Monday, November 25, 2013

AJ PanPastels Wise Men


I am posting a page I completed in my Art Journal (AJ) using a variety of Christmas stamps by Tim Holtz, and a Stampendous Santa stamp.  I once said I had no current plans to get into the PanPastels and now I teach how to use them.  Yep, I got hooked and now I am constantly devising new ways to use them.  I love this art medium for mixed media!

If you haven't used PanPastels before, they are simplest to explain as a type of chalk called pastel.  They are a soft refined pastel pigment powder that is compressed into a jar that seems almost creamy.  However, the binding agent used in these pastels is unique in that the dust content from usage is extremely low, while the pigment is a higher artist quality.  The price point is initially higher, but their longevity helps even the score.  You can use these with a variety of tools & products, but the Sofft Tools are my favorites...besides using my fingers.  They apply like a paint, but don't need any water.  Oooo, and did I mention clean up is a breeeeeze.  Keep an eye out on my blog, as I'll be sharing more about these little beauties, including tutorials & videos -- hopefully in the new year. 

Regarding today's mixed media page:  believe it or not, this page layout is super simple to complete -- you're basically just working in layers. 
1.  The complete background is a light dry wash of PanPastel. 
2.  Randomly stamped with several TH stamps using VersaMark.  I lightly went over the stamped images with a slightly darker pastel shade.  (TH stamp sets:  Shabby French, Reindeer Flight, Letter to Santa)
3.  Sprayed Krylon's Workable Fixatif over the pages and let sit a few minutes until dry.
4.  Stamped the Angel & Joyful Christmas (TH Joyful Song) again with VersaMark, and heat embossed using Ranger's Chinese Red Antiquities, and Stampendous Aged Silver (I love the tarnished silver look for this page).
5.  Using black Archival ink I stamped the Wise Men.  I didn't apply too much pressure to the stamp so that the image would be somewhat mottled. 
6.  For the Santa image (by Stampendous),  I stamped the Santa image with black Archival ink onto copy paper before crumpling it up.  Then opened it up and created a dry wash of pastel.  I love how the paper's creases picked up an extra "shadow" of color.   I used the pointed Sofft Knife with various colors of the PanPastels to "paint" the Santa.  Finally, I ripped the edges, sprayed it with the Fixatif, and adhered it to the page with Scotch Quick Dry adhesive once dry.


That's it.  Most projects & page layouts can look overwhelming to re-create when you first see them.  But if you break it down by layer, it really makes them very do-able. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  Hope your day is beautiful!  Lisa

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Craft Closet

It has been a looong time since I've blogged, and I'm sad to say it might be a couple more months until I can get back into the groove.  As you know, we've had some major life changes this year...starting with our youngest son's high school graduation and move to college, our eldest son's wedding, my husband's military retirement, and finally ending the year with a temporary move while we look for jobs & and a new home.  I will get to blogging some of the things I've worked on for these events...eventually.  In the meantime, thanks for hanging in there!

For today, I'm posing a video of my craft closet -- sort of a teaser before seeing my actual craft room video in an upcoming post.  I've had several requests to see my crafting spaces, and with our move being so close now I asked a friend come help with the video taping. 

My craft closet is just that...a walk-in closet of sorts.  The space is more long than wide, but I'll show you how I have it set up.  Keep in mind that we are moving and it's not as tidy as I'd normally like it.  But hopefully you'll get the idea.  =) 

I also showcase towards the end of the video how I've been doing my stamp storage/organization.  If you've read my stamp organization post, you'll notice I am no longer using the clear DVD cases for my stamps -- I have more space utilization with the pockets than the DVD cases.  I've actually decided to use the cases for something else...but I'll save that for a later post. 



If you're reading this post in an email subscription, please click HERE to view the video & comment on the post.  Comments are once again enabled for everyone (love getting your comments) -- I had to close comments for awhile because of a hefty amount of spamming. 

Below are a couple links to some of the stamp pockets I showcased in the Craft Closet video. 

TH Stamp Storage Pockets (7" x 8 1/2") - As long as the TH stamp pockets are being produced, I will continue to use those -- my absolute favorite for the size of stamps that will fit in them. 

