Friday, 30 July 2010

Lucky day and Gothic Arch #8 Children

Well, wasn't yesterday that my lucky day! I posted a comment on some wonderful card samples featuring the Old Truck stamp by Darkroom Door and my comment was picked to win the stamp! I will now stake out the mailslot to wait for a lovely little Australian envelope.... I will be sure to post some projects with it as soon as I can.

Speaking of projects, Heather has her annual fundraising/anniversary activities raising funds for Victims of Violence. I will be teaching one of the make-and-takes on Tuesday, Aug 17 in the morning. We'll be doing emboss-resist. Classic technique that's guaranteed to wow every time.

Speaking of Heather's support for the Victims of Violence "It shouldn't hurt to be a child" campaign, this Gothic Arch features her stamp, where all proceeds go towards the campaign. I love that image, so evocative of the toddler years.

First I stamped the toddler (Heather's Stamping Haven) and masked it off. I added some sponged clouds with my homemade cloud mask, and then added the teddybear and wagon (Stampin' Up) and the tree and tire swing (SU). I coloured them with Bruynzeel pencil crayons, sponging some white chalk ink on the bear and wagon because I wanted them to look more ephemeral as if they were in the child's imagination. I wanted the whole background to be "in the child's mind", hence the frame of leaves (SU) and the cloud background. (I made the mistake of asking DH if he could detect this nuance unaided. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that he couldn't, and just be grateful that he's the type to have compasses lying around to be used for drawing arches....) I added distress stickles in Rock Candy and Peeled Paint to the background too, so there is the shimmery but not glittery effect as well. I tried to capture this effect in the close up. The word stamp is by A Muse, and it's all one stamp. I like how this came out - and it only took me three tries!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Gothic Arch #9 Asia

Here's another Gothic Arch for the Inkurable Stampers' Gothic Arch challenges. This one has an Asian theme. I love doing projects in an Asian theme, and I had this image (Stamp Barn/PEO 016 L, available from Heather's Stamping Haven) pre-stamped in my basket from another project. It was on white paper, so I distressed it a bit to make it look more parchment-y, and added the gold dots in the corners. (That's why it was rejected in the first place - it needed to be stamped on parchment paper, not white.) I also trimmed and mounted it on black. The arch itself is made from poppy cardstock, with edges sponged in Fired Brick. I stamped the Kanji symbol for tranquility (Stampin' Up) on it in gold ink, and added a panel of Yuzen Washi paper with a crane design. There wasn't a crane where I wanted it, and I had one cut out from another project, so I glued it in the corner where it will show. All the scroll-y lines on this paper are the most wonderful gold, and all the images are outlined in gold as well. It's very sumptuous looking. I thought about adding more, but decided that more was less in this case, and I should just let the tea party and the Midas-fondled backdrop carry the load.

BTW, I know that for these challenges we are not supposed to use other projects, but really the geishas were rejected for another project and just waiting for a home. So it's not really double-dipping on projects - it's giving an orphaned image a home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Lavender and Lime Challenge

Inkurable Stampers has a monthly challenge, so I thought I would give it a whirl. The July challenge is to make a stamped project in lavender and lime, or any shades of green and purple. Here's my take on that lovely colour combination.

I used a focal image from the Art de Fleur set (Darkroom Door), stamped in Dusty Concord. I coloured it lightly with lime and olive pencil crayons then went over it with a stipple brush and Citrus and Crushed Olive ink (both Ranger). I lightly sponged some Milled Lavender (Ranger) over the flower too. The edges got a scuffing, then I mounted it on a purple mat, which had been stamped with a damask-type image (Tim Holtz, Stampers Anonymous), using Dusty Concord. I used that same image to stamp down the fold, using the second-generation inking. I wrapped some crochet cotton a few times around the panel, adding a lime button (BasicGrey). Some Milled Lavender Distress Stickles on the flower finished off the focal panel.

The card base is a lovely soft lime tsumugi paper, which I got at my LSS. (Any tsumugi fans in the area might want to head over to HSH - she has a new supply of tsumugi, and some new colours too.)

I thought this card might be nice with a decorative edge, so I used my Tim Holtz edge die to cut the opening, and put a light purple strip on the inside edge to show. I stamped it too, with another stamp from the Art de Fleur set, that says "embrace life". I stamped it repeatedly with Milled Lavender and then sponged the edges.

This card is 4.25x4.25, a "scrapling" from another card. It's fun to change the size of the card now and then. I find it hard to get away from my standard layout and I find that changing the shape of the card helps me do that.

