Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Did She Say Baby Wipes?

Yeppers! I just read this great tutorial on Flourishes website. Joan Bardee, the author of the the tutorial, says, "My trick is to use a baby wipe on the pencils. I use a store brand called Baby Basics — “alcohol free”. Just take a wipe and softly run it over the area that you want to blend."  I can not wait to try this. As a matter of fact, I'm going to play just as soon as I get done blogging:)

I've got to tell you, I am now one of Flourishes newest fans. I am soooo in love with their images and can't wait to place an order. The only problem is choosing... I want them ALL! If you are not familar with them, you've got to check out their images, and lots of other products as well. Gee, they even have me rethinking my stance about not getting a die cut machine. Yes, you heard me correctly. Me - who swore she would never ever invest all that money in a machine and all the dies.  I'm just thinking about it though. lol   So which images am I considering for my first purchase? Wanna see? I actually have it narrowed to only eight sets of florals giggles:)
  • Gerber Daisys
  • Humming Along
  • Hello Hyacinth
  • Lenten Rose (Grandma used to just love these)
  • Fuchsias in Bloom
  • Lilacs (ohh I remember these growing up in Indiana)
  • Spring Bouquet
  • Sunflowers
  • Poppy Patch
How am I going to choose?????

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dog Tales

It’s been eight weeks since my knee replacement and no more cane for me. I did all my errands today without it, AND I am down to one day week for Physical Therapy. I do still carry it when I walk though.

You see I am owned by two Australian Shepherds, Sidney and Cricket. When Cricket came to live with us, Sidney was immediately jealous of the new puppy. So, I told her that the puppy was hers and she had to take care of it. I did this repeatedly, and of course she understood since she is the smartest dog on earth. (Seriously, Lassie has nothing on this dog.)  As a result, Cricket has grown up thinking she is Sydney’s dog. She will not make a move until she looks at Sydney and gets her approval. She NEVER goes anywhere without her. Sydney has trained her puppy very well. In fact so well that I had not been able to get Cricket to go for walks with me unless Sydney comes too. Which is now rather difficult, because age is slowing her down quite a bit (she’s 14).
Cricket on the left, and Sydney on the right.

In the last three weeks I finally got Cricket to leave Sidney and walk with me... as long as I keep her occupied.  I talk to her, and then when I run out of things to say I sing to her.  She really likes it. You can tell because she perks her ears up and looks all happy and she smiles at me. Initially, I tried to play fetch with her too. Cricket however, had no inclination what so ever to bring a stick back or to even pick it up half the time either. She just loves to run flat out and 'chase' the stick. She absolutely loves it, so that has become part of our ritual too.  Sidney lays over under a tree on the edge of the field and stands up to get a pet when I walk by. Oh, why do I carry the cane? Well, Cricket being the dilligent Australian Shepherd that she is, tries to herd me and in doing so, she runs close to my feet and runs into me. So I carry the can in the wrong hand at an angle for protection. It's really a rather ingenious plan actually. She runs into the cane instead of tripping me. This is very important, because my doctor told me not to fall down!

You ought to see Cricket climb stairs with me. I use the longer set of stairs on the deck. At first she wanted to climb them up and down with me. Since THAT'S not safe, I taught her to wait for me at the top. Of course she is impatient and wants to be with me constantly, so she now runs down the other set of stairs and meets me at the bottom. I pet her, then I walk back my stairs and she runs up hers, and meets me at the top for another pet.  Sidney just waits at the bottom for her pets, as she’s not up to all that running around.

Cricket loves all the extra time I spend with her while I'm exercising and I do as well. I've learned she is really a smart dog too... in her own way.  She has learned several new words like "play chase the stick," and "climb the stairs.”  She also knows the difference between, "go for a walk" and "go get the mail." She takes off running in the right direction when I tell her where we’re going.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Card Minder Book

I learned of this design from Jeanne on Split Coast Stampers, and thought it was such a beautiful design. I thought I was clever because I typed up a list of birthdays and other card-giving occasions, but this is genius! With a pocket to hold cards for each month, it will make getting them mailed out on time easier. I've had such fun making this and decorating the pages.  I've tried really hard to do a clean and simple look, which is very hard for me.
January pocket page and list for the month.