Office Depot brand Pockets (5" x 8") - For the stamps that are sized the same as the Lawn Fawn stamps or smaller, I am seriously thinking about using the Office Depot clear pockets.  I love their durability.  I have found better prices online than in the stores...as of the writing of this post.

Avery Clear Pockets (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") - The clear page protectors are still a good solution for those that are looking for a more economical solution.  However, I would recommend adding 5" x 8" cardstock inside the pockets to make them sturdier.

(If you had trouble seeing the video in this post, please click HERE to view in YouTube)

In my upcoming craft room video I also show how I store my TH stamp sets AND a great (and inexpensive) way to take the stamps sets with you to a crop, etc.

I know it's been a while, but I appreciate you taking the time to stop by!  Lisa

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Graduation, Wedding, and Retirement -- Oh My!

Printibles by Wedding Chicks, Cricut Die Cut Birdcages (French Manor cart)
First of all...thank you for sticking with me, even though I haven't posted in quite a while.  I thought last year was busy, but this year takes the cake!  January & February I was working virtually full-time, during which we lost our beloved dog, Hercules, of old age (15 years), and a dear uncle on my husband's side unexpectedly.  Then already in March we've made a college visit with Cody, our youngest son (almost 18) who is graduating in May, plus two separate poetry reading venues (by Cody); and my husband had foot surgery...of which he is now recovering.

Our year had already included Cody's high school graduation and his subsequent move to college in the summer.  But then we added my DH Chris' retirement from the military towards the end of this year, which also includes a permanent move back home -- to Ohio.  We haven't lived there since 1999, so it will be strange moving back...but also good to be back around family after so long.  Of course with a move comes job hunting, and house buying.  A crazy year to be sure.

But let's just throw something else into the mix...shall we?!  Our oldest son Nathan (nearly 24), proposed to his girlfriend, Hannah, the beginning of March and the wedding has been set -- ** wait for iiiiiit** -- this year too.  In fact, he will be getting married just two days before Cody goes to college -- and all that happens just one month before Chris's retirement ceremony (which will be a month before we move)!  I'll barely have time to think about the whole "empty nest" syndrome.  Yup...this is a CraZy year for SURE.

Which brings me to a glimpse of what I've been up to this month ... working on Wedding Samples!  I had my year pretty well planned out until Nathan came to visit with his "finance".  Surprise!!  During their short visit they decided on a somewhat vintage "Birdcage" theme for the wedding with colors dark purple & blush pink.  Nathan talked up the announcements I had made for his Graduation, so they asked me to put together some samples for wedding invites -- on a budget. 

I started about by doing a lot of research for Birdcage themed weddings, and weddings with their color palette ideas.  To keep track of some of my research, I created a board on Pinterest called, Birdcage & More Wedding Ideas -- which you can see HERE.  I also found this fantastic website for printing invites, RSVP cards, table numbers, and much more.   You can check out Wedding Chicks website HERE (you're gonna LOVE it!). 

The following invites are all created from the Wedding Chick's free printables to which I added some stamping using Stampendous "Tweet Cages" set.  The ribbon is white seam binding ribbon (Hug Snug) that I crinkled & colored using Spun Sugar distress stain & Antique Linen ink (which tones down the bright pink). For the more vintage ribbon look I added light touches of Walnut Stain ink.  Since the color hues haven't been determined "exactly" there are a variety of shades used in the samples at this juncture.


Flat Bow (postage friendly)
stamped birdcages on chain
Pumice Stone ink, 2nd generation stamping
birdcage masked using Antique Linen ink
and ink blending tool
stamped birds

