Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heat embossing and other experiments

Here is the latest and greatest from Claudine's class:

This is done in a similar way to the video that's been posted on Ranger's site - here. (Let's see if I can embed it...)

The only difference is that instead of embossing a second color, we're dusting on Perfect Pearls powder. I think the silvery color of it looks really appropriate for the gear images! (Masks by Tim Holtz; I used Zing embossing powder in Rouge, which seems to be a very similar color to the Adirondack powder that Claudine uses in the video.)

(Also, that little book that Claudine holds up at the beginning of the video is what we're making in the class - it's a little chipboard "technique book" with samples of all the techniques we're learning. I think we're supposed to have it finished in the next week or two, although the class goes on until way into September.)

I'm going to have to show some of these canvas techniques to my quilting friends, because these really do result in sewable fabric in the end. This one comes out pleather-ish in texture, although much lighter in weight than most leather, and the one I'm going to show you next felt sort of like a decorator-weight fabric when I got done. The biggest size this canvas comes in is 12x12", though; I suppose that anything much bigger would get too unwieldy! (Here's the link to the canvas; I have not seen it in any of the big craft stores as yet, although I wouldn't be surprised if it turns up soon because it's really got a lot of interesting uses. The non-chain scrapbooking store near my house does carry the whole line of Claudine's products, though.)

Here is the one we did last week:

This is paper transferred to the sticky-back canvas. You lay scrapbook paper face-down on the sticky side of the canvas, then wet the paper and peel the bulk of it off. I had some trouble with knowing when to stop (you can see it most clearly in the top left corner. But I thought at least to some degree it gives the "fabric" a nice distressed look - and it really does feel like a fabric when you're finished, and not so much like canvas. I am told you can sew with it fine; it doesn't gum up your needle or anything. (This is K and Company scrapbook paper, from a stack I bought on clearance lately at Michael's. Which probably means it's from last year's line, or at least last season's.)

I have a couple more things to show, but I think I'll make them a separate post later. I'm feeling sort of woozy right now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spring and summer

These are my two little trees done on 4x4" framed canvas. I got worried when I saw this picture because the horizon looks so off on the second one, and it is a tiny bit off, but not as much as it looks like in the picture. I decided it's not so off that I can't live with it.

Which is good because the blooming tree has already been redone a couple of times. The first try is here and I got carried away with the stippling and it got so you couldn't see the structure of the tree any more and I hated it. So I actually sanded it down a little since there was so much paint on it, and gessoed over it and started completely over. Then on the next try, the transfer didn't take right, so I had to do it a third time. And I went back just now (which was after this picture was taken) and did a tiny bit more stippling on the right side of the tree because I thought it looked too flat on that side. I used very little paint and just rounded it out a tiny bit. So now I'm stopping, even though I'm not real happy with the lettering at the bottom.* If I put it up on the wall and I really hate it - the lettering, I mean - I guess I could go back and try again later. But I'm not doing anything else to it right now.

I got the third one mostly done last night, too, the autumn one, and it looks pretty good. I used Altered Orange for the background and Modern Red (which is a very orange-toned red) for the tree. I finger-painted the tree like I did with the green one. I'll get a picture of it eventually. I want to lighten up the background because right now I think it's going to look too dark compared to these two. And I have to decide on a word to put on it. Anybody got any suggestions? I've got "grow" for spring and "bloom" for summer, and all I can think of is "shed" for fall but there's bound to be something better than that. And then I was going to put "renew" or maybe "restart" or something like that for winter. (The winter tree should be comparatively easy to do because it will just be bare, of course.)

On the whole, I think stippling worked really well for the blooming tree. I used two colors of paint to keep it from looking too dark - it was Dash of Red (which is basically a dark magenta) and then I think the other one was the same color lightened up a bit, like I did with the pink heart. I did this a week or so ago, which is why I'm already forgetting.