I did the list pages for each month on a Word document with a calligraphy font. Here are the documents: 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Playing Around With Scraps

Bargello is on my mind.... and there is this box of scraps cut into strips staring at me from the shelf. So I made something. These are jewel tones, the colors that were so popular several years ago. Magenta made such dramatic things with these colors. But while preparing the tutorial (previous post) I really fell in love with the lighter, brighter colors they've used more recently. They just make me happy! I adore the things found in this book: Link Here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm Back in my Studio

Recovering from knee replacement and my only child moving clear across the country has been kind of depressing. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks holed up in the kitchen. I’ve been trying new recipes like crazy. I'm surprised I haven't gained any weight! I think I better quit while I'm ahead! Yesterday I took a bunch of things from my stash to a gift shop (on consignment). This seriously depleted my inventory so today I am back in my studio working away. However, I'm walking every day, doing my exercises and climbing stairs (up to 16 times).

Ohhhh and I read the BEST book! "The Cinderella Deal" by Jennifer Cruise. It's a love story, but not one of those sappy romances where the plot is soooo predictable. It's very well written, and the characters are so well defined.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and “getting to know the characters.” This is so not like me – I usually read non-fiction or mysteries. The mystery I read last week was by an author that I like, but it really scared the pajeebers out of me. Now, I admit to being a total wuss. I hate scary movies, why even Jurassic Park scared me silly. You know the part where the Tyrannosaurus Rex eats the guy and you can hear it crunching him up? Well, that gave me nightmares! I guess being sad lately has made me more sensitive. So, I’m going to lay off the mysteries for a while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One of the Prettiest Paper Art Techniques!

I know many of you have heard of the Bargello technique. I saw a tutorial recently that used decorative paper. For some people use of decorative paper is a perfect fit. However, I love the artistic element involved in Magenta's method.

Paper Quilting
Also Known as: Bargello – Magenta Style

The Bargello is a needlepoint stitch with a zigzag pattern used in 17th century upholstery. Today, this technique is used by quilters who create breathtaking works of art.

Several years ago, Hélène Métivier, co-owner of Magenta rubber art stamps, was given a book about Bargello quilts and she adapted the textile form to paper. Her works are spectacular wall hangings, but you can produce them in card-size works of art too.

smooth cardstock in different colors that are compatible – cut 1 inch by 5 inches
STRONG adhesive, double-stick tape of Xyron
Paper cutter
Several art stamps (at least one should be a fine-lined image like Magenta’s stylized dragonfly)
black dye ink
pigment ink in several colors for direct-to-paper coloring
Metallic pigment ink like Encore

1.      This card consists of 4 layers. The card itself, one layer of plain cardstock, the Bargello layer, then an embossed cut out image on top. Sizes may vary according to your desire.

2.      Cut various colors of cardstock into several strips 1/8 to 5/8 inch wide. You will need 2-3 different widths to make your design interesting. Make sure you are cutting perfectly straight, and that the paper is lined up perfectly straight on the cutter. Even a tiny bit of deviance will show up later on. A paper cutter makes this so easy. I save scraps from cards and cut them into strips.

3.      Use the direct-to-paper technique to provide a background for each strip. Use 3-4 colors of pigment ink pads. I use Clearsnap’s Cat’s Eye pads. Lightly rub the ink on each strip, beginning with the lightest colors then progressing to the darkest color.

4.      After you have several strips done in this manor, stamp on them with black dye ink. Choose an image that is fairly dark, or solid. If the stamp is larger than the strip, just try to stamp with the same part of the stamp each time. Try not to use more than 2 stamps on each strip.
5.      Overstamp with a metallic pigment ink (I like Encore gold). Choose an image that is fairly open or “lacy” for this. Again, if the stamp is larger than the strip, just try to stamp with the same part of the stamp each time for a uniform look. Don’t worry about each strip looks when it’s finished because  you will be cutting it up and putting it back together again anyway.