Bo Bunny brad holds cage in place
crinkled ribbon around cage only
This invite may cost more in postage with
the added depth of brad & bow
die cut birdcage from French Manor cart
smaller brad & dangly ribbon could help postage costs
 

showing cage moved aside
edges inked with Antique Linen
RSVP card printables w/envelopes
attached to back of invite w/photo corners
(they're on straight, just angle of camera is funny - lol)
Table Number printables from website
and die cut ideas using cage (French Manor cart)
and numbers from Heritage cartridge
 
with pink backing

with purple backing


Place Cards die cut from Thanksgiving cart
the two smaller ones show as individual name cards
The larger one is more budget friendly:  one per table
and would include family names for that particular table

die cut with Fiskars Fuse: letter press plates for tags
these could be used for place cards, wrapped around the napkins,
or for a variety of other uses/ideas


battery operated tealight under dome
One of the PINS I added on Pinterest, was of over-turned decorated wine glasses (click HERE to see inspiration photo) using the base for a candle.  I loved the idea, thinking I could use the dome of the glass to add the birdhouse theme.  Generally you can find water globlets/cheap wine glasses at a dollar store or thrift store -- so being budget conscience (and since using birdcages to decorate every table would be pricey), I created this version using my Cricut (Sophie cartridge, & Gypsy to weld extra bird).  There are several cartidges that have birdcages on them, so it would be interesting to make several variations of these for the table decs.

I also cut birdcages & lovebirds from random cartridges at 1 1/2" each for confetti -- any smaller and the birdcage bars are too thin to hold up.  Other cartridges used were: Straight from the Nest (confetti), and Elegant Edges (for the candle mat)

I forgot to photograph the washi tape flags (Recollections birdcages) I made for cupcakes, and the cupcake wrapper of the lovebirds from the Cupcake Wrapper Lite cartridge...but they turned out cute too ... IMHO.  =)

And that's about it for today.  With all that's going on this year you'd think my blog would be severely neglected.  But I've been so busy with all sorts of projects that I'm hoping to blog more often.  The most time-consuming part of blogging is writing out all the technical jargon.  So if at some point I don't give enough information, please leave me a comment with your questions and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Hope the birds are singing for you today -- and thanks for stopping by!  Lisa

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Jesus Gift - Our Christmas Tradition

I'd like to share a story about our Christmas tradition of the "Jesus Gift"; which first graced it's presence under our tree in 1992. 

It was getting close to Christmas and I was feeling extremely depressed the closer it came.  I had recently become a single Mom, and was having a hard time with the holiday festivities.  The church we were attending was having a sit-down dinner and I had decided not to go, as my heart was just not in it.  However, my mother kept encouraging me to go -- and finally I gave in. 

I can still remember how lovely the table looked.  As I sat down I noticed a simple package had been set at each place setting.  The packages were wrapped in white tissue paper & tied with green ribbon -- the tag attached contained the following poem:


This is a very special gift,
You can never see.
The reason it’s so special,
Is it’s just for you, from me.

Whenever you are lonely
Or even feeling blue,
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.

You never can unwrap it,
Please leave the ribbon tied;
Just hold this box
Close to your heart,
It’s filled with love inside.
                                       - anon

The thought of that little package, at such a difficult time in my life, was a blessing to my soul -- and just what I needed.  I brought it home and placed it under our Christmas tree, as the first gift of Christmas.  And that was when I came up with the idea of the "Jesus Gift" -- Jesus gift of love to us being himself...the reason we celebrate Christmas. 

And so our tradition began -- Each year the first gift under the tree is the "Jesus Gift".  And it's also the first present taken out from under the tree Christmas morning.  One of our family will read the poem attached, then we'll each take turns holding the "gift" and say what our birthday gift will be to Jesus for the following year.  Instead of New Year's resolutions, we offer a gift to Jesus.  It might be the gift of volunteering more, or reading the bible in a year, or maybe even something more specific. 

This year I had to re-package ours as it was quite yellow with age, so I used one sheet of 12x12 white cardstock to wrap a small box.  With the leftover card I stamped an image on the front of the manger scene "O Holy Night", by Northwoods, and printed the poem for the inside.  The simple green ribbon is seam binding.

Every year I try to make a few of these gifts to share with others.  I like to share the story of the tradition of the "Jesus Gift" -- but how they choose to use this gift of love is up to them. 

I hope this story of our Christmas tradition will warm your heart, and give you a chance to invite Jesus into your Christmas celebration too.

Warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas! 
God Bless -- Lisa

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wintertime Paris Tag

Just sneaking in under the wire for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012, for November. I bet you didn't think I could do it.  lol.   I've been remembering back to the time we went with some of our Aussie friends to Paris for New Year's 2003.  We ended up at Versailles  while it was snowing and had such fun building a snowman!  I've got a picture around here somewhere...I'll have to dig it up sometime and add it to this post.  It was very surreal...building a snowman at Versailles -- such wonderful memories.

Anyway...on to my tag!  I used a variety of TH stamps from Shabby French, Winter Sketchbook, & Sketch stamp sets, then hand-wrote the sentiment, "Dreamin' of Wintertime in Paris."  I used some mini Christmas tree pearls to tie onto the tag, and added extra clear embossing on the edges & on the snowflakes, and some dusting of stickles as well.  The chandelier lights are tiny swarovski crystals.  My colors of choice were Broken China & Peeled Paint Distress Stains, and Chipped Sapphire distress ink. 

By the way...I didn't have a craft iron like Tim had in his post, so I turned my tag upside down on a piece of newsprint paper and used my heat gun to heat up the embossing powder while I used a brayer to flatten the tag onto the newprint.  It took a bit more time than ironing would've done, but it still worked!  Check out his post for all the details!

Finished it off with a gorgeous facet gem...and now...I think I'll call it a night.  =)



Keep Dreamin'!  Lisa

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Catching Up After Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving sign can be "plucked" out of the wings
 to find a message written on the back.

Hello friends -- Happy "belated" Thanksgiving!  You don't have to celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday to be thankful for family & friends all year round.  And I'm definitely thankful to my friendly readers; I love to read your comments & emails -- thank you for stopping by.  I sent out my Thanksgiving cards on time this year, most of them being fairly simple cards.  But I found this fun paper by Echo Park called Fall Fever Owl, and somehow ended up sketching this fun card. 

I started with pearlized tan cardstock & adhered the Fall Fever Owl CS to the front (the opposite side of the CS is the woodgrain print shown in the sign on the front of the card). I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it at first, but I was thinking I'd like to have owl eyes peering over the top -- and it just sort of evolved from there.



The eyes were cut out of black, white, & blue CS in 1 1/4", 1 1/2", & 1 3/4" respectively.  I set brown cardstock between the card layer and lightly sketched a head with ears & an egg-shaped body (initially thinking it wouldn't be seen except over the top of the card).  Then I cut wonky brown hearts out of scrap CS for the feathers, and sketched wings, feet, & a beak.  I used a distressing tool to scrape up the edges to give them some fluff, and an blending tool with walnut stain distress ink to ink the individual pieces.  These are all basic shapes, so I didn't overstress it. 

 
I adhered the owl to the inside of the card with a banner strip of four owls to represent the four of us in our family.  I needed a speech bubble with four points so I drew it onto ivory CS, cut it out and inked the edges.  The sentiment, Elegant Beginnings by Stampin' Up, was heat embossed with Charcoal embossing powder. 


QUICK & EASY TIP:  The feet sticking out of the bottom made the card difficult to stand.  So I used my Tim Holtz small easel Sizzix die to cut the easel for the back of the card from heavy cardstock.  I LOVE this die for projects like this that need a helping hand to stand up, but also need to be mailed, because the easel lies flat for going into an envelope!  Awesome!  This die also cuts chipboard for a thicker stand, if needed.

NOTE:  In hindsight, I wish I had made the easel from black cardstock instead of white for a more finished look, but I did use a black sharpie for the part that was showing through the feet (which is probably why you can't see the easel from the front).


Isn't it so cute peeking out of the envelope?!
Next on the list?  Christmas Cards...mostly done, thankfully.  But wish me luck getting them posted.  Blogger is not cooperating at all. 

