Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas Tags






Last week The Captain asked me if I was making tags for the kids before  Christmas so they could use them this year.   DUH - I usually make tags and put some in their stockings, but obviously the tags are too late for the current season.    I do love it that The Captain is paying attention to my obsessions and is even cheering them on!

So - tag production in full-force last week.   I used old manila folders,  craft paper and some smooth cold press paper I found at a tag sale and  cut them out with my BigShot.  using these two dies   (This is another one of those projects done only with stuff from my stash, and than scares even me.)


I like the big tag and the round one, but honestly don't need all the other bits.  I now have a baggy full of the stuff on the right!

And this one, an old Sizzix one with no added doodads.

Here are some of the tags:



Love this reindeer stamp -  a little embellishing with gel pens and my favorite white uni-ball Signo white pen.


White embossed stars and snowflakes on sheet music ,  then swiped on some Dylusions paint with a baby wipe.   I glued the tags onto the back of the sheet and cut out the tags.


Text stamped on first, then the floral swag with Stickles-highlighted berries.


I love all the Tim Holtx architectural drawing stamps.   It's easy to add some color with pens to make the designs pop.



Trees stamped and embossed and a strip of textured white paper with glitter glue snow.


These were fun.  I've had this stamp for ages and never used it.  I think it's supposed to be a nest, but it makes a fun wreath.  Stamped and embossed with verdigris colored powder , then  Stickles and pearl pen balls.


I love white on kraft paper.   And this stamp - a $1.50 one from the bins at Michael's.


Same stamp, this time used the whole thing and added gold pearl pen dots.   Sixteen tags with eighteen dots each = 288 dots- that's a whole lotta dots!!


This is the small circle tag - I like to use parts of stamps on these little guys.


One of my favorite Christmas stamps - bird , branch and text all in one stamp.  Red Stickles for berries and a swipe of Broken China Distress Ink around the edge.



Silver- embossed snowflake and same Distress Ink swiped over the tag .

First time using gold-leafing, a gift from DC son and his wife.   It looks easier than it is !  


First step is stamping with the special sizing - it goes on white and then when ready (tacky - about 30 minutes) it turns clear.   I tried stamping with the floral swag stamp and the lines were too fine to catch the gold leaf, so went with a pencil eraser that may have been a smidge too big.


Then, carefully lay the gold leaf sheet over the stamped tag and lightly press it into the tag.  I used the brush to sort of tamp it down as well.  It was easier to lay down the whole sheet rather tear off a small piece - that way I was sure I covered the whole tag.

Then, using the same brush, I brushed away all the excess gold leaf.   That stuff can take some serious brushing - once it's attached to the tacky sizing, it stays stuck down!   You can see my little container for all the brushings - they can all be used over again in another project.  There are of course all kinds of special tools for gold leafing, but for this project  and my skill level,  my old brush worked fine.


I added some script stamping as the tags looked kinda bare without it.


I may have gone a little overboard - ended up with 206 tags !  To paraphrase  The Count from Sesame Street,  "Once I start making tags, it werry hard to stop"!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Distress Ink Leaves (AKA Pre-Election Therapy)

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So there are two issues looming large in my brain:
#1     It is 4:10 p.m. and already getting dark
#2     Full-on pre-election panic.   I do not want to move to Canada where it's even colder and darker. But as Texas Daughter reminds me, we would be a shoo-in given The Captain's genealogy research.   Our people in Quebec should welcome us with open arms, right?

What to do in the meantime but make something.    I saw these fall leaves done by Tim Holtz .   I'm not great at following directions, so I made a few changes.

He made a custom ink pad out of fall Distress Ink colors - too much for my frazzled brain, so I just swiped ink onto a craft mat, then spritzed with water.  I used these colors:


Then I laid a piece of white yardstick down onto the inked craft mat.   Don't swipe the paper through the ink or you'll get mud - just lay the paper down and then lift it off with no smearing.  I gave the papers a quick blast with the heat gun to dry the ink.


I did follow Tim's technique of splattering with some diluted gold Distress paint.   I love the fan brush for this technique - better paint dispersal learned the hard way, so now I wear an apron when using it!

Added some more interest by stamping an old script alphabet stamp randomly over the paper before cutting out the leaves.



I cut out leaf shapes with this Sizzix die.




Some areas didn't get enough color, so I used the same ink colors and blended on some more with the blending tool.






I have a plan for these lovelies, but right now am just basking in their colors and forgetting for a moment the craziness swirling around us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chamil Garden Stamps


My annual birthday art supply buying spree had to be changed since my favorite store closed!   Fortunately I saw these stamps that janethecrazy posted on  Instagram .   (Check her out - she does great  travel journals) .  

The detailed doodle stamps are a brand made in Japan - Chamil Garden. I  tracked some down on Nico Neco Zakkaya's  Etsy shop where she sells Japanese stationery, stamps, washi tape and other goodies.   It was such a treat to get a package from her store!



First, the envelope all decorated with tape and little stamped designs.