6.      Cut a piece of black cardstock to the size you would like the top layer of your card to be. Then cover one side of it completely with adhesive in any of the following ways:
·       Glue with a good glue
·       apply a sheet of double sided adhesive
·       use a double-sided tape dispenser to apply adhesive
·       use a Xyron machine

7.      Begin by laying the first strip across one edge of the black cardstock. Lay the next strip right next to the first one, without leaving any space between them. You can alternate the direction of the strips if you like. Place a couple strips horizontally and a couple strips vertically, repeating until the cardstock is completely filled. You could also lay the strips in a diagonal pattern. In this case begin in the middle, placing the first strip from corner to corner. Or you can lay 3-4 strips in a horizontal direction. Then lay 3-4 in a vertical direction just under those. Finish by placing the last strips in a horizontal direction again.

8.      You will have strips that extend beyond the black cardstock. Trim the edges of the strips even with the black piece.

9.      Use a gold/silver leafing pen like Krylon, to line the edges of your Bargello piece. Just place the tip half on the edge, and half off. Go slow and you will have a beautiful gold edge.

10.    On the card itself, or the bottom layer, stamp with black and overstamp with gold just like you did the strips. You only need to do the outer edges of the card, as the center will be covered up with the other layers anyway.

11.    Attach the layers with double-stick tape. Finally, using a piece of cardstock (a color of one of the layers) stamp and gold emboss a flower, butterfly or some other image is relatively solid or “filled in.” Cut it out close to the embossed edge, and carefully the edges with the curved handle of your scissors. Now attach it to the Bargello layer using raised mounting tape.

Here are the directions for the traditional Bargello pattern:

1.    Cut your cardstock into a variety of widths, color using direct-to-paper technique, then stamp images onto cardstock in black, and finally overstamp in metallic ink.

2.    Cut a piece of black cardstock to the size you would like the top layer of your card to be. Then cover one side of it completely with adhesive in any of the following ways:
·       Glue with a good glue
·       apply a sheet of double sided adhesive
·       use a double-sided tape dispenser to apply adhesive
·       use a Xyron machine

3.    Begin by laying the first strip across one edge of the black cardstock. Lay the next strip right next to the first one, without leaving any space between them. Trim edges that are hanging over.

4.    When the glue is completely dry, the next step is to cut your project apart AGAIN. Turn your cardstock so the strips are horizontal, and using a paper cutter or an exacto knife, cut strips into various widths. (ex. 1/4", 1/2", 1", 1 1/2"). As you cut each strip, move it to the side being sure to place each strip you cut right next to the one before it. In other words, you want to keep all the strips in order.

5.      After all of the strips are cut, get out another piece of black card stock. Begin by laying out your strips in order varying the heights of each strip. Make mountains and valleys going up and down, lining up your colors so that you never move up or down more than one colored segment at a time. If you stand back and look at your design, it will look liked curves. The thinner yours strips, the more pronounced the curve will appear.
6.      Lay out your design and cut the bottoms of each strip off and then glue it to the top of that strip so that you keep a rectangle shape.

7.      Glue your finished product to a complementary color card stock.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Prisma Colors Added to Charts

 I just spent tons of time last month organizing my notes, typing them, and devising a numerical chart and a color family chart with all the correct colors. This took hours cross referencing various lists because the people who made them, had errors. Then I  get an email from Prismacolor announcing that they just added 18 new colors! lol:) So... I redid my charts:
Organized by color families (color wheel) to fill in with the pencils you have. It's a great help to use while using  your pencils.
Color Family Chart  (updated 12/16/2011) all one page
Numerical Order Chart page 1
Numerical Order Chart page 2 
Color Pencil Tutorials: 
Part 1 (9/1/2011)
Part 2 (9/19/2011)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cooking Therapy

I've been AWOL from this blog because my only child took a job half way across the country. I was profoundly depressed at first, now just very lonely. So I've been cooking this week.
Tried the best new recipe tonight. Found it in Taste of Home magazine. In case y’all are interested, I found it online too:
(I left out the peas, cause I think they are yucky)

Made this when friends came over to watch football, and it was a hit.
Pumpkin Crisp Dessert

1 can pumpkin (15-16 oz.)
4 eggs
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
     1 box yellow cake mix
     1 cup melted margarine (2 sticks)
     1 cup chopped pecans

Mix all together and pour into a 9 X 13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over pumpkin mix, then drizzle on nuts. Bake at 350º for one hour. Cool to warm temperature before cutting. Serve with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.