I have an ongoing project, that I've been working on practically since my mother died three years ago, to scan a lot of her old pictures, and get rid of at least part of them. She took a LOT of pictures, and a lot of the time I know she had duplicate sets made - like, for me, or for the people she went on vacation with, and such. And the pictures of vacations she went on just don't have much meaning for anybody else. I mostly end up keeping the pictures she's in, and throwing out the rest. Scanning at least some of them makes it easier to do the throwing away. I'm a hoarder by nature, and throwing things out is something I have trouble with, but I live in a two-bedroom apartment and you just can't keep everything. So that's why if you look at my Flickr photostream, there are long stretches of things like my mom in New Zealand. And then there are the quilt pictures - several albums of those, too. Her quilts and other people's quilts. I don't know if I'll ever finish this "project" but I work on it from time to time and at least I can whittle it down a bit.

* I did the lettering with these stamps, which I really love, and a Black Soot Distress stamp pad. The quality of my stamping is another question.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Embossed Metal Card Tree

This is so cute, but it's the kind of thing I'd never get around to doing!
Embossed Metal Card Tree
(done with a Cuttlebug; you can tell what I've been looking up...)

I don't know why it never occurs to me to look on Amazon for things like a Cuttlebug - they have a really good deal if you have Amazon Prime because the shipping is free. I bought mine from HSN in a sort of package deal, but if I'd seen this price I might have got it here instead.

(I know, I know, y'all are tired of hearing about the Cuttlebug already, but I suspect this won't be the last you hear of it. I'll try to at least refrain from posting it every time I see one on sale!)

Bonus Cuttlebug link: "sandwich stacks" - i.e., recipes for how to make different dies and folders fit in the C-bug properly. This is genius! (Um, you may need to join that site to access that link, I'm not sure.)

Expensive (and not-so-expensive) papercrafting machines

Reader KarenD (probably the only person among my current readership who has met me in person) has different hobbies than me these days (hers are quilting and knitting, I believe) and she didn't know what a Cuttlebug was. I tried to explain, but here is the picture of mine, which I don't believe I had previously posted.
(My goodness, it looks green in this picture - it's actually not green at all!)

It came from HSN, of all places; they had a deal which included quite a lot of embossing folders and that's what I was most interested in, anyway, although I am nosing around now to see what dies are available. (It makes me a little nervous: they claim that they can use most all brands of dies, and I get very confused about which ones will actually fit. I know I saw a chart at one point and I need to find it again. I hear you can break the plates if you do it wrong!) Anyway, it embosses a small area beautifully, and theoretically also die-cuts - I only say theoretically because I haven't tried it yet!

Cuttlebug is the cheapest (I think) of this kind of machine - it has no electronics whatsoever, just a hand crank, which is presumably why it's cheap. The high end is the Cricut, which has cartridges which cost almost as much as the whole Cuttlebug machine does. I am not ready for one of those, for sure. But there are also a bunch of machines that do similar and sometimes entirely different things which I get very confused about. There are some Sizzix machines which are very similar to the Cuttlebug, I think, except that some of them are larger, as I understand it. And papercraft guru Tim Holtz is coming out with a new machine of his own. Then there are some completely other ones, like Yudu, which I think does screenprinting (is that right?) and Xyron, which applied adhesives to paper - effectively making them into stickers. (Once again, that's if I understand it correctly.) There are also some letterpress machines which I have been seeing around lately.

I like that the Cuttlebug doesn't take up all that much room when you're not using it. The plates on the sides fold up and it has a handle for moving it about, although it's surprisingly heavy when you pick it up. I usually just stick it under the dining room table these days. (The dining room table has become craft central. The crafting table I had set up for jewelry-making in the back bedroom only gets occasional visits where I come to take something else into the other room. Luckily we never actually eat in the dining room!

Friday, July 23, 2010


So, I got to use my new Cuttlebug! I put a piece of sticky-back canvas in the wrong way the first time I tried, so I guess that means I got a deboss effect instead of an emboss, but it still looks pretty. The debossed one is on top, and the emboss, which was what I intended to do the first time, is the bottom one:

Putting the paint on was very easy to do; I was surprised at how well that part went.

The other technique I've tried from this week's class is transferring a paper image onto sticky-back canvas. I sort of messed it up but not too bad - it just looks a bit more distressed than I really wanted it to! I'll post a picture of that later.