If you're out shopping for Christmas, be careful...it's a jungle out there.  =)
Lisa

Btw - I have disengaged the comment verification again,  Thankfully, it seemed to help alleviate the spam comments...at least for now.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Countdown Begins

I don't think there's an "official" day to begin the Countdown to Christmas, but I figured today was as good a day as any.  The little trick or treaters have gone to bed, and tomorrow will be here before ya know it.  But as for the moment I'm writing this post -- October 31st, 2012 -- the calendar stands at 54 days before Christmas...which will be 53 days in just a couple hours.  Time just seems to move fast that way.  =)

The tag I created is for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012.  Love the tutorial he has on his blog for this tag for blending the paint onto the collaged tag.  It looks like I have a lot going on, but this tag was relatively simple to put together (check out Tim's website HERE for step by step instructions).  I started with a manila #8 tag, which you can also cut using TH Tag & Bookplate die.  I glued on the Melange Tissue Wrap collage paper -- LOVE this paper...and used Red Pepper & Pool paint dabbers as shown in Tim's tutorial, and edged the tag with the Pebble paint dabber for a slight shadowing effect.  I used a blending tool to add a bit more color using Peacock Feathers & Festive Berries distress ink, before spraying Sunflower Sparkle perfect pearls mist over the tag. 


The pre-cut grungeboard was painted with Snow Cap paint dabber before adding my custom colored glitter.  The glitter recipe I used was:  1 Tbsp. Distress Rock Candy dry glitter, 5 drops Butterscotch, 2 drops Caramel, and 1 drop Latte alcohol inks.  I wanted close to a golden "cheer" effect -- and I like the way it seems to brighten up the tag.  I used the Snow Cap paint dabber to add bits of white "snow" color to the glittered pieces, and added a piece of snowflake tissue tape from the top of the tag...adding a bit more Snow Cap paint before stamping "countdown" in black archival ink.  I used an old Dymo tape gun to print "Christmas 2012" on some blue stared plastic tape I found at a thrift store a while back. 


For the ticket, I used a favorite technique of mine...Watercolor Embossed Stamping.  First I inked the ticket stamp, from TH Odds & Ends stamp set, with Peacock Feathers and stamped it off onto scrap paper, then with the remaining ink left on the stamp I spritzed it well with water & stamped it again onto white, lightweight cardstock -- holding it in place for about 20 seconds so the water seeps into the fibers of the paper.  It gives it an undefined watercolor look, and as it dries the water raises the areas the watercolor has touched giving it a faux embossed feel to the cardstock.  After the cardstock was dry I overstamped with black archival ink, sprayed it with Sunflower Sparkle, cut it out, and distressed the edges.  A piece of cobweb tissue tape was added to the corner, the date was circled in red ink, and the ticket was attached it to the tag with tiny attacher staples.  Finally, the tag was finished with white seam binding ribbon & TH Tinsel Twine.

Now I guess I better get this posted before my countdown tag changes numbers...again (yep, I initially had the wrong number of days glued down -- but realized it before it could do any damage).  Ha!
 
Thanks for stopping by.  Lisa

Monday, October 1, 2012

Well Worn, Well Loved

Just under the wire...again, for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012...for September!  It's been so busy this month, that I've not had time to blog, or even visit my favorite blogs.  October should be better, and a trip to Disney should help clear the "cobwebs" -- and since we're SO close to October, I thought this would be a good way to usher in October, and complete the month of September. 

If you haven't been playing along with Tim's tag challenge each month because you don't have a particular product, don't let the lack of supplies stop you.  Hopefully this tag will encourage you to use what you have, and just spend some time creating.  I didn't have the sticky back foil or the alcohol inks Tim used in his tutorial, so I used a few different items instead...


Not only are they yummy with tea,
but the empty bag came in handy too!
I used a piece of the bag for the foiled insides, and embossed it with the Haunted Halloween embossing folder.  I didn't have black alcohol ink so I used pitch black & sunshine yellow paint dabbers...mostly using the wipe on/wipe off technique.  The Ideaology heart adornment was inked with Wild Plum alcohol ink and strung on ball chain and attached with TH tiny attacher.  I just LOVE that pop of color from the alcohol ink. 



You really can't tell too much now, but the top and bottom of the tag was covered in Brushed Pewter distress stain before lightly going over it with the black paint.  Some cobweb tissue tape was added randomly and I used and old Dymo tape gun to add the phrase, "Well Worn, Well Loved".  