Thanks for stopping by! If you want to make something Lavender and Lime, there are a few more days to enter the monthly challenge at Inkurable Stampers!

Gothic Arch #10 Steampunk

Edited (again) to add: A very kind blogger, Vicky, left me a comment to say that is a real building in Melbourne, and here is a link to find out more about it. She has some gorgeous Gothic arches on her blog, and lots of other lovely goodies too. One further correction (egad!): the lamppost stamp is Darkroom Door from one of the Prague sets.

Edited to add:
I did a bit of belated Googling and the World Expo of 1888 was in Melbourne Australia. This lovely building is not, as I mistakenly thought, the Crystal Palace, but possibly the Royal Exhibition Building. It might also be some artist's fancy. Still, thought I shouldn't like to appear, however, unintentionally, anti-antipodean.

The 10th Gothic Arch challenge by Inkurable Stampers is Steampunk. Steampunk is a genre of art, literature, etc. that is sort of a combination of steam power meets science fiction meets fantasy. There is a good description on the challenge page, also wikipedia, and other places. It's kind of neat. The inspiration I took was sort of brass and leather and cogged wheels and mechanical
To make this arch, I cut the shape from a piece of Buckaroo Blue cardstock and stamped the dial image (Tim Hotlz, Stampers Anonymous) in walnut stain (Distress), smudging after a bit so not so harsh. Then I rootled in my drawer of special paper and found this beautiful piece of handmade paper. I got it from Stamp and Scrap Canada and it's the Embossed Bamboo in Copper and it's gorgeous! (You can see a bit of the colour and texture on the close up.) It's sort of leathery and beautiful and I used the deckle edge, which peeks out a bit (but I know that lovely deckle edge is under there!).
I also used some collage art, also from Stamp and Scrap Canada, which shows an exhibition building and says "The World Industrial Exhibition of 1888", and I echoed the year in typewriter key stickers. I also spritzed the bamboo paper using some perfect pearl mixture and a cogged wheel stencil, but it doesn't really show, but once again, I know it's there. I stamped a Victorian lantern on the expo piece too (also Stampers Anonymous). A pocket watch sticker, vintage ferris wheel brad, and an antiqued brass library clip complete the arch. Yay Steampunk!

Gothic Arch #11 Paint

Edited to add: oops - accidentally posted this without the picture. Not sure what combination of keystrokes happened, but anyway, here is the photo. I didn't crop it down because I liked the weathered wood backdrop for this one.

Here's my arch for the Inkurable Stampers #11 Gothic Arch challenge, to use paint. I used paint in a couple of places: first, for the background of the door. I took a long time to paint various colours of watercolour crayon over it in shades of brown, adding green, blue, yellow and red to liven it up. It did look pretty good, but I always find watercolour crayons a bit subdued for my liking, so I sponged over with distress inks, and wound up covering up the "Art" quote (Quietfire Designs stamp). There is also paint on the grungeboard "hinge". Any carpenters out there, please don't quibble about the one-hinge door, which is likely to swing open and fall over, crushing the hapless visitor. Hinge-counting naysayers might also fault the lack of knob or latch, but I will point out the keyhole - this door opens by key only. And possibly by incantation (I haven't tried).

Back to the door: I coloured the background (described above) then added some lines and "nails" with a brown pencil crayon. Then I stamped on the image (Stampers Anonymous) and coloured it in with Tombows, accented with white gel pen. The keyhole diamond is popped up. For accents, I used the grungeboard fleur-de-lis, cut down from a longer length. It had been painted with brown and black Adirondack paint, and a bit of gold lumiere. When it was all done, I felt it needed something more, so I popped in the brad at the top and did a border of Dimensional Pearls (Espresso) all the way around. The brad was pewter so I coloured it with a Copic to fit in with the scheme a bit more.

I'm quite pleased with how this one turned out. It was fun to colour over paint - the markers really did well there. This is also a favourite image, and one I don't use as often as I'd like to.

Well, bathtime for the kidlets! Time to get the paint from daycamp this week off their arms....

Happy stamping!

Gothic Arch #12 Fabric

Hello! Well, DH has done a herculean job of getting the computer functioning with everything I need (photo editing software and blog capabilities, and email). Other things are even working too, like word processing and spreadsheets. It's always a lot of work getting a home computer all loaded up with things. Anyway, it seems to be ok now and I am ready to post.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the blog Stamping Mathilda, and it was there that I learned of the Gothic Arch challenge on Inkurable Stampers. I thought I'd start at the current challenge (#12, Fabric).