I have one more technique from last week's class to show:

This is reverse-stamping - you paint your surface with paint mixed with slow-dry medium, and then you use a stamp to take some of the paint off. The trick, apparently, is working fast, because even with the slow-dry it was wanting to dry faster than I was stamping. About the only place you can clearly see the stamp I was using is in the bottom left corner - it was a flower stamp, a single flower, but I overlapped it so much it's really difficult to tell. I was going for a sort of background effect and while I think this color is a little bright for a background, I really like the effect, overall.

In other news... I found a style of storage box lately that really works well for storing craft supplies -  it's a Sterilite 2.7 Qt box (according to the label), and it's about 3" deep by 8" wide by 11" long. I got mine at Wal-Mart but I know lots of other places carry that brand. It's big enough to hold bottles of Claudine's Studio paints:

I wrote the names on top with a paint pen, so I wouldn't have to fumble around looking for colors, and it holds all 15 of them handily, with a couple of embosser bottles thrown in for good measure. The one here is pink (as you can tell); I also have a clear one, and I think maybe they also came in lime green. I have stamp pads in one and some of my flatter punches and brayers in another. They are the kind of box where the handles snap up and lock the lid on, which I like, and they also stack very nicely. I think if I had more I would definitely be able to find uses for them (especially considering how my collection of paints and things is growing). I should add that the taller bottles don't fit in these, even Claudine's gesso, etc, doesn't. There were some more sizes, though, so there might be options for storing other sizes of stuff in matching containers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pink canvas heart

This week in Claudine's class:

This is actually the project from last week, changed up a bit. It will probably end up on a card eventually, but right now it's just a big loose heart. I used Claudine's Dash of Red paint mixed with Extra Time (which is a slow-dry medium) for both layers - it's just got some Blank Canvas mixed in with it on the bottom (larger) layer. The smaller heart is a piece of paper from an old madrigal book covered in gel medium and then reverse-stamped just like I did with the piece I showed earlier this week. This time I used a Hero Arts stamp of my mom's that I have been hanging onto. It's violets, although you can't really tell it here, and it's about 1x3", so this is stamped multiple times one under the other. I was worried that the ink would start drying by the time I got all the stamping done, and not resist the way it's supposed to, but it worked fine. The bottom layer used a paisley stamp, which I think is from Stampabilities, stamped with the paint/Extra Time mixture onto sticky-back canvas.

(Added: if anybody else gets the notion like I did to use Dash of Red and Blank Canvas to make pink, I can tell you that it works, but if you want a pale pink, it's going to take a lot more Blank Canvas (i.e., white) than I used - I think this was about a 50/50 mixture on the larger heart, and you can see it really only got it down to a sort of raspberry color. I would think to get to a really pale pink would require using at least twice as much white as I used, and probably more!)

The big wholesale craft market was thisnext weekend (in Chicago, I think it was) and Ranger has been announcing new products all weekend, including new stuff for Claudine's line. I really like the layered stamps, that's something I haven't seen before. (Another thing I love is this Tim Holtz seasonal paper. I'd be running right out to buy some of that if I could, although presumably it's not in stores yet so I am forced to be patient.)

And in other crafty news... my local Wal-Mart seems to be dismantling its craft department, or something. I'm sure they're not entirely getting rid of it, but it's hard to tell what's going on. First I thought they were just getting rid of the fabric-by-the-yard, the way they've been talking about doing for years - it was completely gone - but there seems to be more to it than that. Because then I went to look at the scrapbook section and there wasn't nearly as much merchandise there as there has been. I thought, well, maybe they're reducing the amount of scrapbook stuff they carry, but that doesn't really make sense, either - I mean, scrapbooking is still a hot craft, right? Every other store is increasing the amount of stuff they carry. (Unless they're just abandoning the craft market to the specialty craft chains - but that doesn't sound very Wal-Mart-like, does it?) So now I'm thinking that maybe they're just moving things around. Maybe they're moving the papercrafts over by the office supplies the way that Target has theirs, I don't know. It's not like I even buy much craft stuff at Wal-Mart - but I'm still wondering about it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New books #3: Scrapbooker's Creativity Kit

Now this is not a book you might expect me to purchase if you know me well, because I am not a scrapbooker (as I think I've mentioned):
The Scrapbooker's Creativity Kit: Prompts And Ideas To Jump Start Your Layouts
But I'm taking Claudine's class and it sounded interesting (and I found a good price on a like-new copy!) so I thought I'd try it. And I think, now that I have it, that it's really not just for scrapbookers - or at least, it can be adapted to other things. What this basically is is sort of a prompt tool. It consists of two card sets and a book. One set of cards is colors and the other one is words. You're supposed to pick one word and two colors and brainstorm from that. I certainly think you could use this for collages and maybe for other things - the color part especially I could see using for jewelry, and maybe the words too. The book itself is full of example layouts from a number of different people as well as Claudine - some of them take the word part literally and incorporate it in their layout, and others just use it as a taking-off point. It's really interesting to see how differently different people respond to the same prompt.