Because not everything old has to be scary...=)





By the way, Did you know I was picked as a random winner on Tim Holtz' blog for my July Tag?  How cool is that?!  I won a set of the seasonal Spring Distress inks, & some wood game pieces.  Mario was SO quick to get them sent to me too.  Pretty awesome -- Thanks guys!

Guess I better sign off so I can get this posted in time.  Thanks for stopping by!  Lisa

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Make Me Smile

 I can't believe the summer has moved into the school year...already.  And I just don't feel ready.  My youngest son is now a senior and before I know it, he will be moved out and into college dorms.  Where have the past 17 years gone? 

Today I'm sharing the tag I made for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012 -- for August (what's left of it).  I just used similar type products that I happened to have on hand.  And you can too...he shares his ideas for putting together a variety of techniques, and it's all in how you're inspired to create.  My creation is a reminder of our past visit to The Louvre, in Paris, France -- while we were stationed in England.  The actual Mona Lisa by daVinci is really much smaller than I had envisioned (30" x 21"), and is encased by photo resistant glass -- yet still quite amazing to see in person...if you're actually able to get close enough to gaze at it.  =)



My tag recipe includes:  TH Sketch stamps (frame), SU Classic Captions stamps (Mona Lisa & sentiment), TH Damask embossing folder, Clare Ultimo poetry dog tags (inked w/caramel alcohol ink & black paint dabber), TH Ribbon Roses (colored w/weathered wood, vintage photo & fired brick (distress stains) DS), Pool paint dabber, Zing black EP, black Archival ink, white seam binding colored with Broken China DS, and Distress Inks:  antique linen, tea dye, & vintage photo.  And finally...misted with Sunflower Sparkle perfect pearl mist (my favorite)!

 
Not a great photo, but you can see the reflection of the people waiting in line to see that famous smile. The picture is encased in a much larger glass -- which is what you are looking through. This was back in 2000, but shortly after that photo was taken they declared no more photography.  You can find quick facts on the Mona Lisa painting on Wikipedia.

Thanks for stopping by...
Don't forget to smile today!  Lisa

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paradise Found

On a hot July summer day...such as today...I can just imagine the mist coming off of the waves, while relaxing in a hammock at the beach, and sipping on a tall refreshing lemonade!  It's been incredibly hot this summer with little to no rain to speak of (at least in my neck of the woods), so I was inspired to create this tag (and card) for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012 -- for July.

This month's challenge was all about using alcohol inks in a unique way -- check out Tim's amazing tag for July and his step-by-step instructions HERE

A variety of alcohol inks were used.  For the sand: caramel & latte; for the grassy bits: lettuce; for the sun & sunspots: butterscotch, & gold mixative (on the tag); for the waves: cloudy blue, & stream (on the card).  The pants/sandals were colored with cranberry, using an Adirondack fillable pen.

The white seam binding ribbon for the tag was colored with vintage photo & broken china Distress Stains.  The colors initially go on quite intense but as they blend with water, and dry, the colors lighten up quite a bit.

The stamp set is Paradise (of course), by CTMH.  And I think this just might be the first time I've used it.  But I love it!

You can see another tag I made using this same technique ---> HERE.  It's one of my popular posts found on my sidebar...and is themed more towards winter.

Here's a TIP for cleaning up when using alcohol inks.  First of all, use a craft sheet to protect your work surface.  Nothing sticks to it, and it cleans up beautifully with....Hand Sanitizer!  The hand sanitizer not only helps clean your hands, but add a little squirt to a wet wipe or towel and simply wipe off your craft mat!  Love this stuff!! 

And that's not all -- do you have one of those table that are made out of that hard durable plastic?  If you do, and you like to use dye inks, sprays, and watercolors, you just might find that your table is holding on to some of that color.  Simply add several squirts of hand sanitizer directly to the table and use a damp rag, or wet wipe to move it around and wipe up the mess.  My table still looks like new!  I use this method when I'm teaching classes as well -- a quick & easy way to clean up a lot of mess.

Well, that's it for today! Thanks for taking the time to stop by. 
Stay Cool!  Lisa