished product…and then spend more time trying to improve upon it...and like it even less?

Well here’s my most recent disaster…

It’s like an appliqué…but on paper. I saw this fabric on sale at Joann’s and thought…what a fun piece to use for general all season use.

Maybe that was the problem. I started working without a clear plan or purpose. It was late when I started and I had difficulties with the colors, which was probably the main problem. Nothing spoke to---or grabbed---me and the end result is not only garish but b-o--r--i--n--g.

The fabric is pale blue and covered with lime, pink and red apples and pears. This afternoon I decided to give it a try with a chocolate base and while better, still not a favorite…or my best.

With the chocolate card stock, I decided to turn it into a submission for the current “Chocolate” Caardvark challenge.
This is a totally stamp free card using a using a combination of fabric pieces, ribbon and a computer generated phrase, which I got off the Internet. I love using stamps, but I also equally love creating non-stamped cards.

Thanks for stopping by…

oops...forgot to add a card

Oops! I forgot to add this card to my last post. The penguin panels are cut from fabric and adhered to card stock with fusible webbing.

Simple Fabric & Paper Holiday Cards

I love working with fabric…almost as much (or maybe more) as I love paper. This must be some sort of residual effect from my days as a kid waiting around for my mom while she browsed through pattern catalogues and fabric. While doing my own browsing recently at Joann’s I found some cute fabrics on sale that I thought would make some fun holiday cards. Here is a quick and simple card I created on a recent very rainy November afternoon.

This second card evolved while cleaning up my work area from the previous card. A scrap of wavy cut cardstock was lying above---almost on top of---this penguin fabric piece…almost like a shingle. I thought it looked like a store front and the card evolved from there into a snowy store front scene. Next time I’ll use different paper for the storefront sides and create a 3-d effect with pop dots like I did with the roof and the snow.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Belated Post – Halloween Dinner Party Decorations

[I wrote this post on November 2 but never got around to posting it.]

My husband and I love to entertain and throw dinner parties. He loves to cook, is good at it and he even does the food shopping! Since I love all things Halloween I’ve wanted to throw a Halloween party for some time, but it’s hard when you have children who want to trick-or-treat or when Halloween falls on a school night. This year, with Halloween on a Friday night, we decided to have a post-Halloween dinner party. I showed the handmade invitation, which I was really pleased with, in an earlier post. Since I’m essentially a kid at heart when it comes to Halloween, I decked out the dinning table to my heart’s content. I was so pleased with the overall effect that I decided to post some photos.

I got a visual image for my table when I spied this Martha Stewart white spider lace table runner and these wonderfully cute Halloween-themed busts and headstones made of resin (for .50 each!) all on sale at Michaels.

So I popped next door to Joann Fabrics and snagged 3½ yards of a black satiny-like fabric for just under $11. (Who could tell in the candle light that it wasn’t hemmed?) Here’s a photo of the fabric and the table in progress from early in the day.

My 12 year old son helped pull the spider webbing across the dinning room picture window and added some MS spiders, again on sale---I love these sales! It looks great at night (and who had to know that I initially did it to cover the fact that I have yet to clean my windows!).

At AC Moore I found some black flowers…

Photos of the final table setting.

This glass tubular candle holder was a gift from a friend and I filled it with Halloween colored (orange, black, green and purple) mini ornaments (again on sale at Michaels) and some glitter spiders and skeleton heads I had from last year. I think my friend was really pleased with the look and to see it in use.

The skull votives were also a steal at Michaels… so I bought a baker‘s half-dozen. The temperature was too warm to light a fire in the living room so I placed an antique looking mirror, some candle holders and more skulls (facing backwards towards the mirror) in the fireplace to create an eerie looking effect.
I also love the look achieved in the guest bathroom using bones, skulls and some skeletons to jazz it up.

This is what was hanging on my front door. I used boa's and I think I got the idea from Michaels.

Thanks for indulging me!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ugh! Sooo far behind...

I see that everyone is already working on Christmas/holiday cards. I’m only just getting around to making Halloween cards I want to send out this year. In fact, except for the recent Caardvark challenge card I just made, I don’t know if I’ll get around to creating new ones this year…but I hope so! Fortunately, I made several last year that I was really pleased with and plan to tweak and use again this year…keeping them in my permanent card repertoire.

I like these cards because I feel they capture…in part…the essence of “who I am,” although I’m not even sure “I” know what I mean by that! I LOVE old black and white movies and the scary flicks of yesteryear. I love Arts and Crafts homes and old children’s nursery rhymes and stories. I’m still a very modern woman, but somehow these cards feel like a favorite, but forgotten old sweater found lying at the bottom of my bureau.