And inside, another envelope:


Look at this fantastic black glassine envelope with a hand-written label, decorated hole reinforcer and washi tape.



I carefully peeled off the washi tape as I opened the envelope and look what fell out -


a little plastic stick wrapped with extra washi tape !    I love the extra time put into all the details that make things special .



Back to the stamps - check out these beauties!


I just finished a major purge of my stamp collection,  but who could resist these?   The stamps are small - the tallish ones less than an  inch wide and the fat ones about about and inch and a half wide.    They look like they will be great as journal accents, but I had to try them out on some quick tags.


I rubbed  Distress inks on the tags ,  stamped on the designs, then added  some Tim Holtz phrase stickers and ric - rac ties.    I love the detailing in the stamps and the mix of images and text.

Isn't the Internet amazing ? A woman in New Hampshire finds stamps made in Japan and buys them from a seller in New York !

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pumpkins Going Postal





Continuing my efforts to push the limits of the postal system,  I mailed pumpkins to the Grands.



My first idea was to use those little pumpkin buckets for hauling candy loot, but the opening is huge.  I found these carvable pumpkins, and the expert in all things pumpkin at the craft store assured me there would be plenty of room inside for treats.



The Captain helped with cutting off the tops.  While these little guys are carvable, they are not easily carvable, and it took some extra muscle and hand strength to cut off the cap.


But look at all the room inside !   I was able to fit in trucks for the boys and a full-size jar of Wilton fall cookie decorations for Montana granddaughter with plenty of room for extra goodies.


I lined the pumpkins with some tissue paper from my stash and then tucked in goodies - chocolate eyeballs, blinky rings,


pumpkin tattoos,  M&Ms, bead bracelet kit and chocolate ghosts.


I used some plastic decorative tape to hold it all together.   I wouldn't trust paper washi tape to hold stick,  but the plastic tape held securely.   I did use packing tape to hold on the labels.




And here they are at the Post Office.   It's no secret that I love our Post Office clerks - they always comment on my packaging and didn't even blink at my latest mailing adventure.   I do wish they didn't have to slap those honking stickers all over, but they always try to avoid covering artwork, so can't really complain.


And here they are in Texas with some very happy little guys.   I FaceTimed Montana granddaughter who was busy munching on eyeballs , so hers also made it OK.

This is so much fun!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Laundry Room Rescue

Our laundry room is pretty sad .  It gets high marks for function, and zip, nada, nothing for style or pizazz.    Last week I decided to fix that.   I had a few goals - banish the beige cave look,  add more light, get rid of the ugly tension rod. and not spend much doing it.

I forgot to take a real "before" picture until I was half-way through ripping out the wall to wall carpeting .  Really - who puts wall to wall in a laundry room?


Boring beige,  ratty carpeting and exposed pipes, including the PVC one with red printing the whole length of the pipe.  Not pictured, but prominently featured - old bookcase stuffed with art room overflow, plastic laundry baskets and a leaning mountain of boxes I've been saving for god knows what.

First up- painting everything - ceiling, walls and floor.  I used up some leftover paint, so walls are sage green and floor dark marine blue. Painted all the pipes so they aren't a focal point anymore!




Next up- the ratty dryer top.  Not sure why, but the top had rusted.  I had pasted some wallpaper to cover it , using enough glue to hold it down in a category 5 hurricane.  Scraping all that glue off was the worst part of the project.  I did some research about painting appliances and read good things about Rust-Oleum's appliance paint.  (Sadly they are not paying me for this glowing review!).

The stuff is freakin' magic!  Cleaned up the washer and dryer and then did a light sanding before painting.  I used a high-density foam roller which made all kinds of tiny bubbles that disappeared quickly, leaving a hard, enamel finish.  I brushed on the paint in areas that were too small for the roller - same great finish.  I did three coats on the body of the machines and six or seven to cover the rust on the dryer.    It's hard to tell in pictures, but honestly, they look brand new - all little nicks covered, plus all that rusty top mess on the dryer.


Now for the fun part - some decorating!   The bookcase got a coat of black spray paint and a serious decluttering !  I added a lamp to get some more light in this windowless room . A cloth Ikea storage cube got a big flower stamp treatment.


As you can see, the ceiling angles sharply behind the washer and dryer.  I saw this  shelf idea on Pinterest and The Captain made it happen.  I love how it is a place to add some interest and also prevents socks from jumping behind the washer .  I found some back there - go figure!  Laundry pods in the silver basket and items from around the house transplanted to the shelf.



The other Pinterest inspired project - a pipe-fitting clothes rack.  The Captain found this one as a kit at Home Depot - well worth  $25.00 .  He mounted it on a board and hung it with these nice brackets- a two-fer - hanging rack and a shelf.






Borrowed an area rug from the family room, added a new laundry basket, and a decorated a switch plate.





And one more fun addition - a metal hanging flower basket added to the boring ceiling light fixture!


Mission accomplished - more color, more light , lots more style for minimal expense.  Now I may actually enjoy doing laundry - WHO AM I KIDDING??!!




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