I'm always partial to things that help you brainstorm - sometimes I can do my own brainstorming without assistance just fine, but other times a little push in some direction or other is really a lot of help. (Sometimes even if you don't like the results of the brainstorming, it helps, because you say to yourself, No, I don't want to do that! and it helps you clarify what you do want to do. At least that's sometimes what I do.)

New books #2: Custom Cool Jewelry

I think I've linked to this book once before, but that was when I had been perusing it in Barnes & Noble, and I actually own it now.

Custom Cool Jewelry: Create 200+ Personalized Pendants, Charms, and ClaspsThis book is about two years old now, and I suspect that a lot of the mixed-media type of ideas in it have gotten much more mainstream during that time - heck, this book may be the reason I've seen a lot of these ideas around in various guises. I'm glad I got it, but I really can't think of too much else to say about it than that I like it, and it's probably worth getting, if you don't already have it, because it's packed so full of ideas.

(Are you noticing a pattern here? I'm a terrible reviewer, that's the pattern. If I hate something, then I have no trouble ranting about it, but I often have trouble figuring out how to express admiration for the books or movies I really like!)

Aside: this isn't where I bought this book, but but while I'm on bookish subjects, I also have a bit of a recommendation about a good bargain for people who buy a lot of books: BOMC2. I think a lot of people shy away from book clubs, but this is a gigantic improvement over the old-school book clubs. It doesn't do away with automatic shipments; what it does is let you choose what's shipped. What happens is that you make a list of books off of their website, sort of like a wishlist -- or a Netflix queue, only you're buying rather than renting. Once a month, they send you the top book off the list, and what makes it great is that the price for these books is only $9.95 including shipping. That's almost always cheaper than Amazon's price, and far cheaper than the list price. They don't have a gigantic selection like Amazon, of course, but I have been using it for quite a few months now and I have not yet come near running out of things that I want.

Bonus Twilight themed links, because I can't seem to stop once I started: Cleolinda, who I was talking about the other day, did a post that talks about some Twilight jewelry (among other subjects - if you're in a hurry, just scroll down til you see pictures of rings). She also links to this ring, which I really like a lot. -- Well, you know, if I wore rings, which I mostly don't. But still, that doesn't stop me from liking it and it certainly doesn't stop me from linking it. (While I'm at it, I will probably favorite some more Twilight-y stuff on Etsy, if I see something else I like. So check the sidebar.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New books #1: fabric beads

I have several new books I haven't talked about yet. (I may put them into several posts because more than one Amazon link per entry tends to get wonky.)

Fabulous Fabric Beads: Create Custom Beads and Art Jewelry
Kristal Wick didn't invent fabric beads, but she does seem to have perfected a technique for making them. I have plenty of fabric to play with, so I really should try this. (I kept looking at the pictures and thinking that they were made on some kind of form, because of the black "showing" at the top and the bottom. But it turns out that what the author does to achieve this effect is dip the top and bottom in black paint. See, the things you learn when you actually read the book!)

Bonus link:
If you feel the need for more Twilight jewelry, Alphastamps has a cute Twilight-themed bracelet.

Watermark resist

It just occurred to me that I never did post the picture of my latest bit of classwork here:

This is a resist done with a watermark stamp and painted over. I actually used a Perfect Medium stamp, because I couldn't find the Ranger Watermark inkpad that was recommended, but the one I had worked just fine. (The class consensus, though, is that Versamark, which is another brand of clear ink, does not work as well, for some reason. I didn't try it myself.) You stamp on the painted background, and then paint over it with watered down acrylic paint before it dries. The black is the paint, which wasn't dry yet when I took this picture; the blue is the stamped image, showing through from the painted background. It's a neat technique. I can think of all sorts of uses for this!