This first card I call the “Bates Motel” card. Every time I look at this card (or the paper I used) I think of Anthony Perkins in “Psycho.” The DS paper is just one of several papers I spied at Joann Fabrics last year and knew immediately it could be used to make some fun cards. The paper, a 12x12 sheet, is by Die Cuts With A View and aptly titled, “Haunted House.” I used the portion of the paper with the Haunted House for this card, saving the rest for another use. I went online to get some ideas for Halloween sayings and adapted them to fit the card. I used a ‘Haunted House’ rub-on and stamped some black bats using a Martha Stewart stamp. I made one of these cards for my husband last year…since I can “every-now-and-then” be kind of witchy.

This next card I call “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” since this portion of the ‘Haunted House’ DS paper reminds me of a dark and murky lagoon. I added a ‘Happy Halloween’ rub-on and used the Martha Stewart bat stamp. I glued a portion of another DS paper (by Paper Pizzaz called “Halloween House”) to the inside base of the card. I found this wonderful saying by Dexter Kozen on the internet and typed it in WordArt.

This third card is one of my favorites, because of the poem inside by Jack Prelutsky. This is a very simple card because Mr. Prelutsky’s poem, “its Halloween”, is the true beauty of the card. I distressed orange and rust card stock, inked the edges and affixed them to a black card base. I used the MS bat stamp and added a piece of “Happy Halloween” ribbon in the same color scheme. I typed Mr. Prelutsky’s fabulous poem on cream cardstock, distressed and inked the edges.

I made these cards for the wonderful librarians at my son’s school last year and attached them to these bat and spider bags with some Halloween cookies.

Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Caardvark Challange

So…I’ve wanted a scoring tool for some time now, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. So I’m excited about this Caardvark challenge…although my card (and scoring) is very simple.

The idea for this card came from a book, A Creepy Countdown, by Charlotte Huck, which belongs to my son. He’s outgrown it so I now put it to good use in my pre-school classroom. After reading the book to the children, I asked the art teacher to help create an art project based on the book and she came up with this great math and sorting idea where the children color and paste the various Halloween Ghoulies (that she drew) from the book onto construction paper. I thought it was a great idea and could be adapted to make a fun Halloween card, which is pictured below. I’m not good at photo taking…thus too many photos.

The background papers are by Paper Pizazz and DieCuts With a View. The stamped images are by Martha Stewart, except for the ghost, which is from a foam set I bought last year at Michaels or AC Moore. I used the Matura MT Script to type the words. I had a lot of fun making this card!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Halloween Invite

I love Halloween and love to celebrate the day. So we’ve invited friends to a post-Halloween dinner party on November 1. I spied a really great party invitation kit by Martha Stewart at Michaels (black cardstock, white lettering, spooky-looking stamped envelopes), but I prefer to send out invites that I’ve hand crafted. So…I played with the concept and incorporated her embellishments. My headstone is wobbly and kind of goofy looking, but I like it. It’s hand-drawn using auto-shapes in Microsoft Word and using the Mael, Blackletter and Blackladder fonts.

The backside was created in a text box using the Mael font and several quotes I got off the Internet (although I think the “ghoul back to us” might be mine, but I can’t be sure.) The bat and spider web are die-cut from MS punches and the glitter sticker on the envelope front is also also by MS, which I got on sale! All-in-all, my invites may have cost the same --- or a bit more ---as MS’s kit, which was also on sale, but they’re my hand-made creations, which gives me little twitches of joy!

Thanks for looking!

Hoping to be back...

I haven’t attended to my Blog for quite some time. First, because of end of summer travel, then the start of a new school year…for all three of us: first year of middle school for our son; teaching at a new law school for my husband; and my first year as lead teacher at pre-school. How odd that we’re all three in school…in one sense or another.

My husband thinks maintaining a Blog will be too time consuming…and stressful. (I’m sure he also worries about the house and the laundry.) Secretly, I worry the same. Can I maintain the pace? There’s so much to keep up with…new techniques to learn, new supplies to want and to buy…can I afford it (both the time and the money)?

I always have ideas running through my head but I don’t always get to implement them. Time is partly the culprit but currently it’s mostly my work area being overloaded from piling everything into the room while I was getting ready for school. My craft area is on one side of our guest bedroom. While it’s a nice sized room and affords me quite a bit of space, I’ve also acquired quite a bit of supplies during the past few years. Not to mention that I save EVERYTHING! Ironic that I have a dedicated craft area, but that can't get to it to craft.

Working at the kitchen island is not optimum, so I’ve let my card making slide. But its Halloween…my most favorite card making season, besides Christmas. I’ve only had time to create one new card this season, but I plan to rectify that soon! So I hope to be back blogging (and creating) on a regular basis…

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Caardvark Challenge – From Your Closet

[Repeat from an earlier post]

A birthday card I created a using stencils from “Paper Fashions” a neat little book from the editors of Klutz, and fabric. I made this card for my very good and dear friend who truly has it all going on! This card captures her personality and spirit to the tee! (Note: The little black dress on the front of the card is not from Paper Fashions. My friend had given me a card with a little black dress on the front. I cut out the dress and used it as a template for this card.) This was a difficult card to photograph since it folds in on it self, thus the 3 photos.