Sidebar on drawing a Gothic Arch:
Before I got started, though, I needed to draw an arch. I googled "How to draw a Gothic arch" and got quite a few hits. The first one was more for artists who actually want to draw these things and was three pages of art terms and math. Moving on.... The next one was "Mathematics and mysticism", which was quite intriguing. Turned out to be a lot of math, not too much mysticism and a basic explanation of how to draw these things on large blocks of stone using a pencil and a piece of string. Undeterred, I read on, to discover that I could draw a circle, with a square inside, and draw evermore complex geometric shapes with tremendous precision and eventually wind up with a Gothic arch. However, since I am not a medieval mason building a stone monolith that really shouldn't collapse due to slipshod arches, precision isn't quite that important to me. It turns out that if you draw two intersecting circles of equal radius, the intersection will give you a Gothic arch (fig. 3 in link above). So that is what I did. (And once again I am grateful to DH for being an engineer and having kept his super duper Staedtler [sp?] compass from drafting class). If you don't have a compass, you can rig one up with string and two pencils. I had also thought that tracing a Nestability circle would work, but I didn't need to do that. I made an arch from scrap cardstock that is my template for all of them.

Back to Stamping!
The challenge was to incorporate fabric into the arch, so I stamped my image (Sunshine Designs, The Stamp Barn) onto some aida cloth that I pinked with shears. I coloured the flowers with Tombows, reinforcing the line with my microliner. I embellished it with embroidery (stems) and beads. I didn't have yellow beads, so I used clear and coloured them with a yellow Copic marker.

The background is Almost Amethyst (SU), stamped with a wonderful vintage image of a marriage certificate (Heather's Stamping Haven, and this stamp is actually Heather's own grandmother's marriage certificate! neat!!!). I also added some larger words about cherishing, etc. that are from a Darkroom Door set.

The navy panel is navy metallic paper, run through the Victorian Cuttlebug folder and rubbed with black paint (Adirondack) and then rubbed off so the shine only shows on the raised portion. I rummaged through all my buttons to find this perfect one that says "Paris" on it and tied a crochet cotton bow throw it.

Here is a close up of the button
bit. I normally don't go in for these arbitrary closeups of things, but I am really in love with that button, so if you have made it this far through the blog, I will reward [?] you with a close up of it. Also you can see the stickles and the stamps on the embroidery a bit better too. The photo isn't great, or at least my photo editing skills are not great. I have this superfabulouswonderific software that is 1000x smarter than me and I have no idea how to use any of it. Everything is in technical terms that mean nothing to me and every step is broken down into tiny, tiny steps involving thousands of clicks so that you can customize your every quasar. All this to say is that I ain't bright 'nuff to figger the durn thing out.
Thanks for stopping by! I have several more arches :-)
Check out the challenge, and maybe try it out yourself! Warning: you will get hooked :-)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Happy ending on horizon

Hello! In my last post I bemoaned the demise of our computer, presuming that it had taken the secrets of my class instructions to its grave. Happily, I am married to an engineer who was able to procure quite quickly a replacement machine, and get it fired up. Through some alchemy quite beyond my comprehension, he performed a file transfusion and my class instructions emerged, as quickly as 1, 10, 11, my documents appeared, completely unscathed. I was even able to print them. It's handy having a live-in hero :-)

Speaking of heroes, this makes me think I should start up a fabulous blog, called Civil Servant Woman, and have pictures of my Nerdy Man with close ups of his pocket protector, but that would be no way to treat a hero. That and the bit about the pocket protector is total fiction. And he's not that nerdy (or at least only as nerdy as me). (And I know that should be "as nerdy as I", but I am trying to appear less nerdy here, and being a slave to good grammar is no way to shed the mantle of nerdiness, and yes, this is an uphill battle when I pepper my posts with little binary jokes. One of my favourite jokes is, "There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't." I have a feeling that the mantle is here to stay....) Anyway, if the first bit of this section is making no sense, then I urge to you to check out Pioneer Woman's blog, and admire the pictures of Marlborough Man, with the close ups of his chaps. It's a great read, and a wonderful blog, and I could never even aspire to such dizzying heights of blogitude. [Can you believe my spellchecker flagged "blogitude"????? Just goes to show you that you can't trust computers.]

Happy stamping!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Mail art

No picture today. My computer is on the blink again. Once again we heard her dulcet tones calling out "CPU failure!" "CPU failure!". Since we put a Do Not Resuscitate order on it after its last bid for the eternal boot-up, it's looking like it's time for a new computer. All this to say that I don't have any photos of cards to post and even more annoying is that the computer has locked away forever my instructions for the cards I am supposed to be teaching this Saturday at Heather's. Grr. I can always do a forensic analysis of the cards, but it can be hard to figure out exactly which colours I used, etc. Especially now that I do class handouts, I don't tend to try to remember things too well. Looks like it's back to CSI: Stampcave for me! (Careful Stamp Investigation, that is.)