There were a couple more techniques for this week - a distressing technique that also used the watermark stamp pad, and stamping with paint onto canvas. I have had mixed results with that last one, so I'm still playing with it. You're supposed to spray water on it, and the first time I forgot it completely, and the second time I think I used too much. I'll get it right eventually!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One more thing about Twilight

I knew this existed, but I was too lazy to look it up, and then Cleolinda did the work for me by providing  links right on her Twitter feed: Twilight in 15 minutes. She actually linked to the new one (Eclipse in 15 Minutes), of course, but there were helpful links right there to the others, so I'm golden. And it is, as usual, very funny.

If you've never read any of Cleolinda's parodies, she's been posting them on Livejournal for years, and she even has a book, which has completely different parodies than the LJ ones, although it's now out of print (but I'll post an Amazon link anyway). (She also writes this almost unexplainable thing called The Secret Life of Dolls which I totally adore, and wish she would write more of. Cleolinda is totally to blame for me ever deciding to watch Twilight in the first place.)

Added: At my husband's suggestion, we checked out one more piece of Twilight mockery after I wrote this: Rifftrax, from the Mystery Science Theater guys. It's downloadable audio which you then synch up with the video - the effect is like MST3K minus the robot silhouettes. It was the first time we'd tried it but it worked quite well. For $3.99, it was a fun bit of entertainment.

Monday, July 12, 2010


(I don't know where I stole "administrivia" from - somebody I read somewhere uses it though. I'd guess it was my friend Col; at least it sounds like him. In any case, it always seems very apropos.)

I just wanted to say, what with my readership apparently burgeoning and everything - I have nine whole followers now! - that I am so far resisting changing my comment settings, even though I have been picking up some (apparent) comment spam. So here is my rule: if you make a comment with no noticeable connection whatsoever to the subject matter, and you're not somebody I know in the slightest, and it has a link in it (or alternatively if it's entirely in a script I can't read, like Chinese, and it has a link) with no apparent connection, either, then I am going to assume you're a spammer and delete it, if I notice. Just to clarify. Relevant links are fine, and are in fact encouraged. I love links, in general. I'd just ideally like my comment section not to be a big swamp of spam.

I also worked on my sidebar a little - I added a few papercraft stores that I particularly like, and rearranged things a bit. As always, it's a work in progress!

Those sparkly vampires

I'm doing something I never quite thought I'd do - I'm watching Twilight. It's not really my thing, but I was curious. It's become such a pop-culture legend, you know? And I guess I can see why the teenage girls are all into it - it's that whole doooooomed romance thing, I think. I might be more into it if Robert Pattinson was more my type, but he doesn't really do it for me. I don't know why, exactly, because I do think he's good-looking. I think it's partly that I think his hair is stupid. Taylor Lautner comes closer, but I think that may also be the hair, because I'm well aware that I have a thing for long hair (which in turn shows my age, I think - I hit adolescence in the  70s, when long hair on guys was all the rage). (Then I looked the movie up on IMDb, and now I feel like a pervert - Taylor Lautner is eighteen. He was born in 1992, for god's sake. Which means he was, what, 15 or so when this was filmed. But like I said, I think it's the hair. Teenage boys are usually not my thing, not at all. And it's not like I'm ready to go join Team Jacob or anything. And anyway, I think he loses the long hair in later movies, doesn't he? I don't remember ever seeing pictures of him with long hair at all, although I'm sure I just didn't pay attention at the time this came out.)

Anyway, I am trying not to mock the movie overall - it's really not as bad as I expected. Even the part where Edward sparkles, which is probably the most obviously mockable part, was done in a relatively subtle way, somewhat to my surprise. And the sparkling is in the book, right? so they pretty much had to have it in. I did sort of enjoy this, and I'm not entirely ruling out watching New Moon someday, but I'm pretty sure I'm not masochistic enough to read the books, still. So I am gonna have to rely on other people to tell me what's in the books. -- And if you're a huge fan of the books, don't hit me, okay? I'm just pretty sure that would be too much of Bella moping for me to take.