In other news, I have been dabbling in mail art (if one thing counts as mail art). Or more specifically, I tried one project and really enjoyed it and have decided to try it out some more. (I did take a scan of it, but read above para to discover its fate.) If you are interested in being a mail art recipient, please send me an email me your address at the link at the above right then (and this is important), please comment here to tell me you've done that. In case I am at a loss for mail art themes, you could also give me a colour, noun, favourite song, any kind of theme really, and I will see what I can do. International is ok too, especially because it really is fun to see where people visit my blog from. An important caution: I am a terrible mailer of things. So don't expect something right away. Instead, plan on this being a delightful surprise, arriving in the mail long after you'd forgotten you'd even emailed me. There's a very slim chance you might get something right away, then you can rush out and buy a lottery ticket because that would definitely be your day to beat the odds.

I'd love to hear from you!

EDITED TO ADD: I don't think my email actually shows up anywhere on this blog. I'm not sure exactly how to add it, so I will put it here in the hopes that blog-patrolling spam monsters won't find it in my secret "clumsy code". Here goes: kdaley 8 underscore 8 stamps 8 atsymbol 8 yahoo 8 point 8 ca [and where you see space-8-space here, don't put them in], or you can just leave your mailing address in the comment box. It seems unlikely that the bad guys are reading my blog to solicit mailing addresses for junk mail when magazine subscriptions and charitable donations will do the trick instead! And one other note, if you assume I already have your address, you may not be aware that my address book is playing hide and seek and is currently winning. So I can only get addresses of Canada 411. sigh. Although I know I'd love to be one of those super organized people that always knows where things are, I know I'd hate to be one of those people that spends all my time cleaning, tidying, and organizing. Life's all about tradeoffs, isn't it. And I will trade a nice cold beer and an episode of Doc Martin for a clean closet any day.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Compliments to the Chef

This weekend, we were invited to the most wonderful dinner. Our hostess was so gracious, and provided a delicous meal, each course presented beautifully. The company was interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I wanted to make her a special thank you card, and I had just the thing in mind.
Some time ago, I had seen this card and tutorial on Michelle Zindorf's blog so I thought it would be just perfect. I changed up the colour scheme and the plate (didn't want Christmas effect in July!) and I chose red since our hostess had some red in her decor - seemed like a colour she likes. (Of course the fact that I like it too also comes into it!)
I won't go into the construction of the card - Michelle Zindorf (said in hushed, reverential voice) explains the technique very well on her blog. However, basically, you do the cutlery with emboss resist and brayer on the background colour (Riding Hood Red). I stamped over with Toile background (SU) in Aged Mahogany, except where I used Versamark and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't show up. Now my Versamark is quite...well....mahogany. Will have to browse all those threads on splitcoast on how to clean off a versamark that someone got coloured ink on. Doh!
The other variation was in my china pattern. I really, really, really wanted to do a china pattern for this card. I dug out one of my very first SU sets, Noteworthy, because it has some tiny china-ish patterns on it. I did one plate and decided I didn't like it. Then I remembered Fancy Flexible Phrases has a bunch of small images that would make a great china pattern, and I was right! I stamped this one around the edge of the circle (4 1/2" in diameter, cut on my Cricut), and accented with some Prussian Blue Bruynzeel crayon and gold leaf pen. I added a bit of red Tombow marker, to bring in the red of the card. The sponge-mask in the centre is 2 1/4" (cut with Nestability). The plate is also edged with gold leaf pen. I almost feel like I should name my new china pattern!
I used my Position-it by Cathie Allan to stamp the sentiment (it's all one row on the block), with my signature errant smudge of ink. I briefly (as in nanosecond) considered redoing the plate, but by now I was far too committed to this plate to re-do it. (I figured that Sir Jasper Wedgwood-Doulton wouldn't fire me for messing up just one plate.) I mounted the whole thing on a Buckaroo Blue card base. A bit of navy ribbon (forced myself to leave it on!) completed the card.
This was a fun card to make. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the inspiration, Michelle, and for the great tutorial!
PS. I watched the World Cup today - it was a good game, wasn't cheering for a particular side (hunky footballers being evenly distributed across the teams), other than for a slight bias towards the Netherlands because I had a Dutch penpal when I was in school.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Chit Chat Vol II

If you are here for stamped projects, please move along, I'm afraid I don't have anything for you today. However, there are many other wonderful blogs out there to whet your inky appetites. Might I suggest Stamping Mathilda or Jennifer McGuire, two of my personal faves.

This is a quick post to say I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just that it's been a whole lot of "NSR" lately (Nothing Stamp Related). That's not strictly true: I have one Father's Day card to post that is not posted yet because not mailed (shockingly late, or, even more shockingly early - either way can't post till Dad gets it). I also have another couple of cards that haven't been mailed yet, plus another card that's too wet to scan and it will be gone tomorrow. So I guess there has been a bit of stamping, just nothing to post yet. For someone who makes so many cards, I am shamefully delinquent at actually mailing them.

Also, it's been a bit nutty, in a good way, around here. On July 1st, DH and I headed downtown with the kiddies to take them to see the Queen. We got really lucky and were right by the barricades so could have a view of Her Majesty through the window of her car as she drove away. We also saw her as she inspected the Guard, and we could see the top of her hat during the ceremonies. It was a huge thrill for all of us. I loved the bag pipe band and the fly pasts and the mounted guard, the whole pomp and circumstance. Very exciting.

Then this Tuesday DH and I were off to Bluesfest to see Iron Maiden. Not exactly a blues band, but a rockin' good show despite the heat. There were a lot of songs I didn't know (who knew they'd put out so much stuff in the last 20 years????) but their encore was full of classic Maiden. It was fantastic. Boiling, sweltering, meltingly hot, but fantastic. And yet another expedition downtown in the space of a week to pack ourselves into a crowd to see British people. Interesting theme. Not sure what it means, or if either British party would appreciate being thusly themed by me.

I don't have pictures ready of either event: royal pictures prob'ly not great and still trapped in camera, rock 'n' roll pictures non-existent as camera strap would have been an unbearably hot additional layer to wear. I would like to go see Arcade Fire on Tues at Bluesfest, and tried to get DH to win tickets off the radio this morning, but he slept through the contest. Sigh. It feels like he would have won for certain now. I'm trying somewhat unsuccessfully not to be cross about it. I do realize that it is irrational to be cross about this, but that has never stopped me before, and is unlikely to start any time soon. Poor DH.

The other thing that has me "busy" is the World Cup. I love it!! I am totally hooked. I have gone from knowing only one thing about soccer ("no hands") to being glued to every game (still don't know too much about the rules though!). It's fantastic. What a sport! Now I see what all the millions and billions are on about. It's so exciting, the plays, the acrobatics, the agony, the drama. Incredible. Tomorrow is the match for 3rd place, and we will for sure watch the final on Sunday. Then I will have to figure out how to keep watching this stuff. I hope we won't need a new channel on the tv, we'll see. Also, taking watching soccer could seriously cut into stamping time, and I don't know if regular season play will be interesting enough to cut it. I do realize that the World Cup is the best of the best (and still includes some real clangers). Will I be interested in the most ordinary of the ordinary? We'll have to see.

Anyway, that's enough of the chit chat. I just had an idea for some mail art that I want to go try. But it's quarter to one in the morning. Sigh. I'll have to make it quick....

Friday, 2 July 2010

Bitter end of tedious string of title-less posts

Woops - forgot to put titles on the last few posts, then tried to spell title-less without a hyphen and decided that it was too risky - could get shut down for naughty words in title. That would never do!

Here's the brown box, open. The full chit chat and link to Jackie Topa's pattern is here. I just checked her blog and it turns out that this pattern was recently made into a tutorial on splitcoast stampers! I'll have to post these projects there. But not right now - kidlets want me to watch a scary part of Ratatouille with them. As if eggplant isn't scary enough - they have to add rats!!!
Thanks for sticking with me through this litany of posts. I should call the whole ensemble "Stationery Kits in Excrutiating Detail".

Here's the brown set. It's made from a Simply Scrappin Kit (Stampin' Up). Sooo easy and quick! I knocked this off in an evening, once I figured out how to fold up the @%^@$# thing.

Full chit chat and link to Jackie Topa's pattern here.

Here are the cards, note cards, and tags that went in the set. All done in Muirfield paper and Stampin' Up stamps (SU), including some accents and elements from Rock Garden tin.
This was hard to photograph - things lying flat and things standing up do not flash well together. Sadly, I am no photo stylist and it was 11:30 at night when we were doing this and it was the case of not wanting to tick off the photographer (DH) any more than necessary. (He thought he was finished after he photo'd the closed up boxes.....)
Full chit chat and link to Jackie Topa's pattern here.

Outside of box, all folded up. Blither-blather about the project here, including link to Jackie Topa's pattern.