I'm sure this is a surprise to absolutely nobody, but there is, of course, Twilight jewelry. I had to look. And I saw a very clever Twilight card tutorial the other day, if I can remember where I saw it. (Aha - here.) I know there's Twilight merchandise out the wazoo, but that's as far as I'm willing to look. I'll go back to my book now. (Which The Pillars of the Earth, if you really want to know, but I just started it so I have no real opinion yet. I've had it for ages and keep forgetting about it.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Color trends - wedding dresses

I don't know that this is actually a trend, but I'm hoping:

Because I get so bored with wedding dresses. What would you call that color, sort of a pale taupe? It seems a little more grayed-out to me than a pure sand color. Anyway, whatever it is, I like it. Plus look, it has sleeves, even if they're only little bitty things. Honestly, have you seen anybody wear a wedding dress with sleeves in the last decade? I can't think of any, although admittedly I don't go to all that many weddings.

(From the Purse Blog - who doesn't seem to stay with the subject of purses with much more consistency than I stay with beads!)

Maybe I feel so strongly about this because I had a not-so-secret yen for a wedding dress that wasn't white or off-white: the color I had in mind at the time was very pale blush pink. But this was in 1987, and there was no internet, and you just couldn't find anything but white or off-white that still looked like a formal wedding dress. I was traditional enough to want a fancy wedding dress but untraditional enough to think about varying the color, at least. And short of dyeing the fabric myself, or something (which was also pretty unheard of back then), it just wasn't to be had. (Actually a year or two later, the very pale pastel dresses started turning up in wedding magazines, you would know. Just a little too late for me!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuff I bought at Paper Source

Warning: this is one of my periodic, slightly excessive I-went-shopping-and-here's-everything-I-bought posts. Just so you know. (It could be worse, much worse - at least I don't get around to doing this every time I go shopping!)


Just last night, this postcard came in the mail:

But as it happens, I already knew that the Paper Source store in Houston was opening, and in fact is already open, and I went there yesterday. I knew it was coming - the store, that is, not the postcard - because I still get their catalogs in the mail (despite the fact that I really don't think I've ordered from them in some time) and I noticed a while back that Houston was listed in the "coming soon" list - which I was ridiculously excited about. I probably would have been even more excited, except that I have been in a Paper Source store before - the one in Dallas, back in December - so I did know what to expect. That was enough to keep me from going completely ballistic, I guess.

The Houston store is actually not as big as the Dallas store, I don't think - the Dallas store is in a mall and the Houston store is right on the street on Westheimer, which might be more expensive real estate - but it's got the stuff it needs to have and it's really adorable. It's a brand-new building (just west of Crate and Barrel, for any local people who happen to be reading) and it's tall and narrow and made to look fairly convincingly like a brownstone. (Hmm, I wonder if the classroom is upstairs, actually - I didn't think of that before. If it's downstairs I sure didn't see it!)

So this is what I bought:

really cool paper: - this looks woven, almost like it's a fabric - the picture does not do this justice. I am a color junkie and this is so right up my alley.
plus a paper sampler (sort of like this one): The one I got is heavy on bright pinks and yellows, colors that are really appealing to me these days!

a Halloween stamp:

red embossing powder: (that doesn't seem to be exactly the same color I got, though, unless the picture is bad - mine is bright bright red)

plus some useful but somewhat more mundane stuff that I won't link, like Staz-On stamp cleaner and a Versamark pen. (Really I restrained myself admirably, on the whole!)

I have no idea what I'm doing with either one of the papers but I'll think of something! The Halloween stuff was because I seem to be going on an early Halloween bender - which might be okay because I need to start making some skull jewelry if I really intend to sell some this year like I said I was going to. The red embossing powder is just because it appealed to me and I am just starting to experiment with embossing and so practically anything I buy is going to be new to me.

I remembered - after thinking about it for a minute - why I found Paper Source in the first place, long before I got interested in papercrafts in any kind of half-serious way. It was the heart cards. I don't know if I saw a link somewhere or maybe saw them in a magazine, but somehow I found out about them and ordered some heart cards and some envelopes. I sent them the first year with just "Happy Valentine's Day" handwritten on them, and then I sent them again some later year with this stamped on them. It was the first stamp that I ever colored. I've ordered various other things from them since them, but that was where I started.

(The official grand opening is not until July 24th, incidentally. Just in case you're interested in going.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A new kind of donut

Those of you who've been reading here a while may remember that I have a weakness for donuts - the jewelry kind, that is. And on a related subject (the relationship will become clear in just a minute), I have been resisting playing around with Suze Weinberg's Melt Art techniques, even though I like a lot of the stuff she does with it, because I'd have to buy a good many more supplies and I've already bought about a metric ton of supplies lately. But in one of her blog entries lately she showed UTEE donuts (they're at the bottom of that page) that are about 2" tall, made with a mini-donut pan, that really tempt me. I may have to try that at some point soon. Darnit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy belated 4th of July!

I read somewhere that doilies are coming back into fashion, and that reminded of me of this little quilt of my mom's:

I think she got the pattern at the International Quilt Festival some years back. I always thought it was a very clever idea.

(I have a whole collection of pictures of my mom's quilts on Flickr, if you're interested - here.)


This was the weekly project for my class and I am really in love with it. The green on the tree - and the grass - was my own addition - the main technique for the week was doing gesso transfer, and the practice picture we had was this tree, but it was just black and white. I went to Michael's and bought this little 5x5" canvas on sale, and then I loved the results so much that I went back the next day before the sale ended and bought three more so I could do a set.

Actually when I bought the additional canvases (on Saturday) I was just thinking that I would do four different pictures - but now I have changed my mind and I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the same picture four times and make it the four seasons. I'm still mulling over what colors to use but I think I may darken the greens in the tree a little bit and use this one as Summer. I'm waffling, though, because I'm a little afraid of messing it up and it's so perfectly spring green right now. This is actually Claudine's Landscape Green paint, straight out of the bottle, except with a little Extra Time mixed in for the background. I didn't mix it in very well and it made it paint on just a little bit streaky. Which I really liked. (And then I painted the tree with my finger, instead of with a brush.)

And all of this makes me mull over the question of seasons, generally. I live in Texas and I think that makes my idea of seasons a little skewed. I have been known to say that the seasons here are Hot, Hotter, Not-quite-so-hot, and Sorta-chilly. (At least where I live. We don't usually have much of a winter down here.) Things bloom most in the spring, and by the time it's really summer, the flowers are usually mostly gone, the trees are really dark green, and the grass is turning yellow, half the time. Except for the redbuds. Maybe I'll try to do a redbud for summer. (As far as fall? If we have a real one at all, the trees turn somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And usually it's blazing hot right up til Halloween or so.)

Here's the link to the paint, just so you know what I'm talking about! (Also, this same color is very visible in the first picture in the entry right below this one, as the background to my earrings I made.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tattoo earrings, and fun with Patera

I made these earrings a couple of days ago and I really like them - they look adorable on. They are not all that long, but they swing around just enough, as far as I'm concerned. Enough to be a bit eye-catching, I guess you'd say, without being so big they bother me.

I'm having a terrible time getting decent pictures of any of my pendants, but here's one:
This is one of the first ones I did with diamond glaze. I like it despite its imperfections - the resin is wavy and dips in the middle and kind of slops over the edges a bit. But it still looks cute, and that's what matters, right? It's a little over an inch wide - I think it came on a fancier chain, actually, and I decided it was too formal for this piece and went with plain old bead chain. I'll use the fancy one for something else!

(Added: if you click on the link below the next picture, you can see what I was calling the "fancy" chain - the one with the sort of vine motif.)

This next one is an especially bad picture, so I apologize in advance, but at least you can see the pieces:
These are little earrings (only about 1/2" wide) that basically came pre-made - wires on them and all, I mean - so all you have to do is put some artwork in there and seal it up. This artwork came from - they have some books of artwork especially for jewelry, called "Easy Peasy", which are made to go with Patera findings and/or memory glass. I've been wearing these a lot.
This one is imperfect (like all of them) but I like it anyway. It has some match artwork which I bought on Stampington's download page (here) and then I added some glitter and some little microbeads. The artwork got sort of obscured by everything else, but it still looks cute and you can still tell it's a bird so oh well.

(Photo backgrounds courtesy of my Claudine Hellmuth class - we're making a little chipboard book so I put it to